Right after the launch of the OnePlus Nord 2, the Poco F3 GT is also here. And, yet again, we have the famous OnePlus-Poco fight. And, I am sure, a large chunk of you have been waiting for this comparison. Time to do the math then?
What follows is my in-depth review of the Poco F3 GT and comparison versus the Nord 2.
Starting with the design, the two phones offer completely different design aesthetics. While the Nord has a more conventional industrial design, the F3 GT goes for that gamer aesthetic. See, design is subjective but I’d really like to talk to the product engineers at Poco who thought it was a good idea to scribble nonsensical words like ‘Freezing’ and ‘Speediest’ on their phone. Doesn’t feel very premium despite the use of premium materials for the build.
Yes, the F3 GT is a glass sandwich design with Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and the back, which is the same as the Nord 2. But, it also has an aluminium frame compared to the Nord 2 that has a plastic one. And, the F3 GT has a tinier camera bump too. The other design flair, that really doesn’t work for me, is the flash that looks like a flash. Gamer’s really like flashy stuff don’t they?
As for the size, the F3 GT is slightly wider and taller than the Nord 2. That’s because it has a larger display too. But, I feel that the F3 GT does a better job of screen-to-body ratio thanks to the competitively smaller chin. And, it has better weight distribution compared to the Nord 2 as well. But, all that doesn’t matter when it comes to the in-hand feel of both the phones. Because, the Nord 2 does feel more holdable thanks to the higher degree of curvature on the rear glass and the smaller form factor, in general. For what it is worth, the rear glass on both these phones are resistant to fingerprint smudges and that is a huge relief.
The Poco F3 GT’s other advantage are the mechanical triggers for an enhanced gaming experience. More about that in the performance section. But, what you need to know is that it makes the right edge very busy and the bottom button does graze against your palm while holding the phone, making it mildly irritating.
You get a Type-C port at the bottom of both the phones and they offer only USB 2.0 speeds. Both the phones also offer a dual SIM card tray at the bottom with no way to expand the memory. But the F3 GT has an advantage with its true stereo speaker setup and support for Dolby Atmos. It does sound better than the Nord 2 in the lower frequency ranges with a lot more weight to the bass.
That’s not it, the Poco F3 GT also offers Hi Res certification for both wired and wireless audio. And, you get a Type-C dongle in the box. Which means, if you are an audio nerd, the F3 GT is clearly the better phone for you. Another ace up its the F3 GT’s sleeve is the IP53 dust and water resistance, which the Nord 2 doesn’t offer.
I feel the Nord 2 has an attractive, more cohesive design compared to the F3 GT. However, the F3 GT has a lot of functional advantages you can’t ignore.
As for the display, the F3 GT has a larger 6.67-inch AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate compared to the smaller 6.43-inch Fluid AMOLED panel with a 90Hz refresh rate. Plus, you get Widevine L1 support and HDR playback from the Netflix app on the F3 GT. Last I checked, the Nord 2 still doesn’t offer HDR playback on the Netflix app. Plus, the peak brightness in my standard HDR test is slightly lower on the OnePlus Nord 2. In fact, even regular brightness outdoors is slightly better on the Poco F3 GT.
The other problem is the Nord 2 doesn’t offer a good colour tuning either. The F3 GT’s settings page offers a more granular control for tweaking the colours. Plus, you can get a tuning that is close to natural on the F3 GT compared to the Nord 2, which is a huge advantage for purists. For non-display nerds, this should be a total non issue though.
The F3 GT also offers a higher touch response rate of 480Hz, which is much higher than what the Nord 2 can achieve at 180Hz. The difference is palpable while gaming. A part of the Nord 2’s display is the in-display fingerprint scanner that is super fast to unlock, but I am biased towards side-mounted fingerprint scanners, like the one on the F3 GT. It just feels more intuitive and convenient.
As for the haptic feedback, the Nord 2 has the Poco F3 GT conveniently beat. It feels more precise, tight, and generally very good. It is not like the F3 GT is bad, not even remotely, but just that the Nord 2 is better.
Overall though, the F3 GT has a better display compared to the OnePlus Nord 2. Easy victory here.
Of all the points we are comparing here, I really want to see how the 64MP camera on the Poco F3 GT — supposedly an Omnivision OV64B sensor — compares to the Sony IMX766 when it comes to image quality. And, what you are going to see next is definitely going to surprise you. But before that, let’s take a look at the rest of the camera setup. You get an 8MP ultrawide on the two phones. And, the tertiary camera on the Nord 2 is a 2MP Monochrome sensor. Whereas, on the F3 GT, it is a Macro shooter. On the front, you get an upgraded 32MP primary camera compared to 16MP on the F3 GT. For the full comparison, head over to our camera comparison article for a detailed look at how these cameras perform in daily usage.
Overall, the Nord 2 is a better camera system compared to the Poco F3 GT with better low light performance. The F3 GT is actually a pretty good camera too but I think it is let down by the slightly inferior processor.
The F3 GT comes with the latest version of MIUI, MIUI 12.5.2. In this version, there’s little to no bloatware apart from Facebook and LinkedIn, which can be deleted. Plus, you can also delete some system apps such as Notes and Calendar. But, that System Cleaner is still pretty annoying and cannot be uninstalled either. Nord 2 is pretty clean in terms of bloatware as well. But, like I mentioned in the Nord 2 review, the codebase integration with Color OS 11.3 causes some design inconsistencies with Oxygen OS 11.3. If OnePlus is moving towards integrating Color OS in future OnePlus phones — which, by the way, I feel is going to happen — the company should just move entirely instead of doing a patch job.
As for MIUI 12.5, it is feature rich, well-optimised and the cleanest version of MIUI yet. There are no unwanted ads or notifications even. I don’t see a reason why people should hate MIUI anymore. Having said that, Oxygen OS 11.3 still has an edge when it comes to design and convenient customisations. A simple job like changing the wallpaper continues to be a chore on MIUI.
But yeah, between these two operating systems, Oxygen OS just feels more polished even in its weird state of flux. Also, OnePlus has promised the Nord 2 will get two years of major Android upgrades, which is Android 12 and Android 13. I don’t know yet how long the Poco F3 GT will be supported but, since this is an important phone for the brand, I am certain Poco will support it properly.
The flavour of the season when it comes to mobile chips is the new Mediatek Dimensity 1200 SoC. This is the first time that OnePlus has used a MediaTek chip in its phone and the Poco F3 GT uses the same chip. But note that you get only a maximum of 8GB RAM on the F3 GT compared to the Nord 2, which has a 12GB variant as well. Both the phones offer UFS 3.1 storage but in my Androbench test, the Nord 2’s memory had a slightly faster performance overall.
I did a detailed performance comparison of the Poco F3 GT’s original version – Redmi K40 Gaming Edition – with the iQOO 7 and the Mi 11X. And, the performance is very similar here as well. It throttles in CPU performance but is fairly stable in GPU performance compared to the OnePlus Nord 2.
And, when you compare the gaming performance, the Poco F3 GT feels a tad bit smoother thanks to the higher refresh rate display and touch response rate. OnePlus’ performance leads in most segments is slowly vanishing now with other brands catching up and sometimes even doing better.
Anyway, coming to the gaming performance considering the F3 GT’s gaming chops. In BGMI, both the phones can achieve HDR graphics and Ultra or 40 frames per second. If you want to achieve 60fps, you have to switch to Smooth graphics. But recently, the X7 Max managed to get 90fps setting recently. So, maybe there is hope for the F3 GT and the OnePlus Nord 2.
I played 30 minutes of Call of Duty Mobile on the two phones and the F3 GT was definitely better when it comes to touch response and overall feel. That said, both the phones did end up touching about 41-42 degrees, which is par for the course. In Rushil’s battery test, on the MySmartPrice Hindi YouTube channel, where he runs Asphalt 9 for an hour, the F3 GT got hot around the metal frame because of dissipation, making it difficult to hold but it was cool on the front and the rear. Otherwise, overall, the Nord 2’s temperature was higher in our testing.
As for the triggers, they are too close to the edge for me, and I found the touch controls more responsive, to be honest. But, then again, I presume it will take some time to recalibrate your twitch responses to work with the triggers. Although, we must appreciate how the triggers are tucked inside the body and pop out only when you push the slider. So, the long story short is the Poco F3 GT is a better phone for gaming enthusiasts.
As for the network performance, both the phones are pretty good at 4G network performance with support for 4G Carrier Aggregation as well. But, when it comes to 5G support, the OnePlus Nord 2 has an edge with support for 7 bands compared to support for 2 bands on the Poco F3 GT.
The Poco F3 GT has a larger 5060mAh battery compared to the 4500mAh battery on the Nord 2. This does help with a slightly better battery performance. You can expect around 6 hours and 30 minutes on the F3 GT, but the Nord 2 can only come close to 6 hours of SoT. I also noticed that the F3 GT does last longer, in general.
As for the 67W charger that you get inside the box of the F3 GT, it takes 55 minutes to charge from 0 to 100. Poco’s charging optimization definitely reduces the rate of charge in the final 10-20%. In comparison, the Nord 2 can charge from 0 to 100 in under 35 minutes easily. Charging speeds are better on the Nord 2, for sure.
So, in conclusion, which one of these two fantastic options under Rs 30,000 should you consider? The answer is plain and simple, if you want a good looking phone, with a comparably better camera performance, and clean software, go for the OnePlus Nord 2. If you are a gamer who plays BGMI all day long, then the F3 GT is a better option. By the way, the F3 GT might also be the better option for audio and multimedia nerds thanks to the Hi-Res support and Netflix HDR support out of the box.
So, define your use case and figure out which one is suited for you and then make the purchase decision.