OnePlus Nord CE vs Poco F3: Which should you buy?

(Pocket-lint) – The mid-range market is heating up. And in this instance, when we say mid-range, we mean the less expensive phones, not necessarily the low powered devices. That’s because in this comparison we’re looking at two fast, smooth phones that won’t leave you wanting. 

Those two phones are the excellently priced Poco F3 and the OnePlus Nord CE. Both offer great features and capabilities for what you pay, but each takes a slightly different approach. 



  • Nord CE: 159.2 x 73.5 x 7.99mm – 170g
  • Poco F3: 163.7 x 76.4 x 7.8mm – 196g
  • Nord CE: Plastic back and frame – no official water resistance
  • Poco F3: Glass back, plastic frame – IP53 splash resistance

Design could actually be one area that decides it for you, if only because of the difference in size. The Nord CE is noticeably more compact. At least, when it comes to width and height. There’s not much difference when it comes to thickness, there’s only a tenth of a millimetre between them, and both are generally quite slim. 

The two phones each have their own practical benefits too. For instance, the Nord CE has a 3.5mm port for wired headphones and headsets, where the F3 doesn’t. Poco F3 has IP53 rating against water and dust, which means it’s basically splash proof. OnePlus doesn’t have that, but the company has told us it should survive splashes okay. 

One thing we like, surprisingly perhaps, is the fingerprint sensor in the Poco. It has a physical reader in the button on the side that’s not just thin, but quick and reliable too. OnePlus’ we found was decent enough. It was reliable, just not as quick. 

Then there’s the hole-punch cutout in each screen. Poco’s is much smaller, and so doesn’t interrupt as much of the available surface area. It’s also placed nicely in the centre, out of the way. 

W love the feel of the Poco in two hands, typing away. It’s a great two-handed device, but the frosted plastic finish on the back of the Nord CE is really nice, and looks fantastic in the Blue Void colour.

What’s more, it’s nearly 30 grams lighter, and that’s something you can definitely feel when it’s in your hand. And the size makes a difference too. If you want something that’s easy to hold and carry around with you in your pocket, the Nord is the one. 

One minor thing we noticed when typing – the Poco has a much more subtle haptic feedback than the Nord CE, which gives a nasty buzz when you’re typing. 

Displays + Media

  • Nord CE: 6.43-inch – AMOLED – 90Hz – fullHD+ (1080 x 2400)
  • Poco F3: 6.67-inch – AMOLED – 120Hz – fullHD+ (1080 x 2400)
  • Nord CE: Single loudspeaker + 3.5mm port
  • Poco F3: Stereo speakers 

Despite spec lists that look a different, there’s not a huge amount in this as long as you’re happy to go into the settings menu and adjust things. That’s because that while both have AMOLED fullHD+ displays at 1080×2400 resolution, their default settings are quite different. 

OnePlus default vivid mode seems to boost reds, so white skin tones looks a lot pinker than they are, while the automatic mode on the Poco seems to over-saturate blues and make them unnatural. Thankfully, both have display settings that allow you to calibrate it to the way you’d like to have it. 

Poco’s reaches refresh rates of 120Hz, which is higher than the 90Hz on the OnePlus. But to our eye, it’s really hard to tell the difference in daily use. Poco’s does feel fluid in the general interface, but so does the Nord. We wouldn’t suggest basing your purchase decision on this. 

Instead, there are other factors, like the fact Poco’s screen is larger, making it a great immersive canvas, joined by stereo speakers to enhance that. Nord CE only has the single loudspeaker. The screen is also brighter. In that way, it’s a much better device for media consumption. 


  • Nord CE: Snapdragon 750G – 5G 
  • Poco F3: Snapdragon 870 – 5G
  • Nord CE: 6GB/128GB – 8GB/128GB – 12GB/256GB 
  • Poco F3: 6GB/128GB – 8GB/256GB
  • Nord CE: 4500mAh battery – 30W fast charge
  • Poco F3: 4520mAh battery – 33W fast charge

As with any point of comparison on this list, you could easily make a judgement on performance and battery from just looking at the spec sheet and assume the Snapdragon 870 will give you much better performance then the Snapdragon 750 in the Nord CE, but that will depend on exactly what you use it for. 

In truth, when it just comes to general day-to-day phone usage and casual gaming, both will run even the most demanding games pretty easily. 

Where we did notice a difference was in load times for the bigger games like CoD Mobile where it took a second or two longer on the Nord CE. The Poco seems to render sharper images in those games with more demanding graphics, without stuttering and lag too. The Nord by comparison – while smooth and responsive – had more jagged edges and slightly less detail. 

Technically speaking, the 870 is the more powerful chip and will benchmark way higher, offering better high refresh rate performance and you will see it in the more graphically demanding titles if you put them side-by-side. 

As for battery life, both have very similar capacities. It’s 4500mAh on the Nord and 4520mAh on the Poco, both with their own fast-charging. 30W vs 33W.

That means each will get you a full battery in just under an hour, roughly. They’ll both even get you similar battery life. We lasted about a day and a half with both phones, using them for casual gaming, social media and such throughout the day. 


  • Nord CE primary: 64MP – f/1.8 – PDAF
  • Poco F3 primary: 48MP – f/1.8 – PDAF
  • Nord CE: 8MP ultrawide – 2MP monochrome
  • Poco F3: 8MP ultrawide – 5MP macro 

So Poco has it when it comes to performance and media, where we think Nord is a better phone is in the camera. Speaking about the primary lens here, it seems to take shots which have much more natural colours and depth.

The processing on the Poco phone is quite aggressive sometimes depending on what you’re shooting, making colours seem too saturated and contrast a bit dark at times. Often it didn’t produce great HDR effect either, completely bleaching out the sky on some shots, while just about getting it right on others. It was just a bit inconsistent in that regard. 

Neither is particularly good at focussing on objects that are close to the camera, and both have ultra wide lenses with similar performance. But for the most natural processing of colours, detail and depth, we’d say the OnePlus is the one to go for here. 



  • Nord CE: From £299
  • Poco F3: From £329

There’s little difference in price between these two phones. In fact, in the UK, the Poco F3 starting price is only £30 more than the Nord CE’s. It’s worth nothing that’s just the recommended retail price, and you could find it cheaper now that it’s a little older. 

For those looking for more storage, the 256GB model Poco F3 is actually cheaper than the OnePlus Nord CE model with 256GB storage. So that’s also worth considering. In that instance it’s £349 for the F3 and £369 for the Nord CE in the UK. 


So in the end there are a couple of things to consider. The OnePlus is more compact, lightweight and – we think – has a better primary camera. The Poco has a bigger display, faster performance and the stereo speakers for better media and gaming consumption. There’s a little difference in price, with the Poco being slightly more expensive. 

So what matters most to you: multimedia and speed or practicality and cameras? If you can answer that, you know which is the right phone for you. 

Writing by Cam Bunton.


The Atari VCS retro console gets its long-awaited retail release

The Atari VCS — a part-desktop PC, part-retro console modeled after the Atari 2600 — is finally available to buy at retail. Atari is selling the console via its own site while Best Buy and Micro Center also have their listings. This isn’t the first time the console has been available to the public (VGC notes that IndieGoGo backers recently received their consoles) but it’s the first time the machine has been available to buy at retail.

The VCS has been a long time coming. Originally teased in 2017 as the “Ataribox,” the project re-emerged the following year as the Atari VCS, with Atari running an IndieGoGo campaign to fund its development in June 2018. Originally, the console had been due to ship in mid-2019 but reportedly ran into a series of development difficulties, culminating in the project’s lead architect quitting.

The device that’s been released technically does what Atari promised, but reviews have been pretty middling. VGC says the console’s built-in selection of 100 Atari games (18 from the arcade and 82 from the Atari 2600 console) might be emulated perfectly, but many are “so incredibly basic that they really don’t hold up to the mildest scrutiny in 2021.” There’s also an app store where you can buy modern games, but pickings are slim and lacking in exclusives.

The console technically also works as a streaming box for services like Netflix and Disney Plus, but VGC notes these are just “glorified Chrome bookmarks” rather than native apps. At least the promised desktop mode actually works, allowing you to install Windows, Linux, or ChromeOS and use the machine like a modestly-specced but cool-looking desktop PC.

If you do decide to go down the desktop PC route, the Atari VCS is powered by an AMD Ryzen R1606G system-on-a-chip, paired with 8GB of RAM and 32GB of storage (both upgradeable). There are two USB 3.1 ports on the front and two on the rear along with Ethernet and HDMI 2.0 ports. In other words, don’t expect this machine to rival an Xbox Series S despite its similar $299.99 starting price.

Suffice it to say that you probably shouldn’t be rushing out to drop upwards of $299.99 on the Atari VCS (or $399.99 for the Walnut version, which comes with an included wireless joystick and controller, which retail separately for $59.99 each). But despite its flaws, it’s still an interesting mini PC that might be worth checking out as a curiosity when it inevitably drops in price.


Microsoft is bringing next-gen Xbox games to the Xbox One with xCloud

Microsoft will let Xbox One owners play next-gen Xbox games through its xCloud service. The news was buried in a blog post recapping Microsoft’s Xbox + Bethesda showcase, with the company confirming plans to leverage Xbox Cloud Gaming (xCloud) for Xbox One consoles. That means the 2013 hardware will be able to play Xbox Series X exclusive games from 2021 — extending the lifecycle of what would normally soon be obsolete boxes.

“For the millions of people who play on Xbox One consoles today, we are looking forward to sharing more about how we will bring many of these next-gen games, such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, to your console through Xbox Cloud Gaming, just like we do with mobile devices, tablets, and browsers,” says Will Tuttle, editor in chief of Microsoft’s Xbox Wire.

Until now, Microsoft had only described xCloud on consoles as a way for players to “try [games] before you download,” but it’s clear the company sees the service as offering much more. Microsoft originally announced Microsoft Flight Simulator as an Xbox One title, before quietly removing references to the Xbox One launch in December. Microsoft recently confirmed Flight Simulator will now launch on Xbox Series X / S consoles on July 27th.

It’s not clear when xCloud game streaming will be available on Xbox One consoles, though. It’s unlikely to be ready in time for the July launch of Microsoft Flight Simulator, and Microsoft’s head of cloud gaming, Kareem Choudhry, previously said xCloud will be integrated into consoles “later this year.”

xCloud availability will provide a welcome boost for Xbox One consoles, particularly as Microsoft is upgrading its server blades to run Xbox Series X hardware later this month. It will give this older hardware a way to play upcoming titles like Starfield, which, like Flight Simulator, will also launch exclusively on the new Xbox Series X / S consoles.


Raspberry Pi BMO Handheld Plays Games Using RetroPie

(Image credit: Lazuardi Rinaldi)

Come on and grab your friends—this Raspberry Pi project was made for adventure! Lazuardi Rinaldi, an electrical and computer engineering student from the Georgia Institute of Technology, has created a playable handheld shaped like BMO from the cartoon Adventure Time.

This BMO lookalike is a fully functional retro gaming console. Some of the best Raspberry Pi projects are made with portability in mind and this one is battery powered—ready for all of your on-the-go Adventure Time-themed gaming needs.

Check out the animated version of this illustration on the official project page. (Image credit: Lazuardi Rinaldi)

The components used in the design are fairly easy to come by. Rinaldi made it clear the project is intended to be as accessible as possible, using little to no proprietary parts. The major components it features are a 5-inch touchscreen, a Raspberry Pi 3 B, an Anker battery and pushbuttons for controller input.

What stands out to us the most is the laser-cut acrylic shell but Rinaldi advises anyone remaking this project to consider other materials like wood or 3D-printed construction. Rinaldi placed sticker sheets behind the acrylic to make the shell blue and add color to the buttons.

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(Image credit: Lazuardi Rinaldi)

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(Image credit: Lazuardi Rinaldi)

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(Image credit: Lazuardi Rinaldi)

Software-wise, the BMO handheld relies on RetroPie—one of our favorite retrogaming platforms for the Raspberry Pi. Gameplay may be limited by the available buttons but a Bluetooth controller could always be used for games with higher button demand.

If you want to create your own BMO, check out the full project breakdown at Instructables.