Poco X5: Sub-par performance on multiple fronts

Underwhelming performance overshadows strong battery life


Poco’s F4 was one of the better devices to come out last year in terms of value for money. So, when the company recently came out with the X5, there were quite a bit of high expectations from the device since its pricing is close to the F4. Starting at Rs. 18,999 and going up to Rs. 20,999, let’s see if the Poco X5 performs well on the expectations or not.

Design: The X5 has a familiar centrally=placed notch on the 6.67-inch display, curved edges and thin plastic to wrap around the back. The back has enough give-in, so you can kind of press the back panel against the inner body, not something you like to see on a phone. The right side has the volume buttons and Power/lock key (with the fingerprint scanner mounted) near the middle, both keys are tactile and don’t feel cheap; while the left side houses the dual SIM card tray. The top locates the 3.5mm audio jack, infrared port and secondary mic; and the bottom has the USB type C port in the middle surrounded by the primary mic and loudspeaker. The back has the protruding triple camera setup on a rectangular cut-out with the poco branding to go alongside. The phone comes in Jaguar Black, supernova Green and Wildcat Blue colour options, which is the one I tried. It weights under 200grams and is a shy of 8mm thickness plus it is IP53 water and dust resistance. The phone doesn’t quite have the best build quality, but design seems to be okay and about on par with this price segment.

Display: The phone features a 6.67-inch full HD+ (1080x2400) AMOLED display with up to 120Hz refresh rates support. The display here is bright enough and usable under direct sunlight. It’s sharp and handles high resolution images and videos sufficiently well. Its HDR output for streaming videos lacks a bit in terms of contrast but otherwise this display does a good job at handling content or graphics.

Camera: The X5 sports a triple camera system on the back with dual LED flash – 48MP (f/1.8) main camera, 8MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide camera, and a 2MP (2.4) macro camera. The main camera can take well lit shots in daylight, but the phone can take a little to stitch the shot together before you can view it. For low light shows, there’s a bit of hit and trial required to take shots that don’t come out grainy. The ultra-wide camera is just about okay for group shots or outdoors use, while macro camera can barely be used for any details or sharp shots. For videos, the phone can take 1080p or 720p videos at 30FPS (no 60FPS). On the front, you get a 13MP (f/2.45) camera, which you can take decent shots for your social media use in terms on of colour reproduction and skin tones with beautify turned off. The camera itself, though, has a lot of options to choose from for both videos and photos from the rear or front camera such as movie mode, night mode, slow motion and pro mode.

Performance and software experience: The phone comes with a Snapdragon 695 chipset (up to 2.2Ghz processor, Adreno 619 GPU and X51 5G modem) coupled with 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 256GB UFS2.2 storage (also comes in 6GB and 128GB configuration). The phone runs on MUI 13.0.1 based on Android 12 with the December security patch installed. As you can see, things here aren’t particularly up to date. While the chipset itself is a bit dated (which is okay), the phone is still on Android 12 version and doesn’t have any recent security patches installed, importantly. In terms of day to day performance, I felt this was the biggest disappointed with the device. While scrolling between apps, every now and then the phone would struggle to keep up high refresh rates, and I am not even talking about games here. Even for popular Instagram, you can see frames dropping during video playback, which just doesn’t bode well. The phone’s own stuff like MIUI launcher, Settings, and camera app do a fine job of in terms of being smooth and responsive to use, but the phone can’t quite be called a good performer when it comes to handling multiple apps. The software here is very close to what we have seen on the Redmi Note 12 with MIUI giving plenty of customization options, whether it’s for notification styles, theming, vibration intensity or choosing between having an app tray or not.

Battery: The phone is powered by a 5,000mAh battery unit and comes with a 33watt charger in the box, which is the maximum charging capacity for it. I found the battery life to be among the better things about the phone, with it lasting me a day almost every time with 5G and hotspot used for hours, some YouTube and heavy messaging usage, two Email Accounts, and display set at higher refresh rates with the brightness set at 30%. The phone charges from 1% to full in about 65-70 minutes, which isn’t too bad either.

Other stuff: The phone’s side-mounted fingerprint scanner is quite reliable and quick for daily usage on a frequent basis. The loudspeakers, though, aren’t too great at handling videos even if you’re sitting alone indoors, giving just about a decent output to watch a video. For 5G connectivity, I found the phone latch on to 5G in most places available fairly well without going back to 4G LTE that I would have to keep checking. WiFi and Bluetooth 5.1 performance here is reliable and something I didn’t have to double check during my usage.

Verdict: The Poco X5 5G seems to be a not-so-stellar performer in most departments, especially if we put it against the likes of the Redmi Note 12 5G and Realme 10 Pro 5G. While the Poco X5 does have a nice display and good battery life., it’s really its software experience, lacklustre performance and build quality that let it down big time, making it a bit of a disappointing device considering the same folks came up with the Poco F4 not that long back.

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