Poco F5 5G: A well-built smartphone with great battery life and good display, but the cameras require some work – overall a good value for money option Poco’s F4 was one of the better value for money devices to launch last year, also featuring in my best picks from phones to gift during the festive season, and the device did quite well for the company. So, its successor – the Poco F5 – has big shoes to fill. Being the first smartphone in India to come with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 chipset, the phone starts at Rs. 29,999 and goes to Rs. 33,999, let’s see how well it performs.
Design: One of the things about the Poco F5 that stands apart is its rear panel – the panel has a nice and distinct looking ice-flake pattern to it in the snowstorm White colour that I tried -- that also shimmers when hit against light. Coming to the front, the phone sports a 6.67-inch AMOLED on the front with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 on top, which also houses the front camera in the top-centre area next to the ear-speaker grille not looking very shabby either. The bezels around the display are as thin as we have been seeing on smartphones today and importantly symmetrical as well, as some people prefer. The top of the device is a little busier than usual with the 3.5mm audio jack, one leg of stereo speakers, secondary mic and infrared port, The right side houses the volume buttons plus the Power/lock key near the middle (that doubles up as a fingerprint scanner) – both keys require a little more pressure than you generally expect; while the left side is all plain. The dual SIM card tray slot, primary mic as well as the USB type C port and speakers sit at the bottom. Another nice thing about it is, despite that display size and battery of 5,000mAh, the phone weighs just slightly above 180grams and measures under 8mm in thickness. The back is slightly curved near the edges and makes it comfortable to carry around.
Display: The F5 features a 6.67-inch FHD+ (2400x1800) AMOLED display with support for refresh rates of up to 120Hz. The display here is bright enough to be used outdoors, though we have seen brighter display this price range, but this one gets the job done, too. This 12-bit display supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision, too, and the display is vivid and sharp for everyday use – whether text rendering or watching high resolution videos or viewing images. Its colour calibration seems to be a bit better for watching videos, showing slightly warmer tones overall. HDR output here seems somewhat better in terms of contrast and brightness that we have seen from Android smartphones in mid-range segment, details are better produced, including in darker scenes, but there’s definitely room for further improvement.
Camera: The device sports a triple camera system on the back – 64MP (f/1.79) main camera, 8MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide camera, and a 2MP (f/2.4) macro camera. The main camera can fairly detailed and well stitched shots when neither you are not your subject is moving while in decent lighting. It does struggle to keep details and white balance intact in many situations, though, including low light but even otherwise, there can be some unsatisfactory shots. I would say the camera is the weakest link for the device, not producing any great shots with good depth from its OmniVision sensor for your use. The front-facing 16Mp (f/2.45) camera can take good shots when outdoors and when you have some good lighting but can give somewhat grainy and washed-out shots, though it’s more than good enough for your video calls.
Software experience and performance: The device is equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 chipset (up to 2.91Ghz octa core processor, Adreno 725 GPU and X62 5G modem) along with 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB UFS3.1 storage (also comes in 8GB RAM + 128GB storage option). It runs on MIUI 14.0.3 based on Android 13 with the April security patch installed. In terms of look and feel, the OS here is very much what you see on a Xiaomi smartphone. You can choose from having a separate app launcher to having all your apps on your Homescreen. The left-most pane your Homescreen can be enabled got Google News feed or you can switch or off. The device doesn’t show any performance issues during daily tasks of opening and closing apps, scrolling inside third party apps or playing a game like Call of Duty at high frame rates. The phone can heat up a bit while playing such games for half an hour or having your WiFi hotspot in use while simultaneously charging the phone but nothing that would set your alarms off. It required 10-15 minutes of tweaking and back and forth of app switching, but you can disable unnecessary notifications and ads from some pre-loaded apps (most can be uninstalled from Settings) and from the phone’s system itself, but once done, I didn’t see any ads or recommendations anywhere in the OS during my use, but yup, be ready to put in a bit of work first.
Battery life: The phone is powered by a 5,000mAh battery unit and comes with a 67watt charger in the box. The phone lasted me a bout a day or so pretty much 90% of the times and charges from 1% to full in about 55-60 minutes (albeit a bit of heating of the back panel, but nothing alarming again). With screen brightness at 40%, two Email Accounts in sync, a couple of hours of WiFi Hotspot over 5G most of the time, the phone lasts one working day more often than not, making battery life one of its stronger points.
Other stuff: Call quality on the device is top notch and so is the network reception with reliable5G reception wherever available, reaching speeds of up to 1.2GBPS when tested outdoors. Speaking of calling, the phone dialer supports recording of calls out of the box. The stereo speakers here are quite clear and loud though they could have been louder considering the phone’s size, but they are still not bad for your video consumption or gaming when alone.
Verdict: The Poco F5 5G comes out as a well-built smartphone from the company – with a really nice display in place, great battery life and a familiar software experience that can certainly be further improved. It does a bit left hanging in the camera department, but overall it’s truly a successor to the F4, making it one of the better value-for-money Android smartphones available around Rs. 30,000 today.