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    Poco F5 Review : More Powerful than Ever but More Pricey

    This spring, Xaoimi returns with the Poco F5, the obvious successor to last year’s Poco F4 and F4 GT. Though the namesake of the spin-off brand was originally recognized as a top-tier gaming device due to its excellent features and affordable price, you won’t find that focus in its branding this time around.

    Even yet, the power hidden behind the modest hood can compete. It’s practically everything you need at a low price, including dual-SIM compatibility and a fantastic processor. Almost.

    Design & Build

    • Plain but durable plastic and metal construction
    • Glittery blue is easy on the eyes
    • Little wasted screen space

    The Poco F5 feels instantly familiar, evoking memories of a Vivo X51 5G I briefly tested a few years ago. It’s narrow and has modestly rounded edges, is light enough to carry all day, and appears professional with the plain, consistent, and unassuming reflective paint job on the rear with nearly miniscule glitter flair for catching the light.

    If you want the gleaming blue headset that I tried, you’ll have to settle for the non-Pro model. However, both models are also available in Black and White, albeit with differing finishes.

    Where you might say Poco clearly hasn’t forgotten about gamers this year is the somewhat shocking reintroduction of the classic 3.5mm headphone jack

    Poco F5

    The screen has a hole punch camera notch at the top with nearly undetectable bezels, and the three-lens 64Mp camera cluster on the back protrudes just enough to cause the entire assembly to wobble slightly when poked and probed on a flat surface. Picking it up feels good as a result, and I’m pleased to report that the lenses have not been scuffed.

    Poco certainly hasn’t forgotten about gamers this year, as seen by the rather startling reappearance of the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack. You won’t find any generic wired earphones in the package, but you will find a turbo-charging 67W charger (USB-A to C) and a transparent rubber case. When it flew out of my pocket and into the road, the handy addition surely saved its bacon.

    Choosing the Poco F5 Pro means foregoing the 3.5mm headphone jack in exchange for 30W wireless charging functionality. However, there is no supplied wireless charger, as is normal, just like there are no headphones in the box.

    Screen & Speakers

    • Solid FHD+ 120Hz panel
    • Plentiful color gamut tweaks
    • Middling speakers

    The 6.67in FHD+ (2400 x 1080) AMOLED always-on display has a variable (or fixed) refresh rate of 120Hz and 240Hz sampling to keep animations fluid and your touches quick. On the Pro model, that’s upped to a WQHD+ display with a 480Hz sampling rate, which should satisfy gamers with a fancy four-finger grip at the very least.

    Poco F5

    Sticking with the screen for a time, everything is good. Nothing amazing or new, but completely usable in almost every context. AMOLED always makes colors jump, and it can reach bright enough to be usable in bright sunlight.

    Reading mode keeps you browsing even on a hot summer day, and the “always-on” function transforms it into an unobtrusive bedtime clock without depleting the battery for the day ahead. The settings menu has four color presets, and you can even tune in your desired appearance beyond the P3 and SRGB color gamut toggles.

    On the top and bottom of the gadget, there is a single bottom-firing speaker. Unfortunately, they are below average, generating tinny and manipulated sound. They’re loud enough to blast out bursts of music for pals, but aside from YouTube vlogs and more casual games, you’ll definitely want to use an external audio source to protect any sensitive hearing. They will not be saved by Dolby Atmos support.

    Specs & Performance

    • Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 chip
    • 12GB RAM + 256GB storage
    • 3.5mm headphone jack

    The Poco F5 and Poco F5 Pro appear to be sidestepping the gaming markets that brands like Asus ROG, Red Magic, and Lenovo now have on lock with hardware buttons and peripherals, instead emphasizing its position as a good all-arounder for the price that just happens to have a particular fondness for running today’s demanding 3D virtual worlds.

    the Poco F5 leaps over its descendants by way of the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 chip that cruises through today’s top mobile titles at modest settings

    Aside from the welcome reintroduction of the headphone jack, which should prevent FPS players from being disadvantaged by latency-prone Bluetooth headphones, the Poco F5 retains many of the previous phone’s hardware gimmicks. The side power button continues to function as a lightning-fast fingerprint reader for unlocking the smartphone, and face recognition is back.

    Poco F5

    At its foundation, the Poco F5 outperforms its predecessors thanks to the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 CPU, which breezes through today’s popular mobile games at low settings. The Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 in the Pro variant adds some more punch, although Geekbench results are relatively comparable.

    Despite the boasts about the liquid cooling technology within, it still gets rather heated when gaming. It’s not enough to make a difference in a four-season environment, but it’s something to be mindful of in the scorching heat. In any case, the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 outperforms the competition in 3D titles like Genshin Impact, Honkai Star Rail, and Pokemon Masters EX.

    It maintained up with my diverse workload with no notable issues when combined with the 12GB RAM (with a cheaper alternative for 8GB in some areas). The RAM has doubled over last year’s model (as has the storage), but the price has risen by over 20%, taking the Poco moniker farther away from its early days as a cheap powerhouse.

    I used the Poco F5 for about two weeks in real life. I was able to use the device in the same way I’ve been using my iPhone for the last couple of years: podcasts in the bath, YouTube Music on a walk, and plenty of juice to take to the marina and play Pokemon Go for a couple of hours while taking photos of the canal boats, spring blooms, and wildlife.

    Cameras

    • 64Mp main shooter
    • Ultra-wide, macro, and 16Mp selfie lenses
    • 4K video with OIS & EIS

    When comparing the camera to others in the same price bracket, the Poco F5’s gaming abilities begin to emerge. On paper, the big lenses and 64Mp resolution look and sound fantastic, but this is where the tradeoffs become obvious. Whatever the circumstances, it’s difficult to be completely pleased by anything you capture using the simple point-and-shoot approach that most people will utilize.

    Poco F5 camera

    A lot of smartphone photography these days is handled by software magic, but whether that’s the case here or not, the images appear suspiciously processed or noisy in my opinion. Although natural light is definitely beneficial, you may still squeeze into your images to see details such as animal hair, rocky terrain, or leaves on trees appear substandard and fake.

    The 16MP camera is quite adequate. It’s a touch warm, and there aren’t any noticeable “beauty” effects going on, which may be a benefit or a fault, but it’s perfectly usable.

    images are either dark or barren of color under ordinary interior lighting circumstances, while nighttime images are nearly hard to obtain without some type of illumination. It’s perfectly workable, and there are plenty of “pro” and social-focused features built into the MIUI 14 camera app to play with, but it’s a prime illustration of how a larger number seldom means much on a handheld smartphone. There’s also 4K video, and you’ll see the picture stabilisation kick in as you zoom.

    The price is reasonable, and the power is incredible, but something has to go. If you have the money, go to the Samsung Galaxy A54 or Google Pixel 7a for a superior shooter if you want a real general-purpose gadget.

    Battery Life & Charging

    • 5000mAh battery
    • 67W charging
    • Charger and cable included

    On the aforementioned day at the marina, I had more than enough power to watch some movies in the café and even managed to walk the extra half-hour into town using Google Maps. I could have easily squeezed in the 90-minute walk back home, but a classic Spring thunderstorm had me rushing for the bus instead, engaging in a text discussion, doom scrolling Twitter, and briefly contacting my mother on the way from the bus station.

    The entire drive was a beautiful day in the Spring sun, with one of the most diverse (and mostly unintentional) use cases I could have imagined for any phone. It was near-maximal when I left the house at 1pm, and it had scarcely dropped below 70% by the time I got home five hours later.

    The Poco F5 easily powered through the rest of the hectic Saturday, as well as a more reserved Sunday of Honkai Star Rail play and even more podcasts using linked Bluetooth earphones as I worked on the yard.

    The phone lasted an astounding 14 hours and one minute in the PCMark for Android battery test, owing to the combination of the huge cell, efficient chipset, and FHD+ resolution.

    Using the provided 67W USB-A/C wall charger, I was able to recharge the dead Poco F5 to 43% in 15 minutes. It was boosted to an astonishing 81% after 30 minutes. In comparison, a Samsung Galaxy A54, which does not even come with a charger, could only absorb enough juice to reach 16- and 31% in the same duration.

    Software & Apps

    • Android 13 with MIUI 14 skin
    • Google apps
    • Plenty of pre-installed bloatware

    One disadvantage of the Poco F5 is the massive quantity of bloatware that comes pre-installed. When you power it up, you’ll discover a stack of simple games (including Brawl Stars) taking up a tiny fraction of the storage and screen space, most likely to keep the cost cheap by subsidizing through software agreements like Booking.com, AliExpress, and whatever WPS Office is.

    Game Turbo attempts to auto-detect any games you install and lets a pull-out overlay sit unassumingly at the side of the screen as you play.

    They’re simple to delete, although the Mi Remote software, which makes use of the inbuilt IR blaster, may be worth keeping. In my situation, the erratic efforts to operate my Samsung TV meant it couldn’t take the position of my frequently missing remote. Although most of the important Google applications are available, I had to download Google’s podcast app and fitness apps to get it suitable for my own day-to-day routines.

    One featured software, Game Turbo, recalls the brand’s earlier emphasis on gaming. Game Turbo, like the Armory Crate offer with the Asus ROG handsets, aims to auto-detect any games you install and places a pull-out overlay to the side of the screen while you play.

    Sliding it out reveals a slew of features such as real-time temperature monitoring, app shortcuts, memory optimization efforts, and a slew of other useful features for getting the most out of your gameplay, such as customizing touch-resistant areas to limit accidental actions and turning off the screen while keeping the game active – ideal for AFK-style games.

    On the down side, you’ll only receive two OS upgrades and three years of security patches, lagging behind competitors like Google and Samsung.

    Price & Availability

    The Poco F5 is now available for purchase, and the early-bird price of £379/ €428 is the same as the previous Poco F4, although it has more RAM and storage than its predecessor.

    The 256GB variant with 12GB of RAM costs £449/ €507  on a regular basis. This is the sole choice on the official Mi shop where you may get it in black, white (with “ice flake” back designs), or the blue reviewed.

    Whichever handset you choose, you’ll receive double Mi Points, which you can use to purchase next year’s model. For a limited time, you can also deposit €50 of the price difference back into the Mi shop to get a Poco Watch.

    If you’re willing to import it, you can also find it on AliExpress. If you want greater resolution, wireless charging, and more spectacular cameras, the Poco F5 Pro costs £559 more.

    Conclusion

    If you’re a Poco fan, the F5 is probably what you’ve been waiting for. In terms of performance, it’s a major step forward from the F3 and F4, and the headphone jack is back with a vengeance.

    However, the price rise makes it difficult to suggest it above other cheap phones with superior camera systems or somewhat more costly gaming phones with interesting technology. If all you care about is gaming, it easily outperforms similarly priced phones like the Samsung A54 and Pixel 7a, but it falls short in other areas.

    It’s worth considering if you plan to remain with it for a lot of years. When it comes to sheer gaming performance, it truly is a beast. Otherwise, the OnePlus Nord 2T for diversified usage or, if your budget is flexible, a secondhand Asus ROG Phone 6 for laser-focused gaming support are better options.

    The Poco F5’s high refresh rate, quick charging, Game Turbo mode, and headphone jack cement it as a gaming-focused smartphone masquerading as an all-rounder, but it can’t be both at its yearly price increase.

    Specs

    • Android 13 with MIUI 14
    • 6.67in FHD+ AMOLED display with fingerprint reader
    • 120Hz max refresh rate
    • Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 octa-core SOC
    • 8/12GB RAM
    • 256GB storage
    • Cameras:
      • 64Mp main camera with OIS
      • 8Mp ultrawide camera
      • 2Mp macro camera
      • 16Mp front camera
    • 5000mAh battery
    • USB-C port
    • 67W charging
    • Dual-SIM (dual standby 5G+5G)
    • Dual speakers
    • 3.5mm headphone jack
    • Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, IR blaster
    • IP53 splash-proof
    • 161mm x 75mm x 8mm
    • 181g

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