- The Poco F5 is the latest premium mid-segment offering from Xiaomi’s sub-brand, Poco.
- Like its predecessor, the Poco F5 is very focused on delivering a close-to-flagship performance at a relatively affordable price.
- The Poco F5 is the first phone in the Indian market to come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7+ Generation 2 chip, which many say is close to the Snapdragon 8 Generation 1 chip in terms of performance. This makes it a potential gaming powerhouse, but does it do well enough in other departments to challenge the likes of its own sibling, the Redmi Note 12 Pro+?
Xiaomi’s sub-brand Poco has been emerging as a very good option for those who want a good gaming phone without getting into heavy expenditure mode. There was the very good Poco X3 Pro in 2021, and last year saw the Poco F4, phones that were superb in the processor department and very solid in others. They were not designed to win beauty contests or be frontrunners for great cameras but were built for speed and power at an affordable price. And delivered on those fronts. The Poco F5 follows in the same footsteps.
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Poco F5 Performance: Great chip + Speedy RAM = VERY Good Gaming
The F5 is a phone for those who want some serious power without stretching their budgets too far north of the Rs 30,000 frontier. The reason for that is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7+ Generation 2 that drives it. This is aided by 8 GB or 12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM, depending on the variant you choose (256 GB UFS 3.1 storage comes across both). Those are incredibly powerful specs (the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 is considered close to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, flagship of 2022) for the price, and if you are into gaming, the Poco F5 delivers in spades.
The Poco F5 was able to run Call of Duty and Asphalt at maxed-out settings, and it ran them smoothly without any stutters. We did have the odd lag in Genshin Impact (a game made to tax processors, we suspect), but that apart, this was close to flagship-level gaming on a device that is strictly mid-segment in terms of price.
The 6.67-inch FHD+ flow AMOLED display is a good one, with a 120 Hz refresh rate, and comes with support for both Dolby Vision and HDR 10+. You also get very good dual audio stereo speakers and a 3.5 mm audio jack, with support for Dolby Atmos.
There might be some phones in the segment with slightly more vibrant displays (the Redmi Note 12 Pro+, for example), but as an overall gaming and multimedia phone in its segment, the Poco F5 is pretty much unmatched. Fast processor, high refresh rate display, fast RAM and storage, great sound, audio jack…it has them all, and they all work superbly too. This is a great phone for those who want great graphics and good sound on their phone, whether it is in the form of games or shows!
Poco F5 Cameras: Stick to the Main Sensor
It is a very solid phone in other regards too. The Poco F5 comes with a very good 64-megapixel main sensor with support for OIS, and it generally delivers good, if slightly oversaturated, images. Even low-light performance is very good for its price, although pixel peepers might point out that detail gets a little compromised. You will generally get pleasant colors and more than enough detail, and even the 2x lossless zoom is handy enough. Put a little thought into your photography, and the main sensor of the Poco F5 will give you very good stills and videos.
The 8-megapixel ultrawide is, however, of limited use, and the 2-megapixel macro sensor is best not used – cropping from the 64-megapixel main sensor will generally give better results. The 16-megapixel front-facing selfie camera is not exceptional, but it will get you social media-friendly selfies – rather oddly, it seems a little dull when compared to the main sensor (generally, selfie sensors are the ones that tend to oversaturate). As this is a Xiaomi phone at core, you get plenty of shooting and image editing options, which let you do a whole lot with your multimedia content.
Poco F5 software and general usage: Smooth operator with super battery…and some bloatware
The Poco F5 comes with MIUI 14 on top of Android 13. Rather oddly, the phone comes with a number of third-party apps preloaded on it (Moj, Bubble Shooter, Snapchat, Spotify, etc.). This is rather different from the relatively clean MIUI 14 we have seen on other devices, including the Redmi Note 12 Pro series, which comes in the same segment. One can uninstall the apps, of course, but their presence out of the box is a little surprising and could annoy some users, although some will also like the option to have apps from the get-go.
That apart, MIUI 14 runs smoothly on the Poco F5, and with all that processor and RAM muscle, multitasking is a breeze. The phone also comes with support for 5G, has an infrared port to let it be used as a remote, and a fingerprint scanner on the side that works smoothly.
The battery life of the Poco F5 is very impressive. The phone comes with a large 5000 mAh battery with support for 67W charging and a 67W charger in the box. The battery easily got through a day of heavy usage on a single charge and can easily last two days if one handles it carefully. The 67W charger can recharge the phone from 0 to 100 in about 50-55 minutes, which might not sound as impressive as some other much faster-charging devices in the segment but is more than adequate for most users.
Poco F5 design: Smart, but smudge and dust-prone
All of this is housed inside a solidly built and smart if slightly predictable frame. The Poco F5 comes with a tall-ish (161.5 mm) and yet slim (7.9 mm) build and is relatively light at 181 mm. The front is all about the tall 6.67-inch display, and while the back is curved, the sides are straight. On the back are also the three camera lenses, which stick out slightly, and do not have a dedicated space of their own. Two are large, and one is tiny, and to be honest, they do not add much to the design of the phone. The back and the frame of the phone are both carbonates, but the phone seems very well built (our variant had a textured look seemingly below the back, which looks classy) and comes with IP53 splash resistance.
It might have IP53 resistance, but our black model attracted dust like a vacuum cleaner and smudges like a celebrity at a tabloid press conference. Yes, there is a transparent case in the box, but we still found dust particles accumulating around those large camera lenses. This is one of those phones that need to be covered from head to foot like those medieval knights riding into dusty battle. Perhaps the white and blue variants do not get this dusty and smudgy, but half an hour outdoors makes the black variant appear as if it took a safari in the Sahara! This is a phone that delivers mind-blowing performance but could benefit from a dust blower.
Related Read: OnePlus Nord 3 Review
Poco F5 Review Verdict: Should you buy it?
At its starting price of Rs 29,999 for 8 GB/ 256 GB, the Poco F5 is pretty much in a zone of its own if all you want is a phone with a powerful new chip that is capable of high-end gaming.
Get out of the gaming zone, however, and it has a fair deal of competition to deal with. Perhaps the most obvious is its own sibling, the Redmi Note 12 Pro+, which might not have as powerful a chip (it runs on the Dimensity 1050) but comes with a much better 200-megapixel main sensor and also 120W fast charging. Those looking for a more eye-catching design might also think of the Nothing Phone (1), which is perhaps the most striking device in the segment even more than a year after its release, and remains a very good performer. There is also the Google Pixel 6a, which, although a year old, comes with some very smart features and has one of the best cameras in the price segment. And well, those who are willing to spend a little more for some extra power and design might just wonder if they should try to save up or try to snag a deal on the more powerful and better-designed OnePlus 11R.
But if what you want is a phone that can handle pretty much every high-end game you throw at it without too many compromises, and you want it for Rs 30,000, then the Poco F5 is the phone for you. It is the perfect phone for a gamer on a budget.
- Great price for the performance
- Smooth performer, especially with gaming
- Good display and sound
- 3.5 mm audio jack
- Good battery life and fast charging
- Back picks up smudges
- Comes with bloatware (which can be uninstalled, but still)
- Second camera sensors not the greatest
Design and Build
The Poco F5 is the first phone in the Indian market to come with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7+ Generation 2 chip. This makes it a potential gaming powerhouse, but does it do well enough in other departments to challenge the likes of its own sibling, the Redmi Note 12 Pro+?