Poco F5 review

Poco F5 review

Poco F5 Intro


The Poco F5 is the more affordable model out of Poco's new F5 series, and it is a direct successor of the Poco F4 from 2022. It starts at $379 for its base variant, going up to $429 for the higher-spec option. Despite having no "Pro" in its naming, the vanilla F5 takes quite a bit from its more expensive sibling. So much so that it might make you wonder whether you should pay the extra cash.

If we take a closer look at the Poco F4, however, we can immediately notice that it also doesn't differ too much from the Poco F5. So, what exactly do we have to work with here? Let’s take a deeper dive and find out.

Pros

  • Great display for the price
  • Аudio quality is on point
  • Stellar battery life
  • Quick and accurate fingerprint sensor
  • Powerful chipset
  • 67W fast charging

Cons

  • Bloatware
  • Software support can be better
  • Video recording has issues

What’s new about the device

  • Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 processor
  • Only 256GB storage option
  • 16 MP selfie camera
  • Audio jack
  • Bluetooth 5.3
  • 5000 mAh battery

Table of Contents:

Poco F5 Unboxing



The Poco F5 comes with a pre-installed screen protector, a transparent plastic case, and a 67W charger in the box. You also get a USB-C charging cable, as well as the usual documentation and SIM ejector tool. Quite the generous package these days.

Poco F5 Specs

Impressive for the price

On paper, the Poco F5 appears to have the same camera setup, maximum RAM and charging speed. That's three areas that overlap here. That being said, there is notable difference in the processors and the display. There is also the fact that wireless charging is non-existent in this spec sheet. Plus, since the phone is made out of plastic, it is relatively lighter.


Poco F5 Design & Colors

Walking a thin line between looking cheap and looking good
 

Unlike the more pricey model, the Poco F5 comes in a plastic body that is a bit boxier, with flatter edges all around. Since it is made out of plastic, it is also quite lightweight for its size, coming in at 181g. The camera design is a bit funky, but I wouldn’t call it odd or bad-looking.

On the right side of the phone you will find the volume rocker and power button, the latter of which functions as the F5’s fingerprint sensor that works quickly and accurately.

At the front, Poco has surprisingly managed to achieve uniform thin bezels (similar to the F5 Pro). The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 5 and you get an IP53 certification for dust and splash resistance.

Colors-wise, you get three options with the Poco F5: Black, Blue, and White. All three seem to have a different finish on the back. I got to play with the Blue one, which is smooth and somewhat matte. I'm happy to say that it managed to cover fingerprint smudges quite well, so props for that. Then again, a lot of buyers would probably slap the free case it comes with anyway.

Poco F5 Display



Just like with the F5 Pro, the display on the Poco F5 is one of its better characteristics. It might be just 2400 x 1080 pixels, but it still comes with a 120Hz refresh rate to bring that smooth experience while navigating the UI. It gets plenty bright too, and I had no issue while using the phone outside. Since it is an AMOLED, the contrast and colors were fine enough for me to enjoy some online streaming services.

Display Measurements:




Poco F5 Camera

Good for the price


The camera system on the back of the Poco F5 might seem like it is exactly the same as that of the Pro model, but it does not perform the same way. That might be attributed to the less capable Snapdragon processor, or it might be that the image sensors are different, despite the spec sheet similarities.

Just like with the F5 Pro, however, the 8MP ultra-wide and 2MP macro shooters are not something to write home about. The ultra-wide lacks detail and tends to underexpose the image, while the macro is yet again incapable of getting close enough to the subject to truly call the photo macro.

Main Camera - Day



The photo samples above are not anything mind blowing, but they are good enough for me to feel comfortable sharing them online. Some more detail would have been nice though.

Main Camera - Low-light



The night mode does an okay job to make the image brighter, however, I experienced some focus breathing (when the camera is going in and out of focus) while attempting to take this shot. The third photo is the one I took while the phone was struggling to find focus.

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Macro Camera



The 2MP macro camera on the F5 performs much like the one on the F5 Pro, which is to say that it takes a decent photo, but it is hardly a macro one.

Portrait Mode



Portrait mode on the F5 looks fake and kind of unusable, depending on your tolerance of missed edges and uneven separation from the background.

Ultra-wide Camera



I find the ultra-wide camera on the F5 to be okay for what the phone costs, but I noticed that it was having trouble with the dynamic range. Images tend to turn out darker than they should, and the phone likes to expose for the highlights rather than the shadows.

Selfies



Selfies look good on the Poco F5 thanks to its new 16MP front-facing camera. It might be less megapixels than the Poco F4 (20MP), but it seems to produce better images. Megapixels are not everything, folks!

Video Quality


Video Thumbnail

Video Thumbnail

Video Thumbnail

It's great to have the option to shoot in 4K with a phone costing $379. It is at 30fps, and you do get that nausea-inducing pulsating when you move too much with the phone, but it is still nice to have. Sadly, the issue persists even while shooting in 1080p 60fps, though. If I have to take an educated guess, I'd say it has something to do with the image optical image stabilization. Whatever it is, I hope Poco fixes it with a software update. 

Poco F5 Performance & Benchmarks

Some inconsistency, but overall very powerful

The Poco F5 is the first phone with the Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 to hit the global market. This is the mid-range version of the more powerful flagship model, the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 (which is what the Poco F5 Pro comes with). It also comes with the 8GB and 12GB of RAM options. As for the storage, you only get one option — 256GB.

The Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 is a great piece of silicon, and this showed during gaming with the Poco F5. I was able to comfortably play some more graphic-intensive titles without the phone overheating or suffering from any frame drops. Just like with the Pro model, the Poco F5 comes with the company’s own LiquidCool Technology 2.0 which increases heat dissipation by 35% according to Poco.

Having all of that in mind, though, made the occasional UI stutters and hiccups seem all the more weird. Every now and then while I was switching apps or using the camera, I noticed some instances of the phone having to think extra hard.

Performance Benchmarks:


Geekbench 6
SingleHigher is better
Xiaomi Poco F51668
Xiaomi POCO F5 Pro1728
Samsung Galaxy A341021
Nothing Phone(1)1035
Geekbench 6
MultiHigher is better
Xiaomi Poco F54400
Xiaomi POCO F5 Pro4354
Samsung Galaxy A342480
Nothing Phone(1)2933
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Xiaomi Poco F51970
Xiaomi POCO F5 Pro2148
Samsung Galaxy A34641
Nothing Phone(1)769
3DMark
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Xiaomi Poco F51966
Xiaomi POCO F5 Pro2142
Samsung Galaxy A34638
Nothing Phone(1)761

Poco F5 MIUI / Android version



The Poco F5 comes with Xiaomi’s MIUI 14 operating system (as Poco is a sub-brand of Xiaomi), which is a skin of Android 13. If you have no experience with MIUI, however, you might have a bit of trouble figuring it out at first.

You see, MIUI is a bit of a mixed bag. You get a bit of Apple’s iOS look in some areas (mainly the control panel) and Android in others. For what it is worth, the design features that MIUI combines from those two operating systems work quite well together. Although it is not exactly everyone’s cup of tea.

What can be an arguably bigger problem for some users out there is the excessive amount of bloatware that comes with the Poco F5. Of course, you can uninstall most of it once you set up your phone, but that is just another extra step to go through (and a cumbersome one at that) before it gets to feel like it is really yours.

But the biggest deal breaker is likely the rather short period of software support you are getting with the Poco F5, which is 2 years of major OS updates and 3 years of security patches. In other words, you are not going any newer than Android 15.

Poco F5 Battery

Won't leave you hanging

The Poco F5 comes with a 5000mAh battery that, paired up with the super power-efficient Snapdragon 7 Gen 2, provides a long lasting battery life. Once I noticed how difficult it is to bring this battery down, I was completely at ease and had zero worries that the phone would die on me while I am on a long walk or a night out.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:


Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Xiaomi Poco F514h 32 min
Xiaomi POCO F5 Pro9h 45 min
Samsung Galaxy A3410h 11 min
Nothing Phone(1)10h 13 min
Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Xiaomi Poco F514h 53 min
Xiaomi POCO F5 Pro13h 44 min
Samsung Galaxy A3416h 25 min
Nothing Phone(1)12h 28 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Xiaomi Poco F59h
Xiaomi POCO F5 Pro8h 10 min
Samsung Galaxy A346h 50 min
Nothing Phone(1)3h 58 min

Poco F5 Charging Speeds


Helping me worry even less about the battery life was the 67W wired charging the Poco F5 supports, which was plenty of power to get a quick boost that would last me for hours. What made things even better was the fact that I didn't have to buy a 67W charger, as it came included inside the box.

Unlike the F5 Pro, however, there is no wireless charging on the regular Poco F5.

Poco F5 Audio Quality and Haptics


The dual speakers on the Poco F5 get just as loud and sound just as good as the ones found on the Pro model, which is a major plus in this case. You won’t have trouble listening to content in noisier environments, and the audio quality is great to be able to enjoy whatever you are playing.

I expected the haptics to be a disappointing factor here, given that it is a more budget friendly option, but it seems Poco has made an effort to save those who decide to buy the phone from the awful mushy experience you get with many other handsets at this price. Suffice to say, you won’t feel the need to turn vibration off, unless you don’t like it in general.

Poco F5 Competitors


Galaxy A34


The Galaxy A34 5G came out very recently and you can buy it for around $300 for the 128GB model (you can expand it via microSD), which is quite a bit less even than the Poco F5. Despite its much lower price, it will still give you a good main camera, great display and audio quality, but probably most importantly — two more years of software support and security patches.

You do loose out on the fast charging and the option to get 12GB of RAM, though.

Pixel 6a


Even though it's been about an year since the Pixel 6a launched it is still a great option to consider while you can still find it online and at stores. You will be getting that classic Android experience with an even better camera performance and neat software features.

The only reason I am not suggesting the Pixel 7a here, given that it will probably launch very soon, is because of the rumored price hike. The Pixel 6a still has its regular price of $449 and is often on sale. Since the new generation is just around the corner, retailers are bound to be racing to sell Pixel 6a units at a lower price, so you might even get it at $300 or less.

Poco F5 Summary and Final Verdict



Out of the new Poco F5 series, I’d say the Poco F5 is a better bang for your buck overall. Yes, it lacks a higher-resolution display, but it still offers a great viewing experience and audio quality.

As mentioned at the beginning of this review, Poco has given the F5 much of what is great about the more expensive model, so you get more than enough of that more premium experience for less money: great display and stereo speakers to enjoy content; long-lasting battery life and fast charging; and a good front-facing camera.

The camera system on the phone's back could be better, but the main shooter is decent enough to take snapshots to share with friends and family on your socials.

 *Disclaimer: You may notice review scores have changed on PhoneArena! Since September 20th, we have started using a new scoring system. Learn more about the new PhoneArena Smartphone Review Rating system here.

Pros

  • Great display for the price
  • Аudio quality is on point
  • Stellar battery life
  • Quick and accurate fingerprint sensor
  • Powerful chipset
  • 67W fast charging

Cons

  • Bloatware
  • Software support can be better
  • Video recording has issues

PhoneArena Rating:

4.7

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