The POCO F1 marked a significant milestone in the modern smartphone industry and for Xiaomi as a whole. It gave them the confidence to establish POCO as an independent brand. Fast forward nearly five years, and POCO has been striving to recreate the same magic that made the F1 a standout device. Introducing the POCO F5, a product that gets the basics right, featuring an attractive design, stunning display, a powerful new processor, and an appealingly competitive price.
In a market where major players like Motorola, OnePlus, and Samsung are fiercely competing, the level of competition has reached unprecedented levels. The POCO F5 has several advantages working in its favor, starting with a price tag of INR 29,999. However, can the POCO F5 truly live up to the legacy of its predecessor, the POCO F1? To find out, let’s delve into our comprehensive review.
POCO F5 Specifications
Before starting with the POCO F5 review, let’s look at the phone’s specifications.
- Display: 6.67-inch FHD+ resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, 12-bit AMOLED panel
- CPU: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 Processor
- RAM: 8/12GB
- Storage: 258GB internal storage
- Software: Android 13 (MIUI 14)
- Main Camera: 64MP (OIS) + 8MP ultra-wide-angle + 2MP macro sensor
- Selfie Camera: 16MP (f/2.4)
- Connectivity: USB Type C, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth v5.3, GPS/ A-GPS, FM Radio
- Cellular: Dual SIM
- Fingerprint Scanner: Yes, side-mounted
- Battery: 5,000mAh, Li-ion Polymer, 67W fast charging
Here’s a complete list of items you get inside the box:
- POCO F5 smartphone
- 67W fast Charger
- USB Type C Cable
- Sim Ejector Tool
- Silicon case
The POCO F5 aims to differentiate itself from other devices in its price range by deviating from the typical design aesthetic. Its unique selling points lie in the fit and quality of the device. The phone’s entire body is constructed from plastic, with an infusion of aluminum on the inside for enhanced rigidity. The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. Available in three color options, we had the opportunity to review the Carbon Black and Snowstorm White variants, both of which feature a subtly textured finish that conceals minute details, visible under good lighting conditions.
Turning our attention to the rear of the phone, we find a triple camera setup, with each sensor enclosed within individual rings. The POCO logo is positioned at the bottom. On the front, there’s a sizable AMOLED panel with extremely narrow bezels and a centrally placed punch-hole housing the selfie camera. Remarkably, the bezels surrounding the display are the slimmest we’ve seen in this price segment, a noteworthy achievement.
In terms of weight, this phone is possibly the lightest among its competitors with similar specifications. The weight distribution is excellently balanced, complemented by the device’s flat sides, resulting in an outstanding in-hand experience. As for the buttons, the power button, which doubles as a fingerprint scanner, and the volume rockers are located on the right side, leaving the left side unadorned. The speaker and USB Type-C port reside at the bottom, adjacent to the SIM tray. The top of the device features a second speaker, a high impedance 3.5mm audio jack, and an IR blaster, while the earpiece is discreetly positioned between the display and the outer frame.
The POCO F5 boasts a 6.67-inch Full HD+ AMOLED panel with Gorilla Glass 3 protection and a centrally placed punch-hole design. The phone exudes a premium look and feel, thanks to the gently curved cover glass. The display of the device offers a touch sampling rate of 240Hz and a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. POCO refers to this as an adaptable panel, capable of switching between four different refresh rates depending on the content being displayed.
Setting itself apart from its competitors, the POCO F5 is the only smartphone in its price range to feature a 12-bit display, although there is limited content available to fully leverage this capability. POCO has opted for a costly AMOLED panel with minimal bezels, a notable improvement over the F1 model, which had an LCD panel and thicker bezels. The panel is HDR10+ certified and offers a maximum brightness of 1000 nits, a contrast ratio of 5,000,000:1, and even supports Dolby Vision content on select OTT (over-the-top) platforms.
During our testing, the display of the POCO F5 performed exceptionally well, delivering impressive results across all crucial aspects. The colors appeared realistic, and the visibility outdoors was satisfactory. Thanks to the high pixel count, Dolby Vision support, and HDR10+ certification, videos appeared clear and crisp on the device. Additionally, the software provides further display customization options in the settings, allowing users to choose from Saturated, Standard, and Advanced color settings if they find the default Vivid mode too vibrant.
The POCO F5 runs on Xiaomi’s MIUI 14, which is based on Android 13, providing a powerful software foundation. This version of MIUI incorporates essential Android 13 features such as new widgets, a permissions manager, and a privacy dashboard (known as Privacy Protection). While MIUI 14 still includes some bloatware, including Xiaomi-branded apps and third-party applications, it represents an improvement over previous iterations. The annoying pop-up notifications that used to prompt users to update apps through the GetApps store can now be disabled, a welcome addition missing in the previous version.
Despite being a POCO device, the POCO F5 utilizes Xiaomi’s robust MIUI, a customized Android skin that adds interesting features and smooth animations, accompanied by a customized POCO launcher on top. During the setup process, users have the option to personalize their home screen layout, theme, and wallpapers. The user interface (UI) incorporates clever gestures throughout, including the convenient 3-finger gestures. We believe other smartphone manufacturers should follow suit, as we particularly appreciated the addition of a smart home control panel within the notifications panel. Overall, the UI was fluid, and we encountered minimal issues while using it.
The POCO F5 sets a high standard for performance and is arguably one of the most capable smartphones in its price range. Powering the device is the all-new Qualcomm Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 SoC, which shares the same platform as the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 series and newer models. This cutting-edge chip is gaining popularity in the smartphone industry due to its reliable performance and thermal efficiency. To ensure optimal cooling, POCO has equipped the F5 with a substantial vapor cooling chamber, providing peace of mind even under demanding usage conditions.
During our extensive testing, we didn’t encounter any noticeable latency or overall sluggishness in the device’s user interface. Similar to other MIUI-based devices, the F5 occasionally exhibits aggressive RAM management. However, the inclusion of Expanded Virtual RAM, a feature commonly found in modern custom skins, further enhances its performance. We pushed the phone to its limits by playing graphically intensive games such as PUBG, Call of Duty: Mobile, and Valorant, and were pleased to find that they ran smoothly at the highest graphic settings, delivering an enjoyable gaming experience.
Moreover, the F5 brings back the 3.5mm audio jack, albeit with a twist. POCO has included a high-impedance unit that can easily cater to audiophile-grade equipment. The speaker setup remains similar, featuring dual-firing speakers that deliver a punchy sound. To further enhance your audio experience, the phone offers a range of Dolby Atmos audio presets and an equalizer, allowing you to customize the sound according to your preferences. These features alone position the POCO F5 as a compelling device for consuming multimedia content.
When it comes to photography capabilities, the POCO F5 is equipped with a triple camera setup on the rear, consisting of a 64MP primary sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide lens, and a 2MP macro sensor. For selfies, there’s a 16MP front-facing camera nestled within the punch-hole cutout. Users familiar with recent Xiaomi phones will find the camera app to be quite familiar in terms of interface and functionality.
In terms of camera performance, the main camera of the POCO F5 captures decent shots in both favorable and challenging lighting conditions. The ultra-wide camera proves to be effective for capturing landscape photographs, although it doesn’t quite match the level of detail provided by the primary camera. The macro sensor performs adequately, but it would have been preferable for the company to include a dedicated third sensor along with an ultra-wide lens. Selfie quality still has room for improvement. While the front camera performs well throughout the day, Portrait mode tends to overexpose backgrounds in bright environments. In low-light conditions, image quality is acceptable at best.
POCO has introduced a variety of filters that can add character to photos when used strategically. In terms of video capabilities, the phone can record videos up to 4K at 30fps using the rear main camera and up to 1080p at 60fps with the front-facing camera. Video performance is average at best for both the main and selfie cameras.
When it comes to battery life, the POCO F5 performs admirably without any concerns to highlight. The phone is equipped with a dependable 5,000mAh battery that consistently lasted through a full day of usage in our tests, even under moderate to heavy usage scenarios. At the end of the day, we typically had around 30% or more battery remaining, showcasing its endurance.
To further enhance the user experience, the POCO F5 comes bundled with a 67W fast charger. This charger proves to be impressively efficient, fully replenishing the device’s battery in less than an hour.
The Poco F5 emerges as a standout mid-range gaming smartphone, offering a range of impressive features that contribute to an exceptional user experience. With its powerful processor, stunning display, commendable battery life, above-average camera performance, and the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone jack, the device caters to gamers and tech enthusiasts alike.
The affordability of the base model adds to its appeal, with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage available for a price of less than INR 30,000. This makes the Poco F5 one of the top mid-range smartphones in the market. Furthermore, the inclusion of a 2-year warranty further solidifies its value, offering users peace of mind and confidence in their investment. All in all, the Poco F5 presents a compelling package that is sure to impress a wide range of users.