POCO C65 review: a good budget option for first-time users

Review Summary

Expert Rating: 7.5/10

Pros

  • A decent display
  • Backup battery
  • Port selection
  • A good primary camera

Cons

  • a slew of pre-installed apps
  • Slow charging

The POCO C65 is POCO India’s new budget offering, arriving only 11 months after the POCO C55 (review). Both phones use the same MediaTek Helio G85 chipset, though the new model has minor improvements. For example, the new POCO C65 has a slightly taller display and an improved camera system. The new iteration also does away with 64GB storage for the base model, which I believe is a good step forward as we approach 2024.

Despite the minor upgrades, there has been no price increase. The POCO C55’s price has also been reduced, giving budget-conscious customers more options. Here are the prices of the POCO C55 and POCO C65 models on Flipkart for comparison:

  • Rs 6,499 for the POCO C55 (4GB RAM + 64GB storage).
  • Rs 7,499 for the POCO C55 (6GB RAM + 128GB storage).
  • Rs 8,499 for the POCO C65 (4GB RAM + 128GB storage).
  • Rs 9,499 for the POCO C65 (6GB RAM + 128GB storage).
  • Rs 10,999 for the POCO C65 (8GB RAM + 256GB storage).

While these are attractive prices for a 4G smartphone, if your budget is around Rs 10,000, there are some decent 5G options, including the POCO M6 5G (review). Continue reading to learn more about whether or not to purchase the POCO C65.

Verdict

The POCO C65 is a good choice for first-time smartphone buyers. The phone can handle these tasks with minimal stutters, whether it’s watching YouTube videos or using WhatsApp. Its new 256GB storage option will pique the interest of some customers, but I believe it is overkill for the segment. If you have a budget of Rs 10,000, the POCO M6 5G with a more powerful chipset and 5G support is a better option.

Display and design

Despite having a larger display, the POCO C65 looks similar to its predecessor. Shiny accents cover two-thirds of the back panel, giving the phone a more modern and upbeat appearance. It may also appeal to the company’s target demographic of young entry-level customers.

The top portion of the panel still has the black bar that has become synonymous with low-cost POCO phones. The rear cameras are housed in two large cutouts with thick frames. The bar also has POCO branding in silver, which contrasts nicely with the matte black colorway I received. The POCO C65 is also available in a pastel blue color.

The in-hand feel is also excellent, especially for a smartphone priced under Rs 10,000. The positioning of the volume rockers and power button is ideal, at least for my grip. A 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB-C charging port, and a SIM card tray are also located on the sides.

The construction is mostly plastic, but it does not feel cheap. The rear panel is also excellent at repelling fingerprint smudges. However, with smartphones priced under Rs 10,000, durability is always an issue. Finding the right protective case for the POCO C65 can also be difficult, as the box does not include one.

Moving on to the display, the viewing and reading experiences are marginally improved, thanks to a 6.74-inch screen that is slightly taller. The LCD display still has an HD+ resolution (720 x 1,650 pixels) and a refresh rate of 90Hz. The POCO C65 has a good display for its price. AMOLED displays in phones under Rs 10,000 are rare, leaving OEMs with few options to keep customers interested while ensuring smartphones remain relevant.

Cameras

The POCO C65 retains its predecessor’s 50MP primary and 2MP macro camera setup, but adds a “AI lens” for improved color detection. There’s also an 8MP front-facing camera rather than a 5MP camera for selfies.

Phones under Rs 10,000 generally perform similarly, with minor tweaks here and there. The POCO C65’s 50MP camera isn’t exceptional in that regard, but I was surprised by its results, particularly in bright lighting conditions.

Most images taken in daylight (outdoors) have a good amount of detail and moderate grain. Colors were inconsistent in some cases, but not to the point where heavy editing was required. If you get good lighting, the dynamic range in photos is also fine.

The POCO C65’s primary camera records videos in a similar manner. Videos in good lighting were adequate, but lacked accurate colors and stability. The phone can play full HD videos at 30 frames per second. Photos and videos in low light are, at best, mediocre. The majority of the images are colorless and have a lot of noise. The oil-painting effect is also used in some images to smooth out the details. The upgraded 8MP selfie camera produced the same oil painting effect in both daylight and low light. In my review, the macro camera failed to detect the subject.

Performance

The 64GB storage option has been removed from the new POCO C65, and the top model now includes 256GB storage and 8GB RAM (plus 4GB of virtual RAM, which uses idle ROM). As previously stated, the company’s decision to offer 128GB storage for the base model is a step in the right direction.

The 256GB version of the POCO C65 costs Rs 10,999, which is the same as the initial price of the POCO C55’s 6GB RAM + 128GB storage option. However, I would advise you to postpone any decisions. Because the entry-level POCO M6 5G with 4GB RAM + 128GB costs Rs 10,499.

The POCO C65 runs MIUI 14, which is based on Android 13 and includes some of my favorite smartphone features, such as a reading mode with an e-paper-like finish. The release date for Android 14 is unknown, but it’s safe to assume another three months. The POCO C65, like most smartphones in the range, comes with a slew of pre-installed apps.

Battery

The POCO C65 has an excellent battery life. This outcome is predictable given the phone’s modest specifications, which include a 90Hz refresh rate, HD+ display resolution, and 4G support. Despite light gaming, a 90Hz refresh rate, and calling, the phone easily lasts an entire day on a single charge. The phone lasted about 12 hours on PCMark’s battery test (with 50% brightness and flight mode enabled).

Despite the fact that the POCO C65 supports 18W charging, the box only includes a 10W charger. With the included charger, the phone only charged to 21% in 30 minutes, which is below most charging standards. A full charge can take up to 1.5 hours to complete. Fortunately, the phone now has a Type-C charging port rather than a micro-USB port.

The final decision

The POCO C65 is a basic 4G smartphone designed for first-time buyers. It has a large display that is ideal for reading and watching YouTube content. The battery backup is just as reliable, and I like the Type-C charging port. While the charger included in the box is adequate, you may want to spend a little more money on a more powerful charger to enjoy faster charging.

If you decide to buy a smartphone, I recommend avoiding the 256GB storage option because it is overkill for this market. Its 128GB storage option with 6GB RAM should be adequate for handling daily tasks such as watching short videos on social media or using WhatsApp. If you don’t mind spending Rs 10,000, I believe the POCO M6 5G is a better choice.

You may also be interested in the Redmi 13C or Redmi 13C 5G (review) on Amazon, which are nearly identical to the POCO C65 and POCO M6 5G. You may want to go with whichever phone has the best deals.

Editor’s rating: 7.5 out of 10.

Purchase Motives

  • The POCO C65 has a large display that is ideal for reading or watching videos.
  • The POCO C65 has a good battery backup and a USB-C port for charging.
  • Its 6GB RAM and 128GB storage configuration costs less than Rs 10,000.

Reasons not to purchase

  • With the included charger, charging the POCO C65 takes more than 1.5 hours.
  • The software is cluttered with a slew of pre-installed applications.

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