POCO F5 review: powerful device

POCO F5 – Advantages

  • Excellent performance
  • Outstanding performance
  • Outstanding longevity of the battery
  • competent stereo speakers

Cons

  • Bloatware
  • Absence of a microSD card slot
  • Better would have been an ultra-wide lens.

POCO has now released its flagship-class F5 smartphone in India, following an earlier this year lineup refresh for its mid-range and budget models. On paper, at least, the device seems to follow the same performance-centric philosophy as the lineup’s earlier smartphones. With its potent Snapdragon 7+ Gen2 chipset, the POCO F5 holds the distinction of being the first smartphone in India to do so. Among other impressive features, the smartphone has a 5,000mAh battery and a 12-bit screen. But the important question still stands: Is the smartphone really worth the money you’ve paid?

Verdict

The POCO F5 is a capable gaming and streaming device. It has an excellent screen and a powerful processor. While the phone’s design and cameras aren’t as impressive, its battery life and fast charging capabilities are truly exceptional.

Design

The POCO F5 is made of plastic and has a glossy finish on the back that attracts fingerprints and smudges. This problem was particularly noticeable on the Carbon Black color variant that was sent to me for review. If you plan to buy the same color variant, I recommend putting a case on the device right away to reduce the need for frequent cleaning. POCO includes a clear TPU case with the smartphone for your convenience.

Regardless, the POCO F5’s design is good, if not premium. The back panel has a carbon pattern that isn’t visible unless you shine a light on it. Furthermore, the panel has a slight curvature towards the edges, which provides a comfortable in-hand feel. For a phone with a 5,000mAh battery, the handset has flat edges and a relatively lightweight design. The POCO F5 weighs 181 grams, making it easy to hold for extended periods of time.

The absence of a large camera bump also contributes to the handset’s sleek appearance. When the device is placed flat on a table, the rear cameras almost sit flush with the chassis, resulting in minimal wobbling.

Display and audio

The POCO F5 has a similar punch-hole 6.7-inch AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection as its predecessor, the POCO F4. The display features an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate, FHD+ (2,4001,080p) resolution, and Dolby Vision HDR10+ playback support. However, for a better viewing experience, brightness, screen-to-body ratio, and color count have been increased slightly. The POCO F5 has a 12-bit display that can produce up to 68 billion colors, as opposed to the F4’s 1 billion colors. The increased color depth, combined with 1,000 nits of brightness, results in an immersive viewing experience whether you are playing games indoors or outdoors, or streaming a movie or show.

Overall, the POCO F5 has an excellent display that is enjoyable to use. The audio quality of the handset, which delivers a stereo output with Dolby Atmos, enhances the experience even further. The audio quality is excellent, with minimal crackling even at maximum volume.

Cameras

The POCO F5’s rear camera setup and performance appear to be identical to that of its predecessor, the POCO F4. The phone has a 64MP primary sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor, and a 2MP macro unit. The 64MP primary sensor with OIS excels at capturing stunning images in well-lit environments or during daylight. The images produced have sharp and crisp details, as well as well-balanced colors. When compared to non-HDR images, HDR on the POCO F5 provides better exposure and contrast.

The POCO F5’s 8MP ultra-wide sensor has a 119-degree field-of-view, allowing for more comprehensive coverage. However, some distortion and softness can be seen around the frame’s edges. The 2MP macro sensor, on the other hand, captures fine details in close-up admirably well, especially in good lighting conditions. In low light, the 64MP primary sensor is the only one that stands out among the rear camera setup, as both the ultra-wide and macro sensors struggle. Even though the color accuracy is questionable, the sensor captures images with reasonable details and sharpness. The phone’s noise mode utility is useful in reducing noise levels and improving overall visibility in such situations.

Software and performance

The Snapdragon 7+ Gen2 chipset, Qualcomm’s most recent mid-range chipset, powers the POCO F5. Regardless, the chipset shares many characteristics with the company’s 2022 flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, such as the nanometer process, cores, and GPU. The 8 Gen 1 is still powerful in a few areas, but the new Snapdragon 7+ Gen2 chipset provides exceptional performance that is difficult to beat in its price range. This is reflected in the benchmark scores for the handset. AnTuTu gives the POCO F5 over 8,00,847 points and Geekbench’s multi-core test gives it 3,841 points. The results are significantly better than Nothing Phone 1 and on par with iQOO Neo 7, which uses the MediaTek Dimensity 8200 chipset.

The handset comes with two RAM options: 8GB and 12GB, which can be expanded further using virtual RAM. On the storage front, the phone has 256GB of storage that is not expandable. The POCO F5 ships with Android 13-based MIUI 14 out of the box. It’s great to see the company providing the most up-to-date software right out of the box. The device will receive two years of major OS updates and three years of security updates. It goes without saying that the phone comes with a few pre-installed apps, including games and an app store, and that it displays advertisements. However, on this device, spammy notifications are significantly reduced.

Charge times and battery life

The latter requires 45-50 minutes to fully charge the device from zero. When the battery level reaches 100 percent, it provides all-day battery life, even when used heavily. After using the device throughout the day, I went to bed with 20% of the battery still charged. The handset has a screen-on-time of nearly seven hours and performed admirably in the PCMark Battery test, scoring 14 hours and 36 minutes.

The final word

The POCO F5 is a powerful gaming smartphone with a lot to offer. Concerning the flaws, the handset lacks user-expandable storage, the software contains bloatware and advertisements, and its ultra-wide sensor is only average at best. Furthermore, some people may dislike the phone’s glossy finish design.

Editor’s score: 4.5 out of 5.

Motives for purchasing

  • Both in real life and with artificial intelligence test apps, the POCO F5 exhibits remarkable performance.
  • The phone has an amazing display that is entertaining to look at.
  • Even with frequent use, the smartphone’s battery life is remarkable—it can last you at least a day.
  • The phone has one of the greatest stereo speakers out there, with a loud enough volume and crisp, clear sound.

Reasons not to purchase

  • The program is rife with advertisements and bloatware.
  • The phone’s storage cannot be expanded further using a microSD card slot.
  • The ultra-wide camera on the POCO F5 produces mediocre images with significant edge distortion.

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