Poco F4 5G review
Nothing fancy but the Poco F4 does everything just right
Priced at AED 1499, the Poco F4 5G provides a stable processor, decent camera and long battery-life, proving to be a worthy mid-range smartphone contender. A 120Hz display and 1300-nits peak brightness do definitely sweeten the deal a bit more.
- +Fantastic display
- +Snappy performance
- +Excellent battery life
- -Basic looking design
- -Poor low-light photography
- -Software has pre-installed bloatware
The Poco F4 5G brings back a lot of the Poco F1 feels from a few years ago. In 2018 when Poco sprung into the smartphone foray with its revolutionary Poco F1. Its specifications and value for money proposition left the entire world in disbelief.
Since then, the company’s smartphone lineup has steadily grown. In the recent months alone, we’ve seen the launch of the Poco X4 Pro 5G and the incredible Poco F4 GT with it’s flagship specs and amazing triggers for an extremely unique gaming experience.
And today, we have the Poco F4 5G, a smartphone packed with high-end specifications at an extremely competitive price tag.
Poco F4 – Two-minute review
The Poco F4 5G reminds us a lot of the Poco F1 from a few years ago. While its design in terms of looks may not be anything revolutionary, its build quality and in-hand feel is excellent for its Dh1,499 price tag with features such as Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection and IP53 dust and splash resistance. Up front, the smartphone sports a 6.67-inch 1,080 x 2,400 resolution AMOLED panel suited for extensive multimedia consumption and quick multitasking thanks to its 120Hz refresh rate. This compliments the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G chip, which is at the heart of the Poco F4 5G. Together with 6GB of RAM, the smartphone is well suited for social media browsing, work and gaming. But adapting to some of the quirks that come with MIUI 13 on Android 12 might take some time.
While software is a minor drawback, the triple-camera setup poses some bigger challenges. It does well in good lighting, producing vibrant images but the smartphone cannot draw the line between punchy and oversaturated. But for videos, the Poco F4 5G is reliable with good focus tracking and quality.
Throughout the day, the Poco F4 5G will rarely remind you about its battery life. Because on that front, it is impressive. The 4,500mAh cell is capable of lasting 2 full days on a single charge with moderate usage, complete with both WiFi and 5G. Recharging is also a treat thanks to the 67W charging brick that ships with the smartphone for a full charge in approximately one hour.
For a combination of performance, multimedia consumption and reliable battery life, the Poco F4 5G is a sound choice. Its camera may not be perfect but it is a justified sacrifice given what Poco has managed to offer in the smartphone’s other departments, especially at this incredibly competitive price.
Pricing and availability
The Poco F4 is now available in the UAE and will come in three colours, Night Black, Moonlight Silver and Nebula Green. In our region it will only be available in the 8GB + 256GB variant.
Starting at the price of Dh1,499 the Poco F4 5G will be available from official e-commerce channels, Noon and Amazon here in the UAE.
While the Poco F4 5G sports far from a unique design, it does not make any notable sacrifices with build quality. Its front and back is made of Corning Gorilla Glass 5 and in the hand, the smartphone feels premium. Its weighs 195g and has a thin 7.7mm profile making for easy one-handed usage. Especially in cases of emergency situations, the added IP53 dust and splash resistance is also a great fallback.
There are other aspects about the smartphone’s design that we like. For example, it supports dual-SIM, has an IR blaster and houses an extremely well placed and responsive side-mounted fingerprint scanner. Given this is a relatively budget smartphone, the one omission is the 3.5mm headphone jack.
- Design Score – 3/5
Up front, the Poco F4 5G has a flat 6.67-inch AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+ support and a peak 1,300 nit brightness. It is safe to say that the display is excellent for the price tag, offering some unrivalled multimedia consumption experiences especially thanks to Dolby Vision support and stereo speakers. When watching videos or movies with deep blacks or vibrant colours, the panel rarely disappoints.
We used the smartphone in various scenarios such as under direct sunlight for reading or at home for watching videos. And not once did we feel like we are using a budget display. The 20:9 aspect ratio with a 1,080 x 2,400 resolution offers the perfect hybrid between design and quality, but the praise does not stop there.
With its high refresh rate, the Poco F4 5G display offers a satisfying usage experience. Elements on the display feel smooth, responsive and snappy. Not once have we had to pause for the smartphone to catch up, which is something we typically associate with flagship smartphones. However, for Poco to recreate this experience at this price tag is incredibly impressive.
- Display Score – 4.5/5
Going together with the display of the Poco F4 5G is its performance. Inside, the smartphone boasts the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G chip, which in our opinion hits the perfect sweet spot between flagship performance and battery life. This chip is coupled with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of non-expandable storage.
What we are impressed by is how much the smartphone can multitask without breaking a sweat. Pushing it to its limits with demanding applications or just browsing through various social media applications, the experience is buttery smooth. Even when it comes to applications running overlays like Google Maps, the Poco F4 5G handles it like a champion. However, in this case, we did notice one slight annoyance. Whenever we received a phone call while the navigation was working, the smartphone lost signal. Some say this is normal however we have had smartphones where the GPS continues to work despite being connected on a call so to face this was a minor inconvenience.
Aside from regular usage, we also dipped our toes in a bit of gaming. Given the high-end chip, it was not surprising to see the Poco F4 5G blitz through games like PUBG: Mobile, Apex Legends Mobile or Call of Duty: Mobile with relative ease. And to be honest, we expected it to do well. However, what surprised us more is that the phone did not heat up extensively nor was there any change in performance even after long 45-minute gaming sessions.
- Performance Score – 4/5
One aspect of the Poco F4 5G we would change though is its software. While it is running Android 12, it is a heavily skinned version draped with MIUI 13. This software skin is not everyone’s cup of tea, with it inherently carrying a lot of bloatware.
Thankfully, most of the pre-installed applications can be uninstalled on the smartphone, and these also do not influence the daily performance of the device. Over the years, we have heard claims of MIUI pushing unwanted advertisements to users however that is something we did not encounter during our review period.\
There’s no denying that MIUI 13 is an immensely customisable Android skin but it also comes with aggressive background app control and a very bloated feel. Poco has an opportunity here to create an OS skin for itself and it just doesn’t seem to be using the same.
- Software score – 3.5/5
The Poco F4 5G comes with a 64MP primary camera with optical image stabilisation (OIS), an 8MP ultra-wide sensor and a 2MP macro camera. In ideal light, the main sensor is more than capable of taking punchy images. This is great if you want your photos to stand out on social media however, it can also have an adverse effect. For example, the overly vibrant colours lead to a loss of detail and can sometimes skew colours. With the ultra-wide lens, you do not get the same experience. In fact, images can be quite grainy, and edges are soft.
This trend is the same for the primary camera at night. We do not think the smartphone is well equipped for night-time images but with a bit of patience and adequate lighting, you could reproduce usable night-time images using night-mode. As for video, you can shoot up for 4K 60fps and the results are decent. If you find yourself in a situation to shoot a video, I would be comfortable doing so with the Poco F4 5G.
On the reverse of the smartphone, you find a 20MP selfie camera. While the overall images it takes are sharp, selfies come out heavily processed. The skin tones the camera captures are off and when using portrait mode, background blur and dynamic range is not particularly great.
- Camera Score – 3/5
Inside, the Poco F4 5G boasts a 4,500mAh cell which has some of the most reliable battery performance. On a single charge, the smartphone can easily last two days with moderate usage.
If you push the smartphone to its limits, you will still be able to get one full day’s worth of battery life, which could range anywhere between 10-12 hours of screen time. This is incredibly impressive considering we used the Poco F4 5G with its 5G data turned on.
On the rare chance that the battery on the smartphone runs out, it can easily be topped up thanks to the included 67W charging brick. You are looking at a 50 per-cent charge in approximately 30 minutes and a full charge close to the hour mark.
- Battery Score – 4/5
Should you buy the Poco F4 5G?
Buy it if…
You are familiar with MIUI
MIUI can make or break the experience on the Poco F4 5G so if it is a software skin that you have used in the past, adapting will be easy
You want reliable performance and battery life
For both battery life and performance, the Poco F4 5G stands out compared to its competition in more ways than one. If these are your top priority, there is not much that is better
You are on a tight budget
It is rare to find a budget smartphone that performs exceedingly well on almost every front so if you don’t want to be spending much for a good smartphone experience, the Poco F4 5G is the right choice
Don’t buy it if…
You want the best camera
Night-time photography is not the best on the Poco F4 5G so if that is a priority, you may want to look at options like the Oppo Reno 6Z which offers a more optimised camera experience
You want a unique design
As good as the Poco F4 5G feels in the hand, its design is relatively uninspiring and will rarely turn heads.
You need a 3.5mm headphone jack
Budget smartphones often come with a 3.5mm headphone jack however the Poco F4 5G does not. If you are the type of person that refuses to live without the headphone jack or use it for offline FM radio, the Poco F4 5G is not for you