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Poco F4 5G review: A dependable mid-range smartphone

Rating: 4 out of 5
Rs. 33,999

Poco F4 5G review: Poco's latest is not a 'flagship killer' any more, but more of a mid-range device, promising a solid performance. Here's our review.

Poco F4 5G is seen in this photo, Poco F4 5G reviewPoco F4 5G review: The latest Poco phone has some solid specifications, but does the performance match up? Read our full review. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

Purchasing a phone in the Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 segment can be confusing in the Indian market. There’s definitely increased competition. It doesn’t help that many phones appear to have broadly similar specifications. There are, of course, some differences. Sometimes it is the camera setup or the charging speed. The latest addition to this segment is the Poco F4 5G, which frankly, did seem underwhelming to me at first glance. There’s no one ‘wow’ factor that makes you think the Poco F4 is standing out in the sea of sameness. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Here’s my review of the Poco F4 5G.

Poco F4 5G specifications: 6.67-inch 120Hz AMOLED display | Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor | 6GB, 8GB, 12GB RAM options + 128GB or 256GB storage | 64MP+8MP+2MP rear camera| 20MP front camera | 4500 mAh battery with 67W fast charging  | Android 12 based on MIUI 13 with Poco launcher |

Poco F4 5G Price in India: Rs 27,999 for the 6GB RAM option, Rs 29,999 for 8GB RAM and Rs 33,999 for 12GB RAM

Poco F4 5G: What’s good?

The Poco F4 5G has an impressive design, though it is on the taller side given the 6.67-inch display. It is not a very bulky device, though sometimes I found one-hand usage a bit tough. The green colour is muted with a matte finish, and the Poco branding is minimal. The glass at the back gives it a premium look, though the side frame is plastic. The only flaw is that the back gets quickly covered in smudges. The camera module isn’t overwhelming in size with Poco going for a triple camera setup. The fingerprint scanner is embedded in the power button on the right. It works accurately and quickly to unlock the device.

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The Poco F4 5G in the Nebula Green. The phone has a glass back. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

The Poco F4 5G gets a 120 Hz, AMOLED screen with a Full HD+ resolution. This is an excellent panel for the price. Users can switch between 60 and 120 Hz, though, by default, the screen’s refresh rate is fixed at 60 Hz. I used the phone to watch some late-night Netflix and browse in general and I quite enjoyed the experience. I didn’t have to tweak brightness levels. The screen is visible during bright sunlight as well.

What is critical at this price point is the performance and Poco has gone with a ‘tried and tested’ chipset, which is the Snapdragon 870. Sure, this is a dated chipset, and not the ‘flagship’ one such as the Snapdragon 888 or the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, but then the Poco F4 is not claiming to be a flagship. During my usage, the phone delivered a smooth performance and should keep most users happy. Games like Genshin Impact, and Asphalt 9 ran smoothly. There’s no stutter or lag, which is not expected at this price point either. I have the 12GB RAM option for review.

The Poco F4 5G has a big display and this is an AMOLED screen. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

One more thing I noticed was that while I downloaded Genshin Impact, the phone did not heat up significantly and there was no major battery drain. I point this out because most other phones on which I have downloaded this game tend to get very warm quickly. There’s also a significant battery discharge during this process. But Poco kept its cool. Yes, of course, there are instances, when it gets warms after a long gaming session, but then that is expected with resource-heavy games.

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The Poco F4 5G comes with a triple camera setup at the back. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

The Poco F4 gets a 64MP+8MP+2MP camera setup. If you’re going purely by specifications, there’s nothing here that stands out. Countless phones have a similar setup. But the Poco F4 does deliver a good camera performance. It manages to preserve details very well, and the colours are accurate by far for shots taken in bright outdoor settings. Skin tones are accurate as well. I also like the selfie camera—though I had turned off the beauty mode entirely. The Portrait mode could have been more accurate with edges in some of the shots.

In indoor lighting, the camera does saturate the colours a bit, but the overall image details are well maintained. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express) In bright lighting, the Poco F4 camera performs well. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express) For instance, in this picture of the sunflower, it does retain details very well. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express) This picture of a bright pink flower maintains colour accuracy. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express) The macro camera remains a disappointment on the Poco F4 5G. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

It is with some of the indoor shots that you feel Poco is saturating colours. For shots taken in Night Mode with better lighting, the results are acceptable. However, in really poor lighting Poco F4 does struggle with focus and details, which is expected, given the price and overall setup.

Poco F4 5G review: What’s not great?

The camera’s low-light performance is underwhelming. At times, in the attempt to brighten a photo, it will lose out on details. If you are using this in very poor lighting, this does deliver the best results. The macro and the ultra-wide are again not much to talk about. The drop in quality and colour tones is noticeable when you switch to both modes.

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Poco F4 5G’s night mode remains underwhelming. In this picture, the camere struggles to retain details. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express) The low-light camera fares better here given there is some lighting in the other end of the room. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

Poco F4 5G also gets a 4500 mAh battery with 67W fast charging. Sure, the fast charging is great and should help juice up the battery quickly if you are running precariously low. But the 4500 mAh battery should be just about enough for a moderate to slightly heavy-duty day. For those who are heavily into gaming or binge-watching content during a long daily commute, this might not be enough.

Poco F4 5G runs the MIUI 13 with Poco’s own launcher. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

Finally, the Poco F4 5G runs Android 12 based on MIUI 13, though it has its own ‘Poco launcher’. While it is good to see the Poco phone on Android 12, I have mixed feelings about the Poco launcher. Call it muscle memory, but I still keep expecting to find all my apps on the home screen itself. Then I remember I have to open the app drawer and that’s where most apps are present. Of course, Poco will let you customise the launcher, and even choose what categories are relevant, which many users will appreciate. But I’m not the biggest fan of this system. I just lean towards a simpler setup with less customisation.

Poco F4 5G’s app drawer can be customised. (Image credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

Poco F4 5G review: Verdict

The Poco F4 5G is a very different phone compared to the original Poco F1, and I have noted this in my first impression as well. This is no longer attempting to be the killer of a ‘flagship killer’ aka the OnePlus, which is now a flagship itself. Interestingly, the closest OnePlus competitor here would be the OnePlus Nord 2 5G given the price range, though Poco is ‘more affordable’.

Other competition includes the iQoo Neo 6, which is powered by the same processor as well. There’s also Samsung’s Galaxy M53, the Realme 9 Pro+ and Xiaomi 11i Hypercharge, which are all in a similar price range and with varying specifications. So yes, the list of ‘alternatives’ is long.

The Poco F4 5G is a ‘value-for-money’ proposition with good performance and camera as the key standout points. Sure, there’s no 120W fast-charging or 108MP camera, but this does the job without any the addition of most of those fancy additions. Get the Poco F4 5G if you want a device with a solid performance with premium looks.

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First published on: 27-06-2022 at 11:35:30 am
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