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Poco F4 5G Review: A Safe Bet?
Poco, the sub-smartphone brand from Xiaomi is known for churning out affordable smartphones. The journey of the Poco started with the Poco F1, a smartphone that still holds a special place for many Android smartphone enthusiasts.
- Excellent sustained peak performance
- 120Hz AMOLED display with Dolby Vision
- Stereo speaker with Dolby Atmos
- 64MP primary camera with OIS
- No microSD card slot and headphone jack
- Looks plain
After launching a plethora of entry-level and mid-tier smartphones, Poco is back with a flagship -- the Poco F4 5G, and it is said to be a spiritual successor to the Poco F1, the device that started it all. While the company did launch the Poco F3 GT (review) last year, it did miss out on a lot of features that Poco fans wanted from a Poco F series smartphone.
The base model of the Poco F4 costs Rs. 27,999. For a limited time, there will be a bank offer of Rs. 3,000 with additional Rs. 1,000 instant discount on all three variants of the Poco F4. Hence, the Poco F4 will be available for Rs. 23,999 for the base variant, while the model we are reviewing will be on sale for Rs. 29,999 after bank offers, and the device will go on sale from 27th June 2022.
A lot has changed since the launch of the Poco F1. We had a global pandemic that caused a global chip shortage, causing a price hike for electronics. Does the Poco F4 have what it takes to replace the Poco F1? Is it the best-balanced smartphone under Rs. 30,000 in India?
I have been using the Poco F4 5G with 12GB RAM and 256GB of internal storage, and here is the full review of the latest "F" series smartphone from Poco -- the Poco F4 5G.
Poco F4 5G Review: Design
The Poco F4 5G is available in multiple color variants and we are testing the green variant. The back panel of the Poco F4 is made using glass, and at the front, it uses the Corning Gorilla Glass 5. Just like the Poco F1, the Poco F4 is a simple-looking design, and there is nothing fancy about the look and feel of the device.
The Poco F4 has flat sides and is made using plastic. The bottom portion of the phone houses a USB Type-C port (USB 2.0), primary speaker, primary microphone, and primary speaker. The top portion of the phone has a secondary speaker, a secondary microphone, and an IR blaster.
The SIM tray is also on the bottom and can accept two nano-SIM card slots. The power button and the volume buttons are on the right, where the power button also doubles as a fingerprint sensor. Overall, in terms of design, the Poco F4 has nothing special to offer. However, it is indeed a practically designed smartphone that just works for most people rather than just being flashy for the sake of it.
Poco F4 5G Review: Display
The Poco F4 has a 6.67-inch E4 AMOLED display with FHD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. The display offers a peak brightness of 1300nits with a 5000000:1 contrast ratio along with a 360Hz touch sampling rate. The Poco F4 also has Dolby Vision certification and HDR 10+ certification for HDR content streaming on major OTT platforms like Prime Video and Netflix.
The Poco F4 has a flat display with a punch hole on the top center to house the 20MP selfie camera. The device is Widevine L1 certified and can stream at FHD resolution on platforms like Disney+ Hotstar, Prime Video, and Netflix. Although it has a bit of a bezel at the bottom, the display on the Poco F4 looks pretty modern.
For gamers, the display on the Poco F4 supports a 120Hz refresh rate, making it a great display for gaming and even for social media consumption. However, phones like the Moto G82 5G has a slightly vibrant 10-bit display when compared to the 8-bit display on the Poco F4 5G.
Poco F4 5G Review: Camera
The Poco F4 5G has a triple camera setup at the back with a 64MP primary sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide angle lens, and then a 2MP macro lens. At the front, there is a 20MP selfie camera with support for 1080p video recording capability. The Poco F4 5G is the first smartphone from the company to feature OIS or optical image stabilization.
The primary 64MP sensor does a good job of capturing a lot of details in day-light and well-lit situations. The OIS technology also enables the device to capture stable shots even in low-light conditions, especially when one needs to have a longer exposure.
Poco F4 5G Primary Camera Performance
This first photo was taken from a Bengaluru traffic junction on a cloudy day. The photo has a lot of details with minimal motion blur even when some of the vehicles are moving. However, in normal mode, photos were taken on the Poco F4 looks a bit dull and I would have liked a slightly more saturated picture.
This macro shot was also taken on the primary camera from a close-up distance. The center of the picture is fully in focus while the surrounding of the same as a natural bokeh effect. Overall, the Poco F4 5G has captured a great picture.
This photo was taken using a wide-angle camera in indoor lighting conditions. Due to the lack of light, the image looks a bit grainy. However, the camera has managed to capture all the highlights of the picture without any issue.
This picture of the iPhone 12 Pro was captured using the portrait mode on the Poco F4. As one can clearly see, the bokeh isn't perfect and it's the same case with any non-human subjects. Hence, we don't recommend using the bokeh mode on the Poco F4 on non-human subjects.
Lastly, this picture was taken using the selfie camera on the Poco F4, again on a cloudy day. The selfie camera has done a good job of retaining the natural skin tone and the skin texture. Not just that, the semi-blurred background also helps to highlight the subject, in this case, it's my face.
Poco F4 5G Camera Performance Verdict
Poco has baked in a lot of new features on the F4 5G such as night mode, 64MP mode, vlog mode, time-lapse, and there is also a movie effect mode with pre-built filters. There is also a built-in long-exposure mode to shoot fancy-looking low-light photos of the light trail, moving crowd, and the night sky.
Overall, the camera performance on the Poco F4 is pretty satisfactory. What I would have liked to see is a telephoto lens instead of a 2MP macro lens. Also, note that the Poco F4 also supports 4K video recording with up to 60fps and there is also support for slow-motion 960fps videos at 720p resolution.
Poco F4 5G Review: Performance
The Poco F4 5G is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC, a speed binned Snapdragon 865 SoC. The processor is paired with LPDDR5 RAM (up to 12GB) and up to 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. While the Snapdragon 870 isn't the latest or the most powerful processor out there, the company claims that it's more optimized and energy-efficient than the Snapdragon 888 and Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.
The company is using a CPU throttling test to prove the same, and we have been able to replicate the company's claim. On Geekbench 5, the Poco F4 5G scored 979 points on the single-core CPU test, and 3266 points on the multi-core CPU test. On AnTuTu, the Poco F4 posted 682206 points.
Keeping these numbers aside, I enjoyed playing COD: Mobile on the Poco F4 for hours on a single stretch, and I also played a lot of Candy Crush Saga. If you are a gamer, then the Poco F4 5G is definitely a delight, especially for the asking price. The Poco F4 5G can also handle games like BGMI and PUBG New State and easily offer 60fps at high graphics settings, and can even sustain the performance for extended gaming sessions.
Poco F4 5G Review: Software And Connectivity
The Poco F4 ships with Android 12 OS with custom MIUI 13 skin on top with a Poco launcher. While I was once a fan of MIUI, the MIUI 13 is just not for me although it has considerably less bloatware than the MIUI 12 and the MIUI 11. The MIUI 13 is heavily inspired by iOS 15, and it is visible throughout the OS.
This does not mean I am against custom skin, in fact, I recently reviewed the Realme Narzo 50 Pro 5G, and I believe the Realme UI 3 looks much more modern and is very intuitive when compared to the MIUI 13. Poco has confirmed that the F4 5G will get two major updates and the device should receive Android 13 and Android 14 updates in the coming days.
As per connectivity is concerned, the Poco F4 supports a 5G network on both slots with support for ten 5G bands. The device does support Bluetooth 5.2 and dual-band Wi-Fi. However, there is no support for Wi-Fi 6, which is a bummer. Lastly, the Poco F4 also has NFC, and when it comes to geo navigation, the device also supports India's NaVIC along with GPS, GLONASS, and Beidou.
Poco F4 5G Review: Battery Life
The device is equipped with a 4,500 mAh battery with support for 67W fast charging and the fast charger is included in the box. The phone can be fully charged in under 40 minutes, and it takes around 13 minutes to charge from one percent to 50 percent.
For normal users, the Poco F4 5G can last for a complete day. However, if you are a heavy user, then you might have to refill the battery by the end of the day. Considering the size of the display, the company should have included a slightly large battery, say a 5,000 mAh one.
Poco F4 5G Review: Verdict
The Poco F4 5G isn't that different from the Poco F1. We could say that the Poco F4 is a 2022 variant of the Poco F1. From simplistic design to no-nonsense features, the Poco F4 is probably the textbook example of a perfect upper mid-tier smartphone that should last for two to three years without any issue.
Poco has played a safe bet that has helped the brand to price the device very aggressively. If you want a device that stands out from the crowd, then the Poco F4 is not the one. However, if you want a device that just works and does not slow down for foreseeable future, then the Poco F4 is the device to consider.