Poco burst onto the scene in 2018 with the F1 and since then, the company has had very selective launches over the years while also diversifying its portfolio in the budget segment. The F series continues to be synonymous with offering powerful processors at a relatively low price, and the same formula applies to the latest Poco F5 5G. It is currently the only phone sold in India with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 SoC, which shares much of its DNA with the flagship Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1. The F5 also checks several other important boxes as it comes optically stabilized. A primary camera, very fast charging, and even an IP rating.
Should the new Poco F5 5G be at the top of your list if you have a budget of around Rs. 30,000? We find out in this review.
Poco F5 5G Price in India
The Poco F5 5G comes in two RAM variants, 8GB and 12GB, and both have 256GB of storage. Prices Rs. 29,999 and Rs. 33,999 for the respective variants. Considering the collective set of features on offer, the prices aren’t bad in my opinion. You also get a full kit of accessories in the box, including a 67W power adapter and a case.
Poco F5 5G design
If you’re a keen follower of global smartphone launches, the Poco F5 5G might look familiar, and that’s because it bears a striking resemblance to China’s Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Turbo. From specs, design to colors, everything looks similar to the F5 5G. It doesn’t look like Xiaomi has any plans to launch its phone in India, so there shouldn’t be any sibling rivalry.
The black color of the Poco F5 5G does not look too premium as the plastic back panel attracts fingerprints very easily. Other colors seem like they should be able to hide smudges better. However, the feel of the plastic back panel is not great and makes the F5 feel like a much lower price segment phone. It’s a shame considering the Poco F4 5G (Review) has a better up-market design thanks to its glass back panel.
The F5 5G is quite light and slim, which I like. The fingerprint sensor is in the power button, which is uncomfortably flush with the frame. At the bottom, you’ll find a SIM tray for two SIM cards but no microSD storage expansion slot, and the top of the frame houses the headphone socket and IR blaster. The F5 5G is IP53 rated for basic dust and water protection.
The display on the Poco F5 5G is nice and vibrant. Equally slim bezels on all four sides of the display are immediately noticeable. The screen itself is a 12-bit polarized panel with full-HD+ resolution, 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, and supports Dolby Vision and HDR10+ video playback. Poco claims it has 1,000 nits peak brightness. The phone comes with a pre-applied screen guard but the display has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection.
Poco F5 5G Specifications and Software
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 is a power-efficient SoC built on a 4nm process. It uses the same CPU cluster as the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC in a 1+3+4 configuration, only with slightly lower frequencies. There are some other differences too like less powerful GPU, less memory bandwidth etc. Poco F5 5G supports a total of 12 5G bands in India with Bluetooth 5.3 and dual-band Wi-Fi ac. Poco says it used a vapor chamber cooling system consisting of 14 graphite sheets to better manage heat.
Poco F5 5G runs MIUI 14 (14.0.3) which is based on Android 13. Poco has promised two years of Android updates and three years of security updates for the F5 5G. As usual, there are a ton of pre-installed apps and shortcuts on the homescreen by default. Some native apps that cannot be uninstalled are also notorious for cluttering the notification shade with ads and unwanted alerts. Fortunately, some apps like music and themes allow you to disable ads and recommendations, but this doesn’t completely stop the alerts.
Some useful bundled apps include Game Turbo which has a slick interface and allows you to tweak system performance for games.
Poco F5 5G performance and battery life
This new SoC in the Poco F5 5G has some ridiculous amounts of raw power. While we don’t usually put too much stock in benchmark numbers, they can be a good indicator of the kind of real-world performance one can expect. In AnTuTu, the Poco F5 5G managed a score of 10,94,798 points and 13,498 in PCMark (Work 2.0). These are impressive numbers and not far behind Qualcomm’s current flagship, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
The 12GB variant of the Poco F5 5G that I’ve been testing hasn’t dropped a beat yet over the past few weeks. System performance has been crisp, multi-tasking works like a charm and apps load quickly. Heat management has also been quite satisfactory so far as the phone only heats up even while gaming.
Titles like Asphalt 9: Legends and Genshin Impact, both ran very well with solid framerates. Fast shooters like Call of Duty: Mobile ran very well on ‘High’ graphics and ‘Max’ framerate settings. With the latter game, the display continued to run at 120Hz which made gameplay feel more fluid, unlike other games where it dropped to 60Hz.
HDR video playback looks good in apps like Netflix, which has many Dolby Vision TV shows and movies. The display produces punchy colors and has very good brightness levels for outdoor use during the day. The side-mounted fingerprint sensor works well and facial recognition is surprisingly fast even in low light.
Battery life has been great so far. The Poco F5 5G lasted 17 hours, 34 minutes in our HD video loop test, which is above average. Real-world backup time was also pretty good, with the phone easily lasting more than a day on average, even with heavy use. Charging is fast with the bundled adapter as the F5 5G can charge up to 46 percent in 30 minutes and up to 93 percent in an hour.
Poco F5 5G camera
The Poco F5 5G has three rear cameras; 64-megapixel primary with optical stabilization (OIS), 8-megapixel ultra-wide and 2-megapixel macro. The phone has a 16-megapixel selfie camera. Poco says it has added a 2X “lossless” zoom mode, which uses a cropped portion of the sensor to capture a magnified image. There are also seven film camera filters if you want to add some retro effects to your photos.
The main camera captures decent landscape shots during the day. HDR is handled well, dynamic range is acceptable and colors are pleasing. The camera struggles a bit to resolve finer details in distant objects, for example, the horizontal lines of buildings can appear a bit jagged. These inconsistencies only become really noticeable when you zoom into the image and look for them. Close-up shots are no problem, with good sharpness and well-saturated colors.
Low-light images from the main camera have good exposure and detail. I didn’t notice much difference between regular and night mode shots, which is a good thing. Images taken at 2X magnification during the day show no noticeable loss of detail. The maximum zoom level is 10X and even at this level images are quite usable, if you are shooting in daylight.
The ultra-wide camera predictably doesn’t capture as much detail as the main one, even under good lighting. Exposure can also be a bit hit or miss. In low light, the camera under-exposes the scene unless you use Night Mode, which has a visible improvement. Macro photos from macro cameras are generally below average even in good light.
The selfie camera on the Poco F5 5G isn’t great, but it can capture passable selfies. It tends to struggle with backlit selfies, and the portrait mode with this camera isn’t very convincing. Low-light selfies have visible grain on facial features and details are slightly blurred.
The Poco F5 5G can capture videos up to 4K 30fps using the main camera, while ultra-wide is limited to 1080p 30fps. Video recorded at 4K looks decent during the day but walking and shooting causes some jitteriness in the video, which is more evident in low light. Video quality from the ultra-wide camera is average because the footage is generally under-exposed.
The Poco F5 5G is an undisputed powerhouse at this price point as it offers raw performance that comes close to Qualcomm’s flagship 8 Gen series SoCs. This, combined with good heat management makes the F5 5G a great option for anyone looking for a powerful smartphone for gaming. Other areas where the F5 5G excels are its performance, good battery life and slim design. I wish it felt a little more premium like its predecessor. The selfie and ultra-wide cameras are also quite average and could have been better.
If you want a more premium-looking phone, the Nothing Phone 1 checks all the boxes at this price, and you get wireless charging. The Samsung Galaxy A34 and Motorola Edge 40 are also worth considering if you need full waterproofing. If you’re looking for good camera performance around this price point, the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G makes a good choice as it has familiar software, and comes with faster charging and a better set of cameras.
The Samsung Galaxy A34 5G was recently launched by the company in India alongside the more expensive Galaxy A54 5G smartphone. How does this phone fare against the Nothing Phone 1 and the iQoo Neo 7? We discuss this and more on the Orbital, Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever else you get your podcasts.
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