POCO F5 is the latest entry in the brand's popular F series of smartphones. This is one of the first phones to launch with the latest Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 processor and promises to live up to the legacy of the legendary POCO F1 in terms of price-to-performance ratio. It also substantially upgrades other corners over the last year's model. After using this phone for some time, I will share my in-depth experience with the device in this review of the POCO F5 5G.
POCO F5 5G Review
The POCO F5 5G seems to be the global version of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 12 Turbo that was exclusively released in China. In India, POCO F5 starts at Rs 29,999 for the 8GB RAM and Rs 33,999 for the 12GB RAM version. Both come with 256 GB of storage and are available in three color variants: Snowstorm White, Electric Blue, and Carbon Black. The device we will be reviewing is the Snowstorm White version with 12GB of RAM.
Before moving forward with the review, let us peek at everything you get inside the box of the POCO F5.
- POCO F5 5G Smartphone
- Plastic Protective Case
- 67 Watt Charger
- USB-A to USB-C cable
- SIM ejector tool
- Quick Start Guide
- Warranty Card
POCO F5: Build And Design
POCO F5 is one of the better-looking phones in the F series. It has a boxy design with flat sides and a slight curve at the back. This makes it easier to hold the phone but also adds to its overall look.
The phone has a slim profile coming at just 7.9mm in thickness. The back is made of polycarbonate and has different design patterns depending on the color you buy. The plastic back also helps to keep the weight to a manageable 181 grams.
Going through the device, you will find the signature Xiaomi IR blaster, secondary microphone, and speaker grill, followed by a headphone jack at the top.
The bottom is home to the SIM card tray that can house 2 SIM cards with no option for memory expansion. There is also the primary microphone, USB type C port, and speaker grill.
On the right, you will find the volume and the power button. The power button sits flush with the frame and doubles as the fingerprint scanner. The left of the phone is empty.
You will find the triple camera setup in the back, with the dual-tone flash and the POCO 5G branding. The POCO F5 5G is IP53 rated for basic protection against dust and water droplets.
I prefer the design of the POCO F5 as it feels solid in hand though the plastic back does dampen the premium appeal. The glass back would be more applicable for this price segment. One thing I missed was the lack of an in-display fingerprint sensor. However, including a headphone jack is a welcome addition, as several other devices in the midrange category usually skip it.
POCO F5: Display
The display is among the biggest highlights of the POCO F5 5G. The phone has a large 6.67-inch FHD+ display. The bezels are quite slim and uniform from all sides, making the display pop out.
POCO didn't leave any stone unturned, as the display comes with all the bells and whistles one would want. It's an AMOLED panel that supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision in streaming apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime.
The device is reported to come with a 12-bit panel that can reproduce over 68 billion colors. Xiaomi uses software trickery to add the extra two bits to the 10 Bit panel essentially making it a 10+2 Bit display.
Based on ongoing usage, the phone supports a 120HZ refresh rate and can switch between 60HZ and 120HZ. You can change this to keep the phone at 120HZ all the time under Display settings.
I didn't face or notice any issues with its viewing angles. The entire display is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which protects the front glass from minor scratches.
POCO F5's display can reach 1000 nits, but its brightness falls short outdoors.
I have to say that the team at Xiaomi and POCO did a commendable job with the display. It is among the best display in its category. It is a little saturated for my taste, but once can adjust it to produce more natural colors via settings.
POCO F5: Performance
POCO caters to those who want the best specs the price can offer. This is why the POCO F5 5G comes with the new Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 chipset. It is coupled with the latest LPDDR5 RAM and fast UFS 3.1 storage.
The 7 branding here is misleading, as the processor can deliver flagship performance. But that does not mean it sips through your battery, as it is pretty energy efficient. The heating issues seen in other Snapdragon processors are also handled here. POCO has added a 725 mm2 Large Vapor chamber for cooling.
Benchmarks are not a good way to calculate the raw performance of the device and how much it can be pushed. Seeing all the hype surrounding the 7+ Gen 2 chipset, I just had to see how it does in benchmarks.
CPU Throttling and Heating Test: The CPU throttling test shows how much the CPU throttles under continuous stress and how much the phone heats during this process. We ran the test twice for 15 minutes each, and here are the test results.
The phone did throttle a bit, dipping into yellow and even red at times. However, the CPU did manage to handle itself quite well. The phone did get warm but did not heat up.
GeekBench Test: GeekBench shows the single-core and multicore performance of the CPU. The Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 in the POCO F5 is based on the same architecture as the flagship 8+ Gen 1, so we can expect it to perform somewhere in that ballpark.
As you can judge for yourself, the device scores 1608 in Single-core performance and 4193 in Multi-core performance. This is par with other 8+ Gen 1 devices like the OnePlus 11R (review), a midrange flagship smartphone.
Antutu 3D Benchmark Results: Lastly, we ran the Antutu 3D benchmark to get an overall POCO F5 5Gs performance score. The phone crossed the one million mark, scoring 1115952, which puts the device head to head with some other flagship phones of 2023.
However, running the test for the second time gave us 969,540, still a respectable score.
Moving towards gaming, POCO F5 can easily handle any game with the highest settings. I tried Genshin Impact, and it had no issues playing it at High graphic settings at 60FPS. I had no issues, and the gameplay was smooth. The FPS did not drop below 54, even after playing for an hour.
First-person games like COD Mobile ran well. I played for one and a half hours continuously at the highest settings. The phone could easily tackle the demanding requirements of the game. I did not encounter any stutters once during my playthrough. The phone didn't even get hot, thanks to its vapor cooling chamber.
Lastly, I played Asphalt 9, but the game does not have the support for 60 FPS for the chipset at the moment, so my playthrough was limited to 30 FPS only. This might get fixed with an update. As for my experience, the gameplay was good, and the device had no issues working around the high graphics requirement of the game.
POCO F5 delivers performance that can easily tackle any task thrown its way. Whether multitasking or intense gaming sessions, the phone breezes past everything without breaking a sweat. It flies past day-to-day usage and multitasking, and juggling apps or games with ease. Not once in my time with the POCO F5 did I notice any stutters, hiccups, or lags.
POCO F5: Software and UI
Coming to the software side of things, POCO F5 5G ships with MIUI 14 based on top of Android 13. Your usual MIUI experience is bundled with the POCO launcher with circular icon shapes. There are some preinstalled bloatware apps, but you can easily uninstall them. The good news is that in my time, I did not encounter any ads that plagued MIUI before.
MIUI users will be glad to learn that this smartphone comes with the MIUI dialer and messaging app instead of the Google dialer. This means you can record calls without any warning announcements.
POCO promises two years of major Android updates and up to three years of security patches. POCO is also offering two years of warranty on this device.
The user's experience is snappy as MIUI seems optimized for this device. The animations didn't lag; the apps opened in an instant while the phone was able to keep multiple games running in memory along with apps at the same time. One should note that Xiaomi's track record for updates has not been up to the mark, but hopefully, this will change soon.
POCO F5: Sound and Haptics
POCO has bundled stereo speakers with the F5 5G, which output adequate loud sound, but it seems flat and lacks depth in the music. It should suffice for gaming, phone calls, and other listening requirements.
The phone has support for Dolby as well as High Res Audio. You will need to connect your headphones to take advantage of either of those.
There are also features like Virtual Immersive Sound and Track head movement, providing a further immersive listening experience while using headphones.
The X-Shocker haptics in this device are quite good. The vibrations feel crisp and tight, outshining several other similarly priced devices. You can feel the haptic vibrations whenever you change brightness, adjust audio or navigate through the UI.
POCO F5: Camera
POCO F5 has a triple camera setup at the back and a punch-hole selfie camera at the front. The triple camera array includes a 64 MP sensor with OIS, 8 MP ultra-wide, and a 2 MP macro lens. The selfie camera is 16 MP. The phone can record 1080p videos at 60 fps and 4k videos at 30 fps. While the selfie camera can record up to 1080p 60 fps.
Coming to camera performance, the primary 64 MP lens captures good pictures with ample detail in all scenarios.
The dynamic range is also decent as you can judge from the images below. But the images clicked in indoor conditions are soft and lack sharpness.
Sometimes the camera auto-saturates the colors. The phone kept boosting the colors even after turning off the AI mode.
The leaves in the above images were originally orangish, but the camera turned them red. This shows that the camera software needs improvements to keep the color tone natural.
Besides that, other images were good. The OIS helped capture decent night images. The camera did not struggle at night, as the images came out sharp. You might have to adjust the exposure for some night shots, and the camera can handle the rest.
Talking about the ultra-wide and macro camera, the 8 MP ultra-wide camera produced good images. I liked that there was no color shift when switching between lenses. The image clarity with the ultra-wide lens was decent.
On the other hand, the macro sensor can take good images provided you invest time as it struggles to focus on an object. You can take a look at the macro samples below.
As for the selfie camera, it can deliver good images, although it does struggle with managing exposure in bright situations. The camera did soften my skin, but it wasn't as aggressive as it used to be.
The portrait mode works well here; you can adjust the depth of field later after taking the photo.
The camera has been Achilles' heel for POCO phones. This time there have been some improvements towards post-processing and images captured from the primary camera, but there is still much room for improvement.
POCO F5: Connectivity
As obvious from the name, POCO F5 is a 5G smartphone with support for 12 5G bands. I used the device with my JIO sim and faced zero problems with the network.
I could achieve 5G speeds of upwards of 500 Mbps constantly. The call quality was also good; the other person could hear my voice.
The phone also supports the latest WiFi 6/6E and Bluetooth 5.3 standards. I had issues connecting the device with some of my Bluetooth peripherals, but that was fixed with an update.
The IR blaster available at the top allows you to control the TV, set-top box, soundbars, AC, and other devices.
POCO F5: Battery and Charging
The 5000 mAh battery has become a staple of the POCO smartphones as most recent releases come with the same capacity battery. This battery is sufficient to last you throughout the day, with still some juice left in the tank.
I could quickly get through the day even after pushing the phone via multiple hour-long gaming sessions coupled with streaming shows on Netflix, listening to music, and surfing social media over a 5G network.
The phone has a fast 67 Watt charger to top up this massive battery. It got charged from 16% to 100% during my testing in just over one hour. The phone got slightly warm during fast charging but nothing to the extent of alarming levels.
POCO F5: Pros and Cons
After going through all the aspects of the POCO F5 and discussing them in detail, I have compiled a list of pros and cons for the device to summarize my review.
- A stunning display that supports HDR 10+ and Dolby Vision
- Good haptic feedback
- Exceptional performance
- It comes with support for all the latest standards and features
- Captures good details in low light conditions
- It offers great value for its price
- Boost the colors of images in specific scenarios
- The macro camera struggles to focus
- Photos captured lack sharpness, and colors look saturated
- Dual speaker output is flat
- Lack of an in-display fingerprint sensor
POCO F5 5G Review: Final Verdict
There is a term called “Sleeper” for economy cars fitted with high-performance engines, suspension, and breaks. These cars are capable of going head-to-head with the likes of professional racing cars. The same can be said for POCO F5 5G.
It punches way above its category when it comes to pure performance. POCO, in its marketing, describes the F5 as the “Return of the King,” and I agree with this statement. The F5 holds up to the legacy of the legendary POCO F1 while making necessary compromises where it should.
That said, vigilant users should remember that Xiaomi is not doing so well when delivering software updates. Not to forget the bricked motherboard and camera saga that POCO is still trying to dig out of. If you are a gamer or want a value-for-money smartphone from POCO, you will not be disappointed by the POCO F5 5G.
Check out our other review:
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- POCO X5 5G Review: An All-Rounder Under Rs. 20,000?
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