POCO F4 5G Review – Pros, Cons, Verdict

POCO was an overnight success with the launch of the POCO F1 (Review) back in 2018 which, for starters, was a high-performance smartphone for the masses. Fast forward to 2022, the brand has expanded its product range to include a large number of attractive phones and accessories. However, only a few devices from the company’s stables actually capture the first feeling of performance in F1. I am, of course, talking about the POCO F3 GT (Review) and the POCO X3 Pro (Review) which, for the price, offered impressive chipsets that could overcome even the most difficult tasks in the blink of an eye. And recently, the company announced the POCO F4 5G in India which brings a loaded spec sheet into the mix as well. I managed to get my hands on the unit and that’s what I do.

Rule

POCO F4 5G is simply a competitively priced phone, and it does it all. So, if you’re in the market for a leading high-performance killer that doesn’t burn your wallet, the F4 is a solid choice.

Inside information

The POCO F4 takes a page or two from the competition in the design department. Indeed, from afar, the phone looks eerily similar to the Redmi Note 11 Pro Plus and from the rectangular camera module design, the beveled edges of the module and the rounded corners, to the positioning of the POCO branding, the F4’s design feels very inspired by its brother. Meanwhile, the phone’s Nebula Green color reminds us of the iPhone 13 (review) Alpine green hue and OnePlus 10 Pro (review) Forest Emerald Colourway colors as well.

Now, as a tech-savvy person, I can’t lose sight of the F4’s similarity to some of the competition’s hardware. However, the average Joe will undoubtedly find the aesthetics of the POCO F4 to his liking. In fact, a number of my friends complimented on the good looks of the phone when I was using the device as my daily driver. What’s more, given the build quality of the phone, they expected the smartphone to be priced north of Rs 40,000 and were at a loss when I told them it would cost much less than that. The same can be said for the all-glass design of the phone which exudes a sense of distinction when holding the device. I’m happy with the company’s decision to opt for a matte backing as well because it not only keeps smudges away but also brings out the ownership of the Nebula Green paint job. All said and done, POCO F4’s design may lack personality but the smartphone looks as beautiful as the picture nonetheless.

POCO F4 5G Review - Pros, Cons, Verdict

Interestingly, the company has equipped the device with a side-mounted capacitive fingerprint sensor embedded inside the power button. Now, I have no affinity with the in-display sensors, thus, I was more than happy with the performance of the side-mounted unit on the POCO F4. For intelligence, the sensor felt very responsive and you could even configure it to unlock the phone with a single tap, or by pressing the power button. The phone’s facial recognition technology felt just as fast, although it was difficult to unlock the phone smoothly in dimly lit environments.

POCO F4 5G Review - Pros, Cons, Verdict

It’s disappointing that the POCO F4 is the latest in a long line of phones that ignore the headphone jack. On the bright side, the smartphone comes with a very loud stereo speaker setup. Moreover, the sound does not distort at high volume levels, which is great. For the rest of the I/O ports, the phone charges with a USB Type-C port on the bottom for charging, along with an IR blaster on top.

POCO F4 5G Review - Pros, Cons, Verdict

It is not uncommon for smartphone brands to outfit their displays with an LCD screen in an effort to make way for a premium chipset. Fortunately, the POCO F4 is an exception to the rule and the device features a stunning E4 AMOLED panel that measures 6.67 inches and refreshes at 120Hz. On top of that, the screen is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass v5 as well, and the panel is impressively bright at 1300 nits as well. Fortunately, the weather in Delhi was nice and I rarely had to switch the brightness to the right.

POCO F4 5G Review - Pros, Cons, Verdict

However, I have no doubt that the panel will serve you well in well-lit environments as well. Furthermore, the smartphone comes with WideVine L1 certification and can even migrate HDR media in Dolby Vision and HDR10 via OTT services like Netflix. This is a pretty cool feat, given that most devices are limited to only HDR10 playback.

POCO F4 5G Review - Pros, Cons, Verdict

With Dolby Vision, HDR-encoded media can automatically adapt to the F4 screen, thus providing the best possible movie watching experience. And if you tend to play games more than watching movies, you’ll enjoy a touch-fast 360Hz sampling rate of the screen, ensuring that all your swipes and gestures are captured instantly.

POCO F4 5G Review - Pros, Cons, Verdict

Speaking of which, the POCO F4 is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor that works in tandem with fast LPDDR5 memory and UFS 3.1 storage. Now, if you’re living under a rock, the Snapdragon 870 is among the fastest mobile processors and the chipset can run most, if not all, games at the highest graphics and fps settings possible. For intelligence, POCO F4 can play BGMI on HDR graphics and Extreme FPS presets. Moreover, the device can increase the graphics and FPS settings in both Apex Legends Mobile as well as Call of Duty Mobile as well. Not surprisingly, the phone is more than adept at handling everyday tasks as well. In fact, I didn’t experience any stuttering while using the phone as a daily driver – apps opened quickly, games worked admirably, UI transitions and animations felt smooth and the device managed to keep temporary employees in check as well.

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In fact, the smartphone overturned very respectable scores in CPU stress testing apps like CPU Throttle Test and 3D Mark. For intelligence, despite being weighed down by 20 indicators, the smartphone was throttled to just 89 percent of its peak performance in the CPU throttle test. Similarly, the device achieved 90% stability in the 3D Mark extreme stress test. Suffice to say, the POCO F4 won’t leave you wanting more in the performance department. As for the backup battery, the POCO F4 ships with a 4,500mAh cell which should last buyers a full day with moderate use. On the bright side, the phone comes with a 67W charging brick in the box, thus, you should be able to charge the phone in little or no time.

POCO F4 5G Review - Pros, Cons, Verdict

On the software side, the phone runs Android 12 out of the box with the MIUI v13 skin on top. Now, unlike other Xiaomi or Redmi branded phones, cell phones from POCO stables usually ship with much less bloatware. Moreover, the devices also feature the company’s own POCO launcher which offers additional features such as support for third-party icon packs, etc. A bunch of apps from Xiaomi including Mi Credit, Mi Pay, etc. Except for that, however, the experience of the POCO F4 software was up to the mark.

POCO F4 5G Review - Pros, Cons, Verdict

The same can be said for the smartphone camera setup as well. But, before I dissect the phone’s camera performance, let’s take a closer look at the specs on offer. To get smart, POCO F4 comes with a 64MP OmniVision primary sensor, assisted by OIS, working in tandem with an 8MP ultrawide sensor and 2MP macro sensor. For selfies, the device has a 20MP Sony sensor on the front.

Now, under perfect lighting, POCO F4 can take amazing photos with its main sensor. Take the daylight photos attached in the slider below, where you will notice that each photo is packed with strong, vibrant colors and lots of detail. The elements in the frame provide enough clarity as well and the smartphone has kept a cap on the noise seeping in around the corners as well. However, the dynamic range of the sensor leaves little to be desired. In fact, I noticed that F4 clicked on the images in a contrasting tone, and therefore, you will notice that the dark bits appear significantly darker in some shots.

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I also noticed that the sensor struggled to maintain vibrant color tones. For example, if you zoom in on the close-up of the flower in the slider attached above, you’ll notice that the petals seem to fuse together and the orange appears slightly faded when cropped closer. This does not mean that the phone takes bad close-ups. On the contrary, the close-up of the maroon flower looks very tasty and the sensor even managed to capture the fine details around the flower bud impressively. Whatever the case, post-treatment of the phone can do with some tweaks to achieve better results.

POCO F4 5G Review - Pros, Cons, Verdict

On the other hand, the ultra-high-resolution photos taken from the phone cannot be overwritten at home. While you’ll enjoy a wider field of view, the images offer dull angular sharpness. Moreover, images appear quite grainy when cropped closer as well. For low light, F4 can compress reasonable details from a dimly lit scene even with the Night Mode tool disabled. However, with the feature turned on, the smartphone was able to bring out a more realistic color palette for the mix. It also helps that the Night Mode Assist improves the overall view of the scene, paving the way for a detailed shot. On the other hand, a selfie camera does not exchange a person’s skin tone correctly. While the images appear very sharp, the subject’s skin tone appears somewhat pale. For videos, the smartphone can shoot videos up to 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. I recorded a bunch of 1080p60fps clips with the group and was very happy with the results. In particular, the videos offered reasonable stability and good exposure metering.

Final verdict

POCO F4 checks all the correct boxes for the ask price. To sum up, the phone touts an amazing display, a very fast processor, and a capable main camera. It also helps to charge the device quickly and provides a customized look packed with features.

POCO F4 5G Review - Pros, Cons, Verdict

It is understood that the smartphone offers specifications similar to those of the recently launched iQOO Neo 6 (Review) which begs the question – is the POCO F4 a better buy? Well, the answer to that is not as black and white as I would like it to be. As you can see, the iQOO Neo 6 has a lot of features, and the phone features a faster 80W wired charging. However, I liked the photos captured with the F4 primary sensor more. Moreover, the POCO offering allows users to take advantage of Dolby Vision HDR in OTT services such as Netflix as well. And you’ll find more customization options with the F4’s MIUI interface as well. Suffice to say, it’s hard to say a clear winner here, but if I were you, I’d go with the POCO F4 in a heartbeat.

Editor’s Rating: 4/5

Positives:

  • amazing screen
  • great performer
  • Capable main camera
  • Fast wired charging speed

Negatives:

  • Ships with some bloatware
  • uninspiring design