Poco is back with a value flagship phone this year with the F5 Pro. It's a welcome return to form after last year's Poco F4 GT took a detour into gaming phone territory with magnetic trigger buttons that blurred the line with Xiaomi's Black Shark gaming phones. With the Poco F5 Pro sporting a WQHD+ 120Hz AMOLED screen, and powered by a capable, albeit last year's Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip, things are looking up for consumers who want a cheaper flagship-like experience.
- 6.67-inch AMOLED (3,200 x 1,440 pixels, up to 120Hz)
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 with 12GB RAM, 256GB storage
- 5,160mAh battery, 67W charging, 30W wireless charging
- Cameras: 64MP, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP macro, 16MP front
The Poco F5 Pro reminds me of the Redmi Note 12+ Pro 5G. Both have a curved glass back and a flat 6.67-inch AMOLED screen with a hole-punch selfie camera. Even the placement of the speaker grilles at the top and bottom edges is similar. They both weigh slightly over 200g, though the Poco's camera bump is not as pronounced as the Redmi's. However, the differences between them are more enlightening, and indicate the consumer Xiaomi is targeting: Enthusiasts (Poco) and the budget conscious (Redmi). For example, the Poco has an in-display fingerprint sensor like flagship phones. But this sensor is too low, and requires adjusting my grip to reach it. It also supports 30W wireless charging like more premium phones. Meanwhile, the Redmi comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack more commonly found in budget phones nowadays.
Enthusiasts will be satisfied by the choice of the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 in the Poco F5 Pro. The Poco scored 1,304 (single) in Geekbench 6, which is competitive with the flagship Xiaomi 13 Pro (1,496). The Poco also runs relatively cool, peaking at 42 degrees Celsius in 3DMark's Wild Life Extreme test. However, the Poco is some way behind in multi-core workloads (3,927 vs 4,974 for the Xiaomi). You probably won't notice the difference. Apps open promptly, and the interface feels smooth and responsive. No doubt, the display's 120Hz refresh rate helps. The F5 Pro is also the first Poco phone with a crisp high-resolution 3,200 x 1,440-pixel screen, putting it on a par with top flagships. This display is really nice and bright, with support for Dolby Vision, too. But the Always-on display doesn't actually stay on, which is a similar peeve I had with other Xiaomi devices.
With “only” a 64MP main camera, the Poco F5 Pro lacks the headline-making 200MP sensor of the Redmi Note 12+ Pro 5G. Nevertheless, this camera takes decent photos in good lighting, and it has optical image stabilisation, too. Photos from the ultra-wide camera looked rather soft, while the selfie camera is mostly fine, barring some minor edge issues in portrait mode. Low-light photos using the long-exposure Night mode were very decent, albeit highly processed. Battery life is great, with the Poco easily lasting a busy work day. It clocked 17hr 35min in our usual video playback test at maximum brightness. Besides wireless charging, the Poco also charges fairly quick (67W), albeit not the crazy 120W speeds found in other phones.
The Poco F5 Pro runs Xiaomi's MIUI interface with some minor touches (like the app drawer, and circular instead of squarish icons). It's usable, but not my favourite Android skin due to its heavy iOS influence. The F5 Pro starts at S$659 (8GB+256GB) — my 12GB review set is S$709, and you can double the storage to 512GB for S$759. In comparison, the Redmi Note 12 Pro+ 5G starts at S$569, while the Poco F5, which uses a Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 chip that performs surprisingly well, starts from S$539. I think the F5 Pro's sharp and bright display and faster processor are worth the premium. But those other two Xiaomi phones are also viable alternatives if you want to save some money. Alternatively, the Google Pixel 7a is a solid choice if you want better photos. The F5 Pro is available from the official Poco store on Shopee.
Note: Review unit provided by Xiaomi.
Any purchase you make through our links may generate a commission. It supports our work, but does not dictate our editorial reviews. See our FAQ here.
Buy it at Shopee