Poco F5 Review : Marvelous mid-ranger

Poco F5 Review : Marvelous mid-ranger
Digit Rating 6.7
Feature
7.7
Performance
6
Value
6.7
Design
6.9
PROS:
  • Outstanding performance, Seamless, lightweight design, Stunning display
CONS:
  • Back panel is a fingerprint magnet, Bloatware, Front camera is average
VERDICT:

The Poco F5 has entered a highly competitive mid-range segment against some already very highly-rated smartphones like the Vivo V27 Pro and the iQOO Neo 7. Amid such tough competition, the Poco F5 holds its own. The new Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 chipset closes the gap further between flagship and mid-range smartphones when it comes to performance, resulting in the Poco F5 showing us one of the highest-ever CPU benchmark scores so far.

Mid-range smartphones have come a very long way. These days, mid-range smartphones offer enough power to even take on high-end or flagship devices. The iQOO Neo 7 (review) was this year’s first mid-range performance centric smartphone and it impressed us quite a bit with the level of performance the smartphone achieved. Now, the Poco F5 has been launched in the country to take the fight to iQOO in the mid-range performance segment. 

The Poco F5 comes from a lineage of proper powerhouse smartphones like the Pocophone F1 or the Poco F4 5G from last year. It also holds a lot of promise, given the specifications. The Poco F5 is the first Qualcomm Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2-powered smartphone, and comes with a “segment first” 12-bit display which has more than 68 billion colours. Now, we know that the specifications hint at a proper performance champ, but just how good is the Poco F5? Let’s find out:

Poco F5 Review: Design

Design is something that has become somewhat stagnant in the smartphone industry. Pretty much every smartphone apart from the folds and flips is our traditional glass sandwich, and OEMs are trying their best to keep things interesting. With the Poco F5, we don’t see anything interesting. But that’s not bad at all. I like how the smartphone looks and feels. It’s basic, it’s lightweight coming in at 180 grams only (measured), and it has a proportionate form factor.

Over and above, the Poco F5 also looks super sleek from the front. The smartphone has minimal bezels that give it a nice edge-to-edge look. It has got a hole-punch cutout for the selfie camera. There are other design bits to like here, including the return of a 3.5mm headphone jack and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. 

At the back, we get a polycarbonate back panel, and the cameras also protrude out of the back panel itself, instead of a separate module that holds them. We got the Carbon Black colour variant of the Poco F5 for review, which has a glossy finish, that makes it a big fingerprint magnet.

Poco F5 Review: Display

The display on the Poco F5 is stunning. This is the first time we are getting a 12-bit display with more than 68 billion colours on a mid-range smartphone! Apart from that, the 6.6-inch pOLED display has an FHD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. If these specs didn’t, let me tell you the display is nothing short of stunning. We hardly get these good displays on a mid-range device, and the Poco F5 more than delivers. 

The colours are accurate, the image quality is vibrant, and the responsiveness is as good as it gets at 120Hz. There were times when the display felt a bit dull in terms of colour. For example, in several videos on YouTube, the colours looked a bit washed-out. Now, I’m not sure if that was a compatibility issue or a hardware thing, but at times things felt dull on YouTube.

However, take things on to other apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, the image looks super sharp and crisp. Here, it could also be the HDR kicking in, since all videos on YouTube aren’t capable of HDR playback. 

Coming to brightness, this is also one of the brightest displays we have tested in this segment. With a Lux Meter, we were able to record the highest luminance of 899 nits on the Poco F5, along with a minimum brightness of 19 nits. Like the maximum, the minimum tested brightness on the Poco F5 is also one of the highest in all the smartphones in this range, meaning that the range of brightness on the Poco F5 isn’t the best we have seen in this segment.

Poco F5 Review: Performance

Performance and gaming is what Poco’s F-series of smartphones is all about, and the Poco F5 is not different. With DNA shared with powerhouses like Poco F1 or the Poco F4, the Poco F5 is also a beast when it comes to performance. It is the first smartphone in India to come with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 chipset, and the jump in performance is just astonishing, to say the least. 

Using the latest Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2, the Poco F5 is able to achieve one of the highest-ever score of 936,155 points on AnTuTu – this is higher than any sub-Rs 30,000 smartphone we have tested so far. Not just AnTuTu, even other CPU-based benchmarks like Geekbench 6, the Poco F5 is the highest-scoring mid-range smartphone that has made its way into Digit’s Test Lab here in Noida. Proper flagship territory.

Coming to getting things done and multi-tasking, the Poco F5 again just blows the competition out of the water. In Mobile XPRT 3 benchmark, which calculates the time taken to do daily tasks like scanning, scrolling, taking screenshots and more, the Poco F5 showed the fastest speeds, with a couple of exceptions in tasks like encrypting personal content and detecting faces. 

Further, the storage speeds are also the highest on the Poco F5, when compared with rivals. The only storage metric where the Poco F5 lagged behind one specific competing device is the random write speed, where the iQOO Neo 7 does better, but the difference is only marginal.

Coming to battery, this is yet another thing that impressed me a lot on the Poco F5. While we have seen mid-range smartphones outperform bigger players earlier also, a lot of times the battery isn’t up to the mark. That is not the case with the Poco F5. The smartphone uses a 5,000mAh battery, which lasted a good 766 minutes (12.76 hours) in our video loop test. This is brilliant battery backup.

In other battery tests, the Poco F5 only drained 3 percent battery while playing Call of Duty: Mobile for 15 minutes. Further, the smartphone only lost 4 percent of the battery while watching content on YouTube at full resolution and about 70 percent brightness. However, the smartphone seemed to drain the battery a bit faster while using GPS, as it drained 12 percent of the battery in just 1 hour of GPS navigation. Charging is also super-fast at 67W. While this isn’t as fast as the 100-120W fast charging we have seen on the likes of iQOO Neo 7, it still charges the smartphone from 0 to 100 in about 45 minutes.

Poco F5 Review: Camera

Coming to cameras, this is something a lot of people will be waiting to read about. With the Poco F5, we get a triple rear camera setup that includes a primary 64-megapixel shooter, an 8-megapixel ultrawide angle shooter, and a 2-megapixel macro lens. The camera performance, again impressed me quite a bit on the Poco F5. For a smartphone that is centered around gaming, the Poco F5 has a pretty good camera.

Images from the primary shooter are especially good. Be it the dynamic range, colour accuracy, or amount of detail, the photos from this primary shooter are very good. Even in 2x optical zoom, the images don’t lose any detail or colour. In low light also, the primary shooter does well to retain details and keep the colours accurate. However, the camera really struggles in confusing lighting conditions.

When you come to the ultrawide-angle lens, the images from the wide angle shooter lose a bit of sharpness and detail. However, the colour remains consistent throughout, even if the images are a bit hazy as compared to the primary shooter. The portraits on the Poco F5 are also good, but not the best we have seen in this segment. The smartphone’s edge detection isn’t that smooth, and in portrait, the images aren’t very detailed, plus the images in portrait mode also lack detail. 

Front camera is also great in terms of detail retention and colours. While the colour tone may be a bit flat for many users, the photos from this are pretty decent. In excess light, however, the images are blown up and there is an abundance of light, not in a good way. Still, if you want, you can take a very good photo from this front shooter. 

Poco F5 Review: Verdict

So that was the Poco F5. The smartphone has entered a highly competitive mid-range segment, against some already very highly-rated smartphones like the Vivo V27 Pro and the iQOO Neo 7. However, the Poco F5 still holds its own. The new Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 chipset closes the gap further between flagship and mid-range smartphones when it comes to performance, resulting in the Poco F5 showing us one of the highest-ever CPU benchmark scores so far. 

The Poco F5 also looks and feels great, and we get a stunning 12-bit pOLED display which just looks super immersive. The camera is also great, and we get some other much-appreciated features like Corning Gorilla Glass protection, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a very lightweight build. There are shortcomings in the camera and display department, but the raw power and speed that the Poco F5 offers makes it a tough choice between this and the iQOO Neo 7 as your next mid-range gaming smartphone!

Poco F5 Key Specs, Price and Launch Date

Release Date: 13 May, 2023
Market Status: Launched

Key Specifications

  • Specs

    Screen size (in inches)

    6.67

  • Specs

    Rear Camera Megapixel

    64

  • Specs

    Battery capacity (mAh)

    5000

  • Specs

    Storage

    256

Darab Mansoor Ali
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