Poco introduced its entry-level smartphone called the Poco C51 in the Indian market recently, costing around Rs. 8,000. Although you can find many smartphones in this range, there are only a few that truly offer a good mix of features and performance. The C51 competes with smartphones such as the Lava Yuva 2 Pro and Moto E13 in the market. Is the Poco C51 a good purchase in this price range? Find out in this review.
Poco C51 price in India
The Poco C51 has been launched in a single variant with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, which is priced at Rs. 7,999. It's available in two colour options, Power Black and Royal Blue, out of which we have the latter for review.
Poco C51 design and software
As is often the case with entry-level smartphones, their designs tend to be very simple and there's usually not much to be said about its build quality. However, this is not the case with the Poco C51. Personally, I think the smartphone has a better design, grip, and build quality compared to its rivals. It has a polycarbonate back panel with a grainy texture which I felt was comfortable to hold even for long periods at a stretch. It offers good grip and the weight is distributed in such a way that it does not feel heavy in the hand, even though it weighs 192g.
A small camera module with negligible bulge is available on the back of the Poco C51, which includes a dual-camera setup and an LED flash. The phone gets a waterdrop-style notch in the front. Being an entry-level smartphone, you get thick bezels all around the display. The volume and power buttons are placed on the right side of the frame. The phone is relatively large, due to which you may have to struggle a bit to reach the volume buttons when using it with one hand.
The fingerprint sensor is fitted in a circular cutout on the back panel and is easy to reach. The bottom of the Poco C51 has a Micro-USB port along with a 3.5mm headphone jack, and the top of the frame includes a single speaker which gets quite loud. On the left side is the SIM slot, which supports two SIM cards as well as a microSD card. Overall, the design of the Poco C51 is good for an entry-level smartphone.
The display on the Poco C51 is decent but not great
Coming to the display, the Poco C51 has a 6.52-inch LCD display with a standard 60Hz refresh rate and an HD+ resolution. The display is not very crisp, but the quality is still above average for its segment. Colours appear a bit dull and there's no option to adjust them. The peak brightness is 400 nits, which might seem low on paper, but I had no problem viewing content even under direct sunlight.
The Poco C51 offers a clean software experience with Android 14 Go Edition. At the time of writing this review, I received the March 2023 Android security patch update but nothing newer yet. There are some preloaded apps which can be uninstalled. However, if you are looking for advanced customisation options, then you will not find them here. Overall, the interface is simple and basic and in some ways, better than mid-range and premium Poco smartphones.
Poco C51 performance and battery life
The Poco C51 uses a MediaTek Helio G36 SoC, and the phone runs Android 13 Go Edition, which is a lite version of Android 13. Sadly, the software experience is not as smooth as I would have liked, even with this light version of Android. Even before loading any apps or data, I found the phone to be very slow even with normal use. Apps in general took a long time to load and there was a visible lag in multitasking.
Being an entry-level device, it's not fair to expect much from benchmark scores but here are some numbers anyway. The Poco C51 achieved a score of 101,771 in AnTuTu, and in GFXbench, it returned 5.7fps and 29fps in the Car Chase and T-Rex test suites, respectively. As far as gaming is concerned, the C51 can run Call of Duty: Mobile but load times were very long and there was occasional minor lag during gaming even at the lowest graphics settings. Simpler games such as Clash of Clans, Candy Crush Saga, Shadow Fight 4, etc ran well on the smartphone.
The Poco C51 has a Micro-USB port for charging
The Poco C51 has a 5,000mAh battery, which supports just 10W charging. The device can comfortably last for around two days with medium to light usage (social media, instant messaging and calling, and a few hours of media streaming). In our HD video loop test, the C51 lasted 15 hours, 13 minutes which is above average. However, with just 10W charging, you will have to wait for hours for it to fully recharge. I found that the phone charged to just 21 percent in 30 minutes, and completed a full charge in 2 hours, 40 minutes.
Poco C51 cameras
The Poco C51 gets a dual rear camera setup, which includes an 8-megapixel main camera and a VGA (0.3 megapixel) depth sensor. The main camera works captures average-looking photos under good light. The colours often look dull in some shots and some were overexposed. HDR performance was not consistent either. However, most of the photos were still usable for social media, without needing extensive edits. The depth sensor doesn't seem to do much as in portrait mode, either images either had negligible bokeh, or the background was overexposed. The background blur also looked quite artificial.
Poco C51 daylight camera samples (tap to see full size)
The main camera sensor struggled a lot in low light. Most of the photos were a bit blurry and lacked details. The selfie camera is 5-megapixels, and this captures decent photos in daylight in both regular and portrait modes. However, the edge detection is poor in the latter mode, as it doesn't blur the background accurately. The front camera also struggles a lot in low light. There was lag in the viewfinder when trying to frame subjects in low light, and images were quite noisy and lacked good details.
Poco C51 low-light camera samples (tap to see full size)
Video recording performance was also average. Whether it was daylight, indoors, or low light, recorded video in all conditions was slightly blurry and lacked details. Both the rear and front cameras support recording up to 1080p at 30fps. The phone also comes with timelapse and short video shooting modes.
Poco C51: Should you buy it?
If you are looking for a budget phone with long battery life, bright display, and with good build quality, then you can consider the Poco C51. Keep in mind the performance is strictly average and so are the cameras. If you need better cameras at this price, then the Moto E13 should offer better low-light image quality, along with decent system performance. It also has a USB Type-C port as a bonus.
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 Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts. Affiliate links may be automatically generated - see our ethics statement for details.