The Poco X3 Pro was touted to be a successor to the fan-favourite and gamers' delight, the Poco F1. While it did prove its worth in games and overall performance with its Snapdragon 800-series SoC, it wasn't a standout device. The new Poco X4 Pro 5G is the follow-up to the X3 Pro, but instead of featuring an equally powerful SoC as its predecessor, if not more, Poco has given it a 600-series 5G SoC.
In fact, the Poco X4 Pro 5G seems to be a rebranded version of the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ 5G with some changes to the camera setup and design. The Poco X4 Pro 5G does not claim to be a ‘flagship killer' or a performance beast, but wants to be more of an all-rounder. Is this phone worth considering for those who have a budget limit below Rs. 20,000? Let's find out in this review.
Poco X4 Pro 5G pricing in India
The Poco X4 Pro 5G launched in April this year for a starting price of Rs. 18,999. However, as of this review, it is available on Flipkart for a starting price of Rs. 16,999 for the variant with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The prices of the other variants have dropped too. The variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage now costs Rs. 17,999, while the top-end variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is available for Rs. 19,999.
Poco X4 Pro 5G design
The Poco X4 Pro 5G is available in Poco Yellow, Laser Blue, and Laser Black colours. Poco is clearly aiming to attract a younger audience with its design choices and I think it has done a good job. If you want a flashy device, I would suggest getting the yellow option as it attracts the most attention, while the black finish has a more sober look.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G has a glass back panel that looks striking and gives the phone a premium look. It does not feel like a device that retails for under Rs. 20,000. The back panel is designed in a way that it creates various patterns when light hits it at certain angles, which sometimes look like a glowing lightsaber. I found the back panel to be quite slippery when placed on smooth and flat surfaces and it also picked up fingerprints and dust very easily, which made it hard to keep clean.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G's back panel feels quite premium but attracts dust and fingerprints easily on the Laser Black variant
The Poco X4 Pro 5G ships with a 67W fast charger, a USB Type-A to Type-C cable, manuals, a SIM ejector tool, and a case.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G is a tall and heavy phone and I would not recommend it to people who prefer one-handed use. It weighs 205g and is quite top-heavy due to the rectangular slab used for the camera module that extends to nearly the entire width of the phone. This caused quite a bit of fatigue when I tried using the X4 Pro 5G with one hand for extended periods of time. It also has a very prominent Poco logo, which I'm not a big fan of. The power button and volume rocker are on the right of the device.
The plastic frame around the phone has a matte finish and despite my rough usage, it did not get any scratches. The bottom of the Poco X4 Pro 5G has a USB Type-C port, SIM tray, speaker grille, and a primary microphone. The top of the phone has a 3.5mm headphone jack, IR emitter, secondary microphone and another speaker grille for stereo sound.
Poco X4 Pro 5G specifications and software
The Poco X4 Pro 5G sports a 6.67-inch full-HD+ AMOLED display with a camera cutout for selfies. It has a 120Hz refresh rate and a 360Hz touch sampling rate. The screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 5. The Poco X4 Pro 5G is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G SoC which is based on a 6nm fabrication process. It is an octa-core SoC with a primary CPU clock speed of up to 2.2GHz and it uses the Adreno 619 GPU. The in-built storage uses the UFS 2.2 flash standard. The X4 Pro 5G has a hybrid dual-SIM tray which allows you to use either two SIMs or one SIM and a microSD card (up to 1TB).
The Poco X4 Pro 5G packs a 5,000mAh battery and supports 67W fast charging. As for connectivity, the phone supports dual-band Wi-Fi ac, GPS/A-GPS, Bluetooth 5.1, and of course, 5G. The Poco X4 Pro also has an IP53 rating which means it should survive accidental splashes of water.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G is top-heavy because of the camera island
Despite Poco claiming to be an independent brand, it still borrows Xiaomi's home-grown software skin. The X4 Pro 5G runs MIUI 13 on top of Android 11, with the Poco launcher. My unit still had the March security patch at the time of publishing this review, which is quite disappointing. The company has not shared any update roadmap of if/when the Poco X4 Pro 5G will be updated to Android 12.
MIUI 13 is packed with features for customising the look and functioning of the phone. It has a bunch of home screen customisation and options including various transition effects for swiping between home screens. The Poco X4 Pro 5G claims to have an always-on display feature, but this is a little misleading since the screen stays on for just 10 seconds before turning off. There are a bunch of good themes and wallpapers for the always-on display. The Poco X4 Pro 5G, unlike the X3 Pro, misses out on a notification LED. However, you can enable a feature called Pulse, which flashes a customisable colour along the sides of the display every time you receive an app alert.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G also gives you other standard MIUI features such as Floating windows, Second Space for privacy, and a Sidebar, but the Video Toolbox option is missing. The X4 Pro 5G also has a ‘Memory Extension' feature which lets you add 3GB of virtual RAM allocated from the internal storage.
MIUI 13 has a bunch of preloaded apps such as Zilli, Themes, Cleaner, and GetApps store, which push a lot of spam notifications. The lock screen also shows spammy ads due to the integration of the Glance wallpaper feature. Fortunately, you can delete all the unnecessary bloatware and turn off the lockscreen wallpaper carousel.
Poco X4 Pro 5G performance and battery life
In my time using the Poco X4 Pro 5G, I noticed that MIUI 13 could do with some more optimisation. While performance was decent in day-to-day usage, I noticed minor stutter and lag throughout the interface, especially after quitting a demanding app or game, but it wasn't a consistent problem. Scrolling through the UI and switching between apps was not an issue for the device. RAM management was also quite decent, and the phone was able to quickly resume background apps even a few hours after last opening them.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G offers two biometric authentication options, a fingerprint sensor and face recognition. The fingerprint sensor is embedded in the power button and it worked flawlessly every time. Tactile feedback from the volume and power buttons wasn't the best. The power button sits flush with the frame, making it tricky to use. Face recognition worked really well in the daytime but was hit or miss in dim lighting.
Gamers can benefit from the 120Hz refresh rate and 360Hz touch sampling rate on this display
I ran the Poco X4 Pro 5G through some benchmarks such as AnTuTu, in which it scored 370,960 points, which is more than what the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ generated when we reviewed it. In comparison, the Poco X3 Pro, the X4 Pro's predecessor, scored an impressive 5,43,796 in the same test at the time it was reviewed.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G got scores of 686 and 1,949 in Geekbench's single-core and multi-core tests, respectively. PCMark's Work 3.0 test reported a score of 10,509 points, whereas the X4 Pro 5G returned 79fps and 16fps in the GFXBench T-Rex and Car Chase test suites, respectively.
If you consume a lot of content, the Poco X4 Pro 5G might appeal to you. Colours on the 6.67-inch display really pop. Content looked crisp, although, at times, colours looked a bit oversaturated. This can be tweaked by changing the ‘Colour Scheme' in the Settings app. Widevine L1 DRM is supported which means you can stream 1080p video content. Sadly, there's no support for HDR playback. The display gets sufficiently bright though, and text and other content on the display were easily readable under direct sunlight.
It sports a triple-camera system at the back with a 64-megapixel primary camera
The sound output from the Poco X4 Pro 5G's stereo speakers was quite good and they can get very loud. This phone also supports Dolby Atmos with various selectable presets and a graphic equaliser too.
Gaming performance on the 8GB RAM variant of the Poco X4 Pro 5G was expectedly average. I ran Apex Legends Mobile at the ‘Normal' graphics setting and ‘Normal' framerate. The game ran at a constant 30fps at these settings, according to the built-in tracker, but dropped down to 26-27fps during squad fights. Switching to the ‘HD' graphics setting and ‘High' framerate strained the device with constant frame drops in squad fights.
BGMI was able to run at its ‘Smooth' graphics setting and ‘Ultra' frame rate without any major lag or stutter. However, switching to the ‘HD' graphics and ‘High' framerate setting resulted in some dropped frames and cost me a match. The top of the back panel got slightly warm during gameplay, nothing too concerning though. Call of Duty: Mobile also ran just fine at its ‘Very High' setting. Games such as Asphalt 9: Legends ran well on the device and did not cause any issues. MIUI also has a ‘Game Turbo' mode which lets you pause notifications when playing and record your gameplay, among other things.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G has a 5,000mAh battery that lasted for 20 hours and 58 minutes in our HD video loop test, which is impressive. The phone lasted well over a day with my normal use which included casual gaming, watching movies, and some camera usage. The supplied 67W charger was capable of charging the phone from empty to 63 percent in 30 minutes and to 100 percent in 52 minutes.
Poco X4 Pro 5G cameras
The Poco X4 Pro 5G sports three rear cameras, including a 64-megapixel primary camera with a Samsung ISOCELL GW3 sensor and an f/1.8 aperture. It also sports an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera with an f/2.2 aperture and a 2-megapixel macro camera. On the front is a 16-megapixel selfie camera with an f/2.45 aperture. These cameras are similar to what the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ has, except for the primary camera which uses a 108-megapixel sensor.
The camera UI is pretty straightforward with a bunch of filters, plus AI and HDR toggles up front. The ‘More' option has additional shooting modes such as 64M, Panorama, Long Exposure, etc. Oddly, the Macro camera toggle is not placed here, but in another menu.
I noticed that images taken at the main camera's full resolution in daylight had better detail than pixel-binned ones. This was only evident after magnifying the photos and comparing them side by side. However, the dynamic range in full-resolution images was not up to the mark.
Poco X4 Pro 5G main camera sample (tap to see full size)
Images taken in daylight were punchy and colours popped well, but had a warm tint to them. Contrast was not great and details were crushed in the shadows. Switching to the ultra-wide camera resulted in less vibrant photos with less detail. Colour shifting was also quite evident in ultra-wide photos, which leaned towards cooler tones.
Macros shot in daytime were below average and had very poor detail. They also looked overprocessed. Photos taken in Portrait mode came out well with decent edge detection.
Poco X4 Pro 5G ultra-wide camera sample (tap to see full size)
Low-light images captured by all of the Poco X4 Pro 5G's cameras were disappointing. They lacked detail and had noticeable noise. This phone can capture somewhat usable images provided there's ample artificial light around the subject. Shots taken with the ultra-wide camera in low light were not good just looked murky. Switching to Night mode helped boost the details on objects and in the shadows, making photos look decent.
Videos shot in daylight with the main rear camera lacked proper stabilisation. Colours were vibrant and had heavy contrast, similar to the output in photos. The Poco X4 Pro 5G cannot record at 4K, which is a limitation we've seen on all phones with this SoC. It's disappointing since lower-priced phones such as the Redmi Note 10S can record in 4K. Sadly, there's no 1080p 60fps option either.
Poco X4 Pro 5G low-light (top) and Night mode (bottom) camera samples (tap to see full size)
Beauty filters such as skin smoothening were enabled by default on the front camera. Selfies taken in daylight were average but photos lacked detail. They also had a lot of noise despite shooting in good lighting conditions. Dynamic range was not good either, with photos having overexposed backgrounds. Edge detection in Portrait mode was underwhelming. Selfies taken in low light were also below par.
Poco X4 Pro 5G daylight selfie camera sample (tap to see full size)
The Poco X4 Pro 5G offers an attractive design along with a bunch of other features at a starting price of Rs. 16,999. Considering it's very similar to the Redmi Note 11 Pro+ which costs more, the Poco ends up being better value.
The X4 Pro 5G gets a few things right such as its AMOLED display, which is a delight to watch content on. Paired with stereo speakers, this phone can be a good pick for people who love binge-watching. Battery life and fast charging are also positives. The Snapdragon 695 5G SoC is a very capable processor, but it has limitations when it comes to gaming and video recording. MIUI on this phone could also use an update or two.
If good camera performance and high-end gaming are priorities for you, I would suggest looking at the Realme 9 5G Speed Edition which costs just a bit more. Other options such as the Vivo T1 and OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite are also worth considering.
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