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Poco, a sub-brand of Xiaomi, has a new 'flagship-level' smartphone in the shape of the X4 Pro 5G, a 6.67-inch handset with a 120Hz AMOLED screen, a 108MP main camera, a 5000mAh battery and 67W fast charging.
While a UK price has yet to be confirmed, Poco has announced global pricing: the entry-level 6GB/128GB version will cost an affordable €299 (~$329), while an 8GB/256GB version will cost €349 (~$384).
I was sent the €299 6GB/128GB version to review, which on paper looks like it could be a good-value handset. But there's a lot of competition in this segment of smartphone market, so does the Poco X4 Pro 5G deliver the goods?
This handset has a large 6.67-inch screen sitting inside a chassis measuring 76.1mm wide by 164.19mm deep (3.0in. x 6.46in.). That results in a screen-to-body ratio of 85.9%. Although it's only 8.12mm (0.32in.) thick, the squared-off long and short edges, and completely flat back panel lend the phone a certain chunkiness that means it doesn't nestle nicely in the palm.
Still, compared to its predecessor the Poco X3 there are some plus points. The huge Poco branding has gone from the back, leaving a subtler Poco marque on the camera surround. And the camera lozenge is improved this time, too. Whereas on the X3 it was small and centrally located, here it stretches the full width of the back. Some might feel the camera area is too large, and it does make the 205g handset a little top-heavy. But the benefit is that the screen can be prodded while the phone is on a flat surface without the handset rocking from side to side.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G comes in three colour choices. There's a Poco Yellow variant, which looks quite striking, a more restrained Laser blue, and the sober Laser black I was sent. There is a slight light-refracting finish to smooth plastic back, which can result in diagonal lines appearing, but the effect is quite subtle. The back is quite receptive to fingerprints, and scratch resistance could prove to be a long-term issue.
There is a 3.5mm headset jack on the top edge for those who like their earphones wired, alongside an IR blaster. One of the things I liked about the new Xiaomi 12 Pro flagship was its IR blaster and accompanying Mi Remote software. This software appears here too, allowing you to control all manner of infra-red devices with the Poco phone.
Unlike the more expensive Xiaomi 12 Pro, the Poco X4 Pro 5G has an IP rating for dust and water resistance, although it's only IP53 ('dust protected', 'spraying water'), whereas the norm for premium handsets is currently IP68 ('dust tight', immersion in 1-3m of water).
The X4 Pro 5G's screen gets Gorilla Glass 5 protection, and has several features that distinguish it from similarly priced phones. As noted, it's huge at 6.67 inches, with small, if not minimal, bezels. The centrally located hole-punch front camera is extremely small and I barely noticed it. The AMOLED panel is vibrant, with 700 nits brightness and 2047 brightness levels, while its FHD+ resolution (2400 x 1080, 395ppi) delivers good definition and sharpness. A touch sampling rate of 360Hz ensures that there's no stuttering as the phone responds to taps and sweeps.
The 120Hz refresh rate is welcome in a mid-priced phone. There is no dynamic altering of the refresh rate depending on what use the screen is being put to -- that comes with LTPO technology, which is currently the domain of premium handsets. Here, you'll have to toggle between 60Hz and 120Hz manually as required, although most users will likely select 120Hz and never look back. The fingerprint sensor is integrated into the power button on the right side, rather than embedded in the screen. I found it acceptably responsive.
The speakers leave a little to be desired. It is nice to see grilles on both the top and bottom edges so that stereo sound is pushed out evenly, and there's plenty of volume. But I found audio quality lacklustre for music listening and, as so often, would have appreciated more bass.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G runs on Qualcomm's mid-range 6nm Snapdragon 695 5G SoC, supported on my review handset by 6GB of RAM. With the refresh rate set to 120Hz, performance under Geekbench 5 was reasonable, with average CPU scores of 693 (single core) and 2044 (multi core). By comparison, the new OnePlus Nord CE 2, based on the MediaTek Dimensity 900 chipset with 8GB of RAM and priced at £299 (~$390), delivered scores of 719 and 2143 respectively.
More benchmark comparisons for Android handsets are available here.
There's 128GB of internal storage, which is pretty much entry-level these days, and the Poco X4 Pro 5G consumes 33GB of this out of the box, leaving users with 95GB. Fortunately, you can add more storage via MicroSD card, although to do that you'll have to forego a second SIM.
SEE: Best cheap 5G phones: No need to pay flagship prices for quality devices
The huge camera area on the back of the handset houses three cameras: 108MP f/1.9 wide angle, 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle (118°), and 2MP f/2.4 macro. The front facing camera is a 16MP f/2.4 unit.
Point-and-click photos taken with the main and ultra-wide cameras were decent enough, although I was disappointed with images captured in gloomy indoor conditions despite 9-in-1 pixel binning on the main 108MP camera. But there are other significant drawbacks.
There's no optical image stabilisation (OIS), which made an important use case -- taking photos of my cat -- a challenge. Meanwhile, the macro camera has a fixed focus and doesn't deliver particularly satisfying close-up photos. Good macro cameras are fun to use, but this one is best avoided.
There is more disappointment for those who like to shoot video. The best you can do is 1080p at 30fps, and even dropping down to 720p won't raise that frame rate. By contrast, the similarly priced OnePlus Nord CE 2 manages 1080p at 60fps and 4K at 30fps.
All in all, serious photographers will find better performance elsewhere, despite the Poco X4 Pro 5G's headline 108MP main camera.
With Xiaomi's MIUI 13 running on Android 11, there's quite a lot to get to grips with. I noted this with the premium Xiaomi 12 Pro, and the same is true here. There are a lot of pre-installed apps, and removal is not an option. A More Apps folder holds some of them, a Games folder holds some more, and others are peppered around the main and second screens. Furthermore, if you're in one of those two folders, the screen's bottom row of icons wants to suggest 'promoted apps'. It's all rather messy. Mi Remote and the IR blaster mentioned earlier are welcome, but in general there's a confusing conflation of bits and pieces.
A plus point for the Poco X4 Pro 5G is its 5000mAh battery, which kept the handset going for an impressive 17 hours 23 minutes under the PCMark for Android Work 3.0 battery life test with the screen refresh rate set at 120Hz. When I used the handset to play YouTube video for three hours from a full battery it lost just 17% of its charge over the period, which extrapolates to a total of around 17.6h.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G supports 67W fast charging, which took the handset from 14% to 32% in five minutes, to 49% in 10 minutes, 64% in 15 minutes, 76% in 20 minutes, 86% in 25 minutes, 93% in 30 minutes, 96% in 35 minutes, and 98% in 40 minutes. Here's that information in graph form:
The Poco X4 Pro 5G enters a crowded mid-market space and needs to work hard to stand out. While it has a large, high-quality AMOLED screen, a big battery and 67W fast charging, there are some significant drawbacks.
It's a shame, for example, that users have to make a choice between MicroSD storage expansion and a second SIM. With only 95GB free out of the box, that external storage option might come in handy. More significant, perhaps, the proliferation of third-party software is rather overpowering, and the cameras are underwhelming. Video shooting capability and the macro camera are both particularly disappointing.
There are many alternatives in this price range, including the new OnePlus Nord CE 2, which offers even better battery life than the Poco X4 Pro 5G.
Poco X4 Pro 5G specifications
76.1mm x 164.19mm x 8.12mm
Display size & type
FHD+ (2400 x 1080, 395ppi)
700 nits (1200 nits peak)
60Hz or 120Hz
Touch sampling rate
Gorilla Glass 5
Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G
MIUI 13 with Android 11
MicroSD card slot
yes (in place of 2nd SIM)
2G, 3G, 4G LTE, 5G
108MP f/1.9 wide-angle, 8MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle, 2MP f/2.4 macro
16MP f/2.5 wide angle
stereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack
USB-C, NFC, infrared, Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
Laser blue, Laser black, Poco Yellow
€299 (6GB/128GB), €349 (8GB/256GB)
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