The Poco M5 looks like a decent 4G phone on paper. But is using a 4G phone really enough in the 5G era? Find out in our review.
With 5G services coming soon in India, the focus is now on making 5G enabled phones more affordable. From the Vivo T1 to the iQOO Z6 Lite and a few others, we’ve seen some impressive 5G phones with decent specs over the years. While many companies are racing to bring a feature packed 5G phone in the affordable segment, Poco has recently launched the Poco M5 4G. While the on-paper specs look decent, the question is, will you pick up a 4G phone when India is ready to get 5G services in October? As we all want to be future ready, 5G phones will be our first choice. But we can compromise if the handset offers some exciting features, right? Price Rs. 14,499, can the Poco M5 convince us to buy a 4G phone in the 5G era? Read here
Poco M5: Design and Display
The Poco M5 features an eye candy design with a leather-like textured finish on the back panel that gives it a premium look and feel. We have the Poco M5 in the Cool Blue color variant and it looks stunning, especially with the nicely complimented black camera island. Considering how glass and polycarbonate are preferred in this price range, this leather-like finish is quite refreshing and the device is sure to catch some eyes.
On the front, the handset has a 6.58-inch full HD+ display that offers decent brightness but the harsh sunlight gives me a shadow to see it well. Further, the display has a tear-drop notch that houses the selfie camera, and noticeably slim bezels with a slightly thicker chin. The Poco M5 measures 163.99 x 76.09 x 8.9 mm and weighs 201 grams, but you can manage that alone. 90Hz refresh rate and 240 Hz touch sampling rate provide smooth social media and gaming experience. The device also produces accurate and vibrant colors with crisp visuals but the AMOLED display can enhance the experience (especially on 4G phones).
In addition, the display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 and comes with Widevine L1 certification, which means you can consume content on Netflix in 1080p resolution. The fingerprint sensor works well, the audio jack and speakers also perform well.
Poco M5: Performance and Software
The Poco M5 features a new MediaTek Helio G99 SoC chipset with 6GB of RAM and 128 GB of UFS 2.2 storage, which provides social media scrolling, content viewing and day-to-day performance without any sluggishness. The device also comes with virtual RAM which boosts it by 2GB RAM. There is also a microSD slot for storage expansion.
I’m not a gaming fan, but I’ve played Temple Run 2, Subway Surfers and Candy Crush and the experience was smooth. I didn’t experience any lag or heating issues. But when juggling apps, they take a bit longer to react.
Coming to the software, the Poco M5 runs MIUI 13.0.4 based on Android 12. However, a bunch of pre-installed bloatware frustrates me. You can delete it, but the handset could have had a cleaner UI. Having said that, for similar prices, Motorola has really impressed me with its budget G series phones with the cleanest UI and no bloatware apps among the others. Overall, the Poco M5 offers a decent performance for the price range it is offered.
In terms of sound and audio performance, the Poco M5 has a single speaker that delivers good sound at low to medium volumes but distorts at high volume levels. The device comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is great.
Poco M5: Camera
The Poco M5 packs a triple rear camera with a 50MP main sensor along with a 2MP depth sensor and a 2MP macro shooter. For selfies and video calls, the Poco M5 packs an 8MP front-facing shooter. Images taken in daylight with the primary 50MP rear camera come out clean, displaying a good amount of detail, however, in some instances it struggles with its HDR performance as it overexposes light sources. Further, it evens out skin tone, but there isn’t much artificial beautification. Typical of Poco/Xiaomi devices, the saturation is also bumped. Overall, it looks good.
If you’re shooting at night or in low-light conditions, the quality degrades. Portrait mode and Bokeh mode work well. The macro mode is barely usable while the lack of an ultra-wide sensor is quite disappointing.
Now coming to selfies, its front camera will give you clean and pleasant looking images when there is plenty of light, but the quality degrades in low light. Check out the camera sample here
Poco M5: Battery
The device is backed by a 5000mAh battery with support for 18W fast charging. The phone lasts more than half a day with a few hours of gaming, scrolling through social media sites and listening to music. But it took me more than 2 hours to charge the phone from 0-100 percent and this is a big problem. The company should at least offer its fast 33W charging here.
Poco M5: Verdict
Poco M5 is a good looking phone with good battery life, decent cameras and adequate performance. The phone also has a headphone jack and microSD slot for storage expansion. But there are things that could have been better, like the lack of an AMOLED display and night photography as well as 5G support. But considering its price point, it’s a decent choice if you’re looking for a standout design as well as good performance. Overall, if you are looking for a 4G smartphone in the market under Rs. 13,000 that is both fast and looks different, the Poco M5 is worth considering.
- Eye-candy design
- Good performance
- Decent battery life
- Poor low light photography
- Slow charging speed
6.58-inch FHD+ display
MediaTek Helio G99 SoC