The new POCO F5 is a promising smartphone that aims to deliver a 2023 flagship-level experience but at an affordable price point.
As we’ve noted in our impressions of the phone, the F5 is an interesting device as it’s the first smartphone in the global market that’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 processor. While this is not Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line SoC, it does promise to deliver performance that’s pretty close to flagship level for most situations.
On top of this, the phone also has a triple rear camera setup, a 120Hz AMOLED display, and a 5,000mAh battery. All of this with a price tag that starts at just a bit over PHP 20k.
So, does it deliver when it comes to bang-for-buck? Based on the specs sheet, it holds a lot of promise. But to find out if it holds up in actual use, read on for our review.
To start, let’s take a look at its design. The POCO F5 has a sleek look with a glossy finish at the back. You can also see the camera modules at the top left, as well as a small POCO logo on the bottom left.
When viewed from certain angles, the phone seems to be all-black with a glass-like finish. And while the finish is certainly glossy, if you take a closer look, you’ll see that the phone has an interesting carbon fiber-like pattern.
Of course, this isn’t actually carbon fiber (as that’s incredibly expensive), but it does make for a nice look that’s sleek and stylish. Though we would’ve preferred it if the phone’s back also mimicked carbon fiber. This is because the phone’s glossy finish makes it a fingerprint magnet. Thankfully, the phone has a clear case inside the box that you can use.
As for grip, even if the back seems a bit slipper, the sides of the phone are flat and have a nice texture. This makes the phone comfortable without feeling slippery which is definitely important while gaming.
Moving to the front, we can see the phone’s large 6.67-inch AMOLED display with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. The slim bezels on the screen as well as the tiny holepunch notch make it look quite premium.
While we would’ve liked the phone’s front shooter to be pushed to the top left, the middle placement wasn’t too distracting in everyday use.
Speaking of its display, the 6.67-inch AMOLED screen has and FHD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. Of course, the high refresh rate isn’t a factor when it comes to watching movies or shows, but what makes a big difference is the AMOLED screen. Thanks to this, the phone’s display is a great match for binge-watching the latest movies, anime, and more as it outputs bright colors and deep blacks. The screen can also get quite bright, making it usable even when watching outdoors.
For audio, the phone has a stereo speaker setup which is a welcome feature for any mid-range phone. Though the audio quality on the onboard speakers aren’t the best as they sound a bit shrill when at max or near max volume. For a better listening experience, headphones are recommended. And thankfully, the phone has a 3.5mm headphone jack, though it’s placement at the top of the phone is a bit unusual.
As mentioned above, this phone is powered by the new Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 processor that’s paired with up to 12GB of RAM. On paper, this should be a powerful combo for today’s popular Android games, and in that regard, the F5 did not disappoint.
For today’s popular esports titles like Call of Duty: Mobile and League of Legends: Wild Rift, the POCO F5 will not have any issues. Even at the highest graphics presets, these esports titles did not pose any issues for the F5. The phone’s Game Turbo mode didn’t even need to be turned on for it.
Of course, it’s a different story for more demanding titles. For instance, Genshin Impact defaulted at the Low graphics preset. When turning on the phone’s Turbo mode, you can turn the graphics up to the Medium preset while still getting playable framerates.
Given these results, coupled with the fact that we didn’t experience any heating/warming issues while playing, the POCO F5 should be a capable gaming partner for esports titles as well as for more demanding games. This is as long as you don’t expect to max out the graphics of any game that’s currently available.
Geek Photoshoot Capabilities
Moving on to the cameras, the F5 packs a 64MP f/1.8 main + 8MP f/2.2 ultrawide + 2MP f/2.4 macro triple rear camera setup, as well as a 16MP selfie shooter.
While it may not be out of the ordinary at this point given that lots of phone nowadays have similar camera setups, the POCO F5 is still quite good for photography, at least hen it comes to its main camera.
For daytime photos, the F5 is great as it captures images with lots of detail, even when you crop in a bit colors. The images don’t look too artificially vibrant, which is a plus as it makes them more natural.
At night, the photos are also quite good as well when using the built-in Night Mode. Your mileage may vary with the Auto Mode, but the Night Mode is consistent in being able to capture bright night photos, albeit with colors that are on the more vibrant side.
The 8MP wide shooter meanwhile, performs adequately for daytime photography, though night shots do see a dip in quality. At least, this camera can also be used with the Night Mode, so photos are still decently detailed an bright.
The 2MP macro camera performs as expected, with close-up shots having decent quality when taking photos outdoors with a lot of light. But indoors, you may want to just use the main camera and crop the photos instead.
Finally, the 16MP selfie shooter is not bad. Daytime or bright indoor selfies are decently detailed, though the beautification can be a bit much if you turn it on. At night, you can still take decent selfies, though the quality does take a noticeable dip.
Given its overall impressive performance, it’s no surprise that the POCO F5 is also a great partner for everyday use. When we tested the phone, we found that it can run most of today’s popular apps with ease, and it can even handle some light content creation workloads.
Though take note that the phone runs on MIUI 14. While this UI is perfectly usable and has all the features that you’d want (and need) in a modern Android phone, it does come with a lot of apps that are pre-installed. While they don’t make the phone run slow, they can be quite annoying, especially given that, out of the box, the POCO F5 has a ton of notifications that pop up. So, users may want to take some time to turn these off upon first using the phone.
What we liked about the phone though is its battery life. Thanks to the large 5000mAh battery, we found that the F5 can last for well over a day of use on a single charge. Of course, battery life will vary depending on the user. But even if you game for hours, the phone should still last for a day of use. And if you use your phone more lightly like I do, you may even get up to two days of use.
In the event that you need to charge, the battery has 67W fast charge support, meaning you can quickly top up the phone in case you forgot to charge it. Plus, the phone will also reach 100% fairly fast with this charging solution.
Final Geek Lifestyle Verdict
POCO has done it again with its latest premium mid-range smartphone. For users who prioritize performance in a phone, the F5 will not disappoint as it delivers great gaming and everyday performance, all while having a price tag that’s less than half that of most Android flagships.
Of course, the phone is not perfect as the UI isn’t the best out of the box, not to mention that the glossy back makes it a fingerprint magnet. But these are minor issues, especially when you consider how many great features the phone has, including reliable cameras, a good display, and great battery life.
So, if you’re in the market for a phone that’s around PHP 20k and prioritize performance without sacrificing other features, you can’t go wrong with getting this latest phone from POCO.
POCO F5 Specs:
- Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2 Processor
- Adreno 725 GPU
- 8/12GB RAM
- 6.67-inch AMOLED FHD+ display, 120Hz refresh rate, with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection
- 256GB storage
- 64MP f/1.8 main + 8MP f/2.2 ultrawide + 2MP f/2.4 macro triple rear camera setup
- 16MP f/2.5 wide front camera
- 3G, LTE, 5G Dual SIM
- WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, fingerprint scanner (side), USB Type-C
- 5000mAh battery with 67W fast charge support
- Android 13, MIUI 14 for POCO
- 8GB+256GB: PHP 20,999
- 12GB+256GB: PHP 22,999