Over the last one year or so, it’s become increasing difficult to find a high-performance phone at around Rs 20,000, even from Poco, a brand known to pick the fastest chipset around and make it accessible to the masses.
The Poco X4 Pro was good value but the choice of processor— Qualcomm Snapdragon 695— left Poco’s core TG wanting. With the Poco X5 Pro, the brand’s making a strong comeback.
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The Poco X5 Pro is the fastest Poco phone available at its price today. It may be THE fastest phone at its price, for all we know. But as fast as the Poco X5 Pro is, it’s also a very important product from a market point of view. Cash-strapped “gamers” can finally breathe a sigh of relief.
Poco X5 Pro | what’s good?
We’ve seen a lot of phones with MediaTek’s Dimensity 1080 mushroom up lately and in almost every review we’ve said the same thing, “performance is comparable to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G”. The Poco X5 Pro has the OG Snapdragon 778G at its helm. It’s the real deal. Poco pairs this with up to 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and up to 256GB of non-expandable UFS2.2 storage.
Performance is very, very good. The combination flies in day-to-day use and graphical gaming, high refresh rate included. Even more importantly, the phone doesn’t get hot. There is no perceivable throttling, either. The Poco X4 Pro had some optimisation issues. But not the Poco X5 Pro.
The same attention to detail has gone behind the display. The spec overhaul is massive. The Poco X5 Pro has a 6.67-inch 1080p “pOLED” display with adaptive 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch sampling, though it doesn’t get as bright as its predecessor (900nits versus 1200nits). The panel can playback HDR10+ and Dolby Vision content. There is Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection and a hole punch cutout at the centre.
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The combination of pOLED panel technology and use of copious amounts of plastic in build has resulted in significant reduction in heft. The Poco X5 Pro weighs only 181g (versus 205g) and measures just 7.9mm (versus 8.12mm). You get a more pocketable and pocket-friendly phone this time, though it’s also coming at the expense of some premiumness (the Poco X4 Pro had a glass back). IP53-rating is a nice value add, so is the in-built IR emitter. Biometrics are handled by a side-mounted fingerprint reader. This is fast and reliable.
The design is a mish-mash of Redmi and Poco which is not surprising considering the Poco X5 Pro is based on the Redmi Note 12 Pro. The signature Poco yellow model –which we have for review— look striking and should be a great conversation starter especially among the youth. The black frame and yellow accented power button are a nice touch.
Battery life “naturally” is beyond great. The 5,000mAh battery inside the phone is one for the long road, lasting well over a day, even with the most demanding of workloads. There is 67W fast charging and the bundled charger can top the phone from 0-100 percent in about 47 minutes.
Poco X5 Pro | what could be better?
The Poco X5 Pro has an upgraded 108MP Samsung HM2 primary sensor (versus 64MP in the predecessor) but the picture quality isn’t much of an upgrade. The faster hardware does make for a faster focus and shutter speed, but output is just about serviceable. In good light, the sensor is able is pull decent amount of detail and fairly wide dynamic range though Poco’s colour tuning and processing could be slightly better. The 8MP ultrawide and 2MP macro are do-overs are photo quality isn’t very far off from what we saw in the Poco X4 Pro. The 16MP front camera takes decent selfies when lighting is good with occasional smoothening even when beautification is manually turned off.
That is not to say the Poco X5 Pro’s camera setup is bad or not up to the mark, but it surely doesn’t live up to the potential of the hardware stack. Maybe, it will become better over time with software.
That software, again, is another area where the Poco X5 Pro feels like a missed opportunity. The phone boots MIUI 14 but it’s still Android 12 underneath. Poco is promising 2 years of major OS and 3 years of security updates but not launching a phone with Android 13 in 2023 means the Poco X5 Pro is lacking the extra leg-room that its powerful hardware could have easily pulled off otherwise for an extra year, at least.
Poco X5 Pro 5G | Should you buy it?
The Poco X5 Pro is a no-brainer phone for gamers on a budget. The 6GB/128GB variant of the phone has been launched in India at a price of Rs 22,999. The top-shelf model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage will set you back by Rs 24,999. That’s great value, even if you’re looking for an all-rounder phone for daily use.
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The Redmi Note 12 series – that the Poco X5 Pro is based on— is way more expensive than its predecessor lineup which makes the Poco X5 Pro the ultimate beneficiary and even though there are areas that it could have been better, we can go out on a limb to say that it is the best smartphone that money can buy at around Rs 20,000 today.
|Sleek design||Low light camera performance could be better|
|Rich, colourful display||Android 12|
|Great battery life|