POCO is truly a flagship brand in the flagship killer segment, with little competition other than One Plus, Realme, and a few other sub-brands that define the space. Their original F1 was a truly stellar product, which offered an insane ROI proposition that led to the generation of incredible sales and goodwill in the market. Unfortunately, their subsequent products weren’t able to witness the same degree of acceptance and appreciation from consumers, owing to tough competition and shifting customer priorities.
Now, the company is back with a seemingly worthy successor to its original formula, with the launch of the latest POCO F4 5G smartphone. The new model sits in roughly the same price range as its ancestor, although there has been some adjustment made for inflation. This doesn’t bump it into another category but does reflect the added value of getting some of the latest components and technologies available. Here is a look at what you can get for what is essentially a steal.
Build Quality & Display
The design is a strong departure from the round and bulky F1, with a sleek and slim glass body that sits on a plastic frame. The rear glass has been frosted and shined subsequently, to give it a rich reflective texture, although the glass is certainly a magnet for fingerprints. Both the back and front are absolutely flat, with barely 7.7mm of space between them, thus, making it one of the slimmest smartphones on the market. The design is pretty similar to the K50 series from Xiaomi, although the camera bump is a bit slimmer as well, with updated hardware in a refreshed placement.
On the front, you get a clear and vibrant, 6.67-inch 120Hz E4 AMOLED display, with a 360Hz touch sampling rate, and the ability to toggle between 30/60/120Hz. At peak brightness, it outputs up to 1300 nits, which is enough to see clearly in even direct daylight. Support for HDR10+ and Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection are just the cherries on top of the cake. The company has even partnered with Netflix to add support for Dolby Vision playback, so you can get the best visual experience possible.
All of this is made possible through the slick and fast MIUI 12 (Android 12) software, which the company claims will get regular updates, for at least the next 2 Android releases, and up to 3 years of security updates. The software utilizes the power of Snapdragon 870 and up to 12GB LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB UFS 3.1 storage. This makes the smartphone future-proof for years to come, with the promise of optimal performance in all types of applications.
To ensure sustained performance over time, the company has also included a special Liquidcool 2.0 thermal management system, which claims to keep the phone cool, while both gaming and/or fast charging. This type of dedicated thermal management was the USP of the original smartphone and certainly seems to be the same for this new avatar as well. Sadly, they had to sacrifice expandable storage and the 3.5mm headphone jack to make space for this system. Some may think of this move as a necessary compromise, while others may consider it an unfair downgrade, but it certainly does feel like these features are on their way to eventual extinction.
You get a similar bittersweet experience on the camera front as well. On one hand, you have a great main shooter, equipped with a 64MP sensor and an optically stabilized lens. The sensor shoots detailed and richly colored images in good lighting conditions, as well as in the dark. You can shoot 4K videos at up to 60fps, with significantly reduces jitters, thanks to the inclusion of OIS, which is a first for any POCO phone.
On the other hand, it certainly feels like the company made a compromise with the 8MP ultrawide and 2MP macro cameras though. Both of them produce usable results in good lighting conditions, but in the dark, or under extreme shooting conditions, they do showcase their limitations. Thankfully, most people don’t even switch between the cameras in general, so it shouldn’t be something that you notice often. The 20MP selfie camera is good at its job, in both taking portraits and sustaining high-quality video calls and streams, and you can always improve on the results using third-party apps. So, in all, it is a nicely balanced setup that should be quite useful in almost all kinds of use cases.
Battery & Connectivity
All these systems are powered by a healthy 4,500mAh battery. This may seem like a small size for a smartphone these days, but you do get 67W fast charging, so it should barely take you 46 minutes to get from 0-100%. This, despite the added energy requirements of the high-refresh-rate display or the pseudo-flagship processor. The UI even includes multiple battery saver profiles, so you can always try to see how far you can stretch a single charge.
Like other smartphones, you get the latest in Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, 5G, and other types of connectivity. The phone supports up to 10 5G bands, although it will be sometime before they become truly useful. Overall, we can say that you will never find yourself running out of power or performance, in any sort of condition, anywhere you take this device with you; which is a lot to say for a ‘budget’ smartphone. This model certainly lives up to the POCO legacy, and we can’t wait to see how the company improves it with future software updates.