Poco X5 Pro Review - Solid performance, boring design

Poco X5 Pro Review - Solid performance, boring design
  • Poco today launched its mid-range smartphone - the X5 Pro in India.
  • The smartphone is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G SoC.
  • The smartphone starts at a price of ₹22,999.

Poco launched the X5 Pro, the latest addition to their mid-range smartphone line-up. Known for delivering performance-centric devices, Poco has been in the market since 2018 and has disrupted the equation with its prices. Since then, the F and X series smartphones have been leading the charge for the brand. However, the situation is different now, and there are some really interesting products across the spectrum from the competition. This is where the X5 Pro comes into play. Aimed at providing a Poco standard performance at an aggressive price, the X5 Pro seems to get it right on paper. But does it deliver on the promises? I answer that in my full review.

Price & Availability
The Poco X5 Pro is available in 2 variants. There is a variant with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage priced at ₹22,999. Then there is a variant with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage priced at ₹24,999. You can buy the smartphone from Flipkart starting 13th February, 12 PM.

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Poco X5 Pro Review - Solid performance, boring design
X5 Pro sports a flat edged design.

The Poco X5 Pro follows a familiar design language we had seen with the X4 or the latest Redmi Note devices. But I am not complaining; the flat edges and rounded corners make it easy to hold. You can maintain a confident grip on the smartphone, and the matte finish on the back defuses any chances of it sliding away.

This is a big phone with a 6.7-inch display, yet the weight management here is commendable. Light in hand, no one side here feels heavier. This is despite a considerably big camera module.

The variant with me is in the Poco Yellow color, which the brand uses predominantly. This isn’t a regular yellow, but rather a sparkling matte finish. I like this one considering it’s not over the top or flashy. I also like the attention to detail, like the yellow trim on the power button. Subtle but worth noting.

The power button also houses the fingerprint sensor, which is very snappy. Quick to register fingerprints and unlock the smartphone.
Poco X5 Pro Review - Solid performance, boring design
The poco yellow color looks very chic.

We have the camera module on the back, similar to the Redmi Note 12 Pro series. Of course, the specifications are different, which we will discuss in the camera section. The camera module is set on a black background with a Poco logo. I am not a big fan of big device brandings, so it stands out like a sore thumb. This is, of course, completely subjective.
Poco X5 Pro Review - Solid performance, boring design
The camera module looks familiar to Redmi Note 12 series

By virtue of being a mid-ranger, the X5 Pro features some endangered specifications. Like a headphone jack mounted on top. So good news for people like me who carry a pair of earphones.

Other perks include an IR blaster, and a standard Redmi quirk. It is one of those features that you might not miss till you need it. So, it’s good to have it here. There is also a speaker grill here, which also means, yes, it does have a stereo speaker set-up.

At the bottom, it has a USB Type-C charging port next to the speaker and the SIM card slot. The smartphone supports two nano SIMs.

Overall, from the design and build perspective, the Poco X5 Pro is a mild upgrade over the X4. While that is fine, I am not too happy about how much it resembles other devices, especially the Redmi Note line-up. This is a subjective opinion, but important enough to mention it. Fortunately, the execution here is slightly different, so that is a saving grace.

Poco X5 Pro Review - Solid performance, boring design
The 6.7-inch pOLED display is super responsive.

Poco X5 Pro features a 6.7-inch pOLED display with a max refresh rate of 120Hz. I started using the X5 Pro right after the Oppo Reno8 T. So don’t be surprised if I draw some comparisons here.

While the Reno8 T sported a curved AMOLED display, the one on Poco X5 Pro follows a rather generic flat form factor. I have mentioned it before, curved displays look aesthetic and premium, but they have a recurring issue of mistouches.

Having a flat display solves that problem altogether. And if it’s executed well, then even better. The display on the Poco X5 Pro will surprise you, as it surprised me simply because it got the basics right.

I want to start with my favorite. The smartphone supports an adaptive refresh rate. This means it can go from 30Hz to 120Hz, depending on your viewing content. This feature is missed out on most devices in this price range and works well here. Switching from web pages where the display was churning out 90Hz to 120Hz refresh rate to a game would see a smooth transition.

Coming to the viewing experience on the X5 Pro. Poco, in their briefing, mentioned how this device is centered around watching content. And in my experience, they have met with their claims.

Starting with the fact that the smartphone supports HD content across applications. So be it Youtube or streaming content on OTT apps like Netflix, the content will be high quality.

I have been watching the Last of US lately, and as I mentioned in my Oppo Reno8 T review, it is perfect to judge a display. The X5 Pro delivered a satisfactory performance here. While the HDR was spot on and the colors looked vibrant, I felt at some places that the display was not bright enough.

When it comes to VFX-heavy content, the brightness of a display plays a major role since it helps to amplify the impact of the said frame. Poco X5 Pro, while producing detailed output, lagged in providing appropriate brightness. This was solved to a large extent by Dolby Vision HDR, which to Poco’s credit, chimes in wherever its compatible.

Also, reading texts and animation while driving the device daily wasn't a problem for me. Another important factor is how we get an always-on display here. It’s a standard MiUi projection which I like, with clean text and animation.

Where Poco truly shines is the audio set-up here. The stereo speaker set-up on the device is loud and gets even better with Dolby Vision HDR. The volume output is loud enough to ditch a Bluetooth speaker and compliments the display well.

Poco X5 Pro Review - Solid performance, boring design
Poco X5 Pro runs on Android 12 out of the box with MiUi 14.

Poco X5 Pro runs on Android 12 out of the box, paired with MiUi 14 skin. This section feels like a déjà vu to me. With the Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus, I had a similar complaint that I have here.

While the competition provides Android 13 at similar price points, why is Poco lagging? While the execution and experience will be the same with the Xiaomi skin, the latest Android version means a longer update cycle. This is after the promise of providing two Android OS updates and four years of security updates but the timing for the same matters more. The Poco team did mention that they are planning for an Android 13 rollout this month, and I hope it's sooner than later.

Coming the experience of using the device, it delivers a standard MiUi performance. The animations are clean and interactive. Reiterating myself about how a clean UI plays a crucial role in the overall experience, and MiUi is just that.

The customization options here are plenty, especially the widgets. From calendars to providing access to widgets for downloaded apps, the UI is stable. I wish Poco incorporated Android 13’s visual treatment here. With bigger tiles and bold controls, it would make the experience even better.

There is also a dedicated game turbo, which is enabled every time we tap on a game. I also talked about it in my Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus review. While the audience for that device might be universal, the Poco X5 Pro’s demand is mostly concentrated on performance-hungry consumers. For them, the game turbo will come in handy. It enables you to create user profiles and provides a bunch of shortcuts. It also gives you a real-time reading of the temperature.

I wish down the line we get to see custom Poco skin on these devices. It is difficult to differentiate them from products in the Xiaomi portfolio.

Moving on, I have not encountered any bugs that have troubled my experience. This is a brand-new device running a stable UI and an established OS. It will be interesting to see how it behaves after the Android 13 update.

Poco X5 Pro is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G SoC. In the media briefing, the Poco team explained extensively how this processor suited the device for delivering its desired performance.

I had my sincere doubts about it, considering we have also seen the processor on other devices. So I wanted to see what difference I would observe here.

And so far, it has fared really well. Mostly because of the subordinating hardware choices. Most importantly, the cooling chamber keeps the thermals in check.

I want to start with heavy workloads like gaming. I have been playing COD: Mobile for the past week on the X5 Pro, and my experience has been smooth.

The graphics capacity of the phone is maxed out, and the rendering speeds were spot on. Throughout my hour-long sessions, I observed stable frame rates. The performance was similar on Asphalt 9 as well.

However, with Asphalt, I could notice the smartphone warming up, especially when the battery was under the 40% mark. I can call Poco X5 Pro a suitable device for gaming.

To give you a reference, the Geekbench score for my review unit is also worth noting. The single-core score is 786, while the multi-core score is 2949. This is a significant jump from Reno8 T’s single-core score of 691 and multi-core score of 2027.

This also resonates in everyday tasks, whether browsing the web or accessing social media apps. The smartphone delivers stable performance across the board.

The variant with me packs in 8GB of RAM, sufficient to handle heavy workloads like gaming and, of course, lighter apps. That being said, the retention rate is not very high. Expect losing out on the last visual if you expect to jump back in a background app after a break.

The internal storage here is 256GB which should be more than enough for most users. I suggest using this variant instead of the 6GB RAM variant since it will be a long-term investment.

Battery life is where the X5 Pro absolutely shines. The 5000 mAh battery gave me an average screen time of five and a half hours. This is after watching content, casually using social media, and gaming daily.

The bundled 67W charger juices the battery from 0-100% in about 45 minutes with background apps and active internet. So, you are looking at quick recharge cycles and long battery life, which is always commendable.

Poco X5 Pro Review - Solid performance, boring design
Images taken from the 108MP sensor are very well detailed.

Poco X5 Pro Review - Solid performance, boring design
Under natural lighting the color tones match the source.

Poco X5 Pro Review - Solid performance, boring design
Portrait sample from the X5 Pro.

Poco X5 Pro Review - Solid performance, boring design
With the night mode turned on we can see a bump in details.

Poco X5 Pro Review - Solid performance, boring design
Primary sensor shows stellar HDR performance.

Poco X5 camera set-up comprises a 108MP primary camera paired with an 8MP ultra-wide and 2 MP macro sensor. Spoiler alert, camera results have blown me away, mostly because my expectations were not very high here. After all, Poco is not promoting the camera prowess here. Especially the 108MP primary sensor, which is the star here.

The 108MP sensor can deliver detailed images while maintaining correct color tones. The HDR is also spot on. I also liked how the UI lets you zoom in on the 108MP shots. As if the smartphone is boasting of its results. Indian skin tones can be tricky to crack, but the smartphone is yet to miss out.

We generally crop many images to make thumbnails for our video content on social media. I have clicked two thumbnails with the Poco X5 Pro in the past week. Mostly because taking out PNGs from detailed images is always better.

Even without the 108MP sensor, the regular shots here are solid, but you will notice some noise in specific colors. Especially the reds, like in this picture of flowers.

We do not have a dedicated depth sensor, yet the portrait shots are impressive. The edge detection is precise, and the AI-generated blur is not out of proportion.

This mean streak ends abruptly under low lighting, where the camera nose dives. The images registered some noise, and the shots looked grainy.

Next, we have the ultra-wide sensor in action, which opens up a 120-degree field of view. Performing like a standard ultra-wide sensor, this one gives you more room in your frames. However, I noticed a slight color shift in the frame when it switched to ultra-wide. Yet, the images maintain a respectable amount of detail.
Poco X5 Pro Review - Solid performance, boring design
Ultra-wide sensor switches the color tones but adds a lot of room the frame.

Poco X5 Pro Review - Solid performance, boring design
Reference for ultra-wide to wide shot.

Poco X5 Pro Review - Solid performance, boring design
The zoom-in shots lose out on details.

Then comes the 2MP macro sensor. If I could count how common this spec has gotten on smartphones lately, I would be a millionaire. Fortunately, it is executed well on the Poco X5 Pro. The images maintained details and color accuracy, so if you are an enthusiast, you will have a good time with this one.

The video performance here is decent; nothing to shout about despite the camera recording 4K videos up to 30fps. The video output maintains the correct colors but loses out on details, especially when shooting something in motion. The audio output is solid, and you can connect a lapel microphone with the headphone jack in place.

Poco X5 Pro Review - Solid performance, boring design
Selfies from Poco X5 Pro show correct colors and details.
Poco X5 Pro Review - Solid performance, boring design
Portrait selfies from the smartphone show solid edge detection.

The selfie camera is a 16MP shooter, and the image results are satisfactory. The color tones are undersaturated at times, but the details are precise. The bokeh effect on the front camera is also quite impressive.

The video quality from the selfie camera, especially on 1080P 60fps, impressed me a lot. I recorded some videos in natural and artificial lighting, and the results were impressive. So if you are a vlogger, this is good news.

Poco X5 Pro achieves its goal by delivering performance in key areas. Be it gaming, everyday workloads, battery, and even photography. My only issue is the design combined with the UI, which makes it resemble a Xiaomi smartphone. If it wasn’t for performance, I could dub this one Redmi Note 12 Lite, but I won’t since it will take away the respect it deserves.

If you can look past that, you have a winner. And if you can’t, you can check out the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite, available in the same price range.

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