The smartphone mid-range is a crowded space with no sign of slowing down. Whether you’re talking about the United States or the global market as a whole, there’s a seemingly endless stream of new and interesting cell phones out there.
POCO, a sub-brand of Xiaomi, is one of those brands that keeps releasing new models with fascinating designs and packaging. Priced at just $330, the X4 Pro 5G offers fairly robust hardware for its money.
The POCOX4 Pro 5G checks a number of boxes for “important” features for many consumer needs. That means it’s got a big screen, generous battery capacity with fast charging, 5G support, and a multi-camera system.
The specs place it firmly in the middle of the smartphone pack, but its price tag is well below that of typical competition. What’s next? I’ve spent a few weeks using one of these along with some other models and have some feedback and impressions to share.
The X4 Pro 5G has the look and feel of a more expensive “premium” phone with its slim bezels, flat edges, light-refracting surface and thin profile. Despite being made of plastic with an aluminum frame, it’s more stylish than it sounds on paper. The light moves well across the stern and is particularly noticeable in sunlight.
It feels great in hand; While many phones feel curved and tapered, this one feels crisper and sharper. It’s a nice departure from some of the models I’ve used over the past few years.
My review unit comes in three colors (Laser Black, Laser Blue, and POCOYellow) and is technically black, but more gray and steely. The refraction effect is reminiscent of headlights shining in the night sky. Can’t speak to the other colors, but this one picks up fingerprints easily but cleans without fuss.
An IP53 rating protects it from dust and water, but it’s not a fully waterproof experience. You may be okay if you get into a splash or splash, but you should keep it away from pools for safety.
Pretty much every phone manufacturer has their own take on the multi-camera array and the POCO X4 Pro 5G is no exception. Here the module takes up a fair amount of space in the upper quarter. The main camera is 108 megapixels with 8 megapixels ultra-wide and 2 megapixels macro complementing the shooter.
The 6.67-inch display looks stunning with its incredibly high brightness and 120Hz refresh rate. The resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels and the aspect ratio of 20:9 ensure a comfortable reading and video experience.
The fingerprint reader on the side doubles as a power button. The more I find this in phone manufacturers, the more I enjoy it. While I can set my devices to wake on pick-up or tap, I hit the power button more often.
I was pleasantly surprised that the POCO X4 Pro 5G has a 3.5mm headphone jack. Located on top, I like having one of these available in 2022 as well.
In terms of performance, the X4 Pro 5G comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G processor with at least 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. An 8GB/256GB variant is also offered if you want to spice things up a bit.
These are the mid-range specs for today’s phones, but they’re certainly far more than what a typical user might need. If you are considering this model, I suggest going for the 8GB/256GB edition just for the added security and longevity.
The 5,000 mAh battery lasts for around two days of typical use. If you charge your devices while you sleep, you’ll rarely find yourself in a situation where the battery drops into yellow or red areas.
The POCO X4 Pro 5G supports fast charging up to 67W, but does not allow wireless charging. This wasn’t a huge issue for me as I’ve long been accustomed to plugging in once a day with the random charge in the car.
For what it’s worth, my review unit came with the 67W brick, but it’s not compatible with US outlets. I have found that half an hour on the charger is enough to take the battery from almost empty to about 75% full. I can’t imagine it taking me more than a commute to be hooked up.
Android 11 runs the show but comes with MIUI 13 for POCO. This pretty much means it throws in extra customization and features, but doesn’t change the look and feel all that much from the “stock” Android experience.
Coming from the Pixel line, I appreciate it when a phone manufacturer gives me the ability to design the UI to feel unique. There’s a lot on offer here including live wallpapers, themes, lock screen settings, text colors and more. If you like crafting without installing additional apps, you’ll love this stuff.
Things can get a bit quirky or feel a little disorganized, but I’ve seen that with other Chinese phone makers too.
Having only spent a short amount of time with test devices, I can’t comment on how well the brand performs with software updates. The phones I tested come with current software builds and patches, but I don’t think the manufacturer will make any commitments about upgrades.
Much like the US-based BLU, I think there’s a trade-off or an unspoken understanding that you’re getting more hardware for your money and taking your chances with the long-term software.
The POCO X4 Pro 5G is an impressive little bundle that meets my expectations across the board. I’m not the kind of user who pushes phones to the limit; I don’t play high-end or graphics-intensive games. Other than that, the titles I’m working on have worked quite well.
Obviously, you don’t typically see speed issues or lag on a new device with this much hardware, at least for the first few weeks. Over time, I added new apps and games, slowly rolling out accounts and phasing out requirements. I haven’t come across anything yet that signals a weakness in the area of general performance.
Battery life was great, often getting me two days on a clip. I’m more comfortable not plugging my phones in overnight and the X4 Pro 5G hasn’t changed my habit. I can tune in to coffee or breakfast and trust that I’ll be fine for the rest of the day.
There’s no wireless charging here, but that’s a non-starter for me. Although I own a number of wireless chargers, power banks, and docks, I rarely turn to them. I’m happy to trade wireless charging for incredibly fast charging. At 67W, I get more than 50% battery power in just 15 minutes.
The 108-megapixel main camera is complemented by an 8-megapixel ultra-wide camera (118 degrees) and a 2-megapixel macro camera. There’s pixel binning involved in the main camera, so it’s pretty much a 12-megapixel snapper.
I found the main camera to be able to capture fairly detailed images with a nicely balanced exposure. Colors are accurate and often require no post-processing before sharing on social media.
Low-light scenarios can be a bit tiresome for the phone, and night shots are hit and miss. I don’t take many pictures after sunset, but if I did, the POCO X4 Pro 5G would be a bit of a hit.
The ultra-wide and macro lenses are passable, but I’m a bit more demanding than my friends and family. While I sometimes scowled at a photo, I’ve had acquaintances who had no problem sharing the image online. I’ve certainly seen a lot worse on social media, but I think the camera experience is generally average. Don’t buy the POCO X4 Pro 5G because the 108MP camera sounds premium.
Considering the price of $330 for the 6GB/128GB model, I’m more than happy with it recommend the phone for consumers. It’s all the things I need in one device, and I suspect everything your typical user could need as well. It’s just cheaper than the competition.
At a time when the Pixel line seems to have done away with the headphone jack entirely, I’m glad it’s present here. I also like the integration of NFC, an IR blaster, and the fingerprint reader in the side-mounted power button.
Coupled with a fully customizable user interface, the POCO X4 Pro 5G feels like something different, and dare I say welcome.
I wish the camera system was a bit better, but I’ll admit I’m a bit critical. The average user may not have a problem with what’s in the game.
As the phone is an unlocked global handset, 5G support may not match what you currently get from US carriers. If you’re happy with 4G LTE or spend most of your time on Wi-Fi, you should be good to go.
Finally, you should consider getting a new charger with support for up to 67W, as the charger that came with it isn’t compatible with US outlets.
I’m becoming increasingly interested in lesser-known phone manufacturers in the US and am happy to consider alternatives to the bigger names. POCO has fascinated me with some of its models so far and I look forward to more.
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POCO, a sub-brand of Xiaomi, has released a new model, the X4 Pro 5G, priced at $330, that offers robust hardware for its money. It features a big screen, generous battery capacity, 5G support, and a multi-camera system. The phone has a premium look and feel with slim bezels, a light-refracting surface, and a thin profile. It has an IP53 rating for dust and water protection, but is not completely waterproof. The phone runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 5G processor, with options of 6GB/128GB or 8GB/256GB. The POCO X4 Pro 5G feels like something different and is cheaper than the competition, making it a potential option for typical users.