Premium extras at an affordable price

Poco F5 Pro camera bump on window sill

The POCO F5 Pro brings premium features to the affordable flagship arena. Familiar software pitfalls put a damper on things, but the POCO F5 Pro will do enough right for performance-focused buyers on a budget.

The POCO F2 Pro launched back in 2020, offering a flagship-level experience in many ways for a more palatable price. The F Pro line has been dormant since then, but the Xiaomi-affiliated company is finally back with the POCO F5 Pro. Does it still live up to the affordable flagship ethos, though? It’s time to find out in our POCO F5 Pro review.

About this POCO F5 Pro review: I tested the POCO F5 Pro (12GB/256GB) over a period of two weeks. It was running MIUI 14 and Android 13 (14.0.4.0 TMNEUXM) on the March 2023 security patch. The unit was provided by POCO for this review.

POCO F5 Pro review: What you need to know

Poco F5 Pro box contents

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

  • POCO F5 Pro (8GB/256GB): €579.90 (~$632)
  • POCO F5 Pro (12GB/256GB): £559 / €629.90 (~$700)
  • POCO F5 Pro (12GB/512GB): €649.90 (~$708)

The POCO F5 Pro, like many POCO-branded phones, is actually a rebranded Xiaomi handset. In this case, it’s the China-only Redmi K60 with a new name and tweaked design.

The new phone brings a couple of firsts to the POCO stable. For one, this is the first POCO handset with wireless charging capabilities, offering 30W wireless power. This is also the first POCO phone with a QHD+ screen, delivering a more pixel-dense display compared to previous devices while still delivering a smooth 120Hz dynamic refresh rate. Other specs include a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor and a 64MP primary shooter with optical image stabilization (OIS). The phone does differ from the Redmi K60 in one area though, packing a 5,160mAh battery instead of a 5,500mAh offering.

Expect to pay a starting price of €579.90 for the POCO F5 Pro in Europe, or an early bird price of €479.90. The handset is available in black and white color options and will be available in Europe (including the UK). In saying so, the UK is only getting the 12GB/256GB option, starting at £559 but with an initial promotional offer of £499.

POCO is also offering the standard POCO F5, which is a rebranded Redmi Note 12 Turbo. This has a few features in common, such as the rear camera system and 67W wired charging. But it lacks a QHD+ screen, wireless charging, and a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 SoC. But at least you’re getting a still-beefy Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 2 chip instead. This phone starts at €479.90 / £449, with early bird pricing of €399.90 / £379. Unfortunately, neither the POCO F5 nor POCO F5 Pro are officially available to purchase in the US.

What I like about the POCO F5 Pro

Poco F5 Pro in hand looking at screen

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

This is POCO’s first phone with a QHD+ screen (complete with Gorilla Glass 5), and the phone ships with this resolution enabled by default along with a dynamic refresh rate. Truth be told, I can’t tell the difference between this resolution and a typical FHD+ OLED panel like the one on the standard POCO F5.

The good news is that it’s still a lovely display, and I had no problems with sharpness or brightness. The panel is set to the “vivid” color profile out of the box, which dynamically adjusts colors. But you’ve also got original, saturated, and custom profiles on offer.

Poco F5 Pro camera bump

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Another first is the addition of wireless charging, with the POCO handset offering a speedy 30W option. POCO says the phone hits those 30W speeds via the conventional Qi standard. I don’t have a 30W wireless charging pad, but I was able to charge it at a reduced speed via my old 10W charging pad. Nevertheless, both additions are welcomed here, although I appreciate wireless charging a little more than a QHD+ panel as it’s handy in case the USB-C port is in use or broken.

The POCO F5 Pro is a landmark release as it’s the first POCO handset with a QHD+ screen and wireless charging.

The POCO F5 Pro isn’t using the latest and greatest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, but you’re still getting a very powerful chipset here courtesy of 2022’s flagship-level Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1. So don’t be surprised when I tell you that benchmark scores are largely in line with 2022 flagship phones. Add more benchmark score screenshots when POCO unblocks 3DMark and GFXBench

The standard POCO F5 ships with a brand-new Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 2, delivering similar CPU-related benchmarks as the POCO F5 Pro. Sadly, we couldn’t test GPU scores at the time of publishing as the phone hasn’t allow-listed the necessary benchmark apps.

What about actually using the phone, though? You shouldn’t have any problems here, as basic tasks like scrolling, launching apps, and multitasking were accomplished effortlessly. The F5 Pro also handles top-flight games at a stable frame rate, such as Genshin Impact, PUBG Mobile, and even some tricky PS2 emulation. Thankfully, the phone merely gets warm during these sessions rather than very warm or hot. So consider this device if you want something that will smoothly run demanding games a couple of years from now.

Xiaomi and POCO have generally stuck with large, 5,000mAh batteries, but we do see a slight upgrade here to a 5,160mAh battery. I was generally able to get almost two days of regular usage out of the phone, with roughly nine hours of screen-on time. These scenarios mainly boiled down to a few hours of watching YouTube, browsing Reddit and Twitter, using the camera app for photos, and/or the odd game here and there.

I also pushed the phone a little harder by using GPS navigation and playing a few more games, hitting roughly seven hours of screen-on time. Still a great figure.

This battery life was accomplished at the default WQHD+ resolution and with the dynamic refresh rate option enabled. So there’s certainly headroom to improve endurance by dropping the display resolution, in addition to sticking with a 60Hz refresh rate.

Once you’ve drained the battery, you can expect a 100% charge in just over 50 minutes thanks to 67W wired charging. A 67W charger is included in the box, although the adapter features a USB-A slot instead of a USB-C connector. That means Power Delivery PPS charging is out of the equation for using the plug with other devices.

It’s also worth noting that the POCO F5 Pro brings well-balanced dual stereo speakers that easily outperformed my Pixel 7 Pro in the volume stakes. I didn’t even have to crank the volume to maximum to listen to a podcast in the shower, which is something I need to do with Google’s phone. I’m also glad to see an IR blaster here as I’m still a smart home holdout and have an ancient TV in my office.

POCO is also bringing an in-display fingerprint reader to the F5 Pro, which is another rarity for POCO handsets. This isn’t the best in-display scanner I’ve ever used owing to the relatively small scanning area, but it’s generally fast and accurate.

What I don’t like about the POCO F5 Pro

Poco F5 Pro face down kevlar pattern

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

The POCO F5 Pro is satisfying to hold owing to a curved back and tapered edges, but this isn’t a premium design by any measure. The plastic frame is the main culprit here, lending it a cheap feel. I don’t have major issues with plastic use in general, but it’s still worth noting at the full £559 price tag.

I would’ve also liked to see a rear camera design akin to the POCO F5, featuring individual camera cutouts in the rear cover rather than the current camera bump. After all, the two phones share the same cameras. I do like the Kevlar patterns under the glass rear cover, while the cover itself isn’t a huge fingerprint magnet (although it still attracts some prints).

The phone also packs an IP53 splash-resistance rating, but Google and Samsung have been pushing full-fledged water resistance on cheaper phones for a while now. It’s high time for POCO to catch up.

Poco F5 Pro upright screen on by lamp

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

Switch the phone on and you’ll find MIUI 14 atop Android 13. Unfortunately, the same old Xiaomi software criticisms apply here; only it’s somehow gotten worse. I can’t say I’m a big fan of the aesthetics after all this time, as the software still looks like a tribute to iOS with the Gaussian blur, similarly designed settings menu, and control center.

Xiaomi is also shipping its GetApps store on this particular review unit. I’m not a fan of OEM app stores unless they have plenty of exclusive apps (e.g. Samsung’s Galaxy Store) but this store is simply used to update pre-installed apps or download apps you can get on the Play Store anyway. Furthermore, the company told Android Authority that it plans to expand the availability of the GetApps store to more markets. So it looks like there’s no escaping it. The store and phone even prompted me to install extra bloatware during setup. Disappointing.

Speaking of bloatware, there are plenty of extra apps on board from the get-go. This includes roughly half a dozen games, Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, TikTok, WPS Office, and Xiaomi’s pre-installed apps. Most of these apps can be removed, as well as some Xiaomi apps like Poco Community, Recorder, and Calculator. But the majority of first-party apps can’t be removed, such as the browser, video, music, GetApps store, and feedback apps.

The POCO F5 Pro ticks plenty of hardware boxes and then some, but software continues to be a disappointment.

We’ve asked POCO about any particular software update pledges but the company didn’t disclose a specific promise. That’s really disappointing for what is effectively POCO’s top-flight phone.

Between the sheer amount of bloatware, the app store prompting me to install more bloatware, and an effectively non-existent update promise, Xiaomi really needs to step up its software game. It’s a shame too, as MIUI brings loads of features to the table.

POCO F5 Pro camera review

Poco F5 Pro camera app

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

POCO’s new handset doesn’t scream that it’ll challenge the best camera phones when you look at the hardware. The phone packs a 64MP main camera with optical image stabilization (OIS), an 8MP ultrawide shooter, and a token 2MP macro lens. Either way, this is more or less identical to the standard POCO F5 and other mid-range Xiaomi/POCO devices.

The good news is that the POCO F5 Pro brings a very capable main camera. Daytime snaps usually offer a good level of resolvable detail and relatively wide dynamic range. Images do occasionally appear washed out, and I did sometimes notice purple fringing when zooming in on some snaps. But generally speaking, the 64MP shooter is a good, reliable performer. There’s also a 2x digital zoom option here, which makes a difference in ideal conditions. But stay away from this option in mixed lighting owing to muddy textures.

Speaking of mixed lighting, the main camera is pretty competent when the sun goes down, no doubt due to the addition of OIS and an improved ISP. Shots in low light are bright, but I did notice that the phone was quite aggressive with its noise reduction.

The 8MP ultrawide camera is your typical budget snapper, though. The 120-degree field-of-view is expansive, but there’s a significant difference in white balance and pumped-up contrast compared to the main shooter. You’ll also notice increased noise levels in anything other than ideal conditions, not necessarily confined to the corners of an image.

Meanwhile, that 2MP macro camera is another token effort to boost the camera count. The best thing I can say about it is that it’s not as bad as the POCO X5 Pro‘s macro shooter. I really wish POCO would’ve sacrificed this sensor in favor of bringing autofocus — and therefore a macro mode — to the ultrawide camera.

The POCO F5 Pro is also a rarity for a POCO device as it packs 8K recording capabilities (24fps). I’m glad to see this feature here, if only so I can use it as an extended burst mode of sorts. Other notable camera-related features include a 4K/60fps video option, super steady video mode, long exposure mode (housing light painting and astrophotography options), the trademark clone mode, and a movie effects mode (featuring a variety of video effects).

Needless to say, the main camera is a capable and versatile shooter, but the secondary rear cameras aren’t going to surprise you by any measure.

POCO F5 Pro specs

POCO F5 Pro

Display

6.67-inch AMOLED
WQHD+ (3,200 x 1,440)
120Hz refresh rate
480Hz touch sampling rate
1,400 nits peak brightness
HDR10+

Processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1

GPU

Adreno 730

RAM

Storage

256/512GB UFS 3.1
No microSD card support

Power

5,160mAh battery
67W fast wired charging
In-box 67W charger
30W wireless charging

Cameras

Rear:
1) 64MP main, optical image stabilization

2) 8MP ultrawide
120-degree FoV

3) 2MP macro

Front:
1) 16MP

Audio

Dual speakers
Dolby Atmos
No headphone jack
AAC, LDAC, LHDC codec support

Connectivity

USB-C
Dual-SIM
Wi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.3
NFC support
IR blaster

Bands

2G: GSM: 850/900/1800/1900MHz
3G: WCDMA: 1/2/4/5/6/8/19
4G: LTE FDD: 1/3/4/5/7/8/18/19/20/28/66
4G: LTE TDD: 38/40/41
5G: n1, n3, n5, n7, n8, n20, n28, n38, n40, n41, n77, n78

Security

In-display fingerprint sensor
Face unlock (insecure)

Software

Android 13
MIUI 14 for POCO

Dimensions and weight

162.78 x 75.44 x 8.59mm
204g

Colors

Black
White

Should you buy the POCO F5 Pro?

Poco F5 Pro face down on window sill

Hadlee Simons / Android Authority

The POCO F5 Pro brings some interesting additions to the affordable flagship arena. Options like a QHD+ screen and wireless charging are still relatively uncommon for under £600. A large battery, brisk wired charging, and the still-powerful Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor otherwise contribute to a relatively well-rounded package at a reasonable price, especially if you’re in a region where you can buy the base model.

Unfortunately, persistent Xiaomi/POCO software problems pop up once again. The companies seriously need to trim the bloatware, there’s no word on a long-term update pledge, and the skin still feels like the equivalent of a cover band that made it big. Hardware also isn’t quite up to scratch for the price, as the POCO F5 Pro brings a cheap (but admittedly ergonomic) design, splash resistance only, and budget-tier secondary cameras.

The POCO F5 Pro shows that upper mid-range phones can still bring something new to the table. But POCO really needs to work on its software package.

There are several POCO F5 Pro alternatives out there, starting with the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G ($374.99 at Amazon). That phone delivers a fantastic Android skin, the best update policy in the business, an IP67 rating for great durability, and a much cheaper price. However, it misses out on a QHD+ screen, wireless charging, and a flagship-level processor.

Following a few price cuts, the OnePlus 10T ($649 at OnePlus) is another phone worth considering in lieu of POCO’s new device. It serves up the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset too, along with much faster wired charging, and a pretty solid Android skin with long-term updates. On the other hand, it lacks the POCO handset’s wireless charging and QHD+ screen.

Google’s Pixel 7 ($599 at Amazon) and Pixel 7a ($499 at Amazon) are both enticing alternatives too. The two phones are powered by the slightly less capable Tensor G2 processor, while serving up 90Hz OLED screens, a lengthy update pledge, great cameras, wireless charging, and proper water resistance. The Pixel 7a in particular is significantly cheaper than the POCO handset in the UK, and there’s no shortage of Pixel 7 deals to take it below the F5 Pro.

Finally, the standard POCO F5 ($379 on Mi Store) warrants consideration too. It lacks wireless charging, that pixel-dense screen, and the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor. But you’re still getting a great FHD+ OLED screen, the Snapdragon 7 Plus Gen 2 SoC (essentially a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 Lite), the same camera system, and a headphone port. And it has a cheaper £449 price tag, to boot.

POCO F5 Pro review: FAQs

No, the POCO F5 Pro has an IP53 rating for splash resistance only.

No, the POCO F5 Pro offers fixed storage.

Yes, the POCO F5 Pro offers wireless charging capabilities. It wirelessly charges at up to 30W.

Yes, the POCO F5 Pro indeed offers an IR blaster, in line with most other Xiaomi handsets.

Yes, the POCO F5 Pro supports sub-6GHz 5G connectivity. It doesn’t support mmWave 5G, though.

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