Today we are bringing you our long-term POCO F4 review. It is POCO’s latest high-end smartphone, but it’s priced like a mid-ranger. It starts at ₹27,999 and goes up to ₹33,999. With that price tag, it goes up right against the Motorola Edge 30, Realme GT Master Edition, and the OPPO Reno 7 5G.
Going through the specifications sheet, it seems to have balanced features across the board, including a 120Hz AMOLED display, Snapdragon 870 SoC, 64MP OIS-equipped rear camera, and 67W charging speed. Honestly, it looks better on paper than all of its competitors as an all-rounder and certainly has the potential to be the segment leader.
We’ve spent almost a week with the POCO F4, and here is what we think about it.
POCO F4 Specifications:
- Display: 6.67-inch size, Super AMOLED (Fourth Generation), 2,400 x 1,800 pixels resolution, 395 PPI pixel density, 120Hz refresh rate (adaptive 30Hz/60Hz/120Hz), up to 360Hz touch sampling rate, up to 1,300 nits brightness (claimed), Dolby Vision, HDR10+ certifications, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection
- Front camera: 20MP resolution, f/2.4 aperture
- Rear camera: Main: 64MP resolution, f/1.8 aperture, 0.7 μm pixel size, OIS, 4K@60fps video recording; Ultra wide: 8MP resolution, f/2.2 aperture; Macro: 2MP
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 870
- RAM & storage: Configurations: 6GB RAM + 128GB storage, 8GB RAM + 128GB storage, 12GB RAM + 256GB storage; RAM Type: LPDDR5; Storage type: UFS 3.1
- OS: Android 12 with MIUI 13 customisations
- Battery: 4,500mAh capacity, 67W charging speed, 0 to 100% charging in 38 minutes (claimed)
- Connectivity: Dual-SIM 5G, dual-band Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, NavIC, IR blaster, NFC, USB Type-C port
- Build: Dimensions: 163.2mm x 75.95mm x 7.7mm; Weight: 195 grams
- Colours: Night Black, Neptune Green
- Price: 6GB + 128GB: ₹27,999, 8GB + 128GB: ₹29,999, 12GB + 256GB: ₹33,999
- Where To Buy: Flipkart
POCO F4 In-Box Contents
- POCO F4
- 67W charger with USB Type-A Port
- USB Type-A to USB Type-C cable
- SIM tray removal tool
POCO F4 Review: Build Quality
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The POCO F4’s design is nothing extraordinary. It looks similar to most other mid-range smartphones in the market. But that is not a bad thing. In fact. I personally, I like that because the smartphone blends in with the crowd. The ergonomics of the device are also spot on. The phone is comfortable to hold, thanks to its slim waistline, contoured edges, and lightweight. The buttons are placed right where you want them to be, making it easy to unlock the smartphone and change the volume.
Materials, Fit & Finish
Since POCO hasn’t mentioned anywhere in the marketing material that the F4 uses a metal frame, I think it is safe to assume that the phone has a plastic body. However, if you keep that assumption aside, it is almost impossible to deny that the phone uses a metal body because it feels that solid. The fit and finish of the smartphone are also fantastic. That and the super-strong frame make the POCO F4 feel very premium in hand.
Size & Sharpness
The POCO F4 has a 6.67-inch Super AMOLED screen, and like most other mid-range smartphones out there, the display of the smartphone has an Full HD+ resolution, giving it a pixel density of 395 PPI. That makes the content look as sharp as it can be perceived by the naked eye. So, no complaints there.
While most other smartphones in the segment feature an AMOLED display, the POCO F4 goes a step ahead by offering the E4 (Samsung’s fourth generation panel) Super AMOLED screen. With the new generation screen, POCO claims that it has a peak brightness of 1,300 nits, and that shows in real-life usage as well. The display looks extremely bright even in direct sunlight despite its glossy surface. You will find it super-easy to see what’s on the screen even in the harshest sunlight.
AMOLED displays are usually good at colour reproduction, and the POCO F4’s screen is no different. The colour accuracy is excellent, and the colours look as they are intended. Add to that, the perfect black levels, infinite contrast ratio, and excellent level of brightness make the POCO F4 display a treat to look at. The content on the screen looks as good as it does on high-end phones. Sure, the high-end iPhones and Galaxy S-series smartphones might have better colour accuracy and higher brightness when you put all of them under a microscope. But to the naked eye, the display of the POCO F4 is as impressive as that of high-end smartphones.
Refresh Rate & Touch Sampling Rate
As is the case nowadays with mid-range Android smartphones, the screen of the POCO F4 has a 120Hz refresh rate. Thanks to that, the content on the screen looks super-smooth, especially the UI animations and transitions. Scrolling feels very fluid. What also adds to the smoothness of the screen is the 360Hz touch sampling rate. The high refresh rate and touch sampling rate make the display feel extremely responsive to touch. However, it is worth pointing out that smartphones with higher refresh rates, such as the Motorola Edge 30 with its 144Hz screen, have started popping up in the market. So, the POCO F4’s display is not the smoothest out there.
The display of the POCO F4 has Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. Although there are tougher and more premium glasses available for smartphone displays, this is the best you get in a smartphone under ₹27,999. The screen of the POCO F4 did not suffer from any scratches even though I used it carelessly during the review period.
POCO F4 Review: Camera
POCO F4: Main Camera
The POCO F4 gets a 64MP primary camera at the rear with optical image stabilisation (OIS). That’s not particularly outstanding for a mid-range smartphone nowadays as there are many phones with better camera sensors available for the same price. However, those smartphones are usually one-trick ponies. They have a better camera sensor, but they miss out on other stuff. The POCO F4 is an all-rounder. So, I think the camera hardware it offers is pretty good, and the image quality is quite satisfying.
The images taken in daylight have an excellent level of detail for a mid-range smartphone. However, the other aspects of the images are not all that great. Compared to the other phones in the segment which have a better camera sensor, the images taken with the POCO F4 have slightly lower brightness and dynamic range, which makes the pictures look a little dull. That being said, the images are still impressive for a mid-range smartphone.
The quality of images taken in low light, however, is very impressive. The pictures come out bright and have plenty of details. The colours look exactly how they are in real life, and the dynamic range is excellent. The images captured in lowlight conditions look as good as those taken with my iPhone 13 Pro. That’s quite something for a smartphone that starts at ₹27,999.
While the camera recognises the subject without any hassle, it doesn’t do a very good job of outlining the subject. Look at this image where the camera blurred the strands of hair as well as the sleeves of the shirt. The background blur effect also doesn’t look all that natural. Both of these issues result in a mediocre bokeh effect. There are plenty of smartphones in the price range that can take better portrait shots.
A couple of years ago, almost all smartphones with flagship-grade chipsets offered 4K@60fps video recording. However, for the last year or so, very few brands have been offering this feature with their affordable high-end phones, even though those devices have a capable SoC. I guess that’s mostly because the brands want to push people towards costlier smartphones. The POCO F4, despite its price tag of ₹27,999, features 4K@60fps video recording, and that, in my opinion, gives it an edge over its competitors. The higher frame rate coupled with OIS makes the videos look smooth.
POCO F4: Ultrawide Camera
POCO has opted for a low-end sensor for the ultra-wide camera. It is an 8MP unit with F2.4 aperture and no autofocus. The image quality, as a result, is poor.
The amount of details is significantly lower compared to that of a modern-era higher resolution ultra-wide camera, like the 50MP unit in the Motorola Edge 30. The dynamic range is also on the lower side. As a result, you usually get blown-out skies. The colour reproduction, however, is pretty good and is on par with what I got from my iPhone 13 Pro.
As you might expect, the lowlight image quality is even worse. The amount of details is so low that the image looks almost blurred in some places. The dynamic is nothing to write home about. The colours, however, look good, just like they do in daylight.
The amount of details is even lower in video recording, especially due to the fact that the resolution maxes out at 1080p. That, along with the frame rate limited to 30fps and lack of OIS, results in videos that are not very pleasing to the eye. That being said, you can still get usable videos out of this camera in sunny conditions.
POCO F4: Front Camera
The POCO F4 has the same old sensor for the front camera that Xiaomi/POCO has been using for years across a number of its smartphone, a 20MP unit with an F2.4 aperture.
If you just look at the selfies from the POCO F4, you won’t find anything wrong with it. You’ll find these images to be bright, carry a good amount of detail, and have close to real-life colours. However, when you look at the images from the POCO F4 alongside that from smartphones in the segment which have better sensors, such as the Motorola Edge 30, you will start noticing many differences. For one, the dynamic range in the selfies taken with POCO F4 isn’t all that great. The colours also look slightly washed out, and the details are also not as much. Don’t get me wrong, the selfies look good. It is just that they are not among the best in the segment.
Images taken in lowlight suffer from the same issues as the ones taken in daylight. The dynamic range is slightly lower, due to which the skin tone looks lighter than it is. The colours also don’t look as vibrant as they are in real life. However, the image quality is by no means bad.
Unlike the rear camera, the portrait images taken from the front camera turn out to be pretty good. The camera recognises and outlines the subject very well. The depth effect also looks very natural.
The POCO F4 features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 SoC, making it one of the most powerful smartphones in its price range. The memory options that are on offer also make a lot of sense: 6GB + 128GB, 8GB + 128GB, and 12GB + 256GB. It is worth pointing out that POCO has used an LPDDR5 RAM module and UFS 3.1 storage. I am happy to see that the brand has cut no corners when it comes to performance. The variant that I’ve tested has 12GB RAM + 256GB storage.
The powerful hardware, a very well-optimised firmware, and the 120Hz display give the POCO F4 a super-fast and super-smooth performance. Carrying out day-to-day tasks smoothly, heavy multitasking, and running graphics-intensive games is a cakewalk for the POCO F4. I haven’t come across any other smartphone that performs as good as this one in the price segment.
The phone also does not heat up excessively while playing heavy games. The CPU throttling test confirms that. The POCO F4 has a 91% sustained performance, which is outstanding for a smartphone with a flagship-grade chipset. While the Snapdragon 870 is an excellent chip to start with, the credit for keeping the temperature under control also goes to POCO because not all smartphones with this SoC can achieve this level of sustained performance.
POCO is shipping the F4 with Android 12 customised with MIUI 13. Although Android 12L is the latest OS out there, Samsung is the only brand shipping the devices with it. Everyone else is on Android 12.
Unlike the firmware of the POCO M4 5G, the one on the POCO F4 is free from any kind of bugs. Alongside that, the firmware feels very well optimised. It has also not shown any signs of hogging excessive resources. The phone comes pre-installed with a few third-party applications (basically, bloatware), but you can uninstall those apps.
The only annoying issue I found was the system apps updater tries to update the apps that I’ve downloaded from Play Store. I want my apps to be updated through the Play Store rather than the system apps updater. I find Play Store to be more trustworthy. But the system apps updater kept me bugging every now and then to update apps through it. This is something that POCO should address.
The phone has a 4,500mAh battery, which is not all that impressive considering that a few other smartphones in the price segment offer battery capacities up to 5,000mAh. However, in spite of mediocre battery capacity, the POCO F4 offers a very good battery backup.
After playing graphics-intensive games for about two hours, using the phone for navigation for almost half an hour, capturing sample images for this review, browsing through social media, watching videos on YouTube, and using the web browser, I got a battery backup of around 24-28 hours with more than 6 hours of screen-on time.
It’s not just the battery backup that is good. The phone also has a 67W charging speed, which is super-fast. The phone charged itself from 0% to 100% in 39 minutes. It is not the fastest charging smartphone in its segment, but it is fast enough to keep you happy.
Connectivity, Sound Quality & Misc
The phone has the usual set of connectivity features that you find in most mid-range smartphones nowadays. That includes dual-SIM 5G, dual-band Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.2. During the review period, I faced no issues related to the connectivity of the smartphone. The call quality has no issues either. People on either side of the call can hear each other properly.
The phone has got two speakers in a stereo configuration, and the audio from it sounds loud and clear, similar to what you get with other smartphones in the segment. The fingerprint scanner is embedded in the power button, and it performs exceptionally fast.
POCO F4 Review: Verdict
The POCO F4 beats all the other smartphones in the price segments when it comes to performance. And this smartphone isn’t just a one-trick pony. It performs really well in other aspects as well. That’s what is impressive about this smartphone.
It has a super-smooth and super-bright screen. The rear camera, although it could have been better, especially the image quality from the ultrawide sensor, it is good enough for the price of the device. The battery gives you a full day’s worth of backup on heavy usage and also charges very quickly. It even has excellent build quality and future-proof connectivity options.
All things considered, I think the POCO F4 is the best all-around smartphone in the market in the price range between ₹27,000 to ₹30,000.
The POCO F4 does not have a wow factor to it. However, it performs very well in all aspects, making it a great all-rounder. If you are in the market for a smartphone that performs well across the board between ₹27,000 to ₹30,000, the POCO F4 is the one to go with.
- Super-smooth and smooth-bright display.
- Best in class performance.
- Rear primary camera quality is satisfying.
- One day battery backup with heavy usage.
- Super-fast charging.
- Ultrawide camera is one of the worst in the segment.
- MIUI still annoys you sometimes with its bloatware.
- UI design could be better.
Build Quality & Design
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