The Poco F5 Pro is surprisingly good. As someone with relatively small hands, finding a good smartphone to use every day is never easy. This task is made even more difficult as more and more smartphone manufacturers continue to produce devices with larger and larger screens and form factors.
Sure, you could opt for a foldable phone, but those usually come with an equally large price tag paired with the compromise of durability. Xiaomi’s latest Poco F5 Pro is another large phone entering the crowded market, aiming to target the higher-end flagship devices while having a price tag similar to a mid-range phone.
Sticking with their usual gold and black colour scheme, the Poco F5 Pro comes in a typical-looking box that I like to see as it separates them from the more boring white or black boxes that most other manufacturers use. Inside, aside from the Poco F5 Pro itself, poco has included a USB Type-A to Type-C charging cable, a 67W fast charger, the usual paperwork, a sim eject tool and, thoughtfully, a silicone case.
While the case was only a thinner style of case, it was grippy, and something is better than nothing, especially being a phone we don’t generally see in North America. Unfortunately, the included 67W fast charger was designed for use overseas, so I could not test it out to see how well it performed.
Looking around the rest of the Poco F5 Pro, on top, you find the first of the 2 stereo speakers, a microphone and one of my favourite features, an IR Blaster. I really wish more companies still included an IR Blaster these days when phones are doing more and more for the average user.
On the bottom of the Poco F5 Pro, you find the second stereo speaker, another microphone, the USB C port for charging and data transfer, and the tray for the SIM cards; however, Poco has not opted to include expandable storage on the Poco F5 Pro. While a slight bummer, the inclusion of 256GB of storage and 12GB of RAM, these specs rival some laptops on the market.
Using the Poco F5 Pro over the past few days, my first reaction was to think this was just another big phone in the ever-growing market of phones. Compared to many of the “blockier” shaped phones I have seen and tried, it has not been easy to find a phone I enjoy using that fits my hands and performs the way I like. As a result, my “go-to” phone for the past year or so has always been my trusty iPhone 13 Mini for its form factor.
However, after holding the Poco F5 Pro for the first time, the rounded shape of the back of the phone sank into my hand, making the phone much more manageable. This was a huge, but extremely satisfying factor for me. The buttons are in my preferred layout and in an easy layout, all along the right side with the power button below the volume buttons. They are all within easy reach, even for those with small hands like mine.
“While using the camera setup, I was blown away by Poco’s ability to image process that could rival pictures of top mid-range devices, maybe even flagship devices.”
On the back of the Poco F5 Pro, the included camera array includes a 64MP primary shooter, an 8MP Ultra-wide lens, and a Macro lens. While using the camera setup, I was blown away by Poco’s ability to image process that could rival pictures of top mid-range devices, maybe even flagship devices. The colours were vivid and accurate, and the image quality was clear and crisp.
During the day, I captured some absolutely gorgeous pics that I would’ve sworn were from a much more expensive device, such as my iPhone 13 Mini. Even zooming into photos, the details were sharp. Even in low light, the amount of light that the Poco F5 Pro was stunning and when stabilized, the image quality still delivered a remarkable amount of detail.
Coming from a phone that is likely several hundred dollars less than high-end flagships, this was an absolute delight to see and use. This was also the first time I had seen a device that included 8K video recording. Though it was only at 24FPS, this feature was still something almost every other device on the market did not have, giving the Poco F5 Pro an edge against the competition.
“The Poco F5 Pro is a genuinely all-day or multi-day, battery-life phone.”
Daily use was another area where the Poco F5 Pro continued to surprise me in a variety of ways. For starters, on days when my usage was fairly light, I could easily end the day with more than half of my battery life remaining, allowing me to regularly get a full two days before charging the phone. On days when I wanted to travel light, this became something I was happy to be able to do.
On days when my usage was much heavier, such as extended camera use, watching multiple videos, or heavier gaming days, I still struggled to fully drain the battery to the point where I needed to charge it before 11 pm. The Poco F5 Pro is a true all-day or multi-day battery phone. When it came time to charge, while I could not use the 67W charger that Poco included in the box, I could easily charge the phone fully in under an hour using my 65W Anker charger.
When doing my lighter tasks, the large 6.67” QHD AMOLED screen was bright enough to see at all times of the day, even in the brightest sunlit conditions. Scrolling through menus, social media, and web pages was butter smooth with the inclusion of a 120Hz screen, something I have not had the experience of using on many phones I have tried other than those in-store.
While I found it a little odd to look at at first, I quickly came to love using it and did not want to turn it off. Going back to my 60Hz devices felt strange, and I found myself turning on the high refresh rate (when available) on them as well, just to continue the experience.
“The Poco F5 Pro is undoubtedly one of the best “flagship killer” phones on the market…”
Heavier gameplay on games like Fortnite or Genshin Impact continued the buttery smooth experience and made gaming much more fun for me. Games almost always ran at a frame rate of over 60FPS, topped off with the large screen, which made immersing yourself in extended gameplay enjoyable. I often played some games longer than I expected just because they were so much fun and I was deeply immersed in them. The Poco F5 Pro barely got overly warm throughout, making it a very comfortable phone to use.
While running benchmarks doesn’t always tell you what the real-world experience will be like, it was still impressive to see what the Poco F5 Pro could handle. In the Antutu benchmark, the Poco F5 Pro scored an incredible 1053586 points, about 9% lower than the OnePlus 11, a much more expensive phone with more RAM. In GeekBench 6, the multi-core score was around 4000 points, placing it around the same score as the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, still a very respectable score and ensuring that the device will deliver the performance that is generally only expected from flagship-style phones.
All in all, the Poco F5 Pro has been an absolutely thrilling phone to use over the last several days. To both the surprise of me and many other people I know, it has now become my new daily driver, and I don’t know whether I will want to return to using my old iPhone now. The added “fun” of having a phone I know nobody else gives me the ability to geek out a little bit when someone goes, “woah, what kind of phone is that?”. The Poco F5 Pro is undoubtedly one of the best “flagship killer” phones on the market that I have tried.