Poco F5 Pro review: Another superb value proposition, but not for Americans


Xiaomi's sub-brand Poco is back with another phone that, if you squint, could almost pass for a flagship phone, but at a price that's less than half of what actual flagships command. The Poco F5 Pro, starting at US$449, packs a WQHD+ 120Hz OLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, a solid 64MP main camera, wireless charging, flagship-level haptics, and speakers. There's even an official IP rating, which most Chinese mid-rangers omit.

Unfortunately, just like all Xiaomi phones, this one won't be coming stateside (though importing is always an option), but it is hitting markets in Europe and throughout Asia.

POCO F5 Pro - 7
Poco F5 Pro

The Poco F5 Pro offers a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, WQHD+ 120Hz OLED display, and a solid main camera at a sub-$500 price. However, it doesn't sell in North America.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
6.7-inch WQHD+ OLED, 120Hz
128GB, 256GB
5,180 mAh
Operating System
Android 13 with MIUI 14
Front camera
Rear cameras
64MP, f/1.8 main; 8MP ultra-wide; 2MP macro
White, black
IP Rating
IP53 (splash protection)


  • Great display and chip for the price
  • Fast charging with charger included


  • Limited market availability
  • 2MP macro sensor is a gimmick

Poco F5 Pro: Pricing and availability

The Poco F5 Pro is on pre-sale now for $449 for the base model with 8GB RAM/256GB storage. There are two higher-tier variants with 12GB RAM/256GB storage and 12GB RAM/512GB storage.

Hardware and design: Great screen, haptics, and speakers for a mid-ranger

Poco F5 Pro's 120Hz OLED display

Poco F5 Pro's 120Hz OLED display

The Poco F5 Pro is a standard-sized slab with a 6.7-inch WQHD+ (3200 x 1440) OLED screen with a refresh rate of up to 120Hz. Bezels are slim, colors cover the entire P3 color gamut, and I don't notice any color distortion at side angles. But there are a couple of key tells that give away that this is not the same screens used by Xiaomi's (or other Android brands') premium phones. It's a flat panel where the edges sort of end abruptly instead of blending seamlessly into the aluminum chassis. The screen's maximum brightness of 1000 nits is also lower than pricier phones. In direct sunlight, the screen does feel a bit dim, but still quite good, given the price point.

Poco F5 Pro's display

Poco F5 Pro's display

However, keep in mind I'm judging the Poco F5 Pro screen against the four-digit priced flagship phones, like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, I'm used to carrying. At this sub-$500 price range, no complaints should be had. The back of the phone is made of standard glass with a glossy coating that gives it a grippy texture, but it can attract smudges. While the front display uses Gorilla Glass 5, the back glass is just a generic brand-hardened glass, not Gorilla Glass — the phone does include a soft plastic case with the package at least. Considering the phone packs a 5,160 mAh battery and some flagship-level haptics, its 8.59mm thickness and 204g aren't too bad at all.

Poco F5 Pro's cameras

Poco F5 Pro's cameras

The chassis houses symmetrical stereo speakers at the top and bottom, along with an IR blaster, a SIM tray, and a USB-C port. The latter is just USB 2.0, so expect slower data transfer speeds if you're using a cable or USB-C thumb drive.

Internals and performance: Pushing the boundary of the mid-range

Powering the phone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which was the premium flagship SoC just five months ago. It's obviously still plenty powerful, and my review unit's 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM will allow for plenty of headroom to allow for solid performance in things like gaming and multitasking.

The base model only gets 8GB of RAM, but it shouldn't be an issue for most users. Storage, however, is the older UFS3.1, but considering that only a small handful of 2023 flagship phones have jumped to UFS 4.0, this isn't much of a flaw in a $449 device. Benchmark numbers are on par with last year's flagships.

As for the battery, it is huge, as mentioned, at 5,160 mAh, and it can be charged at 67W charging with the included charger or up to 30W wirelessly. Even with my heavy usage, I was unable to drain more than 70% of the phone's battery on any given day during my review period. This includes a Sunday in which I was out around town for 13 hours. For lighter users on a workday, the phone could finish the day with over 50% left.

The outward-facing speakers are excellent for a phone in this price range as the audio output can get so loud. In fact, I've used this phone as a podcast-playing machine when I'm taking showers or cooking. So audio shouldn't be an issue for most users who pick up this phone.

Cameras: Solid main camera, not much else

Poco F5 Pro's cameras

Poco F5 Pro's cameras

The Poco F5 Pro's optics are headlined by a 64MP, f1/8 main camera, using a 1/2-inch sensor made by OmniVision. The camera is a solid performer, with a fast shutter and the ability to produce solid HDR. Xiaomi's image processing isn't quite on par with Google's or Vivo's (my opinion, number one and two right now), but it's probably as good as Samsung's or OnePlus'. Don't expect much natural shallow depth-of-field with such a small sensor, so images with multiple objects/subjects at various distances look flat.

The other cameras, however, have hardware too weak for software processing to overcome: the 8MP ultra-wide only works well with great lighting, and the 2MP macro sensor is useless. The selfie camera suffers from the same problem plaguing Xiaomi's pricier phones, with easily blown-out highlights and resolution maxed out at 1080p.

The main camera is also stabilized with OIS, so you can grab some pleasing footage during the day. Don't expect the small sensor to do much for nighttime videos. You also cannot switch between the main and ultra-wide camera when filming, you must stop recording to make the switch. You can see video samples below with all three cameras.

Software: Fast animations but an overly complicated settings page

Poco F5 Pro in the hand

Poco F5 Pro in the hand

There's not much to report on regarding the MIUI 14 software here that runs here over Android 13. It's the typical Xiaomi fare that anyone who's used a Xiaomi phone within the last three years should be familiar with. Animations are whimsical with extra animated flairs, like an app "exploding" into bits when uninstalled or the phone's storage capacity represented by a tube of water (the more storage you use, the fuller the tube, and the water is animated to play along with the phone's orientation).

The notification shade and shortcut toggle buttons are separated into two panes by default, but they can be reverted to a single page. The settings menu continues to be a bit over-complicated, with three separate pages for display-related things. Overall I don't mind MIUI, but I definitely prefer Oppo/OnePlus' software or Samsung's OneUI over it.

Should you buy the Poco F5 Pro?


You should buy the Poco F5 Pro if:

  • You live in a market in which this phone sells, and you are in the market for a new phone under $450
  • You value display fluidity and processor prowess over most things in a mid-tier phone

You should not buy the Poco F5 Pro if:

  • You live in North America, where this phone isn't sold and may not work on all carriers
  • You are on the market for a mid-tier phone under $500, but you value camera performance

The Poco F5 Pro is yet another mid-range phone with specs that punch above its price class. To be able to get a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 phone with WQHD+ display for under $450 is an impressive value. But this phone will have competition because Samsung and Google have improved their mid-range offerings significantly over the past couple of years. I think the Google Pixel 6a (or the rumored Pixel 7a) will give you a better all-around camera performance, although with an inferior display and slower overall performance. The Galaxy A54, meanwhile, has a brighter display panel and wider global rollout, but the Exynos 1380 chip isn't in the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1's class.

It comes down to what you prefer. If you care about photography and software updates over all else, the Pixel 6a (or upcoming 7a) is probably better for you. If you're a gamer and want the best SoC (in a mid-rang phone), then the Poco F5 Pro trumps both Samsung and Google's mid-rangers. But if you want that Samsung software and display brilliance, then the A54 is the choice.

POCO F5 Pro - 7
Poco F5 Pro

The Poco F5 Pro offers a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, WQHD+ 120Hz OLED display, and a solid main camera at a sub-$500 price. However, it doesn't sell in North America.