After a long break, POCO is back with a new smartphone in the Indian market under the M series. The new phone is none other than the M4 Pro 5G, which launched in Europe last year. The M4 Pro 5G succeeds last year’s M3 Pro 5G. Like every other POCO smartphone, this one’s also a Redmi smartphone with a ‘POCO’ sticker at the back and a humongous camera island.
POCO M4 Pro 5G comes with a price tag of Rs 14,999 and goes as high as Rs 18,999. It packs essentials like a high refresh rate display, a powerful enough chipset, lots of megapixels, and a big battery. But are they enough to keep POCO M4 Pro 5G in the highly competitive segment where brands are pushing the limits every month and now? Is M4 Pro 5G worth your money? Let’s find out in our full review.
POCO M4 Pro 5G: Design and Build
The POCO M4 Pro 5G looks quite similar to any other Redmi smartphone in the market except for some differences in the branding. If you didn’t know, M4 Pro 5G is the Chinese Redmi Note 11 with the changes I told you about earlier.
On the front, the M4 Pro 5G has a fairly big 6.6-inch display with a centered punch-hole cutout for the camera and a chin at the bottom. None of them bothers me much while using the phone but I would’ve liked it if Xiaomi or POCO got rid of that silver ring around the camera.
Turning it around, you find a reminiscent camera module along with a ‘POCO’ logo beside it, all inside a large black plastic ovoid. There’s also a small 5G branding at the bottom, and as it suggests, the phone comes with support for 5G networks.
The phone comes in three shades – yellow, black, and blue. Well, I have the yellow color with me, or as POCO calls it, the “POCO Yellow,” and it looks tunning. It’s quite refreshing to see a phone in a not-so-shimmery paint job, and it has a matte finish, too, so no more smudges. The phone feels sturdy and not so bulky.
The side rails are made of plastic and houses the power button cum fingerprint sensor and volume rocker on the right. Then there’s a pair of speakers on the top and bottom edges. The USB-C port is at its usual position, and it’s complemented by a 3.5mm audio jack and a microphone. Then, there’s a secondary microphone at the top edge as well.
Also Read: Sony WF-1000XM4 Review – Oh! Darling
POCO M4 Pro 5G: Display and Sound
As mentioned earlier, POCO’s M4 Pro 5G comes with a 6.6-inch LCD panel having a 90Hz refresh rate. The 90Hz sounds good, and it’s dynamic. But getting an LCD at this price point is a little disappointing considering people might be buying the higher variants, which costs a little over Rs 15,000, and sadly it’s a 90Hz panel, not even a 120Hz one.
Nevertheless, the display is good enough for an LCD panel. The display shows punchy colors, and you do get an option to select different color profiles between – Vivid, Saturated or Standard. The panel has an FHD resolution of 2400×1080 pixels. The panel has WideVine L1 certification, meaning you can watch your favorite shows and movies on Netflix and Prime Video in HD resolution. However, the brightness is not up to the mark, and colors get too saturated in sunlight mode.
In a nutshell, it’s a good display. There are some shortcomings but nothing major to be concerned about.
The stereo speakers on the M4 Pro 5G are good too. They sound quite crisp, but they have a flat sound signature. The sound quality is good enough to watch some videos on YouTube or listen to casual music. But, I’d suggest plugging in earphones if you want to enjoy your music. The best thing is that the phone has a 3.5mm audio jack, so it’s time to go retro and listen to the music the good old-fashioned way.
POCO M4 Pro 5G: Performance
Driving the M4 Pro 5G is Mediatek’s Dimensity 810 chipset. The Dimensity 810 is entry-level silicon manufactured at 6nm node process and brings 5G capabilities on board. The octa-core processor is capable enough of handling day-to-day tasks. The chipset comes paired up to 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM, and you also get an option to expand the RAM by 2GB using the virtual RAM feature. Whether it’s opening up the apps or browsing, everything works like a charm except for a few occasional hiccups.
However, things are not much smooth when it comes to gaming. The ARM Mali-G57 GPU inside the Dimensity 810 can run the demanding titles in basic settings. But it starts sweating as soon as you switch to the higher graphic settings. Titles such as CoD Mobile, BattleGrounds Mobile India, and Asphalt 9 are quite playable at low or medium graphic settings, but it’s not the smoothest experience.
M4 Pro 5G comes with POCO’s version of MIUI – the POCO Launcher. It’s nothing but MIUI with a different set of icons, while the rest of the UI is the same as the MIUI. In a nutshell, it’s MIUI – the MIUI 12.5. So, you get all the features you’d find on a Xiaomi phone. Sadly, it still runs Android 11, but the MIUI 13 is expected to drop soon for a bunch of Xiaomi devices, and M4 Pro 5G is on the list.
There’s a whole lot of bloatware, but thankfully you can uninstall them along with a bunch of other system apps. And, I encountered a few UI frame drops as soon as you boot up the phone, but things settle down after a while. In case you are wondering, there are no ads.
The phone boasts a 5,000mAh battery, which easily lasts you two days. On top of the huge battery, the 33W charger tops up the battery within almost an hour. I also did not encounter any heating issues during my time with it.
POCO M4 Pro 5G: Camera
One of the things I appreciate most about the M4 Pro 5G is its camera configuration. Unlike most mid-range phones, the M4 Pro 5G comes with just two rear cameras – a 50MP Samsung ISOCELL S5KJN1 1/2.76-inch sensor paired with a wide lens and an 8MP ultrawide camera. No, macro or depth sensor, for god’s sake. The dual-camera setup on the back is very much capable of taking pleasing shots in well-lit conditions.
The 50MP main sensor clicks pretty good shots in daylight conditions. The pictures come out with adequate details, an acceptable dynamic range, and even the colors are on point.
Meanwhile, the 8MP ultrawide camera clicks way too oversaturated pictures. The details and dynamic range are pretty good for an ultrawide camera on a mid-range smartphone.
In low-light scenarios, the main camera clicks good enough pictures to be posted on your social media feed. Although, the ultrawide camera is a letdown when you are out there clicking pictures at night. The Night Mode isn’t much of a help either and what’s more disappointing is that you can only click pictures with the main camera while using the night mode.
The 16MP selfie camera does a pretty good job too. The pictures clicked from the 16 front-facing camera captures a decent amount of details with pleasant colors. And, the portrait mode on the front camera is okayish.
POCO M4 Pro 5G: Verdict
With POCO M4 Pro 5G, you get good enough performance, a mediocre display, and a decent pair of cameras with a pinch of 5G. It may not be the best phone under the Rs 15,000 segment, but it’s quite a good phone if you are looking for a big screen for media consumption, want to click pictures for your social media feed, and don’t want the hassle of charging your phone twice a day.
The lack of an OLED panel or even a 120Hz LCD is disappointing. MIUI is better than before, but there are still quite a few bugs left to be ironed out. The performance is not the best in class but it’s good enough to not worry much about it.
Yes, it comes with support for 5G, which isn’t out yet, but you can buy it if you think you will keep it long enough until 5G comes out. If 5G is not a necessity for you, some 4G phones, such as POCO M4 Pro, Redmi Note 11 and Note 11S, Realme 9i, or the Narzo 50, offer a little better value for money on paper.
In a nutshell, the POCO M4 Pro 5G may not be the best phone out there, but it’s a decent phone for people looking for an all-in package without comprising much. So, if you are one of them, go ahead with the purchase.