The budget phone segment has never been confusing as now. And, the under 15K segment is total chaos; there are more phones than one can remember with little distinction whatsoever. There’s not much difference between any phone in the sub-15K segment. Every second phone offers similar specifications while trying to create a distinct identity, and POCO’s latest M4 Pro is not different. The POCO M4 Pro is a typical sub-15K smartphone, but it is unique in its own way.
It’s the first time that a POCO smartphone is not a direct rebrand of a Redmi smartphone. The M4 Pro is similar to the Redmi Note 11S. But it’s not the same. As I said before, it’s a typical budget phone, and it has the specifications you would expect from a sub-15K smartphone. From an AMOLED display to a big-sized battery, the POCO M4 Pro has it all. But it also undercuts at a lot of places giving the competition an edge over it. So is it wise to buy the POCO M4 Pro, or should you spend your money on another phone? Let us find out in the full review of POCO M4 Pro.
POCO M4 Pro: Design and Build
At the bottom of your heart, you may know that it’s just another budget Redmi smartphone, but you won’t feel it when you take it out of the box for the first time. The huge rectangular camera island on the rear panel distinguishes the POCO M4 Pro from the crowd. And, thanks to that large island on the back, the phone doesn’t wobble when lying on a flat surface. The matte blue finish of my unit looks quite premium for a budget smartphone, and you can also get the phone in black and yellow colourways.
The POCO M4 Pro, at 8.1mm thick and 179.5g, is slimmer and lighter than M4 Pro 5G. And with a tad smaller 6.4-inch display, the phone is much more pocketable than its 5G sibling. The phone doesn’t feel like a budget offering; it’s sturdy and feels good in the hand.
The rest is pretty much the same as the M4 Pro 5G or any other budget Xiaomi smartphone. The side rails are made of plastic. The power button and volume rocker are on the right. And, there is a SIM card slot on the left. A pair of speakers are located on the top and bottom. The USB-C port is at the bottom edge, whereas a 3.5mm audio jack and IR blaster are situated on the top.
POCO M4 Pro: Display and Sound
The POCO M4 Pro is the first smartphone in the M series to come with an AMOLED display. The 6.4-inch AMOLED panel on the M4 Pro is one of the best things about the phone and far better than the LCD panel found on its 5G cousin. The panel has an FHD+ resolution of 2400 x 1800 pixels, 90Hz refresh rate and 1000 nits of peak brightness.
M4 Pro’s AMOLED panel shows vibrant colours and deeper blacks, and it’s bright enough to be used outdoors on a bright sunny day. The 90Hz refresh rate on top of AMOLED is icing on the cake since it is hard to find them both together. The M4 Pro has WideVine L1 certification enabling HD playback on Netflix and Prime Video. And, there’s no support for HDR playback on YouTube, which can be found on some of the other budget smartphones with an AMOLED panel.
The dual speaker setup on the M4 Pro is a good one. It delivers punchy sound but lacks details. The speaker is good enough for watching videos or casually listening to music.
POCO M4 Pro: Performance
Mediatek’s Helio G96 powers the 4G variant of the M4 Pro. And, under the hood, the chipset is paired with up to 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM and 128GB UFS2.2 of internal storage. The Helio G96 might be an outdated chipset, but it’s as capable as M4 Pro 5G’s Dimensity 810.
I didn’t face any major performance issues during my time with the M4 Pro. But I did notice some occasional stutters throughout the UI. Nevertheless, the gaming performance was quite good. You can play games like Battle Grounds Mobile India, Call Of Duty and Asphalt 9 comfortably in medium graphics settings. What about heat management? Well, it’s good too. The phone doesn’t heat up much, whether you are gaming for a while or plugged in for charging.
So, the M4 Pro comes with the latest MIUI 13 but with an old flavour of Android. The Android 11 based MIUI 13 is much better than before, and it runs POCO Launcher, adding stock icons to the equation. If you were wondering, the bloatware situation is under control, and there are no ads. Everything is fine, but the fact that this phone still boots Android 11 is bothersome.
M4 Pro’s 5,000mAh battery can last for a day or two, depending on how you use the phone. If you are gaming a lot, then expect the phone to last for around a day, and if you are not into gaming, this phone will last you for two days comfortably. And the 33W charger tops up the battery in around an hour.
POCO M4 Pro: Camera
The M4 Pro features a triple camera setup comprising a 64MP primary sensor, an 8MP ultrawide shooter and a 2MP macro snapper, which is of no use. The 64MP sensor clicks using 4-in–1 pixel binning, meaning you get 16MP by default, but you can also click 64MP shots using the “64MP mode.”
The 64MP camera captures decent images with natural colours and enough details during daylight. Even in low light scenarios, the camera performs exceptionally well; however, the pictures miss out on details. And, Night Mode helps in getting a tad better picture at night.
The 8MP ultrawide lacks details, but the colour reproduction is as good as the main sensor. However, it’s not that good in low light, and it does not even support Night Mode. There is no point in talking about the macro camera, but you can give the 2MP camera a try if you want to click some macro shots.
The 16MP front camera is capable of capturing some nice sharp selfies, and even selfie portraits turn out to be quite good. However, I’d suggest you to turn off the skin smoothening if you want true-to-life pictures.
POCO M4 Pro: Verdict
The POCO M4 Pro delivers on many fronts – from a great display to competent cameras; POCO’s latest doesn’t have much to complain about except its mediocre chipset. And, M4 Pro’s AMOLED panel is undoubtedly the best in the sub-15K segment. Even the performance is good enough; the phone gets things done on a day to day basis but don’t expect much from it. The cameras are decent enough to get you pictures for your next Instagram post.
With no sight of 5G in the country, the POCO M4 Pro is a much better offering than its 5G sibling. Yes, you lose out on the 5G, but you gain more. The POCO M4 Pro trades off 5G for an AMOLED display, a more competent set of cameras and a striking design. So, if you are looking for a phone under Rs 15,000 and don’t care much about 5G, then POCO M4 Pro is a great option to consider.
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