Poco F5 Pro review: Wish you had the Pixel 7 instead | Digital Trends

A person holding the Poco F5 Pro and showing the back.

“The Poco F5 Pro has great specs, at least two days of battery life and a decent main camera, but there’s no real reason to buy it.”


  • Battery life of at least two days

  • The main camera takes fun photos

  • Fast wired and wireless charging


  • The software lacks polish

  • The design lacks charm

There are some phones that don’t leave any lasting impression and I’ve been using one for the past week. It’s the Poco F5 Pro and it’s terribly mature, sensitive and painfully ordinary. Does this mean it’s a bad phone? No, it’s been perfectly reliable and, hands down, the best Poco phone I’ve ever used. But the lack of character made me miss phones like Google Pixel 7 which is one of its natural competitors.

It’s not like the Pixel 7 is widely higher, but it’s more about the glamor of living dangerously as we’ve seen that Pixel could decide to be hot at any moment. While using the F5 Pro, I similarly missed the crazy lights on the back of the Nothing Phone 1. The thing is, I’m used to Poco making phones that are brightly colored and recognizable, or have crazy magnetic shoulder buttons, you don’t phones like the F5 Pro. Without a trifle, I don’t understand the Poco brand at all. Let’s get into the F5 Pro a little more.

The problem with Poco’s design

The Poco F5 Pro with the Nothing Phone 1, the Galaxy A54 and the Pixel 7.
No Phone 1 (top left), Poco F5 Pro (top center), Google Pixel 7 (top right), and the Samsung Galaxy A54 (bottom center). Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The F5 Pro is Pocos’ highest spec device to date, as the brand is best known for mid-range hardware with flashy features sold at a competitive price point (and aimed at young people who want a fun and captivating).

The F5 Pro is not like that. The glossy white back panel is classy and expensive looking, the glass camera array is encased in a slanted brushed metal module, and the phone is available in black or white without a hint of retina-burning yellow in sight.

It’s nearly 9mm thick, weighs 204 grams, has an IP53 water and dust resistance rating, stereo speakers that sound great, and a reliable in-display fingerprint sensor. It’s just Gorilla Glass 5 on the screen, which is fine, but it’s a shame that the glass is flat. I know some people don’t like curved glass, but it’s more comfortable to hold (when the frame is well designed) and visually it looks a lot better. The flat glass and plain back panel make the Poco F5 Pro a bit boring to look at.

This is where Google succeeds with the Pixel 7. It looks excellent, with evidence of real thought into the design and a recognizable camera module that has become the face of the Pixel range. It’s the same situation with the Nothing Phone 1, a mid-range phone that you’ll never mistake for anything else. The F5 Pro is a phone, but not a little phone, and that is bad news. Without a hint of silliness or an attempt to be interesting, his strengths risk being ignored.

This is further compounded by his close family. Poco is a sub-brand of Xiaomi, and the problem is that Reasonable Poco joins Sensible Redmi, Xiaomi’s other equally reasonable sub-brand. At least when Poco was a little crazy, it made sense as a separate brand. But now, I don’t know why I would choose it over another phone from Xiaomi family. Worse, without an individual identity in the design, it doesn’t look much fun next to the more eye-catching Nothing Phone 1, Galaxy A54 or Pixel 7.

It’s a good camera, but it’s not good enough

The camera module of the Poco F5 Pro.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’s a 64-megapixel primary camera on the back, and it’s really the only one you need to pay attention to, as it’s joined by a useless 2MP macro camera and an often disappointing 8MP wide-angle camera. The only upside to the prime and wide-angle combination here is color consistency, as both cameras shoot similar-looking images. It doesn’t always happen, so it’s nice to see that.

The main camera is tuned the way I’d expect from a Xiaomi phone, with strong colors and heavy saturation, but this gives photos a fun, vibrant tone. It also makes them great for sharing online, as in the right setting, they really pop. There’s no optical zoom, but the 2x mode in the camera app isn’t a disaster by any means, and the camera is also good in low light, avoiding excessive smoothing without adding masses of noise.

If you really scrutinize the photos it can wash out the colors in some circumstances but that’s no deal breaker on a phone like this. Remember, it’s not billed as a camera phone. In fact, I really don’t know how it is billed, which ends up being part of the overall question. The camera is good, but that’s no reason to buy it over anything else, and with no effort made to make it stand out (the 8MP wide angle and 2MP macro are pure laziness), it’s just another part of the phone which is just solid.

We’ve passed the phones congratulations on a camera that takes great pictures. We to expect phones make for good photos at this stage, and there really has to be something beyond that to catch the eye. Gimmicks aren’t the answer, but some effort to tell that apart would help the F5 Pro go nowhere.

Lots of specs, but are they enough?

The side buttons of the Poco F5 Pro.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Perhaps Poco is looking for the power to make the F5 Pro attractive? Many people value the basic specs over anything else, and the Poco phone doesn’t disappoint. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor continues to be outstanding, not only packed with power, but also impressive in its efficiency. That’s great here, paired with a massive 5,160mAh battery, which I ran for nearly three days without recharging. This with about three hours of screen time each day and no games. Add some games and increase daily use to more than four hours and two days is still easily achievable.

Strangely, Poco hasn’t pushed the F5 Pro as a gaming smartphone, despite its processor capacity, battery power, and bright 6.67-inch AMOLED screen. The display is packed with tech, too, with a 120Hz refresh rate, 480Hz touch sampling, a 3,200 x 1,440 resolution, and a peak brightness of 1,400 nits. When I’ve played, they look and sound really good, and Asphalt 9: Legends it offers the speed and smoothness I expect. Video is crisp, colorful, and smooth, plus there’s Dolby Atmos to enhance the speakers.

There is also much more. The phone has NFC for Google Pay, 5G, 30W wireless charging and 67W fast wired charging. This adds 50% in 15 minutes and fully charges the battery in xx minutes. Poco has added a new LiquidCool vapor chamber to keep the device’s temperatures in check, which also helps with its efficiency, and I haven’t had any issues with the heat. I never picked up the Poco F5 Pro and complained that some crucial features were missing, but I picked it up and wondered who would buy it.

I can live with the software, but it’s not my favorite take on Android 13. Poco uses a slightly customized version of Xiaomi’s MIUI 14, with different icons and some brighter colors, but it seems to work the same. That means you get a lot of feature suggestions in the notification shade, various pre-installed apps, some system instabilities, and the obnoxious split dropdown where its notifications on one side and quick settings on the other.

Video playing on the Poco F5 Pro.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It’s not as sleek as Android on a Pixel, and it’s not as mature or visually pleasing as Android on the Galaxy A54, but if you can forgive the slightly childish color scheme, that’s fine. What it is is not unique, as it is not that different from MIUI on a Xiaomi or Redmi phone, and you can easily customize it to look exactly as you want. If you pick a phone by ticking off spec boxes in a list, the F5 Pro will likely satisfy, but outside of the processor, it’s pretty standard. It reminds me of phones like the OnePlus 10T, which appear to have everything you could want but don’t really do anything interesting.

Price and availability

At the time of writing, Poco has only confirmed the upfront price for the Poco F5 Pro, which is $430. After the offer period ends, it will still cost less than $500. It will be released in the UK, Western Europe, America Central and Latin and in some parts of Asia. The price pits it against the Samsung Galaxy A54, the Google Pixel 7 and probably the Google Pixel 7a as well.

I don’t know who Poco is

Playing a game on the Poco F5 Pro.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Poco F5 Pro is a very capable smartphone. Performance and efficiency are top notch, the main camera takes fun photos, the mature design means it’ll look good wherever it goes, and the battery lasts two days. I should tell you to buy it, and I kind of am, but not before you’ve had a good, long, look at the Google Pixel 7 and Samsung Galaxy A54 (plus the Nothing Phone 1 if it’s available where you live). ). They are all equally capable but have something special and interesting about them, which gives them more character and a stronger reason to buy than the F5 Pro.

I’m sure many will think they don’t need their phone to have any character, and while I agree, it’s important for a brand to make their devices attractive in some way. The fact that the F5 Pro doesn’t scream Poco means that if I’d been told it was a Xiaomi or Redmi phone, I wouldn’t have questioned it. It also means that when I use the phone, I think of all the other phones that are just as good but also have something about them that makes them special and wonder why I’m not using them instead.

The F5 Pro is Pocos’ best phone, and if you want it, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. The problem is that there is nothing outside of general competence, good performance, strong battery life, capable main camera to make you Truly I want to, and when I change my SIM to another phone, I’d be surprised if I remembered anything about the F5 Pro in a few days.

The smartphone landscape is immensely competitive. Little needs to find an identity and stick to it if it is to separate itself from Xiaomi and Redmi and encourage people to choose its phones over very strong competition from outside the family. The F5 Pro is a good phone that unfortunately leaves me indifferent.

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