Better Than Redmi Note 12 Pro?
In this review, I will be going through my experiences with the Poco X5 Pro. This guy is the successor to one of my favorite midrange phones of 2022—the POCO X4 Pro. So it comes as no surprise that the company hasn’t tried to do anything differently this time since the only notable upgrade on the X5 Pro Vs X4 Pro is in the chipset department.
So… can the POCO X5 Pro carry on that “value for money” heritage like its predecessor, or are you better off with something like the Redmi Note 12 Pro instead by spending a little more? Let me get into all that—but first—let’s see talk a look at the specs and pricing of the Poco X5 Pro.
Poco X5 Pro Specifications:
- Body: 76 x 162.9 x 7.9mm, 181gm, Glass front/back, Plastic frames, IP53 dust/splash resistant
- Display: 6.67-inches OLED, 120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate, 10-bit color depth, Corning Gorilla Glass 5
- Resolution: FHD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels), 402 PPI, 20:9 aspect ratio
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G 5G (6nm mobile platform)
- CPU: Octa-core:
– 1x Cortex-A78 (2.4 GHz)
– 3x Cortex-A78 (2.20 GHz)
– 4x Cortex-A55 (1.90 GHz)
- GPU: Adreno 642L
- Memory: 6/8GB LPDDR4X RAM, 128/256GB UFS 2.2 storage (fixed)
- Software & UI: Android 12 with MIUI 14 for Poco on top
- Rear Camera: Triple (with LED flash);
– 108MP, f/1.88 Samsung ISOCELL HM2
– 8MP, f/2.2 ultrawide sensor, 119° FoV
– 2MP, f/2.4 macro sensor
- Front Camera: 16MP sensor (hole-punch cutout)
- Audio: Dual stereo speakers, Headphone jack, Dolby Atmos Audio
- Security: Fingerprint sensor (side-mounted), Face unlock
- Battery: 5000mAh with 67W wired charging
- Connectivity: Dual-SIM (Nano), WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.1, GPS L1 / Glonass G1 / Beidou B1 / Galielo E1, USB Type-C, 5G
- Sensors: Proximity, Ambient Light, Electronic Compass, Accelerometer, Gyro, IR Blaster
- Price in Nepal: N/A
Poco X5 Pro Review:
- 76 x 162.9 x 7.9mm, 181gm
- Glass front/back, Plastic frames
- IP53 dust/water resistance
The first thing you will notice about the Poco X5 Pro is, it copies a bunch of design elements from last year’s X4 Pro. It has got the same flat-edge design at the back and a wide camera layout that’s sure to turn some heads.
What’s good to see here is you get an official IP53 dust and splash resistance, while the IR blaster and the headphone jack continue to live on. Nice! But when actually holding the phone in my hands, I immediately noticed quite a few downsides. While the Poco X4 Pro had a glass back, POCO is using plastic construction this time.
I really dig the shift to a matte finish, this playfully colorful power button, and everything, but the X5 Pro simply doesn’t feel as premium. The move from glass to plastic has also shaved off a chunk of the phone’s weight, so I also find that heft to be missing on this guy. Not that it feels utterly hollow or anything but that’s another downside to using a plastic back panel.
- 6.67-inches OLED
- 120/240Hz refresh/touch sampling rate
- Gorilla Glass 5 on front
Unlike the build quality, its display is pretty great though. Here, You’re looking at a gorgeous 6.6” AMOLED screen with a smooth 120Hz refresh rate that should serve just fine no matter what you’re doing. Be it playing games, watching YouTube videos, or scrolling through your Reddit feed for hours at a time. It can even play Dolby Vision-mastered content on Netflix now!
Plus, thanks to its incredible 900 nits of peak brightness, I’ve had no trouble using this phone outdoors either. Now that number sounds awfully low compared to X4 Pro’s 1200 nits, but as I said in my Redmi Note 12 Pro+ video, global peak brightness, and HDR peak brightness are two completely different things.
So rest assured, this is not a downgrade of any kind; but rather a nice upgrade to 700 nits of max brightness on X4 Pro. The one thing I’m still noticing is that the X5 Pro is a little slow at adjusting brightness on its own sometimes. Hopefully, POCO will fix this with a future update.
POCO X5 Pro’s stereo speakers also complement the binge-watching experience quite nicely—however they sound a bit sharp at max volume.
- Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G
- Up to 8GB RAM, Up to 256GB storage
- Android 12 based MIU 14
As for performance, we get a Snapdragon 778G here, which we all know is an almost two years old chip but its maturity actually works in its favor, instead of against it, since smartphone makers and app developers have had plenty of time to optimize their products for the 778G.
And this Qualcomm chip still stands its ground against other midrange processors in 2023 like MediaTek’s Dimensity 1080. Hence, needless to say, the X5 Pro has handled my everyday chores without breaking a sweat. Multitasking and all.
When it comes to gaming, Snapdragon 778G’s Adreno GPU has also been better optimized to push through higher settings in the most popular titles. Take Apex Legends for instance. While Dimensity 1080-powered Redmi Note 12 Pro caps out at 50 fps, POCO X5 Pro hits a steady 60 fps with better visual fidelity.
Other games like Genshin Impact and Asphalt 9 also manage higher average fps here, but all this comes at the cost of slightly hotter temperatures in most cases. And since this phone has a pretty slim design, it seems that POCO is deliberately limiting performance on high-fps games since having to constantly render more than 60 fps would wreak absolute havoc on the thermals.
As a result, high fps games like Injustice 2 and Mech Arena never hit 120 fps—finishing off with just 58 and 55 fps averages after significant frame drops throughout the gameplay.
I’ve tested many 778G-powered phones before so I know performance throttling when I see it. And this is where I’m a little disappointed with POCO. For a brand that has built its reputation within the mobile gaming community since its very foundation, I think they could have given a vapor cooling system here to tackle the throttling issue.
Moving on, the Poco X5 Pro boots on the latest MIUI 14, but it is still based on Android 12 and Not the latest Android 13! You know POCO already doesn’t have a good track record with software updates so maybe they should have shipped with a newer Android 13 here.
Anyhoo, MIUI 14’s upgrades are mostly on the inside instead of anything cosmetic. Xiaomi says it has mainly worked on optimizing system performance and resources this time. The number of bloatware apps is also remarkably low in MIUI 14 and you can uninstall almost all of them except for the core system apps. And I also like the fact that POCO is committing 2 generations of OS and 3 years of security updates for the X5 Pro.
- Triple camera setup on the back
- (108MP main, 8MP ultrawide, 2MP macro)
- 16MP selfie (hole-punch cutout)
Let’s talk about cameras! Here despite using the same sensors from last year, I’m actually surprised by how good POCO X5 Pro’s cameras are. Maybe this has something to do with Snapdragon 778G’s superior image signal processor as well but POCO has really managed to get the most out of the cameras on this phone.
I feel like POCO has taken a page out of Samsung’s image optimization book to deliver photos with vibrant colors and punchy contrast that looks pleasing to the eyes.
You might prefer Redmi Note 12 Pro’s shots if you’re a fan of neutral colors but I guess most people will be happy with X5 Pro’s images. It’s only in some scenarios that I have wished Poco could tune the colors better, but otherwise, the cameras are good overall.
As for lowlight images, I like how it retains good color details alongside rich contrast and exposure. However, unlike the Note 12 Pro, the Poco X5 Pro doesn’t have OIS so the photos might come out blurry sometimes. But with a steady pair of hands, I won’t say you’ll be missing out on a lot.
But the one thing I am not a fan of is, how this phone handles human subjects. The way POCO’s algorithm tries to maintain a subject’s skin tone from both the main and the selfie camera is a wild hit-or-miss.
For videos, if you remember, POCO X4 Pro couldn’t record videos at 4K resolution because of the chipset’s limitation but 4K recording is back on the X5 Pro. To compensate for the lack of OIS, POCO is heavily relying on frame cropping to help with steadier footage. It does not work perfectly all the time resulting in a weird pulsing effect. So, for videos, this phone has really average capabilities.
- 5000mAh battery
- 67W wired charging
Anyway, the battery life on this thing is quite impressive. The Poco X5 Pro has easily been getting me through an entire day with roughly 7 hours of screen-on time on average, which is a solid A in my book. And as for juicing it up, the included 67W charger takes just 15 minutes to fill it up to 50%. Or about half an hour more till 100%.
Poco X5 Pro Review: Conclusion
So wrapping it all up, I must say the POCO X5 Pro is a very good midrange phone. This is especially true in 2023 because there aren’t as many value-for-money midrange devices these days compared to what we used to get not too long ago.
Even Xiaomi’s own Redmi Note series which is all about “aggressive pricing” failed to deliver on that front this year because if you don’t consider the bank discounts and all, the new Redmi Note 12 lineup isn’t the usual bargain that we expected.
Yes, the X5 Pro isn’t perfect by any means either, and I really wish POCO would come up with some original designs instead of resorting to simple re-brandings. But if you’re looking to buy a well-rounded midrange phone for some 22-23,000 Indian rupees right now, this looks like a good value; especially compared to the Redmi Note 12 Pro.
Gamers, on the other hand, will have better luck with the Redmi K50i or the POCO F4. They bring a more powerful processor alongside an equally competent cooling system.
- Watch our video review of the Poco X5 Pro.
Poco X5 Pro Review: Pros and Cons
- 120Hz OLED display
- Reliable performance overall
- Takes good daytime and nighttime photos
- Impressive battery life
- Portraits / Selfies needs improvement
- Somewhat compromised thermals
- Still on Android 12