The Poco M5 is a budget smartphone that costs less than Rs. 15,000 in India. POCO, like Redmi, has achieved the greatest popularity in the budget market in recent years. It features a distinctive design that expresses premium quality without breaking the bank.
The POCO M5 is one of the various smartphones that looks promising on paper. It offers a number of improvements that were previously only available on more expensive devices.
However, does it make the phone worth its price tag? Let’s find out. I have been using the POCO M5 for about a week now and here’s my review on the same.
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The POCO M5 comes available in two variants in India. The base variant costs Rs. 12,499 for 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, while the other variant costs Rs. 14,499 for 6GB RAM and 128GB storage.
There are three different colour options available: Yellow, Icey Blue and Power Black. You can buy the phone online from Flipkart and select retail outlets.
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The POCO M5 packs the following items inside the box:
- 22.5W Charger
- USB Type A-C Cable
- Sim Ejector Tool
- Transparent Case
- Pre-Applied Screen Protector
Before we talk in detail about the POCO M5, let’s see what the on-paper specs look like:
- Display: 6.58 inches IPS LCD
- Chipset: MediaTek Helio G99
- RAM & ROM: 4GB RAM 64GB Storage, 6GB RAM 128GB Storage
- Software: Android v12
- Rear camera: 50MP + 2MP + 2MP
- Selfie camera: 8MP
- Battery: 5000 mAh
- Weight: 201 grams
- Dimensions: 163.9 x 76 x 8.9 mm
POCO M5 will steal your eyes at first glance. The phone looks great and has a stylish aspect to it. The Yellow colour variant I have is very attractive and eye-catching. It comes in two other colour options as well – Icey Blue and Power Black.
The back of the phone is made of plastic and features a leather texture which has a nice feel to it. Even though it’s plastic, it doesn’t feel cheap at all but rather sturdy. You’ll also notice a big camera island housing three lenses that goes all the way from left to right edge.
The edges are almost flat with curved corners that will dig into our palm if you hold it for too long. It’s a bit on the heavier side at 201 grams but the weight distribution is done really well.
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The front side comes with a water-drop notch style which looks a bit dated and is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. It has thin bezels all around except the chin, which is a bit thicker.
Talking about ports and button placements, the right side has the volume rockers and the power button which doubles as the fingerprint scanner, while the left side is clean. The top houses a 3.5mm audio jack and an IR blaster, whereas the bottom has a Type-C port, primary mic and loudspeaker.
Note that POCO has not given any official IP rating on the M5, so be careful with it around water and dust.
The POCO M5 comes with a triple camera setup on the back. This includes a 50MP primary camera, a 2MP depth sensor and a 2MP macro lens. The front side has an 8MP selfie camera for taking selfies. POCO phones are not really camera-centric phones, so I didn’t expect much from the M5.
Nonetheless, the primary lens takes some nice and sharp shots in the daylight. I took some images outdoors during the day and they were pretty detailed with good punchy colours. The dynamic range is not the best but still good for the price.
The portrait shots were detailed and the phone does a nice job of separating the subject from the background. Images captured in low light were not so good. They lacked details and were grainy. The night mode does help a bit to get brighter shots.
The depth sensor and the macro lens are nothing to talk about, there are just there to increase the camera count. The shots taken with these lenses are simple poor due to the low resolution. However, you can take some passable shots with the macro lens in the daylight if you have really steady hands.
Coming over to the front, the 8MP selfie camera is average at best. The selfies had detailing but were on the softer side. The colours were nice and close to natural.
The POCO M5 can record 1080p videos at 30fps from both the main and front cameras. There is no OIS but you do get EIS support. The videos recorded from the main lens were detailed and decently stable as well.
The POCO M5 packs a 5000mAh battery which is on par with the other headsets in this price range. It offers a good battery backup and will easily last you a day and a half of casual use. I got about 6-7 hours of screen on time, which is really impressive.
My usage involved some gaming, watching Netflix series and going through my social media apps. I can confidently say that POCO M5 can even last you two days if you are a light user. I didn’t expect such good battery optimisation from POCO; they have done a great job.
However, the charging speed is where things take a hit. The phone comes with a 22.5W charger but supports only 18W of fast charging which is not that good. It takes more than two hours to fully charge the phone from 0 to 100 per cent.
So, once the battery dies, you will need to take a long break before you can start your gaming session again. I wish the phone came with 30W of 33W fast charging support.
The POCO M5 features an FHD+ 6.58-inch IPS LCD display which comes with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels. The IPS panel offers a refresh rate of 90Hz with a peak brightness of 500 nits. The visibility of the display is good for indoor use, but I had a bit of difficulty while using the phone in direct sunlight.
The display quality is on par with any other IPS panel on the market. It offers bright and punchy colours, not as good as an AMOLED panel but good enough for everyday use. The scrolling and navigating through the UI feels very smooth, thanks to the 90Hz refresh rate.
Moreover, it comes with a touch sampling rate of 240Hz which makes the display quite responsive. The icons and texts on the screen were clear and crisp. It comes with Widevine L1 support so you can watch FHD content on Netflix and other OTT apps, however, there’s no HDR support.
I watched a couple of episodes of Jamtara on Netflix and my multimedia experience was really good combined with the loudspeaker (more on that later in the review).
The POCO phones are all about performance and the same goes for the POCO M5. It is powered by a MediaTek Helio G99 paired with up to 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. You can also further expand the RAM by 2GB using internal storage.
The phone can easily run your day-to-day apps like Instagram and WhatsApp and can also handle multitasking. I did not face any lag or shutters while using the phone during the review period. Also, the 90Hz panel makes the overall experience more smooth.
In order to push the phone further, I played a couple of popular games, including Call of Duty Mobile, Asphalt 9 and Apex Legends. All of these games ran smoothly on low to medium settings.
CoD Mobile can go up to Medium graphics and High frame rate settings. The gameplay was smooth with occasional frame drops. I would recommend you to lower the settings for a better gaming experience. It does include Game Turbo 5.0, which enhances phone performance to offer a better gaming experience.
The phone gets a little warm on the backside during long gaming sessions, which is pretty normal. All in all, POCO M5 doesn’t disappoint when it comes to performance. The phone will easily run all your favourite games at playable settings.
The POCO M5 runs on its own custom skin, MIUI 13 which is based on Android 12. MIUI is one of the best skins in the market which offers a number of features and customisation options, and the same goes with this phone.
You can customise themes, wallpapers, and icons per your taste. You can also assign the power button to launch the Google Assistant or camera app with a double tap. There is a nice app drawer which looks very similar to stock android.
Moreover, you can also customise the control centre style in the settings. You also get a privacy protection option in the settings where you can see which apps have what all permissions on your phone.
However, the phone is packed with bloatware like Zili, Snapchat, Amazon, Facebook, Linkedin, Spotify and more. The good thing is that you can uninstall these from the app settings.
There’s no confirmation from POCO about the updates, but you can expect the Android 13 update soon on the phone.
The POCO M5 comes with a single down-firing loudspeaker which offers decent sound quality. The volume gets pretty loud but also starts to distort at a higher level. Not the best sound quality I have heard in this price range.
Thankfully, the phone comes with a 3.5mm audio jack, so just plug in your earphones and get a way better sound quality.
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Talking about connectivity, the POCO M5 comes with 4G connectivity. Yep, no 5G support on this device. POCO has decided to skip 5G for some reason when it’s just about to hit the market. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3 and GPS.
The phone comes with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner which works as expected. It quickly unlocks the phone with a single touch. You can choose between two options on how to unlock using the fingerprint reader: Touch or Press.
POCO M5 is a fantastic phone under 15K which packs a lot for its price. The Helio G99 chipset offers amazing performance combined with the big 5000mAh battery. The phone stands out from the crowd due to its nice design.
Apart from that, it features a decent set of cameras and a vibrant display. There are a few things that POCO could have done a little better. I wished it was an AMOLED panel but the IPS panel also does a good job. The phone only supports 18W of fast charging which takes a bit long to charge the phone.
However, the main highlight of the phone is its powerful performance and it shines in that department. The POCO M5 offers great value for money and is an easy recommendation for those who are looking for a stylish budget gaming smartphone under 15k.