June 1, 2023

Poco F5 and F5 Pro Review: Just Good

Poco F5 and F5 Pro Review: Just Good

My F5 Pro is finished in a dull white, but it also comes in black. The F5 has a marbled effect in white, and adds blue as an option. My black model has an almost carbon fiber effect with diagonal lines, but these are all conservative looking phones. Eventually Gorilla Glass 5 gets old. You should probably use the included clear case, especially since the phones are only IP53 rated. Rain is fine, but submersion will probably kill them.

Take My Photo

The triple lens cameras in the F5 and F5 Pro are identical and consist of a 64-megapixel main lens, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide and a 2-megapixel macro lens. You also get a 16-megapixel selfie camera in each phone, and while you can dig into settings to take a full 64-megapixel shot, I don’t recommend it. Likewise, for extreme close-ups, you might dig into the menu to find the macro option, but you can expect woefully inferior shots.

The camera has no problems turning out shareable photos in good lighting, and the selfie camera is good. The portrait mode on the main and selfie lens struggles with edges and stray hairs, but it produces a decent bokeh effect. The main camera has a night mode that does a passable job, but noise inevitably creeps in the darker it gets. It cannot match something like Google’s Pixel.

The only difference on the spec sheet is that the Pro can record video in 8K, while the F5 is limited to 4K. However, the 8K video I recorded for testing was very choppy. Shooting 4K at 30fps, on the other hand, was impressively smooth, and both phones have optical image stabilization (OIS), so you don’t have to worry about shaky hands.

Courtesy of Simon Hill

Redundant software

Xiaomi packs its version of standard apps, including a browser, gallery, video, security app and a few more. It also bundles an odd variety of third-party apps and games on Poco phones. I’m not a fan. Who wants Facebook or Block puzzle guardian pre-installed? The privacy policy you have to accept to use Xiaomi’s apps is unpleasant, but aside from data collection concerns, the apps are inferior to Google’s versions. The good news is that you can uninstall or ignore most of the bloatware.

Unfortunately, getting rid of MIUI is not that easy. Upgrading from an older phone or another Xiaomi model might not be a big deal, but coming from a Pixel, Xiaomi’s user interface feels awfully busy. There are some odd differences that make navigation errors all too common. It’s annoying to swipe left for notifications and right for quick settings. These quirks add friction, and because your phone is probably the device you use the most, the frustration accumulates.

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