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Poco M5 review: Budget phone with unique design, but no 5G

If you’re looking for a budget smartphone – priced between Rs 10,000 and Rs 15,000 – the truth is that you can’t have everything. If you’re hoping for 5G connectivity and performance, the options are limited, at least for now. This could change in the coming months as 5G connectivity has started rolling out. But for now, companies will continue to offer 4G phones in the segment. Poco M5 is one such phone, which starts at Rs 12,499 and tries to offer performance and interesting design. But it doesn’t have 5G connectivity. So does it still make sense to buy this phone? Here’s our review.

Specifications: 6.58″ FHD+ display 90 Hz refresh rate | MediaTek Helio G99 processor | 4GB or 6GB RAM+ with 64GB or 128GB storage, 1TB microSD support | 50MP camera + 2MP macro camera + 2MP depth camera | 5MP front camera | 5000 mAh battery with 18W fast charge and 22.W charger in the box |

Poco M5 price in India: Rs 12,499 for 4GB RAM option, Rs 14,499 for 6GB RAM

Poco M5 has a large 6.53-inch screen with a Full HD+ resolution. Credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express

Poco M5 review: what’s good?

The Poco M5 may be an ‘affordable’ phone, but it does have a unique design. Instead of going for the same old polycarbonate back, Poco has given this one a look and feel of synthetic leather on the back. It looks very premium and I haven’t been able to see any wear and tear in my use so far. But how this plays out over time I can’t confirm at the moment. Still, the blue-colored Poco M5 looks different from other options in this category, which some users will appreciate. Although I’m not a fan of the gigantic camera island in the back.

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The phone will have a large 6.58-inch full HD+ display with a refresh rate of 90 Hz. The screen is good enough for this segment and works well for gaming using content on OTT apps, as I found out during my use. But yes, the display struggles in bright sunlight and you will have to increase the brightness completely, although it is something expected in this price range. The sound quality is also not bad considering the price of this phone.

Poco M5, Poco M5 review, Poco M5 review price, Poco M5 price in India, Poco M5 specs Poco M5 has a leatherette design on the back, which looks very stylish. Credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express

But more than the design and screen, what impresses the phone is the performance. The Poco M5 delivers stable and reliable everyday performance thanks to the Mediatek Helio G99 chipset. The variant I have for review comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Playing games like Asphalt 9, Sky, Mars was no problem for the device and I also faced noticeable heating. The phone also handles day-to-day performance without a hitch, whether it’s keeping multiple tabs open in Chrome or switching between different apps.

Poco M5, Poco M5 review, Poco M5 review price, Poco M5 price in India, Poco M5 specs The phone comes with MIUI 13 and the Poco launcher based on Android 12. Credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express

The other advantage of the Poco M5 is the onboard battery. The phone has a 5000 mAh battery – a number that has become standard for many devices these days – and you can be assured that the phone will easily last all day, even with heavy use. However, Poco has limited charging to 18W, although it comes with a 22.5W charger in the box. Prepare to set aside about two hours to fully charge this device to 100 percent.

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The phone comes with its own Poco launcher based on MIUI 13 for the software. It runs on Android 12. As with all MIUI 13 phones, you will have to live with notifications and warnings from unnecessary apps. I usually disable these annoying notifications, especially from GetApps.

Poco M5, Poco M5 review, Poco M5 review price, Poco M5 price in India, Poco M5 specs A camera sample taken from the Poco M5. Credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express
Poco M5, Poco M5 review, Poco M5 review price, Poco M5 price in India, Poco M5 specs With these pink flowers, the colors seemed a bit faded. Credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express
Poco M5, Poco M5 review, Poco M5 review price, Poco M5 price in India, Poco M5 specs A low light sample taken of the Poco M5. Credit: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express

Poco M5 review: what could be better?

What I wasn’t too impressed with was the camera on the Poco M5. Yes, it performs well for a budget phone, but frankly, the standard has improved in the budget category as well. The camera was a little slow to focus at times and some colors were just faded. For example, the pink flowers are paler than the actual color. This is not to say that the camera offers terrible results. The photos contain details, including those taken in low light using night mode. But the camera aspect on the Poco M5 is nothing that stands out in this category.

Poco M5 review: should you consider it?

If your budget is strictly under Rs 15,000 and you want something that looks a little different then the Poco M5 is definitely an option to consider. And considering some discount offers this season, in some cases you can get it for Rs 10,000 which may be more attractive for some users. The phone offers acceptable performance and also has a long battery life. However, if you want a more future-proof phone, it might make more sense to wait and see what options arrive in the coming months. It is likely that by then more 5G-enabled phones will make their way to the market in this price segment, which could be a more prudent purchase.

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