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Xiaomi POCO X4 Pro
Retail price: £259.00
What we like
What we don't like
Xiaomi POCO X4 Pro
Former Xiaomi sub-brand POCO launched two phones as part of MWC 2022, one of which being the POCO X4 Pro. This is a higher-end but still budget-focused model, ticking plenty of boxes for a modern mid-range 5G phone. Is it more than just a solid specs sheet, though? Find out in our POCO X4 Pro review.
What you need to know about the POCO X4 Pro
- POCO X4 Pro (6GB/128GB): £259 / €299
- POCO X4 Pro (8GB/256GB): £299 / €349
When you look at the name, the POCO X4 Pro seems like a follow-up to 2021’s POCO X3 Pro, but the truth is that this is a rebranded Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G with a tweaked design. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the X3 Pro was a one-trick pony offering plenty of horsepower via the Snapdragon 860 SoC but little else.
Meanwhile, the X4 Pro sacrifices some horsepower but gains plenty more features in exchange, such as a 120Hz OLED screen, 67W wired charging, and a 108MP main camera.
Poco’s latest phone starts at €299 (~$335) in Europe for the 6GB/128GB variant and £259 in the UK. It’s available in Laser Blue, Laser Black, and POCO Yellow colorways. Despite being priced in US dollars at launch, the phone isn’t officially available in North America.
The POCO X4 Pro shares 99% of its DNA with the Redmi Note 11 series, and you can definitely see this shared heritage despite the tweaked design. We still see the Redmi phone’s pleasantly flat edges here, as well as the same fundamental rear lens layout.
But POCO has introduced a massive camera housing that stretches from the left of the plastic rear cover all the way to the right. This is unnecessary for the most part, and we could do without the POCO branding in the housing. Still, it does mean that the phone doesn’t wobble when you’re tapping on the screen while it’s on a flat surface. The phone also features IP53 splash resistance, which is becoming increasingly common on budget phones from Xiaomi’s increasingly confusing supply chain, but is still appreciated at this price point nonetheless.
Switch to the front, and you’ll find perhaps the best thing about the POCO X4 Pro: a 6.67-inch FHD+ 120Hz OLED screen (with Gorilla Glass 5). The panel offers some rich colors, those inky blacks, and gets bright when in direct sunlight outdoors. The 120Hz refresh rate is also adaptive too, albeit only switching to 60Hz rather than anything lower to preserve battery. Nevertheless, it’s certainly one of the best screens I’ve used on a budget phone.
Those looking for power user extras like microSD expansion, a headphone jack, and an IR blaster will be happy here too. You also get dual stereo speakers that offer plenty of volume and well-balanced audio. A fast, accurate side-mounted fingerprint reader is the icing on that lovely I/O cake.
The great screen and welcome extras don’t come at the expense of battery life, though, as the phone offers a 5,000mAh battery that will easily deliver one and a half days of heavy usage. In fact, we got two days of regular usage — using Telegram, Reddit, playing some games, a bit of web browsing — out of the POCO X4 Pro, along with seven and a half hours of screen-on time. This endurance was achieved at an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate as well, so there’s still headroom for more battery life.
Once you’ve exhausted the battery, you’ll be glad to know that the 67W wired charging took 58 minutes to hit the 100% mark. That’s pretty fast, but well below POCO’s claim of 41 minutes. Nevertheless, the inclusion of the 67W charger means you won’t have to pay extra for the very top speeds.
Poco’s phone also offers a 108MP main camera, and it’s a good shooter for the money, although it’s unsurprisingly a long way off flagship sensors. The camera generally produces detailed, pixel-binned 12MP shots during the day, offering decent dynamic range and generally keeping purple fringing to a minimum in most conditions.
The POCO X4 Pro's 108MP camera is good for the price.
The 108MP mode only makes a difference in broad daylight as any other environment (indoors, night-time, dusk) results in a noticeably noisier image than the 12MP mode. In saying so, I would’ve liked to see a decent 48MP or 50MP main camera here paired with optical image stabilization, but the current main camera still punches above its weight overall.
You also get a decent variety of modes and features in the Camera app, such as a night mode, portrait mode, super macro option, tilt-shift, a timed burst option, slow-motion, panorama, dual video, and a long exposure mode complete with long exposure profiles for crowds, light trails, astrophotography, and more.
Check out: The best budget camera phones
It’s a pretty handy suite for mobile photographers on a budget
What’s not so good?
We took umbrage with the otherwise excellent POCO F3 last year due to its buggy software that it borrows from Xiaomi. The latter took action by releasing MIUI 12.5 Enhanced Edition for various phones to squash bugs and announcing an internal group to address MIUI issues. Unfortunately, the POCO X4 Pro shows that MIUI is still a hit-and-miss experience that varies wildly with each new device.
Some of the bugs I encountered during the review process include the likes of YouTube Music and Pocket Casts audio cutting out for no reason at random, issues related to the Camera app (occasionally capturing thumbnail-sized images in 108MP/2x modes or glitched 108MP previews in the Gallery app), and charging-related issues (such as the screen staying on or taking ages to charge past 95%).
We did get an MIUI update during the review process that fixed the charging issues, but we still ran into the occasional camera glitches and audio issues. POCO told Android Authority that it didn’t hear of any similar bugs on production units, but it’s still something we faced all the same. Toss in quite a bit of bloatware (including several games, Facebook, Spotify, and Netflix), and the software is indeed the weakest link. It must be said that this bloatware can thankfully be removed, with the disappointing exception of Facebook’s system apps. Another consolation is that I haven’t seen ads on this device, but this might not be the case in your region.
What makes matters worse is that the phone ships with MIUI 13 atop Android 11 rather than Android 12. The latest Android update has been available for almost six months now, so that’s doubly disappointing. POCO also hasn’t disclosed a specific update policy (we’ve asked POCO and will update if we get a response). It typically sticks to two OS updates, though based on the brand’s track record you shouldn’t expect those to be particularly timely. For context, it took just under five months for the POCO X3 Pro to be upgraded to Android 12 following the latter’s rollout.
The POCO X4 Pro has more than its fair share of bugs.
While the main camera is certainly a decent shooter in good lighting, things aren’t as great in low light. You’ll see quite a bit of noise in dark areas of an image when pixel-peeping. The camera also makes its budget trappings known at night as the noise ramps up in a big way, though the night mode can deliver noticeably better results.
The rest of the camera experience isn’t amazing either. POCO’s 8MP ultrawide camera offers inconsistent colors compared to the main camera, a lack of detail, soft corners, and purple fringing. The ultrawide also displayed ghosting artifacts with fast-moving subjects (see the last image in the gallery), likely due to the HDR algorithm not capturing each frame quickly enough. The 2MP macro lens is another budget-tier addition that’s too low-res for decent close-up shots. Switch to the front, and the 16MP selfie camera is budget-tier too. Noise is a problem even in bright outdoor conditions, although the portrait mode is pretty solid and has no massive depth estimation issues.
One bizarre omission is the lack of a 1080p/60fps video recording mode, with the phone topping out at 1080p/30fps. That’s unacceptable in this day and age, especially when POCO’s own M4 Pro 5G and many other budget phones offer the option. There’s no 4K recording option here either, but that’s more understandable at this price point.
The POCO X4 Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 695 5G SoC, and it’s not going to win any awards for speed. The processor generally handled everyday tasks just fine, such as scrolling, web browsing, swiping through menus, and launching apps. But there were a few instances where its lack of grunt (or POCO’s lack of optimization) made itself known, such as taking multiple 108MP images or the occasional bout of judder when switching between apps. You can play Genshin Impact pretty smoothly at low settings, while Call of Duty Mobile runs smoothly at higher settings. But this isn’t the phone to get if you want to play the latest games on high detail settings or indulge in some emulation. Still, it’s an understandable trade-off in this segment.
POCO X4 Pro camera samples
POCO X4 Pro specs
|POCO X4 Pro 5G|
120Hz refresh rate
360Hz touch sampling rate
Qualcomm Snapdragon 695
MicroSD card slot
3.5mm headphone jack
MIUI 13 for POCO
IP53 splash resistance
Dimensions and weight
164.19 x 76.1 x 8.12mm
POCO X4 Pro review: Should I buy it?
The POCO X4 Pro is a successor in name only to the POCO X3 Pro, and after mulling it over, this is a good thing. The prior device prioritized horsepower above everything else, while the new phone cuts back in this regard for a stronger overall package on paper.
The result is one of the better smartphones in the sub-£300 price bracket, bringing a good main camera for the price, great speakers, a top-class screen experience, and a long-lasting battery. A familiar POCO issue does rear its head, though, in the lack of polish in its version of MIUI. Bloatware, disappointing secondary cameras, and middling performance also take some of the shine away.
The POCO X4 Pro brings a lot to the table for just €299, standing out from the likes of Samsung and OnePlus.
Nevertheless, the POCO X4 Pro stacks up well to the OnePlus Nord CE 2 (€349), offering a higher refresh rate panel, stereo speakers, a bigger battery, and an IP53 rating. The OnePlus device does, however, have an in-display fingerprint sensor (a debatable advantage, really) and 4K recording. Another alternative at a similar price point is the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G ($279), matching the POCO phone’s 5,000mAh battery, offering a better macro camera, and promising a much better update policy. But it lags behind the X4 Pro in virtually every other category, including charging speed, the screen, and speakers.
Got a little extra cash to spend on your upgrade? Then the Galaxy A52s (€449) is where it’s at. Samsung’s mid-ranger stands out by offering an IP67 rating, a 120Hz OLED screen, great rear cameras, and a powerful chipset. Then there’s the update policy, offering three years of OS upgrades and four years of security patches. But the POCO phone still brings a bigger battery, faster charging, and a headphone jack.
We would definitely recommend the POCO X4 Pro over the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G (£319), however. Both phones are near identical save for some design changes and an even worse selection of video shooting modes on the Redmi. It’s also, bafflingly, more expensive in the UK and the rest of Europe. Put simply: just buy the POCO.
Top POCO X4 Pro questions and answers
Yes, the POCO X4 Pro has expandable storage via a hybrid SIM slot.
Yes, the phone allows you to “expand” your RAM with up to 3GB of virtual memory from your storage.
Yes, the POCO X4 Pro has NFC.