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POCO X4 Pro 5G review: The best 5G phone in 2022 so far?

We’ve talked many times over the past few years about the value we should get in the mid-range Android smartphone space.

Whether it’s a result of Huawei’s struggles, technology divestment, or just consumers wanting more bang for their buck, this has never been a better time to be in the market for a mid-range Android phone.

There are now a number of players in this space, with the likes of Oppo, Xiaomi and Vivo all vying for significant market share and this coveted third-party vendor domestically. There are also a few other smaller, or less well-known, companies looking to make their mark, which brings us to POCO.

For those who are not familiar with POCO, it falls under the Xiaomi banner and is one of the brands that the company has established in regions such as India, and more recently in SA. Our first encounter with a POCO device came last year with the M3 Pro 5G, which surprised us in terms of its performance and demonstrated the fact that this brand was definitely one that should remain on our radar.

The latest devices that will be available in South Africa include the POCO X4 Pro 5G.

We’ve recently been testing the device over the past couple of weeks to see if it has the potential to surprise too, along with determining if it’s good value for money and how it compares to the growing list of 5G-enabled Android phones on the market right now.

This is what we learned.

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Nice combination

We start with the design and in recent years Xiaomi has made a real knack for making inexpensive devices that look and feel premium. POCO seems to be no different if the X4 Pro 5G is anything to go by.

It’s particularly sleek and subtle in our review unit’s Laser Black color option, with the combination of glass and metal also very handsome as the black frame and black back fade into one monolithic-looking device.

We were specifically impressed with the glass back cover, which is a bit of a magnet for fingerprint smudges, but when clean looks great. It is really a pity that it has to be covered, with a generic clear plastic cover included in the box.

Sticking to the back, the camera housing is quite large, stretching across most of the phone’s width, but we prefer it over the usual housings seen on smartphones these days.

Shift forward, and things are equally impressive. We’re real fans of the screen-to-body ratio, as there are slim bezels on all four sides of the phone and a punch-hole for the selfie camera, which makes things more immersive while viewing content on the 6.67 FullHD+ AMOLED (2400 x 1080) screen.

Brightness is strong too, even at low settings, with a 120Hz refresh rate (up to) keeping things smooth too.

As such, the full suite on offer here is made all the more surprising given that this phone retails for the R7k, and yet it looks like a device that should cost twice as much.

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above its weight

Moving on to performance now, the X4 Pro 5G features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 octa-core processor that delivers the aforementioned 5G connectivity, along with keeping things ticking nicely thanks to its 8GB of RAM.

To that end, apps load quickly, multitasking is handled with ease and navigation through settings is a snap. We have to mention that the phone did get a little warm during the benchmarking, but it didn’t seem to strain in any way, so that’s more likely due to the glass back cover than anything else.

In terms of actual benchmarking, the POCO X4 Pro 5G performed well, coming very close to the scores of a phone twice its price in the form of the Oppo Reno7 5G. On this front, it achieved a single-core and multi-core score of 695 and 1,982, respectively, on GeekBench.

We try not to place too much weight on benchmark results, but the fact that the X4 Pro 5G nearly matches the much more expensive hardware can be a testament to the value for money on offer here.

Going back to the back of the phone, the camera performance is very strong. As an all-around shooter, the X4 Pro 5G is well-equipped, with a large 108MP lens on offer when you want to capture more detailed shots or fine-tune for editing after the fact.

However, this isn’t the default setting, and it’s triggered by swiping into Pro mode within the Camera app.

When the 8MP wide-angle lens is in use, its photos are also solid, especially when shooting outdoors. For low-light photography, the Pro mode and its 108MP lens may prove to be the best option and fortunately there is no lag when using this mode, which can sometimes be an issue on other devices with a similar feature.

Final verdict

At the R6 999, you’d really struggle to find a mid-range 5G phone that packs this much, with the device’s performance on par with phones that are easily more expensive.

The phrase “value for money” is pegged a lot, especially really, but in this case it applies to the latest offerings from POCO. While the brand is a relative newcomer looking to build its reputation, phones like this will certainly help in that department.

If you are willing to take a chance on a lesser known brand domestically and are in the market for a 5G Android smartphone, the POCO X4 Pro 5G comes highly recommended.

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