POCO F4 is available globally now. This is an interesting phone in the POCO lineup for various reasons. We will get into those reasons in detail in the review. So let’s get the new POCO F4 out of the box and see how this smartphone stacks up against the competition.
Unboxing the POCO F4
We have the black outer box with yellow text. Once you get past the outer box though, things look pretty much the same as last year. You get a yellow insert with a clear TPU case, SIM tool, and paperwork. This is followed by the POCO F4 smartphone, a beefier 67W fast charging brick, and a hefty USB-C charging cable.
POCO F4 hardware design is mostly iterative in a good way
Poco F4 is an interesting device in the 2022 POCO smartphone lineup. The hardware design derives inspiration from quite a few different POCO/Xiaomi devices. Perhaps the biggest influence is the excellent Redmi Note 11 Pro series. Although it would have been nice if POCO kept the matte finish from the Redmi instead of the shiny glossy back on my review unit. It is going to be extremely difficult to keep the F4 free of fingerprints and smudges. The clear TPU case in the box helps a bit. However, the case itself is quite prone to smudging.
The camera island on the rear has a somewhat muted personality. I think a design based on the Xiaomi 12 series would have looked great here. Similar to what we see on the POCO X4 GT.
The rest of the device is pretty similar to what we see on other modern smartphones. The fast and responsive fingerprint scanner is integrated into the power button on the right-hand side rail. The bottom rail has a dual-SIM tray slot, microphone, USB-C port, and speaker grille. On the top, we get a second microphone, IR blaster, and a second speaker grille.
Up front, the excellent 6.7-inch AMOLED display has smaller bezels than the POCO F3, and the chin at the bottom is almost flagship grade. The POCO F4 also has one of the smallest hole punch cutouts (2.76 mm) for the selfie camera (this is also a carryover by the way) which helps in providing an immersive visual experience.
Display on the POCO F4 is a carryover
POCO F4 has a 6.67″ display panel with a 1080×2400 pixel resolution (~395 ppi) and a 20:9 aspect ratio. With ever so slightly thinner bezels than last year, POCO now claims an 86.6% screen-to-body ratio versus 85.9% on last year’s POCO F3.
From a specs perspective, this AMOLED display has 100% DCI-P3 wide color gamut, and TrueColor tuning. It also has built-in support for Dolby Vision and comes with an HDR 10+ certification. During my daily use, I found the screen to be bright and fairly color accurate in most lighting conditions. In the bright outdoor sun, the colors did get washed out a bit but still, it was easy to use the device thanks to a peak brightness of 1300 nits.
Regarding screen refresh rate, we still get 120Hz along with an even higher 360Hz touch sampling rate. Also MIUI allows you to toggle the screen refresh rate between 60 Hz, 90Hz and 120Hz which may come in handy during low battery situations. Overall though you will be quite happy with the display on the POCO F4 for gaming and streaming along with a very smooth UI experience with all these options in the display settings.
Performance is great even though the processor is unchanged from last year
POCO F4 is powered by the Snapdragon 870 processor same as the POCO F3 from last year. Granted this is now an almost three-year-old chip but thankfully it still packs quite a wallop. Geekbench single and multi-core scores are excellent.
And unless you want the absolute latest and greatest, the performance from this chip is good enough for even the most demanding games. There is a new 7-layer graphite heat dissipation heat sink along with a large vapor chamber to keep things cool and humming along for demanding performance situations like playing Genshin Impact.
For general everyday streaming, gaming, and browsing you shouldn’t see any hiccups whatsoever. There’s 6GB RAM onboard and you can bump that up to 8GB via the dynamic RAM feature in MIUI.
Software experience is fast and fluid on MIUI 13
The POCO F4 has the exact same software as the higher-end POCO F4 GT. So from a software perspective, the only thing that is different is security patch on the newer device is more recent. Otherwise, it is the same MIUI 13 that we have reviewed on a lot of POCO devices in the last 6-8 months here at AndroidHeadlines. Our review unit of the POCO F4 has MIUI 13 which is running on Android 12 with the July 2022 security update.
Battery life is good enough for a full day
POCO F4 packs almost the same size battery as before. But this year we get a fairly big bump in the charging wattage of the brick. With the 67W charging brick in the box you can get from zero to 100% charge in about 40 minutes. I think the play here is that a 20-minute charge will get you almost 70% from zero which should be good for a day of regular use. And if there’s some medium to heavy gaming involved then use the fast charger to top up quickly.
In my use case, I was able to consistently get around 5 hours of Screen-on-Time but your mileage may vary. This phone is definitely not going to last for two days even for light users. So to preserve battery longevity it is best to charge the device overnight with the adaptive charging feature turned on.
POCO F4 Camera performance
POCO F4 has a triple camera module on the rear which is the same as before. But there is one big new feature this year and that is a brand new 64MP main camera with OIS. Also, the macro camera gets a downgrade to a basic 2MP and the 8MP ultrawide camera is a carryover from last year. On the front is a 20MP Sony IMX596 selfie camera with a fixed focus which is a slight change from last year.
The MIUI camera app is virtually unchanged and provides easy access to the modes you are likely to use the most. The macro mode can be accessed from the top hamburger menu.
Main camera has excellent all-round performance
Photos from the main camera have an excellent dynamic range in varying lighting conditions. They also have good contrast and color (albeit a bit punchy on the smartphone screen). Detail is also quite good for the most part and there isn’t a lot of oversharpening which may be good or bad depending on the situation.
Portrait mode is good but you can definitely tell that the blur is artificial. On the flip side, the 2X telephoto is just a digital zoom and it is not that great.
Night-time pictures are excellent from the main camera with manual and auto night mode. Colors are fairly accurate, contrast is good, dynamic range is above average, noise is minimal and there’s a reasonable amount of detail.
Ultrawide and selfie cameras are great during daytime
The daytime ultrawide pictures are really good in this category. Color, contrast, and white balance are what your eyes see. Dynamic range is again just as good as the main camera in daylight. There is also a good amount of detail and the quality of sharpening is a touch better than the main camera. However, night-time performance is just average even with the Night mode turned on by default.
Selfie camera produces great results in terms of color, white balance, and dynamic range. The resolved detail is quite acceptable and the image processing algorithm doesn’t go crazy with the sharpening. Portraits however look mediocre and the blur is very artificial and not that accurate in terms of edge detection.
Audio and Connectivity Impressions
The dual audio speakers are a carryover from last year. The speakers have Hi-Res audio certification along with Dolby Atmos support. For the most part, the speakers sound quite good. The only thing that is noticeable is that the bass isn’t as good as the flagship devices. Audio quality is excellent via Bluetooth though so you can always switch to headphones for better audio output.
The POCO F4 has all the connectivity options one wants in a modern smartphone. And since it is a Xiaomi device it even packs in an IR blaster for controlling your TV. My review unit got 5G and LTE+ consistently here in SoCal on the T-Mobile network. Data speeds for streaming were comparable to what I get on my daily driver which is currently a Pixel 5.
With the POCO F4 you get the 5G/LTE data connectivity, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.3. And on top of these, you also get Cast, Mi Share, Nearby Share, IR blaster, and NFC because Xiaomi packs all of their devices with pretty much every connectivity option out there. And all these options are easy to access from the quick settings menu which is great. I also like the integration between these hardware features to the excellent options that MIUI provides from a software perspective.
Is POCO F4 the right smartphone for you?
As I said earlier in the review, the POCO F4 is an interesting device in the POCO lineup for this year. It is basically the same device as the POCO F3 with a few changes. The exterior of the phone is inspired by the Redmi Note 11 Pro series. The only new thing on the exterior is the rear triple camera module and I must say its design is quite uninspiring.
The display, battery, speakers, and processor are unchanged from last year. You do get a beefier 67W charging brick which improves the charging times quite a bit.
There are a few changes in the camera department, some good and some bad. Let’s start with the good – the main camera is now 64MP with OIS and produces great overall results. The selfie camera is also slightly improved even though it is still 20MP. The macro camera gets a downgrade to 2MP and is basically just there so POCO can claim a triple camera setup. The 8MP ultrawide camera is the same as last year.
POCO F4 does check all the boxes for a great smartphone. The price is also quite good at around €350 for the base version. For those coming from two or three-year-old devices, the POCO F4 is an excellent choice. For those folks who have a POCO F3 and are wanting to upgrade, I say wait a bit longer or shop around.