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Xiaomi Poco F4 review: Just shy of perfection

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £379
inc VAT

While not a massive improvement on its predecessor, the Xiaomi Poco F4 is still a killer phone at a bargain price


  • Gorgeous 120Hz AMOLED display
  • Impressive performance
  • 67W fast charging


  • Battery life takes a minor hit
  • No microSD slot or 3.5mm jack
  • Fingerprint magnet

The Xiaomi Poco F4 is another affordable handset from a brand that has consistently impressed us with its mid-range smartphones. Its predecessor, the Poco F3, earned a five-star best buy award last year, leaving some pretty big shoes to fill.

READ NEXT: These are the best mid-range smartphones

Though it’s more of a victory lap than a true evolution, the new Xiaomi Poco F4 is still a remarkable and affordable phone that once again proves you don’t need to spend upwards of £600 to get flagship functionality.

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Xiaomi Poco F4 review: What you need to know

The Xiaomi Poco F4 uses the same Snapdragon 870 processor as the Poco F3, backed up by 6/8GB of RAM and 128/256GB of internal storage. While not an upgrade, this chipset still holds its own, remaining competitive with other similarly priced phones released this year.

Compared to its predecessor, the Poco F4’s build is more of a tweak than an overhaul, shedding a millimetre here and there for its 163 x 76 x 7.7mm dimensions, and weighing in one gram lighter than the F3, at 195g. The Poco F4 still has a lot to offer elsewhere, too, with a 120Hz AMOLED display, an improved 64MP main camera and a nippy 67W fast charger.

The operating system runs on Android 12, with Xiaomi’s own MIUI 13 plastered over the top. Offering plenty of customisation options and avoiding the cluttered UI or excessive bloatware that plague some other OS skins, this is an accessible and user-friendly experience.

Xiaomi Poco F4 review: Price and competition

There are two models of the Xiaomi Poco F4 available in the UK. The 128GB version tested here comes with 6GB of RAM and retails for £379, while the 256GB model with 8GB of RAM costs £429.

The biggest challenge facing the Xiaomi Poco F4 is justifying why you should buy it above the 128GB Poco F3, which can currently be had for £310. For the lower asking price, you’re getting similar performance and battery life, but the main camera is of a lower quality, charging speeds aren’t as fast and you’ll miss out on features such as Dolby Vision HDR.

Outside of Xiaomi’s own lineup, there’s still a wealth of competition in the sub-£400 phone market: the OnePlus Nord 2T 5G starts at £369 and offers outstanding battery life, the excellent cameras of Google’s Pixel 6a are just a bit pricier at £399, and the Motorola Moto G200 delivers a whole lot of power for £400.

Xiaomi Poco F4 review: Design and key features

It almost feels played out to say that budget and mid-range phones are no longer the sole refuge of chunky, unappealing designs, with all but the very cheapest offering the same sleek aesthetics as many high-end models. Available in Night Black, Nebula Green and Moonlight Silver, the Poco F4 is fitted with a large 6.67in display, bordered by minuscule bezels and covered with a protective layer of Gorilla Glass 5. A hole punch notch sits centrally along the top of the screen, housing the selfie camera.

The rear panel is covered by a shiny glass panel, which is certainly attractive and feels suitably premium but is also a fingerprint magnet, so prepare to be wiping it clean constantly. The rectangular camera module sits in the top-left corner, protruding a couple of millimetres from the surface. This can lead to some wobbling or sliding when you place the phone on a flat surface, but compatible cases will smooth the back out if this bothers you.

User-friendly features are something of a mixed bag here: you’ve got a fingerprint sensor built into the power button on the right-hand side, an efficient face unlock feature, stereo speakers and dual-SIM support. That SIM intake tray doesn’t feature a microSD card slot, however, nor is there a 3.5mm headphone jack. The phone is rated IP53, certifying it as offering limited protection against dust ingress and sprays of water from above.

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Xiaomi Poco F4 review: Display

The trend seems to be for mid-range phones to prioritise the display above most other aspects, and this certainly rings true with the Poco F4. The 6.67in 2,400 x 1,080 panel offers the effectively perfect contrast and black levels that define AMOLED screens, as well as a slick 120Hz refresh rate. This is off by default to preserve the battery, but you can easily switch it on in the settings to make all your scrolling and gaming silky smooth.

There are three colour modes to choose from: Original, Saturated and Vivid. While Vivid is the recommended and default setting, colour purists will want to switch to the Original mode. We measured an sRGB gamut of 94% and a volume of 94.5% on this setting, which translates to a wide range of colours produced with terrific accuracy. The screen also holds up well in both indoor and outdoor use, hitting a peak brightness of 482cd/m² during testing.

In addition to the HDR10+ offered by the Poco F3, the Poco F4 adds Dolby Vision support, giving you a broader range of HDR content to enjoy. In tandem with the powerful Dolby Atmos-compatible speakers, these credentials make the Poco F4 an excellent choice for streaming. Firing up Our Planet on Netflix to test it out, I found David Attenborough’s dulcet tones to be suitably soothing, and I’ve honestly never seen a penguin look better.

READ NEXT: Check out more of our favourite Android phones

Xiaomi Poco F4 review: Performance and battery life

Beneath the screen the Xiaomi Poco F4 is powered by an octa-core 3.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 5G processor, backed by either 6 or 8GB of RAM. This is exactly the same setup that was present in the Poco F3, so it’s no surprise that the two achieve nearly identical CPU benchmark scores.

While a bump in raw power would have been appreciated, the performance here is still decent, with around 20% gains on the OnePlus Nord 2T in the multicore tests and roughly a 13% edge on the Google Pixel 6a. The Poco F4 even manages to compete with the higher-tier Snapdragon 888 Plus chipset that powers the Motorola Moto G200.

More impressive is that the Poco F4 proved to be the best choice from the comparators when it comes to gaming, with an outstanding result of 114fps in the GFXBench Manhattan 3 onscreen test, where none of the others made it into triple figures. Offscreen results also saw an impressive showing of 140fps – a figure that only the Google Pixel 6a even comes close to. The Poco F4 easily handled any game I threw at it, smoothly capturing everything from the fast-paced racing action of Asphalt 9: Legends to the simple delights of Candy Crush Saga.

The results of our standard battery rundown test are less favourable for the Poco F4, serving up the lowest result out of this selection and coming in roughly 10% less than its predecessor. To be clear, a score of over 19 hours isn’t bad by any stretch – you’ll happily get two days of moderate use out of it – but when most new iterations improve upon the battery life, this two-hour downgrade is still disappointing.

Despite falling to the rear of the pack in overall stamina, the Poco F4 has a trick up its sleeve in the form of a 67W fast charger. More than doubling the 33W charger that came with the Poco F3, this can take the Poco F4’s battery from empty to full in just 38 minutes. While this exact figure can’t be guaranteed, anything in that ballpark is still deeply impressive and helps to make up for the slight hit in overall stamina.

Xiaomi Poco F4 review: Cameras

The camera array is another area in which specs have been jiggled around slightly from the previous model. Where the Poco F3 offered a 48MP main camera paired with an 8MP ultrawide and a 5MP macro lens, the F4 has cut back the latter to 2MP (f/2.4), kept the 8MP (f/2.2) ultrawide as is, and thrown the extra oomph into a 64MP (f/1.8) main lens.

For me, this distribution is preferable, as extra lenses such as macro and ultrawide are often just gimmicky additions on budget and mid-range phones. That attention is better served going into the main attraction, and it’s certainly paid off here. The colours in the sky and leaves are vivid without dipping into oversaturation territory, the contrast in the shadows of the trees is effective and there’s a huge amount of detail in the mansion’s brickwork and window frames.

Even after dark, the camera holds up well. The night mode effectively brightened the moonlit scene, keeping the sky reasonably free of noise and showing the glow of the moon and the planet without any obnoxious lens flares.

Though the Poco F4 features a 10x digital zoom, there’s little reason to magnify that much, as even the 3x zoom loses quite a lot of detail. Below, you can see the wire mesh that sits over the facade but the intricacies of the stonework are smoothed out somewhat. It will do in a pinch, but nine times out of ten you’ll be better off just moving closer to your subject.

As expected, the ultrawide camera feels largely tacked on, expanding the scope but sacrificing some of the detail and vibrancy. The macro camera downgrade isn’t much of a loss, either: the blurred background is excessively noisy, but the foreground is acceptable enough, even if this camera-shy bee didn’t sit still.

The 20MP f/2.5 selfie camera is another returning feature from the Poco F3 and the function is largely the same. Portrait mode slaps an effective background blur behind the subject, and the extended range of beautification filters offers nips and tucks for those who want to enhance their selfie game.

Video sees a minor upgrade over the Poco F3, and is now able to capture 4K footage at up to 60fps. The option is once again buried in the UI, however, tucked away in the top-right menu. The footage is suitably fluid, retaining a decent amount of detail in good lighting conditions, though the optical stabilisation could do with tightening.

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Xiaomi Poco F4 review: Verdict

All told, this is an extremely impressive follow-up to an already excellent phone. We don’t see the kind of leaps in performance or battery life that I would have liked but the addition of Dolby Vision, the upgraded 64MP main camera and the lightning-quick 67W fast charger more than make up for these deficiencies.

Add to this the inclusion of 5G connectivity and the slick 120Hz AMOLED display, as well as some outstanding gaming performance, and the Xiaomi Poco F4 is an absolute bargain at this price.

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