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Xiaomi Poco X5 review: No Pro, no go?

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £279
inc. VAT (6/128GB)

The Xiaomi Poco X5 makes a couple of telling cuts from the Pro to hit a sub-£300 price point


  • Solid stamina
  • Decent AMOLED display
  • IR blaster still pretty unique


  • Mediocre performance
  • Camera isn’t up to much
  • MIUI still ridden with bloat

Alongside the Xiaomi Poco X5 Pro this year comes the pared back and even more affordable Poco X5. With the Pro model costing quite a bit more than its immediate predecessor, there’s certainly scope for a cheaper alternative here.

But just how much ‘pro’ juice can you squeeze out of this performance-on-a-budget range before it starts to feel like just another cheap phone? That’s what we’re here to investigate.

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Xiaomi Poco X5 review: What you need to know

The Poco X5 bears some comparison to the X5 Pro but makes a couple of noteworthy cuts in order to hit a sub-£300 price point.

Its 6.67in AMOLED display is ostensibly similar, and it has another large 5,000mAh battery. However, the processor is a much less capable Snapdragon 695 (rather than the Snapdragon 778), and the bundled charger is a mere 33W (down from 67W in the Pro).

You also get a cut down camera provision, with a 48MP main sensor replacing the Pro’s eye-catching 108MP equivalent. The 8MP ultrawide and 2MP macro are much the same, however.

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Xiaomi Poco X5 review: Price and competition

Pricing for the Poco X5 starts from £279 for 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There’s also a step-up model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, which costs £319.

In essence, then, the Poco X5 is priced much closer to last year’s Poco X4 Pro, which started at £299, than the Poco X5 Pro, which costs £369 – albeit for a model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

In terms of direct rivals, the Poco X5 is priced similarly to the £299 Realme 9 Pro 5G and the £319 Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G, though both of those are due for replacement, so a direct comparison is perhaps unfair. One phone that’s a little closer in vintage, not to mention specifications, is the Moto G82 5G, which costs £290.

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Xiaomi Poco X5 review: Design and key features

The Poco X5’s design is rather less sharp than its Pro brother, with a softer, rounder feel aided by a dual-curved plastic rear panel. This ensures that it’s comfy to hold, though at the same time it is a little heavier at 189g (vs 181g).

It’s got the same IP53 rating as the Poco X5 Pro, though its display is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which is inferior to the Pro’s Gorilla Glass 5. It definitely feels every inch the affordable phone, albeit a solidly built one. In terms of aesthetics, there’s nothing to compete with the eye-catching yellow-on-black model of the Pro, with my blue Poco X5 review model joined in the ranks by similarly sober black and green options.

Another, more unfortunate omission here is a set of stereo speakers. Unlike the Pro, you’ll have to put up with slightly weedy mono output from a single bottom edge-mounted speaker.

There’s good news on the opposite edge of the phone, where you’ll find both a 3.5mm headphone jack and an IR blaster. Boot up the MI Remote app, and you’ll be able to use the Poco X5 5G as a universal remote control, which is pretty neat.

Xiaomi Poco X5 review: Display

At first glance, Xiaomi appears to have used the same display on the Poco X5 as it has on the Poco X5 Pro. It’s another 6.67in AMOLED with the exact same 2,400 x 1,080 (FHD+) resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. It also benefits from the same 240Hz touch sampling rate, which makes it similarly responsive.

Having put the Poco X5 5G display through its paces with a colorimeter, however, it’s not quite a match for the Pro’s stand-out screen. In the Standard display mode (which is less oversaturated than the default Vivid) it hits an sRGB gamut coverage of 100% against a volume of 107.2%, with a slightly inferior Delta E score of 1.31. Looking at the spec list it lacks the Pro’s 10 bit color depth and Dolby Vision support as well.

Interestingly, the Poco X5 has a better peak brightness of 1,200 cd/m2 with auto brightness switched on. With that setting turned off, however, I recorded a lower maximum brightness of 423 cd/m2.

Still, none of those are bad results by any means, especially for a sub-£300 phone. The inclusion of an AMOLED panel at all in a non-Pro Poco model is reason for celebration, and is by far the best thing about the Poco X5.

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Xiaomi Poco X5 review: Performance and battery life

While the Poco X5 Pro pushes things forward with a speedy Snapdragon 778G processor, the Poco X5 sticks with an older, slower Snapdragon 695.

This isn’t a bad chip by any means. It’s still in common use, even in slightly pricier models like the Honor Magic 5 Lite, as well as the similarly priced Moto G82 5G. It was also used in last year’s Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G.

Still, it means that performance falls well short of the Pro, with a Geekbench 5 multi-core score of 2,010 and a single-core score of 689. That’s similar to other phones that use this chip.

Away from the benchmarks, the Poco X5 feels relatively fluid in the hand, with only a slight pause when unlocking using the side-mounted fingerprint sensor. Home screens and menus scroll by at silky 120Hz, too.

As with the Poco X5 Pro, I can’t bring you any GPU benchmark results, because the phone seems set up to block them. I did put it through its paces with the graphically demanding action-RPG Genshin Impact, however, and switching up to Medium graphical settings yielded playable, if far from stutter-free results.

The Poco X5 comes with a 5,000mAh battery, much like the Pro. These cheaper Xiaomi phones are dependably solid on every day stamina, comfortably lasting a full day of heavy use and well into a second of lighter use.

In the usual Expert Reviews looping video test, the Poco X5 5G lasted 17hrs 26, which is more than two hours short of the Pro model. It’s fine as results go, but it’s not among the best in its class.

Nor is the charging provision, which comes in at a moderate 33W. This will get you from empty to 59% in 30 minutes, which is fine, but doesn’t match older phones like the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G with its 67W charger, which could hit 50% in just 15 minutes.

Xiaomi Poco X5 review: Software

Interestingly, while both the Poco X5 and the Poco X5 Pro run on a (slightly outdated) base of Android 12, only the Pro gives you the latest version of Xiaomi’s custom interface, MIUI 14. The Poco X5 5G is stuck at MIUI 13 at the time of writing.

Not that this makes much of a difference to the experience. This remains a slightly gauche, overly busy custom UI with several overt nods to Apple’s iOS, such as the default split notification pane and the basic look of the Settings menu.

The number of preinstalled apps is excessive, with three web browsers, dedicated apps for the Poco Store and Community, and a whole bunch of throw-away games.

With all that said, MIUI’s two key strengths continue to be its all-round solidity – it’s pretty easy to use once you customise it to your liking – and indeed its inherent customisation potential. Xiaomi’s Themes app grants you access to a whole heap of custom home and lock screens, for example.

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Xiaomi Poco X5 review: Cameras

The Poco X5 has a familiar triple camera set-up, with a 48MP wide camera, an 8MP ultrawide, and a 2MP macro. There are absolutely no surprises in how this setup performs, especially not with the known quantity that is the Snapdragon 695 driving those image processing algorithms.

The usual deal with Poco phones applies: solid shots in good lighting, with reasonably natural colours, a touch of overexposure, and a slight struggle with dynamic range when you attempt to capture scenes containing extremes of light and shade. Then, when the light drops and you activate Night mode, things get very noisy and indistinct, thanks to the combination of a small sensor, no OIS, and limited image processing power.

The drop off in quality for the 8MP ultrawide is pretty huge, with a shortfall in fine detail and a much muddier tone than the main sensor. Zooming in with 2x shots involves cropping in on that main sensor, which results in a fairly even tone but a drop in sharpness. Macro shots are, of course, a waste of time with such a weedy 2MP sensor.

The 13MP selfie camera isn’t the worst I’ve used. Sure, it smudges skin tones somewhat, and shots can look a little flat, but the colours are reasonably vibrant and Selfie Portrait shots leave the edges reasonably sharp. Just drop that awful Beautify effect right down, unless you want to look like a mannequin.

All in all, I’d just about label the Poco X5 camera setup as ‘fine for the money’, as is often the conclusion with Poco phone cameras. But that somewhat creaky crutch is growing harder to lean on, with several £400 (and below) phones now producing excellent shots from their main sensors. Smartphones like the Pixel 6a and Realme 9 Pro Plus capture way better images for not a lot more money.

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Xiaomi Poco X5 review: Verdict

The Poco X5 is an affordable phone with one stand-out component – a decent AMOLED display. That provision shouldn’t be underestimated, as it makes everyday interaction with the phone feel more premium.

However, the phone has little of note to offer elsewhere. Its design is pedestrian, its performance is mediocre, its battery life is solid but unspectacular, and its camera system has all-too-predictable limitations.

All in all, the Poco X5 is a noticeably inferior phone to its brother, the Poco X5 Pro 5G, despite not costing all that much less money. Screen aside, it feels like a phone that’s treading water.

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