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Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G review: A classy budget phone that ticks most boxes

Our Rating :
£239.99 from
Price when reviewed : £249
inc VAT

Poco’s latest budget phone is low on significant upgrades but high on all-round competence


  • Stylish design
  • Strong battery life
  • Large, pin-sharp display


  • Mediocre camera
  • Middling performance
  • Display neither OLED nor 120Hz

Xiaomi’s youthful Poco sub-brand has only been making phones since mid-2018, but in that short time it’s built an enviable reputation. Cheap yet performance-focused handsets such as last year’s Poco F3 have stood out from a cluttered field.

The Poco M4 Pro 5G pitches itself below the F3, but just above the downright cheap and cheerful category, providing a classy design and solid specs for a still highly tempting £249.

Where most cheap phones are an obvious case of scrimping and saving to hit an aggressive price point, the Poco M4 Pro 5G sets out to hit that sweet spot of comfortable competence. Sure, it’s not without its flaws and annoyances, but Poco has created yet another appealingly rounded budget phone in the M4 Pro.

Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G review: What you need to know

Xiaomi has broadly stuck with the formula set out by the Poco M3 Pro 5G before it. It’s another large(ish) phone with dependable performance, a middling camera, an appealing design and strong battery life.

Driven by a MediaTek Dimensity 810 5G processor and either 4GB or 6GB of RAM, it’s a solid lower-mid-range runner that should handle all of the day-to-day stuff without issue. Elsewhere, a 6.6in LCD display with a 90Hz refresh rate offers a decent, if somewhat underwhelming, viewing experience. The same is true of the phone’s storage capacities, which offer either 64GB or 128GB of internal space, though a microSD slot enables you to expand should you need to.

Xiaomi has kept things nice and simple on the camera front, whittling things down to a dual-sensor system. You get a 50MP wide sensor and an 8MP ultra-wide, with none of the depth or macro sensor nonsense that often serve as padding in most cheaper phones. That’s not to say that the image quality is anything to write home about, but we’ll get to that in due course.

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Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G review: Price and competition

The Poco M4 Pro 5G cost £249 at the time of writing. This is for the higher model with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, but there is a 4GB/64GB model out there in some regions, which will obviously cost you less if you can track it down.

This pitches the Poco M4 Pro somewhere in between true budget phone contenders such as the Moto G30 and lower-mid-range champs such as the Poco F3 and the Moto Edge 20 Lite. It can count among its direct rivals the likes of the Moto G60s, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro and the Nokia X10 as well.

In among such company, the Poco M4 Pro 5G competes well. However, it doesn’t stand out quite as much as we might have liked in any one respect. For a brand that often excels, it plays things somewhat safe.

Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G review: Design and key features

Poco might like to market its phones as performance-led quasi-gaming phones, but it mercifully resists the gaudy flourishes that often go along with the style. The Poco M4 Pro 5G is pretty classy-looking, as cheap phones go, at least in my model’s Power Black finish. Cool Blue and Poco Yellow add a splash of colour, should you find this a little too reserved.

I could do without the large Poco logo to the right of the camera module, but other than that the phone is an exercise in elegance. The rear of the phone is all plastic, but its shimmering satin finish feels as good as it looks.

The deep black block that surrounds the camera and extends to most of the width of the phone is a novel touch, especially as it sits perfectly flush with the rest of the rear. The camera module itself bears resemblance to a number of Xiaomi, Poco and Redmi phones that have gone before, and has a pleasingly industrial edge to it.

This is a fairly large phone, with an 8.8mm-thick body and a weight of 195g, but it remains manageable, especially if you have large hands.

The rim of the phone is formed of fairly unremarkable, slightly shiny plastic. On the right-hand edge you get the volume rocker and a power button that contains a reasonably speedy and reliable fingerprint sensor.

There are a pair of stereo speakers, one to the top and one to the bottom of the phone. To my ears, however, the balance seemed slightly off, with far more weighting given to the output of the bottom speaker.

Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G review: Display

The Poco M4 Pro 5G’s display is big enough and sharp enough at 6.6in across the diagonal, with a resolution of 2,400 x 1,080. But it’s ever so slightly lacking in some of its other attributes.

You get neither the vibrant colours of an OLED panel (this is an LCD affair), nor the silky-smooth delights of a full 120Hz refresh rate (it maxes out at 90Hz). It is possible to get either of these for less than £200, albeit not together in the same package.

Using a colorimeter, I recorded an sRGB colour gamut coverage of 99.3% sRGB, and the screen is nice and accurate, especially for a budget LCD panel. I also measured a maximum brightness (with auto-brightness switched off) of 447 cd/m², which again is perfectly decent at this price.

Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G review: Performance and battery life

Poco phones tend to offer excellent performance for the money. While the Poco M4 Pro 5G is hardly a barnstormer, it keeps pace with other £200-ish handsets. General navigation is reasonably fluid, with the odd micro-pause telling you you’re not dealing with a flagship.

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It’s powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 810 5G chip, which is a fairly modest upgrade on the Dimensity 700 5G chip of the Poco M3 Pro 5G. Indeed, an average Geekbench 5 multicore score of 1,798 is pretty much the same as its predecessor, and is also identical to the score we got for the Poco X3 NFC with its Snapdragon 732G.

That latter similarity continues through to GPU performance, with similar GFXBench Manhattan scores, and slightly inferior Car Chase test scores. Keep in mind that the Poco X3 NFC is a fair bit cheaper (sub-£200). Add in the fact that those GPU results are very similar to the Nokia X10, with its humble Snapdragon 480 chip, and you’ll understand why the Poco M4 Pro 5G’s performance didn’t exactly blow me away like some previous Poco phones.

On the battery life front, the Poco M4 Pro 5G gives no reason for worry. With a large 5,000mAh capacity, it’s capable of lasting a full day of relatively intensive usage with ease. It lasted 19hrs 17mins in the standard Expert Reviews battery test, which is much better than the aforementioned Nokia X10 and the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro.

Xiaomi’s custom MIUI 12.5 UI sits on top of Android 11, and it continues to be a bit of a mixed bag. It’s reasonably fluid, and is far from the worst interface on the market. But it’s a little gauche, with chunky icons and an irritating interstitial screen that appears when you download apps.

I much prefer the near-stock UIs of Motorola and Nokia and the slick stylings of OnePlus’s OxygenOS, if only for their relative lack of bloatware, but MIUI is perfectly functional.

Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G review: Cameras

Refreshingly for a modern affordable phone, Xiaomi has dropped the pointless sensor spam. There are just two camera sensors here, covering the main wide and ultra-wide angles. That means no pointless depth or macro sensors, which are invariably implemented to pad out a phone’s spec sheet.

Not that the resulting images are particularly impressive. On the plus side, Xiaomi’s AI assistant is capable of imbuing scenes with warm, vibrant colours, and detail is adequate in strong lighting, courtesy of a 50MP main sensor.

It seemed particularly strong when shooting food and drink shots in well-lit restaurants, cafes and bars. It was less assured when shooting landscape shots on murky winter afternoons, where subjects failed to pop and everything looked a little flat.

Both sensors seemed prone to overexposing brighter areas of an image. I also experienced several focus fails, both with the wide sensor and the 8MP ultra-wide.

The 16MP selfie camera is pretty mediocre. It captured skin tones adequately, but often blew out the sky in the background. Flipping to selfie portrait mode, meanwhile, yielded some disconcerting halo artefacts that encouraged me to stop using the feature as a matter of course.

Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G review: Verdict

The Poco M4 Pro 5G is an easy recommendation to make if you have a £250 budget for your next smartphone, though it’s not as impressive within its category as the Poco F3 and the Poco X3 NFC are within theirs.

This is a stylish phone with adequate performance, a middling camera experience and strong battery life. The display is big and sharp, though it lacks the pop of an OLED panel, and it’s not quite as fluid as I would have liked.

All in all, the Poco M4 Pro 5G is a relatively minor upgrade on the Poco M3 Pro 5G, but that still makes it one of the better phones at this price.

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