Poco M4 Pro Review. Good camera or huge battery life? A nice design or a powerful processor? Anyone looking to buy an entry-level smartphone, i.e. under €200, will at some point find themselves in this confusing situation.
After all, in this price range, you have to make some compromises to find the perfect phone. Launched late last year, the Poco M4 Pro will unsurprisingly require the same grueling analysis to see if it’s the perfect device for its price, especially when it faces stiff competition (Redmi Note 10 5G, Realme 8 Pro, Oppo A54 5G and no doubt others).
Poco M4 Pro Review
At first glance, Xiaomi’s Poco offers a decent entry-level option with the Poco M4 Pro 4G. At €200, it’s a good value smartphone, even if it’s not without its flaws. But let’s see more about it in the review below.
- 6.6″ Full HD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels) 20:9 IPS LCD display with 398 PPI density, 90 Hz AdaptiveSync refresh rate
- Size: 163.56 x 75.78 x 8.75 mm and 195 g
- Side ID sensor and 2D facial recognition
- MediaTek Dimensity 810 6nm SoC
- Octa-core CPU (2 x 2.4GHz Cortex-A76 + 6 x 2.0GHz Cortex-A55)
- ARM Mali-G57 MC2 GPU
- 4/6 GB LPDDR4X RAM
- 64/128 GB UFS 2.2 storage, expandable via microSD up to 1 TB
- 5,000 mAh battery with 33W fast charge
- 5G dual SIM, Wi-Fi ac Dual Band, Bluetooth 5.1, dual-frequency GPS, mini-jack input, USB Type-C, IR sensor, NFC
- Dual 50+8 MP f/1.8 rear camera with 119° ultra wide sensor.
- 16 MP f/2.45 selfie camera
- Android 11 operating system with MIUI 12.5
Design and display
Most smartphones have stopped innovating on design, especially in this price range. But the Poco M4 Pro is a step ahead of most phones and tries to distinguish itself from them with a slightly different look.
At this price it makes sense not to expect exceptional materials, but that doesn’t mean we can’t see even a modicum of boldness from the manufacturers. As proof, the Poco M4 Pro takes care to look good. It has rounded edges, decent finishes and a textured plastic back that gives it a soft touch.
But most of the effort, as we all realise, has gone into the camera frame, which stands out almost instantly. It takes up a third of the back of the device in the form of a dark square with rounded corners, where the majestic “Poco” logo and a slightly more unusual camera arrangement is located.
While this choice gives the POCO M4 Pro some personality, we’ll see that this feature isn’t the only one that gives this budget phone an edge. If we take a look around the device, we’ll find the stop button on the right side, which also functions as a fingerprint reader. Just above it, we also have the button for volume management.
As with all Xiaomi smartphones, the top edge houses an infrared emitter to turn it into a universal remote with the corresponding pre-installed app.
On the left side is the SIM card slot. The POCO M4 Pro can support two SIM cards simultaneously or one SIM card and one memory card to expand internal storage capacity.
Finally, at the bottom edge, we identify an audio port for headphone connection, USB-C connector and a second speaker. The good news about this configuration is that the phone offers stereo sound, which is very rare in this price range. However, unfortunately, the sound is louder on the right side than on the left, probably due to the use of two different transducers.
In terms of display, the Poco M4 Pro has a 6.6-inch LCD. Its resolution is pretty standard, 1,080 x 2,400 pixels, and the aspect ratio is 20:9. The advantage is the refresh rate of 90 Hz. In this price range, however, we can also find models with 120 Hz screens, so it’s not so great, but still better than a regular 60 Hz model. Besides, it’s well made, the maximum brightness doesn’t bother and is sufficient in direct sunlight, and the contrast ratio is well managed. However, the factory colour calibration is not really optimal.
For this price range, it’s become the norm to find a large battery capacity and fast charging (we’re not complaining about that 😂). The battery capacity is 5,000 mAh, a comfortable amount that allows the thrifty to get by on a single charge for two or three days.
On my best day of use, where I used the phone predominantly texting, surfing the web and watching videos, I managed to get a total of seven hours of SOT (screen on time) out of the phone. Of course, there will be variation in these results from person to person, but overall the Poco M4 Pro has excellent battery life. With light to moderate use, it will please any person.
In terms of charging, we’re looking at 33 W. To charge to full capacity, you’ll need to leave the phone for a little over an hour (I measured about 65 minutes). Of course, included in the box is the 33W charger.
Software and performance
The operating system is MIUI 12.5, which is found on all Xiaomi smartphones. I was surprised to see that there are a lot of non-system apps, with a number of games and apps with various functions. If, like us, you want a smartphone that’s as uncluttered as possible, you’ll spend a few minutes deleting them. System apps, on the other hand, we found easy to use and without too much hassle, for example, we have the Cleaner app (which frees up space and RAM when needed) and other management apps that are easy to use, though not so necessary.
The POCO M4 Pro is powered by the MediaTek Dimensity 810 processor, with 4 or 6 GB of RAM and 64 or 128 GB of internal storage, which can be expanded with a memory card. The processor offers reasonable performance for its price category. In addition, it is manufactured in 6 nanometer, which makes it more economical. The LPDDR4X RAM is fast at 29 GB/s and the internal UFS 2.2 memory offers a read/write rate of 978/482 MB/s. In 90Hz mode, the Poco M4 Pro’s MIUI 12.5 is always fluid.
These positive impressions have a limit, of course, as the processor shows signs of weakness when you try to play something very demanding. Factor in the high refresh rate and the high pixel density screen and it makes the phone heat up super fast. We tested PUBG Mobile and in order to get balanced performance with battery consumption and keep things decent, it was necessary to limit the game’s graphics to medium. In contrast, the phone had no problems with casual gaming.
Right off the bat I caution you not to be fooled. From a distance, you think the M4 Pro has five cameras on the back, but eventually you realize in disappointment that there are only two cameras. The main one is located outside the bezel (which obviously sits on a third of the phone’s back) and the secondary one is lower down in it: alongside a flashlight and some design stuff.
The primary camera is 50 MP and the secondary camera is 8 MP. Unsurprisingly, this configuration doesn’t work wonders. In good light, the photos are acceptable and the level of detail isn’t miraculous.
The photo app interface is classic. The main options are at the top, including shooting modes, which I don’t really like (but maybe that’s a matter of taste). From left to right, there are Pro, Video, Photo, Portrait and Plus modes. This menu allows access to the other modes: Night, 50M, Short Shot, Panorama, Documentary, Slow Motion, Speed Up. Several zoom levels are available (digital): 0.6x, 1x, 2x, 4x, 6x, 8x and 10x.
So there’s nothing special about the camera performance that particularly delights or disappoints (mindful, of course, of the price range the device is in). It’s neither the best nor the worst at the price it sells for. Instead, it offers enough performance to take pictures or video of the essential and of-the-moment stuff. However, if camera quality is paramount to you, it’s best to look for another phone model.
The Poco M4 Pro is a smartphone that is undoubtedly a step ahead of most low-end phones. Thanks to the processor and memory, the device always feels fluid and responsive, even when you have multiple apps open at once. At casual gaming it does great, and the 90Hz offers a considerable advantage in the price range the phone is in.