POCO M5 Review: Fully Loaded

We tend to use the flagship segment as a benchmark of where smartphones are headed and how technology has evolved. But it’s not just pricey smartphones that are redefining smartphone experiences. Cut back to 2019 or 2018 and the budget smartphone segment, particularly under Rs 15,000; almost every purchase involved multiple compromises. Things have changed in 2022 and for the better. The POCO M5 is one of the many devices that is promising the one thing value conscious Indian consumers love to hear – ‘More for less’. It brings quite a few refinements that were previously reserved for pricier devices. Is that reason enough to consider this device?

That yellow spunk

We know that a year is a lifetime in the smartphone segment, but POCO is already calling its leather-like finish ‘POCO OG’ design. While it might be too early for the OG tag, it’s a design element that POCO fans associate with the brand. It’s ‘leather-like’ but it still feels premium and plays out particularly well in a yellow shade that POCO has made its own. If you are not quite the attention seeker, you can choose from an Icy Blue or Power Black. The POCO M5 is easily one of the best lookers at this price point, a device that you can flaunt at the pub or client meeting.

Doesn’t skimp on the bare essentials

POCO is playing up its 6.58-inch FHD+ IPS LCD display (2400 x 1080 pixels / 395 PPI). Colours are quite vibrant on this display that features a 90Hz refresh rate and peaks at an impressive 1300 nits. You will struggle to find a better display at this price point, but we think the teardrop style notch looks quite dated. The device is powered by a MediaTek Helio G99 chipset. We checked out the 6GB/128GB storage variant; there’s also an entry-level 4GB/64GB option. The device didn’t huff and puff during everyday tasks including games. It notched up a score of 1933 in our Geekbench (multi-core) benchmark test. The 5000 mAh battery won’t let you down but it takes a while to charge.

A budget champ?

POCO has packed the M5 with a triple camera. The primary lens (64MP) features OIS, an 8MP ultra-wide lens and a 2MP macro lens complete the set up. The camera does well in optimal lighting conditions, but results are a mixed bag in lowlight. We like the tone of selfies (20MP selfie shooter) without very aggressive beautification. POCO has layered this phone with its with its custom MIUI 13 user interface that offers quite a few tweaks. It comes with a bunch of pre-installed apps. While we’re not fans of bloatware, some users prefer frequently used apps pre-installed in a phone. If 5G is not a deal breaker for you and if you’re in the market for a sub Rs 15,000 smartphone, the POCO M5 is a compelling option that

doesn’t cut too many corners.

The POCO M5 costs Rs 12,499 (4GB/64GB) / Rs 14,499 (6GB/128GB) and comes in POCO Yellow, Icy Blue and Power Black. ICICI and Axis Bank card holders can avail a flat discount of INR 1,500

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