Another POCO smartphone? Yes, the manufacturer is in great shape and offers at the end of 2021 its POCO M4 Pro 5G which is positioned on the entry-level with a price of around 200 euros. The promise of the brand: an affordable phone able to perform all multimedia tasks and even a little gaming. Is this promise kept? The answer is in our full test of the POCO M4 Pro 5G.
POCO M4 Pro 5G
- Successful design
- Beautiful 90 Hz IPS LCD screen
- Satisfactory performance
- Full charge in one hour
- A cheap 5G smartphone
- Mini-jack + microSD socket
- Quality of the photo module
- Too many applications installed
- Quality of the speakers
Here are the technical specifications of the POCO M4 Pro 5G as it is marketed in France. The most knowledgeable among you will have noticed that the technical specifications are simply identical to those of the Redmi Note 11 from Xiaomi which is not (yet?) officially marketed in France.
- Fiche technique POCO M4 Pro 5G
- Dans la boîte du POCO M4 Pro 5G
- Design : POCO brouille les pistes
- Écran : il ne manque pas de fluidité
- Performances : vous pouvez jouer, mais…
- Interface : les originalités de MIUI
- Audio : deux haut-parleurs, vraiment ?
- Réseau : un fidèle compagnon de route
- Appareil photo : enfin un ultra-grand-angle !
- Prix et disponibilité
- POCO M4 Pro 5G : l’avis de Clubic
Design: POCO blurs the lines
Yes, the POCO M4 PRO 5G looks just like the Xiaomi Redmi Note 11, but POCO still wants to add its own little touch. The one that will make the difference and identify the brand’s phones at a glance. This translates into a black rectangle on the back that comes in the extension of the photo module. Visually, this is not without reminding us of a certain Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra. At this price level, you guessed it, the comparison stops there.
© Gabriel Manceau for Clubic.
The objective? To visually balance the upper part and to distinguish the phone from its almost twin brother. A trick that we also find on the POCO M3 which you can find the test here
. To the touch, the back of the phone is very pleasant. A grainy sandy texture that does not mark fingerprints at all, but slips easily from the hands.
With a diagonal of 6.6 inches, we are clearly on a large smartphone that smaller hands will have difficulty handling. On the other hand, its weight remains relatively contained, with 195 grams on the scale. The front panel changes slightly compared to the POCO M3, with a front sensor that is now integrated as a punch and no longer as a water drop. A welcome change. Finally, the borders around the screen remain acceptable for an entry-level phone.
© Gabriel Manceau for Clubic.
© Gabriel Manceau for Clubic.
On the edges, the configuration is quite classic. The volume control is well positioned on the right edge, just above the power button which also serves as a fingerprint reader. The latter is also very responsive. The slot for two nanoSIM (5G) or one nanoSIM and one microSD card (up to 1TB) is on the left side of the POCO M4 Pro 5G.
On the bottom edge, there is the USB-C connector, a 3.5 mm mini-jack plug and a grill for the main speaker. The second speaker located above the front camera also benefits from a grid on the top edge of the phone. We will have the opportunity to come back to this in the audio part of this test.
Screen: it does not lack fluidity
© Gabriel Manceau for Clubic.
It seems far away the time when “cheap smartphones” rhymed with “bad screen quality. For its M4 Pro 5G, POCO has logically chosen an IPS LCD panel to limit the costs. The panel is well-calibrated and the color spectrum is very large. However, if your retina is not of the same opinion, you can always go to the display settings to adjust this to your liking.
The 6.6-inch screen benefits from a Full HD+ definition of 2400 x 1080 pixels which gives the POCO M4 Pro 5G a comfortable resolution of 399 pixels per inch. The maximum brightness goes up to 450 nits. Nothing incredible, but it remains sufficient in the overwhelming majority of situations. On the other hand, the automatic brightness setting sometimes seemed approximate. To the point of having to manually increase the brightness of the screen.
POCO emphasizes the multimedia and gaming use of its phone, we are not surprised to find a screen with a maximum refresh rate of 90 Hz and a touch sampling rate that can go up to 240 Hz. What to offer a nice fluidity in navigation, especially in web browsing, social networking, and of course in gaming. A transition was all found to talk about the performance of the smartphone.
Performance: you can play, but…
POCO has always emphasized the multimedia capabilities of its smartphones. It’s not for nothing, as the brand’s target is above all a young public with a tight budget. The phone is equipped with an eight-core MediaTek Dimensity 810 5G processor engraved in 6 nanometers, accompanied by 4 or 6 GB of RAM. A convincing duo that allows you to perform all the tasks you expect from a smartphone with fluidity.
A word about the theoretical performance of the phone. MediaTek’s processor does quite well, with performance that the AnTuTu benchmark places below that of a Xiaomi Mi 10T-Lite 5G and its Snapdragon 750G processor, but above the Snapdragon 732G found on the Redmi Note 10 Pro for example.
The UFS 2.2 storage allows you to install and launch applications quickly, and the amount of RAM is sufficient to keep a dozen applications open and return to them quickly. So the POCO M4 Pro 5G is a reliable companion to enjoy your favorite applications comfortably. But what about games?
We didn’t do it with a heavy hand by directly launching one of the most resource-intensive games of the Play Store: Genshin Impact. To our surprise, the game runs quite well, almost always maintaining 30 frames per second, including in the combat phases. On the other hand, the game will remain with the lowest graphics level “very low”. It is possible to go up a notch, but it will cost you in terms of fluidity.
If you ask yourself the question “can we play on the POCO M4 Pro 5G?” The answer is yes. But at this level of performance, there is no guarantee that the phone will run the (future) more demanding games from the Play Store for a few years. You’ve been warned.
Interface: the original features of MIUI
The POCO M4 Pro 5G runs on Android 11 with the MIUI 12 interface from Xiaomi. The latter has some original features, such as a control center that is reminiscent of an apple brand. It requires some time to adapt. Indeed, a downward movement from the upper right corner will display the shortcuts (Wifi, Bluetooth, etc.). The same movement from the upper left corner will display the notifications. It is possible to switch from one panel to another by making a horizontal gesture with the finger.
Another original feature of MIUI is its application drawer, which is classified by category. Very practical in use, it allows you to easily find your games, communication applications, etc.. As always, it is of course possible to display all your applications directly on the desktop. Gesture navigation is also available, but you can always choose to use the good old buttons at the bottom of the screen.
As too often with Xiaomi phones, we regret the large number of pre-installed applications (bloatware). Thus, there are no less than 10 pre-installed games and 10 partner applications, in addition to Xiaomi and Google applications. That’s a lot for a smartphone that we just took out of the box. As always, you can uninstall them, but we would have liked to do without this step. We also note the presence in the application folders of ads suggesting the installation of other applications…
Audio: two speakers, really?
The POCO M4 Pro 5G does have stereo speakers on its specifications. Indeed, there is one on the bottom edge of the phone and a second one just above the screen. A second speaker that comes in support, but whose power is so ridiculous that it has trouble being heard. Both emphasize the midrange (the voices) and forget about everything else.
If you want to enjoy a good audio experience, you’ll have to fall back on the wired headphones and its 3.5 mm mini-jack plug, which form a convincing duo. Good point though: sound optimizations such as the audio equalizer are offered once your headphones are plugged in. Of course, your wireless headphones will work perfectly thanks to the phone’s Bluetooth 5.1.
Network: a faithful companion
Let’s go back to the basics. Is the POCO M4 Pro 5G a good phone? The answer is yes. The network grip is excellent and the calls are very clear. We recorded a low latency of 33 ms on the Orange network in the Bordeaux area, which places it in a very good average compared to the other smartphones we tested.
The GPS also proves to be formidable. With a devilish accuracy of only 1 meter on the application “GPS Test”, the POCO M4 Pro 5G is an excellent student. We could also test it during some car trips and the mobile never showed any sign of weakness. So you can take the road serenely, this M4 Pro 5G will be able to bring you to your destination.
Camera: finally an ultra-wide-angle!
Don’t let its imposing camera module impress you, the POCO M4 Pro 5G is only equipped with two sensors: a 50 megapixels wide-angle sensor and, for the first time on the POCO “M” range, an 8 megapixels ultra-wide-angle sensor. A second sensor replaces the sensors dedicated to macro photography and depth of field of the POCO M3. A wise choice that makes the photo experience more versatile.
The photo application
Very pleasant to use, the photo application is also fully customizable. This includes the possibility to display the “More” tab to access the other shooting modes or to choose the “More” panel to display them with a simple upward movement from the bottom of the application. If the default tabs don’t suit you, you can also rearrange them as you wish.
12 or 50 megapixels?
Thanks to its 50-megapixel sensor, the POCO M4 Pro 5G uses the pixel binning technique to capture brighter 12-megapixel photos. It is possible to force the 50 megapixels mode, for a very similar result. If you do not intend to print your pictures in large format or crop them, we recommend the “automatic” mode in 12 megapixels.
Wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle
The main sensor is capable of taking quite decent pictures in good light conditions. The photo processing clearly saturates the colors to give a little more flavor to the final rendering. The white balance is well adjusted, but we would not have said any to a better dynamic range to unblock a little more the shadow areas.
The ultra-wide-angle sensor replaces the macro sensors and the one dedicated to the depth of field. Its 119 degrees angle is very practical when you lack distance. Not surprisingly, photos taken with the ultra-wide-angle are much darker than with the main lens.
Indoor photos are also an opportunity to note that the white balance is not at all set in the same way on both sensors. We will therefore be satisfied with this ultra-wide-angle sensor for troubleshooting, but certainly not to make beautiful vacation photos.
Macro and zoom photography
In the absence of a telephoto sensor, which is quite normal in this price range, you will have to use the digital zoom if you want to see a little further. We will stop at the x2 zoom which already leads to a significant loss of detail.
We do not miss the macro sensor. That being said, it is impossible to get too close to a subject or you won’t be able to focus at all. The solution? Take a 50-megapixel shot and zoom in to crop it.
Photos at Night
On a phone at 229 euros, we should not expect miracles on the night shots. Not surprisingly, this is not the strong point of this POCO M4 Pro 5G test. The night mode brings much more light, for a more flattering rendering to the eye. Don’t have fun looking at the details of the image or you will damage your eyes.
Portraits and selfies
Although not perfect, the portrait mode’s clipping is still convincing. On the other hand, the white balance goes haywire in this shooting mode. In white light, the automatic mode manages the skin tone very well. This is unfortunately not the case with the portrait mode, as you can see below.
The front camera has a definition of 16 megapixels. This is twice as much as on the POCO M3. Self-portraits are of good quality, as is the portrait mode, which applies software blur (too) uniformly. Clipping is however imperfect, as can be seen on the right side of the down jacket.
Thanks to its 5000 mAh battery, low processor power consumption and good software optimization, the POCO M4 Pro 5G is able to last for a day and a half under mixed usage. If you have a moderate use of your phone, the two days are easily reachable, which positions it in a high average.
The 33W charging unit in the box allows the phone to regain +50% battery in just 30 minutes. Count on one hour to recharge it completely. It’s great to see an entry-level phone charging faster than some high-end mobiles (we won’t mention anyone).
POCO M4 Pro 5G Price and availability
At the time of writing, the POCO M4 Pro 5G is proposed in its 4Gb + 64Gb version at 199€ instead of 229€ on the brand’s website. The 6Gb + 128Gb version is proposed at 219€ instead of 269€.
For the same price at POCO, you can buy the POCO X3 Pro that we also tested. The latter is much more powerful, but also more imposing and does not benefit from a 5G compatibility.
POCO M4 Pro 5G: the opinion of TechMarkup
When we count the points, we can only notice the numerous qualities of this POCO M4 Pro 5G. Of course, it is not perfect. But let’s remember that it is sold at a very tight price of 230 euros. For this price, POCO manages to design an everyday smartphone that will suit all users who have a classical use of a phone.
Whether you want to check your social networks, browse the web, chat with your friends or watch streaming videos, the POCO M4 Pro can do it without any problem. If it’s not a gamer at heart, it’s powerful enough to run all the games of the Play Store. Photographers and music lovers will have to pass on their way.