Poco X5 Review - Midrange Device with Flagship Experience

Poco X5 Review - Poco’s X-range phones are here, and the cheaper of the pair is the Poco X5 5G, retailing for just under $259. Launched alongside the Poco X5 Pro, this phone comes with a dazzling 120Hz AMOLED display, a 5000mAh battery capacity and a 48Mp main camera.

poco x5 review
Among other key specs is the Qualcomm snapdragon 695 chipset and IP53 certification for dust and splash resistance. But is the Poco X5 a really good value for money in 2023, considering its place in the highly competitive mid-range space? Well, many thanks to Poco for sending this over, I’ve actually used this device for a couple of days and here is my two cent opinion of the Poco X5 5G incase you want to get one for yourself
Now, the Poco X5 5G does not officially retail in Nigeria but you can pick one from Aliexpress for a selling price of 259 dollars depending on the current exchange rate.
At first glance, the Poco X5 comes with an understated yet sleek finish – a welcome relief from the days when Poco used to blaze its logo on the entire rear panel. It’s 7.98mm thick, and weighs just a 189g, so it’s relatively slim and doesn’t feel heavy for one hand usage.
It comes in either blue, green or black, which I have here. Along with the sleek looking device itself, you will be getting a 33W fast charging brick instead of the 67W that belongs to the Pro variant, a USB-C to A data cable, your regular sim-trey ejector tool, a free TPU case to protect the device at first and of course the usual user manuals.


Heading over to the first thing we all lookout for in a smartphone, the Poco X5 is made from plastic with a Gorilla Glass 3 at the front, which doesn’t exactly scream high-end. The slightly metallic finish catches the light well, but it’s prone to picking up fingerprints and smudges throughout the day, leaving you to always want to clean it off at every instance if you prefer to use your device with a protective case.
On the plus side, it is less susceptible to scratches or damage than a phone with a glass rear. Plus, it comes with an IP53 rating, which means it also protected from some dust and light water splashes – but it is not 100% waterproof. The Poco logo is still present, just tucked away more neatly adjacent to the camera bump, which produces quite largely out the back. This does mean that the phone doesn’t lay fully flat on surface. 
As to the ports and buttons, underneath the Poco X5 is a mono speaker which I’ll talk about in a bit, a USB-C port for charging and primary microphone. Up here is a 3.5 headphone jack which is very nice to see, a primary microphone and of course the Xiaomi usual IR blaster, on the left side of the plastic frame is a dual-SIM slot, which can either be used for two nano SIMs, or one SIM and a Micro-SD card.  While on the right side is clicky volume rockers and a side-mounted fingerprint scanner on the power button, which I found to be largely reliable. It's fast, well placed and does its job pretty well, so no complaints on the biometric department.


Moving on to the display department, you are looking at a dazzling 6.67inch FHD AMOLED display, protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3. It also comes with DCI-P3 wide color gamut, and a peak brightness of 1200nits. The colours are vivid and bright and it’s great for streaming contents on YouTube or Netflix and also browsing through images. It certainly doesn’t feel like a lower mid-range phone in this regard. Poco also offers an adjustable colour temperature option on the display to suit your preferences. Though the default setting is pretty good enough.
There is a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, but you can also opt for 60Hz if you’re looking to conserve the battery life. This is combined with a touch-sampling rate of up to 240Hz.
This results in quick and responsive navigation, both when scrolling social media and doing some light gaming. Many other mid-rangers sacrifice a high refresh rate, so this is a big plus for the Poco X5. Using the device out door under bright sunlight was also good enough as I didn’t have to strain to see contents from screen clearly
The single firing speaker located underneath the device is not that good enough if you ask me, sound coming out from it is on the weak and tinny side and lack of audio processing software means that music will lack in bass and depth which is so on my experience – though on a phone of this price point, premium audio is a luxury.  
The Poco X5 runs on a Snapdragon 695 chip, the same processor seen on the Poco X4 Pro. You can pair this with either 6GB RAM and 128GB storage, or 8GB RAM and 256GB worth of storage which I have here. The additional microSD slot can extend internal storage up to 1TB which is absolutely more than enough. Overall, this phone has capable performance. I used it for social media, YouTube, gaming and general browsing, and it handled everything largely well. However, the Snapdragon 695 processor is fairly old and like other Poco X devices, it is capable of some gaming, but don’t be expecting the highest levels of performance from heavy titles like Genshin impact. In terms of every day usage, it handles things perfectly well without hiccups.

Battery Life & Charging 

By today’s standards, this isn’t the quickest charging device– phones from the likes of Realme and Oppo certainly offer speedier charging bricks. The included 33W charging brick will take you from zero to 58% in just 30 minutes, with full charging taking around an hour. This is still enough, unlike getting a device without a charger. Whatever the X5 lacks in super speedy charging is made up for with that big 5000mAh battery. Even when running the refresh rate on 120Hz, I was able to use it for roughly around two days, doing casual stuffs and a little of gaming.  
Cameras & video 
·  Decent main 48Mp main camera in good lighting
·  Unimpressive in low light
·  So-so secondary lenses
Moving on to the camera department, the Poco X5 comes with a triple rear snapper, led by a 48Mp main camera. Accompanied by an 8Mp wide-angle with a 118-degree field of view, as well as a 2Mp macro lens. Let’s focus on the main camera since that’s what you’ll be using most of the time. Interestingly it can produce sharp and detailed images on shots taken outdoors with good lighting conditions. And Colours doesn’t look oversaturated or washed out, as you may find on other devices of a similar price.
Like other Xiaomi phones, the Poco X5 uses pixel-binning technology. Snaps do look good both when using the full 48Mp resolution camera, and when taking photos on the standard mode which are condensed down to a 12Mp output. The same cannot be said for lower light conditions.
On the front, there’s a 13Mp snapper with an f/2.45 aperture. Like the rear cameras, performance isn’t too bad outdoors or with good lighting. However, dimmer conditions result in poorer textures and muted colours.
Video is available either in 720p at 60fps, or 1080p at 30fps. However, there is no auto stabilization software present, so beware if you have shaky hands.  

Software & Updates   

·   MIUI 13
·   Confusing navigation
·   App bloat
The Poco X4 comes running on MIUI 13.0.2, Xiaomi’s skin of Android 12. This isn’t the latest Android version, but many mid-range phones still run on this OS at the time of writing. Oddly, you can get MIUI 14 on the X5 Pro, although changes are largely minimal. Xiaomi’s MIUI is an acquired taste, and if you’re a pure Android enthusiast like me, then you may find the changes jarring. The drop-down menu is split into two halves, like on iOS.
If you swipe down from the left-hand side, you’ll get your notifications, whilst on the right you’ll access the quick settings. General navigation can be a bit confusing. For example, on the camera app the macro mode is hidden away the section where you crop photos, rather than in the ‘more’ section like it is on other devices.
On the plus side, you can multitask on the phone with floating windows and set up two separate profiles on the device through Second Space. There is also a dedicated Game Space mode which will close background apps when playing a title to help improve performance.  The biggest annoyance of a Poco phone is the amount of pre-loaded apps cluttering up the interface. From a very pointless Poco store app, to Aliexpress and strange games such as Tile Fun, you’ll likely be taken aback by the number of things on the phone as soon as you launch it out of the box.  
At the time of writing, we don’t yet know how many years of security and software updates are promised for the Poco X5. There’s no denying that once again, Poco has produced an affordable phone for the price, with a solid build, a big battery life, an impressive display and a decent main camera in daylight.
That said, the processor is the same one offered in the Poco X4 Pro, which also comes with a higher-spec camera and faster charging. More importantly, the RRP of this phone is cheaper than the X5. Therefore, you’ll get more bang for your buck with the Pro version of the previous generation.
Alternatively, you could step up to the more mid-range Poco X5 Pro, which comes with an upgraded processor, double the charging speeds and a better camera that produces much clearer shots in low light. However, this clocks in nearly £100/€100 more than the X5.


The Poco X5 is truly an excellent mid-range device buy. The 120Hz display is great to use for videos and social media, and the 5000mAh battery will give you two days’ worth of use with ease. There are always sacrifices for phones at this price point, and the X5 makes them with its poor low-light photography and unimpressive speaker. The MIUI OS is also not the most user-friendly, especially with the amount of bloatware.

The biggest downfall is that the Poco X4 Pro still trumps this phone in terms of value for money. Nonetheless, you’ll still be getting bang for your buck with the Poco X5 if you want the latest model or you can opt-in for the pro variant which will cost you extra.

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