Xiaomi Poco F4 in the test: Strong, average in every respect Xiaomi has launched the successor to its successful Poco F3. The Poco F4 surprises when you look at the data sheet – but not always positively. 3:41 p.m. tech stage

xiaomi poco f4 in the test strong average in every.jpeg
xiaomi poco f4 in the test strong average in every.jpeg

Xiaomi has launched the successor to its successful Poco F3. The Poco F4 surprises when you look at the data sheet – but only positively with the camera and loading speed.

In the past, the Poco F series from Xiaomi has shown itself to be extremely powerful for surprisingly little money. On closer inspection, it had long been clear that after the potent Poco F1, the performance was being reduced more and more, which is why the Poco F3 (test report) scored lastalso especially with its unrivaled low price with otherwise decent equipment. However, Xiaomi has now tightened the price screw, at just under 400 euros the new Poco F4 is almost exactly 50 euros more expensive than the F3. Ultimately, this is not surprising, since everything is getting more expensive, right? However, Xiaomi reduces the value at the same time and that is actually the biggest point of criticism. In this test, we try to clarify what this means and what it has to do with the slogan for the F4 “strong in every respect”.

The Xiaomi Poco F4 is an optically surprisingly restrained smartphone, at least in the black version that we have. At the front, it scores with sufficiently narrow edges around the display, the front camera peeks through a modern punch hole centrally at the top edge of the display. The frame is only a bit wider at the bottom, which shows the comparatively low price of the smartphone, albeit an increase. This is also noticeable on the frame, or more precisely: on the material. Because here Xiaomi uses plastic with the Poco F4 as with the Poco X4 GT (test report) . It’s different on the back. Glass is used here, with the X4 GT the manufacturer also uses plastic there.

The restraint in terms of visual design continues on the back of the Poco F4. It shows a chic play of light when the sun’s rays fall on it, but is otherwise unexcitedly black. Fingerprints are visible because of the glass surface, but they are limited. In addition to rather inconspicuous lettering such as the manufacturer’s logo, the camera in particular catches the eye. It protrudes from the housing in two stages and contains a flash and sensors as well as lettering with rough technical data, the lens level is raised again. Since the elevations are more or less square and also quite large, the smartphone does not wobble when used even when lying on smooth surfaces. However, we don’t find the lenses arranged in a triangle to be really chic – it somehow seems a bit arbitrary and doesn’t make us want to use the camera. Otherwise there is nothing wrong with the workmanship, it is exemplary. As a result, the F4 does not look cheap despite the plastic frame.

6.67 inches, 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution, OLED with 120 Hz and a maximum brightness with HDR10 content of 1300 nits – these are the specifications that the manufacturer makes for the panel of the new Poco F4. And the predecessor Poco F3 (test report) . In fact, the displays of both smartphones are identical – obviously, with the F4, Xiaomi means “strong in every respect” with “strong in every respect – except for the display”. Whereby: The panel is by no means bad. But it’s not new – and successors should inevitably be better than their predecessors, especially when it comes to technical products, because everything else is just strange with such fast-moving products. Not even the fingerprint sensor made it into the display despite the increased price, it remains in the power button.

The screen of the new F4 is identical to that of its predecessor, not only on paper, but also in everyday life. The F4 scores with good contrasts and OLED-typical great black value with good viewing angle stability. Colors can be displayed properly strong or naturally if desired, but the smartphone offers many setting options. We could only measure the brightness in the test with around 450 to 850 cd/m² in manual and auto mode. The difference is likely to be due to the screen’s ability to display HDR content much brighter in certain areas, among other things. The always-on display is good as usual and offers many display options. The F4’s panel is still good, but sometimes good just isn’t good enough.

The camera was one of the biggest criticisms of the Xiaomi Poco F3 (test report) , which otherwise did very well with us, not least because of its low price. With the new Poco F4, Xiaomi again relies on a 64-megapixel chip like in the second F-generation, the aperture is f/1.79. Xiaomi now combines the chip in the F4 with an optical image stabilizer (OIS) – this promises more image sharpness even in low light. There is also a wide-angle camera with 8 megapixels and f/2.2 and a macro camera. The latter is not worth mentioning, not least because of its low resolution of 2 megapixels.

Xiaomi Poco F4  

Compared to the predecessor, the F4 scores with the main camera, especially in poor lighting conditions. Thanks to OIS, it performs better here with better image sharpness and less image noise, but it also cuts a fine figure in daylight. Overall, some shots surprise with somewhat pale colors, but this can easily turn into the opposite when using the AI ​​function. Naturally, the wide-angle camera cannot keep up here and, as is so often the case, stands out from the main camera with a weaker image sharpness. Distortion can be seen especially at the edges, but at least the contrast and color differences between the main and wide-angle camera are not as bad as in the predecessor.

With videos, the Poco F4 takes a better picture than the Poco X4 GT thanks to 4K/60 recordings, the picture quality is decent overall, as is the sound. The front camera convinces with 20 megapixel portrait shots, in which the skin tones mostly fit and the image sharpness is right. Overall, the Poco F4’s camera is reasonable for the price without particularly standing out from the crowd of competitors. “Strong in every respect” is unfortunately an exaggeration here as well.

At the risk of becoming monotonous: When it comes to equipment, “strong in every respect” again doesn’t fit. Because Xiaomi is in all seriousness back to the Snapdragon 870 from the predecessor and, strictly speaking, for the second time in the F series. Because the Poco F2 Pro (test report) already uses the Snapdragon 865 – and the 870 is nothing much different than a renamed Snapdragon 865. Strictly speaking, Xiaomi is now using the (almost) the same chip for the third time.

Again, one could argue that the Snapdragon 870 is still a good, a “strong” chipset that, with its 7 nanometer design, is not yet outdated. And in fact, with its up to 3.2 GHz, it is also powerful enough for everything that can currently be put in front of it. Gaming also works well thanks to the Adreno 650, only a few games require an even stronger GPU and, if necessary, graphics details can still be turned down. But do you want the same equipment in a successor as in the predecessor? As with the display before: no, you don’t want to. At least owners of a Poco F3 have no reason to switch to the new model – why are you doing this, Xiaomi?

As I said: In terms of performance, the Snapdragon 870 in the new Poco F4 is still okay. It’s about 11,000 points in PCmark Work 3.0 and 4400 points in 3Dmark Wild Life. That’s easily enough for smooth operation in everyday life, together with the 120 Hz of the display, the smartphone always looks confident despite the working memory reduced to 6 GB of RAM in the cheapest version. But why is the Poco X4 GT (test report) so much faster here? That would be okay if the F-Series hadn’t previously stood for sheer power. So it almost seems like Xiaomi no longer understands its own portfolio properly – strange. The rest is decent for the money, see the table for more information.

Light and shadow are also reflected in the user interface. MIUI for Poco is based on Android 12 for the F4 and basically comes with a few extra functions that are clearly arranged. At the same time, the manufacturer is also packing more and more bloatware, such as installed games, into the memory. In addition, advertising keeps appearing in the system – in our opinion, this is not possible with a fully paid product. In addition, Xiaomi still cannot bring itself to make an official update promise for its Poco models, even if the manufacturer supports many devices for two years, as experience has shown.

The Poco F4’s battery has shrunk minimally to 4500 mAh, but that is irrelevant to the actual consumption and endurance of the F4. In fact, the bottom line is that Xiaomi even gets a little more runtime from the hardware than the predecessor, software optimizations are probably the main reason here. The new Poco F4 comes to around 11.5 hours in the PCmark battery test in automatic mode with the image playback frequency, which is around half an hour more than the F3. This means that the F4 is again well suited to only be charged every other day. This also works faster now than with the predecessor. For this, Xiaomi has increased the charging speed to 67 watts – a good value, but no longer outstanding. This fully charges the Poco F4 in just under 45 minutes.

The new Xiaomi Poco F4 is available in black, silver and green. There is also a choice of two memory variants: 6/128 GB and 8/256 GB – neither of which can be expanded.

The Xiaomi Poco F4 is a typical example of “mouthed too much”. Because there is nothing “strong in every respect” about the smartphone, which is quite usable – except for the pithy marketing. Ultimately, the model has the same display as its predecessor, the same chipset, less RAM in the smaller version and even the nominally smaller battery. This still makes the device a decent smartphone, because the performance is still good, the OLED display is still pretty good and the camera and battery life are even better than the predecessor. However, the price has risen – this is out of proportion to the hardware and marketing. Because it’s not “strong in every respect”, the hype surrounding the Poco F series has at least been dampened significantly.

If you can get by with an IPS LCD, you should probably take a look at the Poco X4 GT (test report) , which is also new . In general, our top 10 best smartphones up to 400 euros and up to 500 euros offer a number of alternatives to the F4.

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Brian Adam
Professional Blogger, V logger, traveler and explorer of new horizons.