Like the Poco M3 Pro 5G before it, the Poco M4 Pro 5G is a budget handset from Xiaomi that aims to squeeze the maximum amount of value out of not much money: £219 / AU$450 (around $300) and upwards, to be exact.
For a lot of people, cost is the first and most important consideration when it comes to picking a smartphone, and when it comes to affordability the Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G definitely delivers.Jump to...
Release date and priceDesignDisplayCameraPerformanceBattery lifeShould you buy it?
In return for your cash you get a decent-looking smartphone with a big, bright screen. While performance isn't spectacular (and not much of an improvement over its immediate predecessor), the handset will do everything you need it to do with the minimum of fuss (and with plenty of time between battery charges as well). For some, that might be all they need to know.
Dig a little deeper though, and you can see where Xiaomi has made its savings. The camera setup on the Poco M4 Pro 5G isn't fantastic, and you're also missing out on extras like Wi-Fi 6, waterproofing and wireless charging. It's really a question of what your priorities are and how much you're willing to spend on your next smartphone.
Xiaomi's MIUI isn't one of our favorite takes on Android, though that's more of a personal point of view than an objective assessment – there's just a bit too much bloat and extraneous flotsam for our tastes, though it's fair to say that the software is very customizable. You do at least get the bonus of 5G with this phone, so you're all set for the next-gen connectivity revolution.
If you're shopping for the best budget phone, then the Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G has to be in the conversation at some point. However, with middling performance and only satisfactory camera quality, it's really the low price of the phone, the display, and the battery life that sells it the most.
In terms of direct competitors, the £170 / $200 / AU$299 Moto G31, the £229 /$279 (around AU$365) Samsung Galaxy A32 5G and the £199 / $299.99 /AU$449 Nokia G50 are also worth weighing up, and the Poco M4 Pro 5G certainly stands up well against them.
However, you don't have to spend all that much more cash to get improvements like an OLED screen and a superior camera setup.
The Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G is available to buy now in the UK, although it's not particularly widely available. Perhaps the best place to pick it up is Amazon, where you can find the version with 64GB of storage for £219, and the 128GB edition for £239, SIM-free and unlocked.
It's a similar story in Australia, where not many places stock it, but it can be found from around AU$450.
As usual with Xiaomi phones, you can't easily pick up the device in the US - some stores stock an international model, but this won't work on all carriers. In China, the handset is known as the Redmi Note 11.
With its shiny, two-tone back and oversized camera bump, the Poco M4 Pro 5G offers more flamboyance in terms of its design than a lot of other handsets at the same price – though we can imagine the rather large Poco logo putting some people off. It's all plastic of course, but it's nicely done plastic, and it feels comfortably snug in the hand.
The measurements you need to know about are 163.6 x 75.8 x 8.8mm (6.44 x 2.98 x 0.35 inches) – dimensions largely dictated by the 6.6-inch screen – and the phone tips the scales at 195g (that's 6.88 ounces). It feels pleasingly light, and isn't going to significantly weigh down your pocket or your bag.
We had the black version sent to us for our review, but you can also pick up this phone in yellow or blue as well, options which are a bit more eye-catching. This is perhaps not the handset to go for if you want something understated and minimal, but it's refreshing to see a smartphone that isn't just following the same old template over and over again.
All the physical buttons are on the right as you look at the phone: a volume rocker and a power button. As is common with cheaper handsets, the fingerprint sensor is built into the power button rather than the display – we prefer it the other way round, but you might think differently (and it's not a huge issue in any case).
Charging and data transfer is handled via USB-C, and Xiaomi has even found room for a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom edge of the Poco M4 Pro 5G. You wouldn't expect full waterproofing on a phone at this price, and indeed you don't get it, with the phone having an IP53 rating for dust and splash protection.
With the Poco M4 Pro 5G we have a perfectly serviceable 6.6-inch IPS LCD screen, running at a resolution of 1080 x 2400 (making for a 20:9 aspect ratio). The 90Hz refresh rate is now the new baseline for smartphones, even ones down at the budget end of the market, and the scrolling and motion is pleasingly fluid.
While the display can't match the deep contrast and vivid brightness that an OLED panel can offer, it's fine for what you're paying, with the brightness ramped up. Colors pop and details are sharp and crisp – and if you don't like the default appearance then there are two other modes to pick from (as well as a color wheel that lets you set the color temperature manually as needed, from warm to cool).
The bezels around the display are nice and slim, although the bottom chin is a little bigger than the rest. The only interruption to the screen is a circular cut-out up at the top, which houses the selfie camera.
The dual-lens 50MP+8MP rear camera fitted to the Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G isn't going to win any best-in-class awards, and while it's not terrible, it's certainly one of the weaker parts of the package as a whole. That's not to say the phone can't take some really good pictures, because it can, but they don't always stand up to scrutiny (especially in low light).
You get an ultra-wide lens, which can come in handy for spectacular landscape shots, but there's no optical zoom here, and the digital zoom is predictably rough around the edges. On the front, there's a fairly standard 16MP snapper, which gets okay pictures but not much more than that.
Quickly browse through a gallery of snaps taken on the Poco M4 Pro 5G and you'll most likely be impressed: color reproduction and contrast is good, brightness is well balanced (even more so with HDR enabled), and images are snapped in an instant. If you're wanting some eye-catching pictures for social media, this phone can do the business – especially outdoors in decent light.
However, start to scrutinize photos taken by the phone more closely, and finer details become fuzzy, with colors occasionally washed out. At lower light levels, there's a substantial amount of noise, although the built-in night mode can make a difference. You can still get some usable snaps, but smartphone cameras a little higher up the price spectrum can do a significantly better job in the dark.
We don't want to be too down on the camera capabilities of the Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G, because you can capture very good images (and 1080p, 30fps video) in the right conditions. Like many of the other features here, it's about what you would expect from the price.
The MediaTek Dimensity 810 chipset fitted inside the Poco M4 Pro 5G doesn't offer much of a performance upgrade over the MediaTek MT6833 Dimensity 700 that we saw in the Poco M3 Pro 5G last year, but it's still going to do everything you need it to do on Android – including running games that are on the demanding side.
Along with the processor you're looking at 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage or 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage (a microSD card slot is available for adding more storage space if you need it).
We'd definitely recommend going for the latter of those two options, but of course that does push the price up slightly. This is one of the areas where you can see where Xiaomi has cut costs, as the Geekbench scores of 572 (single-core), 1,567 (multi-core) and 1,593 (OpenCL) testify.
There is some slight lag on occasion when it comes to switching between apps and jumping around menus, but not so much that it spoils the user experience to any great degree. If you're looking to pay a fraction of the price of the top-tier flagship smartphones on the market, then you have to expect some compromises.
The phone comes with Android 11 on board, with Xiaomi's MIUI interface wrapped around it. It's not our favorite Android skin, and there's a little bit too much bloat here for our liking, like the inserted advert that pops up whenever you install something from the Google Play Store. Xiaomi phones have their strengths, but software isn't one of them.
5G isn't yet standard on every smartphone, but we're pretty close to that point. If the next-gen connection technology has rolled out in your area, then the Poco M4 Pro 5G will be able to get connected to it, as the device's name suggests. In short, you get plenty for your money with this phone.
The 5,000mAh battery in the Xiaomi Poco M4 Pro 5G reaches the standard one day of use with ease, and if you're not constantly streaming videos, playing games and using GPS navigation then a couple of days of use is possible.
For most of the days during our testing, the battery level was still above 50% in the evening after a full charge in the morning.
That's one of the advantages of a budget phone of course, with a less demanding screen and more pedestrian specs – it doesn't draw as much power. An hour of video streaming knocks around 9% off the battery (at maximum brightness and a low volume level), so you can expect about 11-12 hours overall.
There's no wireless charging here – and indeed you wouldn't expect it at this price – but the 33W wired charging speed is respectable enough, and means you won't be waiting around too long to juice up the handset (about an hour or so from zero).
You need 5G on the cheap5G tech on smartphones no longer comes with the price premium that it used to – but that said, you're still going to struggle to get access to next-gen speeds for much less money than this.
A big screen is importantXiaomi usually knows what it's doing when it comes to smartphone displays, and the 6.6-inch panel here is one that impressed us, despite using IPS LCD rather than OLED.
You want plenty of time between chargesWe wouldn't say the Poco M4 Pro 5G stands out in any particular area, but the long battery life is definitely one of its stronger selling points. It definitely suits people on the move.
Performance is a priorityWe wouldn't say the Poco M4 Pro 5G is slow, exactly – but the extra few milliseconds of delay here and there give away the fact that this isn't a top-end, flagship smartphone.
You want flagship-level imagesThe dual-lens rear camera attached to the Poco M4 Pro 5G is capable of taking some reasonable snaps, but they don't particularly hold up to close scrutiny (especially in low light).
You own the Poco M3 Pro 5GThe M4 Pro simply isn't enough of an upgrade on the M3 Pro, unless you've got a lot of spare money – in which case you should get something that's more expensive anyway.
First reviewed: January 2022