POCO M5: Going Up or Getting Down?

POCO, the kings of affordable yet powerful smartphones has released another one under their M Series: the all-new POCO M5! But is it worth the upgrade from M4 Pro 5G to M5? Let’s review it.

The newest offering from POCO finds itself on the middle of a sticky situation as their POCO M5 looks and feels like a downgrade from last year’s M4 Pro and M4 Pro 5G.

The POCO M5 box: all too simple.

Other reports said that POCO maybe overdelivered last year and had to recuperate for their profit losses. Let’s take a look at this device and decide if this is a win or a huge L for us.

The box (not Roddy Rich’s)

The POCO M5’s box is nothing special since it retained the original labels, color, and fonts used from their previous releases so there’s nothing new to see here.

Just the same ol’ package (from left to right): Quick Start Guide, Warranty Card, Safety Information, clear jelly case, the phone itself, USB Type-C cable, 18W/22.5W charging brick, and sim ejector pin

The contents

Searching all the contents inside the POCO M5’s box, we are greeted with the same inclusions as last year’s M4 Series such as a couple of papers and documents (Warranty Card, Quick Start Guide, and Safety Information).

There’s also the jelly case and sim ejector pin that’s always welcome to have, the phone itself incased in frosted plastic, and the charging brick and cable.

The back

Aesthetic wise, the POCO M5 leaped from a simple matte back to a stylish and trendy faux-leather back that will make you feel like you’re always on a business class lifestyle.

Leathery goodness (without any cows suffering, of course)!
Faux-leather back up close.

The camera bump clearly took inspirations from Google Pixel, and the camera setup feels oh so dynamic instead of the modular, almost banal style of previous year’s incarnation.

Sweet camera placements! (Also that obnoxious ‘Designed by Poco’ text is gone.)

The sides

One of the biggest differences from last year is the headphone jack placement: from under to the top. We think it’s brilliant.

There’s the mic next to the headphone jack, then on the left side is the sim tray, and on the other side, is the power button and volume rockers.

Finally, there’s a single speaker, another mic, and the USB Type-C port for charging.

The display

The POCO M5’s 6.58 IPS LCD screen is actually again, nothing new. In fact, the M5’s screen shrinked by about .2 versus last year’s 6.6 inch.

Tall!
Feels comfy holding it to be honest…

There’s a slight increase in maximum nits: from 450 nits to 500 nits now, you should be fine taking it to use outside as it will provide some decent brightness. But don’t expect AMOLED levels of screen visibility anytime soon, since they’re a different league.

But the biggest blunder of all is why does the waterdrop notch returned in 2022? The M4 Series effectively hanged out with the much more better punch hole display… And yes, this is a clear sign of first hand cost cutting.

What the #@!+&% is this?!

The camera

From a dual rear setup, the POCO M5’s triple camera setup eliminates the need to look like there are more cameras than meets the eye unlike the Poco M4 Pro 5G which only have two and made it appear like it has four.

However, this year’s model decided to drop the ultrawide camera in favor of a couple of 2MP shooters for macro and depth. No one really uses depth and macro that much so again, it feels like a downgrade all through and through. The selfie camera took a hit also with a downgrade to 5MP from 16MP last year.

The battery

It still have the beefy 5,000mAh Li-Po battery but at what cost? From a speedy 33 watts charging last year, it’s down to only 18 watts with a max speed of up to 22.5 watts according to POCO. What kind of sorcery is this? It’s evolving, just backwards.

The audio

The POCO M4 Pro 5G’s sound quality on its speakers is already one of the weakest features of the device, but somehow…the POCO M5 just set a new low for its sound. Gone are the days of quad speakers, the M5 only has one.

Gaming prowess

The POCO M5 sports MediaTek’s newest chipset under the Helio lineup, the Helio G99. Honestly, we think last year’s Dimensity 810 (also from MediaTek) is on par, if not better than the Helio G99 in some areas.

For example, the Helio G99 equipped POCO M5 scored around 377,000 points on AnTuTu (v.9.4) while the POCO M4 Pro 5G’s Dimensity 810 chipset scored 399,811 points.

Both are excellent gaming chipsets, and with an option of 4+2/64GB or 6+2/128GB, it is enough storage and processing power to run most games without any performance issues, but yet– both are stuck at medium graphics and high refresh rates on Call of Duty: Mobile.

But if we’ll choosing a favorite: we’ll go with the tested and proven Dimensity 810 over the virgin Helio G99.

Extras

Aside from the mentioned specs above, there are no new additions to this year’s POCO M5 aside from the new range of colors and the M5 running Android 12 over M4 Pro 5G’s Android 11.

What we like about POCO M5:

✔️ Cool faux-leather back

✔️ New rear camera module placement

✔️ Helio G99 chipset is a new, powerful budget processor

✔️ Headphone jack now on top

What we dislike about POCO M5:

✖️Two new cameras seems useless

✖️Slow charging speed compared to last year

✖️Ugly waterdrop notch

✖️Only one speaker compared to last year

✖️Even worse selfie camera (16MP last year vs 5MP now)

✖️More expensive than last year

FINAL VERDICT: Sakto Lang (3.3/5 stars ★★★)

Sakto Lang: because the M5 has more downgrades than upgrades.

A cool textured back, an additional camera and a new chipset, the POCO M5 may look like you’re getting an update because the name suggests to, but it’s more of a downgrade for the same amount of cash or higher. Better off buying the M4 Series as it is the better and the most viable option right now. If you care more about the looks — then the M5 is for you.

PRICING: 4/64GB is P9,499.00 and the 6/128GB is P10,499.00.

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