The Poco F5 is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon 7+ Gen 2, and it's the first time we've long-term reviewed a device with this chipset. The name strongly implies it's just one step below the Snapdragon 8 series SoCs, but from past experience, that's not always a given in real life as well. In this case, however, it totally is. This chip very positively surprised us, as 90%+ of the time it feels like a flagship chipset in how fast it is.
The only slowdowns we've noticed are when you try to do other things while the Play Store is updating or installing apps, and when you have a ton of heavy apps open at the same time. But, even in those cases, the slowdown isn't of the "crawling to a halt" variety, it's more like - only at these points does this phone ever feel like a midranger.
At any other time, and do bear in mind that this reviewer doesn't game, the Poco F5 feels almost indistinguishable from a handset with a Snapdragon 8 series chip inside. And that's fantastic to see at this price.
When it comes to smoothness, it's close to the flagships while not matching them. And yet, this is the smoothest phone we've ever tested with a chip that isn't in the Snapdragon 8 or Dimensity 9xxx lines. We consider that high praise considering the price point and the fact that this SoC really does take you 90% of the way to flagship-land for a fraction of the cost. So we have to commend Redmi and Poco for choosing it for this phone, it suits it very well, and unless you're a heavy multitasker or a heavy gamer, we don't think you'll ever be left wanting more.
Battery life has been great, but you'll have to take our word for it, since MIUI 14 on the Poco F5 doesn't allow us to get a screen on time number from the time the phone is unplugged at 100%. That's a pretty standard feature on almost all skins, and used to be present in past versions of MIUI, but has been removed for reasons that escape us. It just makes no sense, Xiaomi. That number would help us prove how good the battery life is on your phones, because it is generally so across the entire portfolio.
And especially so here. We never needed a midday top-up with our use case - not once. The F5 always took us to the end of the day, and usually with about 30% battery left. We only once saw it drop to about 20%, but that was an outlier day with loads of mobile data connectivity and GPS navigation.
Normally, our use case involves about 12-16 hours off the charger, primarily Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, with about an hour or so of 5G mobile data, 30 minutes of GPS navigation via Waze, Bluetooth always on and an hour or two of listening to podcasts via TWS earbuds, and an hour or two of phone calls via TWS earbuds. Please also note that the "5G battery saver" setting was left on, which is its default state. That said, we never got 4G instead of 5G in areas where we knew 5G was available. If that would have happened, we would definitely have turned it off.
The general caveat applies - if your use case is more extreme than ours, then you'll get less battery life, but unless you're a very heavy power user always on bad-signal mobile data, we don't think you'll have any issues getting through a day with this device.
And even if you do need a quick top-up, it is actually pretty quick, as the F5 charges at 67W maximum for a time from zero to hero of about 47 minutes. Half an hour of charging gets you to 83%, which is pretty impressive for this price point, but of course there are faster-charging devices out there, we won't pretend like they don't exist. And yet, for most people, the F5's charging speed will be more than adequate. For those switching from midrange Samsungs or the Pixel a series, it will seem mind-blowingly fast.
Unsurprisingly since it is as affordable as it is, the F5 doesn't have wireless charging, but we think the wired charging speed more than makes up for that. Let's consider that had that been put in, it would have either made the phone more expensive, or forced the company to cut some other corner somewhere else.