The Poco X4 Pro 5G, like most of the recent Xiaomi smartphones, boots Android 11 with the newest MIUI 13 version. It is touted as MIUI for Poco as there are a few minor differences. Most of the new MIUI features are under the hood, though they should make for a smoother, smarter, and more secure experience.
This version of MIUI 13 is based on Android 11, and it does not include any of the Android 12 features like the revamped widgets and their new widget page in the app drawer. There is no advanced Privacy Dashboard either with options like a protected clipboard, approximate location, updated Face Unlock algorithm. The updated File Manager and Clock app with Bedtime mode are nowhere to be found either.
Other notable missing features on Android 11 + MIUI 13 combo are the improved one-handed mode (iOS-style), and the improved camera app with zero shutter lag and motion photos.
Finally, the new live wallpapers showing microscopic stuff like how vitamin C and citric acid crystallize, as part of the Beauty of Science collaboration, are not available on the Redmi Note 11 series just yet.
Still, Xiaomi claims that MIUI has been reworked completely, even if you cannot tell that by the interface and its design alone - it looks and feels just like MIUI 12. But the new version reportedly focuses on much better resource distribution and should handle processor, RAM and storage usage better and smarter.
For example, MIUI 13 is supposed to keep track of the current use of the processor and RAM and suspend any currently unnecessary tasks to free resources and offer more fluid performance. Xiaomi promises a background process efficiency increase of up to 40% compared to the previous version.
Liquid storage is what sounds really cool and relevant for modern smartphones. Xiaomi says that in most phones, the storage performance is halved in 36 months due to inefficient storage management. And this is where MIUI 13 comes - it offers 60% better defragmentation efficiency than MIUI 12 and different competitors. So, the storage performance drop in 36 months should be merely 5%. This sounds impressive, so here is hoping this feature lives up to the hype.
The final optimization done within MIUI's core is power management - the new version's optimization should lead to a 10% drop in the power consumption compared to MIUI 12's.
There is also an improved Smart Sidebar for even more fluid multi-tasking with pop-up apps. And the privacy has been improved with a number of features - some of which - unique.
And now, let's take a closer look at MIUI 13 for Poco on the X4 Pro.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G supports an Always-on display - unfortunately, it can never be always on. It can only appear for 10s after a tap. At least, there are a lot of AOD themes you can choose from. A few of those can also be customized.
Breathing light is called Notification effect in MIUI 13. It can work with or without Always-on Display. Basically, that's a fancier version of the notification LED that uses the edges of the display - they flash with colors upon new notifications.
One more thing, you can choose the lockscreen clock style, too.
You unlock the screen via the side-mounted fingerprint scanner. The reader is easy to set up, blazing-fast, and the accuracy is superb. You can set the unlock method to Touch or Press - the Press will spare you accidental misreads of your palm (that eventually lead to PIN input) if you are using the phone without a case. A 2D Face Unlock is available, too, but it is far less secure than the fingerprint option.
The homescreens are business as usual - they are populated with shortcuts, folders, and widgets. The leftmost pane, if enabled, is Google's Discover.
MIUI 13 for Poco offers an app drawer, but unlike on regular MIUI launchers, here it cannot be disabled. It automatically organizes your apps into categories. The first is All, meaning it contains all apps. Then follow Communication, Entertainment, Photography, Tools, New, and Business. You can edit these categories or even disable them altogether.
Just like in MIUI 12, MIUI 13 offers an independent Notification shade and Control Center. You summon them like on the iPhones - pull down from the left part of the screen for the Notification Center, pull down from the right for the Control Center.
If you are not fond of this iPhone-ish split - you can disable the Control Center, and the shade will revert to its normal looks and operation.
The task switcher is familiar, too, if you've ever used a Xiaomi. It shows all of your recent apps in two columns. Tap-and-hold on any card for the split-screen and pop-up shortcuts (where available), or just swipe it left or right to close it.
There is no Floating Windows button here - either on a card, or the top of the app switcher. The functionality is present on the Poco X4 Pro, though, but we will get to that in a bit.
Themes have always been a huge part of MIUI, and they are available on MIUI 13, too. You can download new ones from the Themes store, and they can change wallpapers, ringtones, system icons, and even the always-on display style.
MIUI comes with its proprietary multimedia apps - Gallery, Music, Mi Video (with streaming options), FM radio. There is also an MIUI File Manager. And, of course, a Mi Remote app that uses the integrated IR blaster.
MIUI also offers a Security app. It can scan your phone for malware, manage your blacklist, manage or restrict your data usage, configure battery behavior, and free up some RAM. It can also manage the permissions of your installed apps, define the battery behavior of selected apps, and apply restrictions only to certain apps.
And speaking of memory, MIUI 13 offers Memory Extension option that's active by default (you can disable it if you like). It reserves up to 2GB of internal storage for RAM caching. Less important memory blocks should come here.
The Smart Sidebar is quite familiar - a small visible mark on the edge of the screen that expands into a menu anytime you swipe on it. You launch apps in pop-up windows from here (you can have only one pop-up app at a time). Of course, you can customize the actions for this menu. If you are within a multimedia app (like YouTube, Mi Video, Gallery, etc.) you will get the Video toolbox next to the shortcuts - it contains a Dolby Atmos switch, plus shortcuts for Screenshot, Record screen, Cast, and Play Video with the screen off. And, oh yes, the last one works on YouTube, no Premium subscription needed!
Other interesting MIUI 13 improvements you may not notice at first include a better screenshot editor, a brand-new battery page with performance mode, and an option for the camera app to shoot videos with the screen turned off.
When you take a screenshot, you will notice a modern-looking interface with brushes, erasers, text and selection tools, among others.
The Battery page offers four battery modes - two power-saving types, Balanced (default), and a new Performance option that may give a small performance boost for a while but then lead to throttling. Here, you can also check the battery temperature. Note that Performance Mode is not available for all Xiaomi phones, but it is present on the Poco X4 Pro 5G and the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G.
Finally, even if not new per se, the Camera app offers an option to Shoot with screen off. If you toggle this feature on, the screen will be turned off after three minutes of inactivity.
Some MIUI ROMs include ads in the default apps, it is a well-known thing, and our Poco X4 Pro 5G do come with baked-in ad "recommendations" across most of its system apps.
You can disable those even if it's a bit tedious to do it because you have to do it for every system app that has them. For example, if you are annoyed by the app scanner's ads, just hit the settings gear, and disable recommendations. Ads in the File Manager - Settings->About should do it. Themes - go to Settings and disable Recommendations. It's not ideal, sure, but at least you can get rid of them all.
MIUI 13 has a lot of under the hood improvements that promise a smoother and faster experience right now, as well as for the next couple of years due to many optimizations. The interface is pretty much MIUI 12 with a couple of tweaks here and there. So, if you didn't expect a groundbreaking redesign, you will feel right at home with MIUI 13. We don't expect Android 12 to change that either.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G runs on the Snapdragon 695 5G chipset, a massive downgrade from the Poco X3 Pro and its Snapdragon 860 SoC but for a small improvement over the Poco X3 NFC's Snapdragon 732G. SD695 is the same silicon powering the Redmi Note 11 Pro 5G - a completely revamped mid-range chipset since the Snapdragon 690.
This Snapdragon 695 chipset is based on a modern 6nm manufacturing process by TSMC, and it has modern Cortex-A78 CPU cores.
The octa-core processor of the Snapdragon 695 5G offers two Kryo 660 Gold (Cortex-A78) cores clocked at 2.2 GHz, and six Kryo 660 Silver (Cortex-A55) ones, working at 1.8 GHz.
There is also Adreno 619 GPU, which is of the lower mid-range as far as performance is concerned.
The Poco X4 Pro 5G is available with either 6GB or 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM. The storage options are 128GB and 256GB, and the storage is of the UFS 2.2 kind. We have the 6GB/128GB model.
Finally, the SD695 chip supports dual 5G, Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, GPS. Some of the competing MediaTek chips come with Wi-Fi 6 support, so there is some room for improvement.
Let's run some benchmarks now.
The Snapdragon 695's processor offers a 15% performance increase over the Poco X3 NFC and its Snapdragon 732 chipset. It is also faster than the non-5G Redmi Note 11 Pro (and its Helio G96 chip). It is not even close to the X3 Pro's flagship-grade Snapdragon 860, obviously.
Higher is better
Higher is better
The Adreno 619 offers a minor performance boost over the Adreno 618 within the Poco X3 NFC, which is disappointing.
The Adreno 619 is no chart-topper, as you can see, though it's no slouch either. There are many phones in this price bracket that offer faster graphics performance, though.
Higher is better
Higher is better
Higher is better
Higher is better
Curiously, the AnTuTu benchmarks recognize the Poco X4 Pro as Poco X4 NFC, which, honestly, makes much more sense. The phone looks a lot more like a sequel to the NFC version and not the X3 Pro. Maybe it was considered as such at some point of its development but was promoted later for reasons unknown.
The AnTuTu benchmarks put the Poco X4 Pro 5G slightly above the Poco M4 Pro and its Dimensity 810 chip. It's not a slow phone, but it sits below many more powerful phones from within the same price segment.
Higher is better
Higher is better
At the end of our performance tests, we ran the CPU Throttle and 3D Mark Stress test. It turned out that the Poco X4 Pro 5G has great stability. It managed to keep 74% of its CPU performance under peak usage for an hour, and 99.6% of the GPU performance when using the GPU at 100%. These are some top-notch numbers.
The Poco X4 Pro runs smoothly most of the time, drawing its UI and compatible non-gaming apps with 120fps. And while theoretically, it can run games at up to 120fps, its GPU is too weak to do that. We witnessed some stutter and lag across the UI, and the weak Snapdragon chipset made for some camera app crashes during intensive shooting.
The phone offers no meaningful upgrades over the X3 NFC and is a big downgrade compared to the X3 Pro. It can stand its ground around other 2022 smartphones from within the same price bracket, but the 2021 models are blowing it out of the water.