Poco F4 GT

poco F4 GT in-hand review

Gaming phones are normal phones with added gaming features. What even does that mean? What characteristics define a gaming phone? increased performance Better cooling (sometimes with internal or external attached dedicated fans)? more buttons that are specifically for gaming? A “gaming”-inspired design? LEDs in RGB? the entire list?

A gaming phone is what? Does the Poco F4 GT have gaming capabilities? Does that imply that it’s just beneficial for seasoned players, or can average folks use one as well? Yes, there are a lot of questions. Let’s get that last one out of the way right away: Of course, regular people can purchase and use this technology; after all, there is no such thing as “too much performance.” However, taking that path does entail putting up with a few peculiarities, which we’ll cover relatively briefly once you turn the page.

Poco F4 GT review
Introduction of Poco F4 GT. Image credit: GSMArena.com

Poco’s GT series indeed scream “gaming,” but it does it more subtly than other device families. For example, consider Red Magics, ROG Phones, and similar devices. The Poco F4 GT does seem to be on the milder side of things, especially if you get it in any colour other than yellow. These are all gaming phones, but they’re different, and that makes sense given their differences.

Aside from gaming, this phone has the flagship processor when it arrived, therefore it could easily fit into the “flagship killer” or “cheap flagship” categories. Then, is it a master of none? Does it thrive in any of those areas, or does it aim to please everyone while falling short in any of those areas?

Poco F4 GT review
Back view of Poco F4 GT. Image credit: GSMArena.com

We set out to investigate this. We’ll go right to the point and say that this review won’t be gaming-specific. We have never been in any of our long-term reviews, and we won’t start now. The majority of consumers undoubtedly wouldn’t mind finding out if the Poco F4 GT, with its affordable pricing, might be their daily car even though most people aren’t avid mobile gamers. And not necessarily because of its gaming prowess. But having them may certainly be wonderful.

In this long-term review of the Poco F4 GT, the first of its kind for both the Poco GT line and a gaming phone, let’s buckle in and find out what the Poco F4 GT is all about. So let’s get right to it—lots of firsts.

Design and build quality of Poco F4 GT

The Stealth Black colouring appears to be unrelated to gaming from a distance. This one is actually stealthy, but only up close. The moment you grasp it and take a close-up look at it, you’ll realise that this is not your typical, everyday smartphone. But it’s also not a loud, obnoxious gaming phone, at least not if you don’t choose the yellow model.

Poco F4 GT review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

For many folks, including gamers with office jobs who don’t want their phone to stand out too much while yet giving gaming looks and functions, that would strike an interesting balance. Certainly, that is a really specialised market, but perhaps you can also come up with some others.

Gaming triggers Image credit: GSMArena.com

The design has a theme, and it serves a function, but it doesn’t go too far in that direction to make the entire product unattractive to anyone who don’t fit the demographic that is plainly being targeted here.

We can only say that the Poco F4 GT looks from the front like any other upper-midrange or cost-effective flagship handset introduced in the previous year or two. Let’s move on from the flat screen, the hole-punched selfie camera, and the average-sized bezels (albeit the chin is larger than the rest) to something else.

front display. Image credit: GSMArena.com

Things start to get extremely intriguing on the right side since it’s lot busier there than they would be on a Poco. In fact, it’s so cramped that the volume rocker has to be shifted to the left side, despite always being on the right for Xiaomi, Redmi, and Poco phones. And it’s done to make room for the top and bottom pop-up magnetic gaming triggers. Will they appeal to gamers? Probably.

Poco F4 GT review
triggers. Image credit: GSMArena.com

Will you despise them if you’re not a gamer? It’s… complex, I guess. The slidey parts that lock and unlock the triggers are always present; despite not being buttons, they feel and look like buttons. Your fingertips will frequently touch them when using this phone, which may or may not disturb you.

The placement of the volume rocker is also a matter of personal opinion; other manufacturers, such as Oppo, have always placed their volume keys on the left. For what it’s worth, this reviewer found the left-hand volume rocker to be fairly simple to get used to.

side view of Poco F4 GT. Image credit: GSMArena.com

On the other hand, the trigger latches were always felt as an obstruction. It also seems pretty flimsy because any case you could want to use necessitates an absurd number of cutouts on the right side. This undoubtedly does nothing to improve the thin and flimsy-feeling one that comes in the box. In fact, it was one of the bundled cases that we had least fun using in the previous few years.

Don’t get us wrong, we still think it’s great that there is a case in the box. You probably won’t find many third-party cover options for this niche smartphone from a similarly niche business, which makes that a wonderful gesture even more. We only wish Poco would resume making cases the way it did a year or two ago because those seemed more solid and anything but flimsy.

Flash light design. Image credit: GSMArena.com

The Poco F4 GT’s rear design is a mix of two languages when you turn it over: the lines across the back and the LED flash want to draw attention to the device’s gaming focus, while the size and placement of the camera island appear to be lifted verbatim from many other recent phones. And while they don’t get as shouty as other rival solutions, they do succeed to some extent.

canera island. Image credit: GSMArena.com

The LED flash design is pretty nice; it’s unusual in a cool, enjoyable way. On the camera island, though, the meaningless, absurd “frozen speediest” wording is just too cringe-worthy. Although the absence of the keyword “AI” should definitely be admired, Chinese enterprises need to stop doing this immediately. Because “freezing speediest” sounds so appealing, nobody has ever bought or will ever buy a Poco F4 GT, but many people might buy one despite how awful that sounds. One presumes that’s not the place where you want your brand to be.

The Poco logo is somewhat understated here compared to other of the brand’s more budget options, where we’re used to the lettering being at least three times as wide. However, because our unit is intended for EU shores, there is an overwhelming amount of regulatory writing on the rear. But don’t get me wrong—this is a wonderful change.

Poco F4 GT

This phone is slippery because of the matte glass back, which feels like a real glass back. I don’t think that should have surprised you. The symmetry of the rear design lines is pleasing, as are the thoughtful details, such as how the volume rocker design echoes both the camera island and the centre line. Thanks to Apple, flat sides are a trend, and Poco couldn’t help but follow suit. There is much less “frame” to hold onto in the Poco F4 GT than in any of the new iPhones, therefore we don’t think they significantly affect usability for smartphones like this.

Overall, the Poco F4 GT has a premium, solid, and very well-built feel, which is appropriate given that it competes in the “cheap flagship” market with a focus on flagship. If your hands aren’t small, handling it is comparable to handling any commonplace modern technology. It is relatively average in terms of size; it is neither the biggest nor the smallest. It does feel a little heavy, but just little heavier than what we would consider comfortable. After an hour or two of use, it still feels hefty; nevertheless, it is approaching near to becoming tiresome; any more weight would have ruined the experience.

Speakers

Two twin speakers are located at the top and bottom of the Poco F4 GT’s four speakers. When playing in landscape mode, neither will be muted by your hands holding the phone because they are both on the right side. That was a pretty thoughtful choice on Poco’s part, and we really appreciate it. This layout is great for watching videos in landscape mode as well as playing games.

It’s remarkable what correct location can do, truly, as we’ve never had any trouble hearing what’s coming out of the speakers. They aren’t the loudest or the greatest speakers available, but they are close to being the loudest. Regardless of their shortcomings, they are still quite pleasurable to use for movies, TV shows, podcasts, and other media, including gaming.

Poco F4 GT review
Bottom speaker. Image credit: GSMArena.com

Again, do not expect these to receive any prizes, and do not anticipate feeling disappointed if they do not. They’re excellent for general use and won’t let you down unless you keep trying to use them in extremely loud settings, which no phone speaker can really withstand.

The Poco F4 GT does have the now-standard Xiaomi / Redmi / Poco configuration, where the top grille and earpiece are both outlets for the same real speaker. This means that if you’re on the phone and holding the Poco F4 GT to your ear, some of what you hear will inevitably leak out into the surrounding area through the top speaker grille. This is a natural result of the setup. If you wear headphones of any kind, this is certainly not a problem in the slightest.

Vibration motors

One of the best vibration motors available is of the “feel it more than you can hear it” sort, which, for whatever reason, appears to have prevailed in the vibration motor battles of the 2020s. What does this mean in real life? Even if the phone is in the same room as you and is in direct physical contact with your skin, such as on a couch, carpet, or other soft object, you are quite likely to miss vibration notifications if you are not using it. On desks, it performs a tiny bit better, but even then, if you’re a few metres away, it’s game over. There is simply not enough oomph in it to stand out.

Poco F4 GT review
haptic feedback. Image credit: GSMArena.com

However, it seems like there are fewer and fewer of these over the course of a few months, which is a real shame because this used to be one of the major differentiators for MIUI in the real world. Nevertheless, in use, it’s still cool that there are small nudges here and there in the UI that use the vibration motor.

Fingerprint sensor

The Poco F4 GT’s superb fingerprint sensor is built into the power button. It’s undoubtedly one of the most precise tools we’ve ever used, and it works quickly as well. Our first-time unlocking success rate is almost 100%, with very few misses over the entire time we’ve had the phone. There’s really not much else to say; this fingerprint sensor is excellent and we encountered no problems at all.

Poco F4 GT review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

We wished that all of them, especially the ones that aren’t on show, were as good as this one. In all honesty, if this side-mounted sensor is as good, we’d prefer it to an in-display sensor. If, like us, you’re used to pressing the power button to unlock your phone, the positioning inside the power button also greatly aids use.

It becomes a really seamless procedure, turning the screen on and unlocking in one motion, once the unlocking is set to happen upon a press of the button rather than simply a touch (which, in our experience, can lead to some unintentional unlocks).

There is also face unlock, which is quick and effective but less secure than fingerprint unlocking because it just employs the front-facing camera. In order to engage the phone, you must first wake it up. If you do that by tapping the power button, the fingerprint scanner has already let you in, so there is no time for face unlocking to work its magic. On the other side, face unlock will function swiftly if you double-tap the screen to wake the phone up. Additionally, we checked, and it only functions with your eyes open.

Display

The Poco F4 GT features a great display for its price range that is more than acceptable. Even while it doesn’t break any brightness records, it is sufficiently bright to be seen outside, even on a bright summer day. Similar to that, it becomes sufficiently dim to not feel uncomfortable to use in completely dark environments, but we do hope more independent phone manufacturers would already include Google’s “Extra Dim” function in their skins. It would be a huge benefit for individuals who are light-sensitive to be able to dim the screen even more than it now is at its darkest level. Unfortunately, MIUI does not yet appear to have that feature; hopefully, this will change in the future.

Poco F4 GT review
display. Image credit: GSMArena.com

In our perspective, the auto brightness curve is outstanding. We only occasionally had to manually adjust it since it was a little too bright indoors, but even then, the majority of users would likely have been satisfied with the phone’s display. Long-term use of a phone with a strong auto brightness curve is always exciting because it eliminates one of the minor annoyances (having to continuously adjust it).

This definitely isn’t the best resolution out there. And yet, as we have stated multiple times before, most recently in our Xiaomi 12 Pro long-term review, we highly doubt that the majority of people would be able to distinguish between a “FHD+” panel and a “QHD+” panel in real life, when seeing the screen at typical viewing distances. A higher-resolution display could have seemed appropriate for a gaming phone with a flagship chipset, but we’re sure that would have increased the cost. Choices are challenging.

Reading mode and the Screen quality

The screen quality is excellent, and the Original colour mode quite closely matches the sRGB colour space. However, if P3 accuracy is something you’re after, the default Vivid colour option drastically oversaturates whites and greys with blue. While using the Warm preset does assist with that, everything becomes a little too yellow as a result.

Poco F4 GT review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

Speaking of which, the blue light filter in Reading mode on the Poco F4 GT is arguably the most yellow we’ve ever seen. We don’t mean to imply that this is a drawback, but if you frequently use blue light filters, you should be aware of it. If you set the intensity slider to its highest setting, the most of them will skew orange. This one, though, is entirely yellow, which could be startling at first if you’re used to other colours. However, we quickly adapted to it, and it’s likely that you will as well.

The MIUI blue light filter is still the most complete one available, with all the standard features like the aforementioned intensity slider, scheduling capabilities (including sunset to sunrise as well as custom ranges), but topping everyone else with its “Paper” textured mode (with its own, separate intensity slider), as well as the ability to make the screen show “light colours” (read: somewhat desaturated) and black-and-white. It’s all you could want, it’s a blue light hater’s dream, and we keep hoping that other UIs will take inspiration from it, but so far, it hasn’t.

Refresh rate

The Poco F4 GT’s screen updates every 120 Hz. Good news thus far, Although the setting only needed to be set once, the way it is implemented is really aggravating. There is a Custom mode as well as a Default mode that changes the rate however it pleases. You can choose between 60 Hz and 120 Hz only after selecting that, and you ought to select the latter. Purchasing a phone with a high refresh rate screen and not using it is pointless.

But you should know that even if you set this to 120 Hz, the panel won’t always refresh at that rate. It is essentially a setting of the maximum permitted, however it is incorrectly labelled. When playing videos, using Google Maps, or using the camera app when the phone is in this mode, the volume will decrease. However, it is encouraging to see that games that support high frame rates actually receive the full 120 Hz.

Let’s pause right here and bemoan the fact that Google Maps, a programme that might profit from a high refresh rate, is limited to 60 Hz. The only other issue, as already mentioned, is the Camera app’s slow refresh rate. A superb user experience is created by the fact that this always appears to be using the highest refresh rate.

Always on-display

Contrary to what we’ve seen on some Redmi models, the Always-on display can be configured to truly be always on. There are more choices, such as having it appear on a personalised schedule or for 10 seconds after touching the screen. Although we have long liked properly always-on screens, we have recently discovered that we actually prefer the “ten seconds after tap” option because we use our phones so much throughout the day. There are enough possibilities here for everyone, however obviously you might prefer another environment.

The Always-on Display’s design should continue along the same lines. You can choose from a wide variety of analogue and digital clocks, as well as several image backdrops and the appealing “Kaleidoscope” option. Overall, MIUI’s AOD implementation is still one of the most configurable ones available, and in our opinion, that’s a good thing. You can stick with the default settings if you don’t want to fiddle with it too much, or you can really fine-tune it to your preferences if you’re so inclined.

Performance

The Poco F4 GT should function superbly as a gaming phone; otherwise, what’s the point? We’re pleased to announce that it does meet expectations, but only to the extent that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 permits. The Poco F4 GT can’t totally avoid such issues, no matter how large a cooling system it uses, even though this is a true flagship chipset in all regards and will feel like that for any type of casual use (even casual gaming).

Don’t get us wrong, the twin vapour chamber is enormous, but when the phone is throttled, it consistently dips to about two-thirds after a few (about ten) minutes. So, it’s business as usual for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. So, if you’re a serious professional gamer who demands top performance all the time, we advise choosing a smartphone with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 SoC inside because it has significantly enhanced thermals.

Poco F4 GT review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

The Poco F4 GT still feels like a top-of-the-line smartphone in use no matter what you throw at it, with the exception of throttling tests and extended heavy gaming sessions, that is. For anyone who isn’t a strong pro gamer, none of the above will matter.

Poco F4 GT review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

With that out of the way, let’s focus on smoothness, which is everyone’s favourite intangible “metric” that is difficult to determine from a spec sheet. In fact, it shares second place with the Xiaomi 12 Pro as one of the smoothest phones we’ve ever used for a prolonged review. The Poco is nothing to laugh at, but the OnePlus 10 Pro still maintains a tiny lead. We’ve truly enjoyed using it every day because it runs smoother than most other cellphones out there.

Speed of the charging and Battery Life

The Poco F4 GT demonstrated excellent lifespan for the duration of our testing for this extensive evaluation. With our use case, which is explained below, battery life has been outstanding. We’ve always been able to get at least 6 hours of screen time, and we’ve never run out of charge before the end of the day. While it’s not the best on the charts, we occasionally saw more than 7 hours on excellent days.

For a lengthy review, the best battery life we’ve ever observed would allow for daily screen time of over 7 hours and, on rare instances, over 8 hours. We haven’t noticed any strange ups and downs, but the Poco is nearly there. It was also incredibly constant every day. That is certainly commendable, but charging time is considerably more fascinating than battery life.

It’s tough to stress how much peace of mind these cable charging methods can provide, even though we’re starting to see more and more of them in different smartphones. In the case of the Poco F4 GT, that peace of mind is added to the already excellent battery life.

Our typical use case entails about 12 to 16 hours of continuous battery life, with Wi-Fi 6 connectivity predominating, about an hour or so of 5G mobile data, location always on and about an hour or so of Waze GPS navigation, Bluetooth always on and about an hour or so of music or podcast listening per day via TWS earbuds, and about an hour of phone calls.

We never need a midday top-up with this type of use, but even if your use case is somewhat more demanding (constant mobile data connectivity with poor reception, for example), all you need is to carry the charger and cord that came in the package with you. Zero to full takes between 20 and 21 minutes depending on whether you touch the Boost button after plugging in or not.

Poco F4 GT review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

Given how quickly this happens, it’s hard to spend the entire day away from an outlet. As a result, this phone shouldn’t have any “range anxiety,” to use a word from the electric vehicle (EV) industry. If only automobiles were treated similarly… However, I digress.

We can’t say we missed wireless charging because wired charging is so quick; nonetheless, there is no wireless charging because certain costs had to be trimmed to reach this pricing point.

Software

Since Poco is a member of the Xiaomi family, all of our typical software-related complaints for Xiaomi and Redmi phones, regrettably, also apply here. Specifically, update cadence is what we’re discussing. Currently running MIUI 13.0.7 on top of Android 12 with the August 2022 security patch level is our Poco F4 GT European review unit.

We won’t criticise Poco for not having released an upgrade to Android 13 yet; not many non-Google firms have. Additionally, as per usual, we must mention that MIUI is such a thick skin that the majority of UI updates Google makes with each new version of Android don’t even make it through, at least not without some major alterations. That’s great and everything. A security patch level, however, that is more than three months old? Simply said, that is unacceptable.

Simply put, Xiaomi, Poco, and Redmi need to do better at this. We are aware that distributing monthly security updates to all devices requires a lot of labour. Fine. But the flagships at least need to. Not to mention that Poco’s current top model is the F4 GT. However, it is clumsily tucked away in the corner and is utterly out of date. No good, Poco, no good.

Poco F4 GT review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

Regarding the Android 13 upgrade, it is likely to occur. in due course. most likely in 2023. Should it take less time to update the underlying OS on the company’s current flagship device? Definitely. Will Xiaomi, Redmi, and Poco ever be interested enough in this to devote the necessary funds to accelerating the release of major updates? Well, as the saying goes, never say never. However, given the course of events thus far, it seems unlikely. The money for that investment has to come from somewhere, and consistently offering cheaper smartphones than their rivals is not a surefire way to generate sizable profit margins, is it?

MiUi 13 interface

Now that that is out of the way, let’s focus on MIUI 13, which is the operating system that powers the Poco F4 GT. It is MIUI 13! It resembles MIUI 12.5, which was similar to MIUI 12 in terms of appearance and user experience. Since quite some time, we’ve been suggesting that MIUI needs a fresh coat of paint. We have appreciated the many years of small improvements, but they are beginning to feel a little stale.

We say this as phone reviewers who have used MIUI 13 on a dozen or more different devices, of course. If you have no prior experience with it, you won’t become weary of it at all. The design language has remained consistent for a long, though, so perhaps it’s time for a change even on a more objective level? Even Apple kind of, sort of pulled that off this year when it unveiled the Dynamic Island.

Functionally, every component of a current Android skin is there and accounted for. There are elements of MIUI that are very customisable, like as the Always-on display and the Reading mode blue light filter, both of which we’ve already discussed. Because there are many built-in functions, some of them could be difficult for a casual user to locate if they don’t spend hours searching through Settings to determine where things are located.

Luncher

The launcher is standard Poco material, with a variety of features already built in, but not too many that navigating its Settings ever becomes difficult. We’ve always believed it strikes a decent balance between not being extremely complicated and not being overly simplistic (looking at you, Google) (something a lot of third-party options can be guilty of).

As expected in 2022, there is an app drawer. It even has several nice choices, some of which we really like (app suggestions at the top) and others of which we’ve never understood (app categories), but they are there in case you do. While keeping in mind that this only applies to individuals who have 200+ installed apps, like we have, we like that there is an option for an A-Z scroll bar as this is, in our experience, typically the fastest method to go to any particular programme in the drawer, far faster than searching or manually scrolling.

One word of warning if you’re copying data from another device: the Place new apps on the Home screen setting in the most recent MIUI releases seems to have a random default behaviour. If you don’t check, you can end up with hundreds of apps automatically added to your Home screens once the data copying procedure is complete. Sometimes it’s off by default, as it should be; other times, it’s on. You’ll enjoy it if you prefer the user experience of your device to be as similar to an iPhone as possible. Otherwise, when configuring the phone for the first time, you should quickly look at the launcher’s settings.

Although it’s not turned on by default, this MIUI release luckily has the option to display your most recent apps in a list that scrolls horizontally. If you prefer MIUI’s insistence on a two-column list that scrolls vertically by default, that’s wonderful. If not, you’ll immediately adopt the alternative method, just like we did, because it’s more common and every other skin out there uses a similar process.

Control, Dark mode, and LED

Like all recent MIUI updates, this one also includes the “new” Control Center, a function with the exact same name as in iOS. While we did originally try it on for good measure, we eventually went back to the “old” way of doing things. Despite the lack of novelty in its design, this works quite well. Simply put, it makes more sense to us to be able to toggle between notifications and Quick Settings from the same screen. In addition, since Quick Settings are located at the top of the screen, notifications are also simpler to access without requiring complex finger manoeuvres.

Since we are right-handed, swiping down from the left for notifications likewise makes little sense to us; nevertheless, if we were left-handed, we would likely hold the exact opposite opinion. As it is, we need to access the notifications considerably more frequently during the day than the controls, making it difficult to swipe down from the left while holding the phone in the right hand. Of course, you are free to think otherwise, so if you like the new system, you are welcome to use it.

There is a Dark mode, of course, but it is just an on/off option here; there are no fancy “degrees of darkness” settings like in ColorOS and its offshoots. Nevertheless, it functions well, can be scheduled (either with a custom interval or from sunset to sunrise), and in theory, it even has the potential to be imposed on apps that lack a native timer. However, in reality, you can only do this with one app: Amazon Shopping.

The’s fantastic because that app does need a dark theme, but in the past, features like this one used to work with every programme; for some reason, they don’t anymore, and the choices is always so small. Although we have no idea what is going on, we can guarantee you that Amazon’s was not the only app we had loaded that lacked a distinct dark style.

In fact, there are two RGB LED strips inside the camera island, which can be configured to light up when charging, as well as for incoming calls and notifications. Since this is a gaming phone, it couldn’t do without some RGB LED action.

Although you won’t actually see the LEDs when gaming, we believe that this feature is more for letting people know that you have a gaming phone. The LEDs may be utilised on a custom schedule and can even be used in conjunction with Game Turbo while gaming. By the way, you create your unique pop-up trigger mapping in Game Turbo.

Other gestures, pop-up trigger customisation, and gesture navigation

The Poco F4 GT has gesture navigation, as you might assume, and it functions well, as it always has in MIUI. If you don’t like seeing that specific eye irritation, you can choose to remove the meaningless white “pill” bar at the bottom.

Let’s simply note how the Gesture shortcuts menu in Settings contains both gestures and button pushes in a fairly perplexing manner before moving on to the other gestures that are available.

Leaving that minor quibble aside, this is one of those menus that has some interesting items inside but which we think most people will never use. With a double-press of the power button, the camera will start up and the LED flash will turn on like a torch. You can also enable Google Assistant to activate with a long press of the power button, the volume down button, or both.

Additionally, you can double or triple tap the back of the phone to perform specific actions like taking a screenshot, accessing the Control centre or notification shade, launching the Calculator app, entering silent mode, and more. A double tap of the fingerprint sensor can also be programmed to trigger the same list of actions.

These are all undoubtedly specialised characteristics, but if you are aware of them, you may find them valuable in your everyday life. For this reason, we wanted to provide some clarification on this menu and its items. Additionally, you may programme the pop-up triggers to perform certain tasks both when you press and hold and when you double-press. You can only choose from a more constrained set of options here, including starting the camera, recording video, recording the screen, recording audio, turning on the flashlight, entering silent mode, and turning on vibration.

Why are your choices here more constrained than they are when using the fingerprint sensor or pressing the back? The unknown. Why are these features in particular? Once more, who knows. Although they obviously represent a very small portion of the capabilities of the phone and we are unable to fully comprehend the selection process, we believe that having these alternatives is still preferable to not having them. It’s not like they’re impeding ease of use right out of the box or anything like that because none of these are turned on by default.

Returning to the triggers, you can give them one of four sound effects to play each time you unlatch them, along with a corresponding colour animation, in case you need to announce to everyone in the room that you have a gaming phone without saying a word.

Bugs

We unfortunately encountered a few bugs during our time with the Poco F4 GT. Sadly, this is a frequent issue with handsets from the Xiaomi, Redmi, and Poco stable. We hope the manufacturers have plans to improve software quality control soon; it is obviously necessary.

Given that updates are infrequent and typically take months to release, you will likely have to put up with any new bugs that one or more of them introduces for at least that long. This is still another reason why additional updates should be released, however as of now, each of the three brands follows its own strategy in this area.

Poco F4 GT review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

Just a little preface: depending on how you use your phone, you may care a lot about one or more of these problems or not at all. To accurately portray what it was like to use this phone, we’re documenting all of the problems we discovered. Great if you don’t care about any of them! But if one or more of them matters to you, you might want to hold off on purchasing this phone until presumably future updates fix them.

The Do Not Disturb (DND) mode’s failure to function properly was the most significant bug for us. The Xiaomi 12 Pro, which we recently reviewed extensively, experienced the same issue throughout our time with it. Therefore, it appears that this is a very common issue in the most current releases of MIUI 13. We’ll sum up the issue as follows: DND mode ought to turn off all notifications and only permit the “interruptions” that you specify. We set up everything as we usually do, scheduling DND for when we are sleeping and just allowing calls to come through, but we still received every notification. We’re at a loss for words because it just doesn’t work.

Next is Bluetooth sound quality. The Dolby Atmos implementation in this phone has some significant problems, but we’re unable to specify what they are at this time. What we can say, though, is that we have never, ever had to mess with the Dolby Atmos settings in a phone that supports the technology. The default setting is typically on, so we never changed it, and everything worked perfectly.

When using a variety of Bluetooth speakers, headphones, and earbuds, the music on the Poco F4 GT sounded dreadful at first. It was considerably more tinny than we were used to hearing from any phone, for lack of a better phrase. Also, it is much quieter. Please take note that we haven’t adjusted the speakers’ or earbuds’ settings since we first started using this phone.

Whatever problem is responsible for this tinny, shallow sound has degraded our musical pleasure. Then we began tinkering with the Atmos settings (for the first time ever, on any phone), and we eventually discovered that the Voice preset, along with a Custom EQ that has all the levels at the top, was the best one for our hearing. The latter improved the volume, but even with these settings, the sound quality wasn’t up to par with our expectations. It’s strange to acquire a device that only makes that sound substantially worse after becoming used to music sounding a certain way on specific speakers and headphones, independent of whatever phone is being used. Your results may vary.

Even after frequently moving the Wi-Fi Calling Quick Setting to a different location, we’ve seen problems with it appearing in the initial (leftmost) place while roaming. This is a wholly needless behaviour that, in our opinion, qualifies as a bug. We think that it occurs every time the phone connects to a different network, which tends to occur frequently while roaming.

As pressing the More option doesn’t truly provide you with an app list as it should, the pop-up app picker that appears when you attempt to open a specific file type appears to be flawed. Instead, it chooses an app at random for you and opens the corresponding file immediately in that app. Since our chosen programme was never on the first screen, this was frustrating at first, but it eventually seemed to correct itself without a software update. Keeping that in mind, you could or might not run into this.

Poco F4 GT review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

One more quibble: when you activate the Mute/Silence mode, a notification icon appears in the status bar to let you know it’s active. The icon is on the incorrect side of the status bar, which is still good. It’s located directly next to the clock on the left side, which is where notification symbols often reside. As a result, you might believe that you always have notifications waiting for you even though you don’t. We don’t see why this icon, along with the NFC icon when it is enabled, cannot reside on the right side of the status bar like all the other system-related icons can. There is enough room on the right for both, so their placement is not need to be unclear.

CAMERA

Game phones typically don’t have great cameras because the money is usually spent on RGB LEDs, crazy cooling systems, the “gaming aesthetic,” and other things of that nature. Or is it just because gamers don’t care about cameras? At least, it appears to be the mindset of smartphone manufacturers. We can’t vouch for that, but we wanted to make sure you knew about it all so you could go into this part of our review with a clear head.

Let’s be clear about this: the Poco F4 GT’s cameras cannot hope to compete with current flagships in terms of raw image quality. There is just no way to get all the bells and whistles of a high-end gaming system at this pricing bracket.

Image credit: GSMArena.com

The Camera app is the same MIUI fare featured on seemingly all Xiaomi, Redmi, and Poco devices, so if you’ve ever used one, you’ll feel right at home. With that out of the way, let’s quickly highlight that. And even if you’ve only used other brands, today’s camera applications are so comparable that it won’t take you long to become used to them.

photo Quality

On to our sampling now. The main camera of the Poco F4 GT is a 64 MP sensor, not the biggest on the market, and it lacks optical image stabilisation (OIS). Due to the latter, really long exposures at night require extremely steady hands to avoid fuzzy images. Because the software is aware of this, auto photos taken in Auto Night Mode are taken very quickly. Even manually setting the Night Mode is among the fastest we’ve ever seen.

But let’s begin with examples from the day. The primary photographer can produce decent photos that aren’t extraordinary but are nevertheless highly commendable. There is plenty of contrast, decent detail levels, minimal noise (although it does occasionally appear), and a fairly acceptable dynamic range.

This has been a reoccurring problem, where it seems that the lower the price point of a handset, the more extreme the colour rendition, where colours can become overly saturated, more so than what flagship handsets often do. However, most people prefer vibrant colours, so even if these are hardly ever real, they could look appealing to you. Although we believe they are rather excessive, you can activate the AI toggle if you disagree. The effects will either impress or disgust you, but one thing is for sure: it stirs up intense feelings.

There are no macro shots from the 8 MP ultrawide camera because it lacks autofocus. Although there is a specialised 2 MP macro shooter, we haven’t used it because the output is much too low resolution to be practical in most situations. Check out the samples we included in our regular review of the Poco F4 GT if you absolutely must have some.

Back to the ultrawide now. Its daylight images are exactly ordinary, as one would expect from the gear. Dynamic range is generally acceptable, detail levels are acceptable, and colours are generally okay but occasionally lean too heavily toward magenta.

When you press the 2x zoom button in the viewfinder, you’ll see only photographs that appear to be adequate on the phone’s screen. Yes, they might suffice occasionally for a fast social media post where quality isn’t as important, but in general, this camera system clearly encourages you to “zoom with your feet” whenever you can. It’s not surprising because the Poco F4 GT doesn’t have a specialised zoom lens and there isn’t any fancy “Super Res Zoom” being used here; instead, it’s just a crop from the centre of the primary sensor.

The main camera’s auto setting with Auto Night Mode activated delivers decent-looking images at night with good dynamic range, a similar colour pop to that of the day, good levels of detail in well-lit areas, and low noise. However, shadows lack detail and are generally quite dark.

When you go to manual Night Mode, your photographs will be significantly clearer and have a noticeable improvement in the shadows, which will make them appear crisper. We advise choosing Night Mode whenever you get the opportunity (assuming you have the steady hands needed for the capture) because the variations between Auto Night Mode and Night Mode are consistent. However, Auto Night Mode is a real benefit of Auto mode, so we recommend leaving that on for times when you’re in a rush.

Predictably, the ultrawide performs poorly at night. Because Auto Night Mode doesn’t work for it, the highlights are substantially overexposed and the underexposure is significant. Only if you enjoy the “atmospheric” look—or whatever you want to call it—will you find these useful.

While Manual Night Mode brightens things, it does so at the expense of overall softness. Although we advise against using the ultrawide in low light, Night Mode is the way to go if you insist on using it. Just make sure you have stable hands because the capture does take a few seconds each time.

The 2x nighttime photographs also lack Auto Night Mode capabilities, producing less than optimal images with blown highlights and deep shadows. It’s also difficult to ignore a “watercolour effect” if you look attentively.

Unfortunately, using Night Mode doesn’t eliminate that, but at least it somewhat recovers highlights and slightly intensifies shadows. Tradeoffs are inevitable because it also sharpens everything much too much. If possible, avoid using the 2x mode and instead “zoom with your feet,” which is a possible solution. Otherwise, it’s impossible to say which 2x option is better to utilise because they all have different drawbacks.

Selfie camera

Selfies are decent, if not spectacular. Great dynamic range, appealing (though not fully natural) hues, and correct skin tones are all present during the day. If you zoom in, you’ll see a lot of softness and a lot of sharpening that has been liberally used. Detail levels are acceptable but not great. However, if you avoid pixel peeping, these are generally quite useful.

The subject separation in Portrait Mode images is generally good, though there are a few instances where it doesn’t work. Because it’s not as bright as many of the others we’ve used so far, the screen flash is your buddy at night. As a result, even if your face might not be as well-lit as on other phones, you can still make out your surroundings in photos because the brightness of your face doesn’t completely obscure its surrounds. However, taking selfies with the screen flash requires patience (and staying still), and if you move even slightly, some blurriness will unavoidably show up.

The cameras of the Poco F4 GT are generally average. The main camera is the strongest point, which is to be anticipated given the specs, although even that performs below flagship levels. That is not to imply that it creates undesirable pictures; it does not. They’re decent, but they’re not perfect. So if cameras are important to you, this phone is definitely not the one for you. However, for the occasional casual shot here and there, it does the job just fine.

Our verdict

We had never tested a “gaming phone” in-depth prior to the Poco F4 GT, so we weren’t sure what to anticipate. Would using it for purposes other than gaming be difficult? Would it sacrifice other features to give gamers essentials like RGB LEDs, pop-up triggers, and an enormous internal cooling chamber?

As it turns out, yes, but only to a point. You might not mind the pop-up trigger latches at all, or you might continuously feel as though the right side of the gadget is being unnecessarily cluttered by them. This may be particularly true if you don’t consider yourself to be a “pro gamer” and hence don’t have any practical need for them. However, if you play video games frequently, you’ll likely find them to be a welcome addition and won’t mind that the volume rocker has been moved to the left as a result.

Poco F4 GT review
Image credit: GSMArena.com

The cameras are debatably average, so that’s one area where this happened. As for cutting out on other things to give you a complete gaming package, that also happened here. If not, not really.

When it first came out, the Poco F4 GT had the best chipset available and even paired it with a sizable vapour chamber for cooling. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to completely solve the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1’s well-known overheating problems; there is still significant throttling present in demanding games, and it begins after only a few minutes.

The strange thing is that, when you think about it, the first gaming phone kind of falls short of being a great gaming phone because of all the throttling. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not horrible, but if you plan to live the pro gamer lifestyle, you should probably get a phone with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor inside or purchase a snap-on cooling attachment.

If you’re searching for a high-performance gadget for anything other than intense hour-long pro gaming sessions, the Poco F4 GT will work just fine for you.

Anything else you throw at it, including casual games, literally flies. It also never gets uncomfortable hot because of the throttling, which is a funny but good side effect. In terms of subjective smoothness rating, it is tied with the more costly Xiaomi 12 Pro for second place and is also less expensive than the OnePlus 10 Pro, which took top place. Therefore, if you consider smoothness for the money, it is by far the best option.

Poco F4 GT review
display. Image credit: GSMArena.com

It’s been a mixed bag with software. On the one hand, MIUI uses a lot of vibration nudges and has a very distinctive design language, with some nice touches here and there in the animations. On the other hand, the feature grouping in the Settings menu can occasionally seem arbitrary and the menu itself is large and challenging to traverse. You could disagree with us, but we believe that the skin could use a fresh coat of paint.

Similar to this, we believe that there is a serious lack of software support when it comes to upgrades. A few upgrades every few months just isn’t enough to keep up with some of Poco’s rivals, and it gets worse because the releases aren’t entirely bug-free. Therefore, if you acquire a new bug, you are stuck with it for many months.

Speaking of which, we were surprised to find a few bugs in MIUI, as seen on the Poco F4 GT. We can only hope that Xiaomi, Redmi, and Poco will increase their investments in software quality control in the very near future, even though we are aware that doing so may make the current price points temporarily unviable. After all, everything is a game of trade-offs.

Poco F4 GT review
Bottom Bezels Image credit: GSMArena.com

Great battery life has been experienced; it’s not the greatest we’ve seen, but it’s also not far behind. And because of the incredibly fast charging, it won’t matter if your use case is much more intensive than ours and you require frequent top-ups throughout the day. The fact that a device can go from empty to full in under 20 minutes still astounds me.

The speakers’ performance is greatly aided by their gaming-friendly positioning, which we’d wager is also very much media consumption friendly. Motorola Edge 30 Fusion The fingerprint scanner is one of the most accurate we’ve ever used, the vibration motor is among the best, and the fingerprint reader is one of the best as well.

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