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POCO X4 GT Review

Performance on a budget?

Christopher Coke Posted:
Category:
Hardware Reviews 0

The POCO XT GT is a budget smartphone designed around performance per dollar. It makes a series of smart trade-offs to keep the price low while also delivering respectable performance in games and daily tasks. Coming in at $349 to start, it’s a high-value phone that’s definitely worth considering if your service provider supports it. Let’s take a closer look and see exactly what you get for that investment. 

Specifications

  • Current Price: 
    • 8GB + 128GB: $349 (AliExpress)
    • 8GB + 246GB: $399 (AliExpress) <- Link here or to vendor site if unavailable

POCO X4 GT - What Is It? (Overview)

The POCO X4 GT is an affordable smartphone but it isn’t what we would consider cheap — and that applies to more than just price. At $349 for the 128GB model and $399 for the upgraded 256GB storage option, it falls in the lower middle of smartphone pricing but delivers quite a bit for that price. There are some clear sacrifices here, but the X4 GT is a good example of smart decision-making in designing a phone for this price bracket, making this a good value for its asking price. 

The X4 GT features a 6.6-inch IPS screen with an adjustable refresh rate of 60, 90, or 144Hz. It sports an FHD+ resolution of 2460x1080, which is crisp and vibrant out of the box thanks to its adaptive Vivid picture setting (which can also be adjusted to different color spaces and temperatures). The screen also features a maximum peak brightness of 650 nits, which can be used in direct sunlight but will be harder to see than flagship phones like the Xiaomi Note 12 Pro

The phone is constructed using a mix of plastic and glass. The screen is made of Gorilla Glass 5 for added durability and smoothness when navigating the screen. The sides and back are plastic, which is a clear step down from more expensive models but makes the phone easier to grip and less likely to crack with a short drop. The screen of the phone is flat but raised, so there’s no lip when you swipe from the sides. The phone feels good in hand, and though it’s the same thickness as the Galaxy S22 Ultra, manages to feel a bit chunkier and easier to hold.

Inside that body, the phone is using the MediaTek Dimensity 8100 chipset. It’s an octa-core CPU with four high-performance A78 cores that clock up to 2.85GHz and four A55 cores that reach 2.0GHz. This SoC features the Arm Mali-G610 MC6 GPU for improved gaming performance. This chipset also promises improved battery life, support for the latest HDR standards, Bluetooth 5.3 and WiFi 6E connectivity, and high-speed, battery-efficient data over 5G wireless. 

The POCO X4 GT features a large 5080 mAh hour battery — that’s larger than the power-hungry Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. It also features 67W fast charging and can recharge the phone in a little less than an hour from dead to 100%. I was surprised to find that I didn’t need to plug-in throughout the day like I expected, however. Even with heavy use, I was able to get through an entire 10-hour day with battery to spare, so you should have no problem using this phone as a daily driver. You also won’t need to worry about spending extra on an aftermarket charger since POCO includes one in the box, as well as a screen protector and TPU case.

We’ll talk more about cameras later in this review, but for now know that it features a 64MP main shooter on the rear, an 8MP ultrawide with 120° field of view, and a 2MP macro lens for close-up shots. The selfie camera is 16MP with an f/2.45 aperture. The X4 GT supports 4K video up to 30 FPS, 1080p at 30 or 60 FPS, and 720p at 30FPS. As we expect, there are a number of different camera modes, including AI scene recognition that adjusts saturation and contrast to match the shot. 

For audio, we have a pair of stereo speakers, as well as a dedicated headphone jack. Audio quality isn’t bad, though when turned up all the way, distorts and loses clarity. From 90% down, however, they’re not bad and don’t have the typical smartphone sharpness we’ve come to expect. 

POCO X4 GT - A Closer Look at Those Trade-offs

As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, the POCO X4 GT is a phone designed around smart trade-offs to emphasize value per dollar. That comes into play in a number of areas, which deserve a closer look so you can make the best buying decision. 

The first, and most noticeable is the screen. With a peak brightness of only 650-bits, it falls far short of the flagship phones out there. At the same time, it’s perfectly fine for indoor use and has enough dynamic range to enjoy HDR streaming on apps like Netflix. Importantly, this is also an LCD screen instead of an AMOLED, which means you won’t get the same level of inky blacks as you might expect from the competition. 

But, the screen still manages to look quite nice. The colors are well saturated and vivid, and even the drop offs in brightness and contrast didn’t make this screen difficult to enjoy. It’s a noticeable trade-off that surely plays a key role in the pricing, but it’s not a terrible choice here.

We also see drop-offs in materials quality. A plastic body just doesn’t feel as high-end as a full glass smartphone. But, if you use a phone with a case, this isn’t something you’re likely to even notice. And the plastic body here is less slippery and won’t crack at the slightest drop, should you carry it nude. 

You’re also only finding 8GB memory options on this model instead of the 12GB you might find in a flagship phone. Unless you’re a power user, however, 8GB is going to be more than enough, so you’re not paying for memory just to see a bigger number on the box. 

We might also note that this phone charges at “only” 67W. While it’s not the 120W of the Xiaomi Note 12 Pro, it’s also less than half the price and still manages to be quite fast. Remember, the Galaxy S22 Ultra only charges at 45W and the iPhone 13 Pro Max at 27W. 67W isn’t bad at all. 

And finally, perhaps most meaningfully, we have the MediaTek SoC. It’s not a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, but the Dimensity is no slouch either. As you’ll see in our performance section, it offers a level of capability that opens the door to solid gaming performance and offers an imperceivable difference from the Snapdragon 8 in daily use. Like the screen, its inclusion here is a driving force in its affordable pricing and doesn’t force you to deal with lag or stuttering in different applications.

POCO X4 GT - Camera and Samples 

The main camera on the X4 GT is quite capable. The pictures come out sharp and retain lots of detail. Note that the images above were with HDR set to Auto and the AI optimization settings disabled. Color science on the camera is remarkably good. It definitely enhances saturation a touch, but I really like the vividness of the pictures it captures. The color balance is excellent and true to life, even in challenging color spaces like the blue and purple of my gaming PC. 

The camera does have a tendency to over-expose, like most other smartphone cameras, so locking focus and manually reducing exposure results in the highest quality shots. This also exacerbates the level of visible noise in low light environments — a real struggle for this shooter. In low light, you’ll see some grain, but in well lit areas, it offers very good performance.

The front camera offers a generous field of view to capture selfie shots easily. There is a noticeable drop in fine detail and vivid color, however. Still, I think it’s perfectly serviceable for most selfie-camera scenarios. You can’t use the Pro mode with the front-facing camera, however, so if you want more saturation, you’ll need to add that after the fact with editing.

In this gallery, you can see the three different primary shooting modes: ultrawide (0.6x), telephoto (1x), and zoom (2x). The phone features separate lenses for ultrawide and wide shots, but there is no telephoto lens for 2x, so what you’re seeing is a crop-in of the widescreen shot. There is a noticeable reduction in clarity, but that is to be expected from this kind of solution. It works for when you need a bit of extra reach and are unable to get physically closer to your subject.

The camera also features a portrait mode. I was impressed by its performance, both using the selfie camera and the rear shooter. You can see examples of both above, the rear camera focusing on a bit of clover to see how well it worked without a face to hone in on. I think it did very well. You can see a clear difference in vividness when switching from the front to the rear camera, however.

First image for each: AI Off; Second image for each: AI On

The phone also offers AI scene recognition that will automatically adjust settings based on what it recognizes in the scene. In my testing, this generally resulted in more or less saturation and slight tweaks to contrast. In the pictures above, you can see how it enhances any scene with prominent plants with lots of extra saturation. This can range from nice to too much, so you may want to make those adjustments yourself in Pro mode. 

Finally, we have the 2MP macro lens. It works and allows you to zoom in and get those ultra-close shots, but with only two megapixels of resolution, you’re really not able to get the fine detail most shooters aim for with these types of shots. There’s also more noise in the image. This is a nice-to-have feature but is really more of a value-add than a core aspect of the camera system. 

POCO X4 GT - Performance

We test smartphones with a mix of real-world and synthetic tests. Beginning with Geekbench, we can see that the MediaTek Dimensity 8100 delivers impressive results. In single-core performance, it falls short of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in the POCO F4 GT, which scored 1224 points in our review. It outperformed it by 6% in multicore performance, however, with a score of 3647 compared to the 3427 of the Snapdragon 8.

Moving on to a synthetic gaming test, the tables switch precipitously. The POCO X4 GT scores a decent 5840 — putting it above the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, but still falls short of the impressive 9977 score we found on the F4. This is a fairly demanding benchmark for many phones, and the average frame rate was only 35 FPS with a peak of 43. The F4 with its Snapdragon 8 pushed that all the way to 59.7 FPS, but at an additional $150-200 in cost. 

In real-world gaming tests of Genshin Impact, the game played consistently smoothly, though did decrease in frame rate after the phone had a chance to warm up (10-15 minutes). This was also true in PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty Mobile. The games were always playable and didn’t feel laggy, but thermal throttling seemed to be an issue. 

To test this, I turned to 3DMark’s Wildlife Stress Test. This test runs the Wildlife benchmark for twenty minutes on a loop. As you can see in the screenshots above, the F4 GT will absolutely throttle once it warms up and this has a significant impact on max FPS. While the Wild Life Stress Test exacerbates the issue in a “worst-case scenario” format, it’s something you’re likely to notice if you play demanding, 3D rendered games.

Despite this, real-world gaming remained possible, even in demanding titles. This is a phone that, while not leading the pack (and you wouldn’t expect it to), does allow you to play those eye-candy-laden titles at playable frame rates without breaking the bank in the process. 

Final Thoughts

Taken as a whole, the POCO F4 GT is an impressive device at a relatively low price. It doesn’t lead the pack in gaming performance but instead focuses on being all-around more well-rounded and a great choice for a daily carry. The trade-offs it makes for affordability are smart and well-considered, making it an excellent choice for users on a budget.

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.

7.0Good
Pros
  • Smart trade-offs to keep the price low
  • Surprisingly good primary camera
  • Decent gaming performance
  • Great performance in daily use
  • 4K30 video shooting
Cons
  • Middling peak brightness
  • LCD screen
  • Thermal throttling is an issue (but not a deal breaker)
  • Easily noticeable noise in low light pictures
  • No MicroSD storage expansion


GameByNight

Christopher Coke

Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight