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This new offering from Poco is tailor made for gamers, but is it worth your cash?
The Poco F4 GT is a subtle and innovative take on the gaming phone. Where others have alienated some would-be buyers with garish colours and unusual styles, the F4 GT offers an altogether more measured and subtle approach. Add to that the fast-charging capabilities and innovative shoulder buttons and it's a compelling package for on-the-go game players. Of course, there are some shortfalls too. The camera lacks oomph and though innovative, the triggers seem somewhat underutilised. Overall, it's a good phone for gamers, but not necessarily for general users or those keen on photography.
Poco is a sub-brand of the Chinese tech brand, Xiaomi, which is well-known for its smartphones. It's increasingly widening the product range on offer to UK consumers, and the Poco range generally, offers some more affordable handsets, often with features that cater to slightly younger users.
In this case, the Poco F4 GT has a definite gaming focus but — at £699 — aims a little higher than many other Poco phones. Situated at the highest reaches of the 'mid-range' category, the phone offers some good specs and features, albeit with one or two drawbacks.
Read on for our full review of the F4 GT, or use the links below to hop to a specific part of the review. For more smartphone options, take a look at our best smartphones guide. For something more affordable, check out our picks of the best budget smartphones in 2022.
Price: £699.99 at Amazon
If you've ever wanted a gaming phone but been put off by the unusual designs that normally come with the genre, then Poco has a solution. The Poco F4 GT is a gaming phone with good specs and a subtle design — it's even got shoulder buttons that partially hide away during normal use.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip powering the F4 GT is the latest processor from Qualcomm and features in most of the top Android flagships, so this phone has good internals. It also offers a genuinely impressive gaming experience, but doesn't deliver the same quality when it comes to photography and the feel of the handset itself.
The Poco F4 GT starts at £699. It's a big chunk of change but still comes in cheaper than some of the key competitors in the gaming phone space — for example, the £899 ASUS ROG Phone 5. The RogPhone 5 might have a slight advantage for all-out gaming if that's your only concern when buying the phone, but the Poco is definitely a more subtle and balanced all-rounder.
The Poco F4 GT's most unusual features are its side-mounted shoulder buttons. Once you've turned the phone around, holding it in landscape orientation, you can flick two small sliding buttons on the top and — with a pleasing click — two shoulder buttons will appear, making the smartphone feel a little more like a gaming handset.
We liked this feature and it's a stand-out selling point in some respects, especially if you love playing shooting or racing games on the go. So far we're found that these genres of games benefit most from that shoulder button action. The one drawback of the shoulder buttons is that they're underutilised elsewhere. Yes, you can map them to open up your camera, or audio recording apps for example, but once they're open the triggers offer no further assistance. Surely one of those triggers would be an ideal camera shutter button?
At the heart of the phone there's a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, the latest Qualcomm processor going. This is a fantastic addition and is behind much of the phone's impressive gaming performance. Some other phones have seen heat issues when carrying this chip though, and the F4 GT can heat up during extended play sessions. However, we experienced no hard crashes or similar.
Elsewhere, the display performs well and an assortment of software features allow users to boost game performance, allotting more power and memory to gaming while that's your focus. We tested out the F4 GT on the infamously demanding title Genshin Impact. It performed well and despite some heating up, there were no slow-downs or stoppages and the F4 GT delivered a fun and consistent experience.
The 6.67-inch AMOLED display looks good — it packs HDR10+ and is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass for peace of mind. The display is more than capable of delivering across gaming and a huge selection of other apps and uses. Colours are accurate and sharp and the 120Hz refresh rate makes for a smooth experience.
The Poco F4 GT packs a 4700mAh battery. It's good but it won't break any longevity records. The fast charging on the other hand, is fantastic. You can top up from 0-100% in around 20-30 minutes.
Alongside the 64MP main camera there's an 8MP ultrawide and a 2MP macro camera. As a trio, they're not overwhelming and this seems to be the corner that Poco has cut to offer good specs and performance elsewhere.
The main camera is passable and will deliver usable photos for social media and similar uses. However, compared to other phones in this price bracket, the camera offering lags behind. Those two supporting cameras don't offer much and there are limited zoom capabilities. Video too is passable but limited.
Basically, you're getting a great gaming experience at the expense of a great camera experience. To have both you'll have to spend more and pick up something truly top end — like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra or iPhone 13 Pro Max.
The 6.7-inch displays seem to be the norm amongst most new Android phones at present, but the F4 GT does feel a little on the chunky side. That's thanks to the extra roominess of its metal frame, which allows for those extra speakers. It's a trade-off but the speakers do deliver an above-average experience and are great for gaming. It's a trend among gaming phones that speakers remain a focus, where they're not prioritised in more mainstream devices.
Elsewhere, the design of this Poco smartphone is largely unsurprising. It's sleek enough, without being the sleekest Poco, or Xiaomi, phone we've seen — and the back does feel plastic-y and cheap. The phone's flash in the shape of a lightning bolt feels gimmick-y and the camera bump features the words 'Freezing speediest'. At face value, this seems to be a mistranslation, which is horrendously amateurish from Poco, but isn't too noticeable when you're using the phone. How did that get past quality control?
This is a phone for gamers that escapes some of the overly-garish designs previously offered. So, if you want a gaming phone without marking yourself out as a mobile gamer at all times, this is a great option.
What this phone is not is a phone capable of keeping pace with other phone cameras on handsets of the same price. As a result, this is one for the gamers — or at least those who prioritise gaming over photography.
The Poco F4 GT is now available from a range of UK retailers. Take a look at the links below for the latest pricing and availability.
If you like the look of the Poco F4 GT but mobile gaming isn't really for you, then there's also the slightly newer Poco F4 which offers a similar experience for a little less cash, albeit without some of the best internals that make up the GT model.
It's got a mid-range chip instead of that market leading Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and the cooling technology is slightly older. However the cooling tech will be called into action much less frequently if you're not interested in mobile gaming.
It's also got slightly less power, offering 6GB of RAM instead of the 8GB of the GT and doesn't pack those distinctive triggers. They've got the same 6.67-inch HR10+ AMOLED display, though the Poco F4 GT offers Gorilla Glass Victus while the standard F4 offers slightly less tough Gorilla Glass 5.
Elsewhere, the design is quite different. The camera module is a little chunkier — despite housing the same 64MP, 8MP and 2MP cameras — and the back is sleek and simple, with a new reflective finish and without the annotations and extras on the back of the GT. We preferred this look but it's definitely a subjective call. It's also very slightly lighter and slimmer than the GT.
So overall, the Poco F4 packs some older or lower-grade tech in places — notably that Gorilla Glass and a 67W fast charge — despite being a newer phone. However that price cut places it in a much more affordable bracket. As a result, we'd recommend sticking with the Poco F4 GT if gaming is your priority, but if you'd like to save some cash and don't place huge demands on your phone in day-to-day use, then the Poco F4 is a good alternative. Find buying links below.