The Poco M5s is a great budget phone for streaming, browsing and everyday use, though the quad camera can be hit and miss.
- Eye-catching design
- Bright screen
- Battery life will get you through hours of streaming
- Photos can appear oversharpened and washed out
- No 5G
- 6.43-inch displayFHD+ AMOLED DotDisplay
- 64MP cameraQuad array with ultra-wide and macro sensors
- 5000 mAh batteryWith support for 33W fast charging
- MediaTek Helio G95 processorUp to 6/128GB
Xiaomi sub-brand Poco recently introduced its latest bunch of affordable phones: the Poco M5 and the M5s.
The M5s comes with an AMOLED display, a quad camera array and the Helio G95 processor, whereas the M5 has an LCD screen, a triple camera and is powered by the Helio G99. For this reason, Poco has made the M5s the pricier of the two models (though both remain happily affordable).
Read on to learn more from our experience with Poco’s “fun magician”, the M5S.
Design and screen
- The phone has a square camera and a metallic gradient finish
- The display is bright and sharp
- There’s a fingerprint sensor and a headphone jack
One slightly unusual thing about the Poco M5s is how different it looks from the other phone in its series, the M5.
Where the M5 has a large camera bar that spans the back of the phone edge-to-edge horizontally, the M5s has a (still quite large) square camera module in the upper-left corner. This did strike me as an odd choice, considering the M5s actually has more sensors to squeeze in.
The two phones also have contrasting finishes. Where the M5 has a textured, faux leather back in black, green and yellow colours, the M5s has a smooth metallic rear and is available in grey, white and blue variants.
I got to review the blue version, which is definitely my favourite of the three. The blue has an eye-catching semi-matte gradient finish, fading from silver at the top to blue at the bottom. It’s smooth to the touch and doesn’t pick up fingerprints, which is good news for those who’d rather leave the clear case that ships with it in the box.
On the front, you’ll find a 6.43-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2400 x 1800 and a punch-hole camera in the centre.
I found the screen to be sharp. There’s a decent amount of contrast thanks to the AMOLED technology and colours appear bright and accurate. There’s an always-on display option too, which is switched off by default but you can access it from the phone’s settings.
There are volume and on/off switches on the side and a USB Type-C port and 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom.
There’s also a fingerprint sensor built into the side for those who prefer that to face unlock, and the phone is water resistant up to IP53. This isn’t as high as the IP68 rating found on more premium phones like the iPhone 14, Samsung Galaxy S22 or Google Pixel 7, but should still be enough to protect the M5s if you get caught in the rain.
Software and performance
- The M5s runs MIUI 13 based on Android 12
- Includes usual Google apps, including Google Assistant and Google Pay
- The phone is powered by the MediaTek Helio G95
As far as software goes, the Poco M5s runs MIUI 13 for Poco. This is a UI made by Xiaomi and based on Android 12.
The UI doesn’t look too different from the stock Android you see on Pixel phones until you dive into the Themes app. This is where you can find a wide range of themes, wallpaper, fonts and ringtones to customise the look and style of your phone. I was a big fan of the “cute pet paradise, cute upgrade” section of the theme store, but there are seemingly hundreds of free and paid themes to choose from here.
As the software is based on Android, you also get access to the Google Play Store and all the apps you’d expect to find there.
There are also a number of apps that come pre-downloaded on the phone, including popular Google apps, a handful of social media apps and Genshin Impact. While I found this selection to be fine, I wasn’t a huge fan of the recommended apps that also filled these folders, which included dating apps, a cryptocurrency app and countless games.
There’s also support for Google Pay and Google Assistant, the latter of which you can access by holding the side button or saying “Hey Google”.
When it comes to the M5s’ performance, the phone is powered by the MediaTek Helio G95. The G95 is an octa-core gaming processor with the Mali-G57 GPU.
We tested the M5s and found it earned a Geekbench 5 multi-core score of 1847, positioning the phone below Poco’s mid-range F4, which scored 3178, in terms of performance. The phone fell similarly short of the F4 when it came to GPU performance with a Wild Life result of 1491.
I didn’t find performance to be a problem during everyday use and a game of Among Us ran smoothly on the phone, but, if a high-performing gaming phone is your priority, I would look elsewhere.
The phone is available in three storage and RAM configurations, including 4/64GB, 4GB/128GB and 6/128GB, and the storage is expandable up to 1TB.
The M5s is, however, limited to 4G with no 5G support onboard.
- The M5s has a quad camera led by a 64MP sensor
- It’s capable of recording up to 4K/30fps or 1080p/60fps
- The results are sharp and detailed but colours can appear washed out
The Poco M5s comes with a quad camera led by a massive 64-megapixel sensor with an aperture of f/1.8. There’s also an 8-megapixel (f/2.2) ultra-wide angle lens with a 118-degree FOV, a 2-megapixel (f/2.4) macro camera and a second 2-megapixel (f/2.4) depth camera.
Key photography features include a high-resolution 64-megapixel mode, a night mode, an AI-powered portrait mode designed to create bokeh and depth in the background and a document mode.
I was actually pleasantly surprised by the results from the main sensor both with and without the 64-megapixel mode switched on. Images are sharp and bright with plenty of detail and a decent amount of depth from the rear sensor.
However, I did find images to be oversharpened at times and the colours weren’t as vibrant as I’d like them to be. Likewise, there could be more contrast in the shadows and parts of the image appeared washed out when faced with direct sunlight.
The rear camera did a surprisingly decent job of capturing colours in low-light, but didn’t fare as well against any type of moving subject with photos coming out dark and blurry.
When it comes to video, the M5s is capable of recording up to 4K resolution at 30fps, or 1080p at 60fps. If you want to capture slow-motion footage, you’ll have to drop to 720p where you’ll find frame rates of up to 960fps. Along with the slo-mo mode, you’ll also find a macro video mode, a short video mode and a time-lapse setting.
Turn the phone around and you’ll find a 13-megapixel (f/2.4) punch-hole camera with support for portrait mode, timed bursts and an AI beautify setting. However, I found results from this camera to be washed out and unnaturally smooth – especially with portrait mode activated.
With video, the front camera is limited to 1080p/30fps and supports just the time-lapse feature.
- The M5s packs a 5000 mAh battery
- I found it took 3 hours to drop from 100% to 75% while streaming HD video
- The phone also supports 33W fast charging
The M5s includes a 5000 mAh battery, which Poco claims can offer 37 hours of calling, 11 hours of gaming, 19 hours of video playback and 30 days of standby.
When streaming 1080p video on YouTube for a few hours, I found it took about 35 minutes for the battery life to drop from 100% to 95% and a further half hour to reach 90%. It fell to 75% in just over 3 hours and 60% in just under 5 hours.
Considering I tested the battery by streaming video, I feel like you could get a good number of hours from the phone with less-intensive everyday activities, like messaging, scrolling social media and browsing the web.
While the battery is the same size as that found in the M5, the phone supports faster charging at 33W to the M5’s 18W speeds. This means you should be able to charge up the phone in less time when you’re in need of a quick boost – zero to 64% in 30 minutes, to be more precise.
The phone does not support wireless charging, but it does come with a 33W power adapter in the box, meaning you won’t need to worry about any additional expenses there.
Should you buy it?
You want a cheap phone for streaming TV: The bright AMOLED screen and decent battery makes the M5s a good choice for catching up on your favourite TV shows and movies.
You want the best camera phone: While the M5s can take some great pictures, you’ll get more consistently great shots from the phones mentioned in our best camera phones guide.
The Poco M5s is a good all-rounder as far as affordable smartphones go.
It has a sleek design, a bright and sharp display, a long-lasting battery life and a UI that is simple but still very customisable.
The camera is a bit hit-and-miss with the 64-megapixel mode offering up some great results with lots of detail, but images have a tendency to be washed out and oversharpened, especially in tricky lighting situations.
However, my experience with the M5s was generally positive and, for its price, I don’t think it should be written off at all.
How we test
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Took photos using all modes available on the camera in a variety of settings and situations
Tested the battery life of the phone
Ran benchmarking tests as well as testing the device with real-life use
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The M5s comes with a 6.43-inch FHD+ AMOLED DotDisplay.
The phone has a quad camera that consists of a 64-megapixel main lens, an 8-megapixel ultra-wide lens and two 2-megapixel sensors, one macro and one depth sensor.
The Poco M5s comes in three colours – Grey, White and Blue.