We all know the drill by now. Anything that’s “made for gamers” must be festooned in RGB lighting, have a huge battery even if it means a bulky body, and put performance above all else. Only no-one told the Poco F4 GT.
A slightly more restrained spin on the traditional formula, the F4 GT has has the kind of hardware you’d expect from a mid-range phone – plus a few killer features that should make all the difference when gaming. Otherwise, it’s as all-purpose as the rest of its affordable line-up.,
Previously sold in China as the Redmi K50 Gaming, Poco has given the handset a more Europe-friendly version of Android for its launch here. It has also managed to squeeze the starting price right down, too. Does that make it a good buy for anyone looking to play on the move without breaking the bank?
Design & features: don’t get triggered
A few funky decals etched into the glossy rear panel hardly scream “this is a gamer phone”, and neither does the camera flash shaped like a lightning bolt. The subtle RGB light strips around the camera lens, though? That’ll do it – but as illumination is limited to playing games, or when charging the phone, it largely gets a pass from us.
In most other respects, the Poco F4 GT is on par with other mid-priced flagships. It has a flat glass front and metal frame that’s a little on the thick side, in order to squeeze in a set of quad stereo speakers. It weighs a hefty 210g, so you’re not going to forget it’s sitting in your pocket.
A power button/fingerprint sensor combo sits on the side of the phone. It’s not as slick as an under-display sensor, but it helps keep the price down, and it detects your digits with good speed and accuracy. It’s almost too easy to trigger accidentally when taking the phone out of a pocket, so is worth changing the activation to be on press instead of touch.
One standout feature is the pop-up trigger buttons which stay hidden until you need them. Flick the release latches and the buttons spring into place; flick them back and they nestle back inside the phone. The mechanical action is so satisfying, it’s the smartphone equivalent of a fidget spinner.
These triggers have featured on other Poco and fellow Xiaomi sub-brand Redmi phones, but it’s the first time we’re getting to play with them here in the UK. They’re no substitute for a controller grip add-on like the Razer Kishi, or a standalone Bluetooth controller, but are perfect getting ten minutes of playtime in when you only have your phone to hand.
Screen & sound: easy on the eye
Given its affordable nature, the F4 GT doesn’t skimp when on the screen. It’s a 6.67in AMOLED protected by Gorilla Glass Victus, with a silky smooth 120Hz refresh rate and support for HDR10+ content.
Naturally colours have plenty of pop and contrast is top-notch, although everything looks a little too vibrant out of the box. MIUI lets you tweak to your heart’s content, though, and swapping from the Vivid profile to Natural made pictures look a lot more lifelike.
The flat screen helps keep distracting reflections to a minimum, and brightness is very good, reaching high enough peaks that videos are watchable outdoors. It’s still a step behind what we’ve come to expect from true flagship phones, though.
A truly adaptive refresh rate, rather than one that makes you choose between 60Hz and 120Hz, would have helped the F4 GT stand out against similarly-priced rivals. So would a higher resolution, but that usually comes at the expense of frame rates. Poco probably made the right call to stick with 2400×1080.
The stereo speakers are a great match for the screen, pumping out impressively balanced sound with a good mix of frequencies. It doesn’t get especially loud, but still does the job for personal listening. A headphone jack feels like a real omission, given team games often require plugging in a headset, but Poco makes up for it with a USB-C to 3.5mm dongle in the box.
Performance & battery life: peak power
Whereas Poco’s earlier gamer-centric efforts used a MediaTeck CPU, the F4 GT goes all-out with Qualcomm’s latest silicon. A flagship-grade Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor is paired with either 8 or 12GB of RAM, and either 128GB or 256GB of on-board storage.
There’s no active cooling here like you’ll find on the Nubia RedMagic 7, but Poco has fitted a sizeable vapour chamber to keep the CPU from overheating. It helps the phone stay on the right side of toasty during an extended play session, but doesn’t seem to be any more effective than other phones with a Snapdragon 8 CPU. Given those mostly cost more than the F4 GT, though, that’s still a solid effort.
Games will have no problem running at 60Hz and above, with the screen happy to kick up to 120Hz if the title supports it. The Torchlight Infinite Beta is currently locked at 60fps, but frame rates were consistently smooth, so this phone should cope with anything in the Google Play Store.
It’s easily powerful enough to run Android 12 smoothly, even with the POCO-ified version of MIUI 13 sat on top. This skin is fairly user-friendly, with only a handful of preinstalled apps and a few others that mimic Google’s own, but they can be easily removed or hidden with a few taps. The Game Turbo toolbox is the more unique, letting you customise your play sessions, launch shortcuts and force the phone to run at top performance whenever you open a particular app.
At 4700mAh, the F4 GT doesn’t have the biggest battery, even for an affordable flagship. It’ll still get you through a day of regular use without dipping into the red, but a few protracted play sessions will definitely leave you looking for a plug socket. This puts it behind the current crop of flagships, and many mid-priced alternatives too.
On the plus side, it supports seriously fast 120W rapid charging, which is enough to completely refuel the phone in 20 minutes when using the bundled power adaptor. The L-shaped USB-C cable is also a neat touch, letting you charge while playing without wires getting in your way.
There’s no wireless charging here, which isn’t a huge surprise given the price.
Camera: pixel count isn’t everything
It usually takes a back seat on gaming phones, but Poco has at least ensured one of the F4 GT’s cameras has plenty of pixels to work with.
The main snapper gets a 64MP, f/1.9 sensor, and is paired with a considerably lower-resolution 8MP, f/2.2 ultrawide with 120-degree field of view. There’s also a 2MP, f/2.4 macro lens, which is about as useful as the pixel count suggests.
Daylight images are respectable, rather than impressive, with pixel-binned 16MP shots looking sharp enough at first glance and holding up once you start pixel-peeping. There’s not much noise, and it doesn’t go overboard on image sharpening either. Dynamic range is fairly limited, though, even with HDR enabled.
Colours are vibrant enough at the standard setting and turning on AI image processing nudges things into unrealistic territory, so the feature is best left alone. The 2x ‘zoom’ simply crops the main sensor, which looks fine as long as you don’t then try to get closer using digital zoom. Colours aren’t quite as precise here, either.
The ultrawide lens punches above its weight in terms of detail, but less so on the colour front. It would go overboard on vibrancy when given plenty of light, leaving images looking unrealistic.
As the light fades, noise is largely kept at bay, with the auto Night mode handling exposure and detail well without also taking an age between shots. White balance isn’t thrown off too badly by streetlights, and colours are still fairly impactful. The dedicated night mode is worth digging out of the camera app’s menus, as it manages to preserve even more shadow detail.
Poco F4 GT verdict
Anyone searching for a game-friendly phone that’s a little more subtle than the usual RGB-infused fare should absolutely consider the Poco F4 GT. It’s fast and has a great screen, and those pop-up triggers really do make all the difference when playing.
It does lose out on a few features we’d expect from a gaming phone, like a headphone jack and expandable storage. Battery life is also firmly in the mid-tier. The camera is decent enough at this price, though you don’t have to spend much more to get a more versatile set of lenses, and better quality overall.
Still, given it manages to undercut other affordable flagships, especially for anyone that manages to bag one during Poco’s early-bird sales offer. It’s still a nifty alternative choice for those on a reasonable budget that also like to get their game on every now and then.
Top-notch performance, a punchy display and genuinely useful hardware make the Poco F4 GT a treat for anyone that enjoys gaming on the sly, rather than shouting it from the rooftops. Camera quality lets it down against more well-rounded rivals, though.
Useful and subtle hardware gaming buttons
Sleek, high refresh rate display
Main camera is merely OK; secondary snappers underwhelm
Battery life could be better
No headphone jack
Poco F4 GT tech specs
|6.67in, 2400×1080 AMOLED w/ 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 octa-core
|64MP, f/1.9 + 8MP, f/2.2 + 2MP f/2.4 rear w/ LED flash. 20MP front
|Android 12 w/ MIUI 13
|4700mAh non-removable, w/ 120W wired charging