The Best Budget Gaming Phone Of 2022

POCO X4 GT is the latest budget gaming smartphone from Xiaomi’s sub-brand. Last year we had a lot of nice things to say about the predecessor POCO X3 GT. Let’s see what changes POCO has made to make the X4 GT a worthy upgrade.

Before we dive into the unboxing I would just like to say that the X series from POCO is arguably the best in its entire lineup.  In terms of specs, performance, and price the X series stays true to the brand’s mantra of “everything you need and nothing you don’t“.

Unboxing the POCO X4 GT

The slightly more expensive POCO devices get the reverse black and yellow box in contrast to the more budget offerings. I like the new more consistent branding on the outer retail box this year compared to the mish-mash last year. Inside the box though the unboxing experience is the same as before. Insert with a clear TPU case, SIM tool, and paperwork. Underneath the insert is the smartphone, followed by the 67W fast charging brick and a hefty USB-C charging cable.

POCO X4 GT design and display impressions

There are a few design changes compared to last year’s model. And I would argue that all of the visually discernable changes are better. There are a few spec changes that are a bit puzzling and we will discuss those a bit later. First off, I like the new flat rails and the non-glossy back surface. I am also a fan of the new camera module layout  – looks clean and elegant at least to my eyes. Other than these changes visually there isn’t a lot going on.  POCO also did the right thing by getting rid of the virtual proximity sensor.

Rest of the design is pretty similar to other Android smartphones. Bottom rail has a dual-SIM tray slot, microphone, USB-C port, and speaker grille. The power and volume buttons are on the right-hand rail. Things get interesting on the top rail with an IR blaster, secondary microphone, top speaker grille, and a headphone jack! The fingerprint scanner is integrated in the power button and is fast and accurate.

So what are some of the downsides you ask? The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 5 instead of Victus. Also, the formal IP rating is gone this time around. While haptics are improved, the haptic feedback strength could be higher. And the newer phone is a bit heavier than the predecessor at 200 grams.

Large 6.6-inch display is quite good despite being an LCD panel

POCO X4 GT AH HR Display

The display size is still 6.6-inches which is quite big for browsing, streaming, or gaming. The display has a 144Hz refresh rate along with HDR10 and Dolby Vision support. The touch sampling rate is 270Hz on the POCO X4 GT and helps improve response time for fast-paced games.

Brightness is 500 nits which is better than before. However, the display does struggle a bit outdoors. Overall though things and crisp and clear thanks to a 407 ppi pixel density. Personally, I do think that Xiaomi needs to figure out a way to get an AMOLED display on this device.

Performance on the POCO X4 GT is adequate for graphics-intensive games

POCO X4 GT AH HR Performance

POCO X4 GT is powered by MediaTek Dimensity 8100 processor. Essentially it is a slightly overclocked version of the Dimensity 1100 which was in last year’s POCO X3 GT. The newer processor is made on the 5nm manufacturing process and that does lead to an almost 20% improvement in Geekbench scores.

On Geekbench the single-core score is 880 whereas the multi-core score is 3674. Both scores are a decent bump up from last year. However, for some reason, these scores are lower than the Realme GT Neo 3 Naruto Edition smartphone which has the same Dimensity 8100 processor.

In terms of everyday use, there should be no issues at all from a performance standpoint. I think the POCO X4 GT should be able to handle anything you throw at it at medium to high settings from a gaming perspective. My review unit has 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. The only other option is the 256GB storage version with the same 8GB RAM. I guess if you want a more capable device you need to cross-shop POCO/Xiaomi or look for a different brand.

Minor rant, up until 2022 reviewers consistently got the top-end device for review but that seems to not be the case this year. On the flip side, if you buy the more expensive model than the review unit, then the performance should be somewhat better.

Zero battery life anxiety on the POCO X4 GT

POCO X4 GT AH HR Charging

There is a  beefy 5080 mAh battery on the POCO X4 GT. You also get the hefty 67W charging brick in the box. Full charge from zero takes slightly less than an hour and 30 minutes of charging will get you to 75% which should be sufficient for a day of moderate use.

In my use case, I was able to consistently get around 5+ hours of Screen-on-Time but everyone’s use case is slightly different. For light users you maybe able to squeeze out two days on a full charge. However, I would recommend adaptive charging overnight to ensure you do not get stranded since it still requires almost half an hour to get to 75% battery capacity.

MIUI 13 feels familiar on the POCO X4 GT

POCO X4 GT AH HR Software

This phone launched literally a couple of months behind the excellent POCO F4 GT. So from a software perspective, I wasn’t able to find anything new under the hood so to speak. It is the same MIUI that we have reviewed before on a lot of POCO devices in the last year or so. POCO X4 GT has MIUI 13 which is running on Android 12 with the July 2022 security update.

Rear cameras produce great photos for the most part

POCO X4 GT AH HR Camera

The Poco X4 GT features a triple-camera module on the rear. The main 64MP camera gets an upgrade while the 8MP ultrawide and the 2MP macro cameras are a carryover. And the front selfie shooter is the 16MP camera found on countless other Xiaomi/POCO devices.

Daylight camera performance is good on the main and ultrawide cameras

The main camera on the POCO X4 GT produces some nice-looking daylight images. Colors are vivid and not overly blown out, the contrast is great, the dynamic range is okay, and there’s enough detail in the pictures to share on social media without any editing. One feature that could be better is sharpness which is very evident in indoor light pictures.

The 8MP ultrawide camera produces images that have good color and contrast but have the same sharpness issue as the main camera. Outdoor pictures are consistently better than what you get indoors.

Night time results are acceptable from the main camera

Night-time pictures are quite good from the main camera with or without Night mode turned on. There’s definitely better light, contrast and shadow detail with Night mode turned on and I suggest you manually turn it on it the app doesn’t do it automatically.

For the ultrawide camera, the results are a hit and a miss even with Night mode turned on. So I would recommend that you use the ultrawide a bit sparingly in dark light conditions.

POCO X4 GT Camera Samples – Flickr Gallery

Telephoto and Selfie camera results are so-so

The telephoto setting in the app is basically a 2X digital zoom and the results are pretty bad in general. It is better to take the picture and then manually crop the 1X image. Night-time results are even worse than what you get in the daytime.

The selfie camera on this device is the same 16MP that we’ve seen for over three years now. At this point in time, the story of the Xiaomi selfie camera is like the 12MP camera on the Pixel series. But unlike the Pixel, the selfie camera on the POCO/Xiaomi devices definitely needs an upgrade. I am hoping that this gets rectified in 2023. At a minimum Xiaomi needs to put the 20MP camera from the Poco F4 across the entire mid-range series.

Audio is better than competitors thanks to the headphone jack

POCO X4 GT AH HR Audio

You get dual speakers and a headphone jack on the POCO X4 GT. With that statement, we could theoretically end this section of the review. The speakers are good for the most part, and there’s still Dolby Atmos tuning. But you no longer get JBL tuned speakers so there’s that for cost-cutting.

Most people getting the POCO X4 GT will be quite happy though with what you get in terms of audio quality. And there’s something to be said about a functional good quality headphone jack in 2022.

Connectivity options are plenty on the POCO X4 GT

POCO X4 GT AH HR Connectivity

From a connectivity standpoint, I don’t think there’s any other smartphone maker that even comes close to what POCO/Xiaomi offers. And this is true across their entire range of smartphones from the cheapest to the top-of-the-line flagships.

The POCO X4 GT is no exception. Besides 5G connectivity, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5.3 you get a bunch of other options standard. These include Cast, Mi Share, Nearby Share, IR blaster, and NFC. And all options are easy to access from the quick settings menu which I like. To some extent, this is due to the excellent feature-laden MIUI software but still, this is something other smartphone manufacturers should try and emulate.

POCO X4 GT Verdict

POCO X4 GT AH HR Verdict

The POCO X4 GT  has better performance than before. On paper, there are a lot of improvements, a faster refresh rate display which is slightly brighter, a better main camera, and a bigger battery. I think the hardware design language is also excellent despite the phone being slightly heavier than the predecessor.

There are a few downgrades, no IP rating, no Gorilla Glass Victus, and no JBL-tuned audio speakers. I also think that perhaps it is time for POCO to put in an AMOLED display and I hope that happens soon. Despite this shortcoming, the overall package still packs a serious punch for the retail price. And POCO did something that every smartphone device manufacturer should do which is to bring back the headphone jack. For those looking for great battery life and a lot of gaming horsepower, the POCO X4 GT fits the bill at around €380. Its price tag has a lot to do with our final score on this phone, as it’s really hard to beat.

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