POCO F4 GT Hands-On: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, shoulder buttons, 120W charging for $ 530!

I used to think gaming phones were gimmicks. I’m not talking about the initial batch of devices before the iPhone era like the Nokia N-Gage or Gizmondo, nor the devices from the early 2010s from Sony and Samsung with pull-out controllers. These devices actually brought something new and different to the mobile market. I refer instead to the recent resurgence of gaming phones that began four, five years ago, led by people like Razer, ASUS, Honor and Nubia, to name a few.

My biggest complaint was that apart from adding an LED light strip on the back of the phone and supposedly superior copper cooling in the interior, the first batches of gaming phones worked for the most part just like any other Android phone on the market. I still remember testing Honor Play in 2018 and having to ask the company exactly how the phone differed from the other six Huawei / Honor devices I had tested that year.

But gaming phones began to justify their existence in the last few years with actual meaningful additions like a physical fan, controller accessory or my favorite, shoulder buttons, which instantly made a phone more suitable for gaming. Most of these shoulder buttons have been in the capacitive sensor variant, but Xiaomi has offered actual pop-up buttons that provide true tactile, click-feedback on a few devices now. The latest is the POCO F4 GT.

The POCO F4 GT is not exactly a brand new device. If you follow the Chinese smartphone scene closely, or if you’re just familiar with Xiaomi’s tendency to transform an existing mid-range phone into another market, you’ll know that the POCO F4 GT is exactly the same device as the Redmi K50G (the G stands for gaming), which was launched in China two months ago. I do not think most people would mind the conversion, because you get a lot of flagship components at a very reasonable price.

    POCO F4 GT

    The POCO F4 GT’s pop-up shoulder buttons and excellent speakers really add to the mobile gaming experience. Even if you’re not playing, the F4 GT is still a solid all-round phone.


POCO F4 GT: Prices and availability

The POCO F4 GT comes in two configurations: 8GB RAM + 128GB ROM and 12GB RAM + 256GB ROM, priced at € 599 ($ ​​639) and € 699 ($ ​​746) respectively in Europe, and roughly equivalent in Asian regions like Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. But if you order the phone between April 27 and May 7, POCO offers an early bird discount that gives € 100 off each price, meaning the base variant of 8GB + 128GB is available for € 499 ($ ​​532).

POCO F4 GT will be for sale in POCO’s online store, as well as online retailers such as Amazon, Lazada, AliExpress, Shopee, among others.

POCO F4 GT: Specifications

Specification POCO F4 GT
  • Corning Gorilla Glass Victus exhibited
  • Metal frame
  • Glass back
Dimensions & Weight
  • 162.5 x 76.7 x 8.5 mm
  • 210 g
  • 6.67 inch FHD + AMOLED
  • 2400 x 1080 resolution
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • 480Hz touch sampling rate
  • 800nits typical brightness
  • DCI-P3 wide color gamut support
  • HDR10 +
  • 1920Hz high frequency PWM attenuation
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • Adreno 730
RAM & stock
  • 8 GB LPDDR5 RAM + 128 GB UFS 3.1 storage
  • 12GB + 256GB
Battery & charging
  • 4,700 mAh
  • 120W wired fast charging
  • Side-mounted fingerprint scanner
  • AI Face Unlock
Rear camera (s)
  • Primary: 64MP Sony IMX686, f / 1.9
  • Ultra wide: 8MP, f / 2.2, 120 ° FOV
  • Macro: 2MP, f / 2.4
Front camera (s) 20 MP, f / 2.4
Port (s) USB Type-C
  • Symmetrical quad speakers
  • Dolby Atmos certification
  • Hi-Res Audio certification
  • Hi-Res Audio Wireless certification
  • 5G (SA + NSA)
    • Supported tapes: n1 / 3/5/7/8/20/28/38/40/41/77/78
  • 4G LTE
  • Wi-Fi 6E (2.4GHz / 5GHz / 6GHz)
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • NFC
Software MIUI 13 for POCO based on Android 12
Other features
  • CyberEngine super broadband X-axis linear motor
  • LiquidCool Technology 3.0
  • Colors:
    • Stealth Black
    • Knight silver
    • Cyber ​​yellow
  • Magnetic pop-up triggers

About this hands-on: Xiaomi Global provided me with a review unit of the POCO F4 GT for testing. Xiaomi had no input in this article.

POCO F4 GT: Hardware and design

If you have seen the Redmi K50G, then the POCO F4 GT will not bring any surprises. The design is identical, with the only visual difference being the branding changed from Redmi to POCO in the lower left corner of the device. My device is the color “Knight Silver” and I like how it looks and feels (I prefer it over the yellow and black colors). However, the glass back is a bit reflective and not completely matte, and it can attract subtle fingerprints.

There is a bit of texture in the two inward-facing arrows (“> <“) as they are so slightly raised above the glass. Since this is a gaming phone, there is of course an LED light strip. There are two of them present, which also form inward arrows in the camera module. Another nice touch is the LED flashlight in the form of lightning, which sits next to the camera module.

As a gaming phone, the POCO F4 GT should offer better visual and audio experiences than usual, and the phone knocks it out of the park in the speaker department

As a gaming phone, the POCO F4 GT should offer better visual and audio experiences than usual, and the phone beats it out of the park in the speaker department: There is a quad speaker system consisting of two speakers and two tweeter speakers, housed inside. large speaker grille at the top and bottom of the unit. The grills are noticeably larger and deeper than usual, giving more room for the sound to spread. They are also symmetrical in location and size. I can definitely hear fuller sound. However, there are no headphone jacks.

As for the 6.7-inch, 2400 x 1080 OLED screen, it is sharp and vibrant enough, but the 800 nits brightness is a bit lacking and the refresh rate can only be either 60Hz or 120Hz, but it has got a touch sampling speed up . to 480Hz and is covered by Gorilla Glass Victus.

Magnetic pop-up triggers

The two shoulder buttons are called “magnetic pop-up triggers”, and by default they remain recessed and only appear when you physically turn a switch. The buttons provide highly clicking, bouncing feedback and can be used outside of play to launch specific apps or phone features like a flashlight (customizable in Settings). However, the switch to release the buttons is a bit loose and can be accidentally turned on or off when the phone is pulled in and out of the pocket. I wish they were more solid. POCO claims that the buttons have been tested to withstand at least 1.5 million times.

POCO has given the X4 GT the latest and greatest components when it comes to processing power and memory: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, with LPDDR5 RAM (8GB or 12GB) and UFS 3.1 storage (128GB or 256GB). The battery size, at 4,700 mAh, is a bit small for a gaming phone, but it can be charged at insanely fast 120W speeds. From my test, I was able to get the phone from 0-100% in 18 minutes – it’s pretty insane.


The cameras are fine. The main system consists of a 64MP IMX686 sensor with a small 1 / 1.73-inch image sensor along with an 8MP ultra-wide camera and a 2MP macro sensor. Around the front is a 20MP selfie camera. During the day, images have solid sharpness and dynamic range. In fact, the main camera also stays okay at night thanks to pixel binning and Xiaomi’s really good night mode. But the ultra-wide one really struggles at night.

The colors are accurate without an exaggerated look, and if you point close enough at a subject, you even get some bokeh – though I guess it’s mostly software-generated because of the smaller image sensor.

POCO F4 GT: Software

The POCO F4 GT runs on MIUI 13 over Android 12. Overall performance is similar to Xiaomi / Redmi phones with a fast, responsive user interface that is heavy on animations and whimsical touches (like app icons that explode to pieces when uninstalled).

As a gaming phone, there is an additional gaming feature called Game Turbo. This is a floating menu that can be swiped in sight when a game is in progress. It does the usual performance boost things like clearing the background memory, disabling notifications, as well as allowing the assignment of shoulder triggers and recording screen at the touch of a button.

Perhaps the most unique feature is the “voice changer”, which as the name suggests will change the way my voice sounds to other players (in games that support voice chat, such as online first-person shooters).

POCO F4 GT: Performance and battery life

When I reviewed Xiaomi’s flagship smartphone, the Xiaomi 12 Pro, last month, I noticed that the phone was warming up faster than usual. In fact, it could not complete a 20-minute “Wild Life Extreme Stress Test” in the 3DMark app. I’m happy to report that the improved thermals of the POCO F4 GT – which include the addition of extra large copper heat sinks – work wonders as the F4 GT can complete the same 20-minute stress test with a score higher than my Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Galaxy S22 Ultra scored. Other benchmark figures are also respectable and are stuck in the flagship’s telephone territory.

Gaming performance was fine for me even though I am not the heaviest of gamers. Genshin Impact ran at a constant frame rate and the shoulder triggers were very handy for playing my favorite game, Call of Duty. The phone got a little hot, but I rarely saw larger framerate strains. The phone’s speaker and microphone locations are also well thought out, as they are not easily blocked by the fingers.

As a typical smartphone, I saw no problems – apps like Instagram, Gmail and Slack apparently worked flawlessly, and because of the premium speakers, the phone is also excellent as a Netflix / YouTube semiconductor.

Battery life is the only area that is below par – since the phone is intended for gaming, the 4,700 mAh cell is not large, and in my experience, an hour of gaming session can quickly drain about 30% battery. But considering how fast the phone can fill up, it’s not a big deal. In normal use, the phone can last a 12-, 13-hour day on a single charge.

games on the POCO F4 GT

POCO F4 GT: Early impressions

With an early starting price of € 499 ($ ​​531), the POCO F4 GT is a good value even if you are not playing any games. It has one of the best speakers of any smartphone right now, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip that is less likely to throttle, and a 120Hz AMOLED screen. The cameras are the only areas where you can do better in this price range.

With an early starting price of € 499 ($ ​​531), the POCO F4 GT is a good value even if you are not playing any games

But if you play mobile games? Particularly graphically intensive first-person-shooters and open-world RPGs? The addition of shoulder buttons and improved thermals make the POCO F4 GT a top performer. Not only is the POCO F4 GT not a gimmick, but it is also an all-rounder with really good value.

    POCO F4 GT

    The POCO F4 GT’s pop-up shoulder buttons and excellent speakers really add to the mobile gaming experience. Even if you’re not playing, the F4 GT is still a solid all-round phone.