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POCO C65 Review

POCO Philippines is ending the year strong by launching another new budget smartphone – the POCO C65. It’s the successor to the POCO C55, which was launched globally last February 2023.

Yugatech 728x90 Reno7 Series

Now, there are some new changes POCO made to the C65 coming from the C55, and these are upgrades we gladly welcome. But if there’s one thing that hasn’t changed it’s the affordable price point that we’ve all come to like from POCO – starting at just PHP 4,999 as part of the early bird promo.

But given the smartphone’s late entry into the market, is it something you should consider buying this holiday season? To find out, I suggest you read on.

Design and Construction

Let’s start with the design. The POCO C65 looks great, especially since our review unit comes in this blue colorway. Although if this color doesn’t vibe with you, it’s also available in black and purple colors. As you would expect from a phone of this price point, it’s mostly made of plastic. It’s not the more premium feeling plastic, but it does feel sturdy.

The back panel features a rather minimalist design, making it look simple and clean. The only thing that stands out is the camera housing which features the dual-rear camera and the POCO logo right beside it. As with most phones, you can find the volume rocker on the right side together with the power button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner.

At the bottom, you’ll find a USB-C port along with the loudspeakers. The dual-sim card slot that also houses the microSD card slot is found on the left side. Rounding up the features, there’s also a 3.5mm audio jack at the top.

The C65 does feel rather thick and heavy, weighing in at 192 grams which I didn’t mind.. However, it is quite thick so it might be a bit bulky in your pocket at 8.09mm. If you’re used to smaller phones, you might also have to adjust a bit since it is quite a big phone.

Display and Multimedia

In terms of display, you get a 6.74-inch screen with a 90Hz refresh rate. It’s only an IPS LCD screen, but surprisingly it’s not too bad. The colors are relatively However, don’t expect them to be as saturated or vivid especially if you’re used to seeing AMOLED phone screens. At the same time, there are rather thick borders all around the display, especially at the bottom.

The 90Hz refresh rate might not impress gamers, but it’s more than enough if you’re just watching videos or browsing social media. It’s quite smooth and there doesn’t seem to be any lag. However, the screen isn’t the brightest which does make it a bit hard to use under direct sunlight. Then again, you do have to set your expectations. This is a budget smartphone after all.

Despite that, the display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. POCO also says it’s TUV Certified for low blue light.

When watching videos with friends, the loudspeaker is decent at best. Thankfully there is a 3.5mm audio jack if you want to have a better listening experience. Alternatively, you can also pair your favorite Bluetooth headphones or earbuds.

Performance and Benchmarks

Going back to gaming, the POCO C65 can handle some light games without issue. It’s powered by Mediatek Helio G85, and depending on the variant you can choose between 6GB or 8GB or RAM. The 6GB variant is paired with 128GB of storage, while the 8GB comes with 256GB. If you do need more storage, there is a dedicated microSD card slot. For reference, our unit is the 8GB+256GB variant.

We managed to play Asphalt 9 with ease on this phone along with Mobile Legends. The gameplay on both games was smooth, and there wasn’t any lag or slowing down. It didn’t heat up too much either, even when we left some apps running in the background.

It can even run Genshin Impact, which was a neat surprise. Although I did have to run it in almost the lowest settings to have smoother gameplay. And when playing Genshin, the phone does heat up quite faster.

With that, you can expect this phone to handle day-to-day tasks such as browsing social media or watching videos without any issue whatsoever.

But to give you a better idea of how this phone performs, check out the scores we got from our usual benchmarking apps below. All things considered, it performed quite well.

Antutu Benchmark v10: 255,142
GeekBench v6 CPU: 428 (Single core), 1,188 (Multi-core)
GeekBench v6 GPU: 572 (OpenCL), 1,126 (Vulkan)
PCMark Work 3.0: 9,335

OS, Apps, and UI

The POCO C65 runs on Android 13 skinned with MIUI 14. It has all the usual features you would find when using an Android phone, and the design isn’t too over the top.

However, when you start up the phone it comes with bloatware. There’s not a lot though, and you can easily get rid of them in just a few taps. They’re also condensed into two folders. One thing I didn’t like is when I swipe up to view all the apps, it brings me to the search bar first. I have to close the search bar before seeing all the apps neatly laid out.

Camera

In terms of cameras, there’s a dual-rear camera with a 50MP main shooter together with a 2MP macro lens. They’re decent at best, and in well-lit environments, the photos come out quite sharp. However, if you try to pixel peep, you’ll notice that the sharpness tends to drop towards the edges.

The colors aren’t as vivid or saturated as I expected, but that could also be because of the LCD of the phone itself. If you’re not too OC, you can even upload the photos directly to social media without having to edit them via a third-party app. Although you can use 50MP mode to make the most out of the image.

However, in low-light conditions or even at night, the quality of the photo does drop by a lot. There’s a lot of grain and noise, and the subject isn’t as sharp anymore. It also gets worse if you try to zoom in while shooting in low light. Night mode doesn’t help either since the photos appear to be heavily filtered, and you also lose a lot of detail in the process.

It’s a similar issue with the front camera. You get an 8MP selfie shooter, which takes decent photos when there’s enough lighting. It’s not as sharp as I wanted it to be, but it’s okay. There are also a bunch of beauty filters if you’re into that.

In terms of video, both the front and rear cameras can record at a maximum of 1080P@30FPS. Like the photos, they’re overall decent assuming there’s light. There’s even a macro mode you can use, but the video does go down in quality when using it. Personally, I kept my shots in 1x mode since using zoom does decrease video quality as well.

To give you a better idea, check out some of our sample photos and videos in the gallery below.

Battery and Connectivity

In terms of battery life, the POCO C65 features a 5,000mAh battery which is typically standard. From my experience, it did last me an entire day when I’m using it to browse social media, the net, and watch some videos on YouTube. But it did drain quite faster when I ended up playing games.

To have a better idea of the battery life, we ran PC Mark’s battery test, and it recorded XX hours and XX minutes, which is quite decent in my opinion.

Conclusion

Before we end this review, we have to talk about the price. The POCO C65 starts at PHP 4,999 for the 6GB+128GB variant, while the 8GB+256GB variant is priced at PHP 5,999. However, do note these prices are part of the early bird promo, and prices will go up soon. This makes it a very affordable phone, whether its for personal use or business.

Even if you get the 8GB+256GB variant, it won’t hurt your wallet at all. CHowever, you do have to set your expectations given that this is still a budget smartphone.

So, that’s about it for this review of the POCO C65. It’s got decent specs, enough to even run Genshin, and a decent camera, all for a very affordable price. But what do you think? Is it a budget phone you’ll consider this holiday season? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

POCO C65 specs:
6.74-inch HD+ IPS LCD, 90Hz refresh rate, 600 nits (HBM) (720×1600 resolution)
Mediatek MT6769Z Helio G85 (12nm)
4x Arm Cortex-A75 @ 2GHz, 4x Arm Cortex-A55 @ 1.8GHz
Arm Mali-G52 MC2 1GHz GPU
6GB, 8GB RAM LPDDR4x
128GB, 256GB eMMC 5.1 storage, expandable via microSDXC
50MP, f/1.8 main camera, PDAF
2MP, f/2.4 macro
LED flash, HDR, 1080p@30fps video
8MP, f/2.01 front-facing
Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
4G / LTE
WiFi 802.11ac, dual-band
Bluetooth 5.1, A2DP, LE
GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS, QZSS positioning system
FM radio, recording
USB Type-C 2.0
Fingerprint sensor (side-mounted)
3.5mm audio jack
Android 13, MIUI 14 for POCO
5,000mAh Li-Po battery, 18W wired charging
Black, Blue, Purple (colors)
168 x 78 x 8.1 mm (dimensions)
191 grams (weight)

What we liked about it:
* Very affordable
* Decent performance
* Large battery

What we did not like:
* Low display resolution and brightness
* Hefty weight and size

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