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Poco C65 review

In our Poco C65 review, we check out the latest budget offering from the Xiaomi sub-brand and find a solid smartphone for the price range.

Custom image for Poco C65 review with the phone on a plain background showing an autumnal display on the lock screen

Our Verdict

The Poco C65 is a solid budget phone with an impressive camera, solid battery life, and decent performance. It’s also one of the better builds on a budget device, with a lightweight plastic frame that feels comfortable in your hands. However, it’s not 5G ready, comes with a slightly outdated chipset, and is slower to charge than many of the low-cost alternatives. There’s also something of a bloatware problem, with the phone filling up with unnecessary apps you may not need.

Reasons to buy
  • Cheap
  • Solid camera for price range
  • Decent performance
  • Best budget display
Reasons to avoid
  • Slow to charge
  • Slightly outdated chipset
  • Lots of bloatware

Budget phones are big business these days, with countless companies offering affordable Android devices to consumers looking for premium features without premium pricing. The Poco C65 is the latest budget offering from Poco, a sub-brand of Xiaomi, offering you a smartphone with a 50MP camera, HD video support, and a Gorilla Glass screen for less than $200. There has to be a catch, right?

Well, there is a catch, but it might not be a dealbreaker for you. The Poco C65 isn’t 5G ready. It’s worth pointing out here that it isn’t the only affordable handset from a big brand that isn’t capable of 5G connectivity, but it makes up for it in other ways. As you’re about to find out, Poco is one of the many brands ushering in a new era of feature-heavy budget phones with little to discern them from the mid-range alternatives. So, is it worth picking up one for yourself? Let’s get into it.

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Custom image of the Poco C65 next to its box on a plain background for a review of the phone

Price and availability

How much you pay for the Poco C65 depends on which version you’re looking at and which retailer you’re buying from, but we’ve seen this device for as low as $106 on AliExpress. This price is for the base model, but it’s only about $20-30 more for additional storage.

In terms of colorways, you can pick this phone up in either Black, Blue, or Purple. There’s also an option between two storage sizes, with the phone available with either 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM or 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM.


Battery Li-Po 5000 mAh
Display 6.74-inch 90Hz IPC LCD (720 x 1600 pixels)
CPU MediaTek Helio G85
Storage 128GB / 256GB
Front camera 8MP
Back cameras 50MP main, 2MP macro
Weight 192g
Dimensions 168mm x 78mm x 8.1mm
Colors Black, Blue, Purple

Features and software

The Poco C65 runs Xiaomi’s own MIUI 14 skin on Android 13. For those who don’t know, this isn’t the latest version of Android, with Android 14 arriving late last year. Now, Xiaomi has a pretty good excuse for running the older version of Android 13 on these phones as it’s still rolling out HyperOS, its MIUI replacement, that utilizes Android 14. Still, it’ll be interesting to see if the C65 eventually gets HyperOS, which could slightly improve the day-to-day experience of using the C65.

Custom image of the main menu on the Poco C65 for a review of the phone

While the UI is pretty user-friendly, the Poco C65 has a bloatware problem. As soon as setup is complete, you notice a myriad of apps already available on the home screen. While some of these are essentials for some, like YouTube and Netflix, there’s also LinkedIn, Booking.com, and others just taking up space. This list doesn’t include the nine games pre-installed, none of which are titles you’ve heard but sort of knock-off versions of popular mobile genres.

While the bloatware is a bit annoying, the C65 has all the bases covered when it comes to security. There’s an option to unlock your phone with a code or pattern, as well as a fingerprint scanner and faceprint recognition, with both security features working as well or better than I’ve experienced in mid-range devices and with easier setup.

While we’re pointing out what the Poco C65 has, we also better say what it’s missing. As we mentioned in the introduction to this review, this is a 4G phone, so if you live in an area with 5G connectivity, you’re not going to benefit from it with this handset. For many, that’s probably not such a big deal, but if you’re reliant on 5G, then it’s worth remembering. The other issue is the C65’s lackluster IP52 rating, making it only just about waterproof enough to survive drizzling rain. I know it’s not an expensive device, but even still, I want my smartphone to be a little more water-resistant if I’m going to use it every day confidently.


The design of the Poco C65 is best described as practical but not luxurious, which is what you should expect for the price point. From looks alone, it doesn’t seem like a budget phone, with a lengthy display and thin form factor. However, once you pick the thing up, it’s pretty clear that the bulk of the build is plastic, besides the Corning Gorilla Glass screen. The plastic build means it might feel a little cheap, but it also makes it very lightweight. I’d take a lightweight and reliable build over something that feels fancier any day of the week, but you might feel differently.

Custom image showing the top part of the Poco C65 for a review of the phone

In terms of feel, the C65 is comfortable to use, and unlike some curved phones or those with metal backs, it doesn’t slip and slide all over the place on an uneven surface. As I said before, it’s practical, but it’s also pretty durable, serving as an ideal candidate for a smartphone for people who don’t necessarily need all the fancy elements of a high-end smartphone. By that, I mean this could be a kid’s first smartphone or your grandma’s, or, as I use it, a low-cost backup smartphone if you’re ever going anywhere where you don’t want to risk breaking or losing your more expensive device.


The Poco C65 has a 90Hz 6.74-inch IPS LCD display with a peak brightness of 600 nits. For any tech heads, that calibration might not be all that impressive, but considering this phone belongs at the low end of the budget scale, it’s not bad for the price. You can watch HD videos on YouTube or Netflix and enjoy crisp visuals in casual mobile games without any problems or graphical hiccups.

Custom image for the Poco C65 review showing the phone displaying YouTube with American footballers on screen

With this phone using an LCD rather than an OLED display, as some more expensive devices might, it’s not quite as vivid as something in the mid-range, but it’s as good a screen as you can get for the price range. The peak brightness of 600 nits also isn’t much of an issue in most settings, though if it’s incredibly bright outside, you may struggle a little with gaming or reading small text. The similarly priced Samsung Galaxy A14 is only capable of about 500-600 nits, so it’s important to reiterate that dazzling brightness isn’t an option at this price point.


Now, onto one of the more surprising elements of the Poco C65. The 50MP primary camera on this handset isn’t going to change the world, but it is one of the better shooters I’ve seen on such a budget device. In ideal lighting conditions, you can capture landscapes and buildings with the same level of quality as I’ve seen some more mid-range alternatives achieve. It’s not quite as impressive with a subject, like a human or an animal, but it’s still no slouch.

Picture of Floyd the dog using the primary 50MP camera on the Poco C65

It’s hard to have an opinion on the 2MP macro camera as I have little use for it, but it works pretty well. I took a picture of a pound coin as an example, and you can easily make out the text, the design, and even the minute scratches and buffs on the object. As I said, I don’t have much use for the macro lens, but it works well, and amateur photographers might find a way to utilize it while out and about.

Macro camera example for Poco C65 review with a picture of a one pound coin

Considering I’ve been disappointed with the selfie cameras of much more expensive devices, the Poco 65’s 8MP selfie shooter can take Instagram-worthy shots of you and your friends. Again, like the primary camera, it’s not incredible, but for the price point, you can’t moan at the quality of images you’re getting with any of the lenses here. Things aren’t as great with poor lighting, but that’s an issue across the board for budget phones.


The highlight of the Poco C65 is its impressive battery life. Even with a couple of hours of gaming, this thing can easily last well over 24 hours, longer still if you use it occasionally for messaging and internet browsing. This is almost to be expected, given Poco and Xiaomi’s track record for putting out phones that just keep going, but it’s even more noteworthy when we’re talking about a budget phone.

However, while the battery life is great, the charging speeds are disappointing. Using the official equipment, I got about 10% juice every 15 minutes of charging, which equates to around two and a half hours for the full 100%. This speed isn’t anywhere near as rapid as some of the more expensive Poco and Xiaomi devices, and it can be frustrating if you’re in a rush. There’s also no wireless charging, but few of the competitor’s low-cost phones offer this feature, so it’s no big shock or egregious loss.


Performance on the Poco C65 is a mixed bag. It has no problem with day-to-day stuff like calling, messaging, browsing the internet, taking pictures, and handling basic mobile game fare like Candy Crush or Royal Match. However, don’t expect fantastic performance from high-end mobile titles like Honkai Star Rail. HSR and similar experiences aren’t unplayable on this device, but they’re certainly not smooth.

The middling performance of the C65 is something I expected due to the fact the MediaTek Helio G85 chipset it utilizes is now almost four years old. This means it just can’t cut the mustard when it comes to some of the more demanding mobile games that arrived between the 2020 release of this chipset and now. Still, this isn’t the case across the board, with Asphalt 9 running perfectly fine during my testing. You can also improve the experience of something more challenging, like Honkai Star Rail, by turning off the default refresh rate in the settings and changing it to 60Hz.

Custom image of the Poco C65 running a battle in Honkai Star Rail for a review of the phone

As well as handling most games, the Poco C65 also does a great job of dissipating heat. I had a couple of extended gaming sessions during my time with the phone, and even while running something as intensive as Asphalt 9, the thing never got warm in my hands. That doesn’t sound like such a big deal, but considering both Apple and Samsung have had problems with heat dissipation in much more expensive flagship models, it’s great to see a budget device show them up.

Should you buy the Poco C65?

If you’re looking for a budget phone that can handle everyday tasks and has an impressive display and camera setup for the price, the Poco C65 might be the one for you. It’s not flashy, nor is it going to start any conversations at parties, but it’s reliable.

There are a few caveats to the Poco C65, though. For a start, there’s no 5G connectivity, taking away the potential luxury of a higher-quality internet connection. The slightly outdated chipset also makes performance a little lethargic in places, especially with modern mobile games that ask a lot of your processor. Finally, there’s the slow charging speed, which is potentially the most frustrating thing about this phone, as it holds its charge so well.


If our Poco 65 review hasn’t sold you, check out our suggestions for potential alternatives below.

Samsung Galaxy A14 5G

The obvious alternative to the Poco C65 at this price range is the Samsung Galaxy A14. The big difference here is that for a slightly higher cost, you’re getting 5G connectivity. However, we’re not as keen on the design of the A14 5G, with Poco offering a more comfortable form factor with less invasive bezels. Check out our Samsung Galaxy A14 5G review if you want to weigh up the two yourself.


In terms of budget devices I’ve tried out, the TECNO SPARK 20 Pro+ gives the C65 a run for its money in terms of cameras, performance, and display. Both have long and slim builds, but I slightly prefer the plastic design of the Poco to the curved 20 Pro+. As you can see in our TECNO SPARK 20 Pro+ review, there’s very little to separate the two, so it comes down to your opinion on the build and the brands. However, the TECNO is a little difficult to get your hands on in the US, so it’s also a case of whether you’re up for importing it or not.