POCO C40 Review: What happened here?

Very rarely do we conduct a review where we feel relieved that it is done. A device that we are glad to be able to put back into its box and forget about it.

Unfortunately, the POCO C40 is such a device.

This was completely unexpected. POCO, a branch of Xiaomi smartphones, enjoyed glowing praise from us when we reviewed the POCO X4 Pro 5G earlier this year, and the POCO M3 Pro 5G before that.

The X4 Pro, in particular, received a near-perfect score in our review and we shared that if POCO kept up the quality, it could become a break-out brand within the highly competitive mid-range, low-range smartphone market in South Africa.

And then the C40 came to us, and after just over two weeks with the device, we have to ask – what happened here?

Let’s start at the top:

The POCO C40 is a sleek, thin, expensive-feeling smartphone with an elongated screen that can be a bit difficult to navigate with a single hand unless you have long fingers. Its locking and volume buttons are all positioned on its upper left.

The massive “POCO” branding at the back of the smartphone is a bit much for our taste, but otherwise, it has a clean finish, a large screen and is not offensive to look at.

POCO C40 Specifications

  • IPC LCD 720 x 1650 display capable of 400 nits of brightness;
  • 4GB (+1GB) of RAM;
  • CPU: JLQ JR510 Octa-core Max 2.00GHz chipset;
  • OS: Android 11 (MIUI 13 for POCO);
  • 64GB of storage space (only around 35 GB available);
  • Rear-mounted fingerprint sensor;
  • Li-Po 6 000 mAh battery with 18W wired charging;
  • Headphone jack;
  • 13 MP camera (wide), 2MP selfie camera(depth).

The first thing you notice with the C40 is the performance. It is a slow smartphone due to its 2.00GHz JLQ chipset. We’ve had faster phones on the review desk with about the same amount of RAM.

Every action, from scrolling on Twitter to waiting for WhatsApp to open, will be glacial. Day-to-day usage will constantly see stuttering.

Using the Google Maps app is a particular headache. The performance on this commonplace app that millions of people use every day is so poor that the voice commands end midway because you’ve already made the turn by the time it realised it should say something.

On GeekBench, we saw a score of 167 on single-core tests and 849 on multi-core. We thought these were quite low so we did the benchmark again and received a lower score in single-core testing (166/854).

According to our archive of benchmark scores, the POCO C40 has among the lowest GeekBench scores of all the smartphones we have tested. On 3DMark Slingshot, we saw a score of 965, running at only 5.50 FPS.

In terms of display, the POCO C40 provides keen visuals. When YouTube eventually opens and lets you see video thumbnails after a good five seconds, you are treated to vibrant colours and streaming is sharp and you will be able to see the finest details with high-definition options.

The audio has a bit of noticeable echo and seems a bit metallic but otherwise watching videos online is acceptable.

To test gaming, we played a few matches of Player Unknown’s Battleground (PUBG), which came ready with the smartphone. After a few hiccups with the game’s installation, we finally got set up for a drop.

The initial experience is miserable due to the performance but if you can push through huge spikes of dropped frames, the game eventually runs better since there are fewer players as the matches progress. The hardware will definitely be working overtime and it will get noticeably hot in your hands.


Its 13MP main camera provides a solid basis and its in-build sharpness provides substantial detail during the day. The selfie cam will also not give users any issues, as long as there is enough light.

Without night mode the main camera is sub-par and took us back to the pictures we used to take with our first smartphones, when we were in the 2010s. The Pro mode can provide better image quality but this simply is not up to par with other smartphones in this price range.

In the light, there is virtually no difference between Pro mode-shot images and normally-shot images.


The POCO C40 is saved by its bestial Li-Po battery at 6 000mAh. A single charge can take you well into the next day and beyond with moderate usage. With sustained usage, it isn’t a slouch either. It has 18W wired charging to take you from 0 percent to 80 percent in about an hour.

For those looking for formidable battery life, they will not be disappointed with the C40.


The POCO C40 has a powerful battery, a passable camera and it is capable of solid visuals but all of these are utterly drowned by its terrible performance. It became a chore to use the device and it has left a sour taste.

Now available in South Africa, the smartphone has a recommended retail price of R3 199 so it is decidedly an entry-level device. For just over double this price you can pick up the POCO X4 Pro 5G at R6 999 which has an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 695 processor and 8GB of RAM.

For about R1 800 more than the C40 you can pick up the TECNO Camon 17P, another entry-level device with much better performance and negligible differences in terms of camera and battery.

In fact, the local market is so saturated with solid entry-level devices, there is no reason to try the POCO C40. It begs the question of why Xiaomi decided to bring this phone to South Africa. Perhaps the brand is betting that its low price will see significant sales, but we simply can’t recommend the C40 over its competitors and other POCO handsets.


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