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Pocophone F1 – A new budget friendly beast from Xiaomi

Pocophone F1 Review

Pocophone is not just a new smartphones serie from Xiaomi but completely new, different sub brand of Xiaomi.

It’s always great when we see a flagship level smartphone at a budget friendly price and it looks like this time Xiaomi’s startup brand Pocophone is gonna get a lot attention from the get go.

Pocophone F1 price starts from only ~300$ but offers us modern flagship smartphone specs and promises to provide regular updates and A-class support.

As an independent brand, Pocophone promises it’s users long time updates and plans to update F1 to Android Pie within this year. Users will not have to wait for Xiaomi’s updates and they can enjoy with MIUI for Poco edition system which is close to stock Android and far from regular MIUI.

Shipped with latest Android Oreo based MIUI for Poco, 6Gb/8Gb RAM, Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon CPU with Liquid Cooling technology and 4000 mAh battery, Pocophone really challenges top smartphones on the market.

Specs & details

  • MIUI 9.1 Poco edition – Android 8.1 Oreo based ROM
  • Dual 12Mp+5Mp main camera
  • 20Mp selfie camera
  • 6.1 inches 1080×2246 resolution IPS LCD screen – 403ppi
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Octa-core CPU + Adreno 630 GPU
  • 6Gb/8Gb RAM
  • 64/128Gb or 128Gb internal memory
  • 400mAh Li-Po battery with Quickcharge 3.0
  • Stereo sound, 3.5mm Audiojack
  • Fingerprint, Front glass Plastic body, USB Type-C

Full specs->

Definitely, looking at Poco’s specifications, it has got everything to be real flagship phone and it’s price makes everything even better.

Let’s move on to Pocophone F1 detailed review!

Body and design

As Poco F1 comes with decent hardware and big promises with a difference maker price, it’s obvious that Xiaomi had to sacrifice something to lower price, looks like that sacrifice was design and body.

Xiaomi Pocophone F1 comes with Graphite Black, Steel Blue & Rosso Red plastic back or premium Armored Edition with Kevlar back.

Pocophone F1 Design

Unfortunately even highest priced Armored Edition feels genetic and cheap, not to mention other plastic back models. When you hold it you don’t have same premium feel as you’d have with Google’s Pixel 2 or OnePlus 6, still for 300-400$ it’s nothing to complain about.

Another issue that shows lack of good design is oversized notch compared to other devices having much smaller notch. But Xiaomi has explanation for it, bigger notch is because of front integrated IR based face unlock.

Pocophone F1 big notch
Pocophone F1 notch

Thanks God face unlock is really good and works quite well in all lights, making fingerprint sensor less useful.

Still, it’s not very cool to have big notch and knowing reasons doesn’t help you ignore it.

Now good news – they really managed to do good with buttons. Each model has aluminum frame and nicely integrated clicky, smooth, responsive and easy to reach buttons.

Design score 7/10.

Screen and look

Thanks to sharp, high quality IPS screen and 82% screen-to-body ratio front side of the phone looks really beautiful. Even the notch is big, still it doesn’t cover any useful screen part and looks natural with notification bar.

Pocophone F1 screen

Screen is quite good looking and responsive but again looks like they needed to cut the price even more and didn’t used 2.5D glass layer that would make display look like it’s moulded within body.

One more issue, when used in high daylight even on max brightness text is not very comfortable to read, but not too big issue.

Screen Score: 8/10

Cameras

Pocophone F1 comes with last times’ popular Dual setup – 12Mp + 5Mp cameras and single 20Mp camera for selfies.

Pocophone F1 camera

Main cameras

Starting with main cameras, Poco manages to take nice pictures in good daylight, delivering real flagship quality. Even more, portrait mode pictures are also quite impressive.

But when light is reduced or low it’s fine quality fades away and pictures aren’t all that great. Actually pictures have problems with too much color saturation sometimes and overexposure, still not bad photos for its price range.

Video was another satisfying factor, it shoots nice and has good autofocus. You can shoot great 60FPS videos at 1080P but with beast Snapdragon 845 CPU and LiquidCool technology it should be able to shoot 4K videos too.

Selfie camera

20Mp front camera is quite good for selfies and takes great pictures in most lights conditions as it uses Xiaomi’s pixel binning technology to combine data from four individual pixels.

* You may want to disable beauty option if you prefer more realistic pictures.

Overall both front and back cameras are good for most uses and price range, but not as good as expected looking at specs, maybe software updates can make things great?!

Camera score: 8/10

Performance

As Pocophone F1 review continues finally it’s time to see whenever F1 is a real beast or just looks like a beast.

It comes with three versions when speak for hardware: 64Gb ROM + 6Gb RAM, 128Gb ROM + 8Gb RAM & 256Gb ROM+ 8Gb RAM.

Now for performance and smoothness internal memory size doesn’t matter a lot but RAM does matter and +/- 2Gb should make some difference.

Pocophone F1 antutu benchmark

In Antutu benchmark 6Bb RAM version scores between 240,000 – 260,000 while 8Gb RAM version scores between 270,000 – 290,000. Does the difference worth additional $$? It’s up to you but one thing to note, even 240K Antutu score is quite high and enough.

As for real use, in this part Poco F1 really delivered all expectations and showed great performance. No lags, no waiting, UI is very responsive and even playing high graphics games on max settings is pretty smooth.

Performance score: 9/10

Final verdict

Pocophone F1 is great starting point for Pocophone brand and even it lacks some features still for a smartphone priced at 300-400$ F1 is definitely an unmatched beast.

It’s lame Pico doesn’t have NFC support or wireless charging technology but 4000mAh huge battery supporting you for a full day or two and USB Type-C fill it up.

As it’s new child brand and F1 is its first smartphone, there isn’t really much to say about how good it will be but Pocophone really managed to deliver great first impression and attract a lot attention.

Even if their support and updates will not be as good as they’re claiming, for just $300-$400 phone with latest Qualcomm’s premium CPU, 6/8Gb RAM and Android 8.1 really worth it.

Details

Pocophone F1 will be available for 50+ countries according to Xiaomi and market average price is:

  • ~300$ for 6Gb RAM – 64Gb ROM version
  • ~340$ for 6Gb RAM – 128Gb ROM version
  • ~410$ for 8Gb RAM – 256Gb ROM version

Pocophone F1 box and accessories

What’s in the box:

  • A Pocophone F1 Smartphone
  • 18W QC3.0-compatible fast charger
  • USB Type-C cable
  • Transparent silicone case
  • User manual
  • Sim card remover tool

If you’ve already got a chance to own it, share your experience in comments!

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