You donâ€™t come across a flagship smartphone as cheap as 300 USD that doesnâ€™t lose out on anything that often. Surely not the first, OnePlus did it already but does no more. The once â€œflagship killerâ€ is now being killed by the new banger from Xiaomi or is it? How did Xiaomi possibly do it? Let us see find all of the answers and how good is the new Pocophone F1.
Pocophone â€“ if that sound weird for you, well, join the club. We havenâ€™t found a reason from its makers yet. Speaking of the makers, Xiaomi is the parent company of Pocophone (globally) or Poco (India). You should have known a 300 USD flagship canâ€™t be made possible from a newbie. It was the same with OnePlus too, Oppo is the parent company that helped a huge with manufacturing, distribution and other barriers that a small company used to have. Sub-brands are the new way for the top players to conquer and deliver value for money smartphone in the smartphone market. Xiaomi has taken up the route after Oppo and Huawei. People at Pocophone said they had to come up with a new sub-brand to have a whole new series of product that Xiaomi could not deliver under its characters.
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When every tier-one companies were pushing the price of their flagship smartphone upwards of 1000 USD there came the Pocophone F1 with the same processor, memory and most of its key features, of course with various cut corners but still would have been commendable product even at twice the price it is currently selling at. What has it got to get the attention not just in its home ground Asia but even has made the westerns to awe at it?
Performance: Master of Speed
Master of Speed â€“ that is the tagline of the Pocophone F1 and sure it stands by it. Underneath the Pocophone F1 has got the best in the market Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 powering the machine with 6Gb or 8Gb of RAM to support it. The storage options are 64Gb, 128Gb and 256GB and you get to increase the storage furthermore with an external memory card. If that doesnâ€™t convince you Pocophone F1 has also got a liquid cooling technology which only a very few like the 1000 USD Samsung Galaxy Note 9 boasts off.
Not that cheap phones mean the cheaper quality of internals or hidden limitations, performance matches every spec on the paper. It even won hands down some of the flagship smartphones that are priced at least twice its cost.
Design and Built: Well Enough
Though there arenâ€™t much cutting corners as the whole most of the evident ones seem to be done in the design department. The display is an LCD panel with FHD+ resolution stretched across 6.18inch display which yields a pixel density of 403 PPI. There is a wide notch up top and a noticeable chin. the display is protected by Gorilla Glass 3, cost-cutting possibly. The back is made of polycarbonate but does not feel so cheap. There is a premium model named â€œarmoured editionâ€ which houses a Kevlar fibre back with a carbon fibre finish. The phone retains the headphone jack, dual speakers and comes with a USB-C port for charging. A fingerprint sensor is placed below the cameras at the rear and an IR illuminator is present inside the notch along with the camera to help with the face unlock in the absence of light.
The panel lights up bright and the colours are very good for an LCD panel. The decision of including a headphone jack is wise considering the phone is targeted at a lower price when people donâ€™t want to spend an extra on wireless headphones. The design is no way eye-catching but appears average aesthetically and the build quality is very good. No misfits or odd sounds from the fitting. The face unlock works surprisingly well, thanks to the IR illuminator no other flagship bothered to add except for Apple. The fingerprint sensor is quick and responsive.
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Camera: Superior But Inferior
It has got the dual rear camera. Primary sensor is a 12MP sensor with 1.4Î¼m large pixel and f/1.9 aperture. The secondary sensor is a lower capacity 5MP sensor with an f/2 aperture that helps in depth sensing and lowlight scenarios. On the front is the 20MP front camera. The rear camera has got dual-pixel autofocus, 4K recording up to 30 FPS and 1080P up to 240 PS. None of the sensors has OIS but the rear has an EIS except for 4K.
The camera takes good shots in great light and has inbuilt AI modes to help you enrich the photos. Portrait mode is present on both rear and front cameras. HDR brings out more pleasing shots. By â€œsuperior but inferiorâ€ we mean the Pocophone F1â€™s cameras are superior to any phone under the same price or even little above it but still inferior to the tier-1 flagships. This is agreeable provided the price range and goes toe to toe with OnePlus 6 which is still appreciable.
Battery: Simply the Best
If you are a hardcore user you should have been praying for ages for the flagships to come with bigger batteries and here you have the Pocophone F1 with a 4000 mAH battery. Though it is not new in the market we havenâ€™t seen big batteries with the flagship and finally, you get one with a one and half day battery life.
Price and Accessories
The price starts at 20,999 INR for the 6Gb + 64Gb version in India which is where the Pocophone F1 is available as of now. 23,999 INR gets you 128 Gb storage in addition to the base variant while 28,999 gets the ultimate 8Gb + 256 Gb. You get to choose between Graphite Black, Rosso Red and Steel Blue for these two variants. The Armoured edition with Kevlar back offers 8Gb and 256 Gb for 29,999.
There is no headphone when there is a headphone jack. Arguably to have no headphones is better instead of second quality headphone. The charger is 18w charger which supports quick charge 3. Pocophone F1 supports QC 4 but having a QC 3 compatible charger in the box is still great. You get a pre-applied screen protected and a protective soft case as part of the bundle.
Pocophone F1 comes with MIUI 9 out of the box on top of Android 8 Oreo and the company has promised Android Pie and a sum of MIUI updates which Xiaomi is very good at. The UI looks good and apps are blazing fast. RAM management is little weak despite the 6/8GB RAM. Hoping to be solved in the next software update.
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Is the Pocophone F1 for You?
If you are looking for a smartphone be it below the OnePlus 6 or 6T then Pocophone F1 is your best bet. It is the best performer in the segment with great battery life and the best cameras for the price. If you are looking for an all-round flagship and you can put up a little on cameras and plastic back Pocophone F1 is still your best choice. If you are looking for the best of all especially cameras and donâ€™t bother the pricing look elsewhere.