POCO F1 Review: This one packs more than a punch

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Well we’ve finally managed to get our hands on the highly-awaited Pocophone F1. I must confess that the phone truly threatens to redefine the whole concept of value for money when it comes to smartphones.

POCO F1 Review
POCO F1 Review

We’re talking about a top-of-the-line processor in Snapdragon 845, crammed with a minimum of 6GB of RAM, a 4,000 mAH battery, 64 GB of storage, a 6 inch Full HD display, a dual camera setup at the rear and a 20MP front facing camera – all at an astonishing starting price of Rs. 20,999. These are specs you expect with devices that cost a minimum of Rs. 35,000.

To give you sense of how revolutionary this is – Samsung still offers devices in this price range with a Snapdragon 430.

POCO F1 Price in India

Pricing starts at Rs 20,999 for 6GB RAM / 64GB Storage Model
Rs 23,999 for 6GB RAM / 128GB storage model.
Rs 28,999 for 8GB RAM / 256 GB storage model

POCO F1: What’s in the box?

You get a TPU case that is quite handy and saves you the trouble of having to buy one separately. The phone has Quickcharge 3.0 and comes with a compatible charger out of the box to power the 4,000 mAH battery which theoretically should easily give you more than a day and half’s worth of charge.

We’ve got the ‘Armoured Edition’ with 8GB of ram and 256GB of storage that has the Kevlar back. It has a good feel to it and will surely prevent accidental drops as it offers a lot of grip. Again, not the fancy glass back you expect with more expensive flagships but this serves the purpose well. The other variants of the phone come with a plastic back and in a few different colours.

POCO Design

The phone is styled with a notch and opinions on notch designs are pretty extreme – some think it’s great and some think they’re terrible. I think Xiaomi has done a decent job with this one. There is an option to hide the notch if necessary in the System Settings.

Port wise you have a 3.5mm jack – which shouldn’t even be in question in the Indian market- and an  USB-C port. The phone also surprisingly has stereo speakers – quite a remarkable addition in a device at this price.

On the whole, let’s just say the design won’t set the world on fire but it certainly packs a punch – especially the armoured edition.

The phone comes with a 6.18 inch IPS LCD that is Full HD+, which means it has a 2080×1080 resolution and it has a very contemporary 18.7:9 aspect ratio. With a reported PPI of around 410, the quality is more than satisfactory. The Poco F1 has Gorilla Glass 3 – which might seem outdated but I think this is quite a clever way of cutting down costs and ensuring that a basic level of protection exists.

The phone comes with a Fingerprint Scanner and it is very responsive like most Xiaomi phones and its placement is well done.

The face unlock feature too works quite without a hitch and the phone’s IR sensor helps it work in the dark too.

On the rear end we’ve got a dual camera setup as is with most mid-range phones today – with a 12mp f/1.9 and a 5mp f/2.0 that supports 4k recording and EIS – there is no OIS though. On the front we’ve got a 20 MP camera with an AI portrait mode that promises great selfies.

POCO Camera

In our initial tests we found the shutter speed to be quite good and the both the rear and front cameras perform satisfactorily. The pictures aren’t extraordinary but they get the job done. You wouldn’t be looking at this phone for the cameras alone anyway.

On the whole the device embodies a focus on performance and value for money taken to a level never really seen before in the smartphone industry. The OnePlus 6 continues to dominate the pure performance device market but even that remains out of reach for a majority of phone users in India for whom nudging the 20-25,000 price tag is a bridge too far.

The POCOphone undercuts the OnePlus 6 by a whopping 40% and will – at the very least – put flagship performance in the hands of those who would’ve otherwise never experienced it before.

Of course, Android purists will probably see a major value deficit in having to use the MiUI and would rather go with something like the OnePlus 6 but again, those who’re wading only in this price range should have very little reason to complain. Xiaomi has done an admirable job in keeping costs down  while not compromising on crucial specs. One thing though is certain – Xiaomi has recorded massive year on year growth in India and with launches like the POCOphone it doesn’t seem like that is going to be stopping any time soon.

The competition better step up.

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