Xiaomi has so far carried out a classic roadmap updating smartphones that have become icons among users. But what surprised the market is undoubtedly the find of a new sub-brand able to offer a smartphone, the Pocophone F1, with features from the top of the range but at a mid-range price. Let’s see its peculiarities.
Presenting on the market a smartphone at a mid-range price is not at all easy. And, so far the only one to successfully manage it was OnePlus. But the Chinese company must now look back on the market for a new brand called Pocophone. But, what else is not Xiaomi in disguise.
The name of the new brand in Italian may sound strange. But the company wanted to reiterate during the presentation of the new F1. And, that the will is just to start in the “small”, i.e. with Poco, to dream big. And, actually, the ability to dream big with this Pocophone F1 is completely valid. Because the smartphone is a real surprise.
The Pocophone F1 is equipped with a frameless display capable of expanding the effective usable surface. Present the notch at the top that somehow makes it resemble the cousin Xiaomi Mi 8 also seen the ability to unlock the device with facial recognition, substantial hardware with a Snapdragon 845 CPU, liquid cooling, dual rear camera and a 4000 mAh battery. The price Find out in our review here on Hardware Upgrade because it will amaze you.
Xiaomi Pocophone F1
- Excellent value for money
- Superb performance
- Fantastic battery life
- Decent cameras
- MIUI for Poco will take some getting used to
- Thick bezels
- Plastic build
- No NFC
If the price has to remain low in something you have to save money. And, Pocophone has decided to do it on the materials. But, be careful because this does not mean that the new Pocophone F1 is a badly constructed device. But, that on the back we will not find the glass or aluminum. And, that is so fashionable now on top of the range of smartphones but polycarbonate. For many, this will not be a problem, perhaps even an advantage and Xiaomi, or Pocophone. If you prefer has stolen the secrets from his experience to make a back cover really good to the touch and sight. Too bad not to have tried the limited edition version with the Kevlar that at least, at first sight, seemed even more interesting.
Aesthetically, the Pocophone F1 is a copy of the new Xiaomi Mi 8. And, in turn, has been strongly inspired by the iPhone X. Apart from this, most of the front is occupied by a full-screen display with a single frame pronounced at the bottom and a notch in the upper one. It is in this notch that hides the capsule, the sensors of brightness and proximity as well as the front camera and the infrared sensor to unlock the smartphone even in dark conditions.
Even if with a back cover and a plastic frame the smartphone has a construction of excellent workmanship. And that is capable of transmitting feedback of high robustness. No scratch at least in these first weeks of use on the back symptom that the chosen material is of quality. Moreover, the device is put on the market in three different colors. Besides this, all with an opaque back that cannot hold any finger and above all beautiful to see as well as to feel in your hand.
In terms of configuration, the Pocophone F1 has a classic button positioning. Here we find on the right the on / off button then just above the volume and on the left instead of the cart for the nano-sized SIM and especially with double space with the hybrid choice for memory expansion. The rest sees a USB-C port in the middle of the bottom side in the middle of a double-slit for the microphone and the speaker that will work in stereo with the earpiece. No 3.5mm audio port but in the lower frame, there is a small notification LED.
Now let’s talk about the display that in this Pocophone F1 is a classic IPS LCD unlike the OLED of the Xiaomi Mi 8. It is a very respectable panel with a 6.18-inch diagonal in 18.7: 9 format with Full HD resolution + that is, 2.2246×1.080 pixels and density equal to 403PPI. Inevitable to run on the notch or better known as Notch. The upper part of the smartphone is cut by the frame. And, that preserves the various sensors for the release with the face. In this case, it is not clear if the Pocophone realizes a 3D mapping of the face. But, in fact, it seems to work very well especially with regard to speed and safety. Instant unlocking the smartphone as impossible to be able to recognize a person other than the registered user.
On the panel, the panel is of good quality. The tests allowed obtaining comforting results managing to achieve high brightness with good black depth and excellent contrast. This means that Pocophone had to save on the OLED. But, the IPS panel installed was chosen with excellent workmanship, able to work in any situation with artificial light or direct sunlight. Accurate the reproduction of the color that moreover can be modified at will by the user together with the hue and the temperature.
Pocophone has publicized it as the “Master of Speed” or the king of speed. Here is to give this appellate strength to meet the most powerful processor of the moment that the Snapdragon 845 that flanked to 6GB of RAM allows the Pocophone F1 to reach speeds from before the class. We know that integrating the Snapdragon 845 is quite simple but making it work well is a completely different story. Many manufacturers have used it in their smartphones with very low performance and above all with important overheating.
Android 8.1 Oreo with MIUI for Poco
|OS (at launch)|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Octa-Core at 2.7GHz|
|RAM||6 / 8GB|
|Display||Super LCD IPS 6.2 “Full HD + (18.7: 9)|
|Storage (at launch)||64/128/256 GB + MicroSD up to 256GB|
|Rear Camera||Dual Camera:
Main 12MPx (f / 1.9) +
|Front Camera||20MPx (f / 2.0)|
|Ports||USB Type-C + 3.5mm jack|
|Battery||4,000 mAh + Quick charge|
|dimensions||155.5 x 75.3 x 8.8 mm|
In this, Xiaomi is serious and the Pocophone F1 does not even have a liquid cooler capable of dissipating the heat emitted by the processor’s high performance during possible stressful play sessions. Just the sink is good for his work with no overheating in the back, moreover plastic. At the test level, the smartphone obtains relevant scores and in line with the top of the range that uses the same processor. This means that the company has managed to integrate the CPU in the right way and above all to optimize it so as not to create problems for the end-user.
The Pocophone F1 is praised for what it does. No lag or stumbling is present in professional use, work or even entertainment. The fluidity of the phone is rewarding and there are no limitations or overheating. It’s a top of the range and you can see it as well as you try it. We really liked this point of view and have nothing to complain to the most famous iPhone, Samsung or even OnePlus.
It is without a doubt one of the most interesting parts of this Pocophone F1. We talk about the software that Xiaomi has decided to pre-install for the use and consumption of users. The new F1 has the MIUI in version 9.6 and therefore based on Android 8.1 Oreo. But completely customized by the Chinese company that wanted to differentiate the smartphone compared to the classic Xiaomi. Here on the Pocophone is the MIUI for Poco or a launcher that very closely resembles Nova Launcher both for animations that for the user interface. But also for some features that we will never find on a classic MIUI. All of this gives the Pocophone a different look from Xiaomi phones.
Present the immersive navigation with the ability to expand the display on the internal screen using the gesture to go back to the menu or to use multitasking. All things are already visible with Xiaomi. Instead, the “container” of applications that are not all set on the home as in the classic MIUI is different. But, here they are inserted in a real app drawer able to automatically divide them into different categories. Such as, they are entertainment, videos, games and much more.
Then present all the applications that we have known with the various Xiaomi smartphones from those for the issues to those for security or better management of memory, battery or even permissions for applications.
Now let’s talk about the camera, or rather the double camera on the back of this Pocophone F1. At a technical level, the flagship sees the presence of the main sensor that turns out to be the same as the Xiaomi Mi 8 or the Sony 12MPx IMX363 sensor with a focal aperture of f / 1.9. A second sensor 5MPx that will provide more information at the level of depth accompanies this.
The camera has several shooting modes that are placed next to each other. And it has the ability to select them just make scrolls from right to left or the other way around. Present the various menus for the Flash, the activation of the HDR but also of the Artificial Intelligence as well as the classic set of filters to be applied directly and clearly the settings.
How does this Pocophone F1 shoot? We tell you right away: the shots are good and quality with some compromise clearly due to the sale price. Here in detail, the image quality is really good during the daylight hours and with lots of light. Noise practically absent, natural colors and well captured as well as the contrast that is high and of excellent workmanship. Hard to use HDR because of the shot also natural. And, Which can be important with a high dynamic range, to underline how Artificial Intelligence does not saturate the shots. But it tends to embellish them very often in an intelligent way indeed. And, not the same thing happens with the shots in low light that they lose easily, perhaps too much, their details increasing the noise a lot and relegating the shot to a mid-range phone.
At the front, we have a 20MPx cam with a focal aperture of f / 2.0 with a fixed focus. It is the same sensor of the Xiaomi Mi 8 and also, in this case, good shots with a good light result.
The Pocophone F1 allows you to record videos up to 4K resolution but only at 30fps. The same thing happens for the 1080p resolution that cannot go beyond 30 fps. On quality, we can say that we are facing good quality videos with many details and good contrast. The stabilization is only electronic even if the algorithm seems to work well even in situations of important flicker.
Pocophone F1 has a larger battery than the Xiaomi Mi 8. Here we are in the presence of a 4000 mAh and 700 mAh more definitely make the difference. F1 works well under this point of view may be even thanks to the presence of a software partly different from the classic MIUI. The smartphone has managed in our tests to easily reach more than one day of intense work. And, this is able to show even both a mixture of Wi-Fi, 4G LTE network. And, Also works with a myriad of notifications and displays of multimedia content. There are various energy savings in extreme situations that the user can activate when needed.
The Pocophone F1 also supports the Quick Charge 3.0 fast charge with an 18W power supply that guarantees 100% total charging in less than two hours. In half an hour instead, F1 manages to get 35% of its remaining charge. Fast but maybe not too much.
The Pocophone F1 unexpectedly enters the smartphone market and makes it stand in stark contrast to what OnePlus has done with its new OnePlus 6. Here perhaps there is an AMOLED display or more premium materials but in fact the Pocophone F1 reasons on the selling price maintaining above all usability at a performance level disarming for the user.
The intent is clear and the success is the same. Because, the smartphone has the latest CPU Snapdragon, an expandable memory. And, it has also an infrared facial scanner, stereo speakers and a good dual-sensor camera. He lacks, as said an AMOLED display, a glass body, and stabilization on the cam.
Pocophone F1 is undoubtedly the smartphone with Snapdragon 845 cheaper than ever. Its selling price is $ 329. F1 has from its very many aspects of interest for a young user who thinks about performance and less to noble materials. It is the true rival of OnePlus 6, which however seems to want to look more towards aesthetics than substance. In our opinion, Pocophone can become must-have easily. An important development tool that experienced users will not miss.