Rarely does a new phone generate so much buzz in the market as the new Poco F1. Moreover, why shouldn’t it. The specs on this device are just unimaginable at such a price point. It features a Snapdragon 845 with 6/8 GB of Ram and 64/128/256 GB of on-board storage with a starting price of ₹20,999. Xiaomi’s involvement is not a secret. The box and the case both read “Poco by Xiaomi”. Xiaomi provides Pocophone its manufacturing and software expertise, the benefits of scale and years of experience.

Design

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The phone’s body is made from polycarbonate, which although not premium, is hardwearing, protective, and low-cost. Therefore, now visible antenna lines. The dual camera setup is vertically stacked above the fingerprint sensor. The 3.5 mm headphone jack sits at the top of the phone. It is 8.8mm thick but the rounded edges and some other design tweaks do not let it feel large in the hands.

The screen measures at 6.18 inches. It is an LCD IPS panel with a resolution of 2246X1080 pixels and an 18.7:9 aspect ratio. It has a sizeable chin, small side bezels and a notch at the top. The notch is not only very wide but also very deep. The notch can be hidden using software but the phone looks better with the notch. The display is good but the oleo-phobic coating on the display is not. The display gets covered with fingerprints as soon as you start using the device. The phone does not have an always-on display feature but it does have a double tap to wake feature, which is good.

Performance

This is a high performance smartphone. The Snapdragon 845 processor coupled with 6/8 GB of RAM just blazes through apps. It is great for multitasking and playing games. You will be able to play PUBG, Reckless Racing 3 and Riptide GP 2 without any issues. The device is also water cooled to keep the processor cool during long gaming hours or under heavy workload. This helps in making the device run more efficiently and making the battery last longer.

The Poco F1 packs a 4000mAh battery, which should last a day or two depending on your usage. It also supports Quick Charge 3 with the bundled 9V/2A charger. It does not support wireless charging, most likely to be a cost cutting measure. Another feature that is missing is NFC, which should not have been the case. A welcome addition is the inclusion of USB Type C port.

The fingerprint sensor is also fast and accurate though you may misjudge its position as it is directly below the camera setup and rounded similar to the cameras. The phone also features an IR based face unlock sensor which is also fast and accurate. It works well in all lighting conditions, as it is IR-based negating the use of the fingerprint sensor for the most part.

The AnTuTu benchmark scores of the 6 GB model are between 2,40,000 and 2,60,000, which are on par with the flagship devices of 2018. Therefore the phone will feel snappy in everyday usage while browsing the internet or playing games.

Camera Performance

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The rear camera setup features a dual camera setup with a 12 MP primary sensor and a 5 MP secondary sensor for depth information. In good lighting conditions, the camera is a beast. It takes some brilliant shots with good amount of detail. The portrait mode is also very good with excellent edge detection. The low light performance is however not so great. The images tend to be overexposed with messed up white balance. There is a 20 MP front camera as well with artificial bokeh mode to click portrait selfies. The images are good but not exceptional.

Overall, the cameras of the Poco F1 fare well. They are good but not exceptional which is fair for a phone in the price segment.

Software

The Poco F1 runs Android 8.1 Oreo with Xiaomi’s proprietary MIUI 9.6 on top. On top of this is a Poco Launcher. Phew! The idea is to make it look like stock android like the Oxygen OS of Oneplus. The software on the Poco F1 is quite polished and the experience is smooth. Xiaomi has promised to deliver the Android Pie update before the end of this year.

Overall

The Poco F1 is a good phone, but an amazing deal. If you are tight on budget, this phone should be on top of your mind. It offers amazing performance and battery life. But the design is uninspiring unless you opt for the top of the line Kevlar model, and there are a lot of software features but none of them stand out. But with a starting price of ₹20,999 for the 6GB RAM and 64 GB storage model and going upto ₹29,999 for the 8GB RAM and 256 GB storage model there is no device out there right now which beats it in the performance-to-price ratio.

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