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Review 7 min read 3 comments

Pocophone F1 hands-on: the start of a new era?

The Pocophone F1 was officially presented by Xiaomi in Paris in an event that marks its official arrival in Europe. AndroidPIT could not miss the event! So, here are our first impressions of this exciting device directly from the French capital.

New kid on the block

There aren't any announced plans to bring the Pocophone F1 to the US yet, but it will be available in other regions like India and Europe. Storage configurations include 64 GB, 128 GB and 256 GB, priced between about $300 - $400 in each market.

In Europe, it will be available from August 30, and sell for 329 euros (6GB/64GB) and 399 euros (6GB/128GB). In India, prices will range from 20,999 rupees (6GB/64GB), 24,000 rupees (6GB/128GB), 29,000 rupees (8GB/256GB), to 29,999 rupees ("Armored Edition" 8GB/256GB).

Colors include Rosso Red, Steel Blue, and Graphite Black in addition to the premium Armored Edition with kevlar. These are truly competitive prices that will give a hard time not only to Poco's main competitor, OnePlus (whose philosophy is quite similar), but also to Xiaomi itself and its other devices.

Plastic? Yes, but it's nice plastic

The design of the new Chinese smartphone is certainly not the most sought after and unique in the world. The back cover is made of plastic, but is still non-removable, which is a pity because it would have been technically possible to allow users to replace the battery with this material.

Also, the smartphone doesn't have water or dust resistance certification, so you should treat it with caution. At the center of the back cover, under the cameras, lies the wide and easily accessible fingerprint reader.

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The separate volume keys sit just above the power button. / © AndroidPIT

It's quite comfortable to hold, even if its 155mm height and 180g in weight seem hefty. The construction and assembly are good and, despite the materials are not being at the level of the the top flagships, it is quite pleasant to touch.

On the right side are the two volume control buttons, which are separate, and the power button. On the left side there is the tray for two SIM cards, and memory card compatibility (which would occupy the second SIM slot).

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The smartphone is comfortable to hold, even if it's a bit large for one-handed use. / © AndroidPIT

Similar to the Mi8 in form, but not in substance

The front houses the large 6.18" IPS display with a resolution of 1080x2246 pixels and a display ratio of 18.7:9 due to the presence of a large notch. Seen from the front, it may remind you a lot of the Xiaomi Mi 8, a smartphone that probably has many components in common with the Pocophone F1. The screen is protected by Gorilla Glass, but the version has not been specified.

The IPS panel is great, the colors are vivid, the brightness seems sufficient. The blacks are quite deep, but not absolute. The contrast is good and it reminds me a lot of the Xiaomi Mi MIX 2S panel I tried before.

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A huge notch that allows you to unlock the smartphone with your face in complete darkness! / © AndroidPIT

A modification of a modified version of Android

Once turned on, the smartphone runs MIUI 9.5 made by Xiaomi and based on  Android 8.1 Oreo.  Poco has, however, added personal touches like a new launcher and many new optimizations that aim to make the experience fluid, fast and responsive. The team claims to have optimized app launching to up to 28% faster. Compared to what? According to Xiaomi, this data is compared to OxygenOS and Android stock!

At first impression, launcher apart, I have not noticed big differences with the MIUI that we know well. In the complete review, of course, I will be able to provide more detailed information. 

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The new Poco Launcher will soon be available on the Play Store. / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

Fast like an F1

Under the hood, we find Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 SoC which represents the best available on the market at the moment , cooled with what Pocophone calls LiquidCool Technology. In short, it is a copper heatpipe with water vapor that better dissipates heat. All of Poco's efforts have been geared towards making Pocophone F1 the fastest ever smartphone. Speed ​​is the only thing that matters and certainly 6GB of LPDDR4X RAM helps.

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A flagship on the cheap. / © AndroidPIT

As for the internal memory, you can breathe easy with 64GB,128GB, or even 256 GB memory versions (UFS 2.1) all expandable with a micro SD card. So there are models for all tastes and all budgets.

At first glance, the smartphone seemed impeccable, but we'll have to wait for the final verdict after a full review.

Sticking with the headphone jack and stereo speaker

Poco doesn't give up fan favorites like the stereo speaker and headphone jack.  Despite the stereo configuration, the speaker at the bottom of the smartphone seems powerful enough, but don't expect miracles from the second speaker. Great to have once again a 3.5mm jack, but Bluetooth audio in aptX HD or LDAC certainly could give you more satisfaction.

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Keeping the jack! / © AndroidPIT

Look closely at the camera

Pocophone F1 has two cameras arranged vertically on the back, a 12-megapixel (Sony IMX363) f / 1.9 and a 5-megapixel f / 2.0 camera mainly used to capture the depth of field for AR applications and the artificial bokeh effect.

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The main camera is the same as Mi 8 and Mi MIX 2S. / © AndroidPIT

What is striking is the 20-megapixel f / 2.0 front camera, located in the notch and used for unlocking with face recognition. If it were to prove as fast and reliable as that of Xiaomi Mi 8, it would be one of the best on the market among non-3D solutions. Unfortunately this method of unlocking will come only later through OTA. This is also thanks to an infrared LED located in the notch that will allow the smartphone to unlock even in total darkness.

The 12-megapixel main camera and the 20-megapixel front one are the same that we find on the Mi 8, and thanks to this detail, the Pocophone F1 team could use the same AI algorithm to improve the shots. I will publish in the full review some shots taken with the smartphone and my opinions about it.

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Even the packaging of the smartphone stands out with its bright yellow. / © AndroidPIT

Power has to last

Here is the second killer feature of the Pocophone F1 (in addition to the top-of-the-range SoC): the huge 4,000 mAh battery.  This battery should guarantee an optimal battery life, also taking into account the already excellent results obtained by the other Xiaomi flagships with a smaller battery capacity. The smartphone has Quick Charge 3.0, and includes the adapter in the package.

Charging is via the USB Type-C port on the bottom of the smartphone, but there's no wireless charging.

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The USB Type-C port is nestled between the speakers. / © AndroidPIT

Xiaomi Pocophone F1 technical specifications

Dimensions: 155.5 x 75.3 x 8.8 mm
Weight: 180 g
Battery size: 4000 mAh
Screen size: 6.18 in
Display technology: LCD
Screen: 2246 x 1080 pixels (403 ppi)
Front camera: 20 megapixels
Rear camera: 12 megapixels
Flashlight: Dual-LED
Android version: 8.1 - Oreo
8 GB
Internal storage: 64 GB
128 GB
256 GB
Removable storage: microSD
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Number of cores: 8
Max. clock speed: 2.8 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 5.0

The start of something great

Pocophone F1 is a very special device. Speed is in its DNA thanks to the most powerful SoC available on the market and the huge amount of RAM available. Even the battery is worthy of a true flagship, even if its effectiveness must still be proven.

The materials and design are certainly not the best and the lack of IP certification could turn up someone's nose. However, for the proposed price, it is currently impossible to find a smartphone this good on paper.

It will be interesting to see how the competition will hold up against the new kid on the block, including Xiaomi's own devices in this price range. At the moment, if you're budget is around $350, you do not even need to compare the Pocophone F1 with other smartphones in the same range: just buy it!

Pocophone and Xiaomi have just created a new category of smartphone with maximum performance and a low price, renouncing the unnecessary extras. We hope many others follow this excellent example.


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  • We have learned the drill. A new brand (or sub-brand) releases a new superphone with great specs at an unbeatable price. When the brand gets traction on the market, they start increasing the price. Right now the F1 is a great bargain, in a few years another brand will take its place.

  • Nice, but not a global phone. Won't have all the necessary LTE bands for global use.

  • This phone makes the moto Z3 a joke especially in the processing department, the 835 in the Z3 & the cost of 480.00?

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