Xiaomi is back with yet another smartphone but this time a new budget sub-brand called POCO and the first Pocophone device is the F1.
Now, the biggest differentiator of this handset is that it packs in high-end features at a budget price.
Watch: POCO F1: Tech Toyz first impressions
Think of the POCO brand as a fresh start for the brand in India that is targeting budget conscious hard-core tech enthusiasts.
The highlight of this smartphone is not the camera or the design, but what lies under the hood, That is, a top-of-the-line processor that have so far been exclusive to premium flagship smartphones.
All About Power
The device is powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor along with a massive 4,000mAh battery.
The POCO F1 by Xiaomi is out there to challenge both high end and mid-range flagships like the OnePlus 6 and the ASUS Zenfone 5Z.
Let’s Talk Money
Usually in my Tech Toyz reviews, I talk about the price right at the end, but just for this handset it’s vital to highlight the price point right at the beginning.
Xiaomi has priced this new phone at Rs 20,999 for its base variant that is the one with 6GB RAM along with 64GB storage and the top model, which is what I got for this review from is the 8GB RAM along with 256 GB of internal storage at Rs 28,999.
Is There A Catch?
So that’s the biggest feature of the POCO F1 – it is the most affordable Snapdragon 845-powered smartphone in the market today.
But (you knew there was a ‘but’ coming), how has the company managed to do that? While its packs in top of the line specs, you cannot call it a true flagship.
One of areas where Xiaomi has cut costs is hardware. The phone has a plastic body, which is not a bad thing considering most of us prefer snapping on a cover on our devices, but metal definitely has a better feel in the hand.
For this review, I have with me the Armoured edition that packs in a rubber back panel but this is only available in the 8GB RAM variant.
Design and Build
Speaking of design, the phone sports a 6.2 inch 1080p display which is just about decent.
The device packs in Gorilla Glass 3, which is another area where Xiaomi has clearly cut costs. Just to add some perspective Corning has launched Gorilla Glass 6 now.
The device houses a dual rear 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel camera setup. Much like most phones these days, this too packs in an ‘AI camera’ and here’s a quick look at the photo samples.
The POCO F1 runs Android 8.1 Oreo with a MIUI skin. For security, you can setup a standard PIN, add your fingerprint or also use face unlock.
But while I was setting this up, the phone popped up a security warning that stated face unlock is ‘less secure than other unlocking methods’.
That’s because this device much like mid-range smartphones uses the camera to unlock the phone, which is obviously not as sophisticated as what we have seen on other premium devices like the iPhone X that uses machine learning to perform this action.
Now, you can look past the finer details and if you need more function than form, the POCO F1 should be your choice of device.
Can it be compared to the absolute top end models, the answer is no! Can you stack it up against OnePlus 6 that will cost you Rs 34,999? Yes, and the battle takes an interesting turn.Of course OnePlus 6 has been out there, it’s tried and tested. However the POCO F1 has a strong chance in the game thanks to its price tag.