Pocophone F1: The Flagship Killer Killer?

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The Pocophone F1 by Xiaomi. Touted as the “Flagship Killer” Killer, this phone (also known as Poco F1 in some markets) sports an amazing Snapdragon 845 chipset with 6GB of RAM. Such set up is usually found only on premium smartphones. Yet, it is priced so aggressively it almost makes no sense (starting price is under 300 USD for the base model). Is it really good?

I’ve been using the phone for less than a week and for my purposes, the phone rocks… for the price. The build quality is not on par with premium phones (it’s neither metal or glass but polycarbonate), yet it feels good in the hand. There’s no creaks or plasticky feel to it, although the volume buttons has a bit of play in them. The screen looks good, sharp and bright and is easily visible even under bright sunlight. It’s not AMOLED, but again for the price you cannot really complain. The phone has a rather large notch, so if you hate this type of design, this phone is perhaps not for you. The display is 6.2 inches, but the phone is compact and its size is comparable to a 5.5-inch phone. The phone has a fingerprint sensor on the back (which is blazingly fast) and it also supports Face ID (which is also quite fast even under low light). The phone does not support NFC, though, which could be inconvenient for some people. I personally do not use this feature, so it is something I don’t really care.

Performance-wise, the speedy chipset gives the phone a snappy and responsive user experience. Hard core gamers would be able to enjoy even the most demanding games with the phone. The camera is good, although definitely not flagship-level. Under low light, some graininess is visible. But then again, it is perfectly adequate for a 300 USD device. The stereo speaker sounds OK, not amazing, but definitely not bad. The 4000 mAh battery easily gives the phone a whole day of regular use (it won’t last 2 days, I’m afraid).

So, for me, there is a lot to like about the phone. The features Xiaomi omits to cut prices are not things that I use, so I don’t feel I’m missing anything. If you are someone on a budget, this is a very attractive phone. However, if you do have the money, you will undoubtedly get a better device if you go for a Oneplus 6 or Samsung Galaxy S9. For me, the extra 200 USD (or more) is simply not worth it.

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