Xiaomi Pocophone F1 – best bang for the buck

It’s been a while since Xiaomi’s announcement has become relatively predictable, but they managed to take us by surprise with the new Poco sub-brand. It sounds like a marketing experiment – deliver flagship specs at cutthroat prices. If you feel a strange familiarity about this, that’s not strange since OnePlus is going the same way. Poco is still brand, though, it’s not a separate company and they still rely on Xiaomi in terms of logistics and support. OnePlus managed to deliver all their promises, so we’re yet to see if Poco will do the same.

All flare aside, Pocophone F1 is much more than a mere marketing trick, on the contrary. Looking at the specs it seems that F1 is powerful enough to redefine the whole idea of mid-range and flagship segments. Of course, that’s in case this strategy lasts for at least one or two generations.

Pocophone F1 features a bezel-less screen and a notch. In the notch are accommodated an infrared camera and an IR illuminator for face unlock. There is also a 20MP selfie snapper. In charge of processing is Qualcomm’s most powerful chipset – the Snapdragon 845 – enhanced with liquid cooling. There is also a dual-camera on the back with large pixels and a bright lens, while the massive 4,000mAh battery should help power the whole thing for quite some time.

The body is a plastic frame, kevlar or plastic back, with Gorilla Glass front. Display is 6.18″ IPS LCD, with 2,246×1,080px resolution, 18.7:9 aspect ratio, and 403ppi. The primary rear camera is a 12MP, Type 1/2.55″ sensor, featuring 1.4µm pixel size, f/1.9 aperture, and dual pixel PDAF. The secondary camera is 5MP and serving as a depth sensor, with 2160p/30fps, 1080p/240fps, and slow motion. The front camera is 20MP, with 0.9µm pixel size, f/2.0 aperture and it can provide 1080p/30fps video recording. Operative system of choice for Pocophone F1 is Android 8.1 Oreo. There’s custom overlay MIUI 9.5 for Poco, with MIUI 10 on the way.
Under the hood, there’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset with octa-core CPU (4×2.8 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4×1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver), and Adreno 630 GPU.
Memory wise, there are models of  6 and 8GB of RAM, with 64/128/256GB storage available via hybrid microSD slot. The battery is 4,000mAh Li-Po and it supports QuickCharge 3.0 fast charging.
Connectivity options are based on Dual-SIM, and there are LTE-A, 4-Band carrier aggregation, Cat.16/13 (1Gbps/150Mbps); USB-C; Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; dual-band GPS; Bluetooth 5.0; FM radio
The rest of the features worth mentioning are rear-mounted fingerprint reader; stereo speakers; infrared face recognition; 3.5mm jack.

Xiaomi stated the Pocophone brand will be operating independently, but nonetheless, you’ll see the Xiaomi inscriptions, so customers will remember that Poco sub-brand fully relies on the Xiaomi’s service network for support of any kind. Operating by itself will allow Pocophone to release updates faster. The F1 has been promised the Poco-customized version of MIUI 10 in just a month after its release, and to update to Android Pie in three months. Finally, this independence will also help the management to focus on selling the Pocophones in other markets outside of Xiaomi’s traditional places of operation.

At this moment Pocophone F1 is definitely the cheapest Snapdragon 845 phone money can buy today. Instead of making a decent phone with high-end chipset, Xiaomi put all chips in and made one of the best all-around devices we’ve seen in quite a while. The Pocophone F1 has everything – from the screen, through the powerful hardware, through the large battery, to the capable cameras, and the deal is made even better by tiny bits like FM Radio, stereo speakers and such. Overall, this is one amazing device and a certain champion of its price range.