We don’t know if the execs at Qualcomm and Xiaomi had been associates in highschool or what, however the two corporations get pleasure from a shut working relationship. Sometimes this results in candy offers for Xiaomi – for instance, the Mi 11 was the first Snapdragon 888 telephone.
But maybe the greatest rating that Xiaomi achieved because of its cosy relationship with the chipset maker is securing a provide of Snapdragon 845 chips for the Poco F1 – a telephone that price a ridiculously low ₹21,000 ($300 at the time) of its launch in late August 2018. The European launch got here with a €330 price ticket (with a €30 coupon as a launch promo).
Sure, the chip was a few months outdated at the time, however it was the very same silicon that powered high-profile flagships like the Galaxy S9, one of Samsung’s finest promoting telephones. The S9 price $720 unlocked in the US, ₹58,000 in India. We’re not going to try to persuade you that the F1 was higher than the S9, it wasn’t, at the least in case you might afford the Galaxy. But at almost 3 instances the value it was out of attain for a lot of.
The Pocophone F1 because it was recognized in some locations (Xiaomi had but to choose “Poco” or “Pocophone”) was a steal at ₹21,000/€330. And we imply that largely metaphorically, although we wouldn’t be shocked if Qualcomm checked for lacking stock – no different Snapdragon 845 telephone might match that value. A couple of months in after launch the Galaxy began getting value cuts, e.g. in June you might get a 128GB mannequin for $640 from eBay. A stable low cost, however the value was nonetheless manner off the Poco.
You must do not forget that this was again in 2018, when Snapdragon was the undisputed Android chipset of alternative. Sure, the new MediaTek Dimensity 9000 sounds superior, the Google Tensor is attention-grabbing and the Exynos 2200 is bringing the first AMD GPU in years… however that’s now, again then the MediaTek chips had been largely for funds telephones, whereas the Exynos 9810 was nonetheless making an attempt to shake off the burden of the ill-fated Mongoose customized cores.
If you’re not acquainted with the Poco F1, it’s possible you’ll be getting the impression that this telephone was all about the chipset. And it was, however the relaxation of the telephone was truly stable too.
Xiaomi engineers discovered a technique to make the largely plastic physique look good and gave it an nearly premium really feel. The Armored Edition with a Kevlar again specifically was a looker (sensible too, the tender, grippy end was nice). That iPhone X-style notch was to not everybody’s style, however such had been the instances.
The F1 was a actual crowd-pleaser. It had a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD slot. So did the Galaxy, however these options had been already beginning to turn out to be uncommon. And the telephone had a USB-C port – fairly regular for 2018, however a few Oppo and vivo telephones at the time nonetheless got here with microUSB connectors. And if the Poco did have a micro port, we’d have most likely launched the truth with “Considering the pricing, …”.
But no, even with at its impressively low value the Poco didn’t compromise. That prolonged to the 6.18” IPS LCD. It supplied stable brightness, glorious distinction and had Gorilla Glass safety. Also, in a single of the show modes the common DeltaE was beneath 1, in different phrases, you wouldn’t see a distinction in coloration rendering between it and a good sRGB show.
The battery was spectacular too. With its 4,000 mAh capability it achieved an Endurance score of 94 hours, a formidable displaying. For these questioning, the Galaxy S9 managed 78 hours, the iPhone XS Max did 79 hours. With 18W QuickCharge 3.0 energy brick (included in the field), half an hour of charging bought you as much as 35%.
The Poco F1 even had stereo audio system, which had been lacking from the Xiaomi Mi 8, the firm’s mainstream flagship at the time. One of the audio system was the earpiece, so it wasn’t good, however the telephone blasted out sound at a formidable quantity and scored a uncommon Excellent mark in our assessments.
Before we wrap up, we’ve got to speak about the digicam. Many had been proud of it and it was a stable digicam, based mostly on the Sony IMX363 – a 12MP sensor with 1.4µm pixels and Dual Pixel autofocus. It lacked the profit of OIS, however the lens had a moderately shiny f/1.9 aperture. By the manner, this sensor was a Google favourite, it used all of it the manner as much as the Pixel 5.
Poco F1 digicam samples
Anyway, Poco F1’s digicam was glorious for daylight images, however disillusioned with its low-light efficiency. The lack of a 60 fps mode, whether or not at 4K or 1080p, was a bit of a bummer as nicely, however movies had been sharp and had spectacular dynamic vary. Also, the digital stabilization labored at 4K (because of that beefy Snapdragon 845) and it did a tremendous job.
There was additionally a 5MP depth sensor on the again, however no ultrawide or telephoto, which had been catching on with flagships. For what it’s value, the portrait photographs made with the assist of the depth sensor regarded fairly good. The 20MP entrance digicam produced great-looking selfies with sufficient mild, although the 4-in-1 pixel binning didn’t obtain a lot.
Overall, the digicam was less than par with flagships, however it punched nicely above its class – a class that was a number of value segments beneath stated flagships. It was spectacular how Xiaomi bought most of the technique to the flagship expertise whereas asking for less than a third of the cash.
One of the qualities of the Poco that wasn’t universally appreciated was MIUI – at the time it was quickly bettering, however it was nonetheless fairly completely different from the common Android expertise. Some cherished it, others didn’t. But contemplating that the telephone launched with Android 8.1 (MIUI 9.5) and was up to date to Android 10, we are able to’t complain all that a lot about the software program.
The conclusion to our long-term assessment of the Poco F1 begins with the sentence “The Pocophone F1 is a phone that’s easy to recommend.” That is the finest praise we are able to pay to a telephone – if explaining why a mannequin is nice devolves into a sequence of ifs and buts, then it has area of interest enchantment at finest. The F1 was a bit of a area of interest product itself, however Xiaomi did a superb job of of gathering die-hard followers.
After a couple of quiet years the Poco model got here again and it’s nonetheless going sturdy. Today we’ve got the Poco X3 Pro and Poco F3, each religious successors to the F1. They are simple to advocate as a result of they provide a lot of chipset energy for the cash, a stable display and battery and a good however not nice digicam. It runs in the household.