According to POCOPHONE, the brand is all about the basics and performance. It’s a small outfit, unhinged from the mother company and armed with an empty canvas. Much like Huawei’s sub-brand honor, POCOPHONE has the freedom to tap into the resources of its mother company without having to do all the little corporate things big organisations need to do.
It’s no secret that POCOPHONE is going after OnePlus, the brand that has carved a reputation for delivering “flagship-killer” devices at a down-to-earth prices. And I suspect, POCOPHONE is also going for honor. You could argue that OnePlus is no longer in the “affordable” bracket it once was, and you wouldn’t be wrong. That said, judging from its latest OnePlus 6, its devices still cost substantially less than competitor flagship devices that have breached MYR4,000 and beyond.
You could also argue that Xiaomi already has affordable top-spec devices in its arsenal. Again, you wouldn’t be wrong. The Mi MIX 2S for instance, is a showcase of craftsmanship and technology and that can be had for less than MYR2,000. The latest Mi 8, as another example, retails for MYR1,599, which is crazy when you think about all the top-notch hardware that goes into the device.
That’s all irrelevant now because here comes the POCO F1. There’s no points guessing what the “F1” in the name represents.
If you’re a power-hungry user without a powerful bank account, I think you’re going to love the POCO F1.
Let’s drill down to the nitty-gritty. First thing’s first – the heart of the device. The self-proclaimed “Master of Speed” runs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip accompanied by the Adreno 630 GPU and features LiquidCool technology.
These are mated to either 6GB or 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM, alongside 64GB ,128GB or 256GB UFS 2.1 storage. There’s also microSD storage expansion of up to 256GB.
According to internal lab tests, the POCO F1 scores more than 290,000 points on AnTuTu benchmarks. After repeated tests with ambient temperatures of 35 degree Celsius, the device still outperforms the OnePlus 6 – 277,350 vs 273,993.
In terms of graphics performance, the POCO F1 is said to offer 60 percent and 30 percent better performance than Huawei’s Kirin 970 and Samsung’s Exynos 9810 respectively.
The POCO F1 packs a notched 6.18-inch Full HD+ display (2246×1080) with an 18.7:9 screen aspect ratio, protected by Gorilla Glass. The notch houses an infrared lens and infrared lighting amongst other things, which enables face unlock in complete darkness.
In the optics department, you’ll recognise the 12MP Sony IMX363 f/1.9 main shooter with Dual Pixel AF from the Mi 8 and Mi MIX 2S. Disappointingly, there’s no optical image stabilisation (OIS) but it does feature electronic image stabilisation (EIS) for video recording. The 12MP shooter is paired with a 5MP f/2.0 (depth) sensor for Portrait Mode and depth of field effects.
Over on the front, a 20MP front-facing shooter with AI Portrait Mode takes care of all selfie activities.
Audio-wise, the phone has down-firing speakers which work hand-in-hand with the earpiece to deliver stereo sound. It also packs dual Smart PA built-in. The good news is, there’s a 3.5mm headphone jack at the top of the device.
Keeping the device juiced is a 4,000mAh battery that supports Quick Charge 3.0 fast-charging via USB Type-C.
Design-wise, the POCO F1 is nothing remarkable, with the vertical camera array on the rear looking a lot like the Mi MIX 2S. The Armoured Edition featuring DuPont Kevlar aramid fibre though, does look the business.
The POCO F1 comes in Graphite Black, Rosso Red, Steel Blue and the aforementioned Armoured Edition.
The device runs a customised version of MIUI 10 with a POCO launcher and a “turbocharged engine” which Xiaomi claims performs better than OnePlus’ Oxygen OS.
POCO F1 pricing and availability
The POCO F1 has just launched in India, with pricing as follows:
- POCO F1 6GB RAM + 64GB storage – INR20,999 (MYR1,233)
- POCO F1 6GB RAM + 128GB storage – INR23,999 (MYR1,409)
- POCO F1 8GB RAM + 256GB storage – INR28,999 (MYR1,703)
- POCO F1 Armoured Edition 8GB RAM + 256GB storage – INR29,999 (MYR1,762)
Judging from India pricing, the POCO F1 undercuts even Xiaomi’s own Mi 8 which goes for MYR1,599 for the 6GB RAM + 64GB storage model, currently the most affordable Snapdragon 845 device in the market. Other phones it undercuts are the ASUS ZenFone 5z (MYR1,899) and honor 10 (MYR1,599).
After India, the POCO F1 is slated for launches in Jakarta, Hong Kong and Paris on 27 August 2018. Word has it that it will also be heading to Malaysia soon.
Interesting times lie ahead.