How often does it happen that a mid-range smartphone is not discontinued but is still in the market to be purchased after 1.5 years? POCO F1 was launched way back in August 2018 at a starting price of Rs 20,999. It is still selling and it is now available to purchase for Rs 14,999. While we are overwhelmed with the number of handsets launching per year, POCO F1 has made its own place both in the market as well as in the hearts of many. Hence, I was curious to know what gives POCO F1 its longevity. Here is what I found out.
Performance and Software
POCO F1 is powered by Qualcomm’s 2018 flagship silicon. The Snapdragon 845 SoC has a lot to offer in 2020. It makes the POCO F1 incredibly fast in everyday tasks. Everything from playing PUBG to streaming songs, scrolling Instagram and Twitter, watching YouTube was hassle-free. The phone still takes tasks thrown at it with open hands. It feels faster than most phones in this category.
The POCO F1 recently received the Android 10 update, which has only made it faster. For reference, you don’t get a Xiaomi launcher for the POCO F1. It has its own launcher with an app drawer. Also, the whole experience is ad-free. It feels better optimized for the hardware than most of the Xiaomi phones. It didn’t slow down even once in my usage.
I must admit when I first held the POCO F1 1.5 years back I had mixed feelings about its hardware. Fast-forward to February 2020, the polycarbonate back ended up working in its favor. It ensures that the device is more rugged than the metal-and-glass chassis that is used by its competitors in this category.
Moreover, the kevlar finish with textured back is a bonus. It means a better grip and less smudges. In my opinion, POCO F1 is the only device in its range that I’d recommend people to use without a back cover. In the past couple of months, a few people have asked me for a budget phone recommendation that does not have a glass back (for their parents) and POCO F1 was my go-to device.
Coming to the front of the handset, it may not be the most modern-looking smartphone. While that big notch can be distracting at times, it houses an IR blaster for face unlock, which is not used by many devices in its range. Plus, there is an option to hide the notch in the software. If you are like me who gets distracted by the notch, you will find this feature godsend.
You might find the overall design boring when compared to the competition, but I’d pick a phone with great internals any day over a good-looking phone.
The POCO F1 delivers a very good battery life. It has a 4000mAh battery that helped me last through a day’s work easily. My work included WhatsApp, a couple of rounds of PUBG, general scrolling through Instagram and Twitter, replying to a couple of emails and reading ebooks on Kindle.
The handset also supports 18W fast charging, which charged my phone to 100% while I finished my morning chores. The added fast charging support makes it easier to charge it up whenever it’s running low.
The POCO F1 sports a dual rear camera setup: 12MP + 5MP. You do not get an ultra-wide-angle lens or a macro lens or a telephoto lens. The 5MP sensor is used for capturing depth. While it may not sport those quad rear cameras or the fancy 64MP/48MP sensors, the picture output is decent. Combine it with GCam mod and it makes the camera work even better.
However, POCO F1 is hard to recommend to anyone buying a new phone whose priority is cameras.
POCO F1 features a 6.18-inches display that offers a 1080 x 2246 pixel resolution. It is an average display that works just fine for watching YouTube videos, playing games or binge-watching your favorite TV shows. That’s all, it is an average display by 2020 standards.
“Are you actually recommending a 2018 phone in 2020?”
Yes. I am recommending the POCO F1 to anyone who is in the market to buy a new phone purely based on performance. You get excellent performance, incredible hardware, a decent set of cameras and very good battery life. I would consider cameras and display a downside for 2020 standards, but they work just fine.
The base variant of POCO F1 comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage and the fact that it is selling for just Rs 14,999 is unimaginable.