BaNg for your Buck

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - TEST BENCH - By Nidhi SiN­gal @nid­hisin­gal

What

OnePlus did to the likes of Sam­sung and HTC, Xioami’s sub-brand Poco is do­ing to OnePlus. A few years ago, OnePlus dis­rupted the pre­mium smart­phone mar­ket by launch­ing phones with sim­i­lar spec­i­fi­ca­tions at half the price. The first of­fer­ing un­der Poco by Xiaomi fo­cuses on speed, is pow­ered by Qual­comm Snap­dragon 845 pro­ces­sor, and is priced start­ing ` 20,999.

The Poco F1 isn’t the slimmest or the best-look­ing smart­phone on the block, yet looks neat and el­e­gant with the plas­tic poly­car­bon­ate body. Of the four vari­ants avail­able, my re­view unit was the top-of-the-line Ar­moured edi­tion. The de­sign was rem­i­nis­cent of the old Black­Berry and Mo­torola de­vices. The curved cor­ners along with the Kevlar back look nice. The Poco F1 weighs 187grams and has a 6.18-inch full HD+ dis­play with 18:7:9 as­pect ra­tio. The dis­play felt bright with crisp text and great colour re­pro­duc­tion, and wide view­ing an­gles. The soft nav­i­ga­tion but­tons – re­cent, home and back – sit at the bot­tom part of the dis­play. I was able to get rid of them by opt­ing for ‘full screen ges­tures’ where swip­ing up from the bot­tom took me to the home screen, swipe up and hold launched app-switcher and swip­ing left or right from the side edge took me to the pre­vi­ous screen/page. The com­pany seems to have worked on face un­lock – it

in­stantly recog­nises the face and un­locks the phone. When I tried us­ing a photograph, it didn't un­lock.

Although the Poco F1 runs MIUI9.5, the user in­ter­face is slightly dif­fer­ent from Xiaomi smart­phones. App short­cuts have been added to the home screen and a swipe up from bot­tom loads the app tray. There are app cat­e­gories on the top (all, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, en­train­ment, so­cial and more) and a search bar at the bot­tom of the app tray, which makes it easy to search for an app. On the home­screen, swip­ing right loads a cus­tomis­able dash­board page. Poco F1, all the four vari­ants are pow­ered by the same. My re­view unit had 8GB of RAM and 256GB of in­ter­nal stor­age, of which only 11.60GB was con­sumed by the sys­tem files. The phone han­dled heavy graph­ics apps and games with ease and there was no sign of lag while switch­ing be­tween mul­ti­ple apps run­ning in the back­ground. The dual cam­era setup in­cludes a 12-megapixel pri­mary sen­sor with f/1.9 aper­ture and the 5-megapixel depth sen­sor with f/2.0 aper­ture. It cap­tured great bokeh images and worked well on ob­jects, an­i­mals, flow­ers and hu­mans. Within the photo mode is the AI set­ting that helps the cam­era with scene de­tec­tion and it turned on HDR when pointed to­wards the light. While the cam­era is im­pres­sive, it could not match the colour re­pro­duc­tion of the images cap­tured by OnePlus 6.

The 4000mAh bat­tery with Quick Charge 3.0 took a lit­tle over two hours for a full charge, which eas­ily lasted a day of ex­ten­sive use.

While my re­view unit was the top-of-the-line vari­ant, even the en­try-level model with the same pro­ces­sor, 6GB RAM and 64GB stor­age for ` 20,990 makes Poco F1 the best smart­phone in its price cat­e­gory.

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