BaNg for your Buck
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.