Re­turn of the Poco

BusinessMirror - - The World -

WHEN Poco launched in 2018, it dis­rupted the mar­ket with the Poco F1, re­ceiv­ing rave re­views and was quickly dubbed the “flag­ship killer.” It swiftly pro­pelled the brand’s pop­u­lar­ity, and tech en­thu­si­asts ex­pected a lot of great things from Poco. Surprising­ly though, the in­de­pen­dent smart­phone brand un­der Xiaomi Group be­came quiet af­ter such a rous­ing in­tro­duc­tion, leav­ing Poco fans anx­ious about its next “kingslayer.”

Well the wait is fi­nally over. Poco re­leased not one but two new phones in the lo­cal mar­ket, the Poco F2 Pro and the Poco X3 NFC launched just a few days ago.

Its vi­sion of bringing ul­ti­mate per­for­mance and lat­est tech­nolo­gies to a larger user base by de­liv­er­ing only the in­no­va­tions that mat­ter is best sum­ma­rized by the Poco X3’s tagline: “Ex­actly What You Need.”

Mar­keted as the true mid-range cham­pion, the Poco X3 is priced start­ing at P10,990 and the Philip­pines is one of the first coun­tries to have a com­mer­cial re­lease.

The Poco X3 is de­signed to meet the needs of young tech/gam­ing en­thu­si­asts who pri­or­i­tize per­for­mance and the most use­ful high-end specs, and is the first to use Qual­comm’s new­est and most pow­er­ful 4G pro­ces­sor to date, the Snap­dragon 732G. It of­fers sus­tained peak per­for­mance and AI ca­pa­bil­i­ties that will im­press even the most de­mand­ing gamers thanks to its architectu­re based on the Kry­otm 470 octa-core CPU and Adreno 618 Elite Gam­ing se­ries GPU.

The de­vice em­beds Liq­uid­cool Tech­nol­ogy 1.0 Plus, com­bin­ing an en­larged cop­per heat pipe with mul­ti­ple lay­ers of graphite that work to­gether to re­duce the heat of the phone’s pro­ces­sor by up to 6 de­grees. The phone can be fur­ther op­ti­mized for gam­ing us­ing Game Turbo 3.0, the util­ity that tunes the phone in ac­cor­dance with game re­quire­ments.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the phone’s Z-axis lin­ear mo­tor en­sures su­perb hap­tic feed­back with over 150 vi­bra­tion modes for dif­fer­ent sce­nar­ios.

The phone is also the first in its price range to have a 120Hz re­fresh rate and a 240Hz touch sam­pling rate on its edge-to-edge 6.67” FHD+ Dot­dis­play.

The 120Hz makes it one of smoothest screens while the 240hz touch sam­pling rate fur­ther re­in­forces the phone’s ex­tra­or­di­nary dis­play ca­pa­bil­i­ties. This great dis­play is only matched by a pair of flag­ship-grade stereo speak­ers.

As for the cam­eras, the Poco X3 has a rear quad­cam­era sys­tem con­sist­ing of a 64MP main cam­era, 13MP ul­tra-wide an­gle cam­era, 2MP macro cam­era and a 2MP depth sen­sor. The phone’s main cam­era is a flag­ship Sony IMX 682 sen­sor fea­tur­ing an ƒ/1.89 aper­ture and 1.6μm 4-in-1 Su­per Pixel that pro­duces de­tailed and ul­tra-clear pictures. The 13MP ul­tra-wide an­gle cam­era boasts a 119° field of view propped up by ƒ/2.2 aper­ture and a 1.0μm pixel size. For self­ies, the de­vice has a 20MP cam­era with ƒ/2.2 aper­ture and 1.6μm 4-in-1 Su­per Pixel.

Top-level specs are no use with­out a bat­tery that lasts, which is why the Poco X3 NFC is equipped with a large 5160mah bat­tery that can last over two days un­der mod­er­ate us­age. The hand­set sup­ports 33W fast charg­ing which not only means that the de­vice can be charged to 100 per­cent in only 65 min­utes, but also that a mere 30 min­utes will fill it up to 62 per­cent.

The Poco X3 NFC will come in two stor­age op­tions the 6GB+64GB vari­ant will be avail­able at P10,990, while the 6GB+128GB is priced at P12,990 and two col­ors: Shadow Gray and Cobalt Blue. Will it be as great in real-life use as it is on the spec sheet? I’ll have a full review once I get our hands on a re­tail unit soon.

POCO F2 PRO, TOO COOL TO BE TRUE?

WHAT I was able to try out for a few weeks was the Poco F2 Pro, the suc­ces­sor to the Po­co­phone F1, shar­ing the same core prin­ci­ples of bet­ter hard­ware and greater value. Does it de­serve to be the right­ful heir to the throne?

The Poco F2 Pro of­fers ev­ery­thing you need in a phone—a gor­geous de­sign, flag­ship pro­ces­sor, an AMOLED dis­play, a large bat­tery, ter­rific cam­eras, you even get a 3.5mm jack—but does it also jus­tify the huge price dif­fer­ence of the orig­i­nal?

One of the big­gest gripes about the Poco F1 was its pedes­trian de­sign—it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t a stand­out ei­ther. That changes with the F2 Pro that now has a metal and glass build and svelte curves that give it the look of other 2020 flag­ships.

Ex­plor­ing the phone, up top, you have the 3.5mm jack right be­side the pop-up cam­era and IR blaster. The phone has the power and vol­ume but­tons on the right, and the red ac­cent on the power but­ton is a nice touch. On the bot­tom is the speaker, USB-C charg­ing port, and SIM card tray. Both the front and back are cov­ered by Go­rilla Glass 5, and I ac­tu­ally like the matte tex­tured fin­ish that makes it eas­ier to hold the phone and also hide those fin­ger­print smudges.

As far as weight, the F2 Pro is a bit on the heavy side, prob­a­bly due to its mas­sive bat­tery and per­haps the added mech­a­nism of the re­tractable cam­era and the alu­minum chas­sis. But the weight is distribute­d quite well and its still very com­fort­able to hold even dur­ing pro­longed use.

The F2 Pro has a mas­sive 6.67-inch (2400 x 1080) FHD+ Su­per AMOLED dis­play. But un­like most 2020 phones the F2 Pro uti­lizes a re­tractable selfie cam­era. It’s noth­ing new, but in a year of punch holes and cutouts, the F2 Pro stands out, giv­ing you a true allscreen ex­pe­ri­ence.

The screen de­liv­ers an im­mer­sive ex­pe­ri­ence and sup­ports HDR10+, and you get vi­brant col­ors with su­perb vis­i­bil­ity un­der sun­light out of the box. You still have op­tions to fur­ther cus­tom­ize the col­ors to your pref­er­ence. You also get the lat­est TÜV Rhein­land Full Care Dis­play Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, DC dim­ming, Sun­light Mode as well as a ded­i­cated read­ing mode that switches the panel to warmer.

While I have no com­plaints about the screen,

I still wished it had a 120Hz or even 90Hz panel that’s be­come one of the main sell­ing points of its com­peti­tors.

There’s a new name on top of the DXO Mark rat­ings and it’s the Mi 10 Ul­tra from Xiaomi. The com­pany has been de­liv­er­ing great cam­eras across its port­fo­lio re­cently, and the F2 Pro is no ex­cep­tion. It has a 64MP Sony IMX686 pri­mary sen­sor, a 13MP wide-an­gle lens with a 123-de­gree field-of-view, 5MP macro lens, and 2MP por­trait mod­ule.

The cam­eras of the Poco F2 Pro are quite im­pres­sive, and it took pretty good pictures over­all. Photos come out vi­brant with nice-look­ing col­ors thanks to its post-pro­cess­ing soft­ware. The cam­era holds up even in low-light con­di­tions, and while it’s not the best, it does a pretty good job at pre­serv­ing de­tails.

It can also cap­ture videos in 8K, mak­ing it one of the few smart­phones that could take 8K videos. But the one thing I liked best among its video modes is VLOG. This lets you shoot sev­eral short videos and the Poco F2 Pro will im­me­di­ately put it to­gether in one artsy video—per­fect for those quick Face­book and In­sta­gram sto­ries.

As for the front-fac­ing 20MP cam­era, it also does a de­cent job for self­ies, and the pop-up cam­era al­ways made me smile when­ever I see those LED lights and hear the sound ef­fect.

The F2 Pro is pow­ered by the Snap­dragon 865 chipset, and as a re­sult, it is not only one of the fastest phones in the mar­ket to­day but also among the most af­ford­able op­tions.

The Snap­dragon 865 makes the Poco F2 a very pow­er­ful and re­li­able de­vice for day-to-day use.

I never en­coun­tered any lag or slow­downs, and it han­dles even the most de­mand­ing games with ease. Per­for­mance was quite snappy, apps loaded fast, and the phone could han­dle mul­ti­ple func­tions even photo and video edit­ing with­out slow­ing down.

En­sur­ing an ex­tended user ex­pe­ri­ence, the Poco F2 Pro packs a 4,700mah bat­tery, and sports a swift 30W fast charge, which can fuel the de­vice to 64 per­cent in just 30 min­utes and 100 per­cent in 63 min­utes. It comes with a 33W in-box charger so you get the op­ti­mum charg­ing speed they promised.

Poco is def­i­nitely back with the F2 Pro. It might not be the Poco F1 heir we were ex­pect­ing (or hop­ing for) be­cause of its higher price tag, but con­sid­er­ing its more pre­mium build and de­sign, bet­ter cam­eras, AMOLED screen and other ex­tra fea­tures, the Poco F2 Pro is still one of the best value-for-money smart­phones you can buy at the sub-p30,000 price range.

The Poco F2 Pro has two vari­ants—8gb+256gb (P29,990) and 6GB+128GB (P26,990)—and is avail­able in Neon Blue, Phan­tom White, Elec­tric Pur­ple and Cy­ber Grey. ■

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