Xiaomi is announcing a new brand today, in "Pocophone". This new brand is a project that Xiaomi's Jai Mani, which is one of the company's lead project managers, and is focused on India. The first phone for this new brand, the Poco F1, is one that Xiaomi is very proud of. It was built, focusing on three areas. Performance, Camera and Price. The Poco F1 is very different from other smartphones that are available today, in a few different areas, including the material Xiaomi used for the build here, as well as the price. The Poco F1 is going to be priced at under Rs. 30,000 in India for the 8GB/256GB model, which works out to under $430 USD. That's very impressive considering what you're getting here.
Xiaomi Poco F1 Specs
The Poco F1 sports a 6.18-inch IPS LCD panel here, instead of an OLED that many people were hoping for. It sports an 18.7:9 aspect ratio with a full HD+ resolution of 2246x1080. The slightly taller display here is due to the notch that the Poco F1 sports. It gets fairly bright at about 500 nits of brightness, and it is also using Corning's Gorilla Glass 3, instead of Gorilla Glass 5 or the newest Gorilla Glass 6. Under-the-hood, you're going to find the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset, with is an octa-core processor that is liquid cooled and also has the Adreno 630 GPU for graphics. For RAM and storage, there are three configurations available. You can get 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage or 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage here. There is also a micro SD card slot available here for expanding storage. This is all powered by a 4000mAh capacity battery.
Xiaomi is using a dual-camera setup on the Poco F1 here. Which consists of a 12-megapixel sensor and a secondary 5-megapixel sensor. The main sensor is the same sensor that is found on Xiaomi's Mi 8, so it is the latest Sony sensor and will bring out some great photos. It sports dual-pixel autofocus on the back, as well as dual LED flash. The front-facing camera is a 20-megapixel sensor. There is what looks like a second camera on the front, but that is actually an IR blaster that is being used for face unlock here. There is also a fingerprint sensor included, which is located on the back, below the camera.
Out of the box, the Xiaomi Poco F1 runs on Android 8.1 Oreo and MIUI 9.6. It will be getting the update to Android 9 Pie, but Xiaomi did not share any specifics on when that update will be available. Finally, it does have a headphone jack, but no NFC. And it is also available in Steel Blue, Graphite Black and Rosso Red, as well as a Kevlar model.
Xiaomi Poco F1 Hardware Design
The Poco F1 is a bit thicker than most other smartphones on the market these days, and that is because it does have a massive 4000mAh capacity battery. But Xiaomi says that its customers would prefer a thicker smartphone if it had a larger battery, then having a thinner one. Xiaomi also made a bit of an interesting decision when it comes to the backside's material. It is available in either polycarbonate - if you get the blue or red model - or with a kevlar back. It's similar to the Droid Turbo 2 that Motorola and Verizon announced a few years ago, but it's not as "shiny". The good thing here is that the Poco F1 is not slippery at all, and does stay in your hand.
Despite the phone being somewhat thick, Xiaomi still does have somewhat of a camera bump on the backside here. It's very minimal, and most people likely wouldn't even notice, but it is there. Xiaomi does have a USB-C port here for charging, which is nice to see as a lot of phones in this price range with these specs are using a micro USB connector to cut some corners. The headphone jack is at the top of the phone this time around, with the volume rocker and power button on the right-hand side.
There are stereo speakers included here. There's a down-firing speaker that is responsible for most of the sound, including the bass, while the earpiece doubles as a secondary speaker. It's not quite the same as having two front-facing speakers, but it does do the job well, especially if you are playing a game on the Poco F1 and cover up part of the speaker on the bottom of the phone. Xiaomi does have a notch here in its display, which isn't too surprising since literally every smartphone has one this year. But it allows for some pretty minimal bezels all around the phone, and providing a larger display in a smaller body. Xiaomi is sticking with a full HD+ resolution here, which isn't surprising given that Xiaomi normally sticks with a variation of full HD.
Xiaomi Poco F1 Camera
Xiaomi is using a dual-camera setup here, consisting of a 12-megapixel main sensor which is the Sony IMX363 with an aperture of f/1.9 and its 1.4um in size. It sports Dual Pixel Autofocus, which is going to allow the camera to focus very quickly - basically instantly - even in low-light situations. The secondary sensor is a 5-megapixel sensor, and is used for gathering depth data, basically. This is another AI Dual Camera setup from Xiaomi, so there is AI scene detection, AI Beautify and AI Portrait Mode. This is going to allow users to get some really good photos out of the Poco F1 without having to fiddle with the settings at all. The rear cameras also feature Multi-frame Noise Reduction, allowing you to get better photos in low-light, without having a ton of noise in the background.
The front-facing camera is a 20-megapixel sensor with a f/2.0 aperture and is also 1.8um in size. This is going to allow the camera to get more light and take better photos without using a flash. It is also using the 4-in-1 Super Pixel technology that Xiaomi has also used in the Mi A2/6X and the Mi 8 - which were announced recently. The front-facing camera does also have AI features including AI Scene Detection, AI Beautify and AI Portrait Mode.
Xiaomi Poco F1 Software
Xiaomi is shipping the Poco F1 with Android 8.1 Oreo and MIUI 9.6. This means that you are essentially getting the same software as what is on other smartphones from Xiaomi, like the recently announced Mi 8. However, for the Poco F1, Xiaomi has created a launcher that resembles stock Android a bit. And it means that when you pick up the phone, you may think that this is not MIUI, but in reality, it is. With the Pocophone launcher, you get an app drawer. Simply swipe up on the home screen to open the app drawer. The app drawer is actually pretty useful, as you can have apps bundled by category (communication, entertainment, tools, etc). Your most used apps are still going to be at the top, similar to the Pixel Launcher. However, the background does not change based on your wallpaper (i.e. black background on darker wallpapers and white on lighter backgrounds). Instead it is always white. Xiaomi has also changed up the notification toggles in the notification pulldown. It was styled to look like Android Pie, and works quite nicely. Now, Xiaomi does allow users to switch back to the regular MIUI theme as well, so if you prefer to have stock MIUI, that is still possible here.
In talking with Xiaomi, they told AndroidHeadlines that the Pocophone launcher is going to be uploaded to the Play Store in the near future and it will work on other Xiaomi smartphones. It won't work on other devices (like the Pixel 2 XL or Galaxy Note 9), but the team did say that if there is enough interest, they will get it to work on other Android smartphones as well. However, that is not the plan as of right now. The Poco F1 doesn't ship with the latest version of Android. Which is a bit unfortunate, but Xiaomi is planning to update this to Android 9 Pie as well as MIUI 10 in the future. MIUI 10 is actually available in beta for the Poco F1 right now. Android 9 Pie will come to the Poco F1, likely after the Mi 8 gets it.
Xiaomi Poco F1 Battery
One of the big talking points for the Poco F1 is, battery life. Xiaomi wanted to make sure that it created a smartphone that could last all day, even for heavy users. The company wanted to be the first to launch a 4,000mAh capacity battery in a mainstream smartphone, but Samsung beat them to that in the Galaxy Note 9. But, the Poco F1 will likely have better battery life than the Galaxy Note 9, due to the lower-resolution display, and slightly smaller display as well. Xiaomi does have Quick Charge 3.0 support on the Poco F1, allowing users to quickly charge up this large battery as well. There is a Quick Charge 3.0 charger in the box, which is a nice touch, and perhaps a bit surprising. As that is another corner that Xiaomi could have cut to bring down the price here.
There's no Quick Charge 4.0 or 4+ support here. Xiaomi informed AndroidHeadlines that this was because it just wasn't worth it. Quick Charge 4.0 and 4+ are faster than Quick Charge 3.0, but not fast enough to warrant supporting it here. Not to mention the fact that thee is virtually no Quick Charge 4.0 or 4+ chargers available on the market. There's also no wireless charging support. The reason behind this was hitting that price point. Xiaomi also thought that its users would prefer a larger battery without wireless charging, than having a slightly smaller battery with wireless charging.
Xiaomi Poco F1 Security
The fingerprint sensor is still here on the Poco F1, but you can also secure the smartphone using your face. Unlike most other Android smartphones, Xiaomi is using IR to recognize your face and unlock the device. This is the same technology that Apple uses on the iPhone X. What this means is that the Poco F1 is able to easily recognize your face, and unlock it instantly. It is super fast at unlocking, and it can even see your face in the dark - without needing to brighten the screen like other phones that just use the camera for facial recognition. Xiaomi is very confident in its facial recognition here, so much so that Xiaomi believes that they didn't even need to include the fingerprint sensor. But it's still there, and you can use that instead for unlocking the Poco F1. It's a good thing that it is still included, seeing as many apps do not support face unlock for authentication, but they do support fingerprint sensors for authentication.
Xiaomi Poco F1 Availability
The Poco F1 is going to be available in India first. It'll go on sale starting from August 29 in India. The 6GB/64GB model will be priced at Rs. 20,999 ($300), while the 6GB/128GB model will be priced at Rs. 23,999 ($344), and the 8GB/256GB model will be Rs. 28,999 ($415). After launching in India initially, Xiaomi will bring the Poco F1 to all of its markets - except for China - that it is currently in. It won't be making its way to the US, or any other markets that Xiaomi is not already available in.
Xiaomi Poco F1 Gallery