The dual-camera setup found on the back of Xiaomi's Pocophone F1 has just been rated as an amazing mobile imaging tool – for 2016. According to the newly published results of an in-depth review performed by French image benchmarking experts at DxOMark, Xiaomi's flagship killer won't be killing any remotely recent flagships on the photography front, though that's about what industry watchers and tech aficionados expected when the device debuted last year.
The Pocophone F1 is primarily focused on ultra-fast, no-compromise performance comparable to that of high-end Android smartphones, except without the high-end price. It consequently cuts some corners in other aspects of the contemporary handset experience, with camera capabilities being a prime example of that strategy. DxOMark rated Xiaomi's Android phablet with a score of 91 on its non-finite scale, putting it on par with devices such as the original Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy S7.
The device was found to be a reasonably consistent performer, especially in terms of exposure, white balance, flash optimization, color accuracy, and contrast levels. Where it falls short — compared not just to the very best but the very 20th best the industry currently has to offer — is overall detail retention, HDR processing, and low-light performance. Highlight clipping and hazing are common issues with the handset in less-than-optimal conditions, as is an unnatural (read: inaccurate) and often distractingly bad-looking bokeh effect which is a direct result of a lack of optical zoom.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Pocophone F1's photography package comes in the form of its autofocusing system which is remarkably consistent, even in poor lighting conditions when the rest of its imaging solution simply cannot keep up, as per the same source.
Most of those strengths and flaws apply to the Pocophone F1's video-taking ability as well, with the overall conclusion being that this is certainly not a device to buy for anyone who's primarily interested in mobile photography, even if they're seeking great value for their money. Instead, the Android handset appears to be a more affordable alternative to recent OnePlus releases, though the OP6T surpasses it in terms of photography, also according to DxOMark.
Regardless, the praise Xiaomi garnered with the Pocophone F1 wasn't accidental as the smartphone epitomized everything its business stood for, delivering affordable quality appealing to a wide variety of consumers. Many eyes are now eagerly looking in the direction of the Chinese company and its work on the Pocophone F2 which has already been confirmed to a degree. Xiaomi also appears to be well aware of the fact that it managed to execute the OnePlus formula better than OnePlus itself, as suggested by the fact it's been openly mocking its Chinese rival in many of its marketing efforts centered on the Pocophone F1.
The Pocophone F2 is expected to launch in late spring or early summer, about a year following its predecessor's debut. Xiaomi is unlikely to up its price compared to the original Android handset which retailed at about $430, thus being by far the most affordable device powered by the high-end Snapdragon 845 chip from Qualcomm.