The "1-Minute" Review
- Basic, boring design
- Thick bezels
- Plastic build feels cheap
- No NFC
Pocophone -- a fledgling company with support from Xiaomi -- is looking to shake up the smartphone market with their F1. Where smartphones can cost up to four-figures at the higher end of prices, Pocophone provides impressive specs for up to 60 percent less. Yet, at that price, you are sure to find compromises.
The F1 will not turn heads. Nor will it trick you into thinking you’re holding a premium device. Instead of the glass that most high-end phones now have, the back panel is polycarbonate (also known as plastic).
While not as sleek, it comes with a hidden benefit -- you won’t have to worry about it shattering if you drop it. It will scratch and wear faster than glass though.
If you want something that’s sturdier, there’s also an “Armored Edition” which comes with a back made of Kevlar. But, it’s only available with the most expensive F1 version.
On top of feeling somewhat cheap, it’s also not very compact. Thanks to the large side bezels, it’s wider than many new releases and somewhat hefty -- weighing in at 180 grams (0.39 lbs). It’s also a bit chunky at 0.35 inches thick. However, reviewers noted the added thickness and plastic back make it easy to grip.
The 6.18-inch IPS LCD boasts a Full HD+ resolution (2,246-by-1080 pixels), making it even sharper than the much more expensive iPhone XR.
On its own, it’s a very good display with excellent brightness and respectable viewing angles.
Color accuracy isn’t perfect though. Whites feature a bluish tint and colors weren’t as vibrant as you might find on an AMOLED panel. With that said, many could overlook some of its flaws due to the lower price.
Performance is where the Pocophone F1 shines. The basic version comes equipped with a Snapdragon 845 processor and 6GB of RAM. But they offer models with up to 8GB of RAM if you want more future-proofing.
As you might expect, phone performance impressed reviewers. They had no issues when navigating the home screen, multitasking, opening apps, or browsing the web. When compared to flagship phones, the Pocophone exceeded the performance of the OnePlus 6 and kept pace with the Galaxy Note 9 .
The F1 does not skimp on battery either. The 4,000mAh battery offered reviewers a full day of use on a single charge -- even with heavy usage.
And when charges ran low, Quick Charge support offered a 50% recharge in about 30 minutes.
And if you’re hoping for NFC support, look somewhere else. It’s missing on the F1.
Like its more expensive competitors, the F1 sports a dual-lens rear camera system. It combines a 12MP main sensor and a 5MP secondary one for depth information.
In good lighting conditions, reviewers captured impressive images with excellent detail and color accuracy. In AI mode, the camera enhances settings to make the images more balanced. However, reviewers noted that the AI settings often blew out highlights.
In more challenging lighting situations, some reviewers noticed the camera struggling with white balance, oversaturation, and exposure. Turning off AI mode often resolved this issue.
Low-light images were hit-or-miss. Due to the lack of optical image stabilization, many pictures came out blurry. Grain also showed up even when it wasn’t particularly dark out. Still -- given the phone’s price -- the camera satisfied most reviewers.
Reviewers highly recommend the Pocophone F1 -- especially considering its price. Android Authority states, “The Pocophone F1 is a good phone, but an amazing deal. If you’re on a tight budget, it should definitely be at the top of your list of options.” Trusted Reviews states, “... The Pocophone F1… is an easy buy for anyone who places performance, longevity and quality ahead of aesthetics…”