I took some time for test this POCOPHONE F1 thoroughly, which boasts nothing innovative but the fact of debuting on the market with an aggressive price while offering hardware specifications from true top of the range. I also wanted to deepen the knowledge of this device by comparing it with his cousin Mi 8, so stay connected because two in-depth studies will follow, but for "technical" reasons I could not take this review as a direct comparison between the two specimens, which you have asked in many through our survey on Facebook. But now let's not waste any more time and begin to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of POCOPHONE F1, thanks tosending the sample by the store HonorBuy.it, but do not forget to use the XT5OFF discount coupon.
The sales package is very beautiful, completely in black with the color written POCOHONE by Xiaomi in contrast in yellow, color that completes the rest of the package on the back where the basic specifications of the product are given. Inside instead we find:
- POCOPHONE F1
- Battery charger with European plug and 5V output - 2.5A / 9V - 2A / 12V - 1.5A with Quick Charge certification 3.0
- USB Type-C charging and data transfer cable
- Pin for ejecting the SIM cart
- User Guide
- Soft TPU case
And let's start this time from the hardware that makes this POCOPHONE F1 really interesting, as a processor is offered Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, octa-core at the maximum frequency of 2,8 GHz, accompanied by Adreno GPU 630, 6 GB of RAM memory dual channel LPDDR4X e 64 GB of internal storage of type UFS 2.1 expandable via micro SD up to 256 GB. So already this is enough to understand that we are facing a premium smartphone but still not perfect.
All is enriched with a form 802.11 WiFi a / b / g / n / ac Dual Band (2.4 / 5 GHz) with WiFi Direct support and 2 × 2 MIMO technology, Bluetooth 5.0 with support for AAC / aptX / aptX-HD / LDAC audio codecs and a great GPS / A-GPS / Glonass / Beidou with a quick fix and an always present and precise signal during navigation. It's true the NFC sensor is missing ma on the other hand we have the FM radio, feature decidedly more used by the average user. Everything works beautifully, and RAM management seems to be better optimized respect to what is proposed by the Xiaomi terminals, despite the basic MIUI interface.
The performance is exciting and the general fluidity of the system is certainly a strong point of this device that as mentioned before offers the basic Android 8.1.0 Oreo OS with 01 July 2018 security patch with custom interface from MIUI Global 188.8.131.52 appropriately issued for POCO. In reality the substantial differences with the real MIUI are relegated to presence of the App Drawer, for the first time on MIUI, thanks to POCO Launcher which offers some goodies such as the possibility to pair App icons according to color or manage groups of Apps based on categories but also support for packages of third-party icons that can be downloaded directly from the Play Store.
On the Little Launcher even add interesting features did not drive me crazy also because often the automatic categorization of the App does not seem to work best with certain applications, while in relation to the Icon Pack in some cases you lose the comfort of grouping by color filter, or you find yourself with only some changed icons etc ... Nothing serious that can not be optimized with a software update or in any case with the installation of an alternative launcher. What I consider most annoying is the non-functioning of the Google Assistant, or rather the Ok Google function, although configurable by the options.
Often POCOPHONE F1 is compared to OnePlus One, but Xiaomi has definitely managed to do better by offering a product without bugs and uncertainties, a mature and complete product from the first ignition. For the rest there is no shortage of the classic features of MIUI, like the Second Space or the possibility to clone the applications, but also the Themes (provided you enter the Region other than Italy, such as Hong Kong) etc .. and then the extreme customization and optimization about security and much other. The company has however promised an update to MIUI 10 with Android 9 Pie later this year.
What really matters is that the combination of hardware and software works great making the POCOPHONE F1 fast, snappy, always precise multitasking and fast loading. POCOPHONE in the gaming phase can keep up with any title with details at most and without any uncertainty. The real benefit however of having a liquid cooling system I just did not find it cistus that I could perceive the same kind of overheating that other devices emitted. Nothing really annoying, but honestly I would have expected a smartphone completely "cold" because if you really want to make fussy and rely on benchmark results POCOPHONE F1 even gets a lower score of Mi 8. Furthermore the Widevine certification of L3 level must be reported, which translates into the supported support of streaming HD content.
Let's start then to analyze the design of this terminal that adopts the philosophy and in a certain sense the strategy of offering a technology without frills. Starting right from back cover made of opaque polycarbonate with the merit of retaining very little fingerprints and dirt but above all not to create the psychological stress to which we are instead subjected to materials such as glass and / or ceramics in case of scratches. Furthermore, the use of polycarbonate also favors thealmost perfect ergonomics, because the device is not slippery at all (the dimensions are of 155,5 75,2 x x 8,8 mm, for a weight of 182 grams).
The back design is interrupted by the presence of the fingerprint sensor which is located below a dual camera which is accompanied by a flash LED dual tone positioned on the right of the photographic compartment. Despite the use of less noble materials, however, attention and attention to details are not missing such as the glossy finish of the plate that houses the dual camera and the fingerprint sensor, or the red ring inserts that adorn the optics or the fake milling that runs along the entire profile of the smartphone.
Profiles that make up the power button and volume rocker on the right and the SIM cart on the left, able to hosting two SIM cards in nano format or a SIM in nano format and a micro SD card to expand the internal memory, provided you give up the Dual Standby Dual SIM functionality. On the upper profile we find the second microphone for the reduction of environmental noise and welcome surprise the input jack from 3,5 mm although the entrance is present at the bottom USB Type-C with OTG support, accompanied by the main microphone, system speaker and 2 screws for the removal of the body.
On the front we do not find any physical key, as inserted at the software level with the possibility of inversion or to eliminate them altogether by exploiting them screen gesture offered by MIUI, which in this case are incomplete, in the sense that there is no one for the direct passage between the last two recent apps without going through multitasking. However, in the lower frame we find a small LED notification monochromatic type in white color. But it is the upper frame to offer more food for thought as POCOPHONE F1 offers the much hated / loved notch in which they are inserted: earpiece capsule, brightness and proximity sensors, camera selfie and IR camera for unlocking the device through face recognition.
A feature that has been talked about in terms of reliability and security, but still a "must have" on every smartphone and in the case of the POCOPHONE F1, despite the sensor is the same adopted on Xiaomi Mi 8 (a OmniVision OV7251), I could instead find some hesitation even in good lighting conditions. Cases were rare but it is right to report it, while on the whole the release completely in the dark takes place satisfactorily. Furthermore, the double tap to activate the display e ignition at lifting allow you to enter the Home without ever touching the display. And before telling you about the display I tell you now that the notch of POCOPHONE F1 will continue to be hated, because it reports the same poor optimization seen on Mi 8 and MI 8 SE. Although it can be "camouflaged" via software, the total lack of notifications, either through an icon or by means of a counter, will force you to rely on the small LED or to swipe down each time the curtain dedicated to them.
Naturally to keep costs down, Xiaomi did not only save on the back cover, but also on the display panel, a unit from 6,18 IPS type inches with resolution Full HD + 1080 x 2246 pixels, 403 PPI, 18,7 format: 9, 500 nits brightness, 1500 contrast ratio: 1 and 84% NTSC color gamut. Personally I really enjoyed this screen that offers warmer colors with respect to, for example, the AMOLED adopted on Mi 8. Even visibility under direct sunlight is satisfactory and the brightness equally valid with a good level range. There is no lack of it reading mode and the possibility of calibrating contrasts and color temperature, which are basic to reality and do not make us regret absolutely the most expensive technology of AMOLED. Unfortunately the wrong polarization prevents seeing the screen vertically if you have polarized sunglasses.
But what I really did not appreciate is the fact that the display used on the POCOPHONE F1 is trivially rectangular, mounted under a body with curved edges and then with total absence of optimization at UI level. This means that in certain situations we will find ourselves with some details of the slightly cut applications (for example the WhatsApp microphone).
Fortunately, the battery and its autonomy seem to bring these faults to the background. In fact on the smartphone we find a unit from 4000 mAh that personally managed to bring me to over 1 day of use with about 5 hours of active screen. Values that can improve and worsen based on actual use but on balance any type of day is guaranteed without special precautions. There is also the support for the QuickCharge 3.0 standard, with a wall socket compatible with this technology included in the package.
Even at the level of connectivity POCOPHONE F1 is doing great. Thanks to presence of the 20 band and the 4G + band (only on first slot) LTE Cat. 16 on both SIM (4G on both SIM cards at the same time), I had no problem receiving the signal, both with Iliad and Ho.mobile operator but also with the less known ones like Rabona Mobile, so the tested networks are Wind, Vodafone and Tim. The audio in capsule is of good quality and quality and also that returned to our interlocutor. Furthermore the ear capsule in the use of multimedia contents performs the function of second speaker, giving a kind of stereo sound, also balancing the audio offered by the main speaker.
POCOPHONE F1 is a top of the hybrid range, focusing on system performance but perhaps less on photographic performance. Not misunderstood, I was largely satisfied with the shots obtained with this device and for this later I will also propose a comparison with Xiaomi Mi 8. The dual rear camera consists of a '12 megapixel optics, Sony IMX363 sensor, with pixel surface from 1,4 um and aperture f/ 1.9, equipped Dual Pixel autofocus quick, precise and soft in the changes to which a5 megapixel optic, Samsung S5K5E8 sensor, with pixel surface from 1,12 um and aperture f/ 2.0. The two optics are accompanied by a dual tone LED flash, instead absent on the front optics. In reality, at the software level, the front flash is emulated by the display, which will turn completely yellow at the maximum of the lighting, and that I must say returns better results than a real flash.
On the front find a 20 megapixel sensor Samsung S5K3T1, aperture f/ 2.0, Equipped with automatic HDR function and possibility of shots in portrait mode with really appreciable results. The software is naturally what we already know about MIUI with the possibility of insertion in real time of photographic filters, manual mode with which you can set the shutter speed, focus, white balance and ISO parameters. But what I appreciated is the AI mode can recognize 25 categories of objects and up to 206 different scenes, automatically setting the best shooting parameters.
On the video level we have the possibility to record time lapse and slow motion while at the standard level we can push ourselves up to the 4K resolution to 30 fps, but with 1080p and 30fps you get very good videos thanks to the possibility of use EIS digital stabilization that should take advantage of the VidHance software with the possibility of choose the video algorithm, between the H.264 and H.265 format.
Yes ok, but how are the photos and videos? In most situations the WOW effect is assured, perhaps the quality does not reach the top of the range rivals but personally I really appreciated the final result obtained by this smartphone. At the video level I did not appreciate the capture of the audio that was slightly distorted, almost metallic. Even the portrait mode seems to work well, cutting the subjects well and with the possibility of afurther beautify software-level photos with light games that affect just the blurred background.
But so POCOPHONE F1 is a smartphone to buy absolutely? certainly the answer is positive but I personally would opt all my life for Mi 8, which you can practically find almost at the same price, just follow the various offers that we offer daily. Definitely though POCOPHONE F1 has stamped the feet of many, because with half the price you can bring home a top of the range, with some compromise, but still a top of the range. And do not tell me that there is no IP68 certification or other stupid that need to empty the wallet and that's really useless. You can find the POCOPHONE F1 at the store HonorBuy.it with shipping from Italy within 48 hours, all-Italian warranty and assistance, but do not forget to use the XT5OFF discount coupon. And if you are still undecided between this and Mi 8 then you just have to reread this review and wait for the insights that will follow.
Certainly POCOPHONE F1 is an interesting smartphone, complete and aimed at performance, proposing itself on the market with a price that does not seem to have equal. Device recommended to all, but honestly I would opt for Mi 8 that even on paper seems to have something less, in reality the satisfactions are much better.
- RADIO FM
- UNLOCK WITH FACE COMPLETELY WITH DARK
- STEREO AUDIO
- PRESENCE JACK FROM 3,5 MM
- NOTCH OPTIMIZATION AT NOTIFICATION LEVEL
- SCREEN POLARIZATION
- NON-SHAPED DISPLAY