Featured Opinion

What Poco F1 lacks and why you shouldn’t buy it

So the Poco F1 is here, and it’s easily one of the best phones around when you talk value for money deal. No wonder the Pocophone F1 is doing rounds all over the tech media and turning heads for being the cheapest smartphone to feature the currently best processor in Snapdragon 845. It’s amazing to see a device running on a Snapdragon 845 at the price of Rs.20,999 (300USD approx).

We all thought that the Honor Play, equipped Kirin 970 processor that was Huawei’s best chipset at the moment, was the best gaming/budget phone under this price range when it was first announced but we didn’t have a clue about what Xiaomi is going to hit the market with. Under their newly unveiled sub-brand dubbed POCO (it means little in Chinese), the company gave us the Poco F1 smartphone at a price that is mind-boggling, to say the least.

That’s not the say, though, that the Poco F1 is a perfect smartphone, or a perfect deal, that one should just jump into buying it. Yes, there are some facets of the device that may not hold out pretty for some people, so much that they might find the whole package a lot less convincing as suggested by the spec sheet.

So, here’s why Poco F1 is simply not for everyone!

Inferior build quality

To cut down costs to be able to sell a smartphone featuring Snapdragon 845 for a meager price of $300, it’s obvious that Xiaomi knew they had to go for massive cost reduction. And they did so in the build quality. The Poco F1 features, wait for it, a plastic back (polycarbonate if you want).

Do you remember your last device with a plastic back? Do you see any plastic phone near you now? If you do, what do you feel when you look at that device now? To see a device with a plastic build is quite rare in 2018, now that smartphones under the 10K price segment are offering metal builds.

Even though the build material doesn’t have an impact on your device’ usage, materials like glass and at the least metal have become norms now a day even for a device that may cost 1/3rd of even the Poco F1’s price. Having used a phone with glass/metal build for the last 2-3 years, picking up the Poco F1 and feeling its plastic body gives you an awful feeling.

Poco F1 mobile

If you have a thing for design and build quality, you may find the Poco F1 unbearable, no shame saying that. And we suppose many of you do because not many of us buy a device because of its processor and RAM. After all, we are buying a phone, not the spec sheet.

So, unless you’re sure you want the best-specced phone for cheap, whether that be for gaming or because you a performance enthusiast, the build quality alone is a deal breaker. And a BIG ONE at that!

Practically seen, if you are buying a phone for your family, then you probably already know that they don’t give a thought about the device’s specs, rather they are interested in how cool the device looks, and how great it feels in hand.

Poco F1 display problem

An LCD display

The display is another area where the trade-offs made to cut down the costs look pretty apparent. We’re not expecting an AMOLED panel here, something which Samsung’s lowly-specced phones do get you, but it’s the quality of the LCD screen and its touch responsiveness that disappoints a bit.

Even the Huawei Nova 3i and the Honor Play feature an IPS LCD panel, but they are fine-tuned and produce colors and produce touch response noticeably better than the Poco F1.

So there you have it, another highly-important part of the device where Poco F1 is not very convincing.

But yes, it’s not as much a setback as the build, and you may get used to with it in a matter of days (but only until pounce upon a better display panel which can easily happen).

Notch design

Agreed, Poco F1 isn’t the first Android phone to sport a notch on the top of its display. And when some of the top offerings like Huawei P20 and OnePlus 6 opt for it, you can’t say it’s a bad decision on Xiaomi’s part to nod in favor of notch here.

But still, a notch is a notch, and some may simply not like it. Given that the Poco F1 features an LCD display, on which you can’t get the proper black that you get on OLED panels when you disable notch in settings to turn the area around into black background, those not in favor of the notch may be just put away.

We all know the iPhone X made the “notch” design mainstream and every manufacturer except Samsung has copied that design. You either don’t mind the notch or you hate it. For the folks who can’t stand the notch, the POCO F1 definitely won’t be your cup of tea.

Both the Huawei P20 and OnePlus 6 sport an OLED panel which is able to produce proper deep blacks, effectively making the notch almost disappear in the black background.

Poco F1 Netflix problem

No DRM Content

If you’re a Netflix (tips) or Amazon Prime user and love to binge watch series in high quality (HD or Full HD) on your smartphone, you would be so, so disappointed to learn that the POCO F1 –sadly — does not support DRM (digital rights management) for high quality. Which means you would not be able to watch your favorite shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime in HD. Though, you will be able to watch whatever you want to watch in 540p, and truth be told, thankfully, it’s not a massive difference between 720p (HD) and 540p.

So, even though upsetting a bit, this may not be the deal breaker for many. However, if you want the best quality streaming on Netflix or Amazon Prime video you would have to look at other devices.

Poco F1 features

Conclusion!

If you’re ready to make a few sacrifices to get the best performance possible on the Android smartphones today, at a jaw-dropping lowly price of $300, then the POCO F1 might be the best smartphone you could pick up today.

However, if you’re not a person who plays the most graphic intensive games etc. and installs over 300 apps and multi-tasks a lot, rather have a love for phone’s feel, design and build, then you may be better off the Poco F1. Devices like Xiaomi Mi A2, Huawei P20 lite, upcoming Honor 8X Max, and even the Moto G6 (or G6 Plus) may better suited to. Those keen on performance, games, and stuff, but can’t live the sight of a plastic build must look at Honor Play, it’s best of both worlds.

That said, the Poco F1 has indeed turn out to be quite a success already. It’s easy to say that youth may want a powered by Snapdragon 845 for the best gaming experience alone — hello PUBG! — and that is why the POCO F1 has broken a record by generating revenue of about Rs. 200 crores within the five minutes of going into the sale — the record was previously held by OnePlus who had sold Rs. 100 crores worth of OnePlus 6 sets in 10 minutes.

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Used to be a Windows Phone fan until I got my first Android Phone. Never looked back since. When I'm not writing, I'm gaming.Email: dwayne@theandroidsoul.com