Flashback: Poco F1, the birth of a value-for-money legend

12 December 2021
It was the cheapest phones with a Snapdragon 845 chipset and still one of the cheapest to use Qualcomm's current flagship chip.

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  • V
  • VladM
  • 37Z
  • 05 Jun 2022

I can only second what most of the commenters are writing here. It's a fantastic smartphone. It was in 2019, and surprisingly it still is now in 2022. Key is simply the hardware, both performance wise, durability wise, and longevity wise.

I got mine around February 2019 (back then while comparing hardware to flashship devices, and the PocoF1 simply had about equivalent hardware inside but being much cheaper [and I'll tell you why it's cheaper further below]) and I'm still using it right now in June 2022. I thought about upgrading just out of principle to a new Galaxy or Note model recently (you know, maybe for a style change), but there's just no need. Absolutely no need. The PocoF1 is still as snappy and functional as it was on day 1 for me, and it eats all challenges for breakfast, so I'm sticking with it.

Of course I do have my own layout and usage that I switch every year or so, just so it doesn't get boring (different Themes, Icon Packs, etc.), but the core use and functions just stayed the same for me over the last 3 years.
A lot of Spotify use (used both with 3.5mm cabled studio headphones, as well as Bluetooth in-ear headbuds, PocoF1 has both, both worked great for me, currently using in-ears), lots of pairing with my car to use media, pairing with smartwatch for audio controls, social media use (Discord, WhatsApp, Youtube, IG, etc.), Games (it runs any game I played smoothly even now in 2022, just to name a few I use: Summoner War, Puzzle and Dragons, Ragnarok M Eternal Love, Bloons TD, Genshin Impact, all run smoothly, and they are quite graphic intensive), massive Calendar and backup use over the years, document scans, Notes and Office/PDF use, shopping use (Amazon, AliEx, eBay), several Banking apps very often, Navigation very often, Food ordering apps, Covid apps, used it as Mobile Hotspot multiple times during the years without issues connected to my Laptop. Used the split screen mode a couple of times, but there's usually no need. I don't need to see 2 apps visually at the same time. I just switch from one to another if need be. Imo the screen is too small for 2 apps anyway, but if people want to use it, it's there. Phone calls and texts of course as well - self explanatory. Really a super reliable device.

In terms of handling the phone, I really like the Fingerprint Reader on the back and the Sleep Button on the side. It's really comfortable the way you hold it. I think I must have used it thousands of times. PocoF1 does have FaceID, but I never really used it. Fingerprint though, daily. Register/Setup both index fingers, and you can with one hand - with your right hand - unlock phone, do stuff, and lock it back with thumb. Or with your left hand - unlock phone, do stuff, and lock it back with middle finger. Basically, easy muscle memory with either hand - quick use. Very convenient. And that Fingerprint Scanner on the back authenticates Banking apps, all sorts of 2-Factor-Authorization apps you have set up, etc. Very convenient unlocks for all sorts of things, and its FAST.
I think that would be my main point. (I know I listed a bunch of Software here, but) the hardware is just FAST. It handles anything smoothly. I don't see any downsides at all for how I use the phone. Snapdragon845 is snappy, 8 CPU cores, 6/8GB RAM (I have the 6GB RAM, 128 GB storage model by the way) and it has served me well so far.

The 4000 mAh battery is big too compared to other phones (at least it was in 2018/2019, right now in 2022 you do have 4000-5000 batteries in a lot of flashship devices, but back in 2019 that was huge deal), and it charges quickly too (I think under an hour to 100%? something like that from my experience). Haven't had any issues there at all, and the battery performance hasn't gotten worse for me. It's still very good. Phone lasts me 2+ days with my use. If I play a game for several hours, sure I last 1 day. If I just use Spotify, check emails, and send messages, it'll last 5 days. I'm running Android 9, MIUI 10.2 by the way. Maybe that's why. I thought about upgrading to a newer MIUI version (again just for a change to something new), but reading from comments it does ruin the battery somewhat, so I'm sticking to 10.2 (and as I said, just switch Themes and Icons, Widgets, so it doesn't get boring. I'm not missing out on any new functions really.)

The camera is good too. Normal customers usually don't tinker with phones. They want them perfect out of the box, which is where criticism then comes from I think. PocoF1 back camera is good in daylight, and for nightshots I use Gcam (Google Cam, a custom app) which makes perfect night pictures: I'm not a photo guy (not professional photographer or Instagram daily uploader or anything like that), but I've taken hundreds of daytime shots, and 50-100 pics over 3 years at night, midnight outside, and some shots in pure darkness in rooms, and the shots come out sharp with Gcam. So the back camera sensor works well with Gcam. The camera is a good package deal both for taking shots as well as selfies for the casual user. You aren't missing out in my opinion.

Here's why the phone is cheaper than other comparable models guys:
- it has no NFC (if that matters to you, you can get a smartwatch which has it, and use it over Bluetooth, and pair your CreditCard to your smartwatch [that's how smartpay and NFC usually works anyway], or you can simply pay by QR code which most paying apps have, so shops scan your QR code on screen...there is no need for NFC), but just hardware-wise, since there's no NFC chip, price deduction
- the display on the PocoF1 is IPS LCD (it's not AMOLED or OLED for "sharper vivid colors", when I was considering buying the phone in 2018/2019 I thought about this a lot, and even-though AMOLED/OLED looks better, it burns-in screen [I had Galaxy phones with OLED before, two models, both burned it menus on screen, and had bloated batteries that pushed screen out of case], no problem on PocoF1's IPS LCD at all over the 3 years. No damage to screen, no bloated battery. It looks good, and it's sturdy. It's a bit more plastic-y I'd say compared to a glas AMOLED, but I dropped my Poco multiple times and the screen never broke, so that's a plus, long story but screen is better than I expected [but cheaper], and it's durable! very good)
- the PocoF1 has no 5G. Not that it mattered in 2019. It may matter for some people now. But it has 4G and LTE tech and bands (which is still top speed beyond any of your needs).
- Camera: 12MP back, and 20MP front, both are for photo snapping. As I said before, the price reduction is probably for out-of-the-box-use and it's limitations in dark places (with native camera), but Gcam solves it - pics in the dark are great. The other camera downside is Video recording or Streaming (to youtube or twitch) only in 4k 30FPS and 1080p 30FPS!. At least my 6GB RAM model doesn't have the 4k 60FPS in the options. Maybe the 8GB model does? Anyway. It doesn't matter. Both are bad for Video and here is why. Front Cam allowing 1080p 30FPS maximum is on both models. More than anything else, the FPS is the issue here. Let me tell you. Nobody uses their phone to shoot videos OF THEMSELF with the rare camera. People use the front facing camera to shoot, look at the screen, and to chat, all in one. You want 60FPS in the front facing camera, and I know some of the iPhones have that (1080p or 4k 60FPS), which is why people use them widely for streaming. 30FPS, although passable, just isn't as fluent, hence the price drop here for the front camera too. Funny thing: most flagship phones now in 2022 still have front cameras 1080p/30FPS...Jesus Christ.

To sum up. The PocoF1 has strong hardware, and is very durable. It will handle any task without any lag (from my experience I can promise you that). The camera is good too if you just take pictures of things, of people, of building, of landscapes (using rare came) at day or night (with Gcam), and snapping selfies is satisfactory too.
You probably just shouldn't stream videos of yourself (front cam) with it, and you won't have 5G. Those are the main downsides. I probably forgot a couple of features, but that's how I used the phone over the last 3 years, and I'm not thinking of switching yet. I'm looking at my father's S22 and my brother's newer Vivo model, and I'm thinking "my F1 still does the same thing their phones do, and it does it well, performace, life span, everything". I think this is the first smartphone that hasn't died on me or has gotten worse over time (I had 5 smartphones in the last 10 years). In 2019 I got it for around 300€ I think, and it's hardware was on par with 900€ flagships - screen, camera, NFC, and 5G being the tradeoffs back then. None of it was really bad. Super value for the money, and super reliable device.
I think I'll stop here. The wall of text is quite big already. Thanks for reading guys.

    • U
    • UK
    • D0Y
    • 15 Apr 2022

    3 years 8 months.. still its a beast. Not even a single problem. Its a killer of every other brand❤️

      • ?
      • Anonymous
      • mt4
      • 14 Apr 2022

      It had 4K60FPS camera, how did this review missed it out?

        • R
        • Ravi Malik
        • GR$
        • 22 Feb 2022

        I used poco f1 and was very happy with ita performance. I used it for over 2 years with 1 year on google pixel rom that made it even better in terms of performance.

        I managed to sell it at 60% of the price i paid coz i bought a pixel. I still miss it but the deal was good to move on.

          • R
          • Roy
          • Dkc
          • 22 Feb 2022

          I was using Poco F1. It was just awesome. I loved that phone like anything. But one day it just went off.... I mean literally, no hanging, no lagging, everything was good. But it just went off and never start again. I tried everything. The MI care guy told me to replace Mother Board which cost Rs. 11000 ( In India). Now who will pay that much if one can buy a new phone.
          I am still looking for a solution. If somehow it gets started, I will be sooooo happy. Please help me.

            • J
            • Justin
            • XPN
            • 21 Feb 2022

            I'm still using poco F1 , damn it's too cool to handle , killing processor, resolution, it's still so smooth to use , Beast is a beast .. killing one ...

              • S
              • Sanjeev
              • AbH
              • 20 Feb 2022

              I am still using poco F1..solid mobile with excellent performance...facing no issues as of now

                • G
                • Gaurav
                • yZw
                • 12 Feb 2022

                MY roommate in college has poco x3 in 2021, and was trying to show off camera, coz u know naahh chipset is still beast. So long story short we compared camera, u won't believe F1 nailed it, although i was using gcam but still 12mp camera is still king in this segment

                  • G
                  • Gaurav
                  • yZw
                  • 12 Feb 2022

                  Sparky, 11 Feb 2022Bullshit, poco x3 pro is better than poco F1 with less price.If u had F1 back in 2k18, u would have known. Btw it was called Beast back than.

                    • M
                    • My favourite Phone
                    • v$C
                    • 12 Feb 2022

                    I used the phone with gcam . And it out match picture quality of dslr. Lovely phone.

                      • T
                      • Tanz
                      • X{R
                      • 12 Feb 2022

                      Reading this article with my poco f1.
                      I'm using it for last 3 years. It's a good phone. But recent update is killing the battery faster.

                        • S
                        • Sparky
                        • 7k0
                        • 11 Feb 2022

                        Bullshit, poco x3 pro is better than poco F1 with less price.

                          • S
                          • Skrr
                          • kqa
                          • 10 Feb 2022

                          Purchased Poco F1, three years back. Worked perfectly. But we have faced Battery issues recently and forced to replace it. Otherwise it's a good phone

                            • K
                            • Karl barks
                            • Juu
                            • 30 Jan 2022

                            I looove this phone! The camera with a gcam mod is AWESOME. I miss the "flagship killers" days

                              • A
                              • Andy
                              • nw}
                              • 30 Jan 2022

                              Had Xiaomi phones since you could only get them in China (not even Hong Kong). Bought and recommended for friends and family. Still going strong on the F1 - can't find a compelling reason to upgrade.

                                • Y
                                • YEESHU
                                • U@Z
                                • 27 Jan 2022

                                I am using poco f1 since December 2019. My experience with this phone is too great i can say best phone i have purchased in my life . I can't able to find this type of user friendly phone till now to upgrade . I'm in love with this phone . Sd845 and ir face unlock is the best feature in this phone which i loved too much . One best thing when i have to play pubg mobile i install custom rom and custom kernal and when i didn't play for long time i install miui . 😆 This phone is such a fun. Although my phone display due to multiple time of falled from my hand but i never changed the display. ❤️

                                  • M
                                  • Mohinder
                                  • rJj
                                  • 25 Jan 2022

                                  Seems like you have sold yourself to Chinese firm poko

                                    • Y
                                    • Yogesh
                                    • Dkv
                                    • 25 Jan 2022

                                    Awesome mobile phone poco f1 my 3 years of experience

                                      • S
                                      • Sam patil
                                      • CbC
                                      • 23 Jan 2022

                                      I brought poco f1 in 2019. Its work fine till the date.. I flash so many custome roms.it run pubg like a charm in 2022. I have so many emotions with this phone. "Its a legend ". I will use this device for year.. thnx to xiaomi for such a great device...

                                        • A
                                        • Ashok Shah
                                        • XPI
                                        • 22 Jan 2022

                                        i have used many smartphones including galaxy note 1, note 3 and like. after two years, performance reduced considerably.

                                        my son suggested poco f1. i heard for first time this name. i was apprehensive, what this poco - thoko. however after using it for more than the years and one month, i am extremely satisfied with this phone. i suggest, people using galaxy notes should switch to poco blindly. you will get extreme satisfaction and will remember me for advising. full value for money you will get. the advanced version of poco, i am sure, will be even better.