Pocophone F1 by Xiaomi review

GSMArena team, 22 August 2018.

Design and spin

The Pocophone F1's body is mainly built of plastic. Xiaomi has made it nice-looking, almost premium. For those of you who are looking for a more premium version, there is also an Armored Edition with a Kevlar back - the review unit we have here.

Xiaomi Pocophone F1 review

The Armored Edition differs from the regular Pocophone F1 only by its back - it's made of Kevlar instead of plastic. Everything else is the same - the front, the frame, even the internals.

We can't help but be reminded of the iPhone X when we're looking at the Pocophone F1 though Xiaomi would rather have you think the F1 takes after the Mi 8 instead.

Xiaomi Pocophone F1 review

The design inspiration aside, most of the front is occupied by a 6.18" screen with tiny bezels and a large Apple-like cutout (the infamous notch), which accommodates the advanced face-scanning tech, the earpiece that also doubles as a speaker, the selfie camera, and a couple of sensors. A Gorilla Glass by Corning covers the whole front.

Xiaomi Pocophone F1 review

Unlike other makers who use the notch as a way to cut some bezels and fit more pixels, the Pocophone, like the Mi 8, needs the notch to fit the infrared illuminator (left of the earpiece) and the infrared camera (far left) for more secure Face Unlock. It's not as secure as the 3D-face mapping sensors on the Mi 8 Explorer Edition and iPhone X, but it's also not as basic as the widespread selfie implementations either. That's why the notch is as big as on the iPhone and the latest Mi flagship.

And let's be entirely clear here - the Poco F1 is a flagship and looks like one. Let's not forget the Pocophone is all about keeping the price low while delivering some top-notch speed and experience and that's at the expense of the plastic build.

The frame is made out of plastic too - one with a nice matte finish, which is a nice grip booster. The good news is the whole frame is thick and sturdy, and we even mistook it for metal at first glance.

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Pocophone F1

The back is all-Kevlar. It won't stop bullets as it's not as thick as a vest, but it is very scratch resistant and one of the sturdiest panels you can enjoy right now. The synthetic fiber back is also heat-resistant, if this is something you consider essential on a smartphone.

Xiaomi Pocophone F1 review

The Kevlar back feels soft and provides one of the best grips we've encountered lately.

The regular Pocophones will come with a matte plastic back, still soft and grippy on touch, sturdy, but more prone to scratches.

A vertically-aligned dual-camera setup sits on the back - the primary sensor is the same 12MP cam we saw on the Mi 8 with big pixels and a bright lens, but the secondary one is just a 5MP snapper for depth information and nothing else. A dual-LED flash is also around.

Xiaomi Pocophone F1 review

We are very fond of the Pocophone's fingerprint scanner, which is just below the rear camera. It's a bit sunk in, which makes it really easy to find by touch. The surface has a mirror shine and this somehow helps for the overall premium feel of the device despite the fact it quickly gets smudged up by fingerprints.

Nothing is missing on the Pocophone - there is a 3.5mm audio port, a USB-C port, and even a microSD slot is available - you can replace the second SIM with a memory card. A tiny white-only notification LED is also available just below the screen.

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Pocophone F1

There are stereo speakers on the Pocophone - one is the earpiece, and the other one is firing towards the bottom. So if you thought some cuts had to be made to achieve the price goal - you'd be wrong. Somehow Xiaomi found a way to keep everything top-notch, even the speakers, as you'll find out in a bit.

Xiaomi Pocophone F1 review

The Pocophone is as large as the Mi 8, but a millimeter thicker and 5g heavier at 180g. The extra weight and thickness are probably due to the beefier battery, but we are fine with that.

Handling the Pocophone was a breath of fresh air after the recent crop of all-glass smartphones. It felt quite secure in hand, pleasant on touch, and looked nice. Sure, it's not as pretty as the Find X or the Galaxy S9 but given the hardware used and the price segment it strives for - the Pocophone F1 looks as great as they come. And we enjoyed it.

Reader comments

Where did you get the battery from? Please post product link if bought online or tell the name of battery you got. Thanks

  • P G
  • 21 Jan 2024
  • gNT

Been using this for over 5 years now. Still running like a dream. Recently replaced the battery and getting decent backup as well. Doubt there will a more VFM product like Poco F1.

  • Surfision
  • 29 Oct 2023
  • gDL

I have it for 5 years now. It still holds up pretty well throught the day without very heavy use. In my casual day (I wake up at 6:30AM) it lasts to about 7-8 pm remaining with 15-20%, with light use (2 hours instagram, 1-2 hours snapchat, some tikto...