Surprisingly, up to this point OnePlus has lacked any direct competition. The company made a name by competing with higher end models at lower price points, but you haven’t really seen too many other brands try and do the same thing.
Of course, if anyone was going to try and do it, it would have to be Xiaomi. Time to meet the Xiaomi Poco F1.
The Poco F1, or Pocophone, crams legitimate flagship specs into a phone that costs as little as $300. Watch out, OnePlus.
Funny name, serious hardware
You’re getting mostly top shelf components here, including a Snapdragon 845 CPU paired with either 6 or 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage with a microSD card expansion slot, and a 4000mAh battery. The phone uses an IPS LCD screen instead of an OLED, and there’s only Gorilla Glass 3 on the front, so you can see where some small corners were cut to bring a flagship phone down to this price point.
That 6.18-inch display does have a notch to make for a slightly taller screen, although it’s still full HD. The two camera system on the back utilize a 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel sensor, while the front facing camera is a big 20-megapixel shooter.
Other notable bits include facial recognition to unlock the device, plus a fingerprint scanner on the back. It’s running Android 8.1 Oreo out of the box, with Xiaomi committing to an update to Android 9 Pie at some point in the future. NFC’s gone, but there’s a headphone jack.
The Pocophone is a really interesting device right before IFA for more than one reason. It’s a little bit thicker than your typical flagship device thanks to that massive battery, but Xiaomi wanted to create a better experience at the cost of a little thinness. It’s affordable and not razor thin, which seems like the kind of thing customers have been yelling about for years, and we’re finally getting it.
Although even with its aggressive price and eye-catching specs sheet, some of the smaller details are missing that you do get with a more expensive phone. Xiaomi is only supporting Quick Charge 3.0 here, and there’s no wireless charging. Those are luxuries, but remember that the 6GB/64GB version of this phone costs only $300. If you’re getting flashbacks to the OnePlus of years ago, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
The 8GB/128GB version caps out at around $430, which is still very aggressive, and when you throw in the microSD card and still present headphone jack, you’ve almost got the flagship phone we all wanted in 2014.
The only catch? It’s Xiaomi, so the markets where this will be available will be very limited. But if you are in one of those markets, this might just be your next phone.