Poco F2 Pro review – Pocophone F1 successor and future bestseller
Poco F2 Pro review – Pocophone F1 successor and future bestseller
In the summer of 2018, Xiaomi's sub-brand Pocophone blew up the market with its first smartphone, the "budget flagship" Pocophone F1 . It was a really amazing smartphone in terms of price-to-power ratio: the coolest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor at that time, 6 or 8 gigabytes of RAM and a new, “fresh” POCO Launcher shell in a simple plastic case without show-offs and bells and whistles.
It cannot be said that it was an uncompromising option for everyone - the lack of an NFC chip, mediocre cameras and the inconsistency of some promises with the real state of affairs somewhat reduced the "post-presentation" intensity of passions, but gentlemen, it was an excellent device for its 300 dollars, with a record number of custom firmware and rapidly growing geek community. People were really looking forward to the Pocophone F2 – a new mid-range flagship with top-end features, inevitable compromises, and almost complete flashing freedom virtually guaranteed by the manufacturer.
Dreams crashed against real life, like sea waves against a breakwater. Firstly, the Poco F2 was in no hurry to reveal itself to the world - the fan had to wait for the news for two whole years. Secondly, it did not become a fundamentally new device - remember how Xiaomi Mi 5X became Xiaomi Mi A1 and vice versa? Poco F2 Pro, which appeared recently, is the “twin brother” of Redmi K30 Pro, an alternative version of the Chinese “budget flagship” with all its advantages and disadvantages, but with a special proprietary shell and slightly different positioning.
So, let's start the Pocophone F2 Pro review and see what's so interesting about it and whether it's worth paying attention to at all.
The Pocophone F1 was the most affordable handset with a flagship processor and only cost $300. Of course, something similar was expected from the second generation, so with the cost of Poco F2 Pro at $ 500, disappointment and indignation are inevitable - they say, how is it, where is the promised budget?
We explain. Firstly, the body material here is not an example of cooler than the first generation. The fact that Poco F2 Pro, in fact, a clone of Redmi K30 Pro , allows you to somewhat reduce the cost of the assembly process due to the absence of the need to transfer equipment to the production of fundamentally new devices and pay designers, engineers and other participants in the development process of new smartphones. However, glass and metal are not plastic, and it is logical that a device with such a case costs more. The periscopic front camera and the under-screen fingerprint scanner are also not the most budget technologies.
Secondly, support for the latest 5G networks does not come for free either. For our countries, an overpayment for such a chip seems excessive, however, Poco F2 Pro is a device for the European market as a whole, and not just for the CIS countries, and in Europe 5G networks have already been deployed almost everywhere - it is logical that the flagships are focused on countries with leading technologies, and not on those who will settle the bureaucratic and technological issues of deploying new networks for a few more years.
Thirdly, Poco F2 Pro is still cheaper than its direct competitors - all sorts of OnePlus 8 Pro , Mi 10 Pro and other modern flagships that cost at least $ 700 at best, this must also be taken into account.
The Poco F2 Pro is likely the only flagship this year that lacks a notch (as well as outdated bangs and drops). Whatever the attitude towards moving elements in a smartphone, purely visually such devices are often perceived as more advantageous than “leaky” competitors, and in games there is no need to programmatically “cut off” part of the screen just for the user’s hand.
The glass back looks fresh and solid at the same time: glass and metal are always cooler than plastic, and the round platform for the main camera modules has not yet had time to become boring like a vertical row or an “iPhone” square. The fingerprint scanner is located right in the screen, so there are no old-fashioned scanners under the camera, which spoil the appearance of the device to a certain extent.
The front and back of the Poco F2 Pro is protected by tempered glass Gorilla Glass 5, the oleophobic coating is present, but, as usual, does not protect against fingerprints, so the complete case sometimes seems like a salvation. It is thin enough not to spoil the impressions of the smartphone, but so simple that you want to dress such a handsome man in something.
A protective film is glued on the screen, and there is nothing “extra” in the box: only a 30W power supply with fast charging, a USB Type-C cable, documentation, and a clip to remove the SIM card tray.
The Pocophone F1's screen isn't exactly a disappointment, but... let's just say it makes it clear why the smartphone only costs $500.
Color reproduction and viewing angles are good, but the brightness is extremely low. The maximum brightness of 500 nits is the norm for indoors, but on the street on a sunny day you will no longer answer a message, you will have to hide in the shade. No promised “advanced auto-brightness system” will, unfortunately, fix this. Despite the fact that many people still use their smartphones mainly indoors, a good margin of brightness is good, right and normal for flagships. Well, here Xiaomi (or POCO, whatever) saved.
But this is not the main failure. The main thing where the Poco F2 Pro really lags behind the competition is the screen refresh rate. While all flagships (and some mid-range ones too) are equipped with screens with 90-120 hertz, Pocophone F2 Pro received only 60 hertz. This greatly affects the smoothness of the display when scrolling through the menu or social networks, which is, to put it mildly, strange for a flagship (!). In short, Poco has clearly lost part of the audience, switching even from 90 hertz back to 60 is something like a special form of masochism. You can get used to it, but why? ..
No, it cannot be said that the Poco F2 Pro screen is completely disgusting, it's just not a flagship level. It was necessary to save money - the manufacturer saved money, and for those who did not update from the Pocophone F1 and were waiting for the F2, this option may well suit them.
Pocophone F2 Pro cameras may not be the best on the market, but for the money they are very good.
The 64-megapixel main module in daylight produces images at the level of Mi 10 Pro and OnePlus 8 Pro. The difference is in color reproduction (Poco sometimes mutes colors, while OnePlus, on the contrary, oversaturates), and detail, with which the Mi 10 is a little better.
In the indoor photo, the Poco F2 Pro is a little noisy in the shadows, but it renders colors more correctly than the OnePlus.
In the dark and using the night mode, Poco also “noises”, but due to the wide dynamic range, it pulls out details even from those areas where OnePlus sees only shadows and outlines.
The over-width copes a little worse - there is not enough detail, and the color reproduction is unnatural. Maybe it will be improved in future updates, but for now.
The front camera is good, but not the best: OnePlus 8 Pro copes with color reproduction better, and Mi 10 Pro outperforms Poco F2 Pro in detail.
Video recording is also good. Stabilization works, detail is excellent, the sound is written well, all three devices are more or less on the same level.
Pocophone F2 Pro received Snapdragon 865 , three modifications - 6/128, 8/128 and 8/256, each of which differs from the others in terms of RAM and internal memory.
The younger modification received an older LPDDR4X RAM and built-in UFS3.0, the middle one received a newer LPDDR5 RAM, but the same UFS3.0 drive, while the older version boasts LPDDR5 and UFS3.1.
You can understand why this was done (probably in order to keep the price of at least a junior modification at an acceptable level for the title of a budget flagship), but ... it's a shame, actually. If you want the coolest stuffing - take the maximum version, even if you don't need these 256GB of internal memory, if you want to save money - get a slower version of the same flagship.
The processor is top-end, but it behaves worse than it is in Mi 10 – apparently, the cooling system is not well thought out and the device is insanely throttling. However, the toys are dragging at maximum speeds, in heavy ShadowGun Legends it keeps a stable 60 frames per second. Above the FPS indicator does not rise simply because the display is only 60 hertz.
The 4700mAh battery allows the smartphone to work for about a day on a single charge. In our ranking of smartphone autonomy, the Poco F2 Pro fell somewhere below 25th place, with a lifespan of just 7 hours and 42 minutes. For an AMOLED screen and a fairly capacious battery, this is catastrophically small, so the only thing we can do is to attribute everything to the unoptimized firmware and wait for a big update: MIUI 12 is just around the corner, so MIUI 11 major fixes, most likely, are no longer will.
If battery life is one of the main criteria for you when choosing a smartphone, go to our website and view our rating of battery life for smartphones . Believe me, there is something to look at.
The main difference between Poco F2 Pro and other creations of Xiaomi is in the Poco launcher, which looks like a pure android and has some cool features such as sorting applications by category or the prevailing color of icons.
Well, do not forget about the promised friendly attitude to custom firmware - POCO F1 has become the record holder in their number, so it is quite possible that fans rivet firmware for every taste and color on F2 Pro. Even if you are not a geek or have already played enough with flashing, it is still nice to be able to put what you like more, and not be limited to what the manufacturer intended.
Pocophone F2 Pro pleases with little things that, at first glance, are not always obvious.
Firstly, even the Chinese version immediately has Google services and Band 3 and 7. For our customers, this is just a gift - you don’t have to wait for the official global, you can immediately buy Chinese, and roll the Russian language through MoreLocale.
Secondly, Bluetooth 5.1 allows you to save battery and create a stronger connection with the same speakers or headphones, and the upgraded SuperBluetooth technology keeps the connection, according to the manufacturer, at a distance of up to 400 meters.
Third, the sound is good. The speaker is loud, it plays cleanly, albeit without stereo, and for wireless headphones there are AptX HD and AptX Adaptive codecs - in general, everything is grown-up, “like a flagship”.
Fourthly, the device received support for Wi-Fi 6 and Multilink technology, which allows you to connect to the Internet immediately on both Wi-Fi bands and via a mobile network.
In general, all these little things, not particularly noticeable at first glance, make using a smartphone more enjoyable. It's like with 90 hertz (which is not here) - at first glance, the difference is not very obvious, but I don’t want to refuse this in the future.
Pocophone F2 Pro is an extremely controversial device. For those who were waiting for a flagship for $300, with simple case materials, inexpensive IPS and other savings with powerful stuffing, it may turn out to be a disappointment. POCO F1 “shot” precisely because powerful hardware was hidden under the unsightly shell, which “even a poor student” could afford.
For those who were waiting for a full-fledged flagship, the inexpensive display with a refresh rate of 60 hertz and low brightness was sure to be a disappointment - whatever one may say, at the moment this is not a flagship level at all. The lack of wireless charging and moisture protection is also a controversial point, it seems not a vital necessity, but it lowers the bar, so to speak.
In addition, it is not clear why it was necessary to release the Redmi K30 Pro, simply by changing the firmware and the name - the price plus or minus is the same, the filling is generally one to one, so why? ..
However, Poco F2 Pro will certainly find its buyer. At a price of $500, it has more than decent specifications, and the Pro prefix seems to hint that there will still be a regular Pocophone F2 - perhaps it will be the one that will receive a low price, a minimum of bells and whistles and a powerful processor, like the Poco F1 a couple of years ago.