Amidst the 2018 flagship devices, a new player emerges without much warning – blowing its competition out of the water. Boasting to be the “Master of Speed”, the Pocophone F1 awed the industry with its high-end specs and affordable pricing.

A Worthy Adversary

Calling itself the “Master of Speed” is a bold claim, especially coming from a fairly new brand – albeit being a sub-brand of Xiaomi. The F1 comes equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, which makes it the most affordable smartphone to house this SoC.

But is it really a top-performer? Paired with its 6GB RAM, the F1 is quite the unassuming, little beast when it comes to benchmarks. On AnTuTu, the F1 scored better than the Samsung Galaxy S9 and OnePlus 6. If anything, this further strengthen Pocophone’s bold claim of being able to compete with other flagships in the market.

Looks Expensive, Feels Expensive 

For a sub-RM1,300 device, the Pocophone F1 does feel more premium as compared to its competitors. While its body is mainly polycarbonate, it is far from being tacky. The 6.18-inch display with thin bezels, certainly adds to its sleek and stylish outlook. It even has the notch up top, which houses its face-scanning infrared camera and 20-megapixels front-facing camera. It feels pretty good in hand, as well.

A pretty good start to such an affordable device, I’d say. Consequently, in order to deliver a hard-to-believe price, users will find certain features to be lacking or missing altogether. This includes the lack of waterproofing, Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) for its rear camera, and NFC.

Surprising Snapper

What surprised me the most isn’t the fact that it’s just the performance. The camera, for me, is pretty great. The dual rear camera features a 12-megapixels f/1.9 sensor paired with a 5-megapixels f/2.0 depth sensor.

In daylight, the F1 takes amazing photos that can rival my Apple iPhone 8 Plus. The dynamic range of the rear camera lends a hand in snapping picture perfect moments. In fact, I might even prefer the colour reproduction of the F1 a little more than the iPhone (gasp!). I especially liked the Portrait mode, which creates depth of field in the background while still keeping the subject/foreground crisp.

With AI cameras being widely implemented on smartphones, it’s not surprising for the F1 to come equipped with it as well. The AI is quick to identify the subjects, whether it is portrait, food or scenery. If you’re a purely auto-mode user, the F1 will not disappoint. That said, since it doesn’t come with OIS, low-light photography can be a bane.


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