The $300 Poco F1 Should Worry Apple and Samsung

In an age where Apple and Samsung are focused on making $1,000 models full of dubiously useful features, it’s refreshing to see one company that actually listened to real-world users who don’t give a damn about silly facial AR puppets.

Credit: Pocophone

(Image credit: Pocophone)

That company is Xiaomi, which has just launched the $300 Pocophone F1, the flagship of a new line of low-cost phones that will first launch in India but eventually will get to other parts of the world.

According to the Verge's interview with Jai Mani, the company’s lead product manager for Pocophone, the first thing they did to build the F1 was to follow Android users on Reddit to learn what they really wanted on their next phone.

Reddit users wanted a fast processor, great battery life, durable body, a good camera, and a good price. That’s it. And the Poco F1 seems to deliver all that, with a Snapdragon 845 chip and a big 4,000mAh battery.

MORE: Forget iPhone and Galaxy - This Is the All-Screen Phone You Want

The top-of-the-line Armoured Edition model (just $429) is not made of glass and instead uses Kevlar because, hey, what’s so good about an all-glass body that looks amazing in carefully staged publicity shots but then needs to be covered with an bulky case at all times? Exactly.

In addition, the phone has a 6.18-inch 1080p display, a 20-megapixel selfie cam, and dual 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel cameras. And, again, the price is just $300.

While the Pocophone F1 cuts corners on things like using Corning Gorilla 3 glass instead of the current 6th generation, it's a great example of a handset that makes sense.

The Pocophone F1 is not the phone to end all phones, but it shows that there’s a way to make a phone that is not the product of a marketing race. We need phones that really last for a full day under heavy use until it’s time to replace the battery, with fast processors and fast graphics. Durable phones—front and back—that don’t need a big case the same way your grandma uses a plastic cover to protect her living room sofa.

And you can thank Reddit users for lighting the way. Want to see this phone in action? Be sure to check out Engadget's Poco F1 hands-on.

Update: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the phone does not have an oleophobic coating on its display. We have updated it accordingly.

Jesus Diaz

Jesus Diaz founded the new Sploid for Gawker Media after seven years working at Gizmodo, where he helmed the lost-in-a-bar iPhone 4 story and wrote old angry man rants, among other things. He's a creative director, screenwriter, and producer at The Magic Sauce, and currently writes for Fast Company and Tom's Guide.

  • vol.tag.3
    Trust me, this phone is crap compared to a Galaxy Note 9 or iPhone X.
  • BKNY
    Great article.
    These low cost phones, once they can be fully supported on US networks, will alter the telcos business model, in my opinion. There will be no reason to entangle phones with service. No need for brick and mortar Sprint, Verizon, etc, phone stores all over the place. The big carriers will have to compete purely on service offerings, coverage, reliability and price. This will make the market far more transparent to the end consumer and we'll see a much more rapid slew of both hardware and software innovations.

    The giant telcos will be forced to look high and low for ways to distinguish themselves other than backdoor deals with the manufacturers. Since they own the cloud, I expect the big innovation will come in the way of AI offerings, most likely in conjunction with major industry verticals. Example will be JVs with major travel companies like Kayak or Expedia which will offer far easier ways (using expert systems and big data) to book travel for individuals and groups.
  • shawndugout13
    Crap. Get what ya pay for here. No, Samsung or Apple aren't the least concerned for obvious reasons. I guess something has to be written today..??
  • richard10570
    Yes, you get what you pay for, but I'd rather have $700 in my pocket than in Apple's spreadsheet.
  • 1046531
    They just copied apple and samsung so basically it's trash
  • webgtlnbrgrs
    It's like anything else … once they reach the end of material things to put on Cell Phones, they will be just like anything else ..a dime a dozen … Were down to faster charging and longer battery life, they say it's faster, yeah it is one hundredth of a nano-second .. ohh it brighter, yeah but the human eye can't recognize it.. Were getting near the end, so all they have is HYPE and larger screen sizes...
  • dcno16
    VOL.TAG.3 yeah it is
    but it lasts longer is more durable lcd screen though not aesthetic has some advantages over oled like no burning. a scratch guard you will put on it makes oleophobic coating useless tbh. is just as fast as other 2 has a great ui (miui 10 on andorid pi is darn the most beautiful and practical thing ever) it has a special version of that with a poco launcher that honestly is the best i have seen. so i guess it rather targets one plus than those two. as it is well friccing 300$ and 430$ for 8/256 with kevlar back. a headphone jack that iphone lacks and well surely note 9 is a great phone consider that it touches a 1000$ can you not see the actual selling point here. can you say that samsung is 3 times better sure s pen and 4k amoled is super cool but is it even twice as good as poco by xiaomi. crap is a harsh word it is not even challenging those though it very well can this is to show one plus that you are a faker daker now.
  • thelastwinchester
    Why would anyone trust an apple or Samsung sheep? Why not trust real users? I'm a pixel user who loves Xiaomi's midrange phones as well. As bad press as the MiUI gets, it's one of the smoothest UIs out there, right in the top 5 with tons of additional features. This phone will be just as good as your pixels or Note 9s and better than your Apples by default. What a great time we live in. One Plus gives none of the flagship features and yet it's priced at a flagship level where buying a LG flagship makes more sense. Poco is a flagship killer in every sense. Please don't get jealous that regular users can get blazing fast processing power and good cameras at such a low price while not being tied to one sheep ecosystem.
  • naj_sai
    These all people who are crying above are the people who purchased OnePlus 6 or Note 9 on the same day of launch of poco?? i mean seriously you guys can't digest what a company is giving in front of your eyes means it's real and really happening, Xiaomi here has proved that high end chipsets can be brought to mid range price So deal with it, You guys are tend to the fashion and trend that your so beloved companies have created about flagship in the price of kidney and so they can make product even in this price sure those other companies are very old in this market yet haven't came to a conclusion about this issue of pricing and bringing flagship level performance in mid range with a little price cut because they are money hungry and observed that people are fool and we never run out of fanboys so they continued this trend and it was never an issue.
  • j4ckl3
    I got mine today and I couldn't be happier. Worth every penny. I moved over my T-Mobile sim and everything works just fine. This phone will blow away all of the others.