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What would make a true POCO F1 successor? This is what we'd like to see
Xiaomi stunned the market back in 2018 when it launched the POCO F1 (also known as the POCOphone F1). The ultra-cheap, high-spec device redefined what an affordable flagship phone could be. It’s a testament to the device’s impact that enthusiasts and critics alike still talk about it as one of the great “flagship killers.”
After skipping 2019 entirely, Xiaomi’s POCO sub-brand finally delivered a new flagship in the POCO F2 Pro. Unfortunately for Xiaomi and consumers, as good as this phone was, it wasn’t really a proper POCO F1 successor.
It seems like POCO realized this too, and an executive recently confirmed that a “true successor” to the POCO F1 was in the pipeline. What could this fabled POCO F1 follow-up look like then?
Here are some of our hopes for a POCO F2. Or should that be POCO F3?
It wouldn’t be an affordable flagship without using flagship silicon in the first place, right? It seems like a no-brainer that a POCO F1 successor would offer the latest and greatest Qualcomm silicon in it.
Unfortunately, it was widely reported that the Snapdragon 865 saw a major price leap from last year’s Snapdragon 855 series. This at least partially contributed to the POCO F2 Pro’s increased price tag and the dearth of more affordable flagships. We have reason to believe that the Snapdragon 875 processor won’t see a similarly big leap, but even the same price as the Snapdragon 865 means a ~$60 to ~$70 increase in SoC costs is on the cards compared to 2019’s flagship SoCs.
The right price
The POCO F2 Pro came in at a very competitive ~$500 when it launched earlier this year. This was significantly cheaper than the Xiaomi Mi 10, the OnePlus 8, and even the realme X50 Pro at release. But it still marked a major price increase from the POCO F1.
Related: Why affordable flagships might not do much killing in 2020
Xiaomi’s first POCO device launched at just Rs 20,999 (~$286) in India and €329 (~$386) in Europe. Now, quite a bit has changed since then, with India seeing an increase in duties, for example. So those expecting a similar ~$300 price point might be disappointed. Nevertheless, it’s safe to say that fans are expecting a sub-$400 price tag for any new POCO device.
An original design
One of the biggest issues with POCO’s current portfolio is that they’re essentially rebranded Redmi devices for the most part. Sure, we do get a minor specs tweak here and there, but they’re basically the same phone with a new name and the POCO launcher. This was also the case for the POCO F2 Pro.
A proper POCO F1 successor would definitely need an original design to stand out from the pack. Does it have to be a great design though? Well, judging by the POCO F1’s utilitarian design (with the exception the Kevlar edition), we’d say no.
Only the essential cameras
Major smartphone brands have all jumped on the triple or even quad-camera bandwagon in recent years, but the truth is that most of these cameras are gimmicky or completely useless. We’ve seen low-quality 2MP macro cameras, depth sensors, low-resolution monochrome shooters, and even a color filter camera to pad the numbers.
Read also: The best budget camera phones you can buy
All of these extra cameras add money to the final bill of materials, resulting in a phone that’s more expensive than it needs to be. This wouldn’t be acceptable for a phone that needs to be priced as low as possible while still making a profit. It stands to reason that a POCO F1 successor would ditch most of these extra cameras in favor of a solid main camera and selfie shooter. We wouldn’t mind seeing an ultra-wide secondary camera joining the main shooter though.
What about the screen?
Xiaomi’s first POCO phone launched with a FHD+ LCD screen that wasn’t bad for the asking price, but what should we expect from a follow-up to the POCO F1?
It’s tough to say, as LCD panels are still considered to be cheaper than OLED screens. So we could definitely see the company pursuing this route if it absolutely has to cut costs. We’ve also seen a trend towards high refresh rates on both OLED and LCD panels for smoother performance.
The POCO F2 Pro hints at a possible solution though, as it offered an OLED screen that topped out at 60Hz rather than going higher. Judging by the results of our recent poll asking users to choose between 60Hz OLED or a high refresh rate LCD screen, it looks like the former is the right approach. But hopefully we see a high refresh rate OLED panel nonetheless.
What else should a POCO F1 successor have?
There are number of other features we’d like to see on a POCO F1 follow-up, such as an IR blaster, a big battery, relatively fast charging, and polished camera software. But the old phone also delivered IR face unlock, and I think it’s safe to say that POCO could save a few pennies by ditching this feature.
We’re also expecting a POCO F1 follow-up to miss out on mmWave 5G for a couple of reasons. For one, this 5G flavor is only really commonplace in the US right now, and POCO phones have never officially launched in the country.
What is the most essential thing that a true POCO F1 successor would need?
The standard also requires pricier RF components. Counterpoint Research says that the mmWave Galaxy Note 20 Ultra costs ~10% more than the sub-6Ghz only variant in terms of total component costs. We’ve also seen the likes of the OnePlus 8 retailing for $100 more on Verizon due to the addition of mmWave support.
We wouldn’t expect wireless charging and a significant IP rating either, as this would add even more cost to the end product.
What would you like to see from a POCO F1 successor though? Let us know by voting in the poll above and dropping your thoughts in the comments below!