In October 2018, Xiaomi launched the Poco brand. The subsidiary had one goal: to focus on delivering the most smartphone power for the least money. The debut device — the Poco F1 (or Pocophone F1 in Western markets) — arrived to rave reviews thanks in no small part to the $299 price tag and flagship Snapdragon 845 processor.
Fast forward a year and a half to April 2020, and the revived sub-brand released the Poco F2 Pro. The newer device took a slightly different approach. No longer are the specs the true focus. Instead, Poco brought in quality metal and glass parts, a couple more cameras, and a pop-up module to create a more well-rounded phone.
But at $499, is it worth upgrading from the F1 to the F2? Find out in Android Authority’s Poco F2 Pro vs Poco F1 comparison!
Poco F2 Pro vs Poco F1 hardware: Apples and oranges
The biggest and most important upgrade that Poco gave us with the F2 Pro is the hardware. Instead of a basic polycarbonate build, we’re treated to Gorilla Glass 5 and aluminum with more funky color options. The phone also switched to a red power button, a pop-up selfie camera, and an in-display fingerprint scanner. These replace the big ‘ole notch and rear capacitive fingerprint scanner of the F1.
No longer does the Poco feel like a compromise when holding it in hand. Instead, it feels as well made as a flagship smartphone, which is a huge jump over its predecessor.
The switch to metal and glass isn’t perfect, however. Polycarbonate is far more immune to cracks and structural damage than glass. It means that one doesn’t feel the need to cover the phone in a case, allowing you to appreciate the design. In fact, I’ve had the F2 Pro tucked away in the included case since day one because I’m worried about scratching and cracking it.
Most of the creature comforts that we liked about the F1 remain, such as the headphone port, IR blaster, and dual-SIM tray. However, Poco cut the microSD card slot, which could be a deal-breaker for some people. Neither device has official water or dust resistance.
Continue reading: Bring back plastic phones
Display: More big changes
The new display was another significant jump in quality. Gone was the shadowy, uninspired IPS of the F1. It’s replaced by a shiny new AMOLED panel on the F2 Pro. The fresh, uninterrupted screen is brighter, has much better color accuracy, and delivers more contrast.
Because of the larger size and the lack of a notch, the F2 Pro’s screen allows you to feel more immersed in a game, video, or movie, which I noticed after just a few minutes of playing Fortnite. If you’re a gamer, this is going to be a noticeable upgrade.
The IPS display on the F1 makes its panel look especially outdated in 2021. The F2 Pro screen’s inky blacks and consistent lighting make the phone feel more current and higher quality.
Continue reading: 90Hz smartphone display test: Can users really feel the difference?
Performance: Now with 5G!
The Poco F1’s performance was never an issue. It’s still a great performing phone, able to run a plethora of games with very few hiccups. Yet, two generations later, the Snapdragon 865 in the F2 Pro is quite a lot more capable.
RAM and storage configurations are almost identical. The only real change is that the 64GB option dropped with the F2 Pro to make 128GB the base model. This makes sense given the omission of a memory card slot on the newer model.
Thanks to the introduction of the Snapdragon 865 on the Poco F2 Pro, we now have 5G. While this might not be all that useful thanks to uneven 5G coverage, it should keep you up to date down the line. The Poco F1 does not support 5G, so networks will leave it behind in the coming years.
Using the phones side-by-side, I didn’t spot a massive speed difference. When quickly switching between apps and browsing, however, the F1 stuttered more than the F2 Pro. This general performance delta will likely become more noticeable as time goes on.
The F2 Pro's 5G helps its longevity and futureproofing.
I loaded up Fortnite and Real Racing 3 on both devices and played for 10 minutes in each game to test game performance. I let the devices cool down for half an hour between sets. I noticed that the F2 Pro felt more responsive to touches. This made it easier to change direction and aim in games.
Battery: Doubly-fast charging
The entire battery experience has been significantly improved on the Poco F2 Pro. The F1’s 4,000mAh cell has been swapped out for a 4,700mAh unit that offers far better battery life for starters. The F2 Pro was — more times than not — a two-day phone for me. However, the Poco F1 could still easily get me through a full day, given my regular usage of social browsing and the odd YouTube video.
Further, the 18W fast charging of the F1 has been upgraded to 30W on the F2 Pro, cutting the 0-100% charge time in half. You can now get a full charge in just over an hour instead of waiting more than two hours for the F1. Neither phone features wireless charging.
Continue reading: The best Android phones with the best battery life
Camera: Improvement across the board
We didn’t think the Poco F1’s camera was all that great. There was a bit too much processing, and it had a limited selection of lenses. This means that, even on paper, the Poco F2 Pro wipes the floor with its predecessor. The F2 Pro gives us two extra focal lengths — the tele/macro and the ultra-wide — as well as 8K at 30fps video recording.
In practice, the larger main sensor and newer processor of the F2 Pro lead to better dynamic range in photos. Between this and the more realistic colors of the F2 Pro’s images, the F1’s photos look a little outdated due to the over-processed look.
Versatility is also improved thanks to the ultra-wide lens and dedicated macro camera on the newer phone. These significantly pad the types of photos you can take with the F2 Pro.
Switching over to the selfie cameras, the two devices share the same resolution. However, the F2 Pro offers more dynamic range, more accurate colors, and a sharper look. As for the mechanism itself, there is a small delay between tapping selfie mode and taking selfies. This could be an issue if you want to snap a picture “in the moment.”
As a camera package, the F2 Pro is far superior to the F1. More importantly, it feels like less of a compromise than its predecessor.
See the full-sized images in this Google Drive folder.
Poco F2 Pro vs Poco F1: Specs
|Pocophone F1||Poco F2 Pro|
Pocophone F1:6.18-inch IPS
2,246 x 1,080
18.7:9 aspect ratio
Poco F2 Pro:6.67-inch Super AMOLED
2,400 x 1,080
20:9 aspect ratio
Pocophone F1:Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
Poco F2 Pro:Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Pocophone F1:6, 8GB
Poco F2 Pro:6, 8GB
Pocophone F1:64, 128, 256GB
Poco F2 Pro:128, 256GB
Poco F2 Pro:No
-Wide-angle: 12MP, f1.9, 1/2.55", f.4µm
-Depth: 5MP, f/2.0
4K at 60fps
FHD at 240fps
720P at 960fps
20MP, f/2.2, 1/3.4", 0.8µm.
Poco F2 Pro:Rear:
-Wide-angle: 64MP, f/1.9, 1/1.72", 0.8µm
-Ultra-wide: 13MP, f/2.4, 1.12µm
-Macro: 5MP f/2.2, AF
8K at 30fps
4K at 60fps
FHD at 960fps
20MP, f/2.0, 1/3", 0.9µm
18W Fast charging
Poco F2 Pro:4,700mAh
30W fast charging
Poco F2 Pro:No
Pocophone F1:Android 9
Poco F2 Pro:Android 10
|Dimensions and weight|
Pocophone F1:155.5 x 75.3 x 8.8mm
Poco F2 Pro:163.3 x 75.4 x 8.9mm
Value and pricing: More money, more value
The Poco F1 was fantastic value for money at $299. However, at $499, the Poco F2 Pro is a better deal. Here’s why. Not only are you getting flagship specs, a great AMOLED display, and a bigger battery, you’re also getting 5G — a notoriously expensive feature — a much more sophisticated camera system, and superb build quality. At a time when phones with these specs cost upwards of $1,000, the Poco F2 Pro might just be the best bang for your buck.
Is it worth the upgrade?
The Poco F1 felt like a bit of a compromise back in 2018 and feels even more so in 2020. This is due to the big-ish bezels, plastic housing, sizeable notch, and slow charging. The industry has progressed a fair amount in build quality in the last two years, and the Poco F2 Pro is proof of this. At $499, it shows what’s possible in every area, not just internal specs.
Not only is the F2 Pro a better phone today, but it’s also going to be a better phone in the future thanks to better software support, a 5G modem, and a more versatile and capable camera array. Considering how much more phone you’re getting with the F2 Pro, I recommend upgrading to it if you’re feeling tired of the Poco F1.
However, there’s also a new Poco in town — the Poco F3. It may be a closer successor to the original F1 than the F2 Pro. It shines with an impressive design and premium build quality, along with a Snapdragon 870 processor. Poco managed to undercut its own F2 Pro on price, which means there are some cut corners to be found.
You might notice some laggy, occasionally messy software, the battery doesn’t always hold up, and the camera setup is just alright. However, it feels great in hand, and the display is brilliant. Unfortunately, it won’t make your decision to upgrade any easier.