OnePlus 6 vs Pocophone F1 - looking at both displays

The Pocophone F1 has finally launched! At roughly $300, this might just be the most affordable flagship-level device in years. In fact, the last time we saw a high-end phone with a similar price tag may have been the original OnePlus One back in 2014.

Back then, the BBK-owned company wowed the market with its “affordable flagship.” The first phone offered powerful internals and a host of other features for a very respectable price. Since then, OnePlus phones have steadily been increasing in price, from $299 for the OnePlus One to $529 for the latest OnePlus 6.

So does the Pocophone F1 pick up where the OnePlus One left off? Let’s compare the Pocophone F1 vs OnePlus 6 to better answer this question.

Design

The Pocophone F1 with its Kevlar back

The Pocophone F1 is made out of polycarbonate (i.e. plastic), although you can splash out extra cash for a rather enticing Armoured Edition with a Kevlar back (seen above). Meanwhile, the OnePlus 6 is made out of glass, which has been the premium material of choice for flagships in recent years.

Related: Smartphone build materials – how do they compare?

In our Pocophone F1 review, Bogdan Petrovan noted that the Xiaomi-backed device “definitely feels less premium” than the OnePlus 6. That’s not surprising, given the price difference between the two devices. Of course, the Pocophone F1 also happens to be a lot cheaper.

Neither phone has an IP rating, but a teardown has revealed water-resistant measures in the OnePlus 6.

Horsepower

Pocophone F1 system information displayed

This is arguably the most important way to determine a phone’s status as a flagship, and both the OnePlus 6 and Pocophone F1 are evenly matched here. The two phones share a top-flight Snapdragon 845 processor, which solidifies their flagship claims.

They both also offer 6GB or 8GB of RAM, and 64GB/128GB/256GB of storage, although they differ slightly in RAM/storage combinations. Only the 256GB Pocophone offers 8GB of RAM, while the 128GB and 256GB OnePlus 6 variants offer 8GB of RAM. Nevertheless, both entry-level models are 6GB/64GB.

So if power is your main priority above everything else, both phones will deliver the goods.

Display

An image of the OnePlus 6 held out in a person's left hand with the screen on.

The Pocophone F1’s screen is less spectacular on paper compared to the OnePlus 6. The OnePlus phone offers a 6.28-inch 2,280 x 1,080 AMOLED display, so you can expect deep blacks and proper always-on display functionality.

Editor's Pick

In contrast, the Pocophone F1 sports a 6.18-inch 2,246 x 1,080 screen. The big difference is the use of an IPS LCD screen, which typically has inferior blacks compared to AMOLED displays. LCD screens also sap juice if you’d like to use always-on display features, as, unlike OLED screens, the black colors still require power.

Both phones feature a notch, with the F1 featuring an even wider cutout. This is also another area where AMOLED screens can make a difference, as the deeper blacks are able to do a better job of hiding the notch.

Cameras

Xiaomi Pocophone F1 - rear

The camera is usually one of the main areas where compromises are made to reach a lower price-point, so how does the Pocophone F1 fare?

The Xiaomi-backed handset offers a 12MP f/1.9 main camera, as well as a 5MP secondary camera for capturing depth information. The phone also touts a 20MP selfie camera that uses pixel-binning to deliver better shots.

Meanwhile, the OnePlus 6 boasts a 16MP f/1.7 main camera, and a 20MP secondary camera. The latter camera works in conjunction with the primary shooter to help with detail and depth data. A 16MP camera handles selfie duties on the OnePlus 6.

Read: Smartphone photography tips — 16 handy tricks you should know

There’s one major advantage the OnePlus 6 primary camera has over the Pocophone F1’s main camera: optical image stabilization. OIS is practically a must for top-flight cameras, reducing handshake-induced blur and allowing the camera shutter to stay open for longer (especially at night).

We’d need to do a direct comparison to see how the two phones fare in the camera quality department, but it looks like the OnePlus 6 wins on paper.

Battery

OnePlus 6 bottom, showing ports

When it comes to endurance, the Pocophone F1 is the clear winner in terms of sheer capacity. The Xiaomi-backed phone offers a 4,000mAh battery, which the firm says should deliver a day of heavy usage. The OnePlus 6 offers a noticeably smaller 3,300mAh battery.

Both phones offer fast charging solutions (Quick Charge 3.0 for the Pocophone and Dash Charge for the OnePlus 6). But it looks like the OnePlus device has the edge, going from zero to 60 percent in 30 minutes. Meanwhile, the Pocophone F1 is said to take 30 minutes to go from zero to 35 percent. Of course, 60 percent of 3,300mAh is 1,980mAh, while 35 percent of  4,000mAh is 1,400mAh — a win for the OnePlus device then.

Neither phone supports wireless charging, which is a shame but perhaps not unexpected for the sub-$600 price.

Connectivity

Pocophone F1 display

As for connectivity and I/O options, the two phones are on an equal footing for the most part. So that means Bluetooth 5.0 (with aptX HD support), a headphone jack, USB Type-C, and a rear fingerprint scanner.

The Pocophone F1 has two advantages over the OnePlus 6, with infrared-based facial recognition being the first one. This feature isn’t enabled for everyone yet and it’s not as secure as 3D facial recognition, but it should be better than the OnePlus 6 face unlock function. The other major Pocophone strength is microSD support, which the OnePlus 6 lacks. If you’re dead-set on the OnePlus device, you’d better make use of cloud storage or get the high-end model.

On the flipside, the OnePlus 6 has an arguably bigger advantage over the Xiaomi device by virtue of its NFC chip. The Pocophone doesn’t have the wireless chip, which rules out Google Pay and other NFC-based payment solutions.

Price

OnePlus 6 rear, in red

OnePlus is one of the few brands responsible for popularizing the “affordable flagship” trend and, at a starting price of $529, it’s certainly more affordable than most flagships. For the cash, you’re getting the 6GB+64GB model.

While that’s a great price, the base model (6GB/64GB) Pocophone F1 starts at 21,000 rupees (~$299), which is over $200 cheaper than the OnePlus 6. That’s nothing short of a steal.

Editor's Pick

Need 256GB of storage? Then the top-end OnePlus 6 costs $629, while the top-end Pocophone will retail for 28,999 rupees (~$415). Even the 8GB/256GB Pocophone F1 Armoured Edition, with its Kevlar back, is 29,999 rupees (~$429).

Putting that into perspective, even the most expensive Pocophone F1 variant still beats out the entry-level OnePlus 6 on price.

Conclusion

Pocophone F1 vs OnePlus 6.

The Pocophone F1 is clearly a major entry in the affordable flagship space and, based on these specs alone, it offers impressive value for money. It even has a few wins over the latest OnePlus handset, such as more advanced face unlock technology, microSD support, and a bigger battery.

That’s not to say the OnePlus 6 is a bad buy, as you’re getting NFC support, a better display, a slicker design, and the ever-important optical image stabilization.

Are all these features worth an extra $200+ though? The answer depends on your own needs, but if the missing features on the Pocophone F1 don’t bother you, this is a much better deal overall.

So that’s it for our Pocophone F1 vs OnePlus 6 comparison. Which phone would you choose? Let us know in the comments below!

NEXT: Xiaomi Mi A2 review — An ‘A’ for effort, but still not perfect

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