Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro - More for less

Chances are the name Poco doesn't ring a bell. It is a relatively unknown sub-brand of the Chinese Xiaomi. The Poco F2 Pro is a smartphone with top specifications, for a competitive price. However, there are a few catches in the grass.

Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro

Price from € 549,-

Colour Gray

OS Android 10 (MIUI 11)

Screen 6.7 inch amoled (2400 x 1080)

Processor 2.8GHz octa-core (Snapdragon 865)

RAM 6 or 8GB

Storage 128 or 256GB

Battery 4,700 mAh

Camera 64. 13.5 megapixel (rear), 20 megapixel (front)

Connectivity 4G (LTE), Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC

Format 16.3 x 7.5 x 0.9 cm

Weight 219 grams

Other dualsim, infrared port, 3.5mm jack, pop-up camera

Website www.poco.net

8.5 Score 85

  • Pros
  • Price to quality ratio
  • Battery life
  • Screen
  • Design
  • Powerful specifications
  • Negatives
  • 5G deception
  • MIUI

The first smartphone from Poco was the Pocophone F1 from 2018, which at the time was a true budget topper for about 350 euros. In fact, the only concessions you had to make were in terms of build quality, camera and Android skin. Availability was also a problem. This second generation has gone up a big step in price: about 550 euros. Because Xiaomi now officially sells its hardware in the Netherlands, the Poco F2 Pro is fortunately widely available.

When you look at the specs and get your hands on the device, you can't help but be deeply impressed by what you get for this price. First of all, the appearance: the smartphone looks like it is twice as expensive, with a solid build quality and a beautiful design. The color of our model to be tested also appealed to me, a kind of metallic grey. The Poco F2 Pro is made of glass and has a metal edge all around. The smartphone weighs fairly heavy and has no water resistance certification. Water damage is therefore not covered by the warranty, although Xiaomi has used some rubbers and glue internally to keep water out.

Full(worthy) screen

The screen also catches the eye - in a figurative sense. The Poco F2 is a large device, the entire front of which (except for a few thin screen edges) consists of a 6.7 inch screen, with a fairly elongated screen ratio of 20 by 9. There is no screen notch or camera hole, the front camera slides out the top left side of the device. A pop-up camera is fairly rare these days, and while I was always skeptical about the durability of these cameras at first, it's a nice feature. Apps can't approach your front camera unnoticed, which is reassuring. The mechanism of this pop-up camera also feels sturdy and solid.

The amoled screen does not have a higher refresh rate or resolution and thus keeps it at 60 hertz and 1080P respectively. Personally, I don't miss anything about that, especially because the display quality of the screen is very high. The screen is bright and the colors are well calibrated. But those who value the smoother running images of smartphones with screens with a higher refresh rate may be better off with a smartphone from OnePlus.

The fingerprint scanner is located behind the screen. Unfortunately, this scanner did not recognize my thumb more often than it did. That was very frustrating, because like most fingerprint scanners behind the screen, it feels like a step backwards compared to physical fingerprint scanners on, for example, the back or side of the smartphone.

Don't be fooled by the 5G icons on the device and the box.

Powerful

The specifications also make a deep impression. The smartphone has the most powerful Snapdragon chipset. The Poco F2 comes in a version with 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM and one with 256 and 8GB. The variant with more working and storage memory is about 50 euros more expensive. Be sure to check how much storage you need, because you can't expand this with a memory card.

The chipset in the Poco F2 Pro officially supports 5G. However, if you are in the market for a smartphone that uses this new network technology, then it is better to ignore this smartphone. This summer, the first 5G networks will be switched on with a bandwidth of 700 mHz. That band is not supported, only the 3.5 Ghz band, which Dutch 5G networks will not be using in the coming years. So don't be misled by 5G icons on the device or on the box.

Concessions and perks

So there are a few things missing from the Poco F2 Pro, such as the aforementioned 5G support, a screen with a high refresh rate and water resistance. Wireless charging is also not an option. But this is actually fine to live with, given the price of the smartphone. Furthermore, you do not actually have to make concessions with this smartphone. There is a headphone port and even an infrared light so you can use the smartphone as a remote control. It is also nice that there is a relatively large battery (4,700 mAh), which you can fill up pretty quickly with a 33 watt charger. A full battery will last you for a day or two, although this will of course depend on how you use it.

Camera

A versatile camera is placed on the back of the device. This is beautifully incorporated in a circular camera island. Here you see four lenses. The primary lens is a 64 megapixel sensor (Sony IMX686). In addition, the Poco F2 Pro has a 13-megapixel wide-angle lens and a 5-megapixel zoom lens. The fourth lens is a depth sensor, which is used for capturing depth of field, for example for portrait mode. In practice, this means that thanks to the wide-angle lens, you 'zoom' 0.6x, and the zoom lens up to 2x.

The zoom lens is particularly suitable for macro photos. But the quality of this lens is really noticeably lower than the primary and wide-angle cameras. Use this especially if you want to photograph detailed objects from very close, such as flowers. It is therefore better not to use this as a zoom lens, if you can take a step back, you are much better off with the primary camera.

The primary and wide-angle lens do not differ very much in photo quality. You only start to notice the difference when you take pictures in difficult lighting conditions. Think of low light, a lot of backlight or heavily cloudy outdoor environments. In such cases, it is best to fall back on the primary lens, which can handle it better. However, there is a difference with camera toppers such as Samsung's top devices or more expensive iPhones. In terms of color capture, details and depth of field, these devices are well ahead. When there is very little light available, unfortunately you can capture relatively little with the camera of the Poco F2 Pro. The night mode offers no solace either.

From left to right: the telephoto, primary, and wide-angle lens. N.B. don't forget (like me) to turn off the weird watermark in the camera settings.

MIUI 11

You may have wondered why a smartphone that has so much to offer still manages to be quite a bit cheaper than the competition. When you turn on the Poco F2 Pro, you notice that Xiaomi taps into other sources of income in the form of advertisements in its Android skin MIUI. Therefore, do not forget to uncheck the personalized advertisements box during the first configuration.

Furthermore, MIUI takes you far away from the excellent basis of Android 10 in a wrong way. Childlike colors, icons and sounds are present everywhere. You also get a lot of bloatware for you to choose, which also contains advertisements. The RAM Jet and built-in antivirus, in particular, are disturbingly unnecessary - and disguised as a system app so that they are unremovable. Also, the system is quite rigorous when it comes to truncation of background processes, which sometimes causes apps to run unstable.

So it is definitely recommended to uninstall many pre-installed apps and install a separate launcher like Nova Launcher.

MIUI is full of advertising and bloatware.

Alternatives to the Poco F2 Pro

The Poco F2 Pro reminds me a lot of last year's Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro, but tuned up with better specs, screen and a slightly higher price. The 9T Pro is still available and a great (cheaper) alternative. If we are talking about older devices that cost about the same at the time of writing: the Galaxy S10+ (better camera and software) and the OnePlus 7T (better software) are also excellent alternatives.

The biggest shortcoming of the Poco F2 Pro is the software. If you also find this important, then the iPhone SE (2020) is worth considering, or you might be better off waiting for the Pixel 4A from Google.

Conclusion: buy Poco F2 Pro?

The Poco F2 Pro is one of the best smartphone deals you can get right now. You get top specifications, a particularly luxurious device with pop-up camera, versatile camera, beautiful screen and excellent battery life. However, there are some caveats that you should keep in mind. First of all, Androidskin MIUI, including the bloatware, is a slap in the face. Also, the 5G stamp on the device is simply misleading.

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