Xiaomi Announces a $300 Smartphone with Flagship Specs

Posted on August 22, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 23 Comments

Xiaomi appears to have just one-upped OnePlus in the market for affordable flagship smartphones. Where the OnePlus 6 starts at a reasonable $550, the new Xiaomi Poco F1, with comparable specs, will cost just $300.


The Poco F1 is powered by a Snapdragon 845, just like all other 2018-era Android flagships. Depending on the model, it will ship with 6 GB or 8 GB of RAM, just like the OnePlus 6, and 64 GB or 256 GB of storage. The camera looks impressive on paper, too—it’s a dual-lens design with 12- and 5-MP lenses—and the phone includes a rear-mounted fingerprint reader, a headphone jack, and Wi-Fi AC and Bluetooth 5.

And yes, it has a notch, though it’s not as wide and obnoxious as the one on the iPhone X (or as grossly big as the one coming on the Google Pixel 3 XL). The 6.18-inch LCD display is modern, with an 18.7:9 aspect ratio and Full HD+ resolution.

So what’s the catch? After all, Xiaomi had to cut corners somewhere. And even OnePlus can’t come close to this price point.

From what I can tell, the cost-cutting comes in a few non-crucial areas. The body isn’t made of glass or space-grade aluminum. It’s made of polycarbonate or kevlar, depending on the model. Which is fine, as my years-long experiences with Nokia polycarbonate designs proves. (It’s even preferable: I bet this phone won’t slip out of your hand like a wet bar of soap like so many modern handsets.)

It’s also not going to be sold in the United States, thanks to the current bout of xenophobia that is sweeping through our government. Hopefully, that can change.

But in the meantime, the very existence of such a device should give hope to anyone who has been pining away for a high-end phone but can’t afford the extravagant $1000 price-tags of the most expensive models. Or even the $750 to $850 pricing of a typical Samsung.


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Comments (23)

23 responses to “Xiaomi Announces a $300 Smartphone with Flagship Specs”

  1. Yaggs

    If you want a phone like this for this price point right now go pickup an Essential Phone... it's already running Android P, has a Snapdragon 835, 128GB of memory,4 GB of ram, ultra fast charging, high quality accessories, and one of the least annoying notches ever made. The Halo Gray version is $309 right now on Amazon. The camera has been fixed since launch and can produce pretty great images... plus it is built like a rock... oh and pretty much stock Android as well.

    Can't believe the value of this phone... it's also unlocked and works on ALL carries.

    • Jaxidian

      In reply to Yaggs:

      Agreed, although it's has past generation specs and a somewhat crappy touchscreen. (I own multiple.) So it's not quite as exciting as the Poco F1 at this point, but this is a very good point. Even if Essential goes belly-up next week, you probably won't get any better support from Xiaomi on the Poco F1.

    • rmlounsbury

      In reply to Yaggs:

      Of course the million dollar question is how much longer the Essential Phone gets updates? The company is more or less trying to get bought out by someone. So there is no guarantee it will see anything past an Android P update.

      Also, it's camera while improved still sounds like a stinker and I believe it still has quite a few Bluetooth issues.

      • tomb1776

        In reply to rmlounsbury

        With an unlocked bootloader and as close to stock android as we'll see, I would be VERY surprised if we didnt see support in the alternate rom community if and when essential changes to impersonate a norwegian blue (mandatory Monty Python reference)

        As one of my techie friends said last night, it feels like a real phone - he was blown away by the 360 camera plug on to (which I picked up when it was on special at 20 bucks) - although neither of us through the 360 camera's original price (200 bucks) made any sense

        Anywho, I really like my essential phone - picked it up at the 309 price mentioned above - thing screams compared with my S9+ - guess thats what bloatware does for you!

        I'll hammer the bluetooth this weekend and see if I get any issues there...

  2. evequefou

    But where OnePlus excels is a great rendition of Android and astounding selection of LTE bands for world travel. I'm curious to see how this phone compares on those fronts.

  3. KingPCGeek

    Oh, I am so glad we have now added some Trump bashing to this site. I was thinking just last week that this site really needs to get with the times and get into politics. Why would anyone want a site where they could get away from all of that for a while and just talk about tech?

  4. Jorge Garcia

    POCO means "just a little" or "not quite enough" or "insufficient" in Spanish.

  5. rmlounsbury

    I'm very happy to see OEM's going back to Poly-carbonate/Ceramic/Kevlar type materials for the phone body. I was never a fan of the glass backs or the super-slick fancy aluminium materials. They aren't very good to grip and attack fingerprints like it is going out of style.

    I just picked up a Nokia 7 Plus to see how bad the signal will be with T-Mobile here in the states. But their ceramic back is way better than any glass or aluminium option on the market. It gives it a grippier and warmer feel.

    I'm also happy to see more "flagship-killer" type devices entering the market. While my tech-lust certainly has me wanting the best devices on the market the $700 and up price tags are really hard to swallow. If I can get a great phone that can give me a flagship grade processor mated with a quality screen and great camera I can give up a lot of extra cruft to get that sub-$600.

    I have fairly high hopes for the Nokia 7 Plus at just $324. I just hope i can get semi-decent signal and network performance in my area. That would be the only problem I can see with that device.

    • wright_is

      In reply to rmlounsbury:

      I bought my wife a Hauwei P-Smart and I got the Mate 10 Pro (275€ and 500€ respectively). To be honest, the matt aluminium body of the P-Smart is much better than the glass body of the M10P. It doesn't slip out the hand, for a start. And, to be honest, for most tasks the mid-range Kirin processor is good enough. I'll certainly think twice about paying over 500€ for a new phone in the future.

  6. LocalPCGuy

    I would love to get one of these, if it would function on US Cellular's network. This looks like the best phone deal ever, at least up to now.

  7. UbelhorJ

    The major down side being that with Xiaomi phones you have to live with their goofy MIUI skin.

  8. HellcatM

    "It’s also not going to be sold in the United States, thanks to the current bout of xenophobia that is sweeping through our government. Hopefully, that can change."

    Once president cheesie poof is out of office then things eventually will hopefully go back to normal...hopefully even get better.

    I think it not being made of aluminum is a good thing, polycarbonate and Kevlar is sturdy, aluminum just brings the price up.

    The specs look good, if I could get one what US networks would it work on?

    • Steven Lendowski

      In reply to HellcatM:

      Sadly the current gov. (and many parts of the "security" and political establishment on all sides) are acting like thugs. But sadly this is nothing new.

      Selling billions worth of arms to Saudis to MAGA so the Wahhabi dictators can continue an illegal and criminal war in Jemen.. Not to speak of their support for terror proxys all other the MENA and the whole world.

      Strong arming even partners like the EU to buy LNG from the US for 3X the price instead of Russian gas or face sanctions.. While there are millions every year for example here in Germany that sit in the cold because they already cant pay their bills.

      And still saying this is to our own best, because the evil Ruskies could stop the gar supply (Which even the soviet dictators never did, even on the height of the cold war).

      But sadly i dont think that without Trump it would be much different.

      Maybe better on the surface, better PR, but still rule by force, for the few, and not the many.

      Trump just made many ppl realize, what they couldn't see behind the surface of Obama, Bush Jr., Clinton, Bush Sr., Reagan, etc..

      "Normal" was never much different. International law has been broken more often one could count.

      The huge chance that the US gave to the world with the establishment of the United Nations and a world order based on international law after WWII, has been raped and utterly destroyed by the actions of our own western and NATO countrys, only some years after this new world order has been build.

      From the 1950s on till now, Illegal wars of aggression launched based on lies that fell apart like a house of cards; Millions of dead human beings, with not one politician ever having to face a judge on an international court. Dictatorships have always stabilized if they serve the hegemons interest.

      Its all a facade. And it is for the very best of all of us that it is beginning to crumble down. Even for those, that didn't want to see it until now.


      EDIT: Typo

  9. obarthelemy

    What's more important to me is the silly Flagship stuff this phone doesn't have:

    1- it doesn't have "no-jack", so you can use your trusty, cheap and good wired headphones. Oh, and listen to FM radio too.

    2- it doesn't have model-like thinness built on battery anorexia. So it lasts a hefty day not only right out of the box, but also when the battery wears out 2-3 years from now.

    3- you mentionned it, but yes, it doesn't have a slippery, fragile, expensive glass nor metal back.

    4- it doesn't have the extortionate no-SD "feature" that forces one to pay for wildly expensive and fast built-in storage for... storing media...

    It'd be better if it had a removable battery and wireless charging, but such as it is it's probably a commendable phone, especially for gamers. Early reviews (GSMArena's is the most in-depth) point out that the qualitative stuff (screen, sound, pics and vids) is good-to-great.

  10. goodbar

    Thank goodness, a flagship quality phone without a glass body...

    • bart

      In reply to goodbar:

      100% agree. Glass is nice for esthetics, but horrible to use IMHO. I will definitely have a look at this phone

    • mterrill68

      In reply to goodbar:

      100% agreed. Every I hear "they had to go to a glass body for wireless charging" I fondly remember my Nokia's. They allowed things like antennas and wireless charging to work fine without being fragile toys destined for the repair shop.