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.