Update (November 8): Added case renders from Spigen
The Poco F1 was quite possibly the hottest debut product by any brand to hit the Indian market in years. It changed what consumers would expect from affordable flagships, and now, the Poco F2 will try to live up to that legacy. Here's everything we know about Xiaomi's Poco F2.
Xiaomi’s dream run in India has been fueled by remarkably well-priced smartphones for an extremely price-sensitive market. Fun fact, just the Redmi Note series of budget smartphones outsell most other smartphone brands. With the ball in their court, Xiaomi knew they had to try and replicate this model at a higher price segment. The answer came in the form of Pocophone, a Xiaomi sub-brand that would focus on gaming phones.
Back in the day, gaming phones were pretty much just regular smartphones with bolder designs and top-of-the-line specifications. The Poco F1 nailed that aspect by bringing the flagship Snapdragon 845 silicon to the sub 30K price segment. This product mix was a masterstroke and made the F1 one of the most loved smartphones of its time, especially when mobile gaming was once again gaining traction. India is known to be a processor-centric market, and the Poco F1 tickled the right spot.
Of course, this left consumers hoping for a Poco F2 which would retain the same DNA and bring incredible performance for the price. But it’s been almost a year since the launch of the F1, and there’s still no word on the existence of the F2 from the company, raising questions on whether we should even expect one at this point.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The successor to the Poco F1
- When is it out? In the last quarter of 2019
- What will it cost? Should start at under Rs 30K in India
Xiaomi executives have commented that the Pocophone brand will not be discontinued, but their current focus is still on the F1. At this point, it’s confirmed that there’s more to come from Poco, probably just not any time soon. There’s still not much information about the Poco F2 around, but leaks have surfaced.
Poco F2 release date in India
One of the main reasons why the Poco F2 might release later than last year is likely just because of how component refresh cycles have been in 2019. When the F1 was unveiled, Qualcomm’s best chipset, the Snapdragon 845 was almost eight months old. However, this year, Qualcomm went ahead an even unveiled the Snapdragon 855 Plus in July as an upgrade to the 855. Knowing Poco, they would want to ship with the latest chipset available.
The Poco F1 came when the Snapdragon 845 was at the end of its lifecycle (and was one of the latest significant flagships with that chipset), but the Snapdragon 855 Plus is still relatively new, and no smartphone on the market currently sports it. We guess that Pocophone will wait for a while till the prices come down, and then incorporate it in the F2.
Thus, Q4 of 2019 is when the Poco F2 should reasonably be expected and will be one of the last flagships to be unveiled this year.
Update (November 8)
Spigen, the famous smartphone case maker now has Poco F2 cases listed on its website, and can already be ordered. The images seem to use the Redmi K20 design for now, which could mean that the Poco F2 will retain the K20's design and chassis, but could mix things up in terms of materials or colours.
Poco F2 specifications
As mentioned, the F2 will ship with the latest Snapdragon 855 Plus chipset with 6 or 8GB of RAM. Poco will also add some tweaks that improve the gaming experience of the device.
In terms of design, the phone is expected to look very similar to its predecessor with a big, notched display on the front, a polycarbonate back with the camera array in the center and unapologetically thick to house a big battery.
The display will stick to an FHD+ resolution but could get a little taller, coming in at 6.4-inches. Rumorsalso point at an OLED screen with an in-display fingerprint scanner, which will be a big step up from the wide-notched LCD panel on the Poco F1. Some design patents filed by Xiaomi recently show a phone that looks very similar to the Poco F1 but brought trendy upgrades such as a triple camera setup and a punch-hole camera on the front.
Speaking of cameras, the Poco F2 is likely to come with the triple camera setup, which might consist of a primary, an ultrawide and either a telephoto or a depth sensor. Xiaomi has announced that it will be bringing 64MP and 108MP image sensors to its smartphones later this year, and could make an appearance on the Poco F2 as well. The camera performance was not the most influential aspect last year and should be improved by Xiaomi this year.
What we want to see
If Pocophone wants to win consumers’ hearts once again, here are a few suggestions that should help the Poco F2:
The Poco F1 had a very functional design, but it was nothing spectacular and looked very basic. Add the plastic construction to the mix, and it loses a few more points. Xiaomi has moved to glass bodies for most of their budget smartphones and should be implemented on the Poco F2 as well, if feasible. Agreed that the design is not a top priority, but even something a little more unique or iconic will help the F2 standout.
A better display
The F1 shipped with a mediocre display with pretty sizeable bezels all around, and an uncomfortably fuller notch. Not only should they work at increasing the screen-to-body ratio, but also improve the panel quality. If gaming is still the top priority, a slightly bigger or taller display will be appreciated. If we were to be wishful, it would be great to see the Poco F2 bring a higher refresh rate display to the budget segment.
The Poco F1 had a 4,000 mAh battery in a rather thick body. By the time the F2 comes, we expect them to find a way to ship with a larger battery and not just chase a slim waistline for aesthetics.
Year 2019 saw the launch of multiple gaming smartphones that brought newer, bolder designs and elements like dual front firing speakers. The Poco F2 will be positioned as a gaming smartphone and should offer an immersive audio experience, especially if the top and bottom bezels are not very slim. If not, at least the earpiece should function as a second speaker.
64MP primary camera
Xiaomi has been very vocal and optimistic about this new 64MP Samsung GW1 image sensor and has even mentioned that it will debut on a Redmi device. The Poco F2 is meant for spec junkies, and an impressive 64MP sensor should go a long way in establishing that.
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