Why the POCO X2 is better than the F1, and almost every other phone less than Rs 20,000


POCO’s new smartphone is nothing like than its original device. The original POCO F1 was a phone all about the performance  — the shed everything that was in the way of performance or not core to it. This included an all-plastic back in an age where even budget phones had metal exoskeletons. The POCO F1 even paired back on the display quality and even used an older camera sensor. Overall, the POCO X2 may not be all about performance like its predecessor, but it is a better all-around phone which makes this more or less the best sub 20k smartphone in India at the time of writing this. 

What’s warped

  • POCO has crafted a very neat looking device, unlike the F1. The POCO X2 looks stunning with its all-aluminium chassis which has smart curves which makes ergonomics also very usable. If anything, the X2 is the anti F1 in terms of looks. At the same time, it is also arguably the best sub Rs 20,000 smartphone in India. 
  • It becomes the cheapest phone with a 120Hz display in India. But its just not just a cheap LCD display with a high refresh rate; it is actually one of the better LCD panels I’ve seen on a phone. To top things, there is also pill-shaped notch which is much smaller than the iPhone style notch on F1. 
  • Another first for the POCO X2 is the quad-camera system on its back. The new 64-megapixel Sony IMX 686 makes its India debut with this phone and it will likely be the go-to sensor for every top smartphone this year. The F1 had a year old Sony sensor in comparison. And when this new sensor is coupled with a wide-angle, depth sensor and also a macro lens, you know you have phenomenal imaging chops out of the box. The images prove that, though POCO has a ways to go with its tuning so this phone’s camera will only improve which is very scary for a phone of its price. 
  • The front-facing cameras are also equally impressive. I managed to take some of the best selfies I’ve managed in a while. The selfies are definitely better than higher-end phones like the OnePlus 7T and even older iPhones. 
  • Many people would’ve been concerned that since the phone only shifts between 120Hz and 60Hz which would have a massive impact on its battery. Luckily, the 4,500mAH battery ensures that this phone lasts a day. It also comes with a 27-watt charger that can achieve 100% charge in 2 hours which is also handy. POCO says that in the coming months if there is a need for a 90Hz setting, they can add it through a software update. 
  • This phone is a complete package — it has an IR blaster something that you don’t get on most phones these days. It also comes with a 3.5 headphone jack which is another feature that is going the way of the dinosaur. It even has P2i water and dust resistance which is another feather in its cap. The fingerprint scanner is also one of the fastest ones I’ve tested as it is mounted on the power button. 
  • Last but not least is the performance. Don’t fret that this phone doesn’t have a Qualcomm 800 series processor. The Snapdragon 730G is fast and furious and very efficient thanks to its 8nm manufacturing node. For gamers, this phone will hold high frame rates without breaking a sweat. This happens as it also has liquid cooling which was a core feature of the POCO F1. In the real world, you arguably get even better performance because of the 120Hz display which creates an illusion of speed. It is easily amongst the fastest phones one can buy for less than Rs 30,000. 

What’s not

  • It’s not a true successor to the POCO F1. If you were looking for the best of breed processor or performance from an Android smartphone, then this is not the phone that will provide it. Right now, the OnePlus 7T is the fastest Android smartphone, probably if there is a POCO F2, that will take over that mantel. 
  • The fact that looks identical to the Redmi K30 which is sold in China will rankle a  lot of nerds who wanted something authentic and original. It is a problem even if it really has no bearing on how the phone performs. 
  • This is a hefty phone by any measure. It weighs 208 grams and is 8.79mm thick while it also has a 6.67-inch screen. It is a big phone by any measure and people who don’t big phones will not like this phone, even though it looks quite beautiful. 
  • POCO’s camera tuning needs to be more refined. While the performance is great, it is still not even close to hitting the sweet spot which is also happening because this is the first time this sensor is being used. 
  • Battery life could’ve been better if this phone had a larger 5,000mAH battery. The POCO F1 had legendary battery life, this one doesn’t rise up to that legendary status. 
  • Xiaomi’s MiUI 11 being at its heart, there is no way one can say this is either the most enterprise-friendly or generally intuitive software stack on a smartphone. That crown probably goes to stock Android One or OnePlus’s Oxygen OS. From a broader perspective, POCO needs its own OS which would help differentiate its phones better. That being said, this is better than Samsung’s One UI or Huawei’s EMUI. 

To buy or to not buy

The POCO X2 is a completely different beast to its predecessor the POCO F1. That being said, it is also a superior phone by almost every measure which makes it even more impressive. This also means that it competes with every sub 20,000 smartphone very well; in fact, it is better than all of them. So if your budget takes a hard stop at Rs 20,000 and you don’t have any qualms owning a POCO phone, which admittedly is a new company, it is a pretty simple answer. Yes! Go buy it on 11th February.