I know recently POCO it was one of the most controversial companies on the market. And it was especially because after the launch ofl POCO F1 in 2018, a smartphone in its "revolutionary" way, the company entered a sort of radio silence until the farewell of some of its main faces (including Jai Mani, the mind that gave birth to F1) and the official announcement of the detachment from Xiaomi, to then present the POCO X2 disappointing the expectations of its fans: of course, it is a mid-range smartphone intended mainly for emerging markets (such as India), but it was not the successor of the F1 that everyone expected.
For this, it took another 5 months, after which the company officially presented the POCO F2 Pro, which just like its predecessor promises to bring top-of-the-range performance at very competitive prices. The POCO F2 already from the first glance seems a Redmi K30 Pro rebranded, but in this review we will not talk about this and we will evaluate the new "flagship killer" as if we were living in a fantastic world, where its design, its pop-up front camera and its bump camera do not bring us to mind no other device.
Poco F2 Pro review
Because it is true that with its Snapdragon 865, the OLED display, four cameras and the glass body the POCO F2 PRO represents the ideals of POCO F1, but this time it's different, because it does so in a decidedly changed market compared to 2018 and the expectations of users that it tries to satisfy are quite different.
Of course, it is one of the cheapest smartphones to use a Snap 865, but it has a screen that is still at 60 Hz and in a certain sense it could be said that it competes with the Redmagic 5G, a gaming phone that - at a slightly higher price - offers a 144 Hz panel. In short, to understand the POCO F2 Pro will have to be evaluated with a different perspective, because if at the time of F1 users were willing to accept some compromises (such as a subdued display and an unattractive photographic sector), in 2020 things have changed and also a lot.
The contents of the packaging of the POCO F2 Pro is what you expect. The box with which the smartphone is sold includes, in addition to the device, a USB-A / USB-C type charging cable (with some orange details), a soft and transparent TPU protective cover and a charger with connector USB-A 2.25A and 27W for fast charging.
Headphones are missing, but now this lack has become almost a trend in this range where it seems that to be able to keep low with the price even if using a Snap 865, you really have to give up on that.
Design and construction
If you are among those who hate the various notches and hole-punches in the display, then you will love the design of the POCO F2 Pro because it is one of the few devices of 2020 that continues to use a pop-up front camera and therefore has a totally flat and borderless display, without any "annoying" element. No IP certification for resistance to water and dust, and a rear body made of glass (with a Gorilla Glass 5), and has a circular bump chamber that yes, slightly reminiscent of that of the Huawei Mate 30 Pro, but that protrudes slightly more and has an external flash positioned lower.
The trolley for the nanoSIM is located in the lower edge, next to the USB-C connector, one of the microphones and the speaker. Superiorly there are the pop-up camera, positioned on the left side, an infrared blaster and the input for the 3.5mm headphone jack. All the keys are positioned on the right edge, where we find the volume rocker and the key a red power button, definitely nice to look at and quite solid to the touch, even if in the sample I had the opportunity to try both keys they were rather dancers.
Weight 218 gramsjust like the Redmagic 5G, but it is less often: with his 8.9 millimeters it is a decidedly comfortable device to hold, even if the materials with which it is made make it rather slippery and subject to fingerprints on the back.
Hardware and performance Little F2 Pro
Under the body hides a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 2.8 Ghz octa-core, flanked by an Adreno 650 GPU, an internal memory (not expandable via microSD) that can be 128 or 256 GB and that is of the UFS 3.1 type, and 6 or 8 GB of LPDDR4X RAM memory in the first case or LPDDR5 in the second. It is clearly a 5G smartphone that, I must admit, ensures excellent signal reception, and integrates a WiFi 6 module, a Bluetooth 5.1 module, a dual GPS and the chip for the NFC.
Anteriorly there is the borderless display OLED da 6.7 inches at 60 Hz which integrates an optical type fingerprint sensor, which I found rather slow in unlocking, but which in fact is in line with the market share in which the device is to be inserted.
No stereo sound, but excellent ear capsule that guarantees audio quality and listening volume in quality phone calls. Quality that, however, we do not find in the only speaker that is used for the speakerphone or for the reproduction of multimedia content, which I found very subdued: it has a good listening volume, but the frequency balance is not very accurate and basically reproduces only the high ones, leaving the medium and low ones totally at home. In short, the sound can sometimes be shrill and unpleasant to listen to.
The opening speed of the pop-up camera, which has a fall protection system, which can also be used for unlocking with a 2D face and which integrates two RGB LEDs customizable in color, the new cooling system is very interesting LiquidCool Technology 2.0 which cools the internal components thanks to a steam chamber supported by graphite and graphene and which does its job very well: I have tried several times to run a series of benchmarks and the performances have always been very similar to each other, and this it is a sign of good thermal management.
Considering then the presence of a good cooling system and type memories UFS 3.1 (which in practical terms do not bring other benefits than the 3.0 if not a slightly higher speed and the guarantee of keeping the 60 fps in play), it seems to me quite clear that the POCO F2 Pro is a device that is also aimed at those users who want to play on the move without too many compromises. And in fact it succeeds, even with a dedicated software section, but not entirely and above all with some titles you feel the lack of a higher refresh rate.
In short, the hardware of the POCO F2 Pro guarantees performance on a par (if not higher) than the top of the most famous range, the whole system runs which is a beauty and without slowing down. However, I happened to stumble in some micro-lag, evident above all in the system animations, but I am more than convinced that it is a software problem that will soon be resolved.
Speaking of numbers, in my tests with GeekBench, AnTuTu, AndroBench and 3D Mark, I noticed results in some cases better than those I got with the Redmagic 5G, except in the tests with Vulkan, where the Poco F1 achieved a result 6584 compared to 6611, but the difference is very small.
The result obtained with the stress test of AnTuTu, in which I was able to notice more or less stable performance throughout the test, with a maximum CPU temperature of around 50 degrees, a sign of a good heat dissipation system.
Il vibration system has definitely improved on the previous generation. Haptic feedback is solid and very pleasant, although in some cases the "traditional" vibration may seem too "slow" (pass the term, but I can't explain myself otherwise). Pleasant is the vibration system on the Z axis which, especially in the gaming field, guarantees much more realistic feedback.
The battery is one 4700 mAh which, thanks also to the excellent energy management of the Snap 865 it is able to guarantee an autonomy of just over a day with intense use, and which can be recharged quickly thanks to the charger from 30 W included in the package, with which you can reach a refill of the 64% in 30 minutes and a full charge in 63 minutes.
I also tried to recharge it with a 50W charger, getting a full charge in just over 45 minutes. However, it is missing wireless charging, something that clearly made me turn up my nose, especially considering that in some of its direct competitors it is present and sometimes even fast.
Display POCO F2 Pro
There is little to go around, especially in gaming, the lack of a faster refresh rate makes itself felt, although I must admit that for daily use I am of the opinion that the 60 Hz of the 6.67-inch AMOLED panel are more that enough. The screen is protected by a Gorilla Glass 5 and is perhaps the characteristic where the generational leap made by the Poco F1 is most noticeable: compared to the previous model the quality of the panel has definitely improved, the blacks are very deep and the images well saturated, and its contrast ratio of 5000000: 1 and 395 ppi make the reproduced images decidedly quality.
Supports HDR 10+ and DC Dimming, to reduce eye fatigue especially in low light, and the triple sensor for detecting ambient light does an excellent job even in direct light conditions, where images are always clearly visible thanks to Sunlight Mode 2.0. There is also the Always-on mode, which is customizable via system settings.
So, the two weak points of the POCO F1 were clearly the camera and the screen. And if what about the display with the POCO F2 Pro those of POCO they definitely reversed the situation, with the camera they did it halfway. Don't get me wrong, the main sensor from 64 mega-pixels is the usual Sony IMX686 which plays its role well and also thanks to the ƒ / 1.89 lens it manages to take well-defined images, with the right color balance and a saturation close to reality, but the white balance changes a lot when shooting at 2x, for not to mention the 13 megapixel sensor (123 ° FOV) used in the ƒ / 2.4 wide-angle camera which, when used, returns photographs that I didn't like very much. In general, however, there is a great lack of OIS.
And I didn't like them especially if artificial intelligence is active, which in some cases is too invasive (especially with the wide angle) and tends to increase too much exposure and saturation: the result are decidedly altered and unrealistic photographs, like this one.
In addition, and always when using the wide-angle camera, with some lighting conditions and with some prevailing colors, the system has obvious problems in managing the white balance and it happens that, if there is no other "reference point", it will go crazy and you start to flicker, making everything unusable. To make you understand the problem specifically, just watch the video below: when only the wall (which is peach-colored) is framed, the balancing system hesitates a lot, especially because the framed peppers are of a very similar color, as soon as the plant that has green (which is taken as the reference color) all stabilizes.
There is also a 5 megapixel macro camera with a ƒ / 2.2 aperture that allows you to shoot decidedly beautiful photographs, but being devoid of any type of stabilization they are decidedly difficult to take and are affected by every micro-movement done by the hands: often the result is a photograph with micro-wavy or out of focus and, for this reason, I would advise you to use this mode only if you can rest your smartphone on a tripod or at least on a stable surface.
There are also the 64 mega-pixel mode for taking high resolution photos, the PRO mode for shooting manually and the Night Mode 2.0, the new version of the night mode interpretation of POCO, which in fact does its job but has nothing to do with those integrated in the top of the range.
The front camera is not bad at all, it has a 20 megapixel sensor that does its job well and that allows you to take selfies or video calls with more than good quality. Too bad for the speed of the pop-up that I personally consider slightly slower than usual.
Good videos, which with electronic stabilization are quite stable and which can be recorded in 4K at 60 fps, and in 8K at 25 FPS and which seemed to me more than enough even if recorded with the front camera, capable of recording slow motion at 120 fps. The quality of the super slow motion at 960 fps recordable with the rear camera is also very good, which are bright and well defined despite the high number of frames per second.
Software side, the POCO F2 Pro arrives with the MIUI for POCO, that is, a customized version for the company of the Xiaomi graphic interface with which it is customized Android 10 and which, in my opinion, is one of the most valid on the market. Personally I have always considered it the only alternative to Lawnchair and I must admit that the work done by the company's developers is definitely remarkable. Everything is in its place and the graphics are among the most beautiful in circulation, the app launcher can be organized in colors that are associated with each type of application, and all the changes of the GUI are beautiful and characterized by very fluid applications and it is the certification is present Widevine L1.
There is a one-handed mode, two applications can be used simultaneously and an OS management and cleaning system has been integrated that does its job well, but it is a pity that it is a decidedly too invasive idea and that (and this is something I hate) if not set properly it makes installing applications and cleaning the system almost hateful. The reason? The presence of advertising banners for each operation carried out: for example, at the end of the system cleaning a banner comes out, or at each installation the absence of viruses or malware is checked, and the result is accompanied by an advertisement. It's horrifying, and that's why I decided to disable any possible entries related to these features.
Price and date of sale Poco F2 Pro in Italy
Il POCO F2 Pro has an official price of 499 € for the 6/128 version, which goes up to 599 € for the 8/256 version. And yes, especially considering that it is already possible to buy it almost 50 euros less on GearBest, I think you agree with me that this is a decidedly aggressive price.
It is a well-balanced device, with excellent performance and a pleasant and simple to use graphic interface. But despite its simplicity, it is full of customizations and makes the top available to users with regard to the hardware currently available at a very affordable price.
Too bad for the absence of wireless charging and for the camera that still has a very large room for improvement, not to mention the advertisements included in the operating system that I really can't go down.
In any case, if someone were to ask me for advice on best Android smartphone for less than 500 euros to buy currently, I could only enter the POCO F2 Pro among the alternatives, because once again the company managed to produce a performing, concrete and (more or less) stable smartphone, at a decidedly inviting price.
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