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    Reviewed: Xiaomi PocoFone F2 Pro

    The F2 is the popular “flagship killer” followup to the Poco F1, giving it rather large shoes to fill. Let’s see if it manages the job.

    DESIGN: 4/5

    The Poco F2 is a simply designed device. In trying to keep the cost of the unit down, it is created with few frills. The front of the device is dominated by a large 6.67-inch Super AMOLED display, and unlike practically every other current-generation flagship, the sides are nice and flat—something I actually like better than the trend towards curved-edge displays. The front is protected by Gorilla Glass 5, and the nicely colored rear (a shimmery blue, in our demo unit) is given the same protective treatment. The camera cluster is oriented in a rounded “X” shape inside a slightly raised circle, and there’s nothing but a bit of Poco branding at the bottom aside.

    While for the most part, the phone is devoid of fancy gimmicks, it does have a pop-up front camera with illuminated sides. The LEDs in the pop-up unit also serves as the device’s notification LED, so whether it’s face-down, or with the screen up, you can see the status of your notifications as long as you have eyes on the top edge. Very clever. I like it.

    HARDWARE: 4/5

    The whole point behind the original Poco F1 was to deliver performance at a lower cost than their competition. This holds true for the F2 as well, as can be seen in its spec sheet. It has the Snapdragon 865 SoC, an Adreno 650 GPU and up to 8GB of RAM under the hood. You also get up to 256 GB of storage, and a dual-SIM slot, though no expansion slot for storage.

    The cameras, which were among the complaints people had with the first iteration, have been given an upgrade. The F2 has a 64-MP main sensor, backed up by 5-,13-, and 2-MP sensors for telephoto/macro, ultra wide, and depth. This allows the F2 to take 8K video at up to 30 FPS, 4K video at up to 60 FPS, and 1080 video at 960 FPS, among a few other modes in between. The front camera is on a motorized assembly, and has a 20-MP sensor, capable of shooting up to 1080 videos at 30 FPS.

    USER EXPERIENCE: 4.5/5

    The phone itself is a great successor to the already great Poco F1. Holding the phone, it’s clear that this is not a device that can in any way be construed as cheap. I have handled phones that are either more expensive, or in the same price range that feel less solid, so if you’re thinking that maybe the phone feels cheap because of the great specs but suspiciously low price, don’t worry about it.

    As I mentioned earlier, you’ll first notice the fact that this is a hefty boi. You’re not going to have any doubt it’s in your pocket–it’ll let you know. The second thing I noticed about it was that massive screen. At 6.67 inches on the diagonal, it’s right up there with the bigger screens available to you now. What makes it seem even bigger is that the screen doesn’t fall away on either side, so it’s all perfectly viewable. In fact, one of the first things I did after setup was fire up a YouTube video on the phone to keep me company while I finished up some work. Aside from the great display, it has some decently powerful speakers to boot, making it an excellent choice for consuming video content, even for longer periods of time. It also thankfully has a headphone jack, so you don’t have to fiddle with 3.5-USB-C adapters.

    The daily experience is what you’d expect from a device running a flagship SoC with an abundance of RAM. There was literally nothing I could do in daily use that would slow the experience down. Even playing a windowed YouTube video while editing docs or playing a game wasn’t enough to cause it to complain. Everything remained smooth, and it didn’t even break a sweat.

    To really get it going I fired up a game of CoD Mobile, bumped the settings up to the absolute maximum, and played a few rounds. The massive screen did actually give me a distinct advantage, and it might just be me, or the fact that the phone was new, but I performed the best I had in recent months. Even with a lot going on on-screen, the phone didn’t once stutter, letting me focus on trying my best not to be a burden to the rest of the team. Even with all the settings bumped up high, after an hour of gaming, the phone itself wasn’t all that hot. It certainly was warm, but not nearly hot enough to cause sweaty palms or discomfort. Charging while playing is another matter though, but that’s just how charging works. It’s not like you’ll have to do that too often though. The massive 4700 mAh battery was more than enough to power the device for a day and a half on a full charge, and I wasn’t babying it at all.

    Camera performance is more than acceptable. It’s not the best snapper out there, lacking some of the detail once the picture is zoomed it, but it certainly is an improvement over the first generation, and can at least roll with the big boys. Give it plenty of light, and it’ll do fine.

    Another ace up the F2’s sleeve is the inclusion of 5G connectivity. This is a trick not many phones have at the moment, and makes it an exceedingly solid choice if you’re worried at all about futureproofing your kit. For some, this might be the most compelling reason to get one, and I can’t say I blame them at all.

    VALUE: 4/5

    The phone is an excellent example of what a flagship killer should be. At PHP 26,990, it delivers great specs, killer performance, and a price tag that won’t make your eyes water. If you’re in the market for a phone right now, this is a solid one to consider.

    Specifications:

    • Screen: 6.67-inch Super AMOLED display, 1080 x 2400 pixels
    • Dimensions: 6.43 x 2.97 x 0.35 in
    • Weight: 219g
    • SoC: Qualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865, Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 585 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 585 & 4×1.80 GHz Kryo 585)
    • GPU: Adreno 650
    • RAM: up to 8GB
    • Cameras: 64 MP, f/1.9, 26mm (wide), 1/1.72”, 0.8µm, PDAF
    • 5 MP, f/2.2, 50mm (telephoto macro), AF
    • 13 MP, f/2.4, 123˚ (ultrawide), 1.12µm
    • 2 MP, f/2.4, (depth)
    • Battery: 4700mAh
    • Connectivity: 5G, LTE, Bluetooth 5.1

    What’s Hot:

    • Great price
    • No extra frills
    • 5G connectivity

    What’s Not:

    • Heavy for its size

    Bottomline:

    It’s a worthy successor to the F1 in every way.

    Reviewed by Ren Alcantara
    Also published in Gadgets Magazine August 2020

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