After almost two years without hearing about Poco, Xiaomi's sub-brand that managed to break the market with the Pocophone F1 in 2018, the company has returned to the fore with the Poco F2 Pro. On the one hand, the phone replicates the original philosophy of the first launch and is postulated as the 'flagship killer' of the moment. On the other hand, it moves away from the Pocophone F1 with a price that exceeds 500 euros for the first time . The difference is that now the brand has not skimped on costs, betting on three fundamental pillars, performance, the camera and the screen. Can you justify the price increase over the 2018 model? I have had the opportunity to test the Poco F2 Pro for just over three weeks to answer this question.
The analysis of the Poco F2 Pro has been carried out during the coronavirus quarantine. That is why some tests related to the actual user experience have been limited. These tests show results in autonomy, connectivity and photography that may differ from the daily use of the device under normal conditions.
|Little F2 Pro|
|screen||6.67 inches with Full HD + resolution, AMOLED technology, 5,000,000: 1 contrast and 1,200 nits of brightness|
|Main chamber||Sony IMX686 64 megapixel main sensor and f / 1.7 focal aperture with 8K recording|
13 megapixel wide-angle secondary sensor and f / 2.2 focal aperture with 123º of amplitude
5 megapixel tertiary sensor with combined telephoto and macro lens
2 megapixel focal f / 2.4 quaternary sensor for bokeh
|Camera takes selfies||20 megapixel main sensor|
|Internal memory||128 and 256 GB of type UFS 3.1|
|Processor and RAM||Snapdragon 865|
GPU Adreno 650
6 and 8 GB of RAM
|Battery||4,700 mAh with fast charge 33 W|
|Operating system||Android 10 under MIUI 12|
|Connections||4G LTE, WiFi 6 802.11 b / g / n / ac, GPS, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC, USB type C and 3.5 mm jack|
|SIM||Dual nano SIM|
|Design||Metal and glass construction|
Colors: blue and white
|Dimensions||163.3 x 75.4 x 8.9 millimeters and 219 grams|
|Featured Features||In-display fingerprint sensor, 5G connectivity, software face unlock, retractable camera, 33W fast charge|
|Price||From 530 euros|
Surprising all-screen design (at the cost of weight)
The Poco F2 Pro hits the 2020 market as the only true all-screen. No notches. Without holes. Only with a retractable mechanism that activates the camera every time we start it, which allows the company to obtain a screen-to-body ratio of 92.7%. It is a fact, the phone manages to surprise and for good . The immersive experience without bumps on the screen is the aspiration of the entire smartphone market. But with current technology, everything has a price, weight.
The phone weighs a whopping 219 grams . With the case that comes standard (of quite good quality, by the way), this weight is accentuated even more in hand, to which must be added the size of the screen, which is close to 6.67 inches. It is a fact, it is a very heavy and large mobile, so it is not suitable for all audiences. I have to admit that at first it was a nuisance, but finally I got used to it.
If we talk about the back of the terminal, the finish of the housing in 'neon blue' (that's what the brand has called it) is quite striking as well as elegant . With the incidence of sunlight, the hue varies slightly. Of course, being shiny glass, the phone is a magnet for fingerprints. Perhaps the most annoying thing about its rear is the camera module, which protrudes enough to cause some play on surfaces . Otherwise, the overall feel of the phone is not at all different from that of a high-end phone, with the lure of Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection against drops and scratches.
As for the retractable module, the opening speed allows us to switch between front camera and rear camera without much delay . Like the Xiaomi Mi 9T, the brother phone of the Poco F2, it is accompanied by an LED light that is activated when we activate the camera. The difference with respect to the Mi 9T is that now we can configure the color of the light to our liking. Curiously, this light also serves as a notification LED, something that is becoming less common but is worthy of appreciation.
Screen that shines for its calibration but that forgets a fundamental pillar
The Pocophone failed to stand out in its release due to the quality of its screen. The company seems to have taken note of this by installing a panel that is committed to quality rather than numbers. Specifically, the phone consists of a 6.67-inch AMOLED screen with Full HD + resolution, 800 nits of maximum brightness, 98% NTSC color range, 5,000,000: 1 contrast and a 180 Hz touch sampling rate.
Away from technical data, the truth is that the screen stands out for its level of calibration and quality in colors . In fact, it has nothing to envy to the screen of the Galaxy S20 + that I was able to test a few weeks ago. I would even dare to say that the colors are more realistic and less saturated. It was not something I expected, to tell the truth, but Xiaomi has done a good job in this regard.
Where I do find a significant room for improvement over other panels is in the maximum brightness level. It is true that we will not have any problem when viewing the screen outdoors, but it does not shine as much as the initial figure anticipates us. You also have to slap the wrist on the brand because of the panel frequency. The company has chosen to keep the traditional 60 Hz , something that is not understood if the main slogan of the phone is “Smooth performance. In search of the definitive experience ”. Starting from 530 euros I would have expected a panel with at least 90 Hz.
But none of these shortcomings have failed me as much as the touchpad response. Despite the fact that the terminal has 180 Hz, the sensitivity of the screen is dire. Yes, dire. Typing with the native keyboard without spelling mistakes is practically impossible . At the edges of the screen this problem is further accentuated, with an almost non-existent response. I have tried installing several keyboards, but the experience has been the same.
The general feeling in this regard has been quite negative, especially when I have had to work with the phone to send emails or answer conversations with other collaborators. I know that it is a general problem in the brand , so I do not think it is solvable through a software update.
High-end experience with a very green MIUI version
Looking at the specification sheet of the Poco F2 Pro we can expect a user experience worthy of high-end. Snapdragon 865, 6GB of RAM, 128GB of internal UFS 3.1 storage… In other words, the phone flies.
In applications and games the performance of the terminal has been more than satisfactory. Switching between applications is agile despite the 6 GB of RAM it may seem scarce for some. Transitions, system response, and animations help enhance this experience. Although perhaps the most remarkable thing about the phone, without detracting from the whole set, is its temperature management .
On the left, Poco F2 Pro score in Antutu. On the right, reading and writing speed of the internal memory.
In games, the temperature does not exceed the predictable limits on a phone with such characteristics. In fact, the firm has placed special emphasis on the Poco F2 Pro's cooling system, with a vapor chamber that occupies almost 28% of the body. I have tried to do several tests in Antutu and the temperature has reached 32º C maximum . To put this figure into context, the Galaxy S20 + that I tested a few weeks ago reached 40º C. That's nothing.
But not all that glitters is gold. MIUI failures in this terminal are numerous. For example, the Google feed that is displayed with the launcher loses proportion and shows a much broader interface than it should, not to mention the multiple errors in the translations of the menus or the handling of MIUI notifications.
MIUI errors in the interface. The first screenshot shows a notification in English, while the second shows the notifications that have already been deleted. The last screenshot shows a distorted Google feed that does not correspond to the actual size of the screen.
The latter is especially annoying, since some of the notifications remain anchored in the notification bar even after having accessed the notification in question. It is true that the performance of the system is correct, but the phone is missing a couple of updates to be as stable as expected from a mobile with such specifications.
A macro that looks like a microscope and a photographic set that is not up to par
We come to the section that arouses the most interest among the public. The photographic set of this Poco F2 Pro is supported by four sensors on the rear of 64, 13, 5 and 2 megapixels . The lens configuration leaves us with the following scheme: main sensor, wide angle lens, macro lens and depth sensor for Portrait mode. Let's start with the first sensor.
The quality that this sensor provides us in daytime photography is quite correct. Photos in bright sunlight show the detail expected in a sensor with such characteristics. The colors that the images throw at us are somewhat pale and 'washed out' for my taste, although much more faithful to reality than what the trend is currently setting in the market, with excessive saturation and contrast levels. When it comes to dynamic range, you do miss sharper shadow detail when backlit. Areas with higher light contrast appear darker than you might expect.
Photos with main sensor.
This same lack is also carried over to images captured at night. Sensor performance in this scenario is quite poor. When artificial lights are present, the camera manages to raise the lights, however, when the light is rather poor, the phone is not able to raise the exposure .
Photo without Night mode
Photo with Night mode.
Photo without Night mode
Photo with Night mode
Photo without Night mode
Photo with Night mode
Photo without Night mode
Photo with Night mode
Night mode doesn't help raise those lights either. In fact, the end result makes the images quite messy by not being able to stabilize the scene. I have not found reference to an optical stabilizer in the technical specifications, so I doubt that it has a dedicated stabilization system.
Photos in Portrait mode. The camera's blur and body detection work is pretty good.
Speaking of stabilization, the company's work when it comes to recording video with the main camera is quite good, at least during the day. Here the phone uses a digital system to stabilize the scenes. Autofocus is frankly good , as is the level of detail.
Special mention to the Stable mode of the camera, which adds an extra stabilization to the scenes without the need to resort to a timpani . It should also be noted the inclusion of a mode that allows us to record in 8K at 24 FPS and in 4K at 60 FPS . Stabilization in these two modes is conspicuous by its absence, although the company's efforts in this section are appreciated.
Unfortunately, Xiaomi's good work during the day is clouded when recording at night as we do not find an optical stabilization system. The results when recording video are very poor. When stabilizing by means of software, the visual artifacts when we move are numerous . The focus of the objects is maintained, yes, but the level of luminosity does not allow to see the scenes clearly. In short, an inefficient camera in this regard.
These same sensations are also transferred to the 64 megapixel photo mode. Here Xiaomi enables the capture at the native resolution of the sensor to take images with a resolution of 9,248 x 6,936 pixels. I already spoke in detail about this type of sensors after testing the Redmi Note 8 Pro in the respective article on tuexperto.com. The general experience is the same: it contributes little and does not present any tangible difference from images captured at 16 megapixels.
Cropped photo of captured image at 16 megapixels
Cropped photo of captured image at 64 megapixels
It is time to talk about the 13 megapixel secondary sensor. This sensor is equipped with a wide angle lens with 123º aperture, which a priori gives us greater versatility. And so it is. During the day the pictures are decent. The level of detail is good, although the brightness and saturation are a bit out of control due to the chromatic aberration present in this type of lens. Dynamic range suffers as well, with even poorer results than main sensor results.
And the reason for this is the sensor's focal aperture (f / 2.4), an aperture that works against when the light is low. In other words, the camera in night scenes is not very usable . In video it is the same as with the main sensor. Stabilization and level of detail during the day are good. This is not the case at night, where the camera is practically useless.
But if there is a camera that has surprised me, it is the one that is accompanied by a macro lens. And that I have always been against this type of sensors. The photographic experience with this sensor is unique in the market. It offers a level of detail and focus similar to even a professional macro lens. It is even capable of differentiating the orography of our fingers or the folds of the skin , with a very natural bokeh and a definition never before seen on a mobile phone. As if this were not enough, the company has enabled video recording to record scenes with this sensor. The results are identical to those offered by the camera alone in photography.
Photos with the macro sensor.
Finally, let's talk about the front camera, made up of a 20 megapixel sensor. The same thing happens with this camera as with the rest of the brand's phones. By default, Xiaomi applies a native Beauty mode that washes the colors and texture of the face. This mode remains active even if we disable it manually, which makes no sense in the European market (in China this type of mode seems to be common). If we focus exclusively on the quality of the images, the truth is that it meets what is expected if we ignore the detail that I just mentioned .
Photos with the front sensor. Xiaomi's good work with Portrait mode remains.
During the day we will not have any problem with selfies except if the lighting is very aggressive (direct sunlight, incandescent lights ...). In such a case, the lighter shades will burn out. The same happens at night but the opposite. If the light is poor, the level of detail will be non-existent. It is not a good camera but it will help us to get out of the way . Also in video, where the stabilization is maintained even at night.
The best autonomy in a high-end of 2020
Where Poco's phone has managed to surprise me for good has been in autonomy. Taking a look at the specification sheet we find a 4,700 mAh battery, a figure, a priori, not very striking, especially if we take into account the size of the terminal. Far from theoretical figures, the truth is that the autonomy of the Poco F2 Pro has managed to surprise me for good.
On average, the phone has been able to withstand two days of use, with about 10 hours of active screen. Sometimes I have managed to stretch this figure to 11:30 and even 12 hours . Other times I have managed to get up to three days with a more moderate use , which is no small feat if we take into account that this year's high-end has been affected by the inclusion of a 5G modem in the central module of the processor. . In other words, it is the highest-end phone with the longest autonomy, at least at the time of this writing. It is true that the tests have been limited by the quarantine, although during some outings the figures have not differed much.
And what about charging the device? The feelings in this aspect are just as positive. The phone supports a theoretical maximum load of 33 W, a capacity that is replicated by the charger to provide the highest speed without the need to resort to third-party chargers. In numbers, the total charging time is exactly one hour , a little more if we charge the phone from 0%.
Xiaomi, we have a problem with MIUI and mobile data
The phone's spec sheet augurs a perfect experience when it comes to device connectivity. Sadly, this has not been the case under my tests. The reason? Mobile connectivity.
The level of coverage both indoors and outdoors is really good. In fact, it is one of the phones with the highest level of coverage that I have been able to test this year . But the problem is not so much to do with coverage, but with the ability to connect to the mobile network to make use of the data.
During the first days of use, the connection to the network through mobile data (4G and 4G +) has been good. After just over a week, the terminal was unable to connect to mobile data . I tried to change the compartment SIM and managed to solve the problem. Two days later, he threw the same error again. The difference is that I haven't been able to get mobile data working again since then. Neither changing the SIM card, nor configuring a new APN, nor resetting the network settings. Probably the error would have been fixed by factory data reset, but I think that would not be fair. I was also unable to update the device, as it has not received any updates during the testing period.
Otherwise, the behavior of the terminal with the rest of the networks has been as expected. The range of WiFi and Bluetooth is quite good , as well as the stability of the connection. I have not been able to test the NFC given the current situation, but I do not doubt that it works well. What is to be appreciated is that Poco has decided to keep the infrared for the remote control functions.
Jack for headphones and a sound that fails to stand out
The trend of eliminating the 3.5 mm jack for headphones is increasingly accentuated. Luckily, Poco has decided to keep the connection port on the Poco F2 Pro, which is a differential point with respect to the rest of the competitors. Personally, it is something I appreciate, since carrying adapters is a pain in the neck.
If we focus merely on sound, the experience provided by the port is as expected, with a volume and quality more than acceptable. Sadly, this experience doesn't carry over to its only external speaker, which is located next to the charging port. The volume of this is sufficient, although somewhat low compared to other high-end phones. The nuances are also somewhat scarce , with little presence of bass and a treble that is blurred by the mid frequencies.
The general feeling is that we find a flat sound. To this must be added that the phone does not have a second speaker , which cannot be conceived in this price range. It is not a bad sound, but it does not correspond to what we pay for the input terminal.
Biometrics that doesn't disappoint
There are two unlocking methods for the Poco F2 Pro. On the one hand, we find the facial unlocking system of its front camera. I must admit that I have not configured it in my three weeks of use. The reason? Its fingerprint sensor works well enough that you don't have to rely on the camera . Moreover, I consider that the use of the camera to unlock the system is counterproductive, since the time it takes to activate it is time that we lose if we want to use the device as quickly as possible.
The performance of the fingerprint sensor on the screen is good, one of the best in its range, I would dare to say. At no time has it shown any errors when it comes to recognizing registered fingers. Other on-screen sensors may not be as fast and electric, but the recognition area is much wider than other options I've been able to try . If in other reviews I have recommended activating the face unlock to speed up access to the system, in the Poco F2 Pro I directly recommend doing without it.
Conclusions and opinion of the Poco F2 Pro
It is time to draw conclusions after analyzing the Poco F2 Pro in detail. Today the phone can be bought in the official Xiaomi store for 500 euros through a temporary promotion. For this price we get a mobile with the best technical set of 2020, with 5G and with an all-screen design that no other brand has managed to replicate in their respective terminals this year. The question we have to ask ourselves is the following: is it worth spending 500 euros for a phone with a camera that is not up to par and a screen whose sensitivity does not provide a good user experience?
The answer to this question depends on the preferences of each user. What is a fact is that the phone is no longer as disruptive as the Pocophone F1 was in its day . For this price we find quite worthy alternatives, although none with such a specification sheet. Is it the phone to recommend in the high-end this 2020? Possibly, but Xiaomi has to start taking more care of the user experience if it does not want to experience a user flight.
I would personally rule out this model because of the problem with the screen touch and coverage. I understand that the latter may be a specific problem , but it is not something that can be missed on a mobile that exceeds 500 euros at the time of departure.