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Poco teases a Poco F1 successor, but can it really bring one

Poco was expected to follow that success with another Poco F1-like device. There were constant demands but the smartphone maker kept shrugging them, until this week, when it hinted at a successor to the Poco F1.

twitter-logoManas Tiwari | March 12, 2021 | Updated 12:02 IST
Poco F1
The smartphone maker launched the Poco F1 in 2018.

Highlights

  • Poco has confirmed a Poco F1 successor.
  • New smartphone not to be part of F series.
  • Poco X3 Pro launch likely this month.

The smartphone market is growing and so are the number of brands. Many have come to India but only a handful have been able to give competition to established players like Apple and Samsung in the high-end category. OnePlus is one of them. The other that came close was Poco. The smartphone maker launched the Poco F1 in 2018 as one of the most important smartphones in the recent times. It was a powerful smartphone that didn't cost users a fortune.

Poco was expected to follow that success with another Poco F1-like device. There were constant demands but the smartphone maker kept shrugging them, until this week, when it hinted at a successor to the Poco F1. Though by a different name.

Poco has put out an open letter for its fans which confirms the follow-up to its first and most popular smartphone till now. The company said that no smartphone has been able to match Poco F1's price-point while delivering a similar performance. Only a Poco can beat a Poco the smartphone maker claimed while suggesting that the successor to the Poco F1 can be the Poco X3 Pro. Will it really be able to meet the standards of Poco F1? Seems tough.

Why Poco F1 is special?

The Poco F1 wasn't an ordinary smartphone. It was the gold standard in the mid-range category at the time. It can still beat most smartphones in the category, when it comes down to just performance. The smartphone was powered by a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with four cores clocked at 2.8GHz and the other four clocked at 1.8GHz. That was the flagship-level chipset in 2018.

Yet, the Poco F1 was priced at Rs 21,000. It's like getting the Snapdragon 865+ for under Rs 25,000 in 2021. In reality, we don't have any even under Rs 40,000. The Poco F1 came in three variants: 6GB RAM with 64GB storage, 6GB RAM with 128GB storage, and 8GB RAM with 256GB of storage.

The battery packs have become bigger in 2021 but at that time, 4000mAh was the standard for most premium smartphones and that's what the Poco F1 had too.

What to expect from new smartphone?

Meeting the expectations set by the Poco F1 won't be easy. At least one of the reasons have been pointed by Poco itself. "We are now in a different world. Costs have gone up + tax," the letter from Poco India read. That's spot on. The smartphone components have become more expensive, the 5G-enabled chipsets are not the most affordable, and last year the Indian government also increased the goods and service tax (GST) on phone components. That made very difficult to keep the price down.

Even if the smartphone makers manage to come up with powerful devices, the cost is not as disruptive as the Poco F1's in 2018. In the latest case, there is a chance that Xiaomi might re-brand the recently launched Redmi K40. The latter was introduced in China with Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 chipset, 120Hz OLED screen, and a 4,520mAh battery with 33W charging.

The last three can currently be found on a more affordable Redmi Note 10 Pro Max in India. Or, at least we are assuming it would remain more affordable. The major talking points would be the Snapdragon 870 SoC or the price at which it is introduced in the country. If Poco manages to keep the cost under Rs 25,000, then it would be a great achievement.

However, there is another rumour that suggests that the Poco X3 Pro might pack a Qualcomm Snapdragon 860 SoC. Suddenly, it doesn't sound as disruptive as the Poco F1.

Another factor is the improvement in the camera department in the last two years. The Poco F1 launched with a dual rear camera setup consisting of a 12-megapixel primary camera with an f/1.9 aperture and a 5-megapixel depth sensor with an f/2.0 aperture. It was very good for the time. But, things have changed. Users want more megapixels and extra lenses. That comes at a cost too.

There is still no word on the exact launch date of the new Poco smartphone but the company has set the expectations high by using some fancy words in its letter. Given its past record, here is to hoping that most of them are met.

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