“The POCO F1 is the most affordable smartphone to come with flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset”

Xiaomi has recently launched the much-awaited POCO F1 in India. The device marks Xiaomi’s re-entry into the Rs 20k+ segment, and despite that the debut offering from the sub-brand POCO is powered by class-leading hardware and all the bells and whistles one would expect from a flagship device. The formula reminds us of another device that was launched recently. Yes, we’re talking about the Honor Play (review), which also comes powered by high-end internals. This tempted us to see how the POCO F1 fares against the Honor Play.

Design and display

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The POCO F1 sports a tall display along with a large notch up top. However, if you dislike the cut-out, then the smartphone gives you an option to hide the notch. The Honor Play comes equipped with a unibody metal chassis and while the Honor 6 Play features a glass build at the back the Poco F1 settles for a soft touch back panel. 

The Poco F1 comes equipped with a 6.18-inch FHD+ while the Honor Play offers a slightly larger 6.3-inch FHD+ display. Both the phones sport distinctive design elements. The Poco F1 is available in vibrant colour options as opposed to the Honor Play which is available only in black and blue colour options.

Hardware and software

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The biggest draw towards the POCO F1 is the fact that it’s the most affordable smartphone with the all-powerful Snapdragon 845 chipset not just in India, but globally too. To put this into a better perspective, the F1’s base variant is cheaper than the OP6’s base model by more than Rs 10,000. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor on the F1 is coupled with 6- or 8GB of RAM with storage options of up to 256GB. In contrast, while the Honor Play garnered attention for shipping with Huawei’s flagship SoC — the Kirin 970  the smartphone falls behind the performance credentials offered by Qualcomm’s chip. The Honor Play ships with 4GB or 6GB of RAM, which comes with 64GB or 128GB storage, respectively. 

The Honor Play runs EMUI 8 which is based on Android Oreo. After having used the custom skins for years together I can vouch for the custom UI. However, there are times when it throws some issues and lacks the fluidity offered by the stock UI’s. In contrast, the F1 comes with MIUI but the company has optimized and modded the MIUI to better suit the new device. The Poco F1 offers Turbocharged Engine feature, newly introduced Poco app drawer and overall faster performance when it comes to app loading.

Camera and battery

Honor Play comes equipped with a dual sensor camera setup at the rear. This setup is made up of a 16-megapixel sensor and a 2-megapixel sensor for depth-of-field effect. As far as the camera app is concerned, it comes with AI backed automatic scene detection and portrait mode. The selfie camera on the Honor Play is a 16-megapixel unit.

POCO F1 by Xiaomi review 05Meanwhile, the POCO F1 sports also sports a dual rear camera setup with 12-megapixel Sony IMX363 sensor and 5-megapixel Samsung Sensor. The device also offers AI-powered features like backlit detection, scene detection mode that supports 206 scenes. Moving on, the POCO F1 boasts a 20-megapixel front sensor, which is slightly better than the Honor Play, at least on paper. 

The Honor Play is backed by a 3,750mAh cell, while the POCO F1 is equipped with a bigger 4,000mAh battery. Both the devices support fast charging.

Closing thoughts

POCO F1 vs Honor Play

In my opinion, the POCO will do to the market what OnePlus did when it launched the OnePlus One. The sub-brand from Xiaomi stakes a strong claim for the title of the flagship killer. That being said, the Honor Play is a strong contender too, it offers the right set of features and is priced slightly lesser than the F1. While POCO’s handset is clearly a better, more powerful choice, its flash sales might make it extremely difficult for people to get their hands on the device. The Honor Play is also being sold via flash sales but I feel that the brand might be able to turn rival’s problem into great opportunity.