Almost exactly two years ago, Xiaomi pulled a page from OnePlus’ playbook and stunned everyone with the Poco F1 (or Pocophone F1), a phone with proper flagship specs that cost just $300. While the F1 cut some corners to achieve this feat (plastic build, no NFC), it still delivered amazing performance and battery life. Then in 2019, it was followed up by… crickets?
While Redmi’s excellent K20 Pro was technically the Poco F1’s successor, Xiaomi didn’t release a Poco-branded device last year. That changed back in February 2020, when the company announced it was spinning Poco off as a sub-brand.
Google dropped the first Android 11 Beta yesterday, which means functionality is getting close to what we can expect in the final, stable version. This is usually the stage at which other OEMs are brought on board so developers and enthusiasts can install the Android Beta on devices other than Google Pixels, and now Oppo, Xiaomi, and OnePlus are announcing support for several of their phones.
Poco’s first phone created quite a stir back in 2018 when it came out rocking the then-flagship Snapdragon 845 chip for an astonishingly low price tag of about $300. It took the Xiaomi spin-off close to two years to deliver its hotly anticipated follow-up, which finally landed on a global stage today. Named F2 Pro, the 2020 Poco flagship has received a serious spec bump from the previous model but has lost the price advantage that helped the brand stand out in its early days.
There's no secret as to how Poco’s first phone — the F1 — rose to immense popularity in a short period: It gave its users a taste of flagship-class performance on a tight budget. The F1 hasn’t seen a proper follow-up since it was launched about two years back, though, and all we got in the meantime was a mid-ranger. The Xiaomi sub-brand will likely change that come May 12, when Poco is expected to unveil a new high-end phone.