Poco F6 and F6 Pro review: Reigning budget supreme phones

Poco F6 and F6 Pro review: Reigning budget supreme phones

Poco F6 and F6 Pro review:

Poco F6 Pro (left), Poco F6 (right).

Flagship processors, entry-level price

No one does it better than Poco at maximising value for money. As seen in its predecessor, the Xiaomi sub-brand was capable of giving us a flagship Qualcomm processor at a steal. 

Xiaomi’s old reputation as a “budget smartphone” brand has since moved away from its mainline devices, leaving Poco to ensure that its min-maxing expertise isn’t idle. 

TL;DR:

Poco F6 and Poco F6 Pro are amazing for their cost, but they also remind us that components and price tags aren’t the only things that matter in phones.

The Poco F6 and Poco F6 Pro start at S$559 (256GB) and S$709 (256GB), respectively, and are available on Lazada and Shopee.

The Poco F6 and Poco F6 Pro both satisfy the Poco F series’ proposition of flagship components at entry-level or midrange prices.

For instance, the Poco F6 (starting at S$559), has a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 platform, which was specifically designed for ‘flagship-lite’ smartphones. Poco F6 Pro (starting at S$709) adopts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 2023 premium flagship processor (also featured in the Xiaomi 13 Pro).

Together, they represent an intimidating combo pressuring other phones that cost S$500 to S$999 (or even S$1,000+)  that came out this year, let alone the previous year.

As seen in our hands-on feature from the phone’s launch event, the handsets aren’t entirely shabby at taking photos, even if photography isn’t their main forte or selling point. The F6 series also has other draws, like its display and improved user interface. With more time to test and put the phone through everyday use since its debut, we’ll delve into more details in this review.

So, are the components only nice on paper, or are they really great value for money? What do you sacrifice to keep costs low? Here’s where we break it down for you.





















 

Poco F6 Pro


Poco F6
 

Poco F6 Pro


Poco F6
Launch SRP
Network:
Operating system
  • Xiaomi HyperOS (Android 14)
  • Xiaomi HyperOS (Android 14)
Processor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8s Gen 3
Built-in Memory
  • 12GB or 16GB RAM (LPDDR5X)
  • 8GB or 12GB RAM (LPDDR5X)
Display
  • 6.67-inch, 3,200 x 1,440 pixels, Flow AMOLED DotDisplay, 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, 480Hz touch sampling rate, HDR10+, DCI-P3, Dolby Vision, 700-nits brightness (typ) 4,000-nits (peak)
  • 6.67-inch, 2,712 x 1,220 pixels, Flow AMOLED DotDisplay, 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, 480Hz touch sampling rate, HDR10+, DCI-P3, Dolby Vision, 500-nits brightness (typ) 2,400-nits (peak)
Camera
  • Rear:
  • 50MP main, Omnivision Light Fusion 800 sensor, 2.0μm 4-in-1 pixel-binning, f/1.6, OIS
  • 8MP ultra-wide, 119° FOV, f/2.2
  • 2MP macro, f/2.4
  • Front:
  • 16MP
  • Rear:
  • 50MP main, Sony IMX882 sensor, 1.6μm 4-in-1 pixel-binning, f/1.59
  • 8MP ultra-wide, Sony IMX355 sensor
  • Front:
  • 20MP, Omnivison OB20B sensor, f/2.2
Video Support
  • 8K24FPS, 4K60FPS, 1080p60FPS
Connectivity
  • Up to Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.3, L1+L5 GPS, G1 GLONASS, E1+E5a GALILEO, B1I+B1C+B2a Beidou, Type-C USB, NFC
  • Up to Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.4, L1 GPS, G1 GLONASS, E1 GALILEO, B1 Beidou, Type-C USB, NFC
Storage Type
  • 256GB
  • 512GB
  • 1TB
  • UFS 4.0 internal storage
  • 256GB
  • 512GB
  • UFS 4.0 internal storage
Battery
  • 5,000mAh
  • 120W wired HyperCharge
  • 5,000mAh
  • 90W wired HyperCharge
Dimensions
Weight

Little sacrifices, but at the right price

Poco F6 Pro (white), Poco F6 (black).

Many of the Poco F6 and F6 Pro’s design cues were taken from Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 13 Pro+. Poco F6’s rear camera housing rings are from the same design family, with a similar layout and chassis to boot.

Poco F6 Pro appears slightly more refined, with a clear island plate to hold all its cameras, but we suspect it’s a design trick to help hide the thickness of its camera rings.

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Poco F6 Pro.

The main difference here is that the Poco F6 uses more aggressive, chamfered edges leading from the plastic rear to the sides, while the Poco F6 Pro has a gentler curve leading away from its glass back. If anything, it’s the extra 30g on the Poco F6 Pro that feels significant in hand, with the non-pro Poco F6 offering a more pleasant handling for the same form factor and screen size.

The front has minimal bezels, but the sides extending from the phone’s front make them appear thicker to the eye.

Nice in the back, nicer in the front

Can you tell which Poco F6 series phone this is from the display?

Both phones offer displays that are identical, except in two places. Poco F6 has a 1.5K resolution (2,712 x 1,220 pixels), while the Poco F6 Pro packs a numerically impressive 1440p resolution (3,200 x 1,440 pixels).

This, however, doesn’t affect your usage, given that the 6.67-inch AMOLED panel has a pixel density of 445.84 and 523.67 PPI, respectively, which is far sharper and denser than what the human eye can normally perceive.

More concerning would be their typical and peak brightness. The Poco F6’s 500-nits typical brightness may seem dull next to the Poco F6 Pro’s 700-nits, but they don’t matter if you’re indoors. Outdoor use, however, posed a challenge.

In our trials, both phones struggled under direct sunlight in the heart of Dubai (UAE), making us question if the Poco F6 and F6 Pro’s peak brightness of 2400 nits and 4,000 nits, respectively, were real. We chalk it up to the phone managing its thermals; given the 40°C desert heat, it was trying to cool off to maintain performance. Hence, they did not output those extreme brightness levels when needed.

The specs that matter, like 120Hz refresh rate, 12-bit colour depth, support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+, are nearly identical across both models. We liked how you can “force” 120Hz refresh rate for most apps, and both phones handled that aspect wonderfully.

Poco F6 Pro's USB-C port.

Audio is surprisingly different across both models, with the Poco F6 sounding like it had a hollow centre while the Poco F6 Pro seemed biased towards trebles. Both also share the same slight flaw, in that their audio speaker (at the bottom rung with its USB-C port) played back slightly louder than its second speaker hidden inside the call slit. This gave both phones a slightly lopsided audio output when playing back videos in landscape mode.

Up to this point, you can pretty much tell how Poco and the two F6 series devices find thoughtful ways to punch above their weight, but they aren’t anywhere near the true flagship rivals. For S$559 to S$869, maybe Poco should fix one of the more glaring issues (low typical brightness or lopsided audio) so we can live with the other flaw. Otherwise, they’re both really excellent phones for their intended casual daily use.

Poco gets Xiaomi HyperOS

This is good news if you like Xiaomi’s new UI but don’t want to pay flagship-tier prices for its mainline handsets. With 2024 marking the start of HyperOS replacing MIUI, sub-brand Poco also gets the same UI refurbishment on the Poco F6 and F6 Pro.

They both use a relatively clean version of HyperOS with a moderate amount of preinstalled apps. Still, Poco’s HyperOS retains a customisable Control Centre, tidy notifications, and the same newly designed elements (status bars, charging animation, tinted floating windows, etc.).

Users of the old MIUI would certainly notice the massive improvements to consistency and detail in HyperOS. It’s as if the Android 14 skin and the phone’s hardware features were upgraded.

(To see HyperOS in greater detail, check out our Xiaomi 14 and Xiaomi 14 Ultra reviews).

Imaging performance

Poco F6 Pro.

(Quick numbers: Poco F6 uses a 50MP Sony IMX882 main camera and 8MP ultra-wide on the rear. Poco F6 Pro’s 50MP main camera uses Omnivision’s Light Fusion 800 sensor and has an additional 2MP macro camera along with its 8MP ultra-wide).

We won’t go into too much detail, given how we’ve shared our initial impressions of both Poco F6 and F6 Pro’s imaging capabilities here with more images shot from the phone. The colour accuracy (or lack thereof) and all the other details still stand true.

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Right off the bat, the Poco F6 and F6 Pro imaging capabilities certainly cannot beat the Google Pixel 8a (which has Pixel AI to help it along), let alone trounce the OPPO Reno11 Pro (which has algorithms built specifically for Instagram-worthy photography). It’s also not as impressive as the Nothing Phone (2a), which performed similarly but managed to do so at a slightly lower starting price.

Most of the photography expertise of Poco (and, by extension, Xiaomi) is instead housed on mainline phones, like the amazing Xiaomi 14 and Xiaomi 14 Ultra. From this, you can tell that imaging isn’t a main focus for the Poco F6 and F6 Pro. That’s not bad if you also consider how Poco balances performance against its price tag, which meant a sacrifice in areas like imaging.

It sounds harsh, especially considering the bonus photos we’ve added below, beyond our original hands-on attempt. The Poco F6 Pro’s imaging is decent when it’s not being put under the spotlight or being compared, but there are so many better options out there if photography is your key focus point.

Main camera.

Main camera.

2x zoom, Main Camera.

Main camera.

Main Camera.

Benchmark Performance

The main reason why we wanted to review the Poco F6 and Poco F6 Pro lies here. Both phones tout chipsets far above their bracket. Poco F6 Pro uses a well-known and popular flagship chipset from 2023, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.

The Poco F6, however, uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8s Gen 3. That is supposedly the “budget” version of the full-featured SD8G3, where the processor forgoes some of the fancy fringe features but retains most of the famed raw performance in CPU, GPU, and AI tasks. Supposedly

We’ll mostly pit the Poco devices against recently reviewed phones in their price range (S$500 to S$900), given that the F6 series offered sits anywhere between S$559 to S$869, depending on the SKU you choose.

Putting it to the test

To find out how the competitors line up specs and price-wise, check them out in this link.

To find out more about the tests we conduct and what they relate to, we’ve jotted them down here.

Benchmark Performance remarks

As expected, the Poco F6 and F6 Pro’s graphics performance is a cut above its competition. Non-gamers can also look forward to its speedy processing of everyday tasks, given its relatively fast read/write storage performance confirmed by its respective task handling benchmarks. Even when it was running hot, the phones showed no signs of slowing down.

Does this mean the battery life of both devices would take a hit?

Battery Life

Our battery benchmark uses PCMark for Android’s Work 3.0 Battery Life test to determine a modern Android-based smartphone’s battery uptime in minutes. This controlled benchmark simulates real-world usage with a combination of both web and social media browsing, video and photo editing, parsing data with various file formats, writing (on documents), and more. 

Both Poco F6 and F6 Pro have a 5,000mAh battery and 6.67-inch displays with identical 120Hz refresh rates, so their battery uptime is based on their processors’ efficiency at simulating everyday tasks, and the demands of 1.5K resolution versus 1440p. 

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While Poco F6 and F6 Pro are not as long-lasting as the Google Pixel 8a or Nothing Phone (2a), both Poco devices can deliver a comfortable uptime of 10 to 12 hours of continuous normal use. Considering how much graphical raw power they can manage (benchmarks above), it’s a worthy trade-off, too.

Both also offer different levels of wired charging with the adapter provided in the box. The Poco F6 offers up to 90W, while the F6 Pro offers up to 120W. The Poco F6 needed at least 50 minutes, while the Poco F6 Pro took around 40 minutes for a 0-100% charge. Those speeds are still way above average, considering a typical phone takes one hour with any fast charging technology and up to two hours with normal charging.

Neither has wireless charging capabilities, which is expected given its midrange price segment, and that’s before taking stock of what Poco managed to cram in for their asking price. However, last generation’s Poco F5 Pro had 30W wireless charging, which might be a downgrade to users who care more about versatility and less about speed.

Not too little, not too much

Poco F6.

It’s clear that the Poco F6 and Poco F6 Pro are great if you’re looking for a phone you can use and abuse. For specs-focused users, it checks the boxes very well. You get performance that’s almost at modern top-of-the-line phones, an amazing display to enjoy all your content, and enough battery life to last you the better part of the day.

All that, for just S$559 at 256GB (Poco F6), going up to S$869 for a whopping 1TB storage (Poco F6 Pro), which makes the recommended retail prices of other phones look ridiculous. However, there are caveats to this observation.

Despite their great value, the Poco F6 and Poco F6 Pro are not designed for users who produce plenty of short video content for their social media channels, given the audio playback and imaging inaccuracies they can have. (They can consider the new Google Pixel midrange or OPPO’s midrange series.) This is why we believe that not every phone is made for every type of user, even if both the Poco F6 and Poco F6 Pro seem like straightforward, ،-for-buck picks to others.

Poco F6 Pro.

Also, this price bracket can be more competitive than you think. We’ve not included other great picks like the Nothing Phone (2) (at S$999), which offers unique customisation that tinkerers love HyperOS for. Then, you have the AI-backed rivals with better imaging, equally decent displays, and battery uptime, like the Google Pixel 8a (S$799) and the upcoming OPPO Reno12 Pro (which we’ve recently tried too). If you don’t play video games, you can save even more money with the next closest thing to these Poco phones, the Nothing Phone (2a).

In our view, the lack of polish in areas like imaging and audio prevents the Poco F6 and Poco F6 Pro from competing with other midrange phone makers touting fancy AI, fancier backlights, and impressive imaging algorithms. It’s not as easy as undercutting everything else and calling it a day. 

Still, Xiaomi’s sub-brand has done very well staying on the budget throne, and we doubt that other established Android brands can dethrone them anytime soon. Bang-for-buck competition with slim margins is one of the toughest areas to compete in, and Poco putting itself out there is admirable.






Ratings Breakdown
Design Features User-friendliness Performance Value Overall


Poco F6
8.0 7.5 7.5 8.0 8.5 Click to view the pros and cons.


Poco F6 Pro
7.5 7.5 7.5 7.5 7.5

Click to view the pros and cons.

The Poco F6 and Poco F6 Pro start at S$559 (256GB) and S$709 (256GB), respectively, and are available on Lazada and Shopee.

منبع: https://www.hardwarezone.com.sg/feature-poco-f6-pro-budget-performance-phone-review-singapore-price-specs