Xiaomi debuts cut-price premium phone

Image Credit: Xiaomi

Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi has introduced a new premium smartphone to the Asian market, but one that will not come with a premium price tag.

Its Poco F1 includes a Snapdragon 845 processor, 8GB of RAM and a large 4,000MAh battery – specs that are comparable with the likes of the new Samsung Galaxy Note 9.

But while prices for the Samsung model start at almost £900, when the Xiaomi Poco F1 goes on sale in India on August 29th, its most expensive version will set buyers back the equivalent of just £330.

In order to achieve this, Xiaomi has naturally had to make some compromises, and the design of the phone will be unlikely to win any awards. In addition to a bulky frame in comparison to devices from other major manufacturers, the Poco F1 uses a five-year-old version of Gorilla Glass for the display – three generations behind the latest release – while its cameras lack optical image stabilisation.
 
However, for those who are more interested in what a handset can do rather than how it looks, there is much of interest to be found. Pocket-lint, for example, noted: "There's lots of power, lots of screen, lots of storage and considerable longevity."

The Verge added: "If you can get past the looks of the phone, and you're only looking for speed and performance, then the Poco F1 has a lot to offer."

While there is no confirmation yet of any wider availability for the gadget, Xiaomi has indicated that it plans to bring the Poco F1 to around 50 other countries, potentially including Europe.

This has led some experts to suggest that the handset could help kickstart a new price war in the smartphone sector by forcing other manufacturers to rethink what they are offering.

Mike Lowe, reviews editor of the gadget site Pocket-lint, told the BBC: "It's got the best Qualcomm processor you can get right now, while in essence costing about half the price of some rivals.

"It's very powerful with a massive battery, and the consumers it is targeting are not going to worry too much about the fact it's a bit bulky."