I know, I know, this is the question that’s been plaguing your minds ever since, Global VP of Xiaomi, Manu Kumar Jain announced that the K20 Pro would be making its way to India. It’s either that troubling question or another similar one – Should you buy the Poco F1 if you still can, at a discounted price? Hopefully, I’ll be able to stabilize your line of thought, here and now.
The allure of gradient backs and pop up cameras seems to be a significant customer magnet these days. Functionality wise, it doesn’t bring much to the table aside from minimal bezels and flashy designs that catch people’s attention. Granted, these are important factors while considering your next phone, but what’s the real use if you’re going to be slapping a case on the phone anyway?
Sure, the phone definitely looks, feels, and handles better in the hand than the Poco F1 with the plastic cladding and generic design but its design is very much functional (albeit a bit chunky).
Alright then, if the build of the K20 pro isn’t worth upgrading over, does the display count? A definitive YES. The AMOLED panel on the Redmi K20 Pro with its infinite contrast and punchy colors most definitely blows the Poco’s humble IPS panel out of the water. Combine with that the absence of an ugly notch and thick bezels, the K20 Pro is a definitely better device to consume media on.
The in-display fingerprint scanner also seems like a cool add-on, but in terms of functionality, the physical scanner on the Poco is considerably faster and more accurate to use. Another win for the Poco is the Infrared face unlock which allows for faster and more convenient unlocks, even in the darkest of conditions. This is where the K20 Pro is bottlenecked by its miserably slow pop-up camera. However cool the pop-up camera is, it robs the phone of simple and fast functionality. It’s a feature that I’d personally not prefer.
Software and Performance
Let’s talk about software and performance then. Unfortunately, there isn’t a significant difference between both of these devices in this regard. The Snapdragon 855 simply isn’t a significant upgrade over the Poco’s SD845. Both of these phones will handle anything you throw at them for years to come without much hassle. These Xiaomi twins run the same software as well – MIUI on top of Android Pie. Fluidity in everyday use is something both these phones excel at with the convenience of intuitive gestures on MIUI. The Poco is in no way inferior to the K20 pro in everyday performance….in fact, it’s better? How do you ask? Ads and the developer community. The K20 Pro comes under the Redmi sub-brand and this invariably means you’ll have annoying “necessary” ads throughout the UI that are an eyesore.
A massive developer community is another trick the Poco F1 has up its sleeve. Akin to the yesteryear flagship-killer, the OnePlus One, the developer community for this phone is constantly pushing out new ROMs and Pixel camera mods (more on this later). Even the official developer team for the phone has managed to give the phone Widevine L1 support, super-slow-mo support, and 4k 60FPS recording support for the camera.
They’ve delivered on all the promises they made with improvements constantly being pushed out thanks to the constant rapport they have with customers through Twitter. This is something that the K20 Pro will most definitely take some time to establish.
Camera performance often makes or breaks a phone’s success. On paper, the cameras on the K20 Pro stir up quite a racket. The 48 megapixel IMX-586 makes a return to form on the K20 Pro, assisted by a 13-megapixel ultra wide sensor that offers you a degree of versatility when it comes to the composition in your shots. When comparing pictures taken on the stock camera app alongside the Poco F1, the Redmi definitely fares better when it comes to low light performance and dynamic range.
But there’s something you’re forgetting. The Poco F1 has a stable Pixel Camera port thanks to its behemoth of a developer community. Let’s be honest here, photo processing on the stock Xiaomi camera app isn’t the best, but what if you could use the same software that Google offers on the Pixel 3 camera? It would make it one of the best cameras in the business, right? Shots taken with this port look almost exactly the same as the ones you would take on the Pixel 3 (albeit a little extra green-cast at times). With this mother-nuke under its arsenal along with Night-Sight support, the K20 pro sweeps the floor in comparison to the Poco until its own Pixel camera port arrives. The wide-angle sensor on the K20 Pro, however, gives it a sort of novelty factor; for everything other than that, the camera performance is definitely something that the Poco has in its kitty.
So What’s the Verdict?
In essence, the only things the K20 Pro has going for it is the build quality and the display. Heck, even the battery life on both are pretty much the same! Now don’t get me wrong, the K20 Pro is by no means a bad phone, quite the opposite actually. If you’re looking for a phone that ticks the five pillars of a great flagship on a budget, then the K20 Pro is a must-buy.
No other phone offers the sort of value the K20 Pro offers in its price range. However, if you’re someone who owns a Poco F1 and is thinking about upgrading to the Redmi K20 Pro, I’d advise you not to burn that extra cash just yet. Unless an AMOLED display and premium build are high among your list of priorities for a phone, I’d suggest holding on to the Poco F1 till the next iteration of the K20 Pro. Furthermore, if you’re unable to afford the Redmi and you absolutely must have flagship-level performance, the Poco F1 makes for a great buy even today. Available at a dirt cheap price of around 18000 INR (260 USD), the Poco F1 is a complete steal for what it has to offer.