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A beautiful beast of a phone!


Back when Xiaomi unveiled the first Poco phone, the term “Flagship Killer” was in full swing. Be that as it may, we were still surprised with the specs that the company was able to pack into that phone. More than half a decade has passed since then, and the definition of a Flagship Killer has shifted a bit. Well, does the Poco brand still live up to that title? Let’s find out in our review of the Poco F6.

Times have changed a lot since the mid-2010s, and that’s extremely evident in the affordable phone market. Flagship phones have always been the most feature-packed and expensive devices, but when we dip below the $500 line, things get a bit chaotic. We see phones that are unapologetically mid-range with all of the typical trademarks; mediocre display, choppy performance, bad speakers, the list goes on.

However, we also see phones that make us question why Samsung and Apple can get away with charging more than $1,000 for their phones. These are phones that just barely nip at the heels of $500, but they offer some insane hardware, displays, performance, speakers, and software on the market.

Enter the Poco brand! This is a brand that, like OnePlus back in the old days, is characterized by its rebellious nature of offering $800 worth of phone for under $500. Its first phone cost about $299 when it launched back in 2018, and it had some of the best specs of the day.

Fast forward to 2024, and the Poco brand is alive and well. I’ve been using the Poco F6, and I had the same response to its specs that I had back when I saw the Poco F1. While I’ve seen a ton of killer phones for under $500 in my day, phones like these still impress me. But, as we know, there’s more to a phone than its specs. So, let’s dive to see if Poco delivered a powerful experience along with its specs.

Poco F6 Review: Design

When it comes to the design, there’s a bit of a clash between two design aesthetics. Going by the overall shape and arrangement of elements, I’d say that it’s a pretty elegant-looking device. The cameras are a bit large, but they work well with the overall design, and I like how they (along with the flash) make sort of a triangle on the back.

Poco F6 (7)

Poco is showing a nice bit of restraint with the text on the back, opting to only show the Poco branding and the camera resolution. This gives the phone a subtle beauty that pervades minimalist phone designs. The phone itself is boxy, but it’s also rounded at the same time with the back plate curving to meet the frame. I also like how the color of the backplate and frame share the same color.

So, there’s a very straightforward and professional beauty to the Poco F6. However, that’s juxtaposed to this very pretty and flashy back plate. The back glass plays with the light in a way that almost makes it look glittery. While the phone has a boxy and elegant design, it has this “Look at me!” feeling.

This phone isn’t just a piece of tech, it’s a piece of jewelry. It’s like the phone version of a diamond-studded necklace, and I’m here for it. I love the mixed mentalities in the design. It’s bold, but it’s also very pretty. You can admire it for Poco’s masterful restraint while also liking it because it’s…. shiny! This is the beauty of the phone.

Poco F6 Review: Build Quality

The build quality is where most Flagship Killers tend to fall short. While the internals can be premium, we start to see where the company had to cut corners to keep from charging Galaxy S prices. In the case of the Poco F6, the company did a good job of delivering a solidly built device, but it’s nothing to write home about.

In terms of the overall construction, it’s put together rather nicely. The buttons are clicky, and I don’t hear any creaks or groans when I pick it up or interact with it. I did a little bit of a bend test and bent it from the front and the back. I didn’t go too far, but I bent it past the point where most people would be comfortable bending it.

The phone fared well for the most part, though I did hear a little bit of creaking when bending it from the front. I hear just a little bit coming from the backplate. It’s not bad, but it’s just a bit more than I’d typically hear from other phones I reviewed.

As for the overall feeling in the hand, the fact that this is an affordable phone becomes evident pretty quickly. It doesn’t feel bad at all, it’s just that you won’t be fooled into thinking you’re holding a flagship once you pick it up. When you buy a more expensive phone, some of the money you’re paying is for luxury. Some of that premium goes towards the glass back and metal frame.

Poco F6 (11)Poco F6 (11)

So, when you’re dealing with a more affordable phone, there are certain materials you should expect, and one of them is plastic. When I picked up this phone for the first time, it was evident that much of it was made from plastic. It lends to an overall lighter feeling in the hand. It doesn’t take away from the overall experience, but you’ll definitely notice it if you’re used to more expensive phones.

The exterior, while beautiful, won’t give you that premier feeling in the hand. I won’t dock points for that. The main thing is that it’s a solidly built phone that will definitely last you.

Poco F6 Review: Display

Moving onto the display, it’s fair to say that affordable phones are no longer cursed to have crappy displays. OLED technology has long adorned cheaper phones, and the companies making these phones have mastered how to calibrate them (Looking at you, Tecno!). So, going into this review, I didn’t expect any surprises with the Poco F6’s display.

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To be quite honest, nothing about the display particularly blew me away, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not a nice screen.

Brightness

We’re at a point with smartphone technology where affordable phones are coming with pretty bright displays. They used to be overshadowed by more expensive phones, but they’re reaching more than 1,000 nits of peak brightness.

In the case of the Poco F6, I think that the brightness is decent, but not great. When I take the phone outside, I see it boost the brightness to compensate for the sunlight, and it does a pretty good job. However, I was able to get brighter displays from the likes of Tecno and Infinix. It’s not as bad as years back when the screen would be extremely washed out in the sun; there’s definitely some improvement in that department. I just wish for a little more juice out of the display.

One thing that confused me was the fact that Poco advertises this phone’s display as peaking at 1,400 nits of brightness. I don’t think I’m getting a brightness that high.

Poco F6 (5)Poco F6 (5)

In any case, I think that the screen does a fine job out in the sun, and you’ll be able to watch videos and play games with relative ease.

Colors

When it comes to the colors, it’s a little difficult to give a definitive answer. This is mostly because of the amount of settings that you can do to tweak the colors. Out of the box, the colors are set to the original mode. This is meant to produce the most realistic colors that the display can. As such, they’ll be pretty toned down. With the toned-down colors, you’ll get a picture that’s similar to what you would get with an LCD display.

So, judging the display by its out-of-the-box settings, the visuals aren’t too appealing. However, I set the colors to the Saturated mode. This, of course, boosted how punchy the colors were and made it a more engaging viewing experience. Even at its highest saturation setting, the colors remained overall balanced. There didn’t really seem to be any colors that stuck out among the others. I think that the saturated color setting still showed some restraint. The colors are nice, but I think they could use just a little bit more punch.

Color settings

Xiaomi gave the Poco F6 a large array of settings to adjust your display’s color. These settings surpass the likes of Samsung and other companies. Firstly, there are three color saturation modes. There is the Original Color Pro (which gives colors a more natural look), Vivid, and Saturated. These three modes allow you to adjust the color temperature throughout the interface Under that, you will have the advanced settings.

Once you go into these settings, you will be able to choose between P3 and sRGB color gamuts. Under that, you can adjust the RGB color space by adjusting the red, blue, and green levels individually. The fun doesn’t stop there, as you have a hue slider, saturation slider, value slider, contrast slider, and Gamma slider.

These settings allow you to fine-tune the colors being displayed on your screen. It has plenty more than other phones that I’ve reviewed.

Poco F6 (12)Poco F6 (12)

Overall, you won’t find much of an issue with this phone’s display. It is a nice and Punchy OLED panel that gives you some pretty colors. I’ve definitely seen better displays from companies selling comparable devices, but the Poco F6 is no slouch. You’ll have no problem enjoying watching content using this display.

Poco F6 Review: Speakers

OEMs often have to sacrifice certain aspects of their phone in order to keep the price down, and speakers are often on the chopping block. However, some companies wind up giving their phones a nice pair of speakers regardless of their price.

In the case of the Poco F6, I didn’t really know what to expect with the speakers. Having reviewed several mid-range phones in the past, I was not expecting much.

In order to test these speakers, I listened to a set of specifically tuned audio tracks that are meant to accentuate different aspects of audio. These are volume, distortion, base, treble, vocals, and immersion.

Volume

The volume is one aspect where I feel like Poco could have pushed just a bit more. When I have the volume turned to full, I don’t get the sense that the volume is at its full setting. The highest volume is still plenty high, but it reminds me of the Galaxy S24+. It’s not terrible, but it could have been better.

I placed the sound meter about a foot away from the phone and played the first test piece. It reached about 84dB, max. Other phones I reviewed were able to peak at a few decibels higher than that.

Distortion

All speakers experience distortion and higher volumes, and this one was no different. However, I didn’t hear much distortion with this phone’s higher notes. The speakers do a good job of reducing the distortion. Overall, I will definitely say that these speakers are good when it comes to reducing distortion.

Bass

Moving on to the bass, this is one area where I was pleasantly surprised. The speakers are able to produce a fair amount of depth which was very pleasant to hear. The example I used strongly emphasized lower instruments, and I could hear all of the instruments clearly. Not only that, but I could hear a lot of detail in their sound.

Poco F6 (6)Poco F6 (6)

Treble

Just like with the bass, I was very happy with these speakers’ performance in the treble department. When it comes to higher tones, I think that Poco did a good job. The higher-pitched notes project clearly throughout the sound, they sound Pleasant. I wouldn’t say that the treble is the best on the market, but it’s very good nonetheless.

Balance

In terms of balance, neither the treble nor the base particularly steals the show. I think that Poco gave this phone a very nice set of speakers for listening to all types of music.

Immersion

All the other aspects come together to create an overall immersive sound. The sound is punchy, with nice attention paid to both the low-end and high-end audio. Everything from music to movies to podcasts sounds great, and I was pleasantly surprised by these speakers’ performance. The speakers and the Poco F6 are some of the best that I’ve tested on a mid-ranger.

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Poco F6 Review: Performance

Affordable phones have come a long way in terms of performance. While other companies give their affordable phones lower-end hardware, the Poco F6 is running the very fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 8s gen 3. At the time of writing this review, this is one of the most powerful chips on the mobile market.

This is something that defined the Poco series when the Poco F1 launched. While mid-range chips offer good performance, there’s no doubt that the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 delivers some blazing-fast speeds.

Poco F6 (1)Poco F6 (1)

When it comes to general use, I had no issues with this phone whatsoever. Everything from navigating the software to using apps was perfectly smooth. I didn’t run into any lag or stutters while using the phone. Everything went perfectly smoothly.

Other mid-range phones have at least some degree of lag or stutter throughout the software. However, in the case of the Poco F6, the performance was flawless.

Numbers

We all know that benchmarks don’t properly describe a phone’s user experience. However, it is still nice to see some numbers to see how this phone stacks up against the competition.

I ran this phone through Geekbench 6 and through 3D Mark. As for the Geekbench scores, this phone scored a single core score of 1,949. That score is better than most other phones on the market. It beat out other phones like the Galaxy S24+. It actually came shy of the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s 2172 score.

Moving on to the multi-core score, this phone scored a whopping 4,920. It was beat out by both a Galaxy S24 Ultra and the Galaxy S24 Plus. So, the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 is packing some serious power.

Moving on to 3D Mark, I ran this phone through the Wildlife Extreme Stress test. It got a best Loop score of 3,109 and its lowest Loop score of 2,511. Again, those scores are definitely up there with Android flagships.

All in all, even though the numbers don’t tell us much about the real-world experience, they still show that the combination of Poco’s software optimizations and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 makes for an extremely powerful experience.

Poco F6 Review: Gaming

It came as no surprise that the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 power came in handy when it comes to gaming. So, if you’re thinking of using the Poco F6 as a gaming device, you will not be disappointed. Using it to play Simple 2D games, there was no issue whatsoever. Even games like Survivor.io ran perfectly, even though games like those tend to have a lot of Sprites on the screen.

Loading up a couple of 3D games like Asphalt 9, Sky: Children of the Light, and Dragon Ball Legends, it was no different. This phone is a snappy performer, and I did not have any issues with them at all. Those three games are pretty graphically intensive, and the Poco F6 was able to tackle them like a champ.

However, this will not be a gaming review without reviewing games like Genshin Impact and Star Rail. Starting off with Genshin Impact, I had zero issues playing that game. It started up quickly and, from the moment I started it up, it ran perfectly smoothly. It didn’t matter if I was in closed-off areas or wide-open spaces. I was able to get a consistent 60 frames per second while playing.

Poco F6 (4)Poco F6 (4)

The story was much the same for Star Rail. The game loaded up quickly, and everything was smooth for the most part. However, I did have the occasional dropped frame here and there. Instances of these were few and far apart.

It’s also important to mention that this phone comes with a boosted gaming mode that will push the chip to its fullest capacity. That’s What I tested these games on. So, this mode pushes the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 to its absolute limit.

Poco F6 Review: Battery

So far, this review has been pretty positive for this phone, and I’m not going to rock the boat when it comes to the battery life. I’ve reviewed numerous devices with affordable price points, and some of them do pretty decent when it comes to battery life. They’re nowhere near what you get with a modern Galaxy S device or iPhone, but they’ll definitely get you through the day with moderate to light usage.

However, in the case of the Poco F6, this phone gets extremely close to the numbers that we get from more expensive devices. I charged the phone to 100% and played a 24-hour video until it completely died. Several phones I reviewed struggle to get past the 10-hour Mark, and some do a little bit better. The Galaxy S24 was able to get 20 hours of battery life, and the S24 Ultra was able to top 25 hours.

The Poco F6 was able to hit a sweet spot between those groups of phones. The phone lasted more than 18 hours before giving up the ghost. This means that you will comfortably be able to get more than a day and a half of moderate usage before having to plug it in. On heavier days, you should still get past the one-day mark. Also, if you’re being frugal, you should have no issues hitting the two-day mark.

When it comes to charging, I was, unfortunately, not able to test the full charging capabilities. This phone came with a bonkers 90W charger in the Box. However, it was not a charger compatible with a US Outlet. In any case, with such fast charging, you should be able to top the phone off completely within an hour.

Poco F6 (3)Poco F6 (3)

Poco F6 Review: Camera

More affordable phones seem to falter when it comes to camera technology. It’s one of the main things that keep people from buying mid-rangers. While there are some standout phones with decent shooters in the mid-range market, they’re never quite up to par with more expensive Galaxy phones or iPhones.

In the case of the Poco F6, you get a pretty decent shooter, but this is not the kind of camera that will stand out amongst the others.

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Exposure/contrast

One thing I found while using this phone was the fact that the camera tends to be a bit bright. While I did take these shots out in the bright daylight, the camera seemed to punch up the exposure just a bit. This makes for some pleasing shots that really emphasize the bright sunlight. However, there were some shadowy spots that were a bit brighter than they should have been. While the camera did expose a bit brighter, I did not get too many blown-out highlights.

In terms of contrast, I’ve definitely seen better contrast from the likes of Tecno, mainly, the Tecno Camon 30 Premier. With the Poco F6’s camera, shots were a bit washed out when they should have been more contrasty. The example below showing the rocks made it seem like it was pretty overcast. However, it was in direct sunlight.

Poco F6 Camera Sample (23)Poco F6 Camera Sample (23)

Another example is the picture of the grass with the sun and shadows. I feel like the Shadows could have been lowered just a bit more to create a crisp contrast.

Poco F6 Camera Sample (22)Poco F6 Camera Sample (22)

In general, the exposure and contrast can be a little bit inconsistent. This picture of the tree is rather dark. I would have liked to see the software lift the shadows just a bit. Also, the picture of the wall with the trees behind it suffers the same issue.

Colors

When it comes to the colors, I think that the pictures are similar to the phone’s display. You do get some nice juicy colors, and they’re pleasantly represented. I do feel that they’re toned down ever so slightly. They give them more of a natural look, which is welcomed. The company kept from going overboard with the colors.

I particularly like how the sky is exposed. The blue in the sky is punched up just a bit, but it keeps from being cartoonish. The color shows restraint and responsibility, and I do like that.

Poco F6 Camera Sample (25)Poco F6 Camera Sample (25)

The picture of the yellow flower below is probably my favorite picture in terms of color. The yellow is warm and beautiful while the green has a little bit of punch to it. Overall, if you’re looking for tasty social media-ready colors, you won’t get them from this camera natively. You may want to boost them in a photo editing program. However, overall, the colors are very nice.

Poco F6 Camera Sample (19)Poco F6 Camera Sample (19)

Details

When it comes to details, I didn’t really have an issue. I was able to find some decent details. Zooming into this picture of these flowers, I’m able to make out fine details like the little hairs at the end of the leaves and the buds. I’m also able to make out dirt granules.

So, I have no complaints about the details. Also, if you want even more details, you can simply switch to the 50MP mode.

Poco F6 Camera Sample (28)Poco F6 Camera Sample (28)

Low light

As for low light performance, I think that the camera does a good job of retaining details even when the lights go down. Taking pictures of certain objects, I was able to get some nice crisp details like the weaving on the top of my speaker. Also, there’s not much noise in the images.

Overall

I wouldn’t say that this camera blows any other mid-range camera out of the water. However, that’s not to say that it’s bad. It’s a solid shooter that gives you some pretty nice results. The exposure and contrast can be a bit inconsistent, so that’s something you’ll need to keep in mind. However, the colors come out nicely and the camera produces some nice results in low light. You shouldn’t have any issues using this as your primary camera.

Poco F6 Review: Software

In terms of software, this phone is running Xiaomi’s hyper OS version 1.0.3.0. The software on this phone is rather beautiful with fluid animations, nice UI elements, and an overall unified experience. There are certain neat animations I love like how the clock smoothly grows as you summon the notification shade. Once you close the notification shade, the time shrinks back to its original spot on your taskbar.

It’s an incredibly fluid software, and I think that Xiaomi is going in the right direction with its Android skin.

I do have a few gripes, however. Firstly, and this is an issue that most people have when using Tecno or Infinix devices, the notification shade is split into two sections. You have to swipe down on the top right corner of your screen to access your quick settings and swipe down on the top left corner of your screen to access your notifications. We would all prefer to having notifications and quick settings in one view.

Poco F6 (2)Poco F6 (2)

Next, there recent apps screen is a little annoying to get used to. Most people are used to swiping upwards to swipe away apps on the snap screen. However, you have to swipe either left or right. It’s a bit counterintuitive, and it takes some getting used to. It’s not a deal breaker, but it shows that the company could have just stuck with a more traditional way of swiping away apps.

You’re able to change it to a vertical swipe in the system settings. However, since this is an out-of-the-box setting, I have to mention it.

My main gripe is the monumental amount of bloatware on this phone. I had to uninstall what felt like more than 20 pre-loaded apps from this phone. Some of the apps seemed like system apps, but I found that they didn’t serve any purpose. If you get this phone, be prepared to delete a ton of apps.

Final verdict

Most of the time, when I’m reviewing an affordable device, there are certain caveats that I have to overlook. Obviously, I can’t expect a $300 phone to be perfect. So, I’ve developed a bit of a standard level of expectation with affordable phones.

However, there are those phones that deliver much more than what they should based on their price. The Poco F6 is one of them. This is a phone that overachieves in several areas. It’s an extremely powerful and smooth performer with a beautiful screen, amazing speakers, a luxurious design, a solid camera, and great software. It’s an extremely compelling offering, and I highly recommend that you get this phone.



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John Smith

My John Smith is a seasoned technology writer with a passion for unraveling the complexities of the digital world. With a background in computer science and a keen interest in emerging trends, John has become a sought-after voice in translating intricate technological concepts into accessible and engaging articles.

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