Poco F1 Review

- Introduction -
- Physical features -
- Audio -
- Display -
- Bootloader unlocking -
- Repairability -
- Custom ROM & Kernel Availability -
- Other issues -
- Conclusion -

Introduction

The Poco F1 is the first device I've modded, for the historical value (or lack of).

Physical features

The F1 feels like a budget phone with its plastic back, but I'd say that's actually fine.

On the top section, there's the secondary mic & the headphone jack is on the right, which IMO is the best place.

USB-C charging port, speaker, & primary mic on the bottom corner. The USB-C port is also flanked by 2 T3 screws meant to be taken off in case of a teardown / repair.

Left section contains only the hybrid dual SIM tray.

Right section is home to the volume & power buttons.

Front side is reserved for the iPhone-notched 6.18' 18.7:9 LCD, front camera, IR camera for face unlocking, & earpiece.

The back holds the rear cameras & fingerprint scanner.

For materials, some sort of tempered glass (the original uses an unspecified Gorilla Glass, while the "OEM" uses some kind of glass that probably isn't even tempered) covers the front display, with plastic covering the back, sides, & the buttons. On an additional note, the drop resistance of the display is somewhat lacking. However, it is my personal experience, so take that as you will.

JerryRigEverything durability test video

Audio Quality

The F1 has a bottom loudspeaker + earpiece stereo combo & a headphone jack.

The speaker quality is passable, with the earpiece being drowned out by the main speaker. Sound wise, it's somewhat shrill, though it's fine otherwise.

The headphone jack quality is kinda passable. Loudness wise, it squarely falls into "average" territory.

Display

To start, let me clarify that I have changed the F1's display more than 8 times. The 6.18' 18.7:9 LCD panel found in both the original (I had the FTS as far as I could remember) & the knockoff (referred as "OEM" since that's the only ones I can find; I usually find them as NVT, but they may also come as FTS) displays are passable. I will list the entire review, which can be found below.

So, in conclusion : Both the original & "OEM" displays were decent, though their issues could be problematic. Considering the litany of cheaper secondhand PDAs, some of which were past flagships, it's not something I enjoy using.

Bootloader unlocking

This is the worst part of the F1, no questions asked. You need a Xiaomi account, have to submit your phone number to Xiaomi servers, and use a proprietary Windows-only application to unlock its bootloader. That, combined with 72 real-world hours (maybe even more, up to a week / 2 at worst) of wait time (which gets triggered somewhere around the unlocker app as far as I remember), makes it the worst.

munchy's bootloader unlock video

Repairability

The hardest part of the F1 is removing the back shell. Not the screws, but the unclipping of the shell itself.

Once inside though, it's straightforward from there on out, except for the headphone jack, which is unfortunately soldered to the motherboard.

JerryRigEverything's teardown video.

Custom ROM & Kernel Availability (as of 11/2/2021)

In terms of custom ROMs... don't bother asking, there's plenty of it, from venerated ones such as Lineage to newfangled ones like Evo-X(urgh). There's a lot of it, from the XDA development thread to the Telegram channel.

Kernel wise, the F1's doing awesome, as it has Optimus Drunk, Twisted, Silvercore, Canting, & that's only an example that worked well for me. Well, if I had to name a kernel to avoid, that'll be LawRun, due to its numerous issues such as random screen freezes and/or reboots; an ad-ridden, privacy-hostile download link; & lack of actual GitHub update, which essentially makes this kernel closed-source.

11/2/2021 update for kernel : Twisted & Canting (not anymore since 14/3/2021) has stopped receiving stable updates. There's also "gaming kernels" such as Parallax & D8G; but I generally steer away from them since I don't want to sacrifice my PDA's lifetime just for some unnoticeable performance improvement in gaming, especially when the gaming performance provided by Snapdragon 835 (845 is better, but not to a degree I can detect) is fine enough.

Silvercore is the only custom kernel for F1 not available in XDA. I removed its links here since it's basically just another stock+ kernel.

Other issues

Generally, there's not much problems with the F1, aside from:

Conclusion

To conclude, the first full Xiaomi PDA I've owned is a decent PDA marred with a mediocre (bordering towards terrible) screen & a horrible bootloader unlock protocol. It might as well be my last Xiaomi / Poco PDA, if I didn't have the X3N, A1, & A2.

If you could get someone else to help you with bootloader unlocking, the F1 is a solid pick. However, the X3(N) could be a better deal, considering the improvements in audio, display, battery life, & build quality (even though you're sacrificing performance); and there's the X3 Pro, which should fix all performance issues on the X3(N).

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