The best budget flagship smartphones from Xiaomi and POCO over the past 4 years

Hello, friends. Today I want to bring to your attention the top performance and not expensive smartphones from Xiaomi and POCO. In this review, I have collected the best smartphones over the past 4 years that can make devices from famous flagship brands sweat.


POCOPHONE F1 fell like snow on their heads at the end of 2018. At that time, flagship novelties were rampant in the yard in the face of the Samsung Galaxy S 9 series of smartphones with the cool Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor or the rather mediocre Samsung Exynos 9810. Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 at that time was the coolest solution among mobile processors, although the flagship Samsung Galaxy S9 with a processor from the manufacturer Samsung Exynos 9810, which gave less stable results and often reduced performance due to throttling. The top flagships from Samsung cost from 50,000 rubles, and then at a discount, and precisely because of this, not every average citizen of our vast country had the opportunity to purchase such a productive gadget for their personal use.

And then Xiaomi announces the launch of its new POCOPHONE F1, which promises top-end specifications without a predatory attempt on the end user’s pocket. A kind of Xiaomi was the first to give birth to such a thing as a “budget flagship” and this happened precisely in the face of POCOPHONE F1.

The Pocophone F1 had monstrous performance at the time, thanks to a very fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, flagship 6GB LPDDR4X RAM, and the fastest UFS 2.1 storage at the time (instead of the very slow eMMC), and having a volume of 64 or 128 gigabytes.

Also, POCOFONE F1 was equipped with a not bad main dual camera with a main module of 12 megapixels and an auxiliary depth module of 5 megapixels. The front camera is also no exception and its resolution was 20 megapixels, which allows it even now to take good selfies in good light.

Such a powerful bundle in Antutu is gaining 411,000 parrots in 2022, which even in our time is a chic performance, since many mid-range smartphones cannot compete with the performance of this old man with flagship performance.

In addition to performance, a feature of this device at that time was a bang with a front camera that had a very fashionable infrared sensor at the end of 2018.

“Fashionable thanks to apple products”

A small drawback was the back cover of the case, which consisted entirely of plastic, but not critical, since almost every person has a smartphone in a case for a large amount of time, and for me personally, its plasticity did not interfere with my life.

But the lack of an NFC module greatly spoiled the picture of the versatility of this device and immediately gave out the budget of this miracle of the device. Despite the fact that this device did not have NFC, it could be forgiven for this shortcoming due to its low price and monstrous performance.

I parted ways with POCOPHONE F1 in the summer of 2020. Due to the fact that my younger brother grew up and sometimes at that time he liked to play productive Android toys that did not work very well on his Redmi Note 7 due to weak hardware. Taking the Redmi Note 7 for myself, I gave my brother my Pocophone F1 and almost immediately regretted it. It turned out that for Redmi Note 7, the proximity sensor worked very poorly and constantly caused discomfort when talking on the phone, because sometimes the screen was unlocked during a conversation and very often I turned off the microphone with my cheek, but that’s a completely different story.

Main technical characteristics

6.18″ Smartphone Pocophone F1 64 GB blue

6.18″ Smartphone Xiaomi Pocophone F1 128 GB black
Display: IPS, 6.18 inch, 2246×1080, 60Hz;
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, 4x Kryo 385 2.8GHz, 4x Kryo 385 1.8GHz; graphics core: Adreno 630;
Memory: 6LPDDR4X+64 or 128GB UFS 2.1; MicroSD memory card slot is present;
Operating system and shell: Android 8.1/Android 11; MIUI;
Communications: 4G, Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n), 5 (802.11ac) (2.4/5 GHz), Bluetooth 5.0, GPS/GLONASS/BeiDou/ Galileo/QZSS/NavIC;
Cameras: main: 12 + 5 megapixels, frontal: 20 megapixels;
Protection: fingerprint scanner; face unlock;
Battery: 4000 mAh;
Dimensions, weight: 155.5×75.2×8.8 mm.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 PROAt the end of September 2019, an excellent, high-quality and productive smartphone from Xiaomi Redmi, model Note 8 PRO, was released.

This practically flagship smartphone at the end of September 2019 had no competitors in terms of price, performance, and especially the build quality was simply excellent, the smartphone felt like a flagship and not worse than that of famous brands of American and Korean nationality.

Redmi Note 8 PRO has an excellent 6.53-inch IPS screen with Full HD + resolution. The display glass did not let us down and was made according to the fifth generation Corning Gorilla Glass standard, which at that time was a rarity in smartphones with such an affordable price.

The back of the body is covered with fifth-generation Corning Gorilla Glass protection, it also houses an excellent camera consisting of four lenses, the main sensor of which was manufactured by Samsung and had a maximum resolution of 64 megapixels, a wide-angle sensor had a resolution of 8 megapixels and a pair of macro and macro sensors. depths” had a resolution of 2 megapixels.

The front camera is also excellent and has a resolution of 20 megapixels. It shoots quite decently during the day, at night, of course, the quality deteriorates a lot, but this flaw can be forgiven for this device, as many even flagship devices have a sin of not very good night shooting in relation to front cameras.

“To this day, the cameras of this wonderful device continue to please their owner as it has a completely modern camera module, and that is why the photos are simply wonderful”

For the performance of Redmi Note 8 PRO, an excellent, high-performance processor from Mediatek, model G90 T, is responsible, and despite the fact that it does not have such optimization as processors from Qualcomm and has a rather old process, even at the beginning of 2022 its performance is enough to solve almost all daily tasks.

This smartphone uses LPDDR 4X RAM with a capacity of 6 or 8 gigabytes. Even now, this amount of RAM is enough for the smooth operation of almost any smartphone. I also want to note that the internal memory here is also very pumped, since it has the UFS 2.1 standard and its volume varies from 64 to 128 gigabytes, but for 2022 the technology is already quite outdated, but still a smartphone with this memory behaves very quickly, and at the time of its release in 2019, it simply had no competitors.

All this power in the Antutu benchmark produces a little more than 300,000 parrots, and this is very cool, since mid-budget smartphones today have about the same performance and capabilities, and sometimes even lower.

The battery of Redmi Note 8 PRO is not outstanding, but it has everything you need for normal autonomy, which lasts until the end of the day. The battery capacity is 4500 mAh, there is also an 18W fast charge that allows you to charge your smartphone from 0 to 60% in 1 hour, and up to 100 percent the smartphone charges in almost two hours.

“Despite such small indicators by today’s standards, for 2019 this device in this price category simply simply had no competitors, and even for 2022, it can compete with some smartphones up to 30,000 rubles”

I also want to note that this miracle device of Chinese engineering when buying had a choice of many colors of cases, which almost no one had. White, black, green and blue were the first to appear, and a little later, red appeared as well.

One of the main features of Redmi Note 8 Pro was that an NFC module was added to it! This is the first device in my memory that had such a monstrous performance, an excellent camera and an NFC module for such a fairly affordable price for the period of the smartphone’s release. The price tag was 17990 rubles with a memory of 64 gigabytes and 128 gigabytes for 19990 rubles. In 2019, it was called the new POCOPHONE F1 with only NFC and polished, even though it was 30% weaker than POCOPHONE F1 in terms of performance!

“The only pity is that after the release of this wonderful device, there is simply no more sophisticated alternative”

Main technical characteristics:

And now let’s move on to the young league in the form of a model from POCO, the X3 PRO model.

It’s no secret that POCOPHONE F1 had excellent performance as it had a flagship processor, excellent, fast internal memory and a lot of RAM.

POCO X3 PRO adopted almost all the features of its older brother, and its cost remained at an extremely low level.

On its board, POCO X3 PRO carries a monstrously powerful 2020 processor from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 860 model (an overclocked version of Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+), whose performance even at the beginning of 2022 is just enough with the head, as even now it shows itself perfectly in all modern toys . The Antutu synthetic test for this smartphone is also no exception, it produces almost 600,000 parrots in this test.

Everything does not end on the processor, as the internal memory of this Chinese product is also very cool and built using the latest UFS 3.1 technology, has a capacity of 128 or 256 gigabytes, depending on the version of the device, this memory is almost 50% faster than UFS 2.1, so this device uses excellent RAM of the LPDDR4X standard with a volume of 6 or 8 gigabytes. RAM, though not the latest generation, but also very fast.

The screen of the POCO X3 PRO is not even bad and is built using IPS technology and has a screen diagonal of 6.67 inches with a resolution of Full HD + (2340×1080 pixels) and support for a screen mode of 120 hertz.

The screen of POCO X3 PRO is not bad, but for some reason I don’t really notice the hertz on IPS screens, which cannot be said about Amoled screens. The brightness of this screen is a little let down, in sunny weather it is not enough as it is only 450 nits. The screen is not bad, but as for me, it was necessary to install an amoled screen operating at a frequency of 60 hertz with a higher brightness in this device and not use these notorious 120 hertz, well, this smartphone would have risen in price by 1000-1500 rubles and that’s okay!

The body materials of this device are not bad.

The screen is covered with glass built using the sixth generation Corning Gorilla Glass technology, which is undoubtedly a huge plus, but I want to note the fact that this screen is scratched with a bang, despite such a seemingly cool protection.

The back cover is made of high-quality plastic, which, of course, feels a little different from glass to the touch, but not really and looks very good, especially in bronze color. In addition to the bronze color, I didn’t like more than one color, since it seems to me that POCO X3 PRO in other colors looks like Chinese toys with cheap plastic.

The main camera of POCO X3 PRO is quite normal, but without frills and any super abilities. This camera has a main module with a maximum resolution of 48 megapixels, a wide-angle sensor of 8 megapixels, a depth sensor and a macro lens of 2 megapixels. The dial is not very cool, but taking pictures in daylight is quite possible, especially if the photographer is taking pictures, since there is a “Pro Mode” in the “Camera” application where you can make different settings.

The front camera has a resolution of 20 megapixels and does not stand out in any way, selfies are quite suitable in daylight.

As for the battery, a large 5160 mAh battery is installed here, I thought that this was a claim for victory in terms of autonomy, but it wasn’t there, because by the end of the working day I have about 15 percent of the battery left on this device, I can’t say what this is a bad result, not at all, but if Xiaomi POCO put a 60 Hz Amoled screen in this device, then charging would be enough for a very long time.

Another great feature is that this device was equipped with fast charging and a 33 W charging unit was included in the kit, which can charge a smartphone up to 100% in 1 hour, which is very fast! Yes, I understand that now there are smartphones that support charging at both 66W and 120W, but not in this price segment.

Main technical characteristics:

The Poco F3 is arguably the best solution on the market right now, and it’s a true budget flagship, but it’s not without its flaws.

The POCO F3 is equipped with a monstrous, top-end eight-core processor of 2021 from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 870 model.

“Actually, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 870 processor is a slightly overclocked version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+, which was introduced back in the middle of summer 2020, but this does not prevent it from being competitive to this day and I believe that the top new Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 did not come out of the word quite in 2021, since the processor is very hot and is characterized by phenomenal throttling, especially in thin and small smartphones, since their cooling was simply not enough to cool the ardor of this fiery comrade and sometimes it is because of this that it does not work as stably as Qualcomm Snapdragon 870”

In this miracle of Chinese engineering, super fast LPDDR5 RAM with a capacity of 6 or 8 gigabytes is installed. The internal memory is also super fast, built using the latest generation UFS 3.1 technology, the volume of which is 128 or 256 gigabytes.

In the synthetic test Antutu POCO F3 gives out monstrous almost 700,000 parrots, and this is already an indicator of flagship performance!

The screen of POCO F3 can be called a flagship as it is made using Amoled technology, has a diagonal of 6.67 inches and a resolution of Full HD + (2400×1080 Pixels), a distinctive feature of which is its frequency of 120 hertz, it is a great pleasure to use such a screen!

The back cover of the case and the glass on the screen of this smartphone is completely made of fifth-generation Corning Gorilla Glass, which is undoubtedly very cool!

The main camera module has a resolution of 48 megapixels, the macro module has a resolution of 5 megapixels, the wide-angle module has a resolution of 8 megapixels.

Also, the POCO F3 camera has one exceptional feature and it lies in the fact that it has a cool microphone that serves for the best sound in video recording, which allows you to bring the sound closer when the video approaches. I have not seen this on any device.

The front camera has a very small size and a 20 megapixel sensor without any frills, and sometimes it seems to me that this sensor has been used in production since the release of POCOPHONE F1, only in POCO F3 it was slightly reduced.

I would like to single out such super features as a vibro motor and stereo sound as a separate aspect.

The vibration motor has an excellent tactile, pleasant feedback, which delights me! The stereo sound is also very wonderful, as two loud speakers are used, the effect of immersion in a game or movie is guaranteed!

The battery capacity of this gadget-hero is 4520 mAh. I can’t say that this is some kind of phenomenal result, but until the end of the day POCO F3 is enough with my head, the result is about the same as that of POCO X3 PRO.

This result of longevity is achieved due to the fact that a more energy-efficient Amoled screen is installed. Another feature is exactly the same fast charging up to 33W, thanks to which this device charges even faster due to the fact that the battery capacity is slightly smaller.

“The only fat drawback that I found with this device is its proximity sensor. This, to put it mildly, not a good proximity sensor took my brain up and down, as it works somehow not at all adequately and I very often turn off the microphone with my cheek, or even sometimes randomly disconnect the call

Main technical characteristics:

All four of these reviewed smartphones are top value for money in terms of quality, performance and excellent build. The last two devices in the form of POCO F3 and POCO X3 can be safely taken if you need uncompromising performance and almost all the features of flagships, as the software of these devices will be updated for a very long time.

“POCO F3 is worth taking if you are willing to put up with its very poor proximity sensor”

As for the first two smartphones in the form of POCOPHONE F1 and Redmi Note 8 PRO, then undoubtedly they were also the top for their money at one time, but I do not recommend buying them. POCOPHONE F1 and Redmi Note 8 PRO have already stopped receiving the latest software updates, although they can even take out any Android operating system even now, as they are very productive and can give odds to almost any smartphone costing up to 30,000 rubles.

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