Fast Charge: The Poco F6 range has massively shaken up the mid-range market

OPINION: The mid-range market has been gathering steam over the past few years, benefiting from the use of trickled-down flagship tech to vastly improve the experience on offer – all without that premium price tag. 

That means that mid-range phones are getting closer and closer to their flagship brethren, and with the release of the Poco F6 and Poco F6 Pro, that gap is smaller than ever.

Pocophone, the Xiaomi sub-brand, has a bit of a reputation for undercutting the competition with impressive hardware. One of its first phones, the Pocophone F1, caused a stir at release in 2018 because it featured a flagship-level chipset despite costing just £309, easily beating phones that cost upwards of £300 more in the benchmark department.

It’s a trend that Pocophone has continued with other recent favourites like the Poco X6 Pro, a £369 smartphone with a premium vegan leather design, strong battery life, fast 67W charging, and the MediaTek Dimensity 8300 Ultra, a chipset usually found in premium phones around the £600 mark. 

That was impressive enough, but the new Poco F6 and Poco F6 Pro really kick things up a notch. 

Let’s start with the regular Poco F6. It’s a phone that Poco claims is focused on high performance for gamers, with an impressive spec to match, the headline of which is the inclusion of the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 chipset. 

Poco F6 marketing image
Poco F6

While this isn’t quite as powerful as the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 found in the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, it’s not that far off. 

In fact, when I spoke to a Qualcomm rep about the chipset at its launch in April, he explained that the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 sits somewhere between the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and 8 Gen 3 in terms of performance, complete with premium features like support for on-device GenAI capabilities. 

For context, the only other phone in the Western market to feature that chipset right now is the Motorola Edge 50 Ultra, Motorola’s top-end smartphone for 2024, which comes in at a cool £849. 

It’s easy to write it off as a cheap phone with an expensive chipset, but it’s not just the Poco F6’s chipset that stands out compared to the competition. It sports a 6.67-inch AMOLED 1.2K screen with a 120Hz refresh rate along with support for HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, a 2400nit peak brightness, and Gorilla Glass Victus protection.

It’s even a premium charging experience with support for Xiaomi’s 90W HyperCharge tech, and to really seal the deal, the charger comes in the box. There are plenty of 2024 flagships that you can’t say that about. 

All this tech paints a picture of a phone that could easily sell for £600, if not a little more, but the Poco F6 has an RRP of just £399. In fact, during the early bird sale, it can be found for as little as £339. 

That’s already impressive, but things get even more fanciful with its bigger brother, the Poco F6 Pro. 

It oozes even more of a premium look with an all-glass-and-metal design, but it’s more than just a looker. 

Poco F6 ProPoco F6 Pro
Poco F6 Pro

Take the display for example; it sports a similarly sized 6.67-inch AMOLED to its cheaper sibling but cranks things up a notch with a smattering of truly premium tech like a 120Hz refresh rate, support for 12-bit colour, Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support, a whopping 4000nit peak brightness and a pixel-packed WQHD+ (1440 x 3200) resolution. 

The latter, in particular, is something you’d usually only find on flagships like the Galaxy S24 Ultra and OnePlus 12. 

It also sports a similarly premium chipset to the regular Poco F6 with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the flagship chipset of choice for flagships in 2023. It might not be the fastest around right now, but it’ll come pretty close, especially when paired with either 12- or 16GB of LPDDRX5 RAM and up to 1TB of UFS 4.0 storage.

There’s also an impressive 50MP main camera with the premium Light Fusion 800 sensor, praised for its impressive dynamic range, although the accompanying 8MP ultrawide and 2MP macro lenses need a little TLC before competing with flagship-level competition. 

Finally, the Poco F6 Pro takes the fast charging experience and cranks it up even further with 120W HyperCharge support, with Poco claiming a full charge only takes 19 minutes. And, like the regular F6, the 120W HyperCharge charger comes in the box, free of charge. 

Again, looking at the spec sheet, this is a phone that you’d expect to cost somewhere north of £700 – but the Poco F6 Pro starts at just £499, and can be found for as little as £449 during the early bird sales. 

Of course, the Poco F6 and Poco F6 Pro are somewhat of a rarity in the mid-range smartphone market, with most others trailing far behind, but releases like this could force the hand of manufacturers to really up their game when it comes to affordable smartphone tech. 

If not, then Pocophone has a real chance of cleaning up the mid-range market in 2024 with the Poco F6 and F6 Pro.

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