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Verdict

The Poco F6 is undoubtedly one of the more powerful mid-rangers around right now, and the screen is a treat for the eyes, but middling battery life, a generic design and the complications of HyperOS make it harder to recommend.

Pros

  • Nice screen
  • Robust design
  • Good speakers

Cons

  • Weak battery life
  • Generic look
  • Messy software

Key Features

  • Flagship processorThe Poco F6 comes with a Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 processor in tow, making it among the most powerful devices in its price segment.
  • Fast 90W charging speedWith the charger in the box, the Poco F6 can purportedly reach 100% from flat in a mere 30 minutes.
  • Gorilla Glass Victus protectionDespite being a comfortably mid-range smartphone, the Poco F6 comes with the some of the toughest protective glass on the market.

Introduction

Arguably there’s never been a better time to buy a smartphone than right now. At all price points and budget levels, you can find polished options which will deliver a great experience. That’s good news for you, but less so for smartphone marketers.

There’s so much competition presently, and with phones shipping at such high volumes, the market has reached saturation point, or is certainly close to doing so. People are also hanging on to their phones longer than ever before, which combined with ever higher prices has meant global sales have been in a declining spiral for years.

The job of a marketer is to make you want to buy a product, that’s becoming harder and harder to do, and so the reasons being touted to pick something brand new are becoming ever more superfluous.

Enter the Poco F6, a phone fitting into the ‘flagship killer’ category. The £449 mid-ranger is similar in many ways to the Poco F6 Pro, its fancier sibling, but different in a few ways, notably in the camera department and the processor.

Nonetheless, this is a phone with relatively minute differences from its brethren, so the case for buying it over them then becomes more difficult to make. Again, a marketer’s headache, but good for you.

So what makes the Poco F6 stand out, and does it deserve a place in your pocket?

Design

  • Fairly generic plastic design
  • IP64 dust and water resistance
  • Corning Gorilla Glass Victus protection

It has been an exceptionally long time since smartphones were easy to discern from one another at a glance. While phone nerds can look at the back of a device, see its camera arrangement and make a decent guess, those without a robust knowledge of smaller brands and their intricacies will be none the wiser.

Rear of the Poco F6
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The Poco F6 fits firmly into this as a device which is by no means badly designed, but so generic as to make no immediate impact. Constructed entirely from plastic, it has a pleasant in-hand feel, not too heavy nor is it too slippery. Plastic as a material has its advantages, and lower weight and better grippiness are key among these. 

The review device I was sent came in a fetching shade of mint green, and thankfully Poco has shied away somewhat from its need to plaster ‘AI’ on everything. The only livery on the Poco F6 is a small grey ‘Poco’ sign and a ‘50MP OIS’ badge, so far so good.

Accompanying those on the rear, there’s a slightly unusual camera set-up. Two large Oreos surround the camera sensors, which are a little OTT, around eight times larger each than the sensors themselves. Beside that can be found a rare ring flash, which promises to be more powerful than many typical efforts. 

Poco F6 cameras
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Going round the sides, everything is flush bar the right side, where there’s a volume rocker and a power key. On the bottom, there’s a USB-C port for charging and data transfer, and no sign of a 3.5mm headphone jack. This is becoming rarer and rarer at all price points, but is an unfortunate omission regardless.

A positive inclusion is IP64 dust and water resistance, which isn’t the same thing as being waterproof but means it will survive a rain shower if necessary. Given that phones with a Chinese origin for the large part forgo IP ratings, the inclusion here is nice to see.

The fingerprint sensor is under the display and worked without any issue, as is to be expected in 2024. Happily, there’s also a dual set of front-firing speakers, which were loud and powerful, making video and music just that bit more enjoyable.

Poco F6 in-hand
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

In all, the F6 has a somewhat generic design but is nonetheless well-built and pleasant to hold, as solidly middle-of-the-road as it is possible to be.

Screen

  • 6.67-inch OLED screen
  • HDR10+ support
  • 120Hz refresh rate

Coming to the display, as usual this is where marketers expend a lot of energy. There’s the usual cludge of fluff to wade through; this is a ‘Crystal Res Flow’ display, with 1080p+ resolution, HDR capabilities, up to 1200 nits of brightness, a 120Hz refresh rate, a close to 90% screen-to-body ratio and a Gorilla Glass Victus covering.

Barring the first term, it’s close to the same display we’ve seen in many, many phones for years now, barring some incremental improvements, though that’s not to impinge on its quality.

Poco F6 screen
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

To begin, the display got mostly bright enough to deal with the British summer sun, remaining quite visible despite a strong glare. There are others at higher price points which make more of a go of this, combining special coatings as well as brighter panels, but the F6 does a good enough job of remaining usable even in more challenging conditions. 

Though the resolution of FHD+ isn’t pushing any boundaries, for the size of the screen, there are little to no tangible improvements when pushing the resolution higher. At 6.67 inches the display is large, however the relatively thin aspect ratio plus the high screen-to-body ratio mean that it nonetheless is possible to use one-handed should the situation require.

As the display is HDR compliant (HDR10+), supported content looks brilliant, with intense colours and brightness. Regarding overall saturation, the days of oversaturation on OLED panels are mostly behind us, and fittingly I found that the F6 gave colours a nice pop without making them unrealistic. Per many other Xiaomi and Poco-branded devices, you can tune colours to your preference in the HyperOS settings menu.

Poco F6 screen close-up
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Then there’s the refresh rate, which at 120Hz isn’t as high as some aim for, but for the most part is absolutely enough to keep the device feeling snappy in general use. This isn’t an LTPO panel, meaning that although Xiaomi claims the device will switch refresh rates to save battery, this is between 60Hz and 120Hz, not the granular options that more expensive devices can offer.

Lastly there’s the inclusion of Gorilla Glass Victus, which is unusual for the price point. This is the newest version, promising unrivalled scratch and drop resistance. How effective it proves to be will be shown in the moment of a drop, but it’s nice to see more protection included. The more durable a device, the less of a chance it ends up as e-waste.

Camera

  • 50MP f/1.6 main camera
  • 8MP ultrawide
  • 20MP selfie camera

In the F6 lineup there is the ‘standard’ Poco F6 and the Poco F6 Pro, and telling the two apart can be something of a challenge. For the most part, except in build, they are highly similar, with the F6 even having some advantages over its more expensive sibling.

The F6 sports a similar sensor to the F6 Pro on paper, with 50MP of resolution and a wide aperture of f/1.6 each. Where the similarities end is in the size of each sensor; while the F6 has a 1/1.95” snapper, the F6 Pro has a 1/1.55” effort. This isn’t the biggest difference in the world, however in theory it means that the Pro will be able to gather more light, making for better low-light performance in particular.

Poco F6 cameras
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

What, if any, the differences are become purely academic when looking at the outputs, however. When looking at daylight samples or low-light samples, performance is highly similar, and that’s a good thing for the most part.

Detail is plenty, with foliage looking sharp without any strange halos. Sharpness as a whole is restrained and naturalistic which is pleasant to see. Colour, per Xiaomi’s usual MO, is a mixed bag. Without ‘AI’ activated, in many settings you’ll be fine, however the colour green can be an issue.

Especially with ‘AI’ activated, grass has a propensity to go thermonuclear, as saturation and brightness are dialled up while contrast is dialled down. It doesn’t happen all the time, but enough to be noticeable and is a hit against the reliability of the camera.

In low light, there’s enough saturation and detail to make everything look good without going further than some of the competition.

The ultrawide sensor is the same 8MP effort which has been used for some time now; it works in good light to capture reasonable detail, but in low light is useless. A bonus and useful inclusion is the ring flash, which releases more light than a standard effort and really works well for portrait shots at night.

Where the F6 Pro theoretically has another advantage is the addition of a 2MP macro sensor, which the F6 lacks. Barring the theoretical person who will be outraged at the lack of such a sensor, this won’t upset many. More often than not the 2MP ‘macro’ sensors are unusable, as such the omission here isn’t an issue.

Video capture was decent overall, with footage being generally detailed and colourful. There’s a fair bit of noise, but for the most part, the F6 is a competent video camera.

True to form as well, the selfie camera is a mixed bag. Though it has enough resolution at 20MP, it has a tendency to blow out highlights, revealing a lack of dynamic range.

What’s the real clincher however is the included ‘beautification’ filter. It’s easy, using the included tools, to turn yourself into something that looks like an ET post glow-up. Why, for the Western market, Xiaomi includes these tools and has them active by default is anyone’s guess, but you can safely ignore them with no issue.

Performance

  • Top-end Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 chipset
  • One of the most powerful mid-rangers around
  • Up to 12GB of RAM and 512GB storage

Many phone brands have built a reputation honed through generations of devices. For some, it is ‘X has good cameras’, for others it is ‘Y makes phones which last longer’. For Poco, the conversation is definitely around performance. 

The sub-brand of Xiaomi has been known, since the F1 years ago, for its inclusion of potent processors even in its mid-range efforts, undercutting the competition in many cases. With the F6, this is no different. In addition to 12GB of RAM, my review unit came with 512GB of storage and a Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 processor, a slightly underclocked version of the commonly available flagship chip.

As might be expected for such a setup, there was little that could faze the F6. Fortnite, PUBG and Genshin Impact ran at high frame rates without an issue, the general interface posed no issues and the device as a whole just flew.

This is reflected in benchmarks, where the Poco proves its place among the powerful. Achieving a single-core score of 1963 and a multi-core score of 4952, it proved to be around as capable as devices sporting a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the flagship chip from 2023.

Poco F6 on a table
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Though benchmarks aren’t indicative of real-world use, they are nonetheless a useful snapshot and the picture is clear, the F6 has enough power to compete with the big boys, even if it isn’t quite in the same weight class as the likes of the iPhone 15 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.

Software

  • Android 14 with Xiaomi’s HyperOS skin
  • Clear iOS inspiration throughout
  • Can be frustrating to use at times

Things so far have been mostly positive, but then that’s because the conversation hadn’t yet moved on to software.

Xiaomi is something of a known quantity when it comes to software, loading its devices with its own cumbersome takes on the Android experience. Previously that was through MIUI, now it is through ‘HyperOS’, which is functionally identical to MIUI. Regardless, the heavy customisation of the Android experience remains.

Poco F6 in-hand showing apps
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

There’s a great deal to praise about the likes of Motorola’s approach, where small changes and customisations are made to the Android experience with the intent of making it smoother and more usable overall. There’s a definite point of diminishing returns, however, and Xiaomi continues its quest to barrel as far past that as is humanly possible with every successive year.

HyperOS is a weird mix of some good ideas mixed with a lot of bad, and sometimes ugly ones. A prime suspect is swiping down from the top, which on any normal Android phone would bring down the notification shade, but not so with HyperOS. A swipe from the right brings down an iOS-like ‘control centre’, and on the left you get the notification shade, with a twist that your notifications can only be dismissed with a swipe to the right!

Split quick controls and notification menu on the Poco F6
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

This ethos pervades throughout, interactions that are often annoying and sometimes plain weird. As before there’s the odd good idea, but there are just too many things competing for your attention. This isn’t to say that the phone isn’t usable, it absolutely is, these are the ramblings of a software purist. However, if you like your phone to be generally simple and free of cruft, this isn’t the device for you.

Battery life

  • 5000mAh battery
  • Average all-day battery life
  • 100% charge in 30 minutes

If there’s one positive that comes from HyperOS, it is Xiaomi’s very strict RAM usage policy, which keeps tabs on background apps and stops them from sipping too much battery.

This fact, paired with an efficient processor and a 5,000mAh battery, means that all of the necessary ingredients are there for excellent battery life. It’s disappointing then that it turns out to be something of a mixed bag.

Poco F6's USB-C port
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

On an average day, rising at 6:30am with a 30-minute commute listening to a podcast and using GPS, receiving and responding to messages throughout the day, holding an hour of calls and then indulging in a bit of gaming in the evening, it was at 22% by 7pm. That’s hardly an inspiring showing, and at the lower end of what many mid-range devices can achieve. 

It means that this is a device which generally should get you through a full day, however a top up might be needed if you plan to go out. Luckily, the included 90W charger helps with that somewhat, promising to take you from nought to 100% in a mere 30 minutes.

Happily, that proved to be true, and 30 minutes did indeed give me a full charge every time. There might be some devices which can charge faster, but for most, this is as much as will be needed.

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Should you buy it?

You want a capable all round smartphone

Although the Poco F6 doesn’t totally succeed in any one area, it’s more than good enough in many.

You need a smartphone with great battery life

Though the Poco F6 will get through most days for most people, demanding users will be best to look elsewhere.

Final Thoughts

At £449 the Poco F6 is an interesting device. It comes with more storage and RAM than you’ll ever need, a powerful processor, a decent set of cameras and a screen that is good overall.

However, a phone is always more than the sum of its parts, and it is unfortunately the experience of using the F6 that lets it down.

HyperOS is a faff, battery life isn’t brilliant and the design is quite generic. For the price, it offers a competent overall package, but if you want a better camera, more battery life or just a little more, you’d be best to look at the mid-range competition.

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We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry-standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.

Used as a main phone for over a week

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Tested and benchmarked using respected industry tests and real-world data

FAQs

Does the Poco F6 come with a charger in the box?

Yes, the Poco F6 comes with a 90W charger in the box for fast charging capabilities.

Trusted Reviews test data

Geekbench 6 single core
Geekbench 6 multi core
1 hour video playback (Netflix, HDR)
30 minute gaming (light)
Time from 0-100% charge
Time from 0-50% charge
30-min recharge (included charger)
15-min recharge (included charger)

Full specs

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USA RRP
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Screen Size
Storage Capacity
Rear Camera
Front Camera
Video Recording
IP rating
Battery
Fast Charging
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
Operating System
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First Reviewed Date
Resolution
HDR
Refresh Rate
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RAM
Colours
Stated Power

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