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Keep the good, improve the bad

Pocophone F2 front

The Pocophone F2 is likely still months away, so we don’t know much about it. However, I have a few ideas on what the phone needs to grab consumers’ attention and outsell its predecessor.

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty, let me point out that I don’t want to see a triple-camera setup, an in-display fingerprint scanner, 3D facial recognition, and other high-end features found on flagship phones like the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. What makes the Pocophone F1 so appealing is that it offers great value for money — it’s a Snapdragon 845 device that starts at around 330 euros — and the Pocophone F2 should follow the same recipe. Therefore, the only things I want to see on the upcoming device are minor improvements over its predecessor that won’t raise its price by much, if at all.

Pocophone F2 wishlist: A better design

The back of the Pocophone F1.

The Pocophone F1 looks generic and feels cheap due to its polycarbonate back. Sure, there’s also the fancier Armored Edition that comes with a Kevlar back, but it costs more and isn’t as widely available as the standard version. The phone also has a large, unattractive notch and thicker bezels than devices like the Honor Play and OnePlus 6T. These are the main design issues Xiaomi should focus on with the Pocophone F2.

I’d like to see Xiaomi ditch the plastic back for either metal or glass. Both have their pros and cons, but the important thing is that they both look and feel premium. The decision of which one to go with should come down to cost. Alternatively, going with a sandstone back plate that gained popularity back in 2014 with the OnePlus One would be a great option as well — anything is better than plastic in my opinion.

I’d also like to see a much, much smaller notch on the Pocophone F2. Although I’m not a big fan of notches, I could live with waterdrop notch like the one on the OnePlus 6T. It’s a lot less intrusive and offers more space on top for notification icons. Shrinking down the chin would be a great idea as well, as that would give the upcoming device a more modern look.

The back of the device could also use a refresh. The Pocophone F1 features a vertically positioned dual-camera setup with a fingerprint scanner sitting below it. It’s not ugly, but it does look dated. The back of the Pocophone F2 should be clean and minimalistic, but it should also feature a design element that makes the device instantly recognizable. An example of this would be the Mate 10 Pro with its reflective stripe that runs horizontally across the cameras or the Pixel 3’s two-tone back.

Pocophone F2 wishlist: An NFC chip

NFC

NFC is found on most high-end phones, tons of mid-range handsets, and even some entry-level devices. Unfortunately, Xiaomi didn’t include it on the Pocophone F1, which is a deal-breaker for some consumers. I hope the Pocophone F2 will have it on board.

An NFC chip is required for mobile payments.

An NFC chip would allow you to make purchases with the device at supported retailers via mobile payment services including Google Pay, Apple Pay, and Samsung Pay. These have been gaining popularity in recent years and have expanded to a number of new markets. In countries where they are not supported, you’ll probably find similar payment solutions offered by local banks.

Of course, NFC offers other benefits besides making mobile payments. You can share images, web content, and similar data with other devices. You can also use NFC tags to configure your phone’s settings with just a tap — learn more here.

What’s important is that an NFC chip wouldn’t add much to Pocophone F2’s bill of material (BOM), as it costs less than a dollar. A small price to pay considering this feature alone could boost sales of the device.

Pocophone F2 wishlist: A better software experience

the front of the Pocophone F1

The Pocophone F1 runs Android 8.1 Oreo with MIUI and the Poco Launcher on top. Xiaomi’s skin isn’t bad, as it offers loads of features you don’t get with stock Android. But it also brings a lot of bloatware to the device and has a number of issues including the notification icons weirdly not showing up when using the device, as reported by Rita El Khoury of Android Police.

The Pocophone F2 should join the Android One family.

Sure, a lot of these glitches can be fixed via a software update, but I’d still prefer to see the Pocophone F2 join the Android One family and run a stock version of Android. This would mean the upcoming phone would offer a clean and bloat-free software experience that many people love, especially in Western markets.

The phone would also be guaranteed to receive two years of OS and three years of security updates. What’s more, Xiaomi would be able to ship out updates a lot faster and differentiate the Pocophone F2 from the majority of other Xiaomi phones.

Pocophone F2 wishlist: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Pocophone F1 headphone jack

With the Pocophone F2, Xiaomi has to improve on the weaknesses of its predecessor, but it also has to keep everything that’s good about the device. The phone offers quite a few noteworthy features I’d also like to see on the F2 including the massive 4,000mAh battery, which puts it right up there with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Huawei P20 Pro. Then there’s the headphone jack, which is becoming a thing of the past but is still a vital part of a smartphone for many.

And let’s not forget about the microSD card slot that allows you to expand the storage for an additional 256GB and a nano-coating that offers basic splash protection — I don’t expect an IP rating on a phone in this price range.

I’d also like to see the latest Qualcomm chipset — the Snapdragon 855 — and 6/8GB of RAM like on its predecessor. The Pocophone F2 doesn’t need 10GB of RAM like the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 and OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition, as that’s currently an overkill and would likely result in a price increase.

Then there’s the most important thing: the price. The Pocophone F2 should retail for about the same as its predecessor, as the low-price tag is the major reason for the phone’s success. I think people would be able to live with a small price hike if the upcoming device delivers the things mentioned in this post — and possibly a few others — but Xiaomi shouldn’t go overboard.


There you have it — these are the top things I want to see on the Pocophone F2. Which ones would you add to the list? Let me know in the comments!

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