The POCO F1 is turning out to be the deal of the year. Retailing for the equivalent of $300, the phone is currently the most affordable device to be powered by the Snapdragon 845. POCO had to cull a few features to get to that $300 figure, and as such the F1 misses out on NFC.
The lack of NFC doesn't hinder sales in India, where the device is primarily targeted. But with the phone set to go on sale in over 50 global markets — including 30 European markets — the omission of NFC could turn out to be a dealbreaker.
Furthermore, the POCO F1 isn't quite as affordable in global markets, with the phone retailing for €330 ($385) in Spain. You do get a lot for the asking price, including 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, a MicroSD slot, dual 12MP + 5MP cameras at the back, 20MP front shooter, and a massive 4000mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0.
On the software side of things, the POCO F1 is running a custom version of MIUI that includes a launcher and other tweaks to make it more palatable to a Western audience. The skin is based on Android 8.1 Oreo, with POCO stating that it will roll out the Pie update in the coming months.
If NFC is a feature that you absolutely need to have in a phone, there's always the Nokia 7 Plus. It's available officially in the UK for £299 ($385), and while the Snapdragon 660 isn't as powerful, you do get NFC and the promise of quick updates with Android One.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.