Xiaomi Poco F1 beats XS max!! Spec/ Camera Comparison/ Review | Phone & Photo

Who is best camera phone? Phone reviewm, Blind test, Phone & Photo

Surprisingly, Xiaomi launched a new brand, POCO, and the first phone, the POCO F1, seemed a pretty sweet option to satisfy your desire for a flagship phone and save quite a few cents at the same time.

By paying about US$300, you get a POCO F1 embedded with a powerful Snapdragon 845 chipset with 6GB or 8GB RAM, a dual-camera with SONY IMX363 (primary camera) on the back in addition to a 20MP selfie camera, and a 4000 mAh battery as well as Quick Charge 3.0.

You may be wondering why on earth people still buy flagship phones that cost at least US$400 more or even an extra grand?

Let's take an interesting example: XS Max, iPhone's most expensive model so far. The price of the XS Max starts from $1099 (4GB RAM, 64GB). Given the difference in prices, does XS Max perform twice as well as the POCO F1? We will try to find out by testing the cameras as the specifications of both seem very attractive.


XS Max
1242 x 2688 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio
1080 x 2246 pixels, 18.7:9 ratio
Operating system
iOS 12, upgradable to iOS 12.1.3
Android 8.1 (Oreo), upgradable to Android 9.0 (Pie)
Processor type
Apple A12 Bionic (7 nm)
Qualcomm SDM845 Snapdragon 845 (10 nm)
Primary clock speed
Hexa-core (2x2.5 GHz Vortex + 4x1.6 GHz Tempest)
Octa-core (4x2.8 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4x1.8 GHz Kryo 385 Silver)
64/256/512 GB, 4 GB RAM
256 GB, 8 GB RAM or 64/128 GB, 6 GB RAM
Main camera
12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/2.55", 1.4µm, OIS, PDAF 
12 MP, f/2.4, 52mm (telephoto), 1/3.4", 1.0µm, OIS, PDAF, 2x optical zoom
12 MP, f/1.9, 1/2.55", 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF
5 MP, f/2.0, 1.12µm, depth sensor
Main camera features
Dual camera, Dual OIS (Optical Image Stabilization), Optical zoom at 2X, Digital zoom up to 10X, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control, Portrait Lighting with five effects (Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono), Dual optical image stabilization, Six‑element lens, Quad-LED True Tone flash with Slow Sync, Panorama (up to 63MP), Sapphire crystal lens cover, Backside illumination sensor, Hybrid IR filter, Autofocus with Focus Pixels, Tap to focus with Focus Pixels, Smart HDR for photos, Wide color capture for photos and Live Photos, Local tone mapping, Advanced red-eye correction, Exposure control, Auto image stabilization, Burst mode, Timer mode, Photo geotagging, Image formats captured: HEIF and JPEG
AI dual rear cameras, Portrait mode with background blurring, Dual pixel autofocus, Single-tone flash, Low light enhancement, HDR imaging, Panorama mode, Burst mode, Face recognition, AI Beautify, EIS for video shooting, AI dirt detection, AI dirt detection: detects 25 categories of objects and up to 206 different scenes, India specific scenes AI optimizations

Selfie camera
7 MP, f/2.2, 32mm (standard)
20 MP, f/2.0, 0.9µm
Selfie camera features
Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control, Portrait Lighting with five effects (Natural, Studio, Contour, Stage, Stage Mono), Animoji and Memoji, 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps, Smart HDR for photos, Extended dynamic range for video at 30 fps, Cinematic video stabilization (1080p and 720p), Wide color capture for photos and Live Photos, Retina Flash, Backside illumination sensor, Auto image stabilization, Burst mode, Exposure control, Timer mode
AI portrait mode, AI detection of 10 different scenes, Selfie timer, Face recognition

4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, 1080p HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps, 720p HD video recording at 30 fps, Extended dynamic range for video up to 30 fps, Optical image stabilization for video, 2x optical zoom; digital zoom up to 6x, Quad-LED True Tone flash, Slo‑mo video support for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps, Time‑lapse video with stabilization, Cinematic video stabilization (1080p and 720p), 
Continuous autofocus video, Take 8MP still photos while recording 4K video, Playback zoom, Video geotagging, Video formats recorded: HEVC and H.264, Stereo recording
4K video, 30 fps, 1080p, 30 fps, 720p, 30 fps, Slow motion video, 720p, 240fps; 1080p, 240fps, 960FPS Slow motion video recording

XS Max is powered by A12 Bionic, which might be the smartest and the most powerful chip in the business so far. For photography, it has a rear dual-camera, a 12-megapixel 1/2.55" chip with 1.4µm pixels and a f/1.8 aperture, plus a 12-megapixel 1/3.4" chip with 1.0µm pixels and a f/2.4 aperture. Both lenses offer Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and Phase Detection Auto Focus (PDAF). The second telephoto lens provides a 2X optical zoom. The front is featured a 7-megapixel camera with a f/2.2 aperture. In terms of the Portrait mode, a.k.a. Bokeh Effect, now it allows users to adjust the blur level before shooting.

POCO F1 has a dual-camera on the rear side, including a primary 12-megapixel camera with 1.4µm pixels and a f/1.9 aperture and a 5-megapixel secondary camera used solely for depth sensing. The selfie camera features a 20-megapixel chip with 0.9µm pixels and a f/2.0 aperture. Both the rear and front camera offer AI photography, detecting up to 206 different scenes across 25 categories on the rear cameras. Last but not least, "India specific scenes AI optimizations" seems impressive and interesting to us. The information about this feature is not much and we were trying to test how this works. Indian friends, please let us know what you think about the performance!

Furthermore, F1 owns a dual-pixel PDAF system, dual-led flash, and 2160p video.  

From the perspective of photography specifications, both the XS max and the F1 have fantastic hardware and features. So which camera is better? Let's check it out!! 


  • XS Max: HDR on



Left(Up):XS Max / Right(Down):Xiaomi POCOPHONE F1

  (Feel free to click any photos to check the EXIF on Flickr)

Left(Up):XS Max / Right(Down):Xiaomi POCOPHONE F1

In our test, we apply the AI mode as the default test setting. If the device doesn't have AI, such as the XS max or the XS, HDR is the default.  

Under natural light, the POCO F1 rendered more contrast and was more saturated. You may feel the weather was nicer in the POCO F1 image. However, the XS Max reflected the weather as it appeared in real life, which was a cloudy day.  


  • XS Max: HDR on


Left(Up):XS Max / Right(Down):Xiaomi POCOPHONE F1

The backlight is a quite challenging scene for phone cameras. Apparently, XS Max and Poco F1 dealt with the scene in two very different ways. 

At first glance, XS Max's image seems flat with less contrast. However, comparing to their 200% crops, the iPhone device remains more details in the dark area.  

Left(Up):XS Max / Right(Down):Xiaomi POCOPHONE F1


  • XS Max: HDR on


Left(Up):XS Max / Right(Down):Xiaomi POCOPHONE F1

This is the test that we tried to see how Poco F1' s AI to optimize the Indian scene. We chose the very typical Indian cuisine to shoot and we also learned that shooting this good smelling food was killing us when being starving. Promise me, never try it. 

Poco F1 produces white balance more accurately while XS Max remains the yellow light to keep more reality of the environment.  

Left(Up):XS Max / Right(Down):Xiaomi POCOPHONE F1

Both phones were left in autofocus as the default test setting. Viewing the second set of the images, Poco F1 and XS Max set different focus points and rendered the white balance differently. 

In my point of view, neither phone blows the other away. Hey Indian friends, which phone do you vote for?     

 BOKEH TEST_Rear Camera 

  • XS Max: HDR on, Boken in mid range



Test1: Daylight Green

Bokeh effect is fixed on Poco F1 while it's adjustable from f1.4 to f16 on the iPhone device. We set XS Max portrait mode at the middle in this test to compare with the Poco F1's default depth effect. 
Left(Up):XS Max / Right(Down):Xiaomi POCOPHONE F1

Left(Up):XS Max / Right(Down):Xiaomi POCOPHONE F1


Left(Up):XS Max / Right(Down):Xiaomi POCOPHONE F1

Both phones did a good job in this scene, rendering the bokeh effect smoothly and naturally.

Test3: XS Max Portrait Mode

Let's also see how the bokeh effect changes on XS Max when setting in different ranges.

Left(Up):bokeh min / Middle:bokeh mid / Right(Down):bokeh max

BOKEH TEST_Front Camera 

  • XS Max: HDR on, Boken in the mid range
  • POCO F1 : AI on

The depth effect could be adjusted on the XS MAX's front camera while the effect stays fixed on the POCO F1's front lens. Both phones render well in this test.

Left(Up):XS Max / Right(Down):Xiaomi POCOPHONE F1

HDR TEST_Rear Camera 

  • HDR off
Left(Up):XS Max / Right(Down):Xiaomi POCOPHONE F1
  • HDR on
Left(Up):XS Max / Right(Down):Xiaomi POCOPHONE F1

When turning on HDR, both phones, especially XS Max, reduced the over-exposure parts significantly. Unfortunately, neither phones improved the details of the dark parts when HDR was on

 NIGHT TEST_ Landscape 

  • XS Max: HDR on
  • POCO F1: AI auto
Left(Up):XS Max ISO: 800 / Right(Down):Xiaomi POCOPHONE F1 ISO: 9280

Left(Up):XS Max ISO: 1250 / Right(Down):Xiaomi POCOPHONE F1 ISO: 2012

XS Max did a much better job at handling noises and revealing details under lower iso. OIS also helps XS Max to produce steady photos when shooting in super low light.     


Left(Up):1x / Right(Down):2x


Left(Up):beauty off/ Middle:beauty mid / Right(Down): beauty max


  1. The bokeh effect is adjustable in both rear and front cameras.
  2. The XS MAX performed more outstanding in the night scene tests than the POCO F1.
  3. It features 2X optical zoom.


  1. The POCO F1 has a better bokeh performance despite the fact that the effect is unadjustable
  2. It features the beauty mode that XS Max doesn't have.

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