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Poco F2 Pro vs Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro: The BEST affordable flagship under RM2,000

At the beginning of this year, I was a little worried about the state of the affordable flagship smartphone, especially in the under RM2,000 price point. If even Xiaomi didn’t have a Mi 10 under RM2,000, what hope did we have?

Luckily, now as we enter the final quarter of the year, we’ve got two awesome devices that seem to fit the bill. It’s the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro and the Poco F2 Pro. But at basically the same price of RM1,999, which do you get?

Let’s see if I can help you find out.

At a glance, both of these phones look super similar and that’s not a bad thing because they both offer incredible value at their price point. However, they’re not identical. In fact, there are a few key specs that might just swing one or the other in your favour. Let’s start with the performance.

The Performance

Both the Mi 10T Pro and Poco F2 Pro are powered by Qualcomm’s flagship processor, the Snapdragon 865. And that’s great. However, the memory configuration here is different. On the Poco F2 Pro, you’re getting 6GB of RAM with 128GB of internal storage while the Mi 10T Pro gives you 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage.

Of course, there is also a Poco F2 Pro with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage but that is a RM300 premium. So, the edge in memory here definitely belongs to the Mi 10T Pro, especially since neither of these support expandable memory.

However, if you’re asking me about just pure performance, I wasn’t able to notice a difference in my time with the phones. They both ran everything super smoothly and I had no issues with lag or anything like that even when gaming. Heat management here also seems adequate. In an air conditioned room, both phones got a little warm to the touch after a gaming session, but none of them suffered any thermal throttling. Genshin Impact here, for example, ran really well even at maxed out settings.

So, besides the storage configuration, I’d say that in practical situations, both of these devices are evenly matches so you won’t really go wrong with either.

That said, don’t think that these phones will give you an identical experience when you use it. And that’s because of the first major difference between the phones:

The Display

If we’re talking about size, the smartphones have the same 6.67” display with very slim bezels. And I like that, I think that it’s large, but not unwieldy for my hands. But, they’re very different screens because one is an AMOLED, while the other is an LCD.

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The Poco F2 Pro takes the vibrant, contrasty AMOLED camp with a sharp Full HD+ panel that looks pretty darn good. It also has good viewing angles for an AMOLED panel and has support for HDR10+.

The high contrast makes it excellent for videos and movies, and even great for general browsing. You’re also going to get the most out of dark modes which is great. It’s a really nice screen. But the biggest issue I have with it is that it only has a refresh rate of 60Hz. And refresh rate, is not an issue on the Mi 10T Pro.

You see, the Mi 10T Pro, while it lives on the LCD side of the spectrum, comes with a staggering 144Hz refresh rate. This is faster than pretty much all but a tiny handful of high end devices.

This means that pretty much everything you do on this phone feels extra smooth. Animations are buttery, swiping around is fluid, and when you use it side by side with the Poco F2 Pro, the F2 Pro’s screen suddenly looks like it’s stuttering, when it’s definitely not.

Xiaomi also developed an AdaptiveSync technology that will help the display adapt its refresh rate to what’s being shown on screen. This technically improves viewing experience, and does wonders for battery life too when you’re watching movies or shows that typically display in 24fps.

However, while Xiaomi says they’ve put a lot of effort into making sure the screen is very colour accurate, I have to say that the lack of contrast doesn’t help it when it comes to stuff like movies. Also, the Mi 10T Pro has a little bit of hazing around its punch-hole selfie camera which is can be distracting for some.

But, of course the screen is only a part of the equation. You should also consider the speakers.

The Speakers

Looking at the spec sheet, it feels like this should be very straightforward. The Poco F2 Pro has a single speaker while the Mi 10T Pro has stereo speakers. But, listening to them, it becomes a little more complicated.

The Mi 10T Pro has a pretty solid pair of stereo speakers. It’s not quite as good as the MI 10 Pro or like an iPhone 11 Pro Max, but it definitely puts up a fight.

It has a nice full sound and pretty good balance between the left and right. This makes it excellent for music and especially games. However, the right speaker is in a position that’s very easily blocked by your hand if you’re holding it while gaming, so you’ve gotta be careful about that. That being said, I would have liked a little more in the mids. Vocals aren’t quite as distinct as I’d like, and that can make it hard to hear people talking in videos.

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The Poco F2 Pro’s single speaker doesn’t have this problem.

It sounds to me like they’ve tuned it specifically to make vocals clear. It also gets really loud, like at times even louder than the MI 10T Pro’s stereo speakers. In some cases, this is actually better because like if you’re in the shower and listening to a podcast or show, all you really want to be able to hear is what the other people are saying.

On top of that, the Poco F2 Pro also comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack which is one legacy port many people have missed. The Mi 10T Pro, doesn’t have this. So, depending on the type of content, the single speaker on the Poco F2 Pro might actually be better for you. But, I think as a whole, I’d still give the edge to the Mi 10T Pro’s stereo setup.

Now, let’s move on to the final major difference, the cameras

The Cameras

On paper, it looks like the Mi 10T Pro and Poco F2 Pro have vastly different systems. The Poco F2 Pro has a quad camera system with a 64MP main camera. On the other hand, the Mi 10T Pro has a triple camera setup with a 108MP main camera.

But, if you actually look at the individual cameras, you’ll notice that two of the F2 Pro’s cameras are a depth and macro camera each, while the Mi 10T Pro has a one macro camera as well.

Of course, this may vary for you, but to me, macro and depth cameras are absolutely pointless. To me they’re just there to make the cameras look good on paper, but for the most part you’ll only be using the main sensor and the 13MP ultra-wide camera on these phones.

And I gotta say, despite the different sensors, they both produce very similar images in both daylight and lowlight. The colour processing does differ a little between the devices, but as a whole image quality I’d say is good enough. I don’t think it’s quite at the top of the food chain, but it’s good enough for its price.

I will, however, like to point out that there is one major difference between the Poco F2 Pro and Mi 10T Pro’s camera, and that’s the selfie shooters. The Mi 10T Pro uses a punch hole design, which is common in most modern smartphones, while the Poco F2 Pro. Well…it’s got a pop-up camera with RGB lights.

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I guess it’s personal preference, but I definitely prefer the punch hole design. Anyway, let’s round this video out with the build and battery.

The Build & Battery

Both phones have very similar builds. They’ve got Gorilla Glass 5 on the front and back of the handset, with what feels like a nice metal frame sandwiched between.

Sure, the seams could be a little more flush, but considering the price, I think the build is good enough. The biggest difference here is the fact that the Mi 10T Pro uses a faster and more accurate side-mounted fingerprint scanner while the Poco F2 Pro uses an optical in-display scanner that feels a little slower and less reliable.

Now I prefer the position of the Poco F2 Pro’s scanner, but I like the accuracy of the Mi 10T Pro’s one more.

Both of these phones also have very large batteries. The Mi 10T Pro has the edge here because it has a 5,000 mAh cell with 33W fast-charging via USB-C while the Poco F2 Pro only has a 4,700 mAh battery with 30W fast-charging support.

That said, both devices should easily give you at least a full day of battery life if you’re a medium to heavy user, so I’m not really complaining here. Perhaps the only thing I’d like is some wireless charging, but I’m not really going to miss its exclusion here either.

The Verdict

So, now that we’ve been through the differences and similarities, which device should you pick? Well, I think as a general rule of thumb, you won’t really go wrong with either. But, if you still cant make up your mind, here’s my recommendation.

If you’re really into movies you will probably like the high contrast AMOLED screen on the Poco F2 Pro more. It’s also great for general usage, and if you’ve never used a fast refresh rate phone before, you won’t miss it here.

But for me, I would pick the Mi 10T Pro. I like the smoothness of the screen a lot more, and yeah it’s not quite as good for movies as an AMOLED panel, but it’s still a pretty good LCD panel to my eyes. Plus, I also think it is a little better value because you’re getting 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage—and the important thing here is the non-expandable storage.

But, that’s what I think. What do you think of these two phones? Which would you pick? Let me know in the comments below.

Photography by Zachary Yoong with the Sony A7 III.