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The Xiaomi Poco F1 - The Ultimate Pixel 3 Killer


The Xiaomi Poco F1 phone is a device that stands out from all others. It comes with flagship tier Snapdragon 845 SOC, a 6.18' IPS display, 6 GB of RAM, 128 GB of storage and a 4000 mAh battery with a cost of just $300 without contract. Well the specs are great but not many want to go get a Poco F1 phone and the reason behind it is that the included MIUI operating system is just as bad as everyone says it is. But, why waste such a good phone when you can actually turn this $300 flagship killer into an almost Pixel 3XL equivalent and all that for free? This is how you can do it.

Xiaomi Poco F1 phone has a modern design with its brushed aluminum panels and dual hinged swing tempered glass. Even if you do like the MIUI there's a fair bit of evidence that Xiaomi is intentionally nerfing the camera on the F1 through software to keep their budget Poco phone brand from competing with their higher-end devices making Android software flashing a must do for this phone.

We haven't given much thought to custom ROMs since Samsung ditched TouchWiz and CyanogenMod died a couple of years ago, but Lineage OS which was founded shortly after signings demise by a few of its core developers has been going strong. Lineage OS shares many of CyanogenMod strengths like its lack of bloatware, solid customization and regular security updates, but oddly enough one difference is that it doesn't have the stock Google Apps by default, thanks to some legal encouragement from Google, so that stuff will need to be flashed on afterwards.

What's the point of ROM flashing? 

The point is once you put it all together you end up with what is effectively the stock Android experience like you would get on a pixel device and with a little bit of tinkering we can even make it look like the new Pixel III.

Before reading further please note that this process involves wiping the phone clean, so you will loose all your data so please make sure you backup your sensitive information either to your Google account, cloud account, other device etc.

First you'll need a computer with a USB cable connected, a full charge on your phone's battery to make sure it does not die during the process and of course some tools (listed at the end of the article)

We are going to start by first going in the Settings App, navigate to About Phone, then click the MIUI version or build number until it says: "You are now a developer". Tapping around 7-8 times usually does the trick. This unlocks the developer options that you're going to need to flash the phone which includes USB debugging.

To unlock the bootloader of the Xiaomi Poco F1 you need to register your device to a Xiaomi account with a linked phone number. The account approval and verification takes about 72 hours (don't ask why, we don't know either), but once your device is active with a MI account then you can unlock the bootloader.

To unlock the bootloader you have to download the Xiaomi Unlocker App to your PC and run through the steps in the app. It is very simple just a few clicks and within seconds you have an unlocked bootloader which allows you to flash a custom recovery firmware.

Next you will be installing the custom recovery firmware. This will allow you to flash the third-party OS on the F1 so you'll need to download platform tools (download link at the end of the article), extract the contents of the downloaded archive and move the entire contents to a folder named ADB in the root of your computer's C Drive.

Plug the Poco F1 into your PC and then hold the VOLUME DOWN and POWER buttons until you are in fastboot mode. At this point it is a good idea to start downloading the larger files that you'll need next, including the 9.0 firmware and vendor files, the latest Lineage OS build and TWRP.

Next on your PC open CMD by going to the Start menu and typing in CMD, and now you can get to flashing the custom recovery firmware. First you will be checking if fastboot can detect your connected device and once that's good you can move the TWRP recovery file into the ADB directory, flash it and then boot to it.

On the phone you should be booted into TWRP mode so there should be a prompt for a password. Just tap cancel and then wipe just the DATA partition. After all this is done reboot to recovery and then you can copy over both the disable force encryption and magic files. You will be installing the encryption disabler first followed by magic files with a reboot in between.

At this point your Poco F1 device is rooted and ready for a custom ROM. Now you can choose between Lineage OS Pixel experience or whatever else you might like, but be warned that there are a few wired bugs with the Pixel Experience so at this point we suggest that you wait a little bit before installing it.

At this time Lineage OS does not come with Google Apps installed by default so you'll need to download them separately to make your new OS fully functional. Please note that you must use the ARM64 Android 9.0 Nano, although this pack has a very small number of apps the larger packages can cause issues so just grab anything else that you're missing from Play Store later.

Moving forward, copy over the ROM files including the vendor firmware, the Lineage OS build and the google Apps that you downloaded and start by installing the vendor firmware first, after the Lineage OS file and the Google Apps. After clear the cache and reboot the phone back to Androind. If all went well, at this point you have a fully Lineage OS equipped flagship killer phone!

The experience will be so very close to a Google Pixel III but you can even go further. The Ruthless Pixel Launcher from XDA Labs app is almost a perfect carbon copy of the Pixel Free Launcher and with a few tweaks can be made basically indistinguishable from the real Pixel III, like the fancy Pixel III live wallpapers which can be downloaded from the Play Store as well as a third-party wallpaper pack app.

At this point, from the front, the Xiaomi Poco F1 might as well be the same phone with the Pixel III except for the difference that the Poco has an IPS screen and the Pixel has an OLED one. As for the other features the Poco F1 has all the features that the Pixel III has so you are not missing on any.

The camera though, by default, is pretty disapointing but with the ported Google Camera App from the Pixel Phone which you can install separately, it can be transformed into a big player. Colors tend to be somewhat overstaturated with lower sharpness if compared to the Pixel 3XL but in portrait mode it actually has better edge detection, thanks to the second rear camera.

So there you have it, your brand new flagship killer phone for just $300 that looks and performs just as the more expensive ones.


Links:

Xiaomi Unlocker: http://en.miui.com/unlock/

Google Platform Tools Download: https://developer.android.com/studio/releases/platform-tools

Poco F1 Lineage OS: https://forum.xda-developers.com/poco-f1/development/rom-lineageos-16-0-t3849934

Google Camera Port: https://forum.xda-developers.com/poco-f1/themes/b-s-g-google-camera-port-developed-mi-8-t3843130

Magisk Download: https://forum.xda-developers.com/apps/magisk/official-magisk-v7-universal-systemless-t3473445

TWRP Download: https://forum.xda-developers.com/poco-f1/development/recovery-twrp-3-2-3-decryption-t3853004

Open Google Apps Download: https://opengapps.org/

Decryption Disabler Download: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ZddANYerULF-SnQIBzsUZWX6D85DXZ-z/view

Pixel 3 Live Wallpaper Download: https://www.xda-developers.com/download-google-pixel-3-live-wallpapers-port/


The Xiaomi Poco F1 - The Ultimate Pixel 3 Killer Reviewed by Mike Beasley on 11/27/2018 10:22:00 AM Rating: 5
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