Just a couple of days ago, Xiaomi launched the Pocophone F1 (launched in India as Poco F1), which is a really impressive device at its price. In fact, this phone has some really amazing features, running on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 SoC and powered by a 4,000mAh battery. Coming in variants with 6GB and 8GB RAM options as well as 64GB, 128GB and 256GB internal storage options, it is a great choice of device to get.
However, reports have suggested that this beautiful device has one flaw, albeit a major one for some movie lovers. The Poco F1 lacks support for Widevine L1. What this means in essence is that you cannot watch videos from Netflix or Amazon Prime Video in High Definition.
Three certification levels are available on Widevine: L1, L2, and L3. For Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, BBC and some others to be able to stream HD videos on a device, the device must be Widevine L1 certified.
With the Poco F1 having Widevine L3 certification, you can’t even watch Netflix videos at 720p, let alone up to the 4K option that Netflix offers. The maximum you get is 540p.
Of course, Xiaomi Poco F1 is not the only device without Widevine L1 certification. Some other devices on the list include the OnePlus 5, the OnePlus 5T, and others shipping with Widevine L3. Even with that, the OnePlus 5T became the company’s fastest-selling smartphone not long after its launch. In the case of the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T though, users had to physically send their devices to OnePlus to get the required key to meet Widevine L1 standards. Users of newer OnePlus devices may not have to go through this anymore as the OnePlus 6 was shipped with Widevine L1 standards out of the box. The OnePlus 6 has its own issues though, as it has been found that its face unlock can be fooled by a simple printout.
Back to the Pocophone F1, it is not likely that the issue will be fixed via an OTA update. Devices that have gotten Widevine L1 certification via OTA updates in the past already had the required device-unique secret key in the TrustZone. It is currently not clear if this is available for the Poco F1. If it’s not, the company may have to go the OnePlus way.
Google does not require any fees from companies to get Widevine L1 certification. So, it’s not as if Xiaomi was limited by high fees. It is not exactly clear why the company decided to go this way. However, for the price of the phone, it is still a good deal.