Smartphones can generally be subdivided into several types: entry level, mid-range and flagships. Given the exorbitant prices of flagships which can reach RM5000 and above, many users tend to opt for mid-range phones, and even entry level phones. With the ever-decreasing technology gap between flagships and their more affordable counterparts, considering an entry level phone makes for a great price to performance ratio.
One such smartphone is the recently launched Neffos C5 Plus. This device was launched by TP-Link’s mobile division, Neffos in December 2018. With a starting of price of RM249, the C5 Plus makes an excellent choice as a secondary smartphone, or even a primary one for users on a budget.
In the box, you’ll find everything you need to start using the phone. In addition, the inclusion of a TPU case and a screen protector is nice to see at this price point. However, the one thing that is lacking is a pair of earphones. Neffos could have included a generic pair of earphones in the box which would have made it a more compelling package. Do note that the battery is an external unit, and comes in the box with the phone.
Under the Hood
As its price suggests, this device comes with entry level hardware and software. The display is a perfectly sized 5.34” FWVGA TN panel with a resolution of 960 * 480 pixels. Unfortunately, the TN panel does not have the best color reproduction, nor viewing angles. Also, a pixel density of 201 PPI does not aid in enhancing the viewing experience, but it is more than sufficient to view objects on screen with ease.
CPU & GPU
The heart of the C5 Plus is a MediaTek MT6580M, and it is a 4-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor with each core clocked at 1.3 GHz. Coupled with the processor is the Mali-400 GPU that is clocked at 500MHz. Being a MediaTek processor, the phone is susceptible to over-heating and CPU/GPU throttling during periods of gaming and/or slightly intensive use. This was prominent during a game of Mobile Legends and Asphalt 9, albeit at their lowest settings. Having said that, this phone was not designed to compete in the gaming market, and thus its performance is acceptable in this price point. On the other hand, performing other daily tasks on the phone is not much of an issue, as it is able to handle day to day activities without hassle.
RAM & Memory (ROM)
The more desirable model would be the second variant with 1GB RAM and 16GB ROM. This is because after downloading just a few apps and photos, the phones memory was almost 60 % full, and this does not include future OS updates. However, you can transfer files to an external MicroSD if needed.
Also, the extra RAM means a greater multitasking ability, as more processes can be run in the foreground without losing the background activitie(s).
In 2019, one of the main factors that users look for in a phone is a good camera. Unfortunately, the camera on the C5 isn’t one of its strong points. During testing in daylight, test shots were average on its 5 MP rear camera; lacking slightly in color and depth of field, resulting in rather bland photos. This was further worsened in low light shots, where the photos were very noisy and lacked detail. However, it can be controlled slightly thanks to the rear LED flash which is nicely centered.
Similarly, the 2 MP front camera also suffers the same fate as the rear unit, as the resulting photos were lacking color, detail and clarity. However, it seems to perform better than the rear camera in well-lit conditions. Surprisingly, the front camera is accompanied by an LED flash which greatly helps with front portrait shots. It also has an automatic beauty mode, which detects a face and beautifies it according to your preference.
Video on this device’s camera is expected from a device of this price range. It has a 5 MP rear and a 2 MP front camera. Besides the front flash, the most pleasant surprise on both the front and rear cameras is an option to turn on electronic image stabilization (EIS). This option is normally available on some higher priced smartphones, so kudos to Neffos for taking this initiative.
One interesting quirk worth mentioning is the design of the rear camera. At first glance, it might look like it has dual lenses, giving it a slightly more premium look.
Neffos has included an external 2200 mAh battery with the C5 Plus. With light usage, it is observed that the phone is able to last a day. Heavier tasks like gaming and YouTube tends to drain the pack quite fast, but the intelligent battery saver feature on this device will help you save each drop of battery. There are also settings available to optimize individual apps for battery savings.
The charging time of this battery is average for a unit of this size. Using the stock 1A charger, it takes about 1.30 minutes to charge the device from 0-100%. The C5 Plus does not recognize fast charging, so you can’t expect faster charging times.
Usability & Ergonomics
While holding the C5 Plus, you’ll notice that it fits perfectly in the hand, and even has some welcomed heft to it. With most phones getting bigger, thinner and more slippery, Neffos’s decision to supply the C5 Plus with a 5.34” greatly helps one hand usability and daily operation.
The inclusion of a 3.5mm jack is a necessity for a phone at this price range, and an included pair of earphones would have been nice.
The one thing that slightly impairs the usability and ergonomics of this phone is the camera hump at the back. Neffos could have omitted the raised camera at the back, and instead opted for a flush rear camera. Afterall, it is a single camera coupled with an LED flash. This feature makes using the phone on a flat surface a bit uncomfortable, as it rocks from side to side on its concave shaped back cover.
Another plus point is the included microSD slot, aside from the dedicated dual 3G SIM card slots. This allows for expendable memory whilst being able to maintain 2 distinct phone lines.
Should you purchase it?
In a world of >RM 2000, 3000 phones, its extremely refreshing to come across the Neffos C5 Plus, which starts at RM249. If you’re on a budget or looking for an emergency or a secondary phone, the Neffos C5 Plus is a good choice. It is also equipped with Android Go 8.1, so you don’t have to worry about obsolete software.
A combination of good software, battery life, and its EIS-equipped camera makes for a compelling choice of smartphone.
Geekbench 4: 438 (Single-Core); 1,105 (Multi-Core)
PCMark Work 1.0 Performance: 2,630 Ice Storm Extreme: 1,961
Neffos C5 Plus
A worthy entry level phone that could have been a little more