Neffos is the smartphone brand by TP-LINK, the company well known for networking products like Wi-Fi routers and powerline adapters. The company has accumulated decades of experience and resources in their Infocomms and Technology (ICT) and is expanding the business scope to complement its existing portfolio of networking, wireless products and accessories.
Instead of going head-on with the established smartphone brands, TP-LINK is positioning their smartphones as a “second handset”. My thoughts? They are being too humble.
The Neffos C5 is mostly plastic, though the silver-lined border adds a tinge of premium. The rear cover is easily removable to reveal the innards. It weighs just 141 grams.
You will find the volume buttons and power at the right side, within reach of your fingers when operating with one hand.
The headphone jack is located at the top.
The micro USB port is at the middle bottom, with the same orientation as Samsung devices.
Overall, it’s a safe, familiar and practical design and port placements.
Basic Specs That Works
Android OS has improved so much so that there is no major issues when using smartphones running on humble hardware specs, unlike the older versions where you need powerful processors to get things working smoothly.Such is the case for Neffos C5.
Powered by 64-bit 1.3GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6735 processor, the Neffos C5 has 5-inch 720×1280 screen and comes with 2GB of RAM, 16GB internal storage, microSD card slot that supports up to 32GB memory. It comes with dual SIM and both slots support 4G LTE network (when one SIM is connected to 4G LTE, the othe SIM will only connect to GSM – screenshot). The phone is also equipped with an 8-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front camera.
The 2200mAh battery can almost last a work day for moderate users, though without fast charging capability, it would take a while to top up the juice during mid-day.
On a quiet day like below, I have 30% remaining after 15 hours.
Similar to Xiaomi UI, the Neffos C5 only has a single app drawer, so any app installations will be added to the last home screen. The UI theme offers basic look like Android stock OS, and you can install themes, albeit limited for now. The launcher also has a limited customisation via the 3-dot context menu next to the 3 Android soft keys. This is also where you can add Android widgets, while long-pressing the home screen merely activates the app-arranging option.
I felt that this simple launcher design works for basic-usage consumer as the phone does not require high learning curve to customise or where to find the apps. The pre-installed apps are also kept to the essentials, like Photo Editor, Weather, Flashlight, Mirror.
I have no complains on the 5-inch display. The 1280×720 screen might not be full-HD but the colour tone balance rivals more expensive phones.
For a budget phone, I am pleased to see how Neffos has added features that really help in usability. Some of them are rather unique which makes the Neffos C5 a compelling choice. For instance, you can actually swipe among the app folders instead of exiting the folder to return to the home screen before selecting another folder.
There is also a feature to hide apps which you can quickly access by doing a 2-finger swipe on the home screen. Since I don’t have any apps to actually hide, I use it as a convenient quick-access app folder.
Neffos C5 also supports fixed Audio Profiles like General, Silent, Meeting, Outdoors, to allow the user to switch the desired audio profiles quickly. You can even create your own named profiles, although the added profiles cannot be selected via the drop down, which seems to defeat the purpose.
You can take screen shots with the usual Vol-down + power button. Or, you can activate the advanced screen shot option from the drop down menu. That screen shot mode allows you to do long screenshots or freestyle screenshots.
When you need to manage the apps, phone memory or battery usage, the System Management app is all you need. With it, you can remove apps, clean RAM, optimise battery usage, configure data usage per app, manage app permissions and notifications. This all-in-one app seems to be de facto for many Android smartphones in recent months.
The camera app is basic without any advanced quality adjustments or presets. The rear camera produces good contrast, though on closer inspection, I noticed compression artefacts even at low ISO. The auto-focus is weak under low-light, and requires re-focusing a few times to get it right. White balance is a struggle under mixed lighting, at times exhibiting purple cast despite adequate lighting. I find that the front camera appears over-processed, due to assumptions that it is used mostly for selfie shots. Check out the samples below.
As an entry-level smartphone, the Neffos C5 does not excel in overall speed (32385 on AnTuTu), battery capacity (2200mAh), hardware (no NFC, no quick charge, single-band Wi-Fi, average camera). But it held well during my 2 week review, generally smooth, so I am quite happy to use it regularly. After using a hefty smartphone for months, it is liberating to use a lightweight and compact device.
If you prefer a larger smartphone, check out my Neffos C5 Max review.
Contest Giveaway: 2 sets of Neffos C5 You might not take Neffos seriously, but TP-LINK is serious in creating a product line that delivers benefits to consumers. And right now, they are giving away the new Neffos C5 to 2 lucky readers who will get to enjoy this capable smartphone. The contest is open to anyone residing in Singapore and will end on Wednesday 25 May at 2359 hrs. The 2 winners will be contacted by the TP-LINK agency, antics@play, to arrange for prize collection. MusicPhotoLife.com is not responsible for the fulfilment of the prizes to the selected winners.
For those who cannot wait for the contest, you can get the Neffos C5 for S$169 at Lazada. Colours available are white (this review unit) and dark grey.
Product website: http://www.neffos.com/sg/product/details/C5
Leave a comment about the phone and I will try to respond during the contest period, before I return the loan unit. Friends and colleagues can look for me for a hands-on experience.