Nokia 5.1 Plus (X5) - Great Performance, Affordable Price

February 25, 2019
Nokia 5.1 Plus (X5) - Great Performance, Affordable Price
Image source: Nokia official website

It’s been 10 years since I put down my old Nokia and I thought I’ll never hold one again. HMD Global’s acquisition of Nokia changed that. They’ve decided to bring Nokia to its former glory and they are on the right track.

The Nokia 5.1 Plus (Nokia X5 in the Chinese market) was released on October 1st last year and it promised a lot. Let’s see if it fulfills its promise of an affordable mid-range phone.

The Hardware

nokia_5_1_plus_1
Image source: Nokia official Webiste

The 5.1 Plus features the MediaTek Helio P60 chipset. The P60 delivers high-end features on low-budget phones. Some of the things it offers are facial recognition, AI-assisted imaging, advanced battery optimization, etc.

The Cortex-A73 and it’s 8 cores bring incredible power to the 5.1 Plus. With it, your phone stays smooth and cool no matter if it’s multitasking, heavy gaming or video applications.

To keep things running, it has 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. In case 32GB isn’t enough, one of one the dual SIM slots can be used for an SD card.

The screen is a 5.86-inch (5.8-inch if the notch is disabled) IPS LCD scaled down to HD+ at 720x1520. Esthetically it’s a very pleasant phone.

The front camera is 8MP and it has dual rear cameras 13MP + 5MP. Like most phones, it struggles in low-light conditions, the pictures are dark and soft. Video quality is decent at 1080p at 30FPS but the digital stabilization is amazing.

It has a 3060 mAh lithium-polymer battery, with the battery optimization it can last 2-3 days with light-medium usage. In case you use it heavily, it will probably need a charge before sleep or at some point during the next day.

Something unusual for phones in this price range, but a welcome sight, is that it has a USB-C port.

Opinions based on usage

Before going into specific usage. I’m very happy with Android One, the launcher is clean and fast, there are no stock apps to slow the phone down and use up memory. If you can live without some company unique apps and features and love having a clean phone, I would suggest looking into getting an Android One phone.

After a week of me not leaving the phone, I feel confident in my opinions about it. Let’s go over it based on what I actually use the phone for.

The most obvious one is gaming. The games I write reviews for are played on it with the exception of a few that aren’t supported on it. I have yet to run into a game that doesn’t run well on it. PUBG plays amazingly, it doesn’t drain the battery and the phone stays cool. Gaming wise, the Nokia 5.1 Plus offers a lot more than I expected it would.

After gaming, it's mostly used for music and watching videos. The speaker is rather loud, although at max volume there is some distortion, so lower audio quality is noticed if you take it too far. Watching videos at 720p doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. The difference is minimal and it shouldn’t bother you either.

Finally, it’s the boring things left. Texting, checking calendars, updating spreadsheets and writing documents. All of this is made so much easier due to the ability to force all apps to work in split screen mode. The powerful chipset and 3GB of RAM allow for a smooth experience in split screen and quick switching between different apps.

The only thing that bothers me is that this is not a phone for power-users. As of the writing of this article, there are no custom ROMs, it’s hard to find stock firmware from different regions and the worst of all is the fact that you can’t root it.

This is because HDM tries to keep most of the phones very user-friendly for the common user, someone who doesn’t require advanced apps and features. This makes it a very good phone for basic users and it makes sure they don’t brick it by accident. If you’re an advanced user, this might not be the best option for you.

A final note would be that the facial recognition works well and the fingerprint scanner is very fast. It’s an all-around smooth phone.

Conclusion

Everything that was promised is there and then some. I couldn’t ask more from a phone in the €200 price range. I would recommend this phone to kids getting their first phone, anyone switching to smartphones for the first time (yes, such people still exist) and people that want a strong phone without needing to sell a kidney. In the end, I am very happy with my purchase.