Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 1

When we mention TP-Link, the first thing that comes to our mind is networking devices such as Modem, routers, switches or etc. Never would you have thought that they would be releasing smartphones, don’t you?

Same thing goes to Huawei when they first launch their own smartphones. We all doubted their capabilities but they proved us wrong with proper research & development and marketing, they too, can make splendid smartphones.


Let’s take a closer look at the TP-Link’s Neffos C5 Max, the eldest brother in the Neffos C5 line up, followed by Neffos C5 and Neffos C5 Lite.

The Neffos C5 Max retails for RM699.00 on 11street.

Specifications Overview

General

  • Dimension: 152  x  76  x  8.95 mm (5.98  x  2.99  x  0.35 in)
  • Weight: 161 g (5.68oz)
  • SIM: Dual SIM (Micro)
  • Connectivity:
    • GSM / HSPA / LTE
    • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
    • Bluetooth 4.0

Display

  • Size: 5.5 inches
  • Resolution: 1080  x  1920 pixels (~403 PPI) IPS LCD

Under the hood

  • CPU: MediaTek MT6753, Octa-core 2.2 GHz Cortex-A53
  • GPU: Mali-T720MP3
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Storage: 16 GB, supporting MicroSD up to 32 GB
  • Battery: Non-removable 3045 mAh Li-Ion

Camera

Software

  • OS: Android 5.1 Lollipop

Packaging

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 2

Neffos, while being the mobile subsidiary of TP-Link, the branding itself is weirdly absent at the front of the box.

Perhaps TP-Link doesn’t want to scare off potential customers with an unknown “Neffos” branding at the current stage.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 3

Device specs and information at the back.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 4

Opening the box.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 5

In the box:

  • Neffos C5 Max
  • 3pin USB charger (2A)
  • USB cable
  • In-ear earphones
  • Product guides and warranty

Build Quality

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 6

Up front, the phone looks awfully similar to LG’s G series with the different tone “chin”, complete with TP-Link branding.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 7

Up close view of the TP-Link branding.

Notice the rim of the phone despite looks metallic, in fact, it is the dreadful chromed plastic. I wonder if any of the tech gadget manufacturers ever learn the lesson that chromed plastic do not age well.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 8

Front-facing wide-angle 5MP camera, proximity & light sensors around the earpiece. We’ll talk more about the camera in the camera section.

I usually don’t comment on the sensors, but the proximity sensor on the C5 Max doesn’t seem to be very sensitive. Often I would notice my ear pulling the notification shade down when I put the phone to my ear when I receive a call.

During a call, proximity sensor should always detect when something gets to the front of the phone and turns off the screen.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 9

Unlike the current trend where even mid-ranged phones get to enjoy the metal body treatment, Neffos C5 Max is mainly constructed of plastic except the glass at the front.

I’m not even mad because the build is rather solid and weighs good in the hands despite being plastic.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 10

Removable back cover! How we missed you.

Though the 3045mAh battery is non-removable, the removed back cover lets the user access to the Dual Micro SIM slot and Micro SD card slot.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 11

Then the single speaker unit placed at the rather traditional location at the back.

Not really an ideal placement, as the sound tends to muffle up while in the pocket or in the hands.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 12

Micro USB connector at the bottom and a small hole for the microphone.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 13

The microswitches under the power button and volume rocker have terrible short travel distance, but the click feedback is reasonably good to compensate.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 14

It would be better if the 3.5mm audio jack is located at the bottom instead.

Display

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 15

For a mid-ranger, it is quite normal to compromise the screen for the lower price point. Neffos C5 Max, however, comes equipped with a Full HD IPS panel.

Perhaps the screen itself is the best aspect of this phone at the current price point. The 5.5 inch full HD panel is sharp and vibrant, perfect for media and games. Compared with the Neffos C5’s 5 inch HD screen, I would happily shell out extra for the C5 Max, just for the screen.

Camera

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 8

The front 5MP camera is not so good, to be honest. It takes pictures of course, but the slow response to action is not really helping especially when you’re trying to capture a stable and sharp selfie or we-fie.

Making the matter worst, there’s a significant amount of skin smoothening for the front facing camera which I have no option to turn off in the camera settings.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 17

The rear 13MP camera is at best, moderate. In fact, I believe it could do better if the camera software department could do some justice.

It is botched by the same dreadful slow response as the front facing camera. Most of the time I find myself trying to stabilise the phone while waiting for the camera to take the shot.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 18

Instead of bombarding users with hundred millions types of shooting modes, the Neffos software is rather simple with just the commonly used modes.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 19

The simplicity of the camera software can be seen in the camera settings, not much to configure.

Here are some sample photos I’ve taken using the Neffos C5 Max’s camera.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 20

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 21

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 22

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 23

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 24

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 25

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 26

Performance & Battery Life

Speaking of the performance, the Neffos C5 Max comes with a rather questionable SoC, the MediaTek MTK MT6753.

First, the MT6753 was launched back in October 2014. That is almost 2 years old SoC for a device that is only launched 2 months ago!

Secondly, it is inferior to the Snapdragon 615 which was launched around the same season as the MT6753. When I say inferior I mean the MT6753 has

  • Slower clock speed
  • Weaker GPU for 
    • max 16MP camera resolution support (SD615 supports 21MP)
    • max 1080p video recording (SD615 supports 4K)
    • max 1080p display resolution (SD615 supports 1440p)

So, it is old and slower than its competition, does it means the performance sucks to the max?

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 27

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 28

Well, yes, but not the max, yet.

The benchmark number shows the MediaTek chip being around 5~10% slower than the Snapdragon chip, but in terms of usage it still holds up reasonably well for a mid-ranger albeit not in an efficient way if we were to compare it to modern chipsets.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 29

Throughout my testing period, the 3045 mAh battery lasted me a day (14 hours) of moderate usage.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 30

When I mean moderate usage, that means 2.25 hours of screen on time at the cost of 73% of battery.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 31

Even after 2 weeks of usage, the Neffos C5 Max’s best screen on time was around 3 hours max throughout the day.

That is not good at all as I’ve seen some other chipsets that could perform better at the half of the battery life. Don’t even get me started on awfully slow charging speed. TP-Link tried to compensate it by including a 2A charger.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 32

Then the Android OS that comes with the shiny new C5 Max is 5.1 Lollipop. Come on TP-Link, you could’ve launched the C5 Max with 6.0 Marshmallow, don’t you?

Final Thoughts

Neffos C5 family is TP-Link’s answer for entering the smartphone industry. I believe they have gone through quite a lot in order to bring the Neffos C5 lineup a reality. Even with the release of the C5 line up, the story doesn’t end here as there are still a lot of room for them to improve.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 33

You can see that the OS skin itself  even though being no-named, it is slightly customised from stock OS and trying to look like iOS or Xiaomi.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 34

Then some apps would recognise the phone as a tablet. Pretty sure some configuration is not properly setup inside the OS level.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 35

What’s interesting is the implementation of the theme store. TP-Link sure is serious in looking for ways to make money.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 36

But think again, if you’re buying this budget phone, do you willing to spend on themes?

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 37

Then the interesting Turbo Download feature where it uses both WLAN and your SIM data plan to download large files faster.

Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 38

I can definitely see the usefulness of this feature especially if

  • your WLAN is slow 
  • you want to download the file faster
  • you want to conserve your mobile data usage

The Neffos C5 Max is a good try for TP-Link to kickstart their smartphones division. Thanks to the maturity of the Android ecosystem and smartphone industry, TP-Link is getting a good start here compared to those who had gone through difficult days when the smartphone wave just started.

However, in terms of the value proposition and bang-for-buck, I’m still holding back at recommending this phone as there are some other devices that offer better value at the same price point.

That’s exactly how saturated and competitive the market currently is and I really feel bad for Neffos C5 Max for having to fight a losing battle at launch.

Pros:

  • Dual SIM
  • MicroSD card support
  • Excellent display
  • Reasonably good performance

Cons:

  • Chromed plastic rim 
  • Buggy customised Android 5.1 Lollipop
  • Subpar camera
  • Subpar battery life
  • Slow charging
Unboxing & Review: Neffos C5 Max 39

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on pinterest
Pinterest

Related Posts

Currently Playing
Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to Tech-Critter and receive notifications of new posts by email.