TP-LINK joins the world of smartphones with its new Neffos series, which comes to us in three different sizes. Here we will analyze the Neffos C5, the intermediate version, which features a 4-core processor, a 5-inch display with HD resolution and an 8 MP camera.
TP-LINK enters the Smartphone Market
If we were asked for routers or network cards, TP-LINK would be one of the first brands that would come out. And they have achieved this based on good products, which work very well and have good value for money.
In recent years they have not only released new products for networks, but have also initiated a parallel strategy of computer-related products such as USB HUBs or External Batteries for smartphones and tablets.
Now they diversify again, although this time they do so with a new line of mid-range smartphones, a risky bet on a market that is already saturated with product, and where something that rivals do not have to stand out. We will see in this analysis the TP-LINK Neffos C5, the intermediate model of the range with 5″, if they are able to do so.
Seeking to offer a sober product, the design of the TP-LINK Neffos C5 has quite classic lines, where the chrome-plated edge around the front glass stands out, although in this case it is painted plastic.
The large absence from the outside is metal, something that many mid-range models are already incorporating, and that makes them have a more attractive finish. The only place where it appears is on the two side buttons, made in this material, and offering a good touch.
Dimensions 144 mm high, 72 mm wide and 8.8 mm thick, the Measurements of the Neffos C5 are in the average of the 5″ phones, as with the weight, being 141 grams. These are figures that we are already used to, and that make the phone comfortable to have in hand.
One section that should be improved is the removable back cover, which is made of a somewhat rough material, with a not particularly pleasant texture, and whose ability to repel the footprints is scarce.
Continuing from the back, we see that its design is very clean, where the speaker barely stands out at the bottom, along with the name of the screen-printed model and the main camera with the double led flash.
Although we have passed it, it must be clarified that this phone has a back cover with removable battery, as well as hollow for two micro SIM cards and an SD memory card of up to 32 GB of storage in addition to the 16 GB that already includes.
Connectivity, calls and GPS
This is a section where everything is practically standardized, except for some elements that are reserved for more advanced models. Thus, we have WiFi (although this is not AC), bluetooth 4.0, and 4G cat 4 connectivity, with up to 150 Mbps download and 50 upload. It also includes the one appreciated by many FM radios.
Neither the fingerprint reader nor NFC, common features of high-end phones, are included in mid-range smartphones to be able to accept payment via mobile, a feature that will expand its use during 2016.
When it comes to call quality, the sound is good, although it draws attention to the low coverage that the terminal receives despite having a plastic finish. In any case, we have not had any problems with the calls in this tp-LINK Neffos C5 review.
If we talk about GPS, we find mixed sensations. On the one hand, when testing indoors, it is surprising that it is able to detect several satellites even indoors, while sometimes making mistakes when positioning ourselves on google maps, both indoors and outdoors.
Image quality is one of the most valued aspects by users when choosing a smartphone. Years ago the differences between high-end mobiles and the rest was very pronounced, offering poor results in many cases.
The use of IPS panels has made the vast majority of devices offer sufficient quality, and the TP-LINK Neffos C5 screen was not going to be less. In addition to having this technology, it offers an HD resolution of 1280 by 720 pixels, being something common in this category, although increasingly, these terminals start equipping full HD screens.
Contrary to what you would expect in a brand that starts in the world of smartphones, we find an Android 5.1 Lollipop system (at the moment the arrival of Marshmallow is not confirmed, although it is to be assumed that it will arrive) that far from presenting a stock appearance, comes to us with an important layer of customization, which at the moment they do not call in any special way. A statement of intent by a firm with little experience in this field.
The most striking thing about this system is the absence of the application menu, so that we all have them on the different desktops, in the style of what Apple does with its iOS. This can be comfortable or uncomfortable depending on what you’re used to. What is clear is that it will leave no one indifferent.
At the customization level it does not allow a lot of modifications, but we can change some effects, themes or backgrounds in a quick and simple way by means of the 3 points that appear next to the icons at the bottom of the back, start and multitasking. We also have an application called «changing theme», where with a single tap we can change the theme among those that we have installed.
Although it is a system with great customization, we have been pleasantly surprised that this phone does not include practically any unnecessary application, except for what is necessary. A very interesting application is the photo editor, where we can modify our photos with a lot of uncomplicated effects, in a very fast and intuitive way.
Inside this phone we find no surprise in terms of hardware, with an old known as the Mediatek MT 6735 processor with 4 cores at a maximum frequency of 1.3 GHz, accompanied by a Mali T720 GPU at 450 MHz.
Accompanied by 2 GB of RAM, the performance of TP-LINK Neffos C5 is in line with what we expected from this terminal, with a very good fluidity while on the desktop or handling simple applications, although the reloading of content in social media applications will not be immediate, just like when we handle multiple tabs in the included browser.
The results we get in our Neffos C5 test confirm this, where we get modest benchmark scores, even more so when compared to the more advanced models such as the Samsung Galaxy S7 or LG G5.
We manage to run all the most demanding games on the market (albeit without the fluidity of more powerful terminals) thanks to the 2 GB of RAM and above all at a limited HD resolution, which on the one hand does not shine as much as higher definition screens, but on the other hand it is a relief for the processor.
On paper, the TP-LINK Neffos C5’s camera features an 8 MP sensor with dual LED flash and autofocus. The fact that we have a somewhat low resolution for what we are used to in this type of mobiles made us expect a performance below the competition.
In practice the results we get are similar to those of similar equipment with 13 MP cameras. We have achieved good outdoor captures with plenty of sunlight, as you can see in the captures that are attached, although it is clear that they do not reach the brilliance and definition of the best mobiles on the market.
Here your expertise and pulse as photographers plays a pretty important role, since image stabilization is not especially good, and as soon as we move the camera the images will be blurred.
In night scenes it is where the least advanced cameras suffer the most, and this is no exception. It also presents focus issues in macros. Video recording is in the category standard, where we can reach a Full HD resolution, although we don’t have a time lapse or slow motion.
The application of the camera has been customized just like the rest of the software, with a very simple interface, where there are few configuration options, so that you can change the image mode, apply filters and flash. This is something that is consistent with the quality of the camera itself, where simplicity prevails.