TP-Link Neffos N1 Unboxing

You may know TP-Link for their network products, but did you know they make phones too? Today, we will be unboxing their latest mid-range smartphone, the Neffos N1, which you can purchase from TP-Link’s authorized distributors for S$368.

Huge thanks to TP-Link Singapore for loaning me this Neffos N1 review unit. All opinions below are of my own.


Unboxing – Out of Battery?!!!

The Neffos N1’s packaging is easily identifiable, with an image of the N1 printed at the front of the box. Shaking off the cover, which requires breaking 2 seals on the sides, we are greeted with the phone, sitting right on top of the box.

IMG_3253-min

Let’s put the phone aside first. There are 2 boxes of accessories. Inside the box with the SIM removal tool is a tempered glass screen protector, as well as some paperwork.

IMG_3258-min

In the second box you will find a pair of earphones (with 3.5mm connector) , a wall adapter with fast charging, as well as a USB Type-C cable. Finally we get Type-C on a budget phone!

IMG_3266-min

I do wish that a clear case was included with the N1 though. Considering how uncommon Neffos devices are in Singapore, getting a case for the N1 would be a challenge.

Back to the phone. After peeling off the sticker on the front and rear, I powered on the phone, only to get a message that the phone would be turning off in a couple of seconds. Oops! What is going on? Then I look at the battery indicator. 1%…

CountDown

That says 2 things about the Neffos N1: (1) Not even TP-Link opened the box to charge the device, so you can be very sure that the phone is completely new. (2) This device probably sat in the warehouse for a really long time.


First Impression – An Unusual 2018 Budget Phone

Display

Most phones in 2018 come with an 18:9 display, but the Neffos N1 isn’t one of them. 16:9 is not a big deal; the thing that bothers me are the top and bottom chins. With so many phones going almost bezeless, the thick chins make the N1 feel dated.

IMG_3265-min

Design

Right below the display are the back-lit navigation buttons. The left and right buttons are not fixed: you can assign either one to be the “Back” button and the other will be the “Recent” button.

Turning to the rear, we see a familiar design. Where have we seen this before? *Cough* Huawei P9 *Cough* While not the most original, the design of the Neffos N1 looks really sleek and the build quality is comparable to some over S$600 devices.

IMG_3261-min

Power button is located on the right, with the SIM tray above it. On the left we have the volume buttons and a mute switch. Having used the iPhone SE as my daily driver for 2 years, I can attest that mute switch is not just for show. It is really useful!

Front & Rear Cameras

Neffos N1 is equipped with dual 12MP cameras on the rear: one RGB and the other monochrome, similar to Huawei’s implementation. Below is a sample shot taken with the Neffos N1 with HDR on. More photos in my full review.

IMG_20180414_103203_HDR[1]

The 8MP front camera of the Neffos N1 has 86° wide angle, much wider than what you get on a typical selfie camera. Sweet! Images taken with it do not seem to be very sharp, but look alright if you do not zoom in. Beautify is a little weak.

IMG_20180414_090742[1]

Others

Out of the box, Neffos N1 runs NFUI 7.0 on top of Android 7.1.1 Nougat. Although it doesn’t have an app drawer, NFUI is a lot closer to stock Android than heavily modified Android skins, like MIUI and EMUI or even ColorOS.

IMG_3271-min

Bloatware is minimal and instead of building its own gallery, music and calendar app, TP-Link made Google Photos, Play Music and Calendar the default apps, basically reducing the number of duplicate apps on the Neffos N1. Sweet!

The fingerprint scanner on the rear is quite fast, but there is a little bit of delay before the screen lights up, making it feel slower. The SIM tray contains one slot for a nano SIM and a hybrid slot that accepts either a nano SIM or Micro SD card.


Conclusion

At S$368, the Neffos N1 competes with devices like the Redmi 5 Plus (64/4GB) and Honor 7x. It doesn’t have the beautiful 18:9 aspect ratio on the other 2 devices, but it tries to make up for it in other ways, build quality for example.

IMG_3251-min

I will be testing out the Neffos N1 more thoroughly in the next 2 days, before I return it back to TP-Link. There are a few areas I am really keen to test in my full review of the N1, most notably the rear camera, charging speed and WiFi performance.

Stay tuned for my full review!

Vivo V7+ Unboxing & First Impression

You may not have heard of Vivo, but they are one of the largest phone manufacturers from China. And no, they are not related to VivoCity. Recently, Vivo entered Singapore’s smartphone market, bringing two affordable devices: Y65 and V7+.

In this article, we will unbox the Vivo V7+ and take a quick look at its design, software and cameras. Huge thanks to Vivo Singapore for lending me the device to review.


Unboxing – All the Accessories You Need!

Vivo V7+ comes in rather uninspiring white box. Inside the box you will find the device, wall adapter and micro USB cable and a pair of headphones that looks a lot like Apple’s Earpods. A clear jelly case is also included in the box.

IMG_3137-min


First Impression – Looking Good

Display & Form Factor

Like most recent smartphones, the V7+ has an 18:9 display, so you will be able to see more in apps that support the 18:9 screen ratio. At 5.99″ HD+, the resolution is a little low for the size, but viewing angles are good and colors look pretty accurate.

IMG_3160-min

Similar to the Redmi 5 I tested recently, Vivo V7+ uses on-screen navigation bar, which eats up a portion of your screen. But the bottom chin here is quite a bit smaller than on the Redmi 5, so I can understand why capacitive buttons were not used.

Design

The design of the Vivo V7+ isn’t the most original we have seen, but there are some things that I really like about it. The sides are curved in a way that makes the phone feel thinner and the shiny silver accents around the device is really eye-catching.

Front & Rear Cameras

The rear camera on the Vivo V7+ is a 16MP shooter, with f/2.0 aperture and PDAF. We do not know a lot about this camera, but the photos I have taken with it looks promising. I will be testing the V7+’s rear camera more thoroughly in my full review.

Its 24MP front camera also has f/2.0 aperture. It has a selfie flash, like the Redmi 5, but this one seems a lot brighter, so bright it will hurt your eyes. The V7+’s selfie camera comes with some nifty features like portrait mode and face beauty (aka beautify).

IMG_20180322_183409[1]

Others

Vivo V7+ runs FunTouch OS 3.2 on top of Android 7.1.2 out of the box. FunTouch is similar to OPPO’s ColorOS in many ways, even sharing the same TouchPal keyboard. One thing I wish they shared was the Settings app; FunTouch’s one is a mess.

IMG_3138-min

The fingerprint scanner on the rear is relatively quick. Alternatively, you can use the face recognition to unlock your device, which is surprisingly fast too. Not sure how accurate it is, but you do not have to use it if you do not feel it is secure.

If you are someone that likes to travel, you might be interested in the Vivo V7+. It has dual SIM slots and a dedicated SD card slot, which is pretty rare. Most phones use hybrid SIM trays, accepting only a SIM card plus SD card or a second SIM card.


Conclusion

At S$469, the Vivo V7+ seems costly at first, considering its specs. But after using it for a few minutes, I notice that there are a couple of things the V7+ can do really well, things that are often neglected on more affordable phones like the Redmi 5.

IMG_3128-min

Over the next few days, I will be using the Vivo V7+ as my daily driver, putting it through different usage scenarios and tests. My review of the V7+ will be coming very soon, so stay tuned!

Xiaomi Redmi 5 Unboxing & First Impression

In my Redmi Note 3 and Redmi Note 4 reviews, I praised them for their excellent bang-for-the-buck, offering superb performance and experience at a very low price. Now that another year has passed, we are getting a new generation of Redmi devices.

But this year, I will not be reviewing the Redmi Note 5, aka Redmi 5 Plus. Instead, we will be taking a look at the Redmi 5, its smaller and less powerful, but more affordable sibling. The Redmi 5 goes for S$179 (2/16GB) and S$219 (3/32GB) in Singapore.


Unboxing – Clear Case Now Included!

The Redmi 5 comes in a striking Mi-orange box about the size of the Redmi Note 4’s, but thicker. Isn’t the Redmi 5 a smaller phone? Why is the packaging thicker? Unlike Redmi devices from the past, the Redmi 5 comes with a clear case in the box. Sweet!

IMG_2949-min

Other than that, you are getting the usual stuff: an instruction manual, SIM removal tool, charging cable and wall adapter.

IMG_2950-min


First Impression – Refreshing, But is It Really Better?

Display & Form Factor

The most significant update to the Redmi 5 is without a doubt the new 18:9 display. With it, you get more space vertically compared to its predecessor, the Redmi 4X. According to Xiaomi, this will allow for more room in games, web browsing and apps.

IMG_2966-min

But that also make it a taller phone, so using it one-handed is not as convenient as before. The height of the Redmi 5 is comparable to that of the Redmi Note 4. Thankfully, MIUI has a one-handed mode, which can be enabled in the settings.

IMG_2961-min

Xiaomi is using an on-screen navigation bar on the Redmi 5, so for most apps, you are actually getting just a tiny bit more screen real estate than before. I would have preferred a navigation bar on the lower chin instead, like on previous devices.

Rear Design

The rear of the phone will look very familiar to Redmi Note 3 and 4 users, but it is a considerable improvement if you are coming from the Redmi 4X. The camera lens is slightly protruding, but this should not be a concern if you have a case.

IMG_2958-min

Front & Rear Camera

Let’s talk more about the rear camera. It is still 12MP, but each individual pixel has been bumped up in size, theoretically taking in more light and producing better photos. Unlike the Redmi 5 Plus, the Redmi 5 only has a single LED flash on the rear.

IMG_2960-min

Take a look at the photos below. The ones on the left are taken with the Redmi Note 4, while those on the right are taken with the new Redmi 5. Which is better in your opinion?

IMG_20180303_170543[1].jpg IMG_20170203_122804[1].jpg
IMG_20180303_170613[1] IMG_20170203_122858[1].jpg

More sample shots will be provided in my full review. Moving on to the 5MP front camera, Xiaomi added a single LED light, located beside the ambient light sensor. But even with the flash light, selfies turn out decent at most under artificial/low lighting.

IMG_20180303_214412[1]

Others

The rear-mounted fingerprint scanner is as quick as ever and setting up requires just a few seconds. An IR blaster is located at the top of the device, so is a headphone jack. The Redmi 5 comes in three color options: gold, black and a beautiful new blue color.

One thing that really disappointed me on the Redmi 5 was the Micro USB port. While not many budget phones have USB Type-C yet, I was expecting Xiaomi to be the one that pushes for it. We may have to wait another year or two to retire Micro USB.

IMG_2953-min

From my image comparing the size of the Redmi 5 and the Redmi Note 4 on top, you may have noticed that the Redmi 5 has certification markings on the back, which was absent on the Redmi Note 4. Would have been nice if it wasn’t there, but not a big deal.


Conclusion

With many manufacturers using the 18:9 display as an excuse to hike price, I am really glad that Mi Singapore maintained last year’s pricing for the Redmi 5. I am looking forward to testing in the next couple of weeks, especially the rear camera.

IMG_2946-min

Do you have any questions regarding the Redmi 5 or 5 Plus? Comment below and I will try to address them on my Redmi 5 review. Would you also like to see a review on the Redmi 5 Plus? If you are, also leave a comment and I will try to borrow one.