TP-Link’s best smartphone yet
The Neffos X1 is a well-rounded handset with a brilliant camera
Although TP-Link is a pretty well-known maker of networking and wireless LAN equipment globally, the brand has until recently been lesser known in the smartphone and mobile devices category.
Recently, however, it rebranded and that corporate effort also saw its strategy pivoting more towards the smart home and smartphone market with the release of mobile devices under the Neffos brand.
Since the rebranding exercise, the company has continued the consumer trend having recently introduced the Neffos X1 and Neffos X1 Max to consumers in the Middle East.
Following the unveiling of the X1 to retailers and channel partners across the GCC, I had the opportunity to try the handset and find out what TP-Link has up its sleeves with the new device in the market.
The latest flagship smartphone from TP-Link, the Neffos X1, has a lot of things going for it in tandem to offer a great Android smartphone experience, along with arguably the best mobile photography and videography credibility a smartphone in this price bracket has offered yet.
TP-Link may be most famous for its wireless networking equipment, but the Chinese vendor is becoming more and more serious about its mobile efforts too. The Neffos X1 shares many traits including its hardware design and metal construction. As is the case more often, the main differences between most handsets has to do with size.
Design and comfort
The X1 has a 5-inch 720p touchscreen and a 13MP rear camera with Sony IMX298 sensor, f/2.0 aperture technology, phase detection autofocus, and a dual-tone LED flash. The selfie unit is a 5MP affair, while the device is powered by MediaTek's Helio P10 chipset with a 1.8 GHz Octa-core Cortex-A53 CPU and Mali-T860 GPU. In addition, the Neffos X1 is a 4G LTE and dual-SIM enabled handset and has a fingerprint sensor, which once set-up, authenticates the authorised user of the device in 0.2 seconds. The phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow operating systems.
The X1 has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage with support for microSD expansion. The X1's dimensions are 142 x 71 x 7.95 mm, and it's got a 2,250 mAh battery pretty reasonable for smartphone that's retailing for AED699.
The device is made out of a unibody metal exterior, featuring a dual curved back that tapers towards the sides and it's clad in 2.5D scratch-resistant corning gorilla glass. The phone boasts edge-to-edge displays, with a 76% screen-to-body ratio. On one side are the power and volume buttons while the other, features a slide-to-mute key.
As for the internals, the X1 carries Octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 chipsets, which claim blazing fast speeds. The phone comes in both 16GB and 32GB models variations. The smartphone also has dual-band WiFi and multiple LTE band support. What's even more impressive is that the X1's 2250 mAh battery gives it 300 hours of standby and 10 hours of talk time. I
In the information on features, TP-Link says that the X1 has something called real-time night shooting, which promises great performance in low light conditions. I used this feature and I must say, I was impressed at the results of shooting in this mode. The X1 also has HDR and time lapse photography. The other feature I find very useful especially if you want to capture an event and the handset is in lock mode is the fingerprint reader on the rear of the phone located right underneath the camera lens and flash. I have an iPhone 6 Plus as my main handset and using the same finger that I enrolled on the iPhone 6 Plus and X1, I was able to distinguish that the sensor on the X1 unlocks the phone pretty fast affirming TP-Link's claim of 0.2 seconds. The fingerprint sensor plus the gesture awakening mode, make it easier to use the handset when you have wet hands or don't want to take off gloves in cold weather conditions to touch the phone.
Aside from its smart home ecosystem apps that are embedded in the phone, the X1 can light up even the darkest subjects therefore making your night images as clear as possible.
And while there are many vendors in the Middle East with handsets in the same price range and specs as TP-Link's Neffos X1, this handset is a top-notch smartphone for the budget conscious consumer who is looking to have a premium device experience without breaking their pocket to enjoy that. The X1 is not only a "value for money" handset, but is inexpensive yet has features that one can only find in high-end smartphones. At the price point the X1 is retailing and the TP-Link smart home ecosystem that this device offers, anyone thinking of buying or upgrading their current mobile phone should consider this device. Go ahead and buy the Neffos X1 if you love mobile photography or videography, which I am doing quite a lot and this device comes handy because of its Sony IMX298 sensor, f/2.0 aperture technology and longer battery life.