When TP-Link launched its first smartphones at the start of 2016, there was interest in the brand, but the devices themselves failed to generate significant buzz. TP-Link is not just another smartphone manufacturer – as a leading player when it comes to networking equipment, many were eager to see what kind of devices the company could produce.
TP-Link’s first range of smartphones were very much lower-tier – the biggest provider of Wi-Fi network products in the world failed to captivate the market with its initial handsets.
Now the company is back with two new Android smartphones, targeted at what is arguably the hottest sector at the moment – handsets which fuse premium and mid-range features together at a competitive price point.
TP-Link’s new smartphones are the Neffos X1 and Neffos X1 Max, both of which offer a metallic rear cover.
Differences between the Neffos X1 and Neffos X1 Max
Specs of the two devices are similar, with the most noticeable difference being – as the name suggests – a larger display on the Neffos X1 Max.
The Neffos X1 Max has a 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 Full HD display, with a pixel density of 403.4 PPI.
A lower resolution as well as a smaller display feature on the Neffos X, with the device offering a 5.5-inch 1280 x 720 HD display, and a pixel density of 293.7 PPI.
Another difference between the two smartphones is the battery size. The Neffos X1 Max has a 3000 mAh battery whilst the Neffos X1 has a 2250 mAh battery.
The Neffos X1 Max also differs when it comes to charging, with the handset supporting fast charging, allowing for a 60% charge to be reached in 39 minutes.
Neffos X1 and Neffos X1 Max specs
Both devices will be available in two different colours – Cloudy Grey and Sunrise Gold.
The colour options apply to the back of the smartphones, with the fronts featuring different hues. The Cloudy Grey edition has a black display surround, while the Sunrise Gold version has a white front.
The handsets are powered by a MediaTek Helio P10 chipset, which is a decent performer and very much a favoured option of manufacturers producing mid-range smartphones.
There will be two variants of both the Neffos X1 and Neffos X1 Max, offering differing memory and storage.
The Neffos X1 Max will be available with 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage, or 4 GB RAM and 64 GB storage.
Allowances are not quite as generous with the Neffos X1, with 2 GB RAM and 16 GB storage, or 3 GB RAM and 32 GB storage being offered.
It is important to bear in mind that consumers will not necessarily be given a choice when it comes to memory and storage options, as TP-Link may release specific models in different countries.
Both the Neffos X1 and Neffos X1 Max also include a physical mute button, fingerprint scanner, ARM Mali-T860 GPU, microSD card slot (with support for cards of up to 128 GB), Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/n with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO navigation, LTE support for bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8 and 20, Bluetooth 4.1 and dual SIM card slots.
TP-Link have acknowledged that it is important for the Neffos X1 and Neffos X1 Max to offer good quality cameras, given this is considered a vital area of a smartphone by many consumers.
Although it is not possible to provide a 100 percent accurate assessment of the image quality of devices which do not even have production models available yet, the signs are reasonably encouraging for the Neffos X1 and Neffos X1 Max
The smartphones use a Sony Exmor IMX258 sensor on the front-facing camera. There is an f/2.0 aperture lens, offering a shallow depth of field, and the camera also features phase detection autofocus.
The Sony Exmor IMX258 is the same sensor that has been deployed in the Sony Xperia XA, Xiaomi Mi4c and Elephone P9000.
It has a pixel size of 1.12 μm. By comparison, the Sony Exmor IMX377 – which is used in the HTC 10, Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P – has a pixel size of 1.55 μm, while the Samsung ISOCELL S5K2L1 and Sony Exmor MX260 (Samsung Galaxy S7 handsets include either of these two sensors) has a pixel size of 1.4 μm.
Reviews of smartphones that include the Sony Exmor IMX258 are somewhat mixed when it comes to camera performance. The reviews are not bad by any means, and some really like the photos it can produce, but the general consensus is that it is not a match for the likes of the Sony Exmor IMX377, Samsung ISOCELL S5K2L1 and Sony Exmor MX260.
The question of the Neffos X1 and Neffos X1 Max’s image quality really centres around whether TP-Link’s software is able to maximise the performance of the sensor when it comes to image processing. This will be vital for keeping noise to a minimum, as well as producing good quality HDR shots.
As far as those all-important selfies are concerned, the front-facing camera offers a resolution of 5 megapixels. It also includes a beautifying mode, which is very much a love-or-hate inclusion on a smartphone.