When the Nokia 5.1 Plus was launched in India, we said in our review that if performance was high on your priority list, the 5.1 Plus will surely not disappoint as the Helio P60, despite all the flak MediaTek gets was no slouch and at times even outperformed its Snapdragon counterparts in its price range. The rest of the package wasn’t too shabby either (except for the cameras) which meant that for the price of Rs. 10,999, keeping the competition aside, the Nokia 5.1 Plus delivered what was expected from it.
Three months down the line after the launch, the 5.1 Plus, being a part of the Android One program has received the Android Pie update, so we thought why not revisit it to see how it has stood the test of time and if it’s still worth your money.
Three months isn’t long enough to change our views about the smartphone design, but there have been so many more smartphones which got launched in this period. The build of the 5.1 Plus still feels extremely solid and I can say without a doubt that even today, this is one of the most well-built smartphones at its price point and the design does not feel dated. Glass on either side, a perfectly compact size for one-handed usability make this my favorite phone in terms of build and design in the sub-15k segment. The display, though 720p is quite vivid and contrast-y and if you hate the notch, the Pie update also brings the ability to hide the notch which wasn’t there earlier.
Despite having a not-so-rosy track record, MediaTek’s silicon at the heart has managed to hold its own even today and the P60 does not feel any slower when compared to phones running on the Snapdragon 636 SoC, or even the 660 as a matter of fact. This can be attributed to the clean vanilla Android experience, that too with the goodness of Pie now, which makes the 5.1 Plus one of the most affordable phones to be running on Android 9 Pie at the time of writing. Nokia has stayed true to its promise and has provided timely updates.
Android Pie breathed in new life into the 5.1 Plus with features like adaptive battery, gesture navigation, a new multitasking tray and a design overhaul throughout the UI which gives you a fresh new experience. It was a treat to use the Nokia 5.1 Plus due to the stock UI unlike various competitors who offer their custom skin overlays which takes away the smooth experience of using Android in its purest form along with the latest updates. If you’re looking for the best software experience on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the Nokia 5.1 Plus.
The battery life on the 5.1 Plus was never an issue as it could easily get through a day’s usage with moderate usage patterns, and the same can be said even now. With the introduction of adaptive battery on Android Pie, the OS now manages apps more aggressively which has resulted in marginally improved battery life. If you’re getting the 5.1 Plus, you shouldn’t be bothered too much about battery as it will get you through a day on most occasions.
Cameras were never a strong suit of the Nokia 5.1 Plus and unfortunately, that still remains to be the case even now. Pictures in good lighting conditions are good, but the narrow aperture means low-light shots are noisy and mostly unusable. The same can be said about selfies too. Don’t get this phone for cameras, there are better alternatives in the market.
The loudspeaker output is quite satisfactory, call quality is top notch, there’s a hybrid tray, the fingerprint scanner is reliable, and my favorite part? The Nokia 5.1 Plus has a USB Type-C port, one of the cheapest phones to forego micro-USB, and I’m a big fan of it. And hey, the audio jack is still there. A big deal in 2019, isn’t it?
At a time when MediaTek processors are accused of not supporting newer Android versions fast enough unlike Qualcomm’s Snapdragon ones, HMD has proved the processor is no deterrent if you indeed want to upgrade your existing devices to latest versions.
So, should you still consider getting yourself a Nokia 5.1 Plus in 2019? Again, reiterating the exact same conclusion from review earlier, if performance and software are key parameters you look for in a smartphone along with the brand value of Nokia, for Rs. 10,999, the Nokia 5.1 Plus will not disappoint. It’s pretty much assured to get the Android Q update as well, and might just be the only phone to get it in this segment. To go along with it is a solidly built phone which is also compact and one-handed usage friendly, and a battery that can get you through a day and charges over Type-C. If you take a lot of pictures though, look elsewhere.