Nokia 5.1 Plus review

Nokia launched the Nokia 5.1 Plus and 6.1 Plus a while back, with the Nokia 6.1 Plus going on sale immediately. We had to wait another month to get our hands on the Nokia 5.1 Plus and it was worth the wait. We reviewed the Nokia 6.1 Plus last month and were very impressed by the smartphone.

The Nokia 5.1 Plus is priced at INR 10,999 in the Indian market and comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. We have been using the phone for a while now and here’s our full review.

Nokia 5.1 Plus Specifications

  • Display: 5.8-inch IPS LCD HD+ display, 19:9 ratio
  • Software: Android 8.1 Oreo, Android One
  • Fingerprint Scanner: Yes
  • CPU: MediaTek Helio P60 Octa-core processor
  • RAM: 3 GB
  • Storage: 32 GB internal storage, expandable up to 400GB
  • Main Camera: 13 MP (f/2.0) (RGB) + 5MP (f/2.2) dual-tone LED Flash
  • Selfie Camera: 8 MP (f/2.2)
  • Connectivity: USB Type C, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5, GPS + GLONASS
  • Cellular: 4G LTE, Dual SIM
  • Battery: 3,060 mAh, Li-ion Polymer, non-removable
  • Price: INR 10,999

Box Contents

The box design is similar to what we have seen in the past with other Nokia products. There is the Nokia 5.1 Plus branding on top. As soon as you lift the top part, you are greeted with the smartphone. Underneath lie the documentation and the supplied accessories.

A complete list of items you get inside the box:

  • Nokia 5.1 Plus smartphone
  • Sim Ejector Tool
  • Charger
  • USB Type-C Cable
  • Silicon Case
  • Earphones
  • Warranty and User Guide

Design

Just like the Nokia 6.1 Plus, the Nokia 5.1 Plus has a glass sandwich design with the back being made out of Gorilla Glass 3. The outer rim is made out of Aluminum and given a thick paint coat to make it pop. Following the footsteps of the elder sibling, the 5.1 Plus has a dual rear camera setup on the back, which is placed vertically in the centre with the round fingerprint sensor underneath.

The phone comes in two color choices, Black and Blue. The buttons are placed on the right side with the triple slot tray on the left. The bottom of the phone houses the Type-C port, and speaker, while the 3.5mm headphone jack is placed on the top.

The front of the phone features a 5.8-inch HD+ display with a notch. Now when comparing the Nokia 6.1 Plus and 5.1 Plus side by side, you will notice that the 5.1 Plus has a bigger notch and overall thicker bezels. There is a sizeable bottom chin, with the Nokia branding in the middle.

Display

Nokia has gone with a 5.8-inch 19:9 aspect ratio LCD display. The resolution has been hit to HD+ but the display still feels adequately sharp. The color reproduction is on point, making the display ideal for content consumption.

The settings to tweak colors according to user preference is still missing, and we hope this gets added in the future updates. The display gets very bright, so outdoor visibility won’t be an issue. Overall we are satisfied with the quality of the display.

Software and Performance

Nokia is perhaps the only smartphone maker, with their whole smartphone lineup based on the stock Android. Following its siblings, the smartphone gets Android One badge which means faster updates, since the process is essentially controlled by Google. With Android One you get clean UI with Google’s stock apps.

There’s no option to hide the notch, but we found most of the apps scaled perfectly. The only app we found glitching was the camera app, we used the Google Lens, which is inside the camera app and ran into scaling issues.

The only apps added here by Nokia, are their camera and support app. HMD Global has promised updates to Android Pie as well as Android Q, as and when they are released. Nokia 6.1 Plus has already started getting the Pie update, so the update won’t take that long to land on the 5.1 Plus as well.

The Nokia 5.1 Plus is being powered by MediaTek’s Helio P60 chipset, which we have seen this year on a number of smartphones. One thing to note here is that the chipset is slightly underclocked when compared to other smartphones running the same chipset. Though the Helio P60 comes with a dedicated NPU, Nokia has added any AI features that are being aggressively put out by its competitors.

The chipset performs well here, multi-tasking, app switching are all lag free. We did play some games on the Nokia 5.1 Plus, like Asphalt 9 and PUBG which ran smoothly on the medium to high graphics settings.

There is a single bottom firing speaker, which gets loud but easily gets muffled due to its positioning. Nokia is bundling basic headsets in the box, which are okay for casual use.

Camera and Battery

Nokia has gone with a dual rear camera setup on the 5.1 Plus with the main sensor being 13-megapixels which is assisted with a 5-megapixel depth sensor. In good lighting conditions, the main sensor produces some decent shots, but there is a noticeable shutter lag. Now at times, this lag causes ghosting, which we hope gets fixed in the upcoming updates.

In low light settings, however, photos tend to look grainy and washed out. Nokia has added a live-Bokeh mode, which shows the amount of blur in realtime from the viewfinder. Furthermore, you get the option to set the amount of blur, which is great since we got very artificial looking results in the default settings.

Additionally, there are modes like, Beautification, wherein you can set the amount of beautification, Dual and P-I-P modes, which let you shoot with the rear and front camera simultaneously. Along with this, you get a manual mode, a panorama mode and Google Lens baked in.

Nokia has added a 3,060 mAh battery to the 5.1 Plus and seeing the battery size, we were surprised by the performance. We managed to get a full day worth of use from the single charge. There is no fast charging, and using the supplied 10W charger, the phone takes a little over two hours to top up the battery completely.

Nokia 5.1 Plus Pricing

  • 3GB/32GB – INR 10,999

Pros

  • Good looking Design
  • Decent Performance
  • Android One

Cons

  • Average Cameras
  • No Fast Charger bundled

Verdict – Should you go for it?

Nokia 5.1 Plus is a decent offering at the INR 10,999 price point. It brings decent performance, fluid software experience with the promise of timely updates to the table. The display is not that pixel-dense, like its competitors but we still enjoyed watching content on it.

The only shortcoming in the 5.1 Plus is its camera. Barring this we, you get a very decent offering from Nokia at a very aggressive price point.

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