- Dedicated Mute Switch
- Solid build
- Great battery life
- Built-in fast charging
- Smooth performance
- Punchy display
- Average camera
- Extremely slippery back
- Could be priced lower
A couple of months back, Neffos launched its latest premium smartphone in Malaysia, in the form of the Neffos N1. The company happens to be under TP-Link, which is most notably known for its routers and modems, but it has since dived into the smartphone industry. Now, in our review of the Neffos N1, we used it as our daily driver for a couple of weeks and see how it performed!
Design & Build Quality
The Neffos N1 looks like the Huawei P9 without a doubt in mind. The placement of the dual rear cameras, the size of the phone, and has rounded corners. However, the Neffos N1 does have corners which are slightly curvier. The device has a metal chassis which feels very solid and premium in the hand, especially with its matte back. While it has a solid feel, it is an extremely slippery phone and a case is definitely recommended (if you can find one).
As for button placements, the power button can be found on right, while the volume rockers are placed on the left. On top of that, a mute switch has been included, which is a nice inclusion. At the bottom, a USB Type C port and 3.5mm headphone jack are available. On the rear panel, the dual camera setup can be found, with a fingerprint scanner in the center.
Specification & Benchmark
When it comes to specs, the Neffos N1 runs on decent hardware. This includes a MediaTek Helio P25 processor backed by 4GB of RAM + 64GB storage. On the front is a 5.5-inch FHD display with a 2.5D curved glass. It sports dual cameras on the back consisting of a 12MP RGB sensor + 12MP monochrome camera. Selfies are handled by an 8MP shooter. Software wise, it runs on Android 7.1.1 with NFUI 7.0 on top.
Below, you may view the performance of the Neffos N1 in benchmark tests. However, it should be noted that benchmarks don’t always translate to real life performance.
With a 5.5-inch full HD IPS display, the Neffos N1 has a pretty decent screen. Colours are sharp and pleasant to the eye. But it’s no AMOLED display that’s for sure, so don’t expect super deep blacks when using it. Viewing content on the handset was a joy, but it will take some getting used to if you come from a phone with a larger display.
The display can get pretty dark, and also pretty bright, making it ideal for outdoors and night viewing. For protection, it comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, which isn’t the latest but at least it offers some form of protection.
Rocking a MediaTek Helio P25 processor, the Neffos N1 offers rather good performance for a mid-ranger. During my day-to-day usage I rarely experienced any lag when opening apps and browsing. However, one app which frequently crashed while I used this device, was Facebook. In the three weeks I’ve had this as my daily driver, Facebook crashed at least once day. Clearing the background apps and reopening Facebook would make it crash again. Aside from that, not many hiccups were experienced on my end.
When it comes to gaming, the Neffos N1 was able to handle intensive games like PUBG which ran surprisingly smooth, though graphics were set to Medium. With 4GB of RAM, the device was able to keep many apps in memory without force closing any.
Battery Life & Charging
Coming from a flagship smartphone that has mediocre battery life and wasn’t expecting much from the Neffos N1. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I started using it, as the battery life was actually impressive. With a 3,260 mAh battery, the handset managed to survive an entire day of intensive usage, with around 4 hours of screen on time*. I constantly managed to achieve such a result, and it’s likely due to the size and resolution of the display amongst other aspects.
The Neffos N1 is bundled with an 18W fast charger, which was able to juice up the battery to 100% within 2 hours.
Neffos advertises the N1 with a focus on its cameras; so understandably I went into this review expecting quite a lot from it. Unfortunately, my expectations didn’t translate to reality. Initially I thought it’s likely my fault for thinking such since it is after all a mid-ranger which retails for RM1,099. Then I realised that there are other devices at this price point which offer better camera performance, one being the Xiaomi Mi A1. However, the cameras are by no means bad, they just weren’t as good as I expected. Anyway, let’s jump into the details of the camera.
The rear camera setup consists of a 12MP (RGB, Sony IMX 386) + 12MP (monochrome, Sony IMX 386) sensor. Pictures come out decent, with plenty of details, though colour reproduction could be better. Autofocus is fast most of the time, though there are times when it just outright doesn’t work. Monochrome shots turn out well, though bokeh shots definitely need to be worked on. The software blurring is rather bad, and I rarely used the portrait feature due to this fact. Low-light performance was surprisingly good, and pictures came out with enough details preserved to be used on social media.
The interface is rather messy, but it does come with quite a number of modes, including Pro mode. However, it is rather unusable and as someone who mainly shoots in Pro mode, this was extremely disappointing to me. When you toggle with the dials in Pro mode, such as exposure, ISO, etc. these do not reflect in the viewfinder. The object / view may look fine in the viewfinder, but once you snap the picture and view it in the gallery, it’ll be completely different. What’s the point of including a Pro mode if the user isn’t able to see the effects of changing the settings in the viewfinder?
Front facing camera
The 8MP front facing camera takes decent selfies in daylight, but like most selfie cameras, it doesn’t perform well in the dark. Included is a beauty mode, with 10 levels to choose from.
On the back panel of the Neffos N1, a fingerprint sensor is included. Unlocking the phone with it was a breeze, since it responded extremely fast. Neffos states that it is oil and water resistant, though I found their claims to be only partially true. Most times, the device failed to unlock when my fingers were damp and sweaty, but it wasn’t a big deal.
UI & OS
The Neffos N1 runs on Android 7.1.1 Nougat with NFUI 7.0 laid on top of it. Like most Chinese manufacturers, Neffos has omitted the app drawer, which is fine. The UI is rather clean and not many third-party apps are included, a change from the typical Chinese smartphone. The look is also very sleek, especially with the default theme of pastel blue and yellow colours. I enjoyed the UI, as it was very pleasing to the eye with its simplistic look. The Theme app comes with a number of pre-loaded themes for users to choose from, though there is no option to download third-party themes. So, if you are someone who loves trying out new themes, NFUI wouldn’t be the UI you should be using.
While the Neffos N1 won’t knock off your socks with its overall performance, it is still a rather good mid-ranger. Neffos is still a young company in the smartphone market with lots of room for improvements, but for now, I would skip this device. There are just too many other devices at this price point that offer similar or better performance. This include the Xiaomi Mi A1, Honor 9 Lite, Redmi Note 5 and many more. If the Neffos N1 was priced a few hundred ringgit lower, it would definitely be one to get. Overall, if you’re looking for a refreshing handset experience and don’t mind the price tag, the Neffos N1 would be the one to get.