Reviewing TP-LINK Neffos C5 Max - An affordable 5.5 inch smartphone

3 out of 5 stars

In 2016, TP-LINK has entered the smartphone market by launching several smartphones under their new Neffos brand. One of their best smartphones is the TP-LINK Neffos C5 Max. It's a Dual-SIM device with a screen size of 5.5", an octa-core processor, and 16GB of storage space, at an affordable price. We received this device for testing before the winter holidays and, after more than two weeks of use, this is our opinion:

Hardware specifications and packaging

TP-LINK Neffos C5 Max comes in a pink box with the name of the device written on the top side. On the back of the box, you will find the main hardware specs.

When you open the box, you immediately see the smartphone itself. As you can see in the picture below, it is quite large, with a screen size of 5.5 inches that is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass. The display has a resolution of 1080x1920 pixels and it uses an IPS panel with a density of 403.4 Pixels per inch (PPI).

Inside the packaging you will also find the charger, a USB cable, the quick start guide, the warranty and a pair of headphones. Everything is packaged in a neat, good looking manner and you will enjoy your unboxing experience.

This smartphone comes in two variants: Pearl White and Dark Grey. We received for testing the Dark Grey variant and we found it strange that its bundled accessories are white, fitting for the Pearl White version.

TP-LINK Neffos C5 Max is powered by a MediaTek MT6753T processor with eight cores, running at a 1.3GHz frequency, and it has 2GB of RAM memory. In terms of storage, it packs 16GB of space that can be expanded using a microSD card with a maximum size of 32 GB. This is a dual-SIM smartphone that works in a Dual SIM Dual Standby implementation, which means that you have two active SIM cards, but they are both active only as long as you're not using them. Once you take a call on one of the SIM cards, the other becomes inactive. This is not ideal but the technology is less expensive and more widespread in today's smartphones. A positive that some users will appreciate is the fact that the microSD slot is separate from the slots for the two SIM cards, meaning that you can extend your storage space even when you are using two SIMs.

Even though the back cover can be removed, it seems that the 3045 mAh battery on this smartphone is not removable, which may be a downside to some users.

As far as the cameras are concerned, this smartphone has a 13-megapixel primary camera on the rear, with autofocus, Dual LED flash and an F2.0 aperture that allows more light in. The primary camera can record 1080p videos at 30 frames per second. The front camera has 5 megapixels.

Regarding connectivity, TP-LINK Neffos C5 Max offers a Bluetooth 4.0 chip and support for wireless networks using the 802.11 b/g/n standards. You can't connect to networks on the 5 GHz wireless frequency, meaning that modern 802.11ac networks won't be detected by this smartphone.

In terms of size, Neffos C5 Max has 5.9 inches or 152 mm in height, 2.9 inches or 76 mm in width and 0.35 inches or 8.95 mm in depth. It also weighs a total of 5.6 ounces or 161 grams.

If you would like to see the official specifications of this smartphone, visit this page: Neffos C5 Max specifications.

Design and build quality

TP-LINK Neffos C5 Max looks and feels like an average, affordable smartphone. There's nothing spectacular about it. Its body is made of plastic and it weighs less than you would expect. I found it quite light for its size. All the buttons on this smartphone are found on its right side and they can be used for turning the phone On and Off and for controlling the volume. These buttons are placed so that you can press them with ease, even when using the smartphone with just one hand. The three buttons on the bottom of the screen (Back, Home and Overview) are software buttons and they can be seen and used only after you turn on the smartphone.

On the back cover you will find the rear camera, the Dual LED flash and the speaker. On the bottom side you have the micro USB port, while on the top, you'll find the audio jack for plugging in the headphones.

One aspect that you will appreciate about the build quality of the TP-LINK Neffos C5 Max is that it is quite sturdy. It is pretty difficult to bend this smartphone and it seems quite capable of taking some degree of abuse without malfunctioning.

The smartphone experience on the TP-LINK Neffos C5 Max

First of all, let's discuss about the quality of the basic phone experience. When it comes to phone calls, you will be able to hear the person you are talking with quite clearly. However, the people that are near you will also hear your conversations. In my phone calls, the people that I talked with told me that my voice sounded louder and less natural than when using other smartphones.

The headphones that are shipped with this smartphone are quite OK. They work perfectly well for phone calls and video chat. They also work very well with the FM Radio app that's preinstalled. However, when it comes to listening to music, the sound is a bit shallow, lacking bass and depth. The external speaker is decent but definitely not great. The overall sound level is not high and when pushed to the maximum, distortions are very evident. TP-LINK Neffos C5 Max is definitely not a smartphone for audiophiles.

We were pleasantly surprised by the outdoor visibility of the screen. While indoors, the screen is not very bright and we were expecting poor results when we took it outdoors. Fortunately, this is not the case and its 1600:1 contrast ratio does a good job.

If you don't multitask a lot, TP-LINK Neffos C5 Max offers a good user experience and your apps will be generally snappy and responsive. However, once you increase the number of opened apps to more than 3 or 4, the smartphone will be slower to respond to your commands and you have to close some apps in order to improve your user experience.

We mentioned earlier that this smartphone has 2GB of RAM. For modern mobile games this is not a lot, especially if you play 3D games. Expect more complex games to load rather slowly and your playing experience won't be as fluid as it is on smartphones with more RAM.

Regarding battery life, the 3045 mAh battery on the Neffos C5 Max should easily last you for a day. If you don't do a lot of multitasking, it might even last for a day and a half to two days.

TP-LINK Neffos C5 Max is capable of delivering all the basics you need from a smartphone, without being great at anything. In the end, we are talking about an affordable smartphone with average specs so it can't deliver an outstandingexperience, but not everyone needs a super gamer phone so this phone may be just fine.

Go to the next page of this review to find out more about the camera experience, the software installed TP-LINK Neffos C5 Max, its performance in benchmarks and our final verdict.