Reviewing the TP-Link Neffos X1 - Surprisingly good, at a reasonable price

Reviewing the TP-Link Neffos X1 - Surprisingly good, at a reasonable price

The camera experience on the TP-Link Neffos X1

Using the camera app offered by the TP-Link Neffos X1 is not a very rewarding experience. The Camera app is basic and feels a bit dated. It offers a series of filters, shooting modes, beautification effects and some editing options but that's about all there is.

TP-Link, Neffos X1
TP-Link, Neffos X1

The photos we took with the 13 megapixels camera offered by the TP-Link Neffos X1 are of average quality. As you can see in the gallery below, many of the photos we took, especially those shot outdoors, have too much contrast or are too dark. Many of them also look a bit too oversaturated. Night photos and the selfies taken with the front camera, suffer from excessive noise and have blurry contours. On the other side, the beautification effects you get for selfies might appeal to some users.

The TP-Link Neffos X1 can record videos at a maximum Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. Unfortunately, there's no image stabilization available, which means any smartphone movement will make the camera - and the video - shake. Here's what to expect when recording a dynamic video, where you move a lot.

And here's how the camera on the Neffos X1 does when more static videos are recorded, with little movement involved.

The Neffos X1 is also able to record videos in slow motion. They are recorded at a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, and look similar to what you see in the video below:

The TP-Link Neffos X1 is not a smartphone with a camera that is aimed at photo or video enthusiasts. However, the quality of the photos it shoots and of the videos it records are decent for its price.

Android 6 Marshmallow and bundled apps

The TP-Link Neffos X1 comes with Android 6 Marshmallow pre-installed and rumors are that it will also get updated to Android 7 Nougat by the end of the year. The other good news is that the Neffos X1 isn't loaded with lots of bloatware. TP-Link bundled only a handful of apps on this smartphone, and most of them will probably be useful to their users:

  • Compass - useful if you need to know where North is, or other cardinal directions.
  • Feedback - this app allows you to give feedback to TP-LINK about your smartphone. You can also report system issues and attach system logs.
  • File Manager - the app lets you browse the contents of your smartphone's storage.
  • FM Radio - a small radio player that can use your headphones as an antenna for the radio signal.
TP-Link, Neffos X1
TP-Link, Neffos X1
  • Gallery - a basic clone of Google Photos that displays the pictures that are stored on your smartphone. It can also be used to make basic enhancements to your pictures.
  • Music - a basic music player that can play stored songs that are stored on your smartphone.
  • Notes - an app that lets you take quick notes in an easy manner.
  • Sound Recorder - your average sound recorder.
  • Themes - a collection of themes, wallpapers, icons, sounds, fonts, and boot animations for your smartphone.
  • Videos - a very basic app that you can use to view the videos that you record with your smartphone.
  • Weather - shows you the weather forecast for the cities you choose.

We must also mention that TP-Link added their own user interface on top of the default Android operating system. This user interface has no app drawer. All the apps are found on the homescreen, and the only way to organize them a bit is to create app folders. It's a simplistic approach and some users will prefer to install their own launcher instead.

The TP-Link Neffos X1 comes with Android 6 Marshmallow and doesn't bundle lots of apps, which is great. However, the lack of an app drawer, although simplifies the user experience, might not be something that everybody likes.


Performance in benchmarks

Personal impressions are good but they're all subjective by nature. That's why, to get a better idea of what a device has to offer you must also run some benchmarks. We ran a couple of them on the TP-Link Neffos X1. Here's the results:

We started by running Vellamo Multicore, a benchmark that runs several processor tests designed to measure its performance when running multiple tasks at the same time. The Neffos X1 surprised us in a positive way: it got a score that's roughly 50% more than what a Motorola Nexus 6 would get and very close to a Samsung Galaxy S6. This is a really impressive achievement for a smartphone that is priced so affordably.

TP-Link, Neffos X1
TP-Link, Neffos X1

Next, we ran Vellamo Metal, a benchmark that measures the performance of the processor when using a single core. This is especially important when older apps are run or when games are involved. The TP-Link Neffos X1 managed to get only 1211 points in this test. Although it's not as impressive as the result it got in Vellamo Multicore, it's still decent. It's close to what you'll get from an LG Nexus 5 or an ASUS ZenFone 2, and it's a lot better than what an ASUS ZenFone Max 3 would offer you.

TP-Link, Neffos X1
TP-Link, Neffos X1

Next, we started the gaming tests, because many people use their smartphones for gaming too. To measure the gaming performance offered by TP-Link Neffos X1, we used the Manhattan and T-Rex tests offered by the GFXBench GL Benchmark app. We took into consideration only the 1080p Offscreen versions of these tests because they are run at the same resolution on any device, regardless of their native display resolutions. It makes more sense when you compare the results you get with those of other devices. In the Manhattan Offscreen test, the TP-Link Neffos X1 managed to render 340.7 frames, which is a poor result.

TP-Link, Neffos X1
TP-Link, Neffos X1

In the T-Rex Offscreen gaming test, we got another poor result: only 773.3 frames rendered, which means only 14 frames per second. These results clearly show that the TP-Link Neffos X1 is not a smartphone for gamers.

TP-Link, Neffos X1
TP-Link, Neffos X1

Next, we checked how well the TP-Link Neffos X1 does in web browsing. To measure its performance, we went back to Vellamo and ran its Browser tests. The smartphone fared well in this activity, getting a score of 2981 points, which is similar to the results you'd get from a Motorola Nexus 6, an LG Nexus 5, or an OnePlus One smartphone.

TP-Link, Neffos X1
TP-Link, Neffos X1

The TP-Link Neffos X1 smartphone supports 4G LTE data connections, so we had to measure its performance in this area too. Although the network coverage of our mobile operator is not extraordinary, but the results we got with Speedtest were rather stable, which is good.

TP-Link, Neffos X1
TP-Link, Neffos X1

At the end, we also ran the battery test from PCMark, to see how long it will last when put under heavy use. We ran the Work 2.0 battery life test and the TP-Link Neffos X1 managed to last for 5 hours and 56 minutes. It's not an impressive result and it means that this smartphone will last you for a whole day's use only if you're not an avid smartphone user.

TP-Link, Neffos X1
TP-Link, Neffos X1

The benchmarks we ran on the TP-Link Neffos X1 show that this smartphone does a great job when common activities are involved, like browsing the internet, checking your emails or staying up to date with your social media. However, when it comes to gaming or other activities that require a lot of processing power, the Neffos X1 falls short.

Pros and cons

Here are some of the positives about the TP-Link Neffos X1:

  • It's sold at a very affordable price tag
  • It looks good and it has solid build quality
  • It does well in multitasking
  • It's Dual SIM, meaning that you can use two SIM cards at the same time
  • It has a fingerprint scanner, which means added security and quick unlocks
  • It's not loaded with tons of bloatware
  • It offers support for 4G LTE data connections

There are also some negatives to consider:

  • It doesn't have a great radio signal reception. This issue should be fixed in future updates
  • It's not a great performer when running modern 3D games
  • The camera experience is rather basic
Product rating 4/5


The TP-Link Neffos X1 Android smartphone is a decent smartphone at a decent price. It's affordable, but that doesn't mean it's weak. You get a smartphone that looks very nice, has a good processor in multitasking especially, a modern version of Android and a decent camera. Although it won't impress you with its signal reception power, in games, or with its rather short battery life, the TP-Link Neffos X1 is a good smartphone for anyone who wants a phone which can be used for browsing the internet too. It's a smartphone for the non-demanding user living in a large town with a good mobile network coverage. At its price tag, the Neffos X1 is pretty much a bargain in our opinion!

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