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Nokia 5.1 Plus Unboxing, Quick Review: A 6.1 Plus Alternative?

by Duey Guison  October 30, 2018

We check out another mid-range offering from HMD Global!

If you like the looks of the premium-looking Nokia 6.1 Plus but don’t have enough cash for it, HMD Global has also launched an affordable alternative in the form of the Nokia 5.1 Plus. The Nokia 5.1 Plus offers most of the Nokia 6.1 Plus’ features for a lower price despite a few understandable compromises.

What is it?

It’s yet another mid-range offering from HMD Global, positioned right below the company’s Nokia 6.1 Plus. The Nokia 5.1 Plus has features you expect with any 2018 mid-ranger: notched display, USB-C, dual rear cameras, and a capable processor. Just like other Nokia phones in recent memory, the Nokia 5.1 Plus comes in a square box with a photo of the phone in front. Inside it, you get the usual accessories: headset, USB-C cable, 10W charger, documentation, SIM eject tool, and the phone itself.

*Left: Nokia 5.1 Plus; Right: Nokia 6.1 Plus

It looks similar to the Nokia 6.1 Plus.

Yes, but only to an extent. While both have a 5.8-inch display, the Nokia 5.1 Plus’ body is slightly larger than the Nokia 6.1 Plus since it sports thicker bezels. You are getting an HD+ display on the Nokia 5.1 Plus—which is a downgrade from the European-only Nokia 5.1, so texts and images don’t look as sharp compared to the Nokia 6.1 Plus’ Full HD+ panel.

It is also thicker than the Nokia 6.1 Plus because of its polycarbonate build. Don’t be fooled by its back panel: while it looks like glass at first glance, it’s actually made out of plastic—similar to OPPO and vivo’s implementation with the F9 and V11 respectively.

Even if it is bigger than the Nokia 6.1 Plus, the Nokia 5.1 Plus remains to be usable with one hand. While the Nokia 5.1 Plus comes with a glossy frame, the phone itself is less slippery compared to the Nokia 6.1 Plus.

The Nokia 5.1 Plus’ camera and fingerprint layout is also similar to the one on the Nokia 6.1 Plus. It also shares the same port layout, where you have the SIM card tray on the left, power and volume controls on the right, headphone jack on top, USB-C (thank goodness) and loudspeaker at the bottom.

What’s powering it?

With the Nokia 5.1 Plus, you get an Helio P60 processor paired with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. MediaTek’s mid-range chipset has powered quite a few mid-rangers now and is arguably the brand’s best processor to date thanks to AI tricks and improved power efficiency. While we haven’t benchmarked the Nokia 5.1 Plus as of this writing, we expect it to perform well in all aspects including gaming.

Just like any HMD Global phone released in 2018, the Nokia 5.1 Plus is Android One certified, meaning you get a bloatware free experience thanks to stock Android. You also get at least two year’s worth of Android OS updates, along with security updates up to three years.

The phone comes with Android Oreo out of the box, and the Nokia 5.1 Plus is expected to receive Android Pie soon.

Keeping the lights on is a 3060mAh battery with support for 10W fast charging via its USB-C port.

What are the cameras?

You get 13-megapixel f/2.0 and 5-megapixel for the rear cameras and 8-megapixel f/2.2 for the front camera. Like the Nokia 6.1 Plus, you get features such as Dual Sight (aka Bothie), AI imaging, and Live Bokeh. However, you lose 4K recording and you are limited to HD video recording for the front camera.

On paper, the Nokia 5.1 Plus’ cameras are a slight downgrade from those found on the Nokia 6.1 Plus, but we have to do our usual tests if the reduction in megapixels translates to lower quality photos and videos.

How much does it cost?

The Nokia 5.1 Plus is priced at Php 12,990, and every purchase comes with a gamepad. To be frank, the Nokia 5.1 Plus is quite pricey for its specs but we will be reserving our judgment until it has passed through our series of tests.

Nokia 5.1 Plus specs

  • MediaTek Helio P60 processor
  • 3GB RAM
  • 32GB expandable internal storage
  • 5.86-inch HD+ IPS display
  • 13-megapixel f/2.0 and 5-megapixel rear cameras with PDAF, dual-LED flash
  • 8-megapixel f/2.2 wide-angle front camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • Android 8.1 Oreo (Android One)
  • 3060mAh battery

Comments (1)

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    Specs-wise, 6.1 plus is better across the board. For starters it has double the storage to 64 GB. Also more RAM, 4 GB really should be the minimum for midrange now.

    On paper the camera should take better pics:
    – The 6.1+ has 16 MP/5 MP rear with dual tone flash and 16 MP front camera.
    – The 5.1+ has 13 MP/5 MP rear with LED flash and 8 MP front camera.

    Same battery size on both at roughtly 3000 mAh, which may mean the 5.1+ has better longevity since it only powers a HD+ screen instead of the FHD+ screen on the 6.1+.

    It probably goes down to whether you like the glass/metal sandwich build and Android 9.0 Pie on the 6.1+, and if you’re willing to pay another 3k for it.

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