Tuesday , September 28 2021

should this be your next phone?

nokia 5.1


We can not keep track of all the phones Nokia has launched this year. HMD Mobile, the company that now owns the Nokia brand, has been a bit exaggerated with the criticism of the annual roadmap meeting, it seems.

Nokia 5.1 is the latest device as a result. It is a lower mid-range competitor, focusing almost entirely on a robust building, multimedia consumption and production. But is the rest of the phone something good?

We take a look at some of its highlights, lowlights and unmentionables.

Hell yeahs

Svelte, solid design

Like Nokia's earlier, 5.1 is solidly built. There is an aluminum skin with Rope Corning Gorilla Glass 3 on the front, and a textured metal plate on the back. It is relatively thin also, with 8.2 mm, so it easily slips into a jeans pocket without hassle.

It's incredible to think that 5.5 inch smartphones are now considered to be "small", but Nokia 5.1 really feels a bit in hand.

(This comes from someone who also reviews Galaxy Note 9 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro, mind.)


It is even more incredible to believe that the headphone jack is now classified as a function. But yes, Nokia 5.1 has one of the tops of the phone.

I have grilled budget smartphone makers in the past to kill the headphone jack, but it's nice to see that Nokia has not completely forgotten which demographic this device is going for.

No chop on an excellent 5.5 inch screen

Some user reviews claim that the screen is not a strong suit, but I would not like to agree. Dare to say that it is Nokia 5.1's best asset.

At 2160 × 1080, the screen density is 440 pixels per inch high to watch 1080p 60fps video clips. And machining is largely possible, even with the relatively dated technology of Mediatek Helio P18.

It's also bright, and unlike Nokia 7 Plus, I can use this phone outdoors in bright daylight.

Overall, however, it is an excellent media consuming unit.

Slow but current fingerprint reader

Finally, the best rating for Nokia to include a fingerprint reader on a lower mid-range device.

It is probably the slowest I have used this year, but it also makes it harder for others to access your data if your device is stolen. After all, anyone can spy your PIN over your shoulder.


A small feature but often overlooked, NFC will be an extremely important addition to your budget smartphone when Google Pay ever meets South African beaches. (We live in hope and silence from Google.)

nokia 5.1

Oh okay

Medium 16MP camera

While I said that Nokia is targeting this device against media consumers and creators, the latter people will feel a bit short changed.

16MP snapper has a f / 2.0 aperture and phase detection autofocus, but you would be hard pressed to snap a picture that you would really be proud of.

Obviously, I have to keep in mind that I am somewhat invalid given the camera's ability of my other reviewers, but, objectively, the Nokia 5.1 camera does not put the world in the air.

It has a problem with shadows, and tends to overexposure the sky when lighter scenes are visible. But if it wakes up on the right side of the bed, the phone takes depth and details that other snappers in this price range can ignore.

That said, it will work for festivals, birthday parties, the day at the beach or the walk up Lion's Head. Just keep modest expectations, but prepare for the odd surprise.

Small 2970mAh battery

I understand HMD Global wanted to make the phone as thin as possible, but in 2018 is a 2970mAh battery for anything but an iPhone just too little juice.

Certainly, you can have one day's use of the Nokia 5.1, but you will continue to dream about other, cheaper Nokia's – like Nokia 2 – with a 4000mAh battery.

A larger battery could really set this phone apart from its rivals in this competitive price holder.

Android One but Android 8.0

Android One ensures current updates from Google, but Nokia 5.1 is for some reason still running Android 8.0, not 8.1.

This is not a breaker, just something to note.

Additionally, while Android is good, be aware that Google will print all of its apps on you when you run Warehouse OS. And once all these apps have been updated, you can stay with less than 10GB of internal memory.

In the end, updates are good, but Android One membership should not be considered an important feature when you buy a phone.

Oh no

2GB / 16GB

Now, for the bad news.

Dear HMD, what do we do with a phone with 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage space 2018 for the R3599?

This may not sound like a problem at first, but once you've installed your apps, built up a cache from browsing Instagram, Reddit, and Chrome, and saved your music and series offline, the 16GB will feel very small.

There is an expansion card for microSD cards, but you have to buy one. And considering this is a budget phone, it is an additional cost to the consumer.

2 GB of RAM, while manageable, is also a fixed point. RAM killers like Instagram and Imgur can lead to a few trunk problems on rolling or loading.

There is a 3GB / 32GB version of this phone, but it does not come to South Africa.

nokia 5.1

No dual SIM in SA

Also not available in South Africa is the dual SIM version. While I want to blame the smartphone manufacturer for this, you should probably get your favorite cellular phone on the phone and shout off the ear for this.


Again, not an interrupt switch, but you think USB-C would be a more widespread standard at this time in 2018.

MicroUSB is more ubiquitous, but Nokia's competitors shovel the new port on their phones. Why is not HMD?

R3599 price

Finally, the biggest problem I have with the Nokia 5.1 price. And that's not the first time I've said this about a smartphone in 2018.

In addition to slots, long screens and several cameras, foreign award decisions have taken their own niche in this year's list of the most annoying smartphone fads.

At R3599, Nokia 5.1 is competing against Huawei P Smart, which quickly becomes one of the better budget smartphones you can buy this year.

Look at the slightly lower pricing, Huawei Y7 2018, Xiaomi Redmi 6A and the dimly dated but dual SIM Sony Xperia XA1 fools sporty similar specs at a cheaper price.

Judgment: Nokia 5.1 comes with the legendary Finnish brand on the back, but when the phone is ready to stand next to its competitors, it's hard for it to be proud. Although the screen is excellent and it comes with some other new features, it's hard to recommend the Nokia 5.1 when so many other, and possibly better, options are available.

All pictures: Andy Walker / Gearburn

Andy Walker

Camper by day, runner and night runner, Andy prefers his bowl as his coffee – dark and crispy. Fueled by his belief that PvZ: GW2 is 2016 this year's game, Andy also dabbles in the odd hard news over at Memeburn. More

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