At an event in India yesterday, HMD Global launched the Nokia 6.1 Plus (aka Nokia X6). The launch had been pending and expected for a couple of months now, but the company surprised us by launching another smartphone aimed at consumers with a lower budget.

The Nokia 5.1 Plus, which is the rebranded Nokia X5 that was launched in China recently, did not land with a price but HMD promises to keep it under the Rs 15,000 mark. And while we’ve talked volumes about the mightier sibling in our performance and battery reviews, here’s what the Nokia 5.1 Plus made us think from the initial glance.

Build and Design

The Nokia 5.1 Plus features a design identical to the 6.1 Plus. The resemblance holds up to the extent that you will not be able to differentiate between the two phones by looking at their backs. The main difference is in the wider notch on the 5.1 Plus.

Like its heftier sibling, the 5.1 Plus sports a sleek and lightweight design. You get a polycarbonate shell which is protected under a layer of Gorilla Glass.

Nokia 5.1 Plus Hands-On: Android Pie and Dual Cameras at a Sweet Price

The minimalist design is something to admire. You barely notice the chamfer treatment for the the rounded edges, and the device is very comfortable to hold. One of the distinguishing factors is the glossy rim – seemingly plastic but aesthetically appealing – along with the edges instead of the brushed aluminum one on the 6.1 Plus. Buttons are neatly camouflaged in a glossy finish, which reflects light beautifully.

Nokia 5.1 Plus, despite being on the lower end of the mid-range, features a USB-C port. Alongside the USB-C port, you get a mono speaker which is decently loud while a headphone jack sits on the top. The dual cameras and the fingerprint scanner are placed on the back of the smartphone.

Nokia 5.1 Plus Hands-On: Android Pie and Dual Cameras at a Sweet Price
The notch noticeably wider on Nokia 5.1 Plus (left)

As we shift our focus to the front, we find the same 5.8-inch display with the exact same dimensions as the 6.1 Plus. With the Nokia 5.1 Plus, HMD has joined the league of a handful of companies that provide a display notch in the affordable segment. Another difference between the two Nokia phones is the size of the notch, which is wider on the 5.1 Plus. The bezels around the display can be alarming if you’re used to using premium devices with more immersive displays, but I do not think that would bother a user just stepping into this segment.

Display

The Nokia 5.1 Plus houses a 5.8-inch display which has an aspect ratio of 19:9. Nokia is providing an HD+ resolution on the device but more than the resolution of the screen, I’m worried about the color reproduction. In all honesty, the display is not bad but it feels less saturated and slightly pale when sitting alongside the 6.1 Plus.

Nokia 5.1 Plus Hands-On: Android Pie and Dual Cameras at a Sweet Price

With that said, most other phones in this price bracket, feature the same resolution. Moreover, consumers looking at this price range are not likely to be demotivated by the lack of accurate or punchy colors. Nokia chose to prioritize the notch over the color accuracy of the display in order to offer a seamless experience with the Android Pie update, and subsequent software updates may calibrate the display for punchier colors.

Nokia 5.1 Plus Hands-On: Android Pie and Dual Cameras at a Sweet Price

The 2.5D curvature and a sheath of Gorilla Glass make the display both secure and attractive to look at. The display, although not AMOLED also has an always-on feature. In spite of the dull color, the display gets fairly bright and readability outdoors should not be hampered – however, we had a chance to test it only indoors and cannot make solid claims yet.

Cameras

Dual cameras occupy the back of the Nokia 5.1 Plus which features a 13-megapixel primary sensor with a 5-megapixel secondary sensor for depth sensing and bokeh photography. The front, on the other hand, features an 8-megapixel sensor which also supports the bokeh mode. The smartphone gets the same, feature-rich Nokia Camera app with options such as Nokia’s iconic bothie and PiP modes, AR filters, light settings, bokeh, and a manual mode.

Nokia 5.1 Plus Hands-On: Android Pie and Dual Cameras at a Sweet Price

We tried the cameras for a very short duration and found both the rear and the front modules to do a decent job with a reasonable amount of edge detection in portrait mode, and usable quality. Here are some of Nokia 5.1 Plus camera samples.

Internals and Software

The Nokia 5.1 Plus is powered by a MediaTek Helio P60 chipset which has proven to be among the more powerful affordable chipsets in our earlier tests. The CPU is paired with 3GB of RAM while you get 32GB of onboard storage which can be expanded via a microSD card. Additionally, you get basic connectivity features such as Bluetooth 4.2, 4G LTE, Wi-Fi, and a headphone jack, and sensors including proximity and ambient light sensors, and a gyroscope.

Nokia 5.1 Plus Hands-On: Android Pie and Dual Cameras at a Sweet Price

The internals are complemented by a seamless and smooth Android One experience provided by Google and Nokia’s promise of updates up to three years. Currently, the smartphone runs on stock Android based on Android 8.1 with a close-to-Vanilla Android UI which is very fluid and easy to operate. The status bar area around the notch, too, appears to be well-optimized. Moreover, Nokia has promised that all of their devices will get Android Pie very soon, which is promising and highly appreciable looking at the price.

Lastly, you get a 3,060mAh battery which should easily last more than a full day of usage considering the screen resolution.

Nokia 5.1 Plus: Price and Availability

While Nokia took the step of unveiling the Nokia 5.1 Plus in India alongside the 6.1 Plus, it will actually be available later this year and Nokia will share the exact plan in September. The price has not been revealed yet but a global pricing of 199 euros has been announced which translates to roughly Rs 15,000.

However, we’ve been assured that the smartphone will be priced lower than the direct currency conversion. Stay tuned for further updates on the Nokia 5.1 Plus’ availability and pricing in India.