Nokia X5 (Nokia 5.1 Plus) Review

14 October 2018, 03:15:30

Nokia X5 (Nokia 5.1 Plus) Review
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OS, UI and software

We were surprised to discover that our Nokia X5 review unit actually arrived with Android One (Android 8.1 Oreo), which actually makes it a Nokia 5.1 Plus. We think that this is a standard Nokia X5 that has been additionally installed with Android One which has overwritten the original Nokia software. This version is custom one, though it has all stock Android 8.1 features and the updater works. The whole UI is in its stock Android Oreo variant. The Lock Screen contains the standard shortcuts to the Voice Search and Camera applications, positioned in the bottom left and right corner, respectively. By default, a simple swipe unlocks the device. The Home Screen includes the Google search bar, Time and Date widget, a row with favourite apps and a Google apps folder plus a docked row of applications at the bottom. This docked row appears on every successive screen. A swipe up from the bottom of the screen opens the list of applications, which are listed on one page in alphabetic order with a search bar on top and a row of the most used apps. When you install new apps, they will appear in this main list and on desktops successive to the Home Screen. Desktop shortcuts are supported. The Widgets menu pops up after a long touch on an empty space on any of the desktops. It offers a good choice of wallpapers, widgets and Home Screen settings - app suggestions, icon shape options, etc. You can also switch on/off the Google App from here and you can access it after a swipe to the right from the Home screen.
The Notification cards span from edge to edge, use the Quick Settings shade colour and support notification snoozing and channels management. Instead of showing 6 toggles per page, the Quick Settings show 9 toggles per page. All the rest is in a stock Android 8.1 variant. At the top of the screen, the status bar icons are positioned followed by the brightness level bar and the toggles. Below them, the current date with the toggle editor and shortcut to the System Settings appears. The Volume and Power off shades are also typical-Android Oreo ones.
All applications on board the Nokia X5/Nokia 5.1 Plus are standard Google and default Android applications. The Google-bound ones include Calendar, Chrome, Drive, Duo, Gmail, Google App, Maps, News, Photos, Play Music, Play Store, YouTube. The default Android apps include Calculator, Camera (adapted by Nokia), Clock, Contacts, Files (Downloads), FM Radio, Keep Notes, Messenger, Phone. All of them are in their stock Android appearance and functionality. Just like in the non-stock Android version of Nokia, the Wallpapers is separated as a separate application. It can be accessed from the Widgets menu and the Display menu as well. You also get Nokia Care - an application for quick support from Nokia.
The Settings menu is not an entirely traditional Android Oreo one. It begins with a search bar that does not exist in the stock Android Oreo versions. The search bar is followed by a list of suggestions and the different groups of settings are listed after that. Network & Internet is the first group of options and from there you can manage your Wi-Fi connections, Tethering and Hotspot, SIM cards, data usage, mobile networks, VPN connections and airplane mode. Connected Devices is the name of the second group and it allows you to manage the Bluetooth connections, Printing services, USB, Cast display. The third group manages your application permissions, special app access, default apps, emergency alerts and notifications. The fourth group is the Battery menu but that will be discussed in the corresponding section of this review. The Display menu comes fourth offering a brightness level bar, Night Light mode for warming up the screen and protecting the eyes, Adaptive Brightness for additional power saving, Wallpaper, Screen Saver, Font Size, Display Size, Tap to wake, Auto-rotate screen. Unlike the Nokia X6, on Nokia X5 you cannot hide the notch. The Sound menu comes next and manages all the standard options - ringtones, volume bars, vibrations, DND mode, etc. The seventh menu is the Storage one - it arrives with options for freeing up space and storage management.
The Security & Location group of options comes next containing the usual Google Play Protect, Find My Device, and Security Update. It continues with the standard security options - screen lock type, lock screen settings, fingerprint settings and Smart Lock, as well as privacy options such as location settings, password management, SIM card lock, screen pinning, encryption, apps with usage access. In Oreo, the Users and Accounts menus are merged into one and in this case, besides adding/removing accounts, you can also set up emergency data and contacts plus toggling on/off automatic data synchronizing between the device and your account(s).
The Accessibility group of options follows containing all the usual features such as screen readers, advanced display options, interaction controls, audio and on-screen text, experimental. This group is followed by the Google one that manages in full your account there. The last group of settings is dubbed System and from here you can manage your languages, keyboards, autofill services, Date & Time, Backup and Reset, system updates. It also contains a Gestures menu. From here, you can switch on several smart gestures such as swipe fingerprint sensor for notifications, turn over to reject call, mute on pickup, jump to the camera, lift to check the phone. Of course, the About Phone menu is there as well.

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