Neffos N1 review - Best slim metal midranger from Neffos yet


The Neffos N1 is TP-Link’s first smartphone in their portfolio to pack in a 12MP + 12MP dual rear camera with one of them being a monochrome sensor. Going for a slim metal body and midrange tech specs, the RM1099 priced smartphone was also globally launched from Malaysia along with the Neffos C7 and Neffos C5A. Other tech specs include a MediaTek Helio P25 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and we see how this metal-bodied midranger measures up in our Neffos N1 review below.


Design - Slim metal body

At first glance it's quite easy to see where the Neffos N1 gets its inspiration from as it looks very similar to the Huawei P9 thanks to the rear top camera strip. However, upon closer inspection, the N1 has more rounded corners than the P9 and the cameras are all flush to the surface so no ugly camera bumps just like the P9.


Nice and slim design with a non-fullview 5.5-inch display for the Neffos N1


Looks very similar to a certain other smartphone, but still a premium metal backside nonetheless

That being said, the matte metal backside looks and feels premium, but it is quite slippery and is a smudge and fingerprint magnet to boot so we’d recommend getting a case for a better grip and to cover it up. The build quality is solid though, with no loose fiddly bits or gaps to collect dust while the fingerprint sensor is located on the back.


Interesting mute switch


USB Type-C and 3.5mm audio jack

Capacitive navigation keys line the chin or bottom front, but only the home button is clearly marked while the 5.5-inch display is covered by a layer of 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass 3. On the side, there is what appears to be a mute switch that isn’t that easy to move, which could explain why the switch has a rough texture to it.


Nothing on top here


The 12MP + 12MP dual rear cameras are flush to the back with no ugly camera hump


The power button


Looks like a hybrid dual SIM slot

While we’d have liked a free case more, Neffos have included a free screen protector for the Neffos N1 on top of the usual charger and headset so there is some extra value here.  


What is in the box for the Neffos N1, note the free screen protector which could be tempered glass


Tech Specs and Features - A premium TP-Link phone 

Here are the Neffos N1 tech specs or tech specifications:

  • Octa-core MediaTek Helio P25 MT6757CD processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • 64GB storage + up to 128GB microSD
  • 5.5-inch display (FHD, 1080 x 1920 pixel resolution, Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 2.5D curved glass)
  • 12MP (RGB, Sony IMX 386) + 12MP (monochrome, Sony IMX 386) dual rear cameras | 8MP front camera
  • features a rear fingerprint sensor, A-GPS, dedicated ringtone mute switch, dual SIM 4G LTE (Cat 4), Smart Antenna
  • supports 802.11 a/b/g/n WiFi, 2.4GHz / 5GHz dual band, Bluetooth 4.1, USB Type C
  • Measures 154.4 x 76.1 x 7.5mm | 165g
  • Android 7.1.1 + NFUI 7.0
  • 3260 mAh battery
  • Available in black


Octa-core Helio P25, 4GB RAM and 64GB of storage are uncommon for smartphones in this class

The dual 12MP Sony IMX386 rear camera sensors are definitely the main highlight of the N1 with one being colour and the other monochrome, offering a bit higher resolution than the P9 but minus the Leica collaboration. Other stand-out tech specs like the MediaTek Helio P25 processor, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage aren’t often offered for a device around this price range so these are a definite plus for the N1.


Clean NFUI interface with Smart WLAN and other networking tools

Since Neffos is part of TP-Link, which is most well known for its networking products, Neffos have included a dual smart antenna for the N1 which switches between 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi bands for a smoother connection. Neffos have also said that the N1 and other new Neffos phones actually work better and faster with TP-Link networking devices but we weren’t able to test that.


The NFUI 7.0 has a good deal of features including a float button and app cloner

The 5.5-inch display is full HD or 1920 x 1080 pixels and isn’t a full view display so there’s a good amount of space for the forehead and chin. The mute volume button apparently only mutes the ringtone but doesn’t affect other sound volumes like media or notifications, which is a shame as it would be cool to have the option of completely silencing your phone with a single switch (perhaps there might be an option to do so in further updates).


The mute switch only mutes the ringtone volume

Camera features include a monochrome mode where you can adjust the shade of black accordingly and even traffic flow which captures 7 seconds of light trails. Other features include the usual stuff such as a Pro or manual mode, Panorama, Time-lapse and Slow motion. While the 8MP front camera does not have its own LED flash, the screen lights up as a sort of soft light which is better than nothing.


Camera features are basic but at least there's a monochrome, Pro and Traffic Flow (Light trails) mode


Performance - Solidly midrange


AnTuTu and GeekBench 4 scores for the Neffos N1

Our benchmarks show a fairly high midrange AnTuTu score of 77073, a pretty good 3DMark Sling Shot score of 874 and 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme of 9973. This is reflected in fairly smooth gameplay on Asphalt 8: Airborne even with high visual quality settings, so the N1 can handle demanding games if need be. While it does get warm because of this the highest it went for us was 38 degrees which isn’t much hotter than a normal Malaysian day under the Sun.


3DMark scores for the Neffos N1


Asphalt 8: Airborne was smooth even on high quality visual settings


The Neffos N1 does get warm but not overly so

Audio was loud if a bit tinny on the upper registers while the full HD display handles most movies well. Nothing to complain about the wifi and 4G LTE connectivity either but I suppose since we didn’t use any TP-Link routers we didn’t see any noticeable difference in connectivity performance than any other smartphone. Battery life was reasonable at about 1 day and a half on normal to medium usage while charging took about 2 hours or so. 


Movies look good on the 5.5-inch full HD display of the Neffos N1 


Battery life on the Neffos N1

Camera performance on the N1 is quite nice actually. Bokeh turns out well and so does the monochrome shots, but while they are better than non-dual rear camera smartphones and those that don’t pack in a dedicated monochrome sensor, the interface is nowhere near as flexible as those on the P9. Autofocus is fast for the most part and the 7 second traffic flow shot does highlight the N1’s low light capabilities but you can see that for yourself in the samples below.


Here's that bokeh or blurry background in action


Fairly fast autofocus, or at least enough to catch this fish opening its mouth


HDR is fairly good as well as you can still see the details on the petals 




Good monochrome mode


Plenty of details up close


Also in monochrome


This is actually in quite low-light conditions showing the insides of a big pot


In monochrome, it looks like the abyss staring at you


Good detailing on the pebbles but on occasion you can see some pixelation perhaps due to water or a smudge


Fairly fast autofocus, see all the details in motion?


Good low-light and light trails in the Traffic Flow mode but 7 seconds can sometimes be a bit too short


Selfies are quite clear as well


In the dark with no flash


In the dark with flash

Conclusion - Affordable midranger

Overall, the Neffos N1 is not only the first 12MP + 12MP dual rear camera smartphone from Neffos and TP-Link, but it is likely the most affordable yet premium midranger they’ve come out with yet. The design may be derivative but the build quality is solid and it feels good in the hand. For the features it offers, especially the memory (4GB RAM + 64GB storage), the N1 is a very good smartphone.


At RM1099, the Neffos N1 does face some rather stiff competition especially from the newly released Honor 9 Lite (RM749) with its dual rear and dual front cameras, Huawei Nova 2 Lite (RM799) and ASUS ZenFone Max Plus (RM799), all of which have full view displays. However, if you’re a fan of bokeh and monochrome shots then the N1 is a better choice, especially if you don’t like full view displays and want a bit more memory.

We would have liked the N1 more if it came in more colours than just Space Black as its slim metal profile would fit well in pink or gold or even red. It would be good if response for the traditionally black N1 goes well though, as that would be the only way for such colours to come but the N1 certainly has potential, especially if you’re in the market for a monochrome shooting metal midranger.

Would you buy the Neffos N1? Know anyone who has already bought 1? Tell us if we missed out on anything in our Facebook Page and stay tuned to for all the latest tech news and reviews.