Nokia X5 launched as impressively cheap iPhone X rival – 5.1 Plus incoming?

Nokia X5

HMD Global has launched the Nokia X5, a cut-price Android phone that apes the look of the iPhone X.

Before we get into the specs, let's get a couple of things out of the way: the X5 has only been launched in China, but it may get a worldwide release, and if it does come to other markets, rumors suggest it'll have a different name – the Nokia 5.1 Plus.

Update: We've spoken to HMD Global, which has told us 'At this time, there are no plans to bring the X5 to other markets'. That doesn't mean it's not coming, as there's every chance it'll have a different name and slightly different specs.

The price of the Nokia 5X is CNY 999, which is only around $149 / £110 / AU$200 – although those prices are straight conversions, and we'd expect the actual price to be a little higher if it does launch in Western markets.

So what do you get for that money? Well, for a budget phone you get quite a bit: 2.5D curved glass frames the phone, which sports a 5.86-inch display with the longer 19:9 screen ratio.

It's also packing a notch, which means it sits in the same stable as a number of other Android phones looking a lot like the iPhone X – but in this case there's a chin at the bottom of the device, as the closer to the edge the screen gets, the more a phone costs to manufacture.

Inner rumblings

There's a Mediatek Helio P60 powering things under the hood, with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage, but the phone will apparently be available in a 4GB/64GB configuration too.

A fingerprint sensor on the rear of the phone sits below a 13MP / 5MP dual-sensor camera, with a f/2.0 aperture on the larger snapper to get improved (but likely not stunning) low-light photos.

The front-facing sensor is rolling with a 8MP, f/2.2 combo, with an 80-degree field of view to pack more into your selfies – great if you're surrounded by friends or just really into your backgrounds.

There's a 3060mAh battery running the Android 8.1 operating system, but we'll be getting an upgrade to Android P in the future – in fact, like Nokia's other phones, this is part of the Android One program, meaning it'll get direct and regular upgrades.

So what makes it cheaper?

Well, there are a few things you're compromising on here compared to a high-end flagship phone. For a start the screen is only HD+, which means a resolution of 720 x 1520, a lot less than the best on the market.

We'd imagine (without seeing it) that the LCD technology hasn't been optimized to display colors super-effectively, and the battery life may not have been eked out to the same extent as other brands' handsets. 

You're also getting a Mediatek CPU in the mix, although that's far less of a drop than in years gone by, as the brand is making an assault on the chipset market and is looking to curry the favor of larger manufacturers.

The bigger question is whether this phone will be coming to the UK or the rest of the world, and we've heard nothing back from HMD Global just yet. However, rumors that this phone will appear as the Nokia 5.1 Plus abound – and it would be a strong contender for top budget phone if it did.

From Weibo via GSMArena

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.