Neffos C9 Max Review

Neffos has a new smartphone in town, and it’s called the Neffos C9 Max — a 6.09-inch device with a MediaTek chip and 32GB of internal storage onboard. Its unique charm is its advanced signal reception technology but does that make the cut? Here’s our review.

Neffos C9 Max specs:

  • 6.09-inch 18.5:9 IPS HD+ display, 720 x 1560 px
  • 2.0GHz Quad-core MediaTek Helio A22 (MT6761)
    PowerVR GE8300 GPU
  • 2GB RAM
  • 32GB internal storage, expandable via microSD (uses SIM2 slot)
  • 13MP AF rear camera with LED Flash
  • 5MP front camera
  • 4G LTE, Dual SIM (nano, hybrid)
  • WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5, GPS, FM Radio
  • Android 9 Pie
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Colors: Nebula Black, Nebula Red

Inside the package that was sent to us are the following: a jelly case, some manuals, the SIM ejector, the phone itself, a micro USB data cable, and a battery charging adaptor.

Glossy, Premium Feel

Budget phones have started to take on premium, glossy finishes, and the C9 Max goes into that route as well. The back of the device has this glossy shine over that is very susceptible to smudges from time to time. There’s also the 13-megapixel rear camera with its accompanying dual-LED flash, as well as the Neffos logo in the middle. There’s no fingerprint scanner here, but an NTC sticker literally sticks out.

The front, on the other hand, has the 6.09-inch display and the 5-megapixel selfie camera housed in a U-shaped notch. We thought that the bezels in this device are still okay given the price point it has.

The glossiness continues to the sides. On the left are the volume buttons, while the right has the hybrid Dual-SIM tray slot and the power/lock button. We found the buttons just alright, and they produce a small clicking feeling once pressed.

At the bottom are the micro USB port, the microphone, and the speaker grille. The 3.5mm audio jack is at the top, which is rare nowadays.

The device, when held, feels just right considering it resembles a 5.5-inch 16:9 phone with its height. It’s also not that hard to carry around or hold for long periods of time. Our only concern is its slippery glossy finish, but it does not matter that much since the jelly case provides enough protection and hold factor.

A decent display, but…

This phone features a 6.09-inch IPS display with an HD+ resolution. The colors are bright and vivid, viewing angles are good, and the contrast is decent. The brightness, though, could be an issue for some as it gets a lot of glare outdoors. We advise using it in shaded places.

The display only registers up to five simultaneous touch points at once, so it might be bothersome for those who play hardcore games.

The audio experience is decent for a budget phone. Its loudspeaker peaks at 78dB and is loud enough to be heard in a medium-sized room. The highs and mids are all present, while the lows are quite tinny. There aren’t any audio enhancements built-in when you put your favorite audio gear in the 3.5mm jack, so feel free to use a music app with a built-in equalizer for that.

Real 13-megapixel camera goodness

The C9 max only offers a lone 13-megapixel AI rear camera with a dual-LED flash, but it’s not one to be looked down upon. The rear camera renders photos with great details and sharpness, as well as decent colors, brightness, and contrast. The built-in AI camera app automatically detects your subject and adjusts it accordingly.

The 5-megapixel front camera also takes decent selfies that are worthy of social media upload. Its Beauty AI tracks one’s face well but enhances it too much to the point that the beautification renders an artificial result. Here are some sample shots:

The device can record up to Full HD resolution clips at 30 frames per second. Like the camera, the colors in the video are decent, it packs great contrast and brightness, and the phone offers sharpness not seen with other phones with claimed similar resolution rear cameras at this price range.

Here’s what’s surprising: It features EIS (Electronic Image Stabilization) tucked under its settings menu, which makes it one of the most affordable devices today to bear such a feature. It did assist us with our trembling hands in recording but did not manage to remove sudden camera jerks. Here’s a sample clip:

A decent budget phone performer

The overall UI of the device reminds us of Stock Android Pie with some additional features tucked in some parts. You’d swipe up from the bottom to get to the app drawer, and a horizontal wipe seems to be the favored transition. There’s 24.5GB left for other apps and photos and a microSD slot is available for a storage extension. You’d find the hybrid setup a downer, though, if you prefer two SIM cards on top of your additional storage.

There’s no dedicated Gallery app, but a pre-installed Google Photos App already suffices the need to view captured photos. Other apps installed include OfficeSuite, Little Big City 2, Puzzle Pets, and Spider-man: Ultimate Power. The apps, by the way, are removable.

We tried these games and they work well without any hiccups. These titles do suit the 2GB RAM and the MediaTek Helio A22 chip it has. We installed and played other resource-heavy games such as Asphalt 9 and Zombie Tsunami, to which we experienced multiple lags and stutters in our gameplay. Here are our performance benchmark scores:

  • AnTuTu – 74,444
  • PCMark (Work 2.0) – 4,767
  • 3DMark – 258 (Slingshot Extreme – OpenGL 3.1)

Give me those signal bars

When we talk about connectivity, I think this phone has it. I’ve tried the C9 Max across various areas of my home, and it can get a network signal even at spots where I wouldn’t get a decent one with my current phone. WiFi also works blazingly well and connects quickly. Other wireless connections such as Bluetooth and GPS work well, too. Too bad, this phone doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner to boot but it has face unlock which works decently under well-lit conditions.

With a 3000mAh battery capacity in tow, the C9 max can give you up to 20 hours, on average, of moderate use (emails, SMS, games, calls, and browsing with mobile data and WiFi). Our PCMark battery test scored 9 hours and 11 minutes which isn’t bad, but we’ve seen phones that offer better battery life with the same capacity. Charging the phone takes around an hour and a quarter with the given charging adapter.

Carl writes for WalasTech when he's not working full-time. Give him tips and/or leads at [email protected].