The primary competition to the Nokia 5.1 Plus is the Xiaomi Mi A2 Lite, also sold as the Redmi 6 Pro in some markets such as India.
The Mi A2 Lite has several advantages over the Nokia 5.1 Plus, such as a better display, better camera and also significantly larger battery. However, the Nokia 5.1 Plus does have a more powerful chipset that even with a downclock is still faster than the Snapdragon 625 on the Mi A2 Lite.
Both phones run Android One. However, the Redmi 6 Pro variant runs on MIUI.
Also, in the price range is the new Realme 2 and last year's Realme 1. The new Realme 2 has more memory and storage and also a larger battery, but a slower chipset and significantly worse build quality.
The older Realme 1 competes a bit better, with a much faster Helio P60 chipset, same as the Nokia 5.1 Plus but without the downclock. It also has a higher resolution display and a larger battery. However, the Realme 1 does have worse build quality and also lacks a fingerprint sensor. The ColorOS on Realme phones also may not be to everyone's taste. It's also likely this phone won't be around for very long and may just be available till stocks last.
Finally, there's also the Asus ZenFone Max Pro M1, which includes an incredible 5000mAh battery, Snapdragon 636 chipset and close to stock build of Android.
We were impressed by the overall quality and performance of the Nokia 5.1 Plus. The phone looks and feels really good in the hand and is leagues ahead of many of its competitors in this aspect.
The performance from the MediaTek Helio P60 chipset is also excellent, and the phone feels fast and fluid in use. The Android One experience is also more consistent and refined than some of the heavier custom skins out there, and you do get the promise of updates long after you've bought the phone.
What we are not too thrilled about is the display, which is low resolution, lacks proper calibration and has an ugly sharpening filter while watching video.
We also didn't appreciate Nokia downclocking the P60 chipset on this device and not letting the users get the full benefit of the chipset. It just feels like something that was done to avoid casting a shoadow on the more expensive Nokia 6.1 Plus market prospects.
Lastly, the battery size could have also been bigger. The battery life isn't bad, but most other phones in this price range now pack a massive battery. The Nokia 5.1 Plus, meanwhile, has the same 3050mAh battery as the smaller Nokia 6.1 Plus.
Overall, we think the Nokia 5.1 Plus will really appeal to someone looking for a phone with a good design, performance or stock Android experience. However, if a good quality display or long battery life are your criteria, then this isn't the right phone for you.