In recent years, the smartphone industry has witnessed an exponential surge in demand for affordable yet feature-rich devices. Amidst this growing market, Itel has emerged as a prominent player, known for its commitment to providing cost-effective mobile solutions without compromising on quality. By targeting the budget-conscious consumer, Itel has carved out a niche for itself, especially in emerging markets where maximizing value is paramount. The Itel P55 series marks a significant milestone in the brand’s portfolio, showcasing its dedication to bringing advanced features to the budget segment, offering a range of options from basic models to more enhanced variants.

Itel P55 Review: Why It's the Best entry-level Phone Buy of 2024!

The Itel P55 4G stands out as the series’ entry-level offering, yet it packs a punch with features that are both practical and innovative for its price point. Highlighting a 50-megapixel main camera, a 90Hz display, and a robust battery life, the P55 promises an impressive user experience. With a launch price that significantly undercuts the $100 barrier, the P55 challenges the notion that low-cost smartphones must sacrifice performance for price.

Itel P55 Review: Why It's the Best entry-level Phone Buy of 2024!

Itel P55 Highlights

  • Innovative Design with Recycled Plastic
    • Brush Finish and Unique Color Options
  • Unisoc T606 Processor
  • 6.6″ IPS LCD Display, 90Hz Refresh Rate
    • 720p Resolution and Adaptive Brightness
  • Android 13 Go Edition with Itel OS 13
  • 4/8GB RAM + 128/256GB Internal Storage
  • 50MP Main Camera + Dual Camera Setup
  • 5000mAh Battery with 18W Fast Charging
  • Side-mounted fingerprint Sensor and Face Unlock

Unboxing Experience

The Itel P55 arrives in a compact and visually appealing box, featuring clear imagery and specifications of the device. Upon opening the box, you’re greeted with the Itel P55 smartphone itself, securely nestled within a protective layer to ensure it arrives in pristine condition. Alongside the device, the box includes a SIM card ejector tool, an 18W fast charger, and a Type-C USB cable for charging and data transfer, Itel includes a flexible TPU case, clear and durable, to safeguard the smartphone against everyday bumps and scratches. For those who appreciate private listening experiences, wired earphones are provided. Lastly, the box contains essential documentation, including a quick start guide and warranty information.

Itel P55 Review: Why It's the Best entry-level Phone Buy of 2024!

Design and Build Quality

The Itel P55 showcases a thoughtful blend of aesthetics and ergonomics, making it a standout device in its price bracket. Its design philosophy seems to draw inspiration from high-end smartphones, offering a premium feel without the hefty price tag. The front of the P55 is dominated by a 6.6-inch IPS LCD, and it is housed within a frame with relatively slim bezels, maximizing the viewing area. A punch-hole cutout for the front-facing camera minimizes intrusion, offering a more immersive viewing experience for videos, gaming, and general use.

Itel P55 Review: Why It's the Best entry-level Phone Buy of 2024!

At first glance, the Itel P55 exudes a certain elegance, thanks to its minimalist branding and the sophisticated placement of its camera module, which, while reminiscent of the iPhone’s layout, adds a touch of luxury. It sports a sleek and modern look, characterized by a brushed finish on the rear panel that gives it a distinctive and premium feel. This finish provides a tactile experience that enhances grip, reducing the likelihood of accidental slips. The phone features a “Designed by Itel Power” inscription on the back, adding to its unique identity. So, P55 prioritizes comfort and ease of use. Its dimensions are carefully calibrated to ensure a comfortable grip, making it easy to navigate the device with one hand.

Itel P55 Review: Why It's the Best entry-level Phone Buy of 2024!

Constructed primarily from recycled plastic, the Itel P55 embodies Itel’s commitment to sustainability without compromising on durability. The use of plastic helps keep the device lightweight and comfortable to hold for extended periods. Despite its budget-friendly nature, the P55 does not feel cheap. The materials are robust and capable of withstanding everyday wear and tear, making it a reliable companion. Particularly striking is the Aurora Blue model, which features a color-shifting design that dances under different lighting conditions, creating a captivating visual effect that’s both modern and chic.

Itel P55 Review: Why It's the Best entry-level Phone Buy of 2024!

At the base of the Itel P55, you will find a modern USB Type-C port flanked by a speaker grill and a 3.5mm headphone jack, ensuring compatibility with both current and traditional audio solutions. The inclusion of a Type-C port offers faster data transfer and charging capabilities. Also, it has an integration of the power button with a fingerprint sensor. Located on the right side of the device for easy reach. Just above the power button, the volume rocker is situated. On the left side of the device, there is a SIM card tray that houses dual nano SIM cards along with a dedicated slot for an external memory card.

Display Quality

The Itel P55 is equipped with a 6.6-inch IPS LCD display. This screen size is generously large, offering ample space for content viewing, gaming, and reading. With a resolution of 720p (HD+), the P55’s display might not boast the sharpest image quality when compared to higher-end devices with 1080p or higher resolutions. However, considering its price point, the 720p resolution is respectable and capable of providing a satisfactory viewing experience for everyday tasks like watching videos, browsing, and using apps. The text appears reasonably sharp, and the images are clear enough for users to enjoy their content without significant pixelation.

Itel P55 Review: Why It's the Best entry-level Phone Buy of 2024!

The Itel P55’s IPS LCD display delivers decent color accuracy and contrast levels for its price range. Colors are vibrant enough to make visuals pop, though they may not be as saturated as those seen on AMOLED displays. The contrast ratio is adequate, ensuring that blacks are deep enough for a good viewing experience in various lighting conditions.

One of the standout features of the Itel P55’s display is its 90Hz refresh rate. This is relatively uncommon in the budget smartphone segment, where 60Hz displays are more typical. A higher refresh rate of 90Hz means that the screen updates 90 times per second, providing a smoother visual experience. This is particularly noticeable when scrolling through web pages or social media feeds and contributes to a more responsive touchscreen experience.

The adaptive refresh rate feature is another highlight, allowing the device to adjust the refresh rate based on the content being viewed. This smart adjustment helps in optimizing battery life, as the device can lower the refresh rate when high refresh rates are not necessary, such as when displaying static images or text.

The Itel P55 offers a peak brightness of 500 nits, which is adequate for most indoor and some outdoor conditions. While it may not be the brightest screen available in the market, the 500 nits peak brightness ensures that the display remains fairly visible even under direct sunlight.

Itel P55 Review: Why It's the Best entry-level Phone Buy of 2024!

For paid streaming services like Netflix, compatibility with HD content depends on the device’s certification for Widevine DRM (Digital Rights Management). The P55 supports Widevine L3, which means the device is limited to streaming Netflix content in standard definition (SD) rather than high definition (HD) or higher resolutions. While this might seem like a significant drawback, especially for those accustomed to HD quality.

Performance and Hardware

The Itel P55 emerges as a notable contender in the budget smartphone segment, bringing together a blend of reliable performance and competent hardware specifications that stand out for its price point. At the core of the P55 lies the Unisoc T606 chipset, a component that’s increasingly becoming synonymous with budget-friendly smartphones that don’t compromise on day-to-day performance. This 12nm chipset is engineered to balance energy efficiency with computational prowess. It’s equipped with a decent GPU that supports casual gaming and multimedia tasks, ensuring that you can enjoy a variety of content without significant hiccups.

The processor’s architecture, coupled with optimized software integration, makes the Itel P55 adept at handling routine tasks such as browsing, social media, basic photo editing, and video streaming. While it’s not cut out for intense gaming sessions on graphically demanding titles, it holds its ground with lighter games and can manage medium settings on popular titles without noticeable lag.

The inclusion of the Game Space application on the Itel P55 enhances the gaming experience by optimizing system resources for better performance. This feature is a boon for gamers, offering the ability to fine-tune settings for an improved gaming session. While the phone excels at running casual and medium-tier games, it’s worth noting that high-end gaming is beyond its capabilities. However, for the target audience, the gaming performance exceeds expectations, delivering enjoyable gameplay without draining the battery excessively.

Itel P55 Review: Why It's the Best entry-level Phone Buy of 2024!

The Itel P55 comes equipped with 4GB or 8GB of RAM, which can be virtually expanded up to 16GB using its software-based RAM expansion feature. This flexibility allows the device to keep more apps in memory, reducing load times and enhancing multitasking capabilities. For a device in its price range, this amount of RAM is generous and ensures that the phone remains responsive even with multiple apps running.

Storage is another highlight of the P55, offering 128GB or 256 GB of internal storage. This is ample space, allowing for a significant collection of apps, photos, videos, and music without the immediate need for external storage solutions. Furthermore, the device supports microSD cards, providing the option to expand storage if necessary, a feature that’s highly valued.

An Antutu benchmark score of around 270,000 points sets expectations for its operational capacity, indicating that while it won’t impress power users, it adequately serves the target audience’s requirements. So, it caters to users with average smartphone needs.

Software Experience

The Itel P55 runs on Android 13 Go Edition, tailored for entry-level smartphones to offer a smoother, more efficient user experience despite hardware constraints. Itel’s custom overlay, the itel OS version 13, sits atop the Android system, providing a user interface (UI) that combines simplicity with functionality. This UI is designed to be intuitive, ensuring that you can navigate through apps and settings with ease, even if they are new to Android or transitioning from another operating system. Android 13 Go Edition brings to the table a range of optimizations for devices with limited resources. It ensures faster app launches, better memory management, and enhanced data-saving features.

The itel OS version 13 UI is crafted to make the most of the Itel P55’s hardware. Icons are large and legible, with a clear and colorful design language that makes the interface vibrant and inviting. The notification shade and quick settings panel are simplified, providing quick access to frequently used features like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and the flashlight, without overwhelming with too many options. One of the UI’s highlights is its responsiveness. Despite the budget-friendly nature of the Itel P55, transitions between apps and screens are smooth, with minimal lag or stuttering.

The Itel P55 introduces several unique software features aimed at enhancing user engagement and productivity. One such feature is the “Game Space,” which optimizes the phone’s performance during gaming sessions. This application allows you to manage game-related settings, such as notifications and performance modes, ensuring an uninterrupted gaming experience. Additionally, the adaptive refresh rate feature, which switches between 60Hz and 90Hz based on content, is a notable inclusion that enhances both battery life and the smoothness of on-screen content.

A standout feature in the Itel P55 software suite is the ‘Smart Dynamic Bar’, an adaptation of the Dynamic Island concept in Iphone. This feature offers an interactive and visually engaging way to display notifications, battery status, and other alerts. It exemplifies Itel effort to bring innovative features to the budget segment. Although we have seen it in a lot of devices in the same category and from different brands such as Realme, Tecno, and Infinix.

Itel P55 Review: Why It's the Best entry-level Phone Buy of 2024!

While the Itel P55 comes with a selection of pre-installed apps designed to provide you with a comprehensive out-of-the-box experience, the presence of bloatware is minimal compared to many competitors. Essential apps like a file manager, camera app, and FM radio are included, along with a few third-party offerings. However, Itel has been judicious in its inclusion of additional software, avoiding the excessive bloatware that can detract from user experience on budget devices.

Itel P55 Review: Why It's the Best entry-level Phone Buy of 2024!

Camera Capabilities

The Itel P55 has made a significant mark in the budget smartphone sector, particularly with its camera capabilities, challenging the norms and expectations of affordable smartphone photography. The rear camera setup of the P55 is spearheaded by a 50-megapixel main sensor, a specification that’s hard to come by in its price range. This sensor’s high resolution ensures that photos are captured with exceptional detail and vibrant colors, making every shot worthy of attention. The capability to capture more light and reduce noise in low-light conditions is a significant advantage, providing you with the ability to take clearer, brighter images even in challenging lighting scenarios.

Complementing the main sensor is a secondary camera dedicated to depth sensing, enabling the device to produce portraits with a professional-looking bokeh effect. This dual setup is enhanced by a dedicated flashlight, improving the camera’s performance in low-light conditions. The front of the Itel P55 houses an 8-megapixel camera optimized for selfies, featuring enhancements for skin tones and facial details. This ensures every selfie is flattering, with the added benefit of a portrait mode for artistic shots with blurred backgrounds.

Itel P55 Review: Why It's the Best entry-level Phone Buy of 2024!

Video Recording and Software Enhancements

Both the rear and front cameras support 1080p video recording at 30 frames per second, allowing you to capture your moments in high-definition clarity. While the Itel P55 does not feature hardware-based optical image stabilization, its software stabilization techniques effectively reduce shakes and jitters, resulting in smoother video playback.

The camera software is intuitively designed, making it accessible for you to explore different modes and settings. It includes a variety of standard options like HDR and panorama, alongside AI scene recognition that automatically adjusts settings for optimal photo quality across different environments. Night mode is another notable feature, intelligently brightening images in low-light conditions without compromising on detail.

Connectivity and Network

The Itel P55 is equipped with dual SIM capabilities, supporting 4G LTE, the phone provides fast and reliable internet access, ensuring smooth streaming, browsing, and downloading activities. While it doesn’t boast 5G connectivity, its 4G performance is commendable for its price range, offering a balance between speed and cost-effectiveness.

For wireless internet access, the P55 connects seamlessly to Wi-Fi networks, supporting standard Wi-Fi protocols to ensure compatibility with a wide range of routers and public networks. Bluetooth 5.0 integration enhances the device’s ability to connect with Bluetooth-enabled devices. The inclusion of GPS with A-GPS support enables accurate location tracking and navigation.

Battery Life and Charging

With a 5,000mAh battery at its core, the Itel P55 stands out in its price segment. This large capacity is more than capable of supporting a full day of heavy usage, In real scenarios, the P55’s battery performance is impressive. Daily tasks such as emailing, web browsing, using various apps, and occasional photography do little to drain the battery significantly. Even with intermittent gaming sessions and video playback, the phone holds up well, often leaving a comfortable buffer of battery life for the end of the day.

During our testing, we noted that an hour of gaming on popular titles like PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9 resulted in a battery depletion of about 9-12%, which is quite efficient given the hardware and display specifications. Similarly, streaming an hour-long video at maximum brightness consumed about 10% of the battery, indicative of good optimization between the software and the hardware.

Complementing its substantial battery size, the Itel P55 features an 18W fast charging capability, which is a notable inclusion for a budget device. This fast charging feature ensures that you can quickly recharge your devices, minimizing downtime. From our testing, the 18W charger can take the phone from 0% to 50% in approximately 60 minutes, which is commendable for a smartphone in this price bracket. A full charge from empty to 100% can be achieved in around 2 to 2.5 hours.

Final Verdict

In the competitive market of budget smartphones, the Itel P55 emerges as a compelling option, distinguishing itself through a harmonious blend of aesthetic appeal, functionality, and affordability. When placed alongside its contemporaries, such as the Infinix Smart 8 and Redmi 13C. It becomes evident that Itel has strategically positioned this device to offer a well-rounded experience that challenges prevailing norms. Its design sensibilities, combined with practical features like a high refresh rate display, expandable RAM, a robust camera setup, and reliable battery life, make the Itel P55 a standout option for budget-conscious.

Itel P55 Review: Why It's the Best entry-level Phone Buy of 2024!