Boost Mobile Celero 5G review
The Celero 5G is the first smartphone launched by the Dish-owned Boost Mobile. Launched in September of this year, the Celero 5G is their way of bringing a lost-cost 5G capable device to the prepaid carrier.
This device typically costs $279.99 but is frequently discounted. At the time of writing, it is going for $139.99 and comes with a free case.
As a budget-friendly device, the Celero 5G needs to cover most of the bases to have a solid offering. Is the Celero 5G enough to get Boost Mobile customers to dip their toe in the 5G water, or does it land without a splash? Let’s find out.
The front of the Celero 5G is almost all screen. Housing a V-notched 6.5-inch HD+ display puts this device on the larger side. Weighing in at 7.16 ounces (203 grams) this device is fairly light. The top of the display dips slightly and curves under the front-facing camera, creating the V-notch.
The display offers a 720 x 1600 resolution. Although the resolution isn’t 1080p, the display performed well during my testing. The 60Hz display was able to keep up with everything I did on the device.
As a side note, if you are coming from a higher refresh rate screen, it could be a little jarring going back to a 60Hz display. I could see a bit of lag when scrolling around on the home screen, but there was no perceivable lag when doing anything else.
The display was bright, vivid, and enjoyable to use. Unfortunately, the device does have a slight bezel on top and a large chin. You mostly forget they are there when using it, as I found browsing the web and playing games to be an enjoyable experience.
The top and left sides of the device are mostly an all-metal experience. The only break in the design comes from the sim card slot on the left side and a microphone hole on top. The sim card slot does double duty here, as it also houses the expandable microSD card.
The right side of the device houses the volume rocker and the fingerprint-enabled power button. The bottom of the Celero 5G is where you will find the speaker grille, a USB-C port, a microphone hole, and the headphone jack.
The back has a nice metallic finish and houses the triple rear camera. I found the back of the device to be one of its nicest features when it comes to its design. In a world where many phones look the same, it was nice to see the metallic back with a chrome accent on the camera housing.
Performance and Specs
I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of this budget device. With a MediaTek MTK5G-C, (basically a Dimensity 700 chip) and 4GB of ram, I experienced almost no slowdowns.
Browsing the web and doing general everyday tasks, caused me no issues. In fact, day-to-day operation was quite enjoyable.
To push this handset and test its true capabilities I downloaded both Grid Autosport and Call of Duty Mobile. Considering the price and the CPU, both games ran well. Grid Autosport looked great and never slowed down. Even with enhanced graphics enabled, it just kept chugging along. My experience was quite similar to my Samsung Galaxy S21.
Call of Duty Mobile was also a pleasurable experience. I downloaded the high graphics pack and went to town. The game ran in low graphics mode, but it still looked great. I did experience one instance of slow down, but it didn’t really impact my game.
Just keep in mind that this is a budget chip. It will not keep up with any of the more premium offerings from Snapdragon or even a better MediaTek Dimensity chip like the recently announced Dimensity 9000.
The sound on the device was adequate. It wasn’t always the clearest, but it was definitely loud enough. A complaint that I do have is how easy it was to cover the single speaker. When holding the device in landscape, I would accidentally cover the speaker grille. Unfortunately, when that happens, the sound comes out completely muffled. It is easy enough to move your finger, but it is a little jarring when it happens.
The Celero 5G also has 64GB of storage and that you can expand using a microSD card. It supports microSD cards up to 2TB.
The fingerprint reader worked adequately but wasn’t always the most accurate. Often, I had to reposition my finger to get it to work correctly. On more than one occasion, I couldn’t even use the fingerprint reader because I would accidentally touch it with another part of my hand and it would lock out the fingerprint reader. It was annoying when it happened as this hasn’t happened to me on any other device.
The 4000mAh battery can easily last a day. For general use, you will not have to look for a charger to make it through the day. Gaming does tend to be a bit harder on the battery, so if you do a lot of gaming, be prepared to charge it more often. But that is true of all mobile devices.
The battery is charged with a 15W charger that comes in the box, helping to charge it quickly. You won’t find wireless charging here, so you are limited to wired charging.
The Celero 5G houses a triple camera setup. With a 16MP standard lens, a 5MP ultra-wide lens, and a 2MP depth camera. The 2MP depth camera is used to assist with focusing.
The results were a bit of a mixed bag. When lighting was adequate, you could get some good-looking shots with the main camera. The colors looked accurate and you could get very close for some nice macro shots. Even with adequate lighting, the ultra-wide camera produced some dark images. When you look at the images of the car, you can see the lighting differences between the standard lens to the ultra-wide lens.
Things got slightly worse when the lighting dims down. Shots struggle with dynamic range, so certain parts of the picture are too bright, while other parts are overly dark. You can see the picture of the Christmas Tree where the bottom looks blown out, but the top is relatively dark.
The bokeh effect also produced some mixed results. Sometimes it worked out pretty well, like with the Christmas Tree, but other times it incorrectly blurred the image. The picture of the car has some incorrect blurring along the back of the hood and there is blurring along the top-left edge of the lamp post.
The front-facing camera is serviceable. It produces some soft-looking images but is good enough for social media. The images from the front-facing camera are generally bright enough, even when lighting isn’t as abundant.
While the camera system on this device is serviceable and can produce some nice shots, it’s too inconsistent for my liking. If you rely on your camera and love taking photos, this may not be the device for you.
The Celero 5G runs a mostly stock version of Android 11. That keeps the device clean and operating smoothly.
Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of bloat on this device. There are both carrier-specific apps, as well as randomly installed applications. To make it even worse, the Celero 5G asked me if I wanted to install additional software when setting up.
The Boost Mobile apps consisted of Boost Perks, My Boost, Secure Wi-Fi, and voicemail. Based on my count, I had to deal with 19 unwanted apps upon first booting the device. Luckily, it’s only a minor pain as you can uninstall them. It’s not something I enjoy doing when I first get my device.
The unwanted apps may be a necessary evil to keep the cost down and provide the value to price ratio that Dish and Boost Mobile were targeting.
Overall this device was quite a pleasant experience. It was fast enough to deal with almost everything I threw at it.
I was quite pleased to see the Celero 5G play games as well as it did. Call of Duty Mobile and Grid Autosport are not exactly easy games to run. But the fact that this device was able to run them and do it at the level that it did, left me quite impressed.
In addition to gaming, general content consumption is also good on this device. The larger screen allows for better a media-consuming experience. You may want to use headphones though, but at least you can use wired headphones if that is something you enjoy.
Battery life was great and I really like that the device offers a microSD card to expand the built-in memory.
As long as you temper expectations of the camera system, this device is well worth the price tag, especially when you can find it discounted.