Over the past two years, the local market has seen an almost endless flow of low-priced smartphones by various local and foreign companies, with virtually all devices manufactured in China.
One such company looking to differentiate itself from the pack is Infinix, which has recently released multiple devices at affordable prices. Low-priced smartphones are great for first-time users or to buy for your parents. They also make for an excellent secondary device.
Keeping this in mind, I decided to test out the Infinix HOT 3 (Purchase on Daraz.pk) for an entire week to see how it stacks up against some of the more well-known, low-cost devices currently in the market.
Unboxing and first impressions
When I first held the Infinix HOT 3 in my hand it felt very light ( and not in a good way), giving off a very ‘plastic’ feel. Once I inserted the battery, however, the device's weight was more reasonable.
The phone has MicroUSB and audio ports are placed at the top of the device— an unusual positioning which makes it inconvenient to use the phone while it's charging. While inserting the battery, SIM and SD card I also noticed how flimsy the back panel is, but keeping its low-price in mind (Rs9,999), one cannot complain.
What’s in the box?
- The Infinix HOT 3 user manual, warranty and safety guidelines
- Noise cancelling earphones
- MicroUSB cable
- 2-pin AC adapter
- 3000 mAh battery
Design and Performance
Apart from the weight, the device is well designed, fits comfortably into the hand and is pleasing to look at with its slim 8mm thick design and “luxurious gold” finish on the polycarbonate back panel.
The front of the device is dominated by the gargantuan 5.5 inch HD Display with a resolution of 1280 x 720p and 320 dpi, giving the device enough capability to be a powerhouse when it comes to display quality, viewing angles, gaming and multimedia playback. The display also performs well under bright sunlight.
• Low price— below Rs10k
• Useful built-in apps and tools
• 5.5 inch HD display
• Decent low-light camera
• Excellent battery life
Under the hood, the Infinix HOT 3 is equipped with a 1.3 GHz Quad-Core MediaTek MT6580 processor coupled with 16GB internal storage and 1GB RAM. Storage can be expanded using the MicroSD card slot up to 32GB.
During my week with the device I found the RAM to be its biggest shortcoming. In my opinion, 16GB internal storage and 1GB RAM is not enough when coupled with a 5.5 inch display.
The front of the device also features a 2MP camera, a light and proximity sensor, and a front facing soft flash to improve your experience while snapping a ‘selfie’. While the front facing flash sounded like a good idea, testing it out under low-light conditions did not deliver favourable results.
• Low RAM for 5.5" device
• OS/XUI takes up half of RAM
• Multiple apps slow down device
• Phone too light for its size
Just below the display, we see the familiar navigation buttons associated with Android devices. These buttons are not backlit, which can get frustrating while operating the device in darkness.
The bottom of the device only features the main microphone. There is an additional microphone opening at the back of the device in order to reduce noise while capturing audio.
The back of the device features the speaker grill, a design element I am not a fan of. If the device is placed on a flat surface, the resulting audio becomes muffled and one must place the device upside down to make full use of the speaker.
The back also houses the primary 8MP HDR camera with face detection, autofocus, geo tagging and a powerful LED flash.
In natural light, the camera performance was as expected from a low priced device, however, in low light conditions the camera exceeded my expectations.
The device’s dual SIM and network capabilities are impressive and function without any glitches.
While 3G is supported, it can significantly reduce battery drainage. 4G or LTE support also remains missing from the device but in this price range that is expected.
Design and performance rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
In my opinion, the best thing about the Infinix HOT 3 is its powerful 3000 mAh battery.
Even under heavy use, the battery can last a user well over an entire day. At a time when smartphones continue to be plagued by poor battery performance, this is a major selling point for the device.
Battery rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Software and UI
The Infinix HOT 3 is equipped with Android 5.1 Lollipop, which is disappointing considering that Android 6.0 Marshmallow is now available.
Upon checking for an update, I confirmed that the device was left out of the update cycle.
One reason for this could be its low end hardware, which does not support the new OS from Google. Built on top of Android 5.1, Infinix equips its devices with its own XUI, an android skin custom built for Infinix devices.
At the same time, XUI is the biggest differentiating factor and selling point for the company, as it looks to set itself apart.
The home screen layout is flat, and features an even flatter design keeping in line with Google own Material Design. Its XUI has been designed from the ground up with one thing in mind: optimising battery life.
From my experience with the device it is safe to say that Infinix has succeeded in this mission.
XUI provides a number of customisation options as well as a number of features aimed at making life easier for those not too familiar with the Android system. Users can simply create an ‘X account’ which allows them to take advantage of preinstalled apps like XClub, User Feedback, X Contacts and Xender.
While these apps are a great addition for those new to the android platform, their usage can be mimicked by various third party apps already available in the Google Play Store.
XUI also incorporates an Ultra Power Saving mode, which turns off all power consuming functions to significantly extend battery life and performance. There are also a number of built in themes and wallpapers that can be easily applied using dedicated home screen shortcuts.
Overall, the XUI software runs smoothly, and does not give trouble while navigating between open apps.
Software and UI rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
At the end of my week with the Infinix HOT 3, I cannot help but be impressed by the low-price device's performance.
The display is vivid and allows a good full-screen video and gaming experience. Even though a week of loading numerous apps and games on the device did have an adverse effect on its speed (owing mainly to its 1GB RAM), the Inifinix HOT 3 continued to perform its basic functions without a glitch, making it a great secondary device or a primary device for those who want value for money.
For those interested, you can buy the phone on Daraz.pk.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
The author is a current affairs and tech enthusiast
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