Gadgetslab: Infinix Hot Note

In a market as price-sensitive as the Philippines, smartphone manufacturers need the right mix of affordability and performance if they hope to be a top-of-mind brand. Infinix Mobility, one of the country’s newest smartphone players, is hoping to carve their name into the wallet-friendly-but-powerful segment with their first local offering, the Hot Note. They sent one over to the GadgetsLab and here’s how it managed.

Infinix Hot Note 2

Specifications:

Operating System: Android 5.1 Lollipop with Infinix XUI overlay

Processor: 1.4GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6592

GPU: Mali-450 GPU

Display: 5.5-inch HD IPS, 1280 x 720 pixels, 267ppi

Cameras: 8MP rear camera with LED flash; 2MP front camera

Internal Memory: 2GB RAM, 16GB expandable storage

Battery: Non-removable 4000mAh Li-Po

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g, hotspot,

Bluetooth 4.0, A-GPS, dual micro SIM

Physical Dimensions: 156x77x8.9mm

Weight: 172g

Design: 3.5/5

The Infinix Hot Note is quite vanilla in terms of design, with everything right where you’d expect them to be. Over at the front, it has the call speaker, proximity sensor, and selfie camera at the top edge; the 5.5-inch screen with quite a bit of bezel occupies most of the real estate; and the three capacitive buttons are at the bottom.

The back is brushed with faux aluminum and houses the primary shooter with LED flash on the upper left, and the main speaker grille at the bottom. The minimalist, silver “Infinix” branding sits in the middle, while the laser printed “Hot Note” marque is above the speaker.

Meanwhile, the volume rocker and power button is at the right edge; microphone pinhole and microUSB port is on the bottom; and the 3.5mm jack is at the top.

It’s not badly designed overall, but it does lean a lot towards the bland side.

Hardware: 4/5

If in years past, bang for the buck sub-PHP 6,000 smartphones were strutting mere quad-cores, today’s generations of value for money smartphones are strutting octa-cores, at least 2GB of RAM, a huge display, and decent shooters.

The Hot Note in particular has the mid-range MediaTek MT6592 octa-core processor ticking at 1.4GHz, accompanied by a Mali-450 GPU. It sports 2GB of memory buffer along with 16GB of storage expandable via microSD; and it also has 8MP and 2MP shooters at the back and front—pretty standard fare.

What sets it apart from the competition is its massive 4000mAh battery pack that’s rated for up to two days of use. It also has flash charging technology which provides seven hours of performance for just 20 minutes on the wall. Coupled with the 2A output of the bundled charger, the phone shouldn’t die on you unless you’re deliberately draining it dry.

User Experience: 4/5

While the phone looks nondescript, it keeps all its fancy bling on the inside where it counts. Booting it up, the first thing I immediately noticed was how bright the screen was even on the dimmest setting. Cranking the brightness up, the display was clearly visible even outside on a sunny day.

XUI was also a high point for the Hot Note. Aside from new icon skins, Infinix’s take on Android 5.1 introduces Ultra Power Saving Mode which almost doubles standby time when the batter falls below 10-percent. Speaking of the juicer, it takes under an hour to charge it from nothing to 75-percent.

What stopped the phone from getting a higher score was its synthetic performance. I was surprised that it only nailed a score of 29,191 in AnTuTu Benchmark, behind that of some phones in its price point. Some phones using the exact same SoC were able to score some 3,000 points more, and the culprit is definitely the 5.5-inch screen. Bigger displays do require more oomph to run their pixels.

Still, it’s good enough for everyday use, i.e. multimedia playback, gaming, and of course, your calls and texts. Beyond the synthetics, real life performance was very pleasing. The cameras, while not great, also took decent photos for social media uploads.

Value: 4.5/5

Pegged at the PHP 6,000 mark, the Infinix Hot Note is one of the few phones in its segment that’s able to pack a massive battery and respectable hardware into one affordable package. Though it’s admittedly not the most powerful phone among its peers, it should be a decent daily driver for all but the most demanding users. The sleek XUI also hit the custom overlay sweet spot.

What’s Hot:

  • Huge battery with flash charging
  • Bright screen
  • XUI is unobtrusive

What’s Not:

  • Single threaded performance is so-so
  • Plain design

Bottomline

I like big batts and I cannot lie.

Final Score: 16/20

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