Hong Kong-based Infinix forayed into India back in August last year. In November launched the Zero 5, which was one of the popular mid-range smartphones in the country in the price range. This year it launched the Hot S3 with a 20-megapixel front camera with dual LED flash and a 5.65-inch HD+ 18:9 display. Is the phone worth the price? Let us find out in the review.
We recently unboxed the smartphone, check out the video.
- Infinix Hot S3 in Sandstone Black color
- 2-pin charger (5V-2A)
- Flat micro USB cable
- Clear protective case
- Screen guard
- SIM ejector tool
- User manual and warranty information
Display, Hardware and Design
The phone has a 5.65-inch 2.5D curved glass display with a resolution of 1440 by 720 pixels and a pixel density of about 285 PPI. It has a 18:9 aspect ratio and a screen-to-body ratio of 81% since it has minimal bezels, so it is good for media consumption, and you also get an option to stretch the content on the screen when watching videos on apps such as YouTube to fit the 18:9 display. The screen is not sharp compared to a 1080p screen so some might find the content dull. The company doesn’t say if it has any kind of scratch resistant glass for protection.
It has Night Light option that automatically reduces blue light which may impact sleep. It also has custom LED light reminder option that can be enabled when the battery is low, for missed calls, unread messages and more. There is also Ambient display option that wakes up the screen when you receive notifications.
It has a 20-megapixel camera with dual LED flash next to the earpiece along with the usual set of proximity and ambient light sensors and also has notification LED. It also has magnetic sensor, otherwise known as magnetometer, but it doesn’t have gyroscope.
Even though it uses on-screen buttons, there is a small bezel below the display. The volume rockers and the power button are present on the right side and the SIM slot and the microSD card slot is present on the left side. Loudspeaker grill, Micro USB port and primary microphone are present on the bottom and the 3.5mm audio jack is present on the top.
It is one of the few smartphones with dedicated dual nano SIM slots and a microSD card slot in the price range. It accepts cards up to 128GB.
It has a metal-like finish, but the build quality is good. There is a 13-megapixel camera on the back with dual LED flash and there is a fingerprint sensor below it. It has a 4000mAh built-in battery. It measures 153 x 72.85 x 8.4 mm and weighs 150 grams, which makes it slightly bigger than the Honor 9 Lite that has a similar 5.65-inch screen, but this has a huge battery. Even though this doesn’t have a metal body, the build quality is good. The phone doesn’t slip out of your hands easily, but it is recommended to use the clear case that comes in the box.
It has a 12-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture and dual LED Flash along with a 20-megapixel camera with dual LED flash and f/2.0 aperture.
The camera interface is easy to use with toggles for flash and HDR on the left side along with different filters (Mono, Sepia and Aqua). On the right side it has option to capture images in auto mode by default, beauty, video and different mode such as Panorama, Night, Time lapse and professional to adjust metering, exposure, shutter speed, ISO, white balance and focus.
Coming to the image quality. Daylight shots were decent and HDR shots were better. Macro shots were good and focus is fast. Low-light shots have noise and the images with flash is decent. The 20-megapixel front camera is pretty good with a lot of details. There is also a portrait mode that blurs the background using software, but the edges look weird.
Check out some camera samples (Click the image to view full resolution images).
It record videos at a maximum resolution of 1080p resolution at 30 fps. Video quality is decent. Even though it comes with time-lapse, it doesn’t have slow motion video recording. Check out the video samples below.
Software, UI and Apps
Coming to the software, the phone runs on Android 8.0 (Oreo) with custom XOS Hummingbird V3.0 UI on top. It was launched with Android security update for November, 2017 and recently got an update with Android security patch for January, 2018. The company doesn’t say when it will get Android 8.1 update. Android Oreo brings auto fill, improvements by limiting tasks that run in the background when not in use, Picture-in-picture mode, additional Bluetooth audio codecs and more.
It has XOS Launcher version has a customizable quick settings toggle, custom home screen that lets you adjust icon size, desktop grid and more. It has headlines that shows news in the homescreen, auto app arrangement and smart arrange options. The user interface looks similar to what we had seen with other Chinese handset makers.
It has one-hand mode that lets you shrink the screen to 4.7 or 4-inches in size. There are also lot of gesture and smart motion options such as tap to wake, quick start to start the device by making gestures with your finger over the screen, wave to unlock the phone and turn the phone to put a call on silent.
Out of 3GB of RAM you get 2.85GB RAM, out of which 1.4GB RAM is free when default apps are running in the background. Out of 32GB of storage you get about 23GB of usable storage.
Apart from the usual set of utility apps and Google apps, it has Flipkart, Facebook and other compatible apps, PHX Browser, Calcare Service app for device support, XClub, XShare and XTheme apps.
The phone has a fingerprint sensor on the back. Placement of the sensor on the back is good, since it is where your index finger rests when you are holding the phone. It is not very quick to unlock the phone, since it takes about a second or two to unlock it when you place your finger on the sensor. You can add up to 5 fingerprints.
Music Player and FM Radio
It has a custom music player app and also has FM Radio with recording and FM Alarm option. Loudspeaker output is good and clear even in full volume. Since the loudspeaker is present on the bottom part of the phone, audio doesn’t get muffled when you are placing the phone on a flat surface. Audio output through headphones is decent, but in some apps like Youtube audio is not loud event in full volume.
Connectivity, Calling and Messaging
It has 4G support with support of 4G VoLTE for Reliance Jio and Airtel, but it doesn’t have VoLTE support for Vodafone yet. Both the SIMs support 4G, but you can enable 4G only in one SIM at a time, while the other goes to 3G. You can set the default SIM for voice call, messaging or data connection. It has Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS and USB OTG support.
Since this is a dual SIM phone you get option to call or send SMS from either SIMs. It comes with AOSP and TouchPal keyboard options. Calls were clear and we did not face any call drops and the earpiece quality is good as well.
Performance and Benchmarks
Coming to the performance, the phone is powered by an Octa-Core Snapdragon 430 Mobile Platform with four ARM Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.2 GHz per core and other four at 1.5GHz per core and has 3GB or 4GB of RAM depending on the model. The performance is good without any lags. We did not face any heating issues. It also has a Adreno 505 GPU that offers good gaming performance. Since the phone has a HD display, the SoC coupled with up to 4GB is more than enough to power the phone. That said, check out some synthetic benchmark scores below.
Coming to the battery life, the 4000mAh built-in battery offers good battery life. On full charge it lasts for a day even with heavy use. With average use it easily lasts for 2 days. You can enable standby intelligent power saving mode to extend the battery life when the battery is low. You can also free apps that are not used for long time to save power.
It achieved One Charge rating of 15 hours and 49 minutes, which is good for a phone with a 4000mAh battery and a 5.65-inch screen.
Since it doesn’t come with support for fast charging, 0 to 100% charge takes about 2 hours and 0 to 50% charge takes 56 minutes. We will bring you the complete set of battery life test results soon.
At a starting price of Rs. 8999, the Infinix Hot S3 competes directly with the Redmi Y1, another selfie-focused smartphone that has similar memory and storage variants, dedicated SIM and microSD slots at the same price. The Infinix Hot S3 has an edge over the Redmi Y1 when it comes to selfie camera, battery life, full-screen display and Android version.
Overall, this is a good selfie smartphone for the price that comes with Android 8.0 (Oreo), but the company could have gone with FHD+ display and a better SoC. The Infinix Hot S3 goes on sale every week exclusively on Flipkart. To summarize, here are the pros and cons of the smartphone.
- 20MP selfie camera with flash is good
- Good battery life
- Good build quality
- Dedicated Dual SIM and microSD slots
- Only HD+ display
- Average rear camera, especially in low-light