When I first interacted with the first member of Infinix’s budget Hot smartphone lineup, I was only impressed by one thing: its price. It rekindled memories of the famous Safaricom-fronted Huawei IDEOS from 4 years earlier. It was well-priced. However, that was all I liked about the device. Its battery life was awful and the device would heat up to unbearable levels when in use or being charged. In fact, were it not for the Hot Note that followed it into the market shortly after, I would’ve written off the entire series from the word go.
Several iterations later, I could see progress as I handled the latest member of the Infinix Hot family, the Infinix Hot 6 Pro. More so for me who has barely had any extended hands-on time with previous members of the Hot series as I have tended to gravitate more towards the usually more powerful Note and Zero series.
Those two series, the Note and Zero, are known for their high endurance and camera prowess respectively while also costing a few thousand shillings more than their entry-level Hot counterparts. However, that is all yesteryear stuff. Things have changed, a bit. Infinix now has a new range of devices to cover the bottom of the barrel dubbed Smart. They play at the price point that the Hot once played in its nascent years. What does that mean? That the Hot series moves a step up.
Move a step up it has.
- Infinix sticks with the tried and tested plastic build and finish that dots its entire entry-level smartphone lineup. While there is nothing remarkable about that, what stands out for me is the way the design makes handling a whole lot easier. More so for a smartphone that on any other day would actually be quite some work to handle. Corners are well-rounded and all the buttons are placed within reach.
- The Infinix Hot 6 Pro’s display is bright enough to get you going but not quite as bright outdoors. The 18:9 profile means there’s much more screen real-estate than is usually the case. While some apps, more so content ones, scale to automatically fill it up, others need some occasional nudging like a pinch-to-zoom in order to do so. This was the case once in a while on YouTube. Like I have noted before, this not the device maker’s fault and it’s something that should be sorted as we go along now that such displays are here to stay. That it’s a HD panel only means that text isn’t as crisp but who cares when you’re paying Kshs 16,000 or less for this?
- The Infinix Hot 6 Pro has a half-decent camera that you won’t mind taking with you anywhere you go whether as the main shooter or as a fall-back option once your other go-to device’s battery dies because there’s no chance that it will last longer the Pro. However, as is to be expected of a device at its price, there’s not much that is remarkable about it. It’s just good to have and nothing more. With proper lighting, it will do some really Instagram-worthy shots but recede to the other end of the spectrum at the slightest hint of darkness. The shutter speed is also quite slow. Selfies, also, are a rare balance between both ends of the spectrum. Not as remarkable and not as disappointing. Just good enough to get you going.
- The Infinix Hot 6 Pro has the distinction of being one of the few devices from the Chinese brand that we have seen enter the local market with a Snapdragon process and not one of the many mid-range options offered by Qualcomm’s Taiwanese rival MediaTek. Knowing this, in itself, prepares one psychologically to expect some okay performance. However, remember the chipset that can be found on the Hot 6 Pro is inferior to the one that was mainly blamed for the Nokia 6’s sluggishness? The good thing is that the Hot 6 Pro does not aspire to “be all”. It packs a modest 720 panel and as such, there’s much less work for the processor and it shows in the device’s overall performance. Save for the slow camera shutter that I noted above, the device is just as fast as I would want it to. Even though I did not get to push it to its limits with my addictions like Asphalt 8: Airborne and Real Racing 3 (yes, I have gone back to this game as I prepare for Project CARS’ arrival on Android later this year), it held up just fine as I tried to win championships on Virtua Tennis and beat my significant other in the same.
- As far as software goes, there’s not much to write home about. It’s still the same XOS that Infinix users have become used to. It still has the usual coterie of X-something apps that you may or may not like depending on where your tastes lie. There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to software and my preferences are likely to be a bit different from yours. I like that Infinix tries to give me some level of respect by not imposing their forums during the device’s initial setup process. The XClub app sits in the app drawer and on the home screen (yeah, they’re keeping this duplicate thing going on. SMH) and it’s up to the user to decide whether they want in or not. What I did not like about the user interface is the avalanche of ads. There are ads on the notification shade, there are ads when you’re browsing in certain apps… They’re exhausting.
- One thing I really like about the user interface is the consistency. By default, unless you opt for a third-party launcher and some icon packs, all apps take a rounded-corner profile no matter their original iconograpghy. Normally, I wouldn’t advocate for this but take a look at the
fugly UI of the Huawei Y7 Prime and the P20 Lite and you will appreciate it even more.
- I also noticed that the Infinix Hot 6 Pro uses the same “app sort” mechanism that I encountered on the Tecno Camon X Pro. It has the same weaknesses as that one and there is room for improvement.
- There are some add-on features that make it to the Infinix Hot 6 Pro that have been very well executed. Top on the list is the face unlock. I like it. It’s fast in good lighting and will prompt you to let it use the front-facing LED flash when you’re in darkly lit surroundings. Just like we saw in the Camon X Pro.
- Of course, it goes without saying that the fingerprint sensor at the back of the device does its job as expected.
- I already shared my thoughts on the prevailing microUSB situation and the inclusion of two nano-SIM slots alongside a separate microSD slot in my preview of the device. I recommend that you read it.
- My favourite feature of the Infinix Hot 6 Pro is the battery. Oh boy! This is the best battery life I have had on any device I have used this year. It’s good. Very good. I’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.
- It’s quite a pity that the device lacks fast-charging of any type. Such a mammoth battery does take its time to fill up.
At its Kshs 13,000-16,000 price range, the Infinix Hot 6 Pro spoils the party for HMD Global’s Nokia 3 which, even though impressive because of stock Android and the promise of the latest updates, has some pretty mediocre battery and its performance stagnates with time. It also makes life a bit harder for Huawei’s Y7 Prime 2018 which has an almost similar profile but costs a little more.
Its camera may not surprise you, however much you try, even though it will get you some “good-enough” snaps for your updated profile picture on whatever social network you are on but it is what it offers as a package that will make you think long and hard about overlooking the Infinix Hot 6 Pro when shopping for your next phone. Sure, its looks are forgettable but it is the feel that grows on you before the face unlock, fast fingerprint scanner and great battery life sweep you off your feet.