Infinix Hot 10 review

Over the years, Infinix has made strides to segment its smartphone offerings in the market.

The Infinix Zero series, for instance, takes care of the users that want the most that they can get from a mid-range device while not giving away everything they have. The Infinix Note, like the one that is about to become available in Kenya soon, takes care of those who’d prefer pretty much the same feature set as the Zero series users but who are budget-conscious. In past iterations, those that are very specific about features like a stylus, which is where the “Note” originates from, inspired by another device maker, have turned to this series to get the accessory working on a device at a bargain.

For a few years, the Hot series was been where everyone turned to when recommending suitable entry-level smartphones. In recent years, however, its place has been taken over by a new low-cost option from the Chinese brand, the Smart series. Nowadays, Infinix is forced to be a little creative with the Hot series thus bringing the lineup even closer to the Note series in terms of its famed endurance, as we will see shortly, and far away from the battery woes of over half a decade ago when the lineup debuted and introduced Infinix as a serious challenger in the Kenyan mobile phone market complete with a youth-focused strategy.

The Infinix Hot 10 is a refinement of its predecessor, the Infinix Hot 9, something that is expected with the brand’s new approach to device updates: a refresh at least every 6 months.

As such, there isn’t anything groundbreaking on the device. Just little improvements that, if you used the previous generation or, like yours truly, you skipped that and your last experience with the Hot series is from last year, you will take note of and appreciate.

READ:  Infinix Hot 10 specifications

Design-wise, I have nothing to point out that disadvantaged my usage of the device. If anything, there are just good things to point out. Using it, I could feel all the improvements I have felt while using the other Infinix smartphones that I have used this year on this device. They’ve trickled down to the price segment that really matters, being the obvious step up from those on the extreme end of the entry-level segment. It’s a large device by all means, yes, but you don’t feel it. It can be handled with ease.

The back plastic design is such that you won’t need a case to add grip or prevent paw prints but you might consider one to avoid the scratches. My review unit had a small number from just 2 weeks of full usage.

There are no glaring discrepancies in the experience using the display compared to other similarly-priced smartphones. It’s bright, at least indoors and in places where there isn’t too much light like in the overhead sun, and it’s as vibrant as we’ve come to expect Infinix displays to be. Everything feels, acts and looks okay. Just what you need.

Performance-wise, the included Helio G70 processor is a beast and great to see at this price range as it handles everything so well.

On the camera front, there is not much going on compared to other more pricey Infinix smartphones that we have reviewed on this website before. What you see is what you get, basically.

Tolerable shots when there is sufficient lighting (even then, the colour accuracy is largely questionable, especially outdoors when the blue sky comes into the picture), everything bad when the opposite is true and a mix of added lenses that should, at best, be ignored. The ‘Super macro’ mode when turned on, for instance, doesn’t do much to convince you that there is much going for the included macro sensor since no amount of AI processing will hide what are otherwise below average optics.

The front-facing camera, on the other hand, doesn’t fare much better. There are hints of potato quality in the selfies I snapped using it as you can see in the sample below even though there is none of that “beauty level” filtering that I had going on when using the realme C15, a hallmark of realme UI. The one thing they could improve as well? The placement of the ‘wide selfie’ mode. One has to swipe up on the viewfinder to access it and I only encountered it by accident in my quest to leave no stone unturned. It is unlikely that many users will be this demanding but still…

Having had a baptism-by-fire experience using XOS 7 on the Infinix Zero 8, Infinix’s flagship smartphone, it has been very refreshing seeing the toned-down approach to the overzealous notifications on the Infinix Hot 10, my main gripe with Infinix’s customization efforts. As such, given the major improvements that XOS has undergone over the years, the Infinix Hot 10 serves as a very good ambassador for Infinix’s own efforts at standing out and most first time users are unlikely to have an unsavoury experience.

The feature add-ons are standard as you will find on other Infinix devices but spot on at this price point. There’s even the Infinix Life 2.0 app pre-installed just in case part of your plans include getting one of Infinix’s new Android TV-powered smart TVs or a wearable like one of their smart bands.

My favourite Infinix Hot 10 feature is its battery. This is a battery that you will only need to charge once every 2 days on fairly standard usage. That is impressive because, elsewhere, we’ve needed an even bigger battery to achieve that kind of result. There being no form of fast charging, that is appreciated because it means that one doesn’t have to wait much longer than they already would need to filling up that 5,000mAh unit.

The lowdown

Whereas the Hot 8 was largely underwhelming, in the wake of some serious competition from other brands, the Infinix Hot 10, owing to the improvements done in the last generation with the Hot 9, is indifferent. It will excite you if you are coming from the Hot 8 and it will be an incremental leap if you sampled and/or are using the Hot 9. Of course, it goes without saying that it should impress you if you are upgrading from a sub-Kshs 10,000 device from the same brand or even elsewhere as it offers noticeable performance improvements while maintaining the familiarity of Infinix’s custom Android overlay, XOS despite the bump up to version 7 and Android 10.

Infinix is selling the base model of the Infinix Hot 10, like the one we had in for review, at Kshs 14,000.

Have something that you believe I need to have a look at? Hit me up: echenze [at] androidkenya.com