I’d have wanted to say that the Infinix Note 10 Pro is the best smartphone that Infinix has ever made but then again, what will I say about the upcoming Infinix Zero X? At some point, before we became aware of the Zero X’s existence and impending arrival, the Note 10 Pro had become the closest thing to last year’s impressive Zero 8 that we had ever interacted with.
Unlike the Zero 8 which, owing to the flagship status of the Zero series, has an impeccable design, I’ve found the Note 10 Pro to be rather muted. Nothing outstanding design-wise (we have seen better from Infinix) and nothing disappointing on the other hand. It’s just there. What you will agree with me outrightly after trying out the device is that it’s too large. It is a big phone by all means. You can feel it whichever way you hold it.
Overall, it is easy to say that it is the best Infinix Note smartphone ever, something that should almost be a given for any new addition to that lineup.
The Infinix Note 10 Pro marks many years of iterating on the Note product and, for many years in a row now, has more to offer besides the impressive battery life that marked its first few generations.
Sure, it appears to have shed what has previously made it “a Note” like a stylus but it has changed with the times to accommodate emerging user needs. Hangovers of that “Note” past still live on in the XNote app which is pre-installed on the device and isn’t a common sight on other Infinix devices.
While Infinix did try in the other aspects of the design, they did not stand out that much to me and I was fine just slapping the included plastic case and going on about my business. For those that care about the details, the back of my 7° Purple Note 10 Pro is shiny as shiny gets and is a fingerprint magnet so it really could use the case I was talking about if those kinds of things drive you crazy or you just want to avoid cleaning it all the time.
There is software-level assistance to cope with the size of the device, if that is a limiting factor, but I found that using it over time is the best way to get it to grow on you and you won’t need those unless you have very tiny hands. You can swipe right from the left edge of the display to bring out the Smart Panel that has become a staple of both Infinix’s XOS and Tecno’s HiOS, further showing how the two sister brands borrow from each other.
You can also bring up the one-handed mode via a toggle on the phone’s Quick Settings up top. One can easily pan the one-handed mode on either side of the display, making it easy to use one’s dominant hand.
For multitasking, users can bring up an app on top of another by use of a certain gesture that I, somehow, couldn’t get a hang of; I just found myself triggering it when doing something on the device.
As I note in our podcast discussing the device, the smoothness of the 90Hz display panel may not be apparent when you are used to high-refresh panels and, also, because there aren’t that many applications that support high-refresh-rate displays, yet, so any commentary on the same, save for a few games, is largely subjective. The placebo effect. Sure, it is a notch higher than the standard 60Hz but it doesn’t stick out as much and you may not even notice it when you’re at a display stand sampling the device. It is, however, a great touch on a device of the Infinix Note 10 Pro’s stature and price. The kind that makes it a desirable package to a prospective buyer.
What stands out for me on the display side of things is Infinix’s decision to go with a Full HD+ panel. It was about time! It is not the first time that an Infinix Note is rocking such but it surely is the last time we have to cross our fingers that we don’t go back to the days of a HD+ panel being “good enough” on these devices. Even the standard variant Infinix Note 10 gets a Full HD+ panel though it costs almost Kshs 10,000 less for the base model. Beat that!
Where Infinix pulls all the stops is in the camera department. The brand has been fixated on providing the best camera experience on a budget for years and those efforts are coming to fruition in its latest devices. Sure, there will be better efforts in days to come but, at the moment, on the Note series, this is as good as it gets. For comparable devices in this segment, the Infinix Note 10 Pro does everything to bring the competition to their doorstep, and, maybe, even beat them while at it.
There’s not much not to like on the Infinix Note 10 Pro’s five cameras. They are sharp and clear during the day and providing just the right kind of contrast at night.
Where there are failings in low-light, the aptly named Super Night feature more than compensates for them by properly focusing light objects and smoothing over dark scenes and faces without muddying them or overdoing it. See below:
On the selfie front, it does a good job getting skin tones right without the help of the beauty mode and unnecessary adjustments.
As usual, when using the portrait mode to take selfies, there will be the blurring of the background and background objects and people that one expects but the usual blurred hairs and overexposed background, especially if one has their back to a clear blue sky (see above), won’t miss.
For instance, here, the blur on Dickson is sufficient to make the drink the centre of our attention but guess what also gets blurred? The straw inside the drink. It appears like a background object, something like a faraway pole.
At night or in low light conditions, it’s just perfect! I mean, for a device of its price, it doesn’t get better than this!
On the software front, there isn’t much to say that will be different from what we have said of past Infinix devices we have reviewed here at Android Kenya. It’s still pretty much the same experience. Infinix’s heavily customized take on Android, XOS, has been tweaked for maximum usability on a device like the Note 10 Pro but it is not without its flaws. You know them: bothersome cluttering of the notifications dropdown and more.
The one that stood out like a sore thumb for me was the aggressive nature of the system task killer which means that apps are in a constant sleep mode. That is great for the promised long battery life but it is bad news for users that would take their mobile usage a step further – into their cars. Using Android Auto? Well, you will have to be familiar with the ins and outs of Power Marathon, Infinix’s christening of the battery section in the Settings app and be sure to start the app you need to use when on the road, before starting your trip. Depending on how your muscle memory is set up, that can be quite tasking. This should also apply to other use cases like when the device is paired with a wearable device.
Talking about pairing and wearables, the Infinix Note 10 arrives ready to play nice with any devices from the brand that you already have in your home (televisions) or on your wrist, as highlighted by the existence of the Welife app. This is not the first time we are seeing this but it is always worth noting.
Performance on the Infinix Note 10 Pro is top. There is a Helio G95 chipset and it is no slouch. It pairs perfectly with the huge amount of memory available (8GB) and the optimizations by Infinix to deliver an all-round smooth experience. You can do whatever you want on the device and it will take it in its stride. Games, video calls (listen to our podcast, there are some nice video-calling-specific features included in the device that you should know about) and social audio platforms (like Twitter Spaces and Clubhouse), if those are your things.
Oh, and this is one of those devices with very fast read and write speeds: UFS 2.2.
What that means for you is that you can be at the checkout counter at Carrefour and the attendant asks you if you have the app installed so that you can score your loyalty points and guess what? You won’t need to mind what you’ll tell them because about five taps in (the first, to launch the Play Store, the second, third and fourth to initiate a search on the Play Store and, the fifth, hitting “Install”) and a few seconds later, you’ll be having the app downloaded and installed, ready for your points accumulation pleasure. I’m describing this perfectly because it happened to me and, besides the usual advantages when doing things like file transfers to or from an external device (microSD card, flash drive), things that not many obsess over, this is the one thing we all do where we will appreciate a very fast device.
Should you get it?
If you are in the market for a device priced at about Kshs 25,000 then the Infinix Note 10 Pro is a solid recommendation from us. It ticks all the right boxes.
There are things we have sidestepped in this review like the sound, battery life and network coverage and you know why? Well, they are a given on this device.
It has great battery life (will go on for a maximum of two days, in our experience) and will charge up fast (there’s 33W fast-charging, after all) and network connectivity is excellent. I have traversed the country with the device, covering over 2,000kms and network coverage was the least of my problems even where it was spotty, the device did its best to keep me connected. The sound is just meh (no better than what we have heard before and the standard experience you can have elsewhere) but, hey, that’s neither here nor there at this price point.
Personally, it’s the performance and the cameras that take the crown for me and, I am sure, will also stick out for you. At its Kshs 26,000 recommended retail price, the Infinix Note 10 Pro is an absolute banger.