Prices for the Infinix Zero 5 start at Rs 17,999.
The smartphone's USP is its display, though Infinix hasn't jumped onto the 18:9 bandwagon.
The Zero 5 features a dual-camera setup with functionality similar to the OnePlus 5T.
Hong Kong-based brand Infinix entered the Indian market earlier this year with a couple of smartphones. Towards the end of last month, the company launched its flagship device – the Zero 5. With prices starting from Rs 17,999, the Infinix Zero 5 debuts in a very highly contested price segment dominated by brands like Honor, Motorola, Oppo, and Xiaomi, to name a few. In such a scenario, buyers will no doubt question whether the Zero 5 is good enough to stand out. Here’s my review of the new Infinix smartphone wherein I try and answer that question.
Infinix Zero 5 design
Right out of the box, you are bound to notice one thing – the Infinix Zero 5 is a big phone. The wide dimensions and the absence of a curved back panel make it difficult to hold and operate the device with one hand. Even after using it for a few weeks, I’ve yet to get completely used to the size. Even now while travelling in crowded trains, I avoid removing the device from my pocket, fearing I will end up dropping it.
The overall design is not something that really stands out. Also at a time when bezel-less displays are the talk of the town, the Zero 5’s design language comes across as a tad outdated. That said, the build quality is exactly what you expect from a device in this price segment.
The metal unibody design, glass up front, and the chamfered edges add to the premium-ness. An interesting design aspect is the camera setup at the back. A textured strip runs along the top of the panel, which houses the dual-camera lenses and LED Flash. It is a nice touch in my opinion, but you can’t help be reminded of the Huawei P9 when you see it.
Another aspect worth talking about is the color options. While there are the black and gold colors, there is a third option that Infinix calls Bordeaux Red. If you were to ask me, the red variant looks the best of the lot, and feels more contemporary compared to the other colors. As I also mentioned in my first impressions of the Zero 5, it is high time more companies start experimenting a bit with smartphone colors.
Infinix Zero 5 display
The front is dominated by a 5.98-inch display, which also happens to be among the device’s strong suits. The 1080p display is bright, and colors seem to really pop. Some might however feel the display is a tad too oversaturated for their tastes. For them, there’s an option to manually tweak the display settings to suit their needs. Even legibility under direct sunlight is impressive. Essentially, the display seems to have been built with multimedia consumption in mind. It is good for watching videos on the go, and even games look good.
With Infinix not jumping onto the 18:9 brigade, you will have to get used to the generous bezels around the display, especially at the top and bottom. The space below the display seems wasted, since it could have been used for navigation buttons. Instead you have to be content with on-screen buttons.
Infinix Zero 5 performance
The Zero 5 is powered by the MediaTek Helio P25 octa-core SoC paired with 6GB of RAM. On paper the device seems capable of handling nearly everything thrown at it during day-to-day usage, and for most parts it does. While videos, and gaming were handled pretty well, I did notice the occasional drop in frame-rates while playing games like Asphalt 8: Airborne and Riptide GP2. The device is able to handle multitasking well, and it is no doubt courtesy of the 6GB RAM onboard.
As is the case with most Chinese OEMs, the Zero 5 too runs on a heavily customized version of Android OS. There is Android Nougat onboard wrapped under Infinix’s XOS Hummingbird UI. The company has promised one software update, so the Zero 5 will get Android Oreo. But if I were you, I wouldn’t hold my breath for an update since Infinix isn’t a player we’ve known for long.
Now, I personally prefer the stock Android experience, and the Hummingbird UI doesn’t do anything to change my preference. The UI feels a heavy, and is unnecessarily weighed down by bloatware that you cannot remove. Of the couple of features I did like, there is the ability to password protect apps, and remotely delete your phone’s data. There is also a feature called Freezer, which essentially offloads apps you haven’t used for a long time. Once frozen, these apps don’t hog the phone’s resources, and then can be unfrozen with just a tap.
Infinix Zero 5 cameras
If you were to ask Infinix, it would say that the dual-camera setup is the Zero 5’s USP. But in real life, they aren’t able to live up to the high expectations. The setup at the back comes with a combination of a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 13-megapixel telephoto lens. The overall functionality is similar to what you see on smartphones like the OnePlus 5T and the Apple iPhone X.
The two cameras working together not only help offer lossless zoom, but they also let you shoot photos with DSLR-like bokeh effects. The camera feels capable as long as lighting conditions are ideal. While the photos look sharp and detailed, some might not like how the photos look a tad oversaturated.
The portrait mode is no doubt among the key features, but more often than not, the camera struggles to get the focus and blurring right. You do manage to get a decent shot at times, but it requires multiple attempts. The camera also allows for refocusing after a photo has been shot.
The camera disappoints as soon as you get indoors, or when lighting conditions are less than ideal. Quite a big of graininess creeps into the photos in such conditions, and there’s loss of details and sharpness as well. While there is a Pro mode to manually tweak the camera’s settings, they do little to help when the lighting conditions are not up to the mark.
Up front, there is a 16-megapixel snapper with the standard beauty mode, and a bokeh mode. While there is no dual-camera setup up front, the phone uses software to create artificial blurring, and the result is not always pleasant. While normal selfies are good enough, the bokeh mode again struggles a bit.
Infinix Zero 5 features
The Zero 5 comes with 64GB onboard storage, out of which around 50GB is available to users out-of-the-box. If that isn’t enough, there is also a dedicated slot for microSD cards on the left, with support for up to 128GB cards.
The smartphone is backed by a 4,350mAh battery that is big and capable enough to the last the entire day on a single charge. Even with heavy usage that involves gaming and watching videos, the battery just about gets through the day. Now, on paper Infinix claims that the smartphone supports XCharge, which is a form of fast charging. But even when using the bundled charger, the battery took a shade over two hours to charge from zero-100 percent.
At the back is also a fingerprint sensor that is well placed, and is easy enough to reach when holding the device with one hand. The sensor is fast enough to wake up the device, and it also comes in handy when clicking selfies.
Lastly, there is support for two SIM cards (Micro), with the SIM tray placed on the right side. While both SIM slots support LTE, at a time only one can be 4G-enabled, while the other goes to 3G.
Infinix maybe a relatively new brand in India, but its Zero 5 seems quite capable of making its mark in the highly competitive segment. But unfortunately, the smartphone is let down in a couple of departments, especially the camera.
In the sub-Rs 20,000 price segment, a buyer invariably expects a good camera, and the competition does offer better features and value for money. The likes of Honor 9i and even the slightly more expensive Moto X4 come across as much better options. Recently, Honor also launched the Honor 7X, which is much cheaper, and yet offers contemporary features like an 18:9 display and dual-camera setup, among others.
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