India recently dethroned the US as the second largest smartphone market for a brief period and one of the most remarkable things about it is the opportunity it provides for even a newcomer to enter and take the industry by storm. Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo all entered as newcomers and now rule the market together. Their gain in market share has always come at the cost of declining market share for homegrown smartphone makers. Also Read - Top tech news of week: Battlegrounds Mobile India launched, iOS 15 public beta released, moreAlso Read - Flipkart Mobiles Bonanza sale top deals: iPhone SE, Poco X3 Pro and more on discount
Transsion Holdings, the smartphone market leader in South Africa, is one such company that believes there is still scope to disrupt and gain some market share in India. The Chinese company is adopting a three-pronged approach with two of its brands focusing on smartphones while another one concentrates on feature and smart feature phones. Infinix is one of the smartphone brands under Transsion’s umbrella that hopes to exploit the significant demand for budget and mid range Android smartphones in the country. Also Read - Infinix NOW flagship smartphone leaks with curved display, large cameras and more
The company’s latest offering, the Infinix Hot S3, brings modern design with a tall display into a package that boasts a good selfie camera as well. With the Hot S3, Infinix is aiming for that set of customers who are currently buying smartphones from Oppo or Vivo, which are aimed at selfie-centric users. The smartphone has been launched in two variants, priced at Rs 8,999 and Rs 10,999. At the launch, we got to spend some time with the device and here are our first impressions.
Design and Display
The Infinix Hot S3 features a standard design with the front dominated by the display, selfie camera, LED flash, earpiece and a few sensors. The back is also quite plain with the rear camera placed at the left corner along with LED flash and the fingerprint sensor in the top-centre half of the device. The placement of the fingerprint sensor is so convenient that your finger will rest exactly where the sensor is, everytime.
The left side is devoid of any buttons but gives access to the dual-SIM slot. The right side is home to the volume rocker and power button. The 3.5mm audio jack is placed at the top while the micro-USB charging port and CNC-drilled speaker slots are the bottom. If you have seen any sub-Rs 10,000 smartphone before then Infinix Hot S3 will feel familiar to you.
The Infinix Hot S3 seems to use a combination of metal and plastic for its construction which makes the device feel considerably lightweight. It features a 5.7-inch HD+ display up front with support for 1440 x 720 pixel resolution. The Infinix Hot S3 is not bezel-less but the company has trimmed the bezels on the sides of the display to some extent. Overall, the Infinix Hot S3 feels compact for a smartphone with 5.7-inch display.
The Infinix Hot S3 is mostly about it camera, the front camera to be specific. Selfie-centric smartphones are a stellar success in the country and with the Hot S3, Infinix is aiming to win back some market share from the likes of Oppo and Vivo.
The smartphone features a 20-megapixel camera on the front and has a dedicated LED flash for shooting in low-light. The XOS camera 3.0 supports modes such as time-lapse and wide-angle selfie with the front camera. In our initial usage, images seemed decent for a smartphone in this price but we want to click more pictures with the front shooter to get a clear picture of image quality.
The rear camera uses a 13-megapixel image sensor with autofocus and LED flash. In our limited time with the device, we observed it takes good pictures in well-lit conditions for a budget smartphone but it needs to be seen how it fares when we expose it to different scenarios without forgetting the budget price tag.
Performance and Software
The Infinix Hot S3 is powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 435 chipset coupled with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage. The processor is based on the now-old 28nm process and we would have liked to see a Snapdragon 625 or Snapdragon 450 based on the 14nm process instead. However, it needs to be seen whether Infinix has refined the device to offer better efficiency despite the older fabrication process. There is also a variant offering 64GB internal storage, and 4GB of RAM.
It runs a forked version of Android called XOS Hummingbird, which is skinned with different app icons and borrows some design elements from Apple’s iOS. For the first impressions, we limited the phone to apps such as WhatsApp, Messenger and Facebook and yes, the Infinix Hot S3 handled them pretty easily. However, we will be installing a tonne of apps including some graphics-intensive games to see whether the performance slows down a bit. The Hot S3 also packs a huge 4,000mAh battery, which should be good for at least two days of extensive use. More on that in our full review.
The new Infinix Hot S3 feels really good for a smartphone aimed at budget users looking for an improved selfie camera. Priced at Rs 8,999 and Rs 10,999 respectively, the smartphone not only seems reasonably priced, but also has features such as a tall 18:9 display and trimmed bezels giving it a modern appearance. The smartphone will be available via online retail channels and is trying to compete with smartphones from established names like Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi. During the next few days, we will put the Infinix Hot S3 through its paces and give a verdict whether it is the right smartphone for you.