The Infinix Note 5 is the first smartphone from the company to run on the Android One program.
The phone is priced at Rs 9,999 upwards and is available on Flipkart.
The draw of stock Android and the good looks form the appeal of the Infinix Note 5.
China’s Transsion Holdings backed Infinix Mobile last week launched its first Android One smartphone in partnership with Google, the Infinix Note 5, in India. The smartphone comes in two variants. The 3GB RAM and 32GB storage variant is launched at Rs 9,999, whereas the 4GB RAM with 64GB storage will be available at Rs 11,999.
The Infinix Note 5 will be available exclusively via Flipkart starting August 31. It comes in three color choices – Ice Blue, Milan Black and Berlin Grey. I reviewed the Ice Blue color variant of Infinix Note 5. My unit had 3GB RAM and 32GB storage and here’s my full review.
Stylish Design, Premium Feel
First up, i was really impressed with the design of Infinix Note 5. The Ice Blue color unit that i had looked quite stylish. The mirror-finished back gives you a feel of glass, although it is polycarbonate. The smartphone is built with 10-layer coating of reflective nano-chrome particles, and to be honest i will categorize it to be one of the best designed smartphones at under Rs 10,000. Infinix has taken the design cue of curved-edges at the back from Samsung’s flagship smartphones, and they have executed it quite well too.
The front packs a 5.99-inch full-HD+ 18:9 aspect ratio display with 85 percent screen-to-body ratio, and a resolution of 1080×2160 pixels. It also gets 2.5D Corning Gorilla Glass protection on top. The display LCD panel boasts of 500 nits of brightness, which is really good for the price and I had no problem viewing the display in outdoor bright light conditions. Overall color reproduction and sharpness appears good on its full HD+ panel.
Decent performance, Smooth OS, but poor fingerprint sensor
Under the hood, the Infinix Note 5 packs in a MediaTek Helio P23 SoC with 3GB RAM and 32GB storage, which was our review unit. You also get an option of 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage, which is priced at Rs 11,999.
If we do not see what the others are offering in the same price segment online, then the Infinix Note 5 is a clear winner. But unfortunately for the company, the biggest competition to the Note 5 is the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1 which comes with the powerful and arguably better Qualcomm Snapdragon 636 SoC. In comparison, the Note 5 doesn’t get close enough to the performance benchmark of the Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1.
The big highlight of Note 5 is its stock Android 8.1 Oreo. The smartphone sports the Android One banner, so you are likely to get quicker software updates thanks to the light UI and direct support from Google. I found the software experience to be the best at this price. Also thanks to stock Android, the phone gets almost no added extra apps. The OS occupies 9.72GB of space out of 32GB, so you get plenty of storage to actually use even on the more affordable variant. It has a dedicated microSD card slot to expand storage up to 128GB. So essentially, you’ll be able to use two SIM cards and still expand the storage via a microSD card at the same time.
Talking about the fingerprint sensor, it is located at the upper center half of rear panel. In my review time, i felt that the fingerprint sensor wasn’t up to the mark. It was little slow to unlock and even the accuracy was about 90 percent, which is not good enough in today’s day.
The smartphone packs a single 12-megapixel rear camera with a large 1.25-micron pixel, f/2.0 aperture and dual LED flash. It also gets AI based Auto Scene Detection (ASD) feature that automatically detects the scene details like lighting condition, brightness and more. The default camera app comes loaded with seven shooting modes namely Normal, Beauty, Portrait, Professional, Panorama, Night and Time Lapse.
The camera on Infinix Note 5 was a mixed bag for me. Sometimes it took some really nice shots and most other times it couldn’t capture the little details correctly. In short i found the camera on the device to be very inconsistent.
Daylight shots sometimes got washed out, but then we did manage to click a few good ones as well. Low-light shots were particularly poor and had too much noise. Just by comparing it to the Redmi Note 5’s camera (which is also priced at Rs 9,999), we felt that that Infinix Note 5’s camera was quite inferior mainly because of its inconsistencies.
Moving onto the selfie camera, it packs a 16-megapixel f/2.0 lens with AI beauty mode and bokeh. The camera performance was mainly poor in low-light, and daylight shots were also not as good as we’d expected.
The big battery we all need
The company is claiming 3-day battery life with 4500mAh battery on Infinix Note 5. To be honest, the smartphone did surprise me with its battery backup. Being a moderate to heavy user, i could easily get through my day on the Note 5 with 30 percent battery to spare. For those, who do not navigate using Google Maps through the day or watch videos with screen mirroring, i feel the device will easily give you about a day and a half of use on a single charge.
Infinix also ships an 18W fast charger in the Note 5 retail box, and managed to quickly charge the phone at lower levels, before slowing down to protect the battery when close to a complete charge. The phone can be charged fully in about two hours, with faster charging at the low levels, thereby giving you a quick boost of power if you need it.
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With the Infinix Note 5, the company has done a good job overall at the hardware and software level. But what it’ll miss is the right market. The exclusive online-only strategy by Transsion Holdings for the Infinix brand will eventually hurt the company in my opinion, if they don’t go aggressive with pricing and offers from the get-go.
While the Note 5 doesn’t have any major flaws, I still feel that that it won’t be the first choice for consumers buying devices online, considering the amount of quality competition in the online-only space. The smartphone isn’t not going to the right consumer market, which would have been offline. Buyers that prefer to buy in a store would have seen far more appeal in a device such as this particularly with its Android One software that will appeal to many users. At this price in the online-only market, there’s a lot of competition already waiting for the Note 5.
In my opinion, Infinix Note 5 will offer you great looks, premium feel, decent-enough performance, great battery and the stock Android experience at Rs 9,999. But having said that, the smartphone will face a lot of competition from the likes of the Xiaomi Redmi Note 5, Asus Zenfone Max Pro M1, and Honor 9N. However, if you’re looking for unique looks and style, and of course the appeal of Android One at this price, the Infinix Note 5 is well worth considering.