Following the impressive success of Hot 8 smartphone last year, Infinix has expanded its Hot series with the launch of Hot 9 and Hot 9 Pro recently. The handset maker has done a lot of experimenting with the all-new series, in terms of design and features. Although both the smartphones have similar specs and design, the camera is what separates the Hot 9 from the Hot 9 Pro. Poised to set new benchmarks in the sub-10K category, Hot 9 and Hot 9 Pro are priced at Rs 8,499 and Rs 9,499 respectively. But with so many entry-level handsets in the market, it would be interesting to see whether Infinix has it all to make a cut with its new devices that come in two colour options – Violet and Ocean Wave. Let’s take a closer look at the new Infinix offerings.
Design of the smartphone is something Infinix has always been particular about. The same goes with the Hot 9 and Hot 9 Pro, which look quite decent and pleasing to the eye. You’ll not resist having a closer look at them if you find these phones on display in a retail outlet. Both the smartphones look a carbon-copy of each other. Like the Infinix Hot 8, the Hot 9 series is also made of plastic and has a good build quality at its price point. The slight shiny finish at the rear with gem cut texture gives a pleasant feel to the phone. Although it’s a bit slippery in hands, the Hot 9 series is not prone to fingerprints and smudges. A transparent silicon cover offered by Infinix inside the box will give you a nice feeling.
If you look at the front, the Infinix Hot 9 series sports a 6.6-inch HD+ punch-hole display as opposed to a waterdrop notch. The punchhole notch gives the device that modern 2020 feel and is the only smartphone to opt for a punch-hole notch at this price point. The phone has a high screen-to-body ratio of 90.5 per cent. The screen resolution is quite impressive – even at low-light conditions, you won’t have to narrow your eyes to read content on your phone.
The rear panel of the phone features a camera module on the top at the left side. The camera module is rectangular in shape and has four sensors and LED lights. While the Pro version has four LEDs, the standard one features three LEDs. One more thing that we noticed is that the camera system of Hot 9 is almost flush with the body, whereas the Pro version’s camera bump is slightly raised. A square-shaped fingerprint scanner sits close to the camera module, with the brand name inscribed right below the sensor. Here, the company suitably sticks to the tried and tested design which is not bad from a user’s perspective. The fingerprint sensor on both the devices is within easy reach.
While the volume rocker and power button are located on the right of the phone, the SIM tray is situated at the left. The speaker grille is found on the bottom of the device alongside a headphone jack and USB port.
Interestingly, the company has also elegantly placed a soft LED flash strip on the front, which not a lot of phones offer. But, the LED strip is not visible until the flash is turned on or when the phone is being charged. It must be noted that it doesn’t act as a notification light. Overall, the phones feel bigger and spacious, design wise, and are good for today’s evolving trend of ‘learn from home’ for students.
Unlike its predecessor, the Hot 9 series has a slightly bigger display which measure 6.6 inches diagonally and has a 20:9 aspect ratio. The panel supports HD+ resolution and is also exciting. The display features Adaptive Brightness, Eye Care and an Inadvertently mode to avoid accidental touches. While the brightness level on the screen is slightly above average, viewing angles are outstanding. Moreover, one will not have any issues staring at the screen under bright sunlight. Watching videos on the screen is also pleasing due to its vibrant colour reproduction. Taken as a whole, the display is pretty good for a smartphone at this price point, notwithstanding its low resolution. Although the panel is quite bright, the phone doesn’t always adjust the brightness as per the scenario and you’ll have to do it manually. Needless to say, the allverdict new Infinix series offers you a great binge-watching experience.
Akin to its predecessor, the Infinix Hot 9 series is powered by an octa-core MediaTek Helio P22 SoC, paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage option which is expandable up to 256GB using a microSD card slot. Although the MediaTek Helio P22 is a good chipset, it’s a bit disappointing not to see a newer chip, considering the Helio P22 was also used on the Hot 8. The chipset works well enough to take on daily tasks and run casual games, but it does struggle to handle heavy-duty games.
The smartphones ship the latest Android 10 OS out of the box. The UI has tons of customisations and a smart panel that gives you quick access to apps. There are gesture navigation, quick controls for screenshots and screen recording. The Social Turbo feature in the Settings app lets you record WhatsApp calls, create stickers and easily save WhatsApp statuses.
In terms of audio, the smartphones offer a DTS surround sound feature. However, its output is not that impressive. It gets high pitched when you increase the volume.
The Hot 9 series is, by and large, a decent performer when it comes to going about the usual tasks such as streaming videos, browsing internet, scrolling through social media accounts, taking pictures, or playing games. The smartphones are able to run decently with a number of apps in the background. However, the multi-tasking experience on these phones is a bit sluggish.
The Infinix Hot 9 series houses four cameras at the back. While the Hot 9 comes equipped with a 13MP main camera, its Pro version boasts of a 48MP primary sensor. This setup includes a 2MP depth sensor, a 2MP macro sensor, and a low-light sensor. The phones feature an 8MP selfie camera, which is accompanied by an LED flash. Going by the trend, the handset’s camera app offers basic modes like AI Cam, Video, Beauty, Bokeh, HDR and others.
If we look at the performance, the Hot 9 Pro expectedly offers slightly better shots. The Pro delivers better details and sharpness in daylight, and the shots taken by it have precise colours. On the other hand, the Hot 9 adds a bit of drama to the scene and details are a tad soft too. Autofocus on both the phones is mostly accurate. But, the Hot 9 Pro at its price point captures enough good shots. The handsets deliver decent night shots and better than rival phones in the given price category. Interestingly, the flashlight of the quad rear camera set up offers a much better view when taking shots of subjects that are closer. The selfies taken by both these phones are better in daylight than the lowlight conditions.
The smartphones are fuelled by a massive 5,000mAh battery, which is being offered by a number of budget phones nowadays. The Hot 9 series can easily deliver a day and a half of battery life for the average user. Although Infinix has added a 10W charger in the box, it takes around two hours to fully charge fully from zero. Interestingly, the lower solution display, a power efficient chip and low screen brightness, all contribute to the Hot 9’s excellent battery life.
The smartphones stand tall in every department except its processor which is a bit old. Display is one of the best we have seen at the given price point. The 5,000mAh battery offered by the Hot 9 series is outstanding. While both the handsets come packed with almost the same features, the Pro version is a much better deal in terms of optics, which happens to be the only differentiating factor among the two. Although both the phones are carbon-copy of each other, the Infinix Hot 9 Pro is one of the better options under Rs 10,000.