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We all would agree to the fact that smartphones have gradually become an essential commodity for us in this fast-paced world. These pocket-sized devices help us to carry on with day-to-day tasks and allow us to stay connected with the outside world. There are a number of smartphones available in the market today with each of them focusing on a specific set of features such as cameras, display, hardware for gaming and multitasking and others.
It is not just the high-end smartphones which offer top-of-the-line features. Even mid-range and budget handsets are pretty capable and pack in latest features.
The features which we are talking about includes the taller edge-to-edge displays with an aspect ratio of 18:9, dual-lens camera setup, 3D Face unlock and others. The smartphone industry is majorly driven by the brands such as Xiaomi and Honor when it comes to the budget segment, however, some new brands are also catching up and have started offering devices with trending features at a comparatively lower price tag.
Design: Premium looking design
Infinix Hot S3X looks quite appealing and will definitely grab some eyeballs. The company had managed to bring a good looking device with some decent features for the masses. Hot S3X features a similar design as the company's last release- the Infinix Note 5 but it looks slightly more polished. The rear of the smartphone features a glossy panel with more curves at the edges as compared to the Infinix Note 5. The design can be easily mistaken for a glass uni-body construction; however, the rear panel is made up of plastic and has been given a highly reflective glass finish.
The fingerprint scanner, which is now rectangular in shape with round edges is positioned at the center in the upper half of the rear panel. A vertically stacked dual-rear camera set up is placed along with the LED flashlight at the top left corner. The fingerprint scanner is placed ideally where our finger will rest naturally while picking up the device.
As for the placement of the keys, the volume rockers along with power key is placed at the right panel of the device, whereas the left panel houses the SIM Card Tray. The speaker grills along with the microUSB charging slot are placed at the bottom panel of the smartphone. The smartphone is light in weight and even though it has a taller display; Hot S3X is fairly easy to operate with a single hand.
Our review unit came in Aqua Blue color variant, but the device is also available in Black and Grey color variants. While the glossy rear panel adds to the visual appeal of the smartphone, it is also a fingerprint magnet; thus, you might spend most of the time cleaning off the rear panel of the device. We would advise you to use a case with the device to keep it protected from dust as well as scratches. Thankfully, the company has provided one silicon case in the box. Overall, Infinix has done a pretty good job in designing this budget smartphone.
Display: Taller 6.2-inch HD+ display is crisp
The Infinix Hot S3X sports a 6.2-inch HD+ display with a notch on top. This is the first Infinix smartphone which features a display with a notch. The display comes with an aspect ratio of 19:9 with good 86 percent screen-to-body ratio. The display offers a screen resolution of 720 x 1500 pixels (228 PPI) and has peak brightness of 500 NITS which makes it fairly bright. The bezels around the side of the display are fairly narrow as compared to the bottom of the device. The minimal bezels at the sides add to the positive factor of the design.
The display offered by the S3X is fairly bright and responsive, and the bigger display makes the device apt for media consumptions. The one thing which might be a turn off in terms of display is that it maxes out at 720 pixels; therefore, you will not be able to stream 1080p videos on YouTube and other online streaming platforms. We would have really appreciated if the company had used a higher resolution display on the Hot S3X.
As mentioned earlier, the Infinix S3X is the first smartphone by the company to sport a notch on the display. However, the notch is slightly big and takes up a lot of space on the display. While we already have smartphones with teardrop notches in the market, we would have loved to see a smaller display notch on the S3X. And if you are not a big fan of the notch there is hardly anything you could do as Infinix has not provided the option to hide the notch.
Camera: AI-backed selfie camera
Following the footprints of the company's previous releases, the S3X also features a dual-lens rear camera setup. The dual-rear camera setup comprises of a 13MP primary lens and 2MP secondary lens working on a decently sized f/2.0 aperture. The camera setup is accompanied by a dual-tone LED flash. The rear camera supports a bunch of modes such as AI Portrait, HDR, Beauty, Professional, Night, Panorama, and Time-Lapse. Even though the rear camera lacks AI capabilities, the images captured by the device are of decent quality. The colors look natural and camera also doesn't feels slow in action. The 2MP secondary camera creates pleasing bokeh effect.
You can easily tweak the intensity of the bokeh effect for enhanced blur effect captured in the image. Hot S3X might not be the best smartphone to capture portrait shots in this price-point, but it still performs a pretty good job.
If you are a photography enthusiast and love to play around with the settings of the camera, you might be disappointed this time as the device does not have the pro-mode available in the rear camera settings.
Good selfie camera
Up front, the Infinix Hot S3X makes use of an AI-backed 16MP selfie camera to capture selfies and to make video calls. The low light 16MP selfie camera is capable of capturing high-resolution images which you can easily flaunt on your social media platforms. The AI-backed selfie camera comes embedded in the beauty mode with which you can capture selfies with up to 10 different beauty effects to further smoothen your skin tone in a captured selfie. As for the other modes, the front camera offers to include AI bokeh, WideSelfie, and Time-Lapse all of which functions smoothly and delivers good image output. The selfie camera is also paired with a soft LED light that will help you capture bright selfies even in low-light and extreme light. Overall, Infinix Hot S3X is one of the best selfie centered smartphone you can buy today in the market in budget price-point.
Hardware and Software: Android 8.1 Oreo-based on XOS 3.3 Lite
Powering the smartphone is Qualcomm's low-end Snapdragon 430 processor clocked at 1.4GHz CPU paired with Adreno 505 GPU to render all the graphics. The Snapdragon 430 SoC primarily powers most of the budget segment smartphones available in the market today. The Infinix Hot S3X is available in 3GB of RAM and 32GB of inbuilt storage. The onboard storage on the device can further be expanded up to 128GB via microSD card; therefore, you can get plenty of storage space on the device to store your data. The device performs decently considering the price tag and the hardware which it packs. As it packs a low-end Snapdragon processor multitasking is not much fun on the device. The Hot S3X performs well with the tasks that require low processing power; however, if you want to play some graphics-rich games then you will observe frequent lags in the performance.
In terms of software, the Infinix Hot S3X ships with Android 8.1 Oreo out-of-the-box and uses company's in-house XOS 3.3 Lite. The UI is pretty neat and basic and there is nothing new in the UI. You also get an app drawer which will help you arrange the apps in an alphabetical order. The bottom of the display is automatically occupied by the navigation buttons which you can remove by simply turning on the Gesture navigation in the settings of the device. The UI is smooth but is loaded with bloatwares that include XOS's apps like X Hide, X Share, carlcare, etc. If you prefer handsets with Stock Android, this is not the device for you.
Battery: Big 4,000mAh battery unit
The Infinix Hot S3X is backed by a big 4,000mAh battery unit which comes with 2A fast charging support. Even though the device supports fast charging, it takes a while for the device to get charged from 0 percent to 100 percent. We tested the device with extensive as well as moderate usage and found that it lasts for an entire day when you are using the device for moderate tasks; however, if you carry on with extensive tasks, you might need to charge the smartphone more than once.
The fast charging feature on the Infinix Hot S3X is not as fast as you get on the other devices which support fast charging feature. Still, with only a limited period charging you can get enough juice to carry on with your tasks.
The Infinix Hot S3X is another new face in the crowd. The device is a considerate upgrade if you want a new selfie-centric budget smartphone with a powerful battery backup. The low price tag accompanied by a decent set of specifications and features makes the device a good option for the consumers looking for a smartphone under Rs 10,000. If you are a fan of glossy designed smartphones and are okay to go with a new brand instead of the established players in the market, then this is a good option for you to consider. And if you are brand conscious and the prominent players are your first preference then you can skip this device and go for the other options in the same price range by the brands such as Honor, Xiaomi, Realme, Asus, etc.