August 10, 2022
Infinix Hot 9 Review |  Gadgets 360

Infinix Hot 9 was recently launched in India with a variant named Hot 9 Pro. Both these smartphones were priced under Rs. 10,000 at launch, but features quad cameras and a hole-punch display. The thing that caught my eye is the choice of processor. The Infinix Hot 9 packs in the same processor as the Infinix Hot 8, which raises some questions. Is the Hot 9 a true upgrade, or has Infinix made too much compromise to keep the price under Rs. 10,000? let’s find out.

Infinix Hot 9 Design: Punching Holes

Budget smartphones usually don’t have the trendiest designs and they all look alike. It is safe to say that it takes almost a year for the latest trend in the mid-range to hit the budget category. As a result, you can see that most of the smartphones in the sub Rs. 10,000 segment sport dewdrop notch. Infinix is ​​an exception here, as it already had the Infinix S5 and Infinix S5 Lite in the market with a hole-punch design. The company expects its products to be the first in its segment with such new features. The camera hole is in the top left corner of the screen.

The display of Infinix Hot 9 is 6.6 inches and sports HD+ resolution. The panel is decent for the price, but the size isn’t the best for single-handed use. I found myself having to wiggle the phone around to access the notification shade. The display has good viewing angles but the brightness could have been better. The power and volume buttons are easy to reach, and so is the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner.

Infinix Hot 9 Hole Punch Infinix Hot 9 Review

Infinix Hot 9 has a hole-punch display

What I don’t like about the Infinix Hot 9 is the thick bezels around the display, especially the chin. Interestingly, Infinix has managed to hide the selfie flash in the top bezel near the selfie camera. It’s very hard to detect when it’s off, but it also works at low intensity as a notification LED. It can also be used as a flashlight with the rear flash, which Infinix calls 360 Flash.

This phone is a bit small, because of its 5,000mAh battery. At the back, the Infinix Hot 9 sports a quad-camera setup which is another highlight of this smartphone. The back is made of plastic, but it doesn’t look as good as the one I reviewed on the Realme C3 (Review) earlier this year.

Infinix has gone with a Micro-USB port on the device for charging, which is especially disappointing considering the fact that many budget phones now have USB Type-C ports. The company also ships a 10W charger in the box. The Hot 9 has a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom along with the loudspeaker grille.

Infinix Hot 9 Specifications: Killing a Dead Horse

The MediaTek Helio P22 SoC on the spec sheet caught my attention and not for good reasons. It’s a relatively old processor now, and Infinix has used it on many of its budget smartphones, including the Infinix S5 (Review), Infinix S5 Lite (Review), and Infinix Hot 8 (Review). I’ve long maintained that the Helio P22 is a good processor, but it’s weak compared to what the competition is offering at this price. The Helio P22 will be sufficient for those using basic functions and messaging apps, but it will be an issue for heavy users and gamers.

The older processor is paired with 4GB of RAM to aid in multitasking. There’s 64GB of storage, which should be enough but is still expandable up to 256GB using a microSD card. There is no RAM or storage variant of the device, but you can choose from four color options such as Quetzal Cyan, Midnight Black, Violet and Ocean Wave.

You have two Nano-SIM slots and both have support for 4G LTE. There’s also Bluetooth 5, Wi-Fi, FM, and the usual sensor.

infinix hot 9 android 10 infinix hot 9 review

It runs the latest version of Android with XOS 6.0 on top

Infinix ships this phone with XOS 6 based on Android 10, and it was running the January security patch which is quite old. While the UI has a lot of customization, you won’t have trouble finding your way around it. You get gesture navigation that lets you ditch the on-screen three-button navigation bar. There’s also a Smart Panel that gives you quick access to your favorite apps, as well as quick controls for screenshots and screen recording.

The phone also has motion gestures and lets you easily swipe the screen with three fingers to take a screenshot. Infinix has also introduced some features called Social Turbo around WhatsApp in the Settings app. You can record WhatsApp calls, create stickers and even save WhatsApp status easily. The phone also has a WhatsApp mode that allows only this one app to access data while all other traffic is blocked. It can help you stay in touch when your battery is running very low.

Infinix Hot 9 XOS Software Infinix Hot (Review

Infinix’s custom XOS UI has some useful features

I found a few apps pre-installed on the device including Instagram, Messenger, Facebook, Xclub, Phone Master, AHA Games, Yo Party, PHX Browser, Palm Store, and some games. The PHX browser, Palm Store, and XTheme apps sent us notifications one at a time. There’s DTS sound enhancement that made a difference when using the headphones, but it didn’t affect the loudspeaker.

The Hot 9 also has a game mode, which blocks incoming notifications and can reject incoming calls to prevent distractions. It also lets you remap the volume buttons as trigger buttons for games. Although it is somewhat new, it is not very comfortable to use.

Infinix Hot 9 performance: Not so hot

I didn’t have very high expectations from Hot 9 in terms of performance. It is capable of handling basic usage but slows down when I launch heavy games. Loading taken apps is longer than usual. The 4GB of RAM helps with multitasking, but if an app closes in the background you’ll have to wait for the processor to reload. The fingerprint scanner unlocks the smartphone quickly and so is the face recognition feature. I found the display of the Infinix Hot 9 to be pretty average.

We ran the benchmark on the Infinix Hot 9 and the numbers were the lowest we’ve seen in 2020. In AnTuTu, the phone posted 103,405 points, and in PCMark Work, it posted 5,089 points. These are lower than the scores of the Realme C3, which I reviewed earlier this year. The phone, which is priced at almost the same level, scored 192,187 and 8,573 respectively in these tests. Graphics performance isn’t strong either, and the Infinix Hot 9 scored 51fps and 25fps in GFXBench’s T-Rex and Manhattan 3.1 scenes, respectively.

Infinix Hot 9 Bottom Ports Infinix Hot 9 Review

It still sports a dated microUSB port for charging

I would not recommend this device for gamers as it takes a long time to load popular titles like PUBG Mobile. Graphics went smooth by default with frame rates on medium, but I still noticed lag and stutter during gameplay. Playing games on this device will not be satisfactory. However, I played the game for about 20 minutes and it barely got hot to the touch.

The Infinix Hot 9 managed to score well in our HD Video Loop battery life test, lasting 20 hours and 50 minutes. The Helio P22 SoC is known for its efficiency, and the low screen brightness also helped it post higher numbers. Charging is a pain as the 10W charger easily takes over two hours to fully fill the battery. Charging it for 30 minutes, I was able to reach only 21 percent.

Infinix Hot 9 cameras: don’t expect much

The Hot 9 packs a quad-camera setup at the back, consisting of a 13-megapixel primary sensor, a 2-megapixel macro camera, a 2-megapixel depth sensor, and a low-light sensor. For selfie, it has an 8-megapixel front camera. Camera UI is very basic and easy to use. The default camera mode is AI Cam, which uses the primary 13-megapixel camera. There’s a quick toggle to switch on the macro camera. Other shooting modes on the Infinix Hot 9 include Beauty, Bokeh, AR Shot, Panorama and Video. There is no dedicated night mode and the phone relies on AI to toggle between the 13-megapixel primary camera and the low-light sensor.

infinix hot 9 quad camera setup infinix hot 9 review

The quad-camera setup houses a dedicated low-light sensor

In daylight, the Hot 9’s shots were below average, and it could only manage fine detail on objects close to the camera. It doesn’t work very well in metering light and tends to overexpose the sky in a few shots. For closeups, I noticed that the Hot 9 would take a while to lock focus, and the output wasn’t as sharp as I’d like.

Infinix Hot 9 Daylight Camera Sampler (Tap to see full size image)

Infinix Hot 9 closeup camera sample (tap to see full size image)

Bokeh mode lets you set the level of blur before taking a shot. I took some pictures in this mode. Edge detection wasn’t great and blurring was inconsistent. The output from the macro camera is also not as sharp as I would have liked, and details are strictly average.

Infinix Hot 9 Bokeh Mode Camera Sampler (Tap to see full size image)

Infinix Hot 9 Macro Camera Sampler (Tap to see full size image)

In low light, the phone keeps noise under control but the output is grainy when zooming in. Photos aren’t sharp, and distant objects have fairly weak details. Since there’s no Night Mode, you’ll have to rely on the AI ​​to figure it out, which it doesn’t.

Infinix Hot 9 low-light camera sample (tap to see full size image)

Selfies are good but the color tone was a bit off in daylight. Selfies are not sharp in low light but good details and flash comes in handy.

Infinix Hot 9 Daylight Selfie Camera Sampler (Tap to see full size image)

Infinix Hot 9 Low-Light Selfie Camera Sampler (Tap to see full size image)

Video recording maxes out at 1080p but this phone lacks any kind of stability. This results in shaky footage. Video quality is also below average in low light, and the lack of stabilization can render videos unusable.

Verdict: Is the Infinix Hot 9 for You?

Infinix Hot 9 is designed keeping in mind the current trends. You get the hole-punch display and quad-camera setup, which people love to show off. However, the phone fails to deliver overall performance, which is a deal-breaker for me. The long time it takes to load apps reminds me time and again that this processor is not fast. Alternatives like the Realme C3 (Review) and Narzo 10A (Review) are far more powerful than the Infinix Hot 9.

It’s not just about CPU performance, the cameras are also below average. Battery life is just one of the things that works in favor of the Infinix Hot 9. Unless your usage is fairly basic and you have no need for a powerful phone, you’re better off skipping it in favor of the Realme C3 or . realme narzo 10a.

Is OnePlus 8 Pro the perfect premium phone for India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts either RSSDownload the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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