Friday, December 3, 2021

Infinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and Powerful

I’ve used the Infinix Zero X Pro for a couple of days now. Normally, I’d say a review takes more time than ‘a couple of days’ but with the current batch of Infinix and TECNO phones, it almost feels like I am going in between the same phone while actually dealing with different devices. This is because the companies are sort of shipping similar experiences with different smartphones at different price points.

I could almost swear the Infinix Zero X Pro is similar to the TECNO Camon 18 Premier. But nope. They have different designs. They have different processors. They have different technologies. In the same breath, they have certain similar cameras, and similar refresh rates, and you will feel like the performance is the same all-through.

Anyways, let’s go through everything I have to say about the Infinix Zero X Pro. I hope to show answer as many questions you may have about the device as possible. If by the end of the review you still have more questions, feel free to leave them in the comments section.

Infinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and Powerful

Unboxing:

I like when an unboxing experience is different. This is quite a tall box. Perhaps this is to signify the tall screen? Perhaps it is to mark a turning point in Infinix’s designs and hardware? I don’t know.

You still get the same stuff Infinix has been shipping including a free cover (this one’s really good), paper work, and earphones. This time round, however, instead of the usual 18W, or 33W chargers, Infinix has included a 45W charger.

Value for money:

Everyone definitely considers the value of something, and its usefulness before buying it. You want to know if its the best in its price range, if you will get good value from it, and if there could be something better for you to consider.

At KES 37,000 a lot of people will want to know what’s it in particular that makes the Infinix Zero X Pro this expensive. And is it justified?

Well, I want to point out to you some of the reasons – I believe – made Infinix price this phone this way:

  • The design…?
  • The AMOLED Panel with 120Hz Refresh rate
  • The 108MP main camera
  • The 8MP 5X Periscope lens that can do 60X Zoom to the moon
  • Support for 45W Fast Charging – included in the box.
Infinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and Powerful

I haven’t mentioned RAM or Storage. Nope. The phone has 8GB RAM and 128GB UFS 2.2 Storage. These are specs you’ll find on their NOTE 10 and NOTE 11 devices. And those phones are not this expensive.

I also haven’t mentioned the Helio G95 Processor. This is a processor we’ve seen on both cheaper and more expensive smartphones compared to the Infinix Zero X Pro. So while it is a really good chipset – and you can expect stellar performance – it isn’t a reason for this phone to be this expensive.

Questions to answer:

So, are those 5 things I’ve mentioned above the reason this phone is priced this way?

Please note that I am not saying things like RAM, Storage, and Chipset don’t matter. I am trying to ask if those 5 things above add on to the price of a phone so significantly that it becomes a 37k phone.

So for this review, I will be looking on to those 5 things – how different they make this phone’s experience to be, what worth they bring to this phone in general, and if getting another device with the same RAM, Storage and Processor, will guarantee you an experience like the one you get on this phone.

I don’t know if that makes sense. But I hope you understand me as you read through the article. So, let’s start with the design.

Infinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and Powerful

Design:

How a phone looks is very important. We know this to be true because humans love aesthetics.

This is a good-looking phone. There’s no two ways around that. Infinix took time to design this starry back finish that’s really reflective, but also sort of bland. It doesn’t shine or shift in colour, but it reflects and has these sort of glittery look atop a blue-black glassy finish.

I want to believe that the design choice here is so as to show that the cameras can shoot to the moon. Yeah…?

  • Glassy:

I am still not able to differentiate between the back and the front in terms of material by just touching the phone. Both the front and the back feel the same to me. And I am sure the front is glass. Yet I know the back is plastic.

I still don’t know how plastic finishes can be made to look so premium, and so shiny, and so glassy. What will definitely tell you this isn’t glass is the weight. It is a light phone – especially for its size. So you will pick it up expecting it to feel hefty only to realise it isn’t.

Infinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and Powerful
  • Around:

At the bottom, there’s the headphone jack, the USB Type-C port, and the speaker. At the top there’s nothing. On the left there’s the SIM tray and on the right side there’s the volume keys and the power button.

  • Fingerprint

The Fingerprint scanner is under the display, and is placed well such that your thumb naturally rests on it. This is a departure from the previous scanners which were placed near the bottom bezel, making unlocking quite hectic.

  • Punch hole and LED Flash

The front camera is placed at the centre top of the display. The cut out isn’t too big, neither is it too small. I love centre punch-holes because they don’t interfere with notifications and those top icons. Infinix still managed to place an LED flash at the top bezel to aid you when taking photos in dark-lit environments.

  • Bezels

There’s no significant improvement to the size of the bezels all around the phone. They remain as thin as you’ll find on many other devices in the market. What’s amazing is how Infinix have managed to fit the top speaker on the top bezel. There’s no speaker grill visible, but you’ll notice a very slight curve on the top bezel where the speaker is housed. It’s well done.


Worthy?

Do I feel like the above features contribute to the phone’s pricing? Yes and No.

Yes, because that glassy finish is really premium looking. Yes, because that fingerprint scanner placement means a lot was done with the internals to make sure the placement was just right. Yes because there must be a lot of engineering to make sure the bezels are thin enough while still housing the speaker and the LED flash.

No because we’ve seen similar designs before.


AMOLED Display and 120Hz:

This is the second thing I think contributes to the phone’s pricing. AMOLED panels can be quite pricey.

We aren’t sure who made the AMOLED Panel Infinix is using on this device. However, I know that it is a good panel from my interaction with the phone, and from the fact that it supports 120Hz refresh rate.

The colour reproduction is good. I hate oversaturated panels and this one feels just right. The only complaint I’d have is on icons – which falls on software.

Infinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and Powerful

HDR and HLG:

The device supports both HDR 10 and HLG video playback. You can see a slight change when playing such videos in terms of a colour and brightness shift.

However, this can only be tested on YouTube as the device doesn’t have Netflix certification to play HD videos. So you won’t experience Netflix HDR content yet, until certification arrives.

Infinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and Powerful

Supported refresh rates:

The panel can also do the following refresh rates:

  • 60Hz at 1080p
  • 90Hz at 1080p
  • 120Hz at 1080p

However the software forces you to use either 60Hz, 120Hz or Auto Refresh Rate which switches between 60Hz and 120Hz depending on what’s on screen. It would be nice to be able to switch to either of the three at will.

Infinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and Powerful

What’s funny is that the software allows you to change the touch sampling rate to some extent with something called “Ultra Touch”. Here you can change ‘Swipe Speed’ and ‘Motion Speed’ to your liking.


Worthy?:

From that, do you think the AMOLED panel is a worthy reason for the phone to be that pricey? For me, yes. Getting a good AMOLED panel isn’t a cheap affair for a company like Infinix who sources them from other makers. Getting one that supports variable refresh rates is a whole other story. So, sort of worth it.


108MP Main Camera:

Infinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and Powerful

We’re at a point where Megapixel count doesn’t really matter. So we can just as well say the ‘Main Camera’ without mentioning 108MP, and you won’t be fazed.

I like that Infinix has worked on its AI such that it is no longer so aggressive with trying to do things it needs not to. So right now the enhancements to different scenes feels very natural.

Infinix still needs to work on recognition though. Sometimes the AI will say something is food when it is clearly something else. Sometimes it will be aggressive with the dynamic range making what you’re tying to focus on appear quite dark while prioritising on the bright background.

Is it a good camera? Yes. Really. It sits at a place where it can compete with many other offerings from different companies. Its main problem remains how it handles bokeh shots and photos with dramatic lighting. But this is something both budget Samsungs and OPPO phones have an issue with.

Camera features:

  • In-built Google Lens
  • 0.6x, 1x, 5x Zoom levels
  • 108MP Mode for full 108MP photos, instead of the binned photos.
  • Dedicated beauty, portrait, super night, AR shot, Slow mo, Pro, Panorama, Document, Macro and Time lapse modes.
  • AI Portrait enhancer
  • In-built QR Code reader
  • Distortion correction
Infinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and Powerful

Video features:

  • Shoot up to 4K 30fps videos with both front and back cameras
  • Ultra-steady mode allowing you to shoot videos that are smooth with no shake – this is capped to 1080p 30fps
  • Different quality modes including 720p 30fps, 1080p 30fps, 1080p 60fps, and 4K 30fps
  • Different slow-motion modes including 120fps (1080p), 240fps (720p), and a crazy 960fps (720p).
  • Shoot Bokeh videos while blurring the background and focusing on the subject. You can even se the amount of blur you want.
  • There’s also Video Beauty mode which is like Beauty Mode on Photos, but now on videos.

Worthy?

The implementation of the 108MP lens here is good. You can do 4K videos both front and back. Great. You can do slow-mo videos up to 960fps! The quality of the pics you take is at par with competition! And there’s a ton of features including no-shake stabiliser. Yes, these features significantly affect pricing. So worth it.


5X Periscope Lens:

This is what enables the ‘Zoom to the Moon’ feature that Infinix has really pushed with this device. The periscope lens is paired with an 8MP shooter and a couple of AI enhancements that make the moon look good when you zoom into it.

On its own, the Zoom lens can take good shots at 5X zoom and up to around 25x zoom for workable shots. Past that level you get a lot of noise and shake. And anyways, what do you want to do with shots past 25x zoom?

Photos of the moon taken by the Infinix Zero X Pro:

(These have been thoroughly compressed for web upload)

Sample from 0.6x to 60x:

(These files have been thoroughly compressed for web upload)

Infinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and PowerfulInfinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and Powerful
0.6x Zoom vs 1x Zoom
Infinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and PowerfulInfinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and Powerful
5x Zoom to 60X Zoom (Focus on the Lipa na M-Pesa)

Worthy?

As you can see from the 60x zoom shot, it isn’t outstanding in quality. But you can probably tell the text on the M-Pesa paybill number. That’s impressive. I am sure that’s something that requires a lot of work in software and in hardware. Meaning it is an expensive component to add. So, yes worth it.


45W Fast Charging:

Infinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and Powerful

When I reviewed the OPPO Reno 5 with its 65W charger, I wrote an article on how really-fast Fast Charging changes everything. Nothing prepared me for how fast charging from 0 to 100% in 30mins feels. And how a significant life upgrade that is on day to day use.

I have said in reviews of other phones that even 33W fast charging feels like a bore compared to the 65W charger. I think the 45W charger here is where I can find comfort. I literally put the phone down for a few minutes to charge and it is 100% in no time.

And this is on a 4500mAh battery that can last a whole day and some more. I love it! While there used to be no worry on how long Infinix’s battery will last you, the worry on how much time you have to wait for it to recharge to 100% is no longer an issue. 10mins of charge is enough to push you a whole day depending on your use. That’s something you couldn’t say with 10W or 18W chargers of the past.


Worth it?

Yes totally. Completely. Yes.


So is the asking price worth it?

It almost is. Not quite there, but kinda. Here’s why:

  • The display as we’ve established is really good. Hopefully Infinix will push for Netflix HD certification.
  • Both the 108MP camera, and the 60X Zoom capabilities are well done.

And there’s more:

  • Infinix is using LPDDR4X RAM which is way better than DDR4 RAM
  • Infinix is using UFS 2.2 Storage which is way better than eMMC storage

However, I personally feel like the company should have done one more thing to make the asking price feel quite agreeable:

  • Offer 256GB storage at this price point. That would seal the question on whether or not to get the device. What do you think?
Infinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and Powerful

Things that need work:

  1. Updates – As usual Infinix hasn’t made any promises on how many years this phone will be updated. We need at least three years of system updates and 4 years of security patches.
  2. Android Auto – It sucks that a phone this expensive still doesn’t have Android Auto well supported. Two things Infinix; ONE – Apps won’t launch unless you launch them on the phone and TWO – Audio is so poor when playing music over Android Auto.
  3. More unnecessary stuff – Remove things like Folax (Infinix’s AI Assistant), and unremovable apps like ‘Health’ which I can’t seem to even find a way to disable, and more. Make them things one chooses to opt-in to. Not permanent.


Infinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and Powerful

Infinix Zero X Pro Specs and Price:

PRICERRP KES 36,999
Buy from Jumia
Display6.67-inch AMOLED Display
120Hz Refresh Rate
FHD+ 1080*2400
Dimensions 7.8mm thin 
164.06mm tall
75.69mm wide 
Rear CameraTriple:
108MP Main f1.79 Aperture with OIS 
8MP Ultra Wide
8MP Periscope with 5X Optical Zoom, 60X Hybrid Zoom, OIS

Quad LED Flash 
Front Camera16MP with Dual Flash Light
ChipsetHelio G95 
GPUMali-G76 MC4
RAM8GB RAM
Storage128GB Storage
UFS 2.2 
(Expandable Storage with dedicated Slot)
Operating SystemAndroid 11 with XOS Skin
Battery4500mAh battery
45W Flash Charge
Network2G, 3G, 4G
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, 2.4/5G
Bluetooth
FM Radio
3.5mm audio jack
USB Type-C
Colour optionsStarry Silver, Nebula Black 
OthersUnder-display Fingerprint Scanner
DTS audio Speakers
Mobile Category

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Design
Display
Cameras
Performance
Value for Money
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Dickson Otienohttps://tech-ish.com
I love reading emails when bored. I am joking. But do send them to editor@tech-ish.com.

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