LATEST ARTICLES

Huawei NOVA Y60 Specifications and Price in Kenya

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After months of silence from Huawei, the company has introduced the Nova Y60 to the Kenyan market. It feels quite pricey for the specs it is offering which are a 13MP main camera, an 8MP selfie camera, 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage with a 5000mAh battery that only supports 10W charging.

NOVA Y60 Specs and Price:

PRICERRP KES 23,000
Buy from Amaya
Display6.6 inches IPS LCD, 
HD + 1600 x 720
Glass front, plastic back, plastic frame
Dimensions165.26 mm x 76.02 mm x 9.2 mm
185 g weight 
Rear CameraTriple Setup:
13 MP Main Camera (f/1.8 aperture)
5 MP Ultra-Wide Angle Camera (f/2.2 aperture) 
2 MP Depth Camera (f/2.4 aperture) 
Front CameraSingle:
8 MP Selfie Camera (f/2.0 aperture)
ChipsetMediatek Helio P35 
GPUPowerVR GE8320
RAM4 GB RAM
Storage64GB Storage 
Expandable Memory Card (uses shared SIM slot) 
Operating SystemOpen Source Android 10
Huawei Mobile Services 
NO Google Play Services
BatteryNon-removable 5000 battery
10W Charging 
Network2G, 3G, 4G
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4 GHz
Bluetooth 5.1, BLE, SBC, AAC, LDAC
GPS / AGPS / Glonass / BeiDou / Galileo
3.5 mm earjack
USB Type-C, USB 2.0
Extra
SecuritySide-mounted Fingerprint Scanner
Colour optionsBlack, Crush Green

Safaricom will soon allow businesses to advertise on M-Pesa, here’s 3 ways it could be done

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Last year, when I first got wind of Safaricom testing a new M-Pesa app, I was excited. Although it didn’t make sense to launch a dedicated M-Pesa app when the mySafaricom App had just been revamped, it sort of felt right since the new App was different in looks, in features and in appeal.

Over the coming months, before the official launch of the app in June 2021, I used and really quite liked the App. It felt fast, didn’t sign me out when I moved to another phone, didn’t require me to enter my PIN with every payment thanks to phone’s biometrics, and overall just looked badass (in a yeah-I-could-use-this-everyday sort of way).

By the time the official launch was happening, the app already enjoyed 1.3 million users. This was thanks to of course it being new and looking good, but also Safaricom’s own incentives enticing customers to download it.

It was during this launch that it finally sunk in what Safaricom was trying to do. The company wants to build a super app around their greatest product. They want to have as many people associate everything they want to do with M-Pesa. You want to travel, think M-Pesa, you want to buy food, gas, insurance, anything… just open the M-Pesa app and get it done via the many mini-apps within the DISCOVER section of the app.

It’s like China’s WeChat but without the conversation and social media aspects. They had tried bringing social media with M-Pesa through Bonga – an app that never went public – and saw that wouldn’t work. However, this approach seems to be a huge hit. A one stop place for all businesses! Perhaps that’s why the company is now bringing adverts to the app.

According to information availed this week, Safaricom may soon allow businesses to advertise on the M-Pesa app. Currently we don’t know how this will be implemented. We can only throw wild guesses.

Ways Ads may come to M-Pesa Super App:

  1. Banners at different parts of the app telling you about different deals – We’ve seen this done on mySafaricom app with swipe-able cards at the bottom of the app. So this could be the method Safaricom is bringing to the super app, but now allowing for many more business and targeting users based on interest, and data it has collected on how they pay, where they pay, and much more.
  2. Mini Apps listing – having businesses pay to be listed on the DISCOVER section of the app. The company already said they will be listing very many businesses during launch. So perhaps this will by asking businesses to pay to be part of the listed mini-apps. Or have a highlighted section in the mini apps category where you pay to be in the highlights for a period of time.
  3. Notifications – we’ve already seen pop-ups on the homepage of the app. For example when DSTV and NHIF became available as mini-apps, we saw notifications mentioning this. Perhaps businesses could pay to have such kind of notifications.

A Cluttered Super App:

I already raised concerns on the Super App at launch. You can read my thoughts here. But here are some of the words I shared:

Super Apps sound like good ideas on paper. But actualising the dream is always very difficult. This is not only because there are so many modules to be integrated, but also because in the end it’s all about business. And business means greed. And greed more often than not ends up masking businesses from what the end users actually want.

Won’t the app feel cluttered once more businesses are signed up? Whose responsibility will it be to ensure all the mini-apps work well without affecting the overall user experience?

I want to see how the super app fairs on in the coming years. I don’t use it as much nowadays as I did at the beginning. Funny enough right now, the mySafaricom app feels easier, and better organised.

In my initial review of the super app, I was really pumped about it being an app for M-Pesa and M-Pesa only. I loved the features like biometric authentication, being able to have receipts, using QR Codes, requesting money from people, and sending to many.

These are all features that now feel secondary in the actual use of the app. They’ve shifted from being the allure of the app. It feels like the company is now pushing third party businesses more.

Spotify Ad Studio now available in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana and Jamaica

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Spotify has announced that its self-serve ad platform, Ad Studio, is now available in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana, Nigeria and Jamaica. More artists across the globe can now use the advertising medium.

What is Spotify Ad Studio?

Ad Studio is a tool that allows artists, brands and businesses to easily run audio and video ads on Spotify. Within minutes, advertisers can create a campaign. The platform provides felixibility and control to setup and manage campaigns in real time.

Never made an audio ad? Spotify makes it easy — you can build a custom audio ad (for free!) right in Ad Studio, in as little as 24 hours. 

Ad Studio provides advertisers with free audio creation tools including background music mixing, voiceover talent, audience targeting and real-time reporting

Ad Studio is already available in other markets, including America and Europe, and the company says it is looking forward to the impact the launch in more markets will have in places like Sub-Saharan Africa, where audio streaming is on the rise.

In order to advertise with this tool, Spotify says advertisers need to spend a minimum of KES 27,000.

“Reaching audiences with Ad Studio is efficient and easy,” said Christopher Li, Director of Digital Planning & Products APAC at Live Nation and Spotify Ad Studio user. “You can decide to target listeners by genre preferences, interests, and context, etc. It only takes us a few minutes to create a campaign, and the free voiceover service saves a lot of effort, too.”

As a world leader in audio streaming, Spotify brings music and podcasts to nearly 365 million users in 184 markets, across hundreds of devices. This is where young people are – and where young people go, marketers follow. 71% of Spotify Free listeners are under 35 and the median age of podcast listeners is 27.

In Nigeria alone, over 100 million citizens are active internet users. Of this number, 57,9% use music apps — up from 54% last year. The median age in this market is 18, meaning that the majority of smartphone users are Gen-Z. Similar to Ghana and Kenya, the Gen-Z market is increasing, and many young people are streaming audio. 

Fuliza makes Safaricom a lot of money, so it’s being expanded

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One of Safaricom’s biggest recent success stories happens to be Fuliza. Launched in 2019, the overdraft facility has had tremendous success and it is only reasonable for the company to want to expand its reach.

Over the years, Safaricom has grown from being just a simple telecommunications provider to becoming a tech behemoth with its roots deep in different sectors of the economy. All these roots seem to revolve around their greatest product: M-Pesa.

Fuliza is built around M-Pesa allowing customers to use M-Pesa even when their balances are zero. When customers signs up for Fuliza, based on the data Safaricom has on them, they allocate each an amount they can use when their M-Pesa balance runs out. Whenever a customer transacts using this allocated amount, Safaricom charges them 1% access fees plus daily fees (ranging from KES 6 to KES 36) until they repay the amount in full.

It is that simple. But it makes the company a lot of money!

During the announcement of the half year 2021/22 results, Safaricom said Fuliza now has 1.7 million daily customers. In that period of time, Safaricom disbursed KES 242 billion through Fuliza. This happens to be a 62.4% YoY increase! But that’s not all… Fuliza’s revenue more than doubles M-Shwari’s and KCB M-Pesa’s (proper loan products) combined.

With such a product, who wouldn’t want to expand it be more organised, reach a lot more people, and make them even more money? That’s exactly what Safaricom is doing. And they’re doing it in three ways:

  1. Changing the terms and conditions
  2. Introducing new features
  3. Expanding access to businesses

New terms:

In August of 2020, Safaricom together with NCBA Bank who together operate both Fuliza and M-Shwari announced changes to M-Shwari that would shift a lot of customers to Fuliza.

The changes were that customers would no longer be able to take loans of less than KES 2,000 on M-Shwari. Previously M-Shwari loans started at KES 500.

Our calculations then on those changes meant that both companies stood to make more money. A KES 1000 loan on M-Shwari would be repaid at KES 1075 after 30 days. However, an overdraft through Fuliza of the same amount would be around KES 1310.83 if repaid after 30 days.

This year, in October, Safaricom announced new Fuliza Terms and Conditions that would see Fuliza defaulters blocked from accessing M-Shwari and KCB M-Pesa loan services.

According to the new terms and conditions, in the event that you default on your Fuliza, KCB and NCBA have a right of lien and set off over funds held by you in any of your accounts with KCB or NCBA (section 11 e.)

New features to Fuliza:

This week, Safaricom has expanded Fuliza to airtime purchases. While this was something third party platforms had already implemented, it was never officially supported by Safaricom. So you had to use some third-party paybill number then Fuliza the amount of airtime you wanted. Now you can do this for your Safaricom number straight from M-Pesa.

This is good as it ensures customers can Fuliza airtime without incurring paybill costs. At the same time, the move cuts off all these third party platforms that have been advertising to customers to buy Safaricom airtime through their services.

Expansion to Businesses:

Safaricom launches M-Pesa promotion to reward businesses

Fuliza for businesses is the next frontier for Safaricom. This is yet to be official, but the company says it has applied to the regulator and is awaiting approval.

With Fuliza for Businesses, Safaricom will reach over 400,000 merchants who are using Lipa na M-Pesa allowing them to access overdraft facilities that will help them with their capital needs including boosting of stock, and paying of rent and utilities.

The company has recently launched an M-Pesa promotion targeting businesses. The move is not only to reward its existing merchants who use Lipa na M-Pesa or Pochi La Biashara, it is also to expand and bring in many more merchants to the platform. These extra merchants will be coming in just in time for Fuliza for Businesses.

All the currently supported features of Fuliza could make their way to businesses allowing merchants to access different things even when their balances are low. And given how successful this has worked with customers, it could even be a bigger hit with businesses.

Kenya’s Fintech Asilimia secures $2 Million Pre-seed

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Asilimia has announced it has secured $2 Million to grow its team, deliver new services and expand into new markets in East Africa. The Kenyan startup’s mission is to build the digital financial infrastructure of Africa’s highly fragmented and paper-based informal economy, and address the $360 billion credit gap that is impacting the continent’s 150 million MSMEs

The pre-seed funding was raised from a wide range of investors including two-time unicorn founder, Fredrik Jung Abbou (co-founder of Kry and Lendo), Norrsken Impact Accelerator and other prominent founders from across Europe.

Asilimia says it also raised $1 million in a debt round that included Bpifrance and GreenTec Capital Partners.

Asilimia was founded by Tekwane Mwendwa and French entrepreneur, Morgane Kablan. The startup was incubated in the Station F programme in Paris and it has also been through the Norrsken Impact Accelerator programme.

The problem Asilimia is solving:

Lack of consolidated data means MSMEs in Sub-Saharan Africa are considered as high risk leaving them locked out by traditional financial institutions. This is despite them contributing approximately 38% of the region’s GDP.

Even in a country like Kenya where there’s a higher financial inclusion rate than most of the continent – thanks to mobile money platforms like M-Pesa – most MSMEs still use pen and paper to record their transactions, and 30% of their profit is then spent on mobile money transaction fees. This is the problem Asilimia is looking to solve.

The startup has built an affordable and easy-to-use digital platform that formalises payments, revenue collection and accounting for business owners, making it easier to monitor their business activities in one place.

Using just their mobile phones, Asilimia says business owners can record their expenses and sales, track pending payments and gain financial insights through a simple dashboard that is more efficient than using pen and paper.

They can also connect their personal mobile money accounts and save up to 90 percent on transaction fees.

This consolidated and verifiable business data de-risks business owners, making it easier for them to access a range of financial services, including insurance, savings and loans to meet their specific needs, accelerate their growth and support development in their communities.

Asilimia claims it is growing at 30% week on week, and the app is used an average of 90 times per month per customer.

Kenya's Fintech Asilimia secures $2 Million Pre-seed

Comments:

According to Tekwane Mwendwa, CEO and co-founder of Asilimia, “Africa’s informal businesses are the backbone of its economy and we want to unlock their GDP to drive further growth and development across the continent. Our focus over the last few years has been to build a solution that works and this new funding will enable us to take it into new markets and impact the lives and livelihoods of more business owners.”

Funda Sezgi, co-founder and Managing Director at Norrsken Impact Accelerator said, “MSMEs play a vital role across Africa and making it easier for them to succeed is great for the continent as a whole. Tekwane and the team have built a solution that works and we are delighted to be supporting them as they drive prosperity in a key sector for the African economy.” 

Adanian Labs calls for applications for 2022’s Venture Building Cohort

Adanian Labs has announced the launch of the Venture Building Program for 2022. The Pan African incubator is inviting tech entrepreneurs from exceptional startups from Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Nigeria, and South Africa to apply for the 2022 Cohort.

The programme which will run for 12 months is open to ‘vibrant technology-based startups with a prototype that can be further developed’. The incubator says that applying startups should have high impact potential and be led by passionate entrepreneurs. Youth and women are encouraged to apply.

Launched in 2020, Adanian Labs says it has already incubated fourteen groundbreaking tech startups across different sectors, established a partnership with Emergo Africa, and raised seed funding for 4 of its existing startups.

Some of the notable startups incubated at Adanian Labs:

  • Afya Rekod – a consumer driven digital health data platform
  • Phema Agri – an agriculture crowdfunding platform
  • Paylend – an SME Credit lending solution
  • and others including; Twaa, eCobba, Reward Ads, Bloow and Ada Animation

The incubator says their venture building program offers a blend of technology development, technical support, business mentorship, access to market, partnerships and funding while helping startups apply learn principles in processes, learning, iteration and scaling of their innovations.

Adanian Labs calls for applications for 2022 Venture Building Program Cohort

Adanian Labs says its mission is to build 300 impact driven tech startups that are commercially viable and scalable across the continent and beyond, with a vision to create exponential impact on the African economy through youth empowerment.

“We aim to build the next generation of socially impactful and commercially driven companies that will change the world from Africa. We are intentional in how we support entrepreneurs by de-risking the potential for failure through a 360 degree intervention that takes care of the key resources needed to help startups succeed.”  said Adanian Lab’s CEO, John Kamara.

“We are looking forward to receiving applications from sectors like FinTech, EduTech, AgriTech, HealthTech, EnviroTech, InsurTech, EnergyTech, Smart-City, MobilityTech, EmmersiveTech including IOT, Blockchain and AI startups. We believe in the potential bestowed upon the youth of Africa and are excited to take part in unleashing opportunities to help them harness tangiable value.” Further stated Kamara. 

Adanian Labs says it uses its unique positioning to provide critical support for startups through an evolving socio-economic ecosystem revolving around the sharing of resources, creation, production, distribution, trade and consumption.

Showmax’s announces 2-for-1 Black Friday Deal

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Showmax has announced that between November 25th to December 9th the streaming service will be offering new and existing subscribers a Black Friday 2-for-1 deal that will see them pay for one month of Showmax and receive an additional month at no extra cost.

The offer is available across all packages including:

  • Showmax normal,
  • Mobile only,
  • Pro bouquet and
  • Pro Mobile, from KES 300 per month.

Earlier this year, the streaming platform released the first Kenyan Original, crime procedural Crime and Justice, which has been nominated for three Kalasha Awards – Best TV Drama, Best Actor (Alfred Munyua) and Best Actress (Sarah Hassan). Also popular are the local reality series Sol Family starring Sauti Sol and This Love with Nameless and Wahu, as well as Famous, a 10-part drama set in Kenya’s music industry.

Showmax Pro subscribers have access to everything on the platform as well as live sport from SuperSport including Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, and DStv Premiership games. Key matches coming up include Round 5 of the UEFA Europa League on 25 November, as well as the Premier League game between Arsenal and Newcastle United on 27 November.

The platform says it will continue to bring the best of HBO and international series to Africa first. This includes HBO’s Gossip Girl reboot, taking place eight years after the conclusion of the original series. The full Gossip Girl boxset is also available to binge-watch from 1 December. HBO’s Scenes From A Marriage, underground cult comedy What We Do In The Shadows S3, Insecure S5 and the final episodes of Billions S5 are all coming to the platform in December 2021. 

Betty Mwangi named Jumia Kenya’s New CEO

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Jumia has today announced the appointment of Betty Mwangi as Kenya’s new Chief Executive Officer. She takes over from Sam Chappatte. The e-commerce platform says she will focus on accelerating corporate growth as the company continues to expand its position as the number one shopping online platform.

About Betty Mwangi:

Betty was recognized as one of the Top 10 most influential women in the mobile telecommunication industry by Mobile Communications International (MCI) and was also named twice as one of the Top 20 most powerful African women.

An engineer with 20 years of experience in the telecommunications, insurance, and pharmaceutical industries, she previously served as Group Commercial Director for Britam Group PLC from 2016 to 2021, a company she originally joined in 2013.

She also worked as Director of Financial Services for Safaricom M-Pesa from inception in 2007 to 2016. 

Comments:

“It is a great honour to be an integral part of Jumia’s journey as we continue to tap the power of the Internet to transform Africa. I look forward to working with the team to expand the Jumia universe and trust that my experience and passion for digital innovation will help to propel Jumia to greater heights. I am excited by the opportunity to have a positive impact on the everyday lives of Kenyans through e-commerce,” she said.

“Betty has an impressive track record and brings a great breadth and depth of experience to Jumia. She will play an important role in furthering our customer-focused commitment as we reach an inflection point in our growth trajectory,” said Sacha Poignonnec and Jeremy Hodara, co-CEOs of Jumia. “We extend our sincere thanks to Sam Chappatte as he departs our team after seven years with us, five of which were spent as Jumia Kenya’s CEO. We have achieved tremendous progress under his leadership, and wish him the very best in his new endeavors.”

Jumia Kenya employs more than 500 people and more than 15,000 sellers are connected to hundreds of thousands of Kenyan consumers through the Jumia online marketplace

TikTok for Android TV is weirdly good

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I had no idea TikTok had launched an app for TVs. Who would expect a horizontal short-video platform to be available on huge rectangular screens? But yesterday, the company expanded support of their TV app to LG, Samsung and Android TVs. You can now stay glued to your TV watching TikTok videos.

It’s a crazy thing! Especially given something like Instagram is yet to support Tablets – all these years! Some decisions really go a long way in affecting how platforms reach audiences.

In September, the platform hit a milestone of over 1 Billion active monthly users. It has also reportedly beat YouTube in terms of watch time in the US. And there are about to be many more people accessing the app on their TVs when chilling at home.

TikTok for Android TV is weirdly good

Installing TikTok on Android TV:

In Kenya, the app is not yet available on the Google Play Store for Android TV as of this writing. (Press release says launch is for North America) So I side loaded it by downloading the APK from APKMirror.

Once installed, I was pleasantly surprised that the app already supports a couple of features:

  1. The log-in process is easy
  2. You will use your remote control for all the tasks you may want to undertake
  3. TikTok has different categories of topics including the FOR YOU and FOLLOWING tabs.
  4. You can choose to loop or let videos continuously auto-play
  5. You can view comments (hello YouTube…)
  6. You can like videos
  7. You can go to content creators’ channels to see their other videos.

I really didn’t expect all these features. I thought it would be a bad experience. But it is okay. Actually, it is a good experience…

Yes, you don’t use a big portion of your screen – especially with the mostly horizontal content – but that’s fine. Yes, video quality isn’t 4K and the audio quality can be wanting with certain videos. But it’s alright.

Honestly, the good thing is that it feels like a better pastime to engage in than skipping ads on YouTube.

The only things remaining are perhaps accessing different sounds as you would on the phone, and clicking on hashtags. Those might come later on.

Is it a good decision:

Of course it is. There are very many people with smart TVs and internet connections in their homes. And many more people will be getting smart TVs in the coming years. TikTok is preparing itself to capture this audience.

Unlike YouTube which is now full of ads, and weird design choices on to what you can do on TV vs what you can do on phone, TikTok gives users a lot of features from the get go – and without ads (at least in this market).

It will be interesting to see what TikTok eventually becomes in the future. Their growth has been surreal – making everyone try and copy their technique. Instagram introduced and forced Reels on everyone. YouTube is currently forcing Shorts on everyone. Even Pinterest of all site, has joined the bandwagon! Let’s see what comes next…

Infinix Zero X Pro Review; Bold and Powerful

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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