December 15, 2018

The Infinix Hot S3X Review: Curvy, Average Performer But Lasts Long

Infinix has been busy the last couple of months releasing one smartphone after the other. We have seen the Hot 6, Hot 6 Pro, S3, Note 5 and now the Infinix S3X. The Infinix S3X is currently available on Jumia from as low as Ksh 18,200 and on InfinixMall for Ksh 17,400.

The Infinix S3X (you can go ahead and share all the jokes that come to mind) is the successor to the Infinix S3 that is available exclusively through Safaricom retail stores. I am still not sure how Infinix has segmented its market as the Note 5 is currently available at around the same price as the S3X and they both came into the market at around the same time. Probably the company is targeting the young and young at heart with the S3X and business people and professionals with the Note 5 and Note 5 Stylus.

If you are interested in reading my thoughts on the Infinix Note 5, you can find those here.

At the price its is available for, the Infinix Hot S3X is a direct competitor to the OPPO A3s, Huawei Y7 Prime 2018 just to name a few. So, is it good enough for you to buy it, let’s find out.

Hardware and Build

Glossy Plastic back cover, very light

The Infinix S3X has the same design as the Infinix Note 5. The company has even used the same shiny back cover that we had on the Note 5, something that looks stylish but is very slippery and prone to scratches and fingerprints. To protect from these, you do get a free transparent back cover when you buy the Infinix S3X. Speaking of protection (protection is very important 😊, you also get a free screen protector to protect your display from accidental scratches.

Infinix Hot S3X back

The design of the Infinix S3X is similar to the one on the Note 5 as I have said above. It is slightly curved on the edges and this is important given the fact that this phone has a massive 6.2-inch display that is not small for many people. Having the slightly curved back means that the phone is easy and comfortable to carry around. One thing I noticed is that this phone is also light compared to the Note 5.

Display

6.2-inch IPS LCD, 18:9 aspect ratio, 720 x 1500 pixels

The Infinix S3X has a 6.2-inch display that seems to be the standard size these days. It has a notch above the display and this is the first phone from the company to come with a notch. The notch on the S3X is huge and you will not miss it no matter what. Even after having this phone for over a month, I still notice how out of place the notch seems and I don’t like it. The phone also has a bigger bezel below the display and you wonder why they decided to have the notch at the top and leave a huge chunk of unused space below the display. You cannot hide this notch even if you want it to, I hope the company rolls out an update to enable that.

Infinix Hot S3X navigation keys 1

Speaking of updates, Infinix rolled out an update that made sure the notch does not affect your experience. With the update, some apps are not cut at the very top as there is a bar that is added at the top of these apps and the app you are using does not stretch to the very top. This means that with features such as Instagram and WhatsApp Stories, I was able to view the content without the notch interfering.

Infinix Hot S3X notch

Infinix Hot S3X notch

The dreaded notch aside, this display is really bright. This is a positive thing as it means that the phone is easy to use under direct sunlight. If you are always outdoors, you will appreciate this. The downside of having such a bright display is that when watching movies and videos, I noticed some are a bit overexposed and a very bright and this leads to loss of some details. This is not the case all the time but it is something you will notice from time to time.

Another thing you may have an issue with this display is that it is a 720p one and not Full HD. I still don’t know why the company chose a 720p display on such a beautiful phone when they could have gone with a 1080p panel. Even with that said, unless you are particular about your displays, you will not notice the difference and honestly, most people will not care that much.

Infinix Hot S3X notch

The S3X comes with on-screen navigation keys that you can hide when not using them. This can be done when you are playing games and you do not want them to interfere with your experience.

Software and Performance

Android 8.1 Oreo With XOS 3.3 Lite, Snapdragon 3/4 GB RAM, Adreno 505 GPU

The Infinix Hot S3X is powered by Android Oreo with the same Snapdragon 430 processor the company used on the Infinix S3. This is paired with either 3 or 4GB of RAM and 32GB of storage. This storage space will be enough for more people and if that is not the case for you, you can expand it to up to 128GB using a microSD card. I did not find any reason to do this as the available space was good enough for me during the review period. If you are planning to take a lot of photos, then budget for a microSD card.

Infinix Hot S3X volume keys

The phone comes with some pre-installed apps, that you will probably not use, but the company is not as aggressive as some other players like Huawei and Samsung. The one app that I found here and thought it was interesting is the Files Go app as its main file manager. Files Go is a Google application that is meant for Android Go smartphones (which the Infinix S3X is not one) and I wasn’t expecting it on this phone. I do like Files Go as it is light and simple file manager that gets things done in a simple and efficient way.

The Infinix S3X is not a gaming smartphone but you can still play some demanding games without any serious problems. It also handles day to day tasks with ease and even multitasking on it is a breeze. Some people were mad when Infinix S3X was announced saying the company used an old processor (the Snapdragon 430) but I bet very few will care when using the phone as it does handle tasks without any serious issues.

Also Read: Infinix Hot S3X Specifications And Price In Kenya

Fingerprints and Face unlock

To secure the S3X, Infinix has included both a fingerprint scanner and face unlock. Setting up face unlock is very fast and it is accurate all the time. It is quick and sometimes I had to wonder how secure it really is. In some cases, I had my phone placed on the table and just glancing at it unlocks it even when I am not looking at it directly. Face unlock also works when you are wearing glasses in case you were wondering.

Even with face unlock, I still use the fingerprint scanner as my go-to option. It is accurate all the time and has not let me down even once and feels natural. If you are going to buy this phone, I would suggest you set up both or choose the one you are comfortable with.

Cameras

Dual 13MP + 2MP, 16MP for Selfies

The Infinix S3X has some really good cameras. The back-camera tends to overexpose some shots leading to loss of detail but this does not happen all the time. Speaking of the back camera, there are two sensors with one of them being there for depth of field and this ensures you get better portrait shots with the background blurred. It does not overdo this unlike most other smartphones. The back camera also has dual LED flash for slightly better shots when the lighting is not so good.

Infinix Hot S3X camera

Infinix pushed out an update that added the AI camera. This is not entirely an AI camera as it was just a name change that added the word ‘AI’ for some reason. The company did the same thing with the front-facing camera. The AI feature on the front facing camera is just the beauty mode with different levels. It does a good job in dealing with blemishes on the face but do not overuse it.

Infinix S3X sample 3 Infinix S3X sample 2 Infinix S3X sample 1 Infinix S3X sample 4 Infinix S3X sample 5 Infinix S3X sample 6
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Infinix S3X sample 3

Overall, both the front and back cameras take really good shots. Even with the isolated cases of overexposure, I really like these cameras.

Battery

4000 mAh Non-removable

With a 4000 mAh battery, the Infinix S3X is meant to last the whole day or even two with heavy usage. I consistently got over 7 hours of screen on time on multiple days and this means that the phone can last an entire day and more without having to recharge it. This is a plus for me as I am always out and about and want a smartphone that doesn’t need recharging every couple of hours.

Infinix S3X battery

The disappointing thing is that the Infinix S3X does not support quick charging so be prepared to sit around doing nothing waiting for the phone to be fully charged.

Conclusion

The Infinix Hot S3X is the successor to the Infinix S3 but does not offer a much different experience from the latter. If you have the Infinix S3, you can skip this.  Yes, it has amazing cameras but its powerhouse is the same one as the one on the S3. This means that performance is pretty much going to be the same. The old processor does not help thing out but at the same time it does the basics really well. If you are looking for a reliable smartphone that can match most other smartphones within its price and has amazing cameras, the Infinix S3X is worth checking out.

Also Read: The Infinix Hot 6 Pro Vs Huawei Y7 Prime 2018

I do gadget reviews and then some... Send your tips and Press Releases to kaluka@techarena.co.ke