Affordable, Powerful But With Potential To Be More: Infinix Zero 2 Review

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My only interaction with an Infinix phone before I got this one was with an Infinix Hot Note that my mum has. I didn’t think much about it but I was impressed by the price, especially because of the somewhat good quality of the device, but then I moved on. Second time that Infinix caught my attention was when it was announced that the Android One project was being launched in Africa via an Infinix Hot 2. The reason this caught my attention is because I am a big fan of Android, and the drive to produce affordable, well performing and importantly stock Android smartphones without those annoying skins from other manufactures, is something that appeals to me .This made me pay more attention to Infinix to see what they can do.

We got the Infinix Zero 2 at the same time with the Infinix Hot 2 to review, and I have to be honest, my first impression of the Infinix Zero 2 wasn’t good. It looked beautiful when compared to the Infinix Hot 2 and was definitely lighter, much lighter than any phone I have ever held, but it wasn’t as impressive at first glance. The Infinix Hot 2 shipped in with Android 5.1.1, the latest at the time and it was beautiful. This one comes with Android 4.4.2 without a chance for an upgrade any time soon. Our relationship didn’t start out too good but I have taken some time to know it better and I feel like I may have been a bit harsh at first.

Design

  • 145 x 71.5 x 6.5 mm, 118 grams.
  • Bottom speakers.
  • High-resistant Kevlar back material.
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High Resistant Kevlar Material at the back

The phone’s design is simple and beautiful, nothing fancy but quite eye catching. The front of the phone is pretty basic with the front facing camera and ear piece speaker at the top with no physical or capacitive buttons to speak of. This phone is light. At only 118 grams, it almost feels like you are missing a component like a battery inside. However, in spite of this, I felt confident carrying it around without the fear of dropping and damaging it. This is mostly because of the Kevlar material at the back. This is a high resistant material that is valued for its toughness. The back feels smooth but still offers the much needed grip made necessary by the light weight of the phone. This is something that really excites me about the phone. Aside from the Kevlar back, the phone’s edges have a smooth metal finish with curved edges.

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The volume rocker and power button are on the right side of the phone allowing for a comfortable reach. One problem I have with physical design is differentiating the SIM card slot and the microSD slot. The microSD card slot is above the volume rocker while the SIM card slot is on the other side. If you do not frequently swap out SIMs or change the microSD, you will probably end up opening both or playing some kind of roulette game to find the right one in the first go as they are not labelled.

All in all, it feels good to use and carry around, giving you a somewhat premium feeling at an affordable price.

Display and User Experience

  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat
  • 5 inch, 720 x 1280 pixels, 294 pixels per inch (PPI)
  • Super AMOLED, capacitive touchscreen with 16, 000,000 colors
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3

The display quality provided by the Infinix Zero 2 is quite good. The screen is bright and the colors really pop out. Although you can still make out some pixels, this doesn’t really ruin the display quality for me. Outdoor readability is also good, with very little glare and high brightness levels. The only downside to this is that even at its lowest brightness setting, it is still a bit too bright for me, especially when I wake up to look at the time in the middle of the night.

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Sporting a Corning Gorilla Glass 3, the touchscreen is quite resistant to scratches and should be safe in your pocket with your keys. Over the time I have used it, I have dropped it a couple of times and the screen has also skidded on the ground for a few centimeters and still no scratches present on the screen. Disclaimer, this doesn’t mean that you can go crazy with it but for the most part it is pretty strong. Additionally, the touch screen response time is quick and I haven’t had the need to re-tap things on the screen for feedback.

One thing that is a major let-down for me in this device is that it runs Android KitKat 4.4.2. At a time where Android Marshmallow 6.0 is out, KitKat somehow feels archaic for a device launched in 2015. This is the reason it did not impress me at first, especially when I saw the Infinix Hot 2, a really cheap phone, running Android Lollipop 5.1.1. On the flip side however, it isn’t so bad. The skin that Infinix have added on top of KitKat is minimalistic and beautiful. It is not stock Android, but you can live with it. Anyway custom launchers are available on Google Play, therefore you can change it to suit your preference at any time.

Hardware and Performance

  • Expandable storage, upto 32GB
  • 32GB internal storage
  • 2GB RAM
  • 2.0GHZ octa-core Cortex A7 CPU with MediaTek MT6592 chipset

This I believe is where the phone shines. One thing that I have been presently surprised by is the utter lack of lag as I use the phone. I mean, the performance delivered by this phone is something I wasn’t prepared for. Not only can I play heavy games such as Need For Speed: No Limits without lag and with proper display quality, I can also stream music from Spotify at the same time, while I switch up and play some other game like Two Dots. The 2GB of RAM also makes multitasking with the Infinix Zero 2 is a breeze although the phone can get pretty hot.

There is nothing that ruins the experience of a device like lag. Navigating through the Infinix Zero 2 is lag free, responsive and fast. I believe this is one of the phone’s selling point as it offers solid performance for its price.

Additionally, the phone comes with 16GB or 32GB internal storage space which can go a long way in storing applications and multimedia for average users. If that is not enough, you also have a choice of adding a microSD card, up to 32GB, for extra storage purposes. This should be enough for offloading your applications from the internal storage, freeing up more space for you to play around with.

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am not a fan of the speakers on this phone. The quality of sound coming from them is substandard and easily muffled because of their placement. The speakers are at the bottom of the device and while holding the device, your little finger can easily block them and you will get very little sound from them.

Call Connectivity and Quality

  • Dual micro SIM
  • 2G network GSM 850/900/1800/1900
  • 3G network HSDPA 900/2100
  • No 4G network
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi hotspot, Wi-Fi direct

I can’t really say much about the call quality provided by this phone. It’s not super sharp and loud but neither is it muffled. You can still probably hear the other person on the line in a crowded room. The only thing that I think needs mention is the user experience during a call. The proximity sensor will sense your face coming close and switch of the display but at some point it comes back on. This just means that I end up launching a couple of actions with my face. I put someone on hold and end up calling someone else and only figure that out when I hear a dial tone. I also end up recording my conversations at times which isn’t the best thing to do, especially when you do not want anyone else listening to it, just in case you forget to delete it. If only there were less options on the screen during a call and it would be better if they were displayed a bit lower on the screen.

This phone does not support 4G, therefore the super-fast browsing experience now available in some parts of the country will pass you by, however, I haven’t felt the need for it as I browse. Browsing on a 3G connection or Wi-Fi is more than satisfactory, even on RAM-hogging browsers like Chrome.

Camera

  • 13MP Primary camera, HDR, Geo-tagging, auto focus camera with LED flash
  • Video recording up to 1080p
  • 5MP Secondary camera with 85 degree wide angle
13MP rear camera
13MP rear camera

The rear camera of the Infinix Zero 2 captures beautiful images, especially outdoors. The images are sharp and color reproduction is quite okay in the right light conditions of course. Indoor low light images aren’t the best but the LED flash comes to the rescue,however the colors of course are distorted.

For all you selfie folks out there, the 5MP front camera on this device is pretty decent. The selfies are bright and detailed. There is a face beauty option, where you can change your appearance in the ways you choose to. Infinix Mobility also says that it has an 85 degree wide angle so that you can squeeze in more people into the selfie.

Battery

  • 2300mAH

Now this is where the phone disappoints. This battery is a bit too small to do much of anything for a long time. Once the phone is fully charged, it can only last for about 5 hrs, barely half of a day, with constant heavy usage. In my case, by 11 am, I only have 40% of power left. Let me explain my use. My cellular data and location is always on and in the morning, I either stream Spotify or listen to podcasts. In traffic I will probably browse on it as well. By the time I get to the office, the phone is hot and drained. But that’s just me. An average user would probably make the battery last all day, if there life doesn’t revolve around the phone. However I feel like this makes the whole point of the phone being powerful pointless if it doesn’t have the proper battery to support it. They could do so much better with the battery.

Verdict

Pros

  • Fast, powerful and lacks lag.
  • Camera is satisfactory.
  • Not too expensive.

Cons

  • Battery, Battery, Battery.

I forgot to mention that my specific device shuts down randomly on occasion. I don’t know if this is the same in all the devices or if that’s a fault on the review unit I used. All in all, this is a pretty cool device. It is beautiful, powerful and has a premium feel to it. Despite of its downfalls and little fails here and there, I would still use it. The device has been retailing at a few hundred shillings short of Kshs 20,000 but it has since gone down to Kshs 18,700.

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