Infinix Note 3 (X601-A1) Review: A big-sized budget phone with a Fingerprint scanner

Infinix Note 3

The Infinix Note 3 is a mid-range smartphone catering to those with high-end tastes. In size and looks, not to forget that rich champagne gold exterior (it has other flavours), the Note 3 bears a familial resemblance to the Tecno Phantom 6 and come to think of it, as do other brands in what is fast becoming the smartphone industry standard. In another bold move, Infinix has clearly visible, the once-disreputable Made in China label at the back. We suppose the world is coming to grips with the fact that China has for years held the mantle as the undisputed electronics manufacturing nation the world over.

The Ush. 519,000 price tag on Kilimall is fair, no? For that price you get an astounding 1.3 GHz Octa-core 64-bit processor, with 16GB ROM and 2GB RAM powered by an impressive 4500mAh battery. Did we also say the Note 3 sports an IPS Touchscreen full HD display and a fingerprint sensor at the back? Well, yeah, it does along with the usual bells and whistles you would expect in the current crop of smartphones. For the full specs, read our earlier post, First impressions with the Infinix Note 3.

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Infinix Note 3 Design and build

If the size of smartphones these days is any indicator of the direction evolution is taking, please expect your descendants to grow abnormally long fingers so they can comfortably cradle their huge devices. The Infinix Note 3 stretches the concept of a smartphone to its limit, and should more accurately be called a phablet. I have fairly long fingers (or is it large palms, I can’t quite decide) but I will tell you this; pulling off a firm one-handed grip defeated me. Try as I may, my grip remained loose in one hand and the best I could do was to use one hand to hold it while the other fondled this pocket-friendly, not-so-actually-pocket-friendly phone.

The camera, dual flash and finger print sensor is well centered at the back. The same eye for detail and balance hit miss on the side. 3 buttons and an SD card slot congest the right edge even as the left houses just the SIM slot. A thin metallic strip gives the 6 inch device a sparkly finish while protecting the expansive glass screen.

Performance & User Experience

XOS Chameleone

The Infinix Note 3 runs XOS Chameleon, an iteration of Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Much as a chameleon, you can easily switch between themes, wallpaper and fonts courtesy of XTheme. On that point, there’s a one-tap Shuffle icon to aid you in changing Wallpapers. Other than XTheme, other apps in the XOS family comprise XAccount, XClub, XHide, XPower, XShare, XManager and XWeather. From joining a forum that connect people with the same brand, you also get to backup your stuff online, hide apps you don’t want seen, manage power consumption, e.t.c. Not bad at all for the Infinix ecosystem.

Gaming Experience

The Note 3 uses a fraction of its full horsepower to give you a fluid, snappy experience. Everything loads in a fraction of a second. Not that we didn’t expect that. After all the Note 3 packs a 1.3 GHz Octa-core 64-bit ARM Mali-T720 processor.

We also tested how it handles games, playing Broken Dawn 2, a free game in the Google Play Store. The Note 3 warms up a bit at the strain but otherwise the experience was awesome. The Infinix Mobile website explains the magic behind this as Aerospace Cooling Technology which carries fluid throughout the device using copper pipes to prevent overheating. And then there’s the pixel density; the IPS full HD display renders the graphics beautifully. You will have to see this for yourself.

What we liked

Fingerprint sensor: We set up our fingerprints (you can do up to 5) allowing us to unlock the device hustle-free from any angle. Admittedly, this trumps having to enter a pin code or pattern every time we need to use the phone. But alas, an issue might arise and your Note 3 is unlocked using your fingerprint under duress.

Camera: I am not a professional photographer by any standard. I usually don’t bother to adjust this and that to get that superb shot, and I am not alone in saying this. The camera settings are there and we would recommend you test out the features, but we decided to take a few shots without any adjustments to gauge how good the camera fares out of the box. The results with the back camera were good, we’d like to think. The front camera even has a flash, an added bonus.

Recorder: We loved that Infinix Note 3 comes with an inbuilt recorder app. This comes in handy when you with to record video clips of your phone i.e instructional videos, trouble shooting…

Quickcharge: The Infinix Note 3 took an hour to charge to completion, something smartphone users will appreciate. Even though the devices ships with a 4500mAh battery, normal to heavy phone usage will drain your battery by day’s end. In that regard, it’s a good thing that the charging process takes a relatively short time

Fonts: Of all the smartphones I have ever had, one thing I never got the chance to experience was having the choice to change my font to whichever I felt like. It’s nice to knwo XTheme lets you change fonts as well on a system-wide level

 

What we didn’t like

Buttons: For some unfathomable reason, the volume and power buttons are all crammed onto the right side along with the SD card slot. The left side has nothing but the SIM card slot. We wonder why Infinix chose this design concept but it doesn’t work out so well.

Non-removable battery: Some people actually prefer to have non-removable batteries and we understand that decision works toward a more beautiful finish. But here’s the thing, most people like the option to remove their battery, and maybe replace it or just knowing they could.

Size: Unless you have hands as long as your feet, a 6 inch smartphone will prove difficult to handle one-handed. We noted how easy it would be for the phone to fall or be snatched from one’s grip. More on this under user experience.

Sound: The sound was a letdown. Playing a song, we went with Kanye West’s Welcome to Heartbreak; the bass didn’t carry well; the song came out screechy and flat when Kanye is known for the richness of his instruments and beats. There’s nothing much in way of sound settings to write home about.

Final thoughts

The Infinix Note 3 plays a good imitation game as a high-end premium device, pulling all the stops to prove this as fact. The wow effect is a foregone conclusion. It’s a beautiful device, there’s no qualms about that. Performance/Interface game is strong. Apart from the XOS family apps, bloatware is minimal. Camera is decent enough. We love the default Touchpal keyboard. It was remarkably accurate at predicting our words.  And then the Recorder app. The battery is a beast; it’s as good it gets while retaining those smooth rounded curves. The audio quality? That sucks. Would I buy it? Sure. For that price I get a taste of features you’d normally find in devices twice at the asking price.