Infinix HOT 10 Play Review:: Infinix is one of the popular smartphone companies in Kenya. The company’s main focus on the lower end of the market has helped it sell smartphones in huge amounts, a winning strategy in regions with low purchasing power.
While targeting the lower-end market is a winning strategy, consumers are increasingly looking for devices that offer value for their money. It’s definitely not about just being cheap. Infinix HOT 10 Play is the company’s latest smartphone in Kenya. Going at an MSRP of Ksh 15,499, Infinix HOT 10 Play does target the lower budget segment, a key target for the company’s HOT series of phones.
But does the Infinix HOT 10 Play deliver value for money? And does it stand a chance over the competition? Let’s find out in our Infinix HOT 10 Play review.
About the review
I have been using the 4GB + 64GB Infinix HOT 10 Play for about two weeks. The phone was supplied to us here at TechTrendsKE by Infinix Mobile Kenya.
Design and Display
Infinix HOT 10 Play features a familiar design to many smartphones out there. Compared to the Infinix HOT 10, the HOT 10 Play features small differences. The only major exterior difference is the waterdrop notch on the HOT 10 Play instead of a hole punch selfie. Another difference is the rear camera bump which includes three cameras instead of four.
One thing I like about this phone is the colourway – the review unit was in Aegean Blue. It shines, and I really enjoyed snapping pictures of the device.
Aside from this colour, the phone is also available in purple, Morandi Green, and Obsidian Black. The major downside is the lack of ridges or anything, which makes the surface a fingerprint magnet.
Slapping the included clear case can help, though.
The Infinix HOT 10 Play has a flat 6.82-inch display with HD+(720 x 1640) resolution. Infinix calls it a Dot Drop display which is reminiscent of the available waterdrop notch located at the top of the display. The display exudes enough brightness to make the phone comfortable to use outdoors. While some may consider the display large to use with one hand, Infinix has included a handy native One-handed mode accessible when you swipe down from the top.
Despite the arguably large display size, the phone has volume rockers and the power button in the right spot, making them easier to reach. These buttons, all sturdy and clicky, are all located on the right-hand side.
The phone’s SIM card slot is located on the left side. There’s nothing on the top with both the micro USB charging port and 3.5 mm headphone jack located at the bottom.
Infinix HOT 10 Play has a centrally aligned fingerprint sensor at the back.
Hardware and performance
When you purchase a phone for less than Ksh 20,000, performance is not among the first things you should look at. It’s no secret that phones in this category are not powerhouses. Well, for the Infinix HOT 10 Play, check your expectations as well.
Infinix HOT 10 Play is powered by an Octa-Core MediaTek Helio G35 processor, and it comes with 2GB or 4GB of RAM and 32GB or 64GB of memory. The chipset focuses on being more power efficient with two high-performance ARM Cortex A-75 cores clocked at 2.0GHz and six Cortex-A55 cores for efficiency clocked at 1.8GHz.
The 2 + 6 design is paired with a Mali-G52 MC2 GPU.
While the G35 is a step-down from the G70 in the original HOT 10, you can still perform day-to-day tasks like browsing, scrolling through social media, and even playing some light games without any issue.
You, however, don’t want to try out and showcase your PUBG or COD battleground prowess while using this phone.
The fingerprint sensor is pretty responsive and helps unlock the phone faster than when using Face Unlock.
In terms of connectivity, Infinix HOT 10 Play has 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.0 and WiFi.
Infinix HOT 10 Play bumps up the battery capacity from the original HOT 10 that we reviewed in late 2020. It includes a 6000mAh battery which provides a good amount of screen-on-time. I averaged over 10 hours of screen time which is solid and got me to the end of the day without having to charge.
It helps that my usage was mainly browsing and scrolling through social media and nothing intense.
Screen time is impressive, but what irked me was the charging experience. With no fast-charging support, it took me an average of four hours to fully charge the phone.
On the optics, Infinix HOT 10 Play has dual cameras. The 13MP main camera is the most important here. The secondary camera is unspecified, and you shouldn’t worry about that because I didn’t find any use for it. I tried to switch between the two cameras and didn’t find a way to, additionally.
You can shoot in a variety of modes, including beauty, AI, bokeh, slow motion, and AR. Generally, Infinix HOT 10 Play doesn’t take that impressive photos. The phone takes satisfactory pictures at times, but it’s not reliable. Images lack detail, and there are some additional optimizations that at times work against the phone.
For selfies, Infinix HOT 10 Play has a single 8MP camera. The camera takes passable images in well-lit conditions. The selfie camera actually takes impressive photos than the rear dual-camera array. There’s still under the hood image optimizations added on top of each selfie, that can sometimes smudge out the details.
Infinix HOT 10 Play runs Android 10 (Go edition) with version 7 of XOS on top.
But if there’s one thing, most Chinese smartphone brands struggle with, it’s the software experience. Terrible feels like an understatement.
Infinix HOT 10 ships with lots of bloatware, and you’ll be prompted to add even more while setting up the phone. It doesn’t stop there, however. Even a few days after setting up the phone, you’ll still be bombarded with notifications to add even more.
And these apps will bombard you with lots of notifications unless you turn them off completely. XOS launcher also includes adverts that could feel intrusive. But it’s not all doom and gloom, at least. XOS includes a customizable smart panel where you can include your most-used tools and apps for easier access. (Swipe and hold from the side)
With XOS quarks, I recommend new owners install a third-party launcher and yank out most of the bloatware for a cleaner experience.
As for updates, there’s no guarantee that this device will ever upgrade to Android 11. During my review, the phone received two tiny updates that mainly shipped bug fixes.
Should you buy it?
Infinix HOT 10 Play is a great buy if you want a large display and reliable battery life. Other than that, don’t buy the phone if camera performance, software experience, and updates are deal-breakers.
But is the Infinix HOT 10 Play a good buy? No. Infinix HOT 10 Play competes against a myriad of devices but among those, some offer great value for money, like the Xiaomi Redmi 9T and Poco M3. Both of these phones have an FHD+ panel, massive battery capacities with 18W fast charging support, more versatile cameras, and better processors.
The Nokia 5.4 is backed by a 4,000mAh battery that supports 10W charging is also an option. Have anything to add to out Infinix HOT 10 Play Review? Leave us a comment in the comments section below.