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Infinix S5 Pro review: stylish smartphone with a dated processor

On: March 17, 2020

Infinix has been on a mission to launch affordable smartphones with premium features in India. The brand has made a name for itself by being among the first to launch quad-camera smartphones, punch-hole displays and more under Rs 10,000. Therefore, it came as no surprise when Infinix launched the S5 Pro (first impressions) in India last week. At Rs 9,999 it is the cheapest smartphone in the market to feature a pop-up selfie camera. I have been using the handset for over a week now and here’s what you need to know about the device.

Design and display

The Infinix S5 Pro is among the best-looking smartphones in the sub-Rs 10,000 segment in India, in my opinion. The smartphone is plastic-clad with a 3D glass finish on the back, which is curved on the edges. As is usually the case with glossy plastic smartphones, the Infinix S5 Pro is a smudge-magnet and as a result, I had the provided case on all the time. This was a shame because the Forest Green variant that I received was a serious head-turner. On the bright side, the case evens out the massive camera bump and the phone didn’t wobble when placed on a flat surface with the case on.

As I mentioned in my first impressions of the smartphone, I am a huge fan of the camera aesthetics on the Infinix S5 Pro. The setup is symmetrical with the elevating selfie camera emerges from the top of the rear triple camera setup in the top left corner, giving an illusion of a singular camera module. The fingerprint scanner towards the center of the rear panel is as accurate and fast as a capacitive module can be.

As for the other design elements, you will find the triple card slot for dual nano-SIMs and a microSD card on the left side and physical buttons on the right. The bottom edge of the phone houses the 3.5mm audio jack, micro-USB port, and the speaker grille. The top edge is bare except for the elevating selfie camera, which Infinix claims to have a life span of least 150,000 retractions. Moreover, there’s an auto retract mechanism that works well when dropped from waist height, but not for shorter distances.

In the front, the Infinix S5 Pro has an edge-to-edge 6.53-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1,080 x 2,340 pixels, which makes for a sharp picture at 403ppi. The 19.5:9 screen flaunts an impressive 91.2 percent screen-to-body ratio thanks to the absence of any sort of notch or display cutout. Despite being an LCD screen, the setup offers punchy and saturated colours. The viewing angles are pretty good as well, however, the outdoor legibility leaves a lot to be desired.

Not that I expected the smartphone to have it, but Widevine L1 certification is missing. This means the S5 Pro won’t be able to play high-res content from Netflix, Prime, or OTT platforms. However, the 480p content still looks good on the immersive display and since I was mostly streaming on my 4G network, I couldn’t fault it much.

Cameras

The Infinix S5 Pro comes with a triple camera module on the back accompanied by phase-detection autofocus and a dual-LED flash module. The camera module comprises a 48-megapixel primary camera accompanied by a 2-megapixel depth sensor and a dedicated QVGA low light sensor. This means usually you are using only the primary camera for day-to-day imaging and the AI-scene recognition detects the scene and switches to low light sensor at night and depth sensor when you trigger bokeh mode. There is a 16-megapixel f/2.0 selfie camera housed in the elevating module.

You get a plethora of modes like short video, video, AI Cam, Beauty, Bokeh, AR Shot and Panorama, all of which can be accessed by swiping on the viewfinder. On top of the viewfinder are toggles for settings, flash, HDR, 48MP mode, viewfinder aspect and live filters.

The primary 48-megapixel shooter is a capable camera as the daylight shots I took using the smartphone managed to impress me every time. By default, the camera uses 4-in-1 Pixel binning and captures 12-megapixel shots. The images captured in standard mode showcased good details, accurate colours, and great contrast. The camera also handled the dynamic range very well. Turning on the 48MP mode will give you the full resolution images, which are only useful if you want to take prints.

The dedicated low-light sensor works alongside the 48-megapixel camera, and low light images turned out to be great with a well-balanced exposure. However, I found the noise compensation to be on a higher side, which made images look artificially smooth. The 2-megapixel depth sensor is also a delight to use. The portrait images I shot using the smartphone all had a good subject separation from the background with a natural-looking blur. However, the quality of the pictures does dip when the sun goes down.

Coming to the selfie camera, the 16-megapixel shooter just about gets the job done. As you can see in the gallery above, the selfie camera is decent for a budget smartphone. You get self-portraits that have ample details and clarity. The beauty mode is not as aggressive as I thought it will be, and if you prefer a little touch-up, the beauty mode will not disappoint. On the flip side, I found the portrait mode on the front camera struggling with edge detection.

As for the video recording, you can shoot in 480p, 720p and 1,080p at 30fps. There are no slow-motion, time-lapse or other video modes on the smartphone.

Performance, software, and battery

The Infinix S5 Pro comes powered by the MediaTek Helio P35 SoC. The SoC is accompanied by a PowerVR GE8320 GPU, 4GB RAM and 64GB storage, which can be further expanded up to 256GB using a microSD card. The 12nm chipset was able to handle my aggressive multitasking between tons of apps with ease. At times, the processor did show its age and lagged a bit, but I wouldn’t hold it against the S5 Pro considering the price tag. However, if you are into PUBG or other kinds of intensive gaming, I would suggest looking at other options in this price range.

I say this because the MediaTek Helio P35 is a dated processor with a feeble GPU. As expected, PUBG Mobile started in the low-graphics setting. However, despite being set to the lowest possible settings, I came across several instances of frame drops and at one point, the game simply got stuck. Needless to say, if you are a PUBG enthusiast, you will be having hard time getting through one game on the Infinix S5 Pro. The lighter games like Subway Surfer and Stick Cricket, on the other, hand, play well on the handset.

In the software department, the Infinix S5 Pro is loaded with the XOS 6.0 interface based on the latest Android 10. I am not exaggerating when I say that XOS 6.0 is one of the heaviest skins I have come across. The interface has both the homescreen icon layout and an App Drawer. And when you swipe up to access the drawer, there’s an entire row of promoted apps on the top under the heading Instant Apps. Additionally, there is tons of bloatware present with several apps sending frequent notifications including the infamous Phoenix Browser. Most of these apps can be removed, but the Instant Apps section is here to stay.

The rear panel of the Infinix S5 Pro houses a 4,000mAh battery with standard 10W charging. On a full charge, I ended the day with 40 percent power still left after a whole day of YouTube, watching videos on MX Player, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and web browsing. However, the charging duration is painfully long with the included 10W charger as it took around 1.5 hours to charge from zero to 100 percent.

The competition

The Infinix S5 Pro has been launched in India for Rs 9,999, which puts it in the ultra-competitive price bracket in the country. The closest contender to the Infinix S5 Pro is the Realme 5i (first impressions), which brings quad-cameras, a powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 SoC, and a massive 5,000mAh battery. And then we have the Redmi Note 8 (review), which flaunts a quad-camera setup with 48MP primary lens, Snapdragon 665, up to 6GB RAM, and 4,000mAh battery with 18W fast charging.

Bottomline

The Infinix S5 Pro is a product that’s targeted at those who are looking for a stylish smartphone without burning a hole in their pocket. It offers a premium design, decent cameras and good battery life. The performance is fine for basic usage, but if you’re looking for a gaming smartphone, there are better options to consider.

Pricebaba’s rating: 7 / 10

What works:

  • Vibrant display
  • Gorgeous design
  • Runs Android 10
  • Capable cameras

What doesn’t:

  • No fast charging
  • Bloated software

Photos by Raj Rout

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Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman is obsessed with all things tech. His hobbies include reading on his Kindle and clicking random pictures on his phone. His secret superpowers happen to be mixing great cocktails and lip reading. In his spare time, you are likely to find him cleaning his aquascape, researching new species of aquatic fishes and planning which aquatic plants to buy next.