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Infinix Hot 9 Review: hot enough?

The Infinix Hot series of smartphones have always been about affordability, and the new Hot 9 with a price tag of ₹8,499 is no exception.

Naturally, at this price point, some of the specs on offer are reasonably humble. It's only got a HD+ screen, runs on an older processor, doest come with a whole lot of RAM, and only packs 64 GB of onboard storage, which fortunately can be further expanded to 256GB via micro SD slot.

But don't write off the Hot 9 just yet. This phone has a few tricks up its sleeve, like a massive 5,000mAh battery, a quad-camera setup and even a punch-hole display, something you don't usually see in the sub 10,000K category.

It's also not bad to look at, especially is this violet colour variant. The gem cut texture adds flair, and while the back is plastic, it gets a 2.5D glass finish, making it feel more durable.

Be warned though, the back is a bit glossy, which means fingerprint smudges. But the protective plastic case that comes with the phone should quickly fix that problem.

The rest of the design is pretty standard. You get a good old fashioned headphone jack at the bottom, along with a single firing speaker which isn't all that loud. Infinix has also decided to stick with a Micro-USB port, which is fairly common at this price segment, but we feel that USB-C charging would have been a great addition.

Happily enough, there's a fingerprint sensor on the rear, which is not always a guaranteed inclusion for budget handsets. It's quick and sensibly placed, so your finger finds it every time. On the back, you’ll also find no less than four cameras comprising of a 13MP primary snapper, 2MP Depth Sensor, 2MP Macro lens and a low light sensor.

In good lighting conditions, photos come out relatively well, and as far as affordable Android smartphones go, its camera is packed with features like Custom Bokeh, AI HDR, AI 3D Beauty, Panorama, and even Augmented Reality shots to play around with, if your feeling particularly bored during the lockdown.

The main 13MP snapper clicked decent pictures for the most part, but colours seemed to be somewhat on the duller side. The Macro mode could have been quicker when it came to capturing focus, but it still managed to deliver respectable results.

Sadly, Low light images were less than impressive, even with the night mode turned on. While the AI boosted up the brightness, there was still noticeable grain and noise in the background.

Meanwhile, the 8-megapixel front camera takes good enough portraits that should do the job for social media use.

In terms of display, the Infinix Hot 9 has a 6.6-inch LCD with a 20:9 aspect ratio. Clocking in at 720 x 1600 pixels, the front panel is definitely not the sharpest around. That said, the display offered decent brightness levels and is large enough to handle most of your content watching requirements. Although, it's worth noting that if you want apps like Netflix to display content in full screen, you'll have to change the default settings.

The punch hole on the upper left corner could have been a wee bit smaller but it isn't too intrusive and actually helps in lending the phone a 90.5% Screen to body ratio. Powering the device is the Helio P22 Octa-Core chip and while it isn’t the latest or most advanced one out there, it does get the job done when it comes to everyday stuff like opening apps, surfing the web and checking emails. However, it struggles with heavy multitasking and also when playing heavy graphic games.

The Infinix Hot 9 has a massive battery - 5,000mAh, which is very generous for the price, and easily got us through one day of heavy use, or two days of light use. It takes a while to top up, with 10W charging speeds, but the fact you won’t need to charge it too often is pretty amazing.

The phone runs on Android 10 with Infinix XOS 6.1 Dolphin on top, that is both heavily customised and full of bloatware. It really isn't for everyone, but the UI is easy enough to navigate once you figure out where everything is. There's a face unlock feature as well, which works efficiently in good light but struggles in dim lighting.

To round up, the Infinix Hot 9 seems to get most of the basics right. While heavy gaming and multitasking take a back seat for sure, t the phones large screen, long battery life and quad-camera setup should be sufficient for most buyers at this price point.

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