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Infinix Hot 9 & Hot 9 Play Review




Infinix mobile has been in the smartphone market with a reputation for combining both fashion and technology. This year, it seems like the company is committed to giving its consumers brand new devices by introducing two new variants of their Hot line-up.

Together with their large batteries, let’s see what’s more to these Infinix Hot 9 and Hot 9 Play. We’ve had these for more than a week now, and here’s our full review.

Design and Construction

Starting with the design, we’re greeted with some gradient pop color options with rigid patterns that give an edge. The units we have are both in the Quetzal Cyan colorway, but Infinix also lent us the violet-colored Hot 9 for reference. They’re built with polycarbonate material, but its design gives a metallic illusion.

 


Physically, you can distinguish the two with their size and cameras. At the back, the Hot 9 gets a quadruple-camera setup, while the Hot 9 Play gets two rear shooters, however, the design on the latter gives an illusion that it has three. You’ll also find here their triple LED flashes, fingerprint scanners, and the Infinix branding.

Noticeably, the Hot 9 has its front camera placed on a punch hole on the upper left while the Hot 9 Play has an outdated dewdrop notch in the middle.

On the right, you’ll find their volume rocker and power on and off buttons. They’re clicky and tactile with the Hot 9’s power button feeling a little more aligned to the frame.

 

Heading over to the left, both get a dual-SIMcard tray with a dedicated microSD card slot that’s expandable up to 256GB.

There’s nothing on top, but at the bottom are their primary microphone, 3.5mm headphone jack, MicroUSB port, and a speaker grille only for the Hot 9. Weirdly, the Hot 9 Play only relies on its front speaker for audio. By the way, besides their front speakers are their LED notification indicators—which are still nice to have.

It is quite sad to see these devices are still rocking an old type of charging port instead of having the new Type-C, but considering its affordable price points; I guess it is just fair.

Both are comfortable to grip, but like most phones, they’re also prone to fingerprint smudges, so better put a case on. Additionally, I appreciate Infinix’s efforts to trim down their camera bumps, so it doesn’t wobble when placed on flat surfaces.

Display and Multimedia

More on display, the Infinix Hot 9 sports a 6.6-inch IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 1600 x 720 capable of 266ppi, while the Hot 9 Play has a larger 6.82-inch IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 1640 x 720 and a pixel density of 263ppi. 

As for display quality, the colors look accurate and vibrant. Viewing angles are great, and they seem average for their outdoor visibility. However, with IPS LCDs, expect some noticeable pixels. Their notches aren’t too distracting, but if you don’t like it, there’s an option to hide them with a black bar in the settings. 

Since we get 720p resolution on both, do take note that watching YouTube videos are limited to a maximum of 720p as well.

Checking out the audio quality on these devices, the Infinix Hot 9 sports DTS audio, to give you a better audio experience. Even though it is a bottom-firing speaker, sound quality is loud, and surprisingly, there is an ample amount of bass on this device. Although when listening to media or music on full volume, sound can go a little bit too distorted.

On the other hand, for the Infinix Hot 9 Play, as mentioned earlier, the speaker is located on top of its front-facing camera, which I think is better than the Hot 9’s bottom-firing speaker. But still, we recommend you to use an external microphone for better audio quality.

Camera

For cameras, the Infinix Hot 9 sports a quad-camera setup, including a 16MP wide lens, a 2MP Macro, 2MP depth, and a QVGA Low light sensor. Upfront, you do get an 8MP front-facing camera coupled with an LED flash on both front and rear.

On the other hand, the Infinix Hot 9 Play got a dual-camera setup consisting of a 13MP full camera and a QVGA low light sensor. Gone is the extra Macro and depth sensor we have on the Infinix Hot 9, but it retains the 8MP front-facing camera with an LED flash on both front and back.

The image quality on both deliver images that you would expect on an entry-level smartphone. Pictures taken on Hot 9 look excellent with vibrant colors, most notably when you take photos in the right lighting conditions. At the same time, we get more saturated images on the Hot 9 Play. Generally, colors, highlights, and shadows look better on the Hot 9.

Heading over to selfies, images taken on both of these devices look good too, but there’s some subtle post-processing going on.

As for videos, you can take up to 1080p on both phones, and they’re not that bad actually—just make sure to have steady hands.

OS, UI, and Apps

The Hot 9 and Hot 9 Play runs on Android 10 with Infinix’s skin XOS Dolphin version 6.0. Scrolling through, you’ll immediately notice that there are tons of bloatware that you can’t easily ignore.

It resembles stock Android, especially with all the pre-installed Google apps. Still, some of the icons are quite confusing, and also the overall user interface looks heavily customized. Although the upside is, there is a lot of customization available, and the stock look reminds us of GoLauncher. Either way, if you’re new to Infinix’s XOS skin, it will take some getting used to.

But despite all the bloatware and loaded pre-installed apps, it has a nifty yet useful feature called Freezer that allows you to freeze apps from working or consuming in the background to keep your device optimized.

You have the option to navigate with gestures and maximize dark mode natively. And even in the settings, there are still a lot of quirky shortcuts and customization options that you might want to try. And one of the things that got us curious is its Social Turbo feature that’s dedicated to the messaging app WhatsApp. It offers to boost your WhatsApp experience with video beauty mode, voice recorder, and more stickers. There’s also a Game Anti-Addiction option in the settings to monitor your gaming data/hours of use and remind you when to stop playing.

Performance and Benchmarks

Under the hood, both are equipped with entry-level chipsets, namely a MediaTek Helio A25 for Hot 9 and an older MediaTek Helio A22 for the Hot 9 Play. The units we have also get 4GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage for the HOT 9, while our Hot 9 Play gets 64GB.

Taking a look at these benchmark scores, as expected, the Hot 9’s Antutu and PC Mark scores are hair higher than the Hot 9 Play, but taking a look at their 3D Mark, Geekbench, and Androbench scores, the Infinix Hot 9 Play takes the lead.

Infinix Hot 9
• AnTuTu V8 – 100,196
• PCMark Work 2.0 – 5,099
• 3DMark SSE – 390 (OpenGL), 459 (Vulkan)
• Geekbench 5 – 145 (Single-core), 818 (Multi-core)
• AndroBench – 276.87 MB/s (Seq. Read) 219.15 MB/s (Seq. Write)

Infinix Hot 9 Play
• AnTuTu V8 – 98,795
• PCMark Work 2.0 – 5,016
• 3DMark SSE – 391 (OpenGL), 552 (Vulkan)
• Geekbench 5 – 151 (Single-core), 919 (Multi-core)
• AndroBench – 282.16 MB/s (Seq. Read), 216.41 MB/s (Seq. Write)

Performance is where these devices will show its price. Both the Infinix Hot 9 and Hot 9 Play provide a decently smooth day-to-day multitasking use as long as not too many apps are running in the background. So they’re perfect for calls, texts, browsing, and even watching videos.

However, playing graphically intensive games can sometimes lead to a very laggy experience even under the lowest setting, which isn’t surprising since they are running under entry-level chipsets.

Security

For security, both of these devices sport face recognition and a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner—which I prefer since they are more secured and reliable. Unlike face unlock, which struggles under low-light scenarios.

Connectivity and Battery

Both the Infinix Hot 9 and Hot 9 Plays features Dual-SIM, 4G, WiFi, and Bluetooth 5.0

For battery, the Infinix Hot 9 rocks a massive 5,000mAh battery, and 6,000mAh for the Hot 9 Play, which is impressive. Sadly, we don’t have any fast charging support on both of these devices.

We tested both the Hot 9 and Hot 9 Play with PC Mark’s battery test, and we got 18 hours and 28 minutes on the Hot 9, and we got 21 hours and 24 minutes on the Hot 9 Play.

Both of these devices can run you a full day through a single charge. Although charging both of these devices from 0 to 100% took us approximately 3 hours.

Conclusion

These smartphones come it two variants, all under PHP 10K. The Hot 9 4GB + 64GB is available for PHP 6,499, while its 4GB + 128GB is priced at PHP 6,999. For the Hot 9 Play, its 2GB + 32GB is available for PHP 5,299, and its 4GB + 64GB is priced at PHP 5,999.

Compared to other smartphones in their price tags, these phones genuinely offer more than what you pay for. They’re not the best, but they are enough as casual all-around day-to-day smartphones with their big batteries, satisfactory performance, and good cameras.

One letdown I find on these devices is their OS, it is heavily skinned, and as I mentioned earlier, icons are quite confusing at times, but you can quickly remedy that by using third-party launchers.

Other than that, both the Infinix Hot 9 and Hot 9 Play are easy choices, especially if you’re looking for a slid daily driver under the PHP 10K price range.

Infinix Hot 9 specs:
6.6-inch HD+ (1640 x 720) Infinity-O display
MediaTek Helio A25 octa-core CPU
4GB RAM
64 GB, 128GB internal storage
Expandable up to 256GB via microSD slot
Quad-rear cameras: 16MP (main) + 2MP (macro) + 2MP (depth) + QVGA
8MP front camera
Dual-SIM (nano)
4G LTE
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 5.0
GPS, A-GPS
Fingerprint scanner (rear)
Face Unlock
Micro-USB
Stereo Speakers w/ DTS Audio
Android 10 (Go Edition)
5,000mAh battery (with 5V/2A wired charging)
165 x 76.8 x 8.7 mm
185 g
Midnight Black, Violet, Quetzal Cyan, Ocean Wave

Infinix Hot 9 Play specs:
6.6-inch HD+  (1600 x 720) Cinematic display
MediaTek Helio A25 octa-core CPU
2GB, 4GB RAM
32GB, 64 GB internal storage
Expandable up to 256GB via microSD slot
Dual-rear cameras: 13MP (main) + QVGA
8MP front camera
Dual-SIM (nano)
4G LTE
WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 5.0
GPS, A-GPS
Fingerprint scanner (rear)
Face Unlock
Micro-USB
Stereo Speakers w/ DTS Audio
XOS 6.0 (based on Android 10)
6,000mAh battery with Smart Power Saver technology
171.82 x 77.96 x 8.90 mm
209 g
Midnight Black, Violet, Quetzal Cyan, Ocean Wave

 



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2 Responses

  1. joberta says:

    This brand loves to use weak socs on their phones, to keep the prices down. Since they use these socs, don’t expect the cameras to perform as well. Imagine charging that 6000mah via usb lol.

  2. Indira says:

    Does it already have a screen protector installed upon the purchase?

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