Introducing its latest flagship to the Smartphone battlefield, Infinix recently launched the Zero 3 in Kenya. The Zero 3 is built on the same foundation that walls its predecessor and the rest of the Infinix family which is offering great specs at affordable prices – the Zero 3 offers a desired combination of good looks, a powerful engine and a 20.7 megapixel camera at a reasonable price of 18,500 KShs (188 USD). Sounds great, right? But how does it get through the day to day tests that comes its way, how does it stack up against the competition and is it worth buying? Let us find out.
INFINIX ZERO 3 GALLERY
(Click on photos for full resolution)
Before we get started, here’s an overview of the key specifications and features
Display: 5.5 inch Full HD IPS panel protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Camera: 20.7 MP Rear + 5MP Front
Connected by: 4G LTE + the standard Connectivity options, Dual-Sim Support
Running on: Android 5.1 (XUI)
Powered by: A 2.0 GHZ 8-Core Processor + 3 GB RAM, 16 GB Internal Storage and a 3030 mAh Battery.
UNBOXING THE THIRD ZERO
Inside the package you’ll find the Zero 3 in grey, silver, gold, champagne, red or blue though I have only seen the Gold and Grey versions in Kenya. The color in which the device is available may vary in different markets.
Bundled in the package is the charger which comes with a three pin and a two pin charger head, a micro-USB cable, a clear TPU case, a SIM ejector tool and an information booklet. There are no headsets in the package.
LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT
The Infinix Zero 3 is no doubt the most beautiful phone that Infinix has ever made – Its sharp edges, metal frame, glass back and the front 5.5 inch display toughened by gorilla glass 3 makes for a smartphone which looks and feels premium. The choice of materials clearly sets it apart from other smartphones around this price range which tend to employ the plain plastic finish.
Looking around the Zero 3, the volume rocker, the power button together with the microSD slot are found on the right hand side.
The buttons are well placed towards the upper part of the frame allowing you to reach them without any problems. On the left side of the device is the removable micro-SIM slots which can be easily pulled out with the help of the sim ejector tool that is bundled with the package.
Up on the top is the headphone jack and the microphone while the micro USB port and another microphone can be found at the bottom.
Above the display is a speaker grill, a notification light and a front 5 megapixel camera which also has a flash. On the back of the Zero 3 is the 20.7 megapixel camera coupled with a dual-tone LED flash and a speaker grill.
The Zero 3 features a large 5.5 inch display. Double tapping on the screen fires up the full HD display (1080P) which provides a good viewing experience – Text and Images are crystal clear thanks to the high pixel count (400 pixels per inch). Viewing media on the device was a pleasurable experience and I managed to watch some of my favorite videos for hours without straining thanks to the ample screen space.
The Zero 3 has an IPS display which is different from the Amoled panel that was used by its predecessor, the Zero 2. The result is a bright enough display for comfortable outdoor visibility and great viewing angles. The display has out the box damage resistance thanks to Gorilla Glass 3 which has the ability to resist deep scratches and survive small falls, however this doesn’t mean you should go out testing its capabilities.
My experiences with the screen were 95% good. The only challenge I faced was adjusting to the big 5.5 inch screen especially when using it with one hand in portrait mode. The good thing is that the device received a software update that brought along ‘one handed use’. More on this later.
The Zero 3 comes with 16 gigabytes of internal storage but this can be expanded further via the microSD slot. The device comes with the standard suite of connectivity options as well as Bluetooth 4.0 and 4G LTE. The LTE bands supported include LTE 800 MHz, 1800MHz, 2100MHz, 2600MHz and connectivity on Safaricom’s 4G network was superb. Moving on to the audio, the quality of the single speaker at the back is quite good. Infinix says that the Zero 3 provides an experience similar to live performance with Knowles high-fidelity magnetic boom microphones and Helio X10 audio processing. The result of all that lingo bomb is that sound is clear and loud enough and even when listening to audio in full volume, it does not distort.
As for the battery, the zero 3 utilizes a 3030 non-removable Li-ion battery which provides average battery life with around four to four and a half hours SOT (screen-on-time) on a normal day when watching video, using the Camera, playing games, browsing and making calls on 3G and 4G. When considering general battery life, all you need to know is that the Zero 3 is capable of taking you through the day on a full charge so you don’t have to worry about carrying your charger to work.
Under the hood, the Infinix Zero 3 packs the MediaTek Helio X10 processor. The top of the line chipset has eight ARM Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 2000MHz. This is backed by a PowerVR G6200 GPU (Graphics processing unit) and 3 Gigabytes of RAM. The result of all these is excellent performance – Multitasking was an easy job for the Zero 3 with buttery smooth transitions and no lag even when switching between resource intensive applications.
The device also handles games very well. My favorite racing game, Need for Speed: Most Wanted performed smoothly without any stutter although the device got a bit warm at times, but not warm enough to stop you from using it. Everything considered, the processing package coupled with the GPU and RAM do an outstanding job at providing performance that is only seen in high end devices.
The Zero 3 comes with a 20.7 mega pixel rear camera together with a dual-color led flash to enhance color and details in low light situations. The rear camera uses a SONY IMX230 CMOS sensor, the same sensor used in the Sony Xperia Z3+, Moto X Style and the Huawei Honor 7 (Keep in mind that all these smartphones cost more than 350 USD while the Zero 3 costs less than 200 USD).What you get from this is impressive photos that will leave people asking which phone you are using every time you upload a photo on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
By default, the camera interface is set to normal mode which allows you to take instant photos in situations where you don’t have time to compose yourself and all you want is to point and shoot. The Camera focuses instantly thanks to the IMX 230’s phase detection auto focus. I tested this and I was amazed. The two photos below for instance were spontaneous and the Camera still did a good job. Notice that details are still preserved even when you zoom in. (Click on photos for full resolution)
If you want to take a step further and get more control then you can take advantage of the ‘Professional mode’ which allows you to change settings such as the shutter speed, ISO(sensitivity of the image sensor to light), manual focus, white balance and exposure compensation just the way you’d do in a DSLR. Pro photographers will really love this, and even if you have just discovered photography, this phone will take you from being an amateur to a pro in no time.
Other rear camera features and modes worth mentioning include Filters, Panorama mode and HDR for capturing clear photos against strong backlit.
If you are interested in video, you’ll be glad to hear that the rear camera can shoot 4K video at 30 frames per second. Pretty sweet, right? One good thing about shooting in 4K is that you can zoom in or crop your video without noticeable loss in quality unlike shooting in 1080P. Recorded videos are saved in 3gp format which is rather strange since this is a less popular format. Nonetheless, video quality is still excellent and no device around this price range comes even close.
Below are other sample photos taken using the Zero 3 rear camera (Click on photos for full resolution).
In charge of the selfie department is a 5 megapixel camera with a LED flash for low light scenarios. Front camera features worth mentioning include Picture in Picture (PIP) and the Beauty mode which applies some digital make up to your selfies. Selfie Lovers will really be impressed by this.
Below is a selfie I took using the front camera, probably the best selfie I have ever taken.
The Zero 3 runs Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box and comes with Infinix custom XUI skinning. While on most Smartphones, skinning comes with plenty of bloat, my experience with XUI was a good one as its slim and fast unlike other custom skins by other Smartphone Manufacturers.
XUI has very useful features some of which enhance the hardware features as well. The smart power management feature for example, offers multiple operating modes including a high performance mode, a normal mode, a power saving mode and the ultra-power saving mode. These modes allow you to alter performance and regulate power usage.
XUI also has a theme engine that allows you to personalize and change the look of the user interface the way you desire. The theme engine allows you to change fonts, icons, wallpapers and many more. Other important features worth mentioning include the one handed mode which reduces the size of the UI so that it can easily be used with one hand, Action controls like double tap to wake, gestures, the magazine lock screen which automatically switches the lock screen wallpaper and the music app which has a very neat interface and offers a variety of options including an in-built equalizer.
The Infix Zero 3 has a lot going for it. The 5.5 inch device looks good and feels great, has a powerful processing package and RAM to push all your resource intensive apps and games, comes with 4G LTE , a 3030 mAh battery and a high end 20.7 Megapixel rear camera. To top it all off, it is quite reasonably priced at 18,500 KShs (188 USD). All these make the Infinix Zero 3 a device that I’ll easily recommend to anyone who is looking for high end performance and specs at a price that won’t hurt their pockets.
That said, there are still a few areas where the Zero 3 is far from perfect and I’d like Infinix to improve on. These include the heating when playing resource intensive games and the limited support for different video formats when shooting video. The good thing is that all these can be rectified with a software update. Other than these, I’d also like to see a mini version of the Zero next time the way other brands do with their flagship devices for those who don’t want a big device but still want the flagship experience. That would be nice.
What do you think about the Infinix Zero 3? Kindly let me know in the comments section below.