Infinix has lately upped its game in the budget segment and has been launching phones with promising hardware at very competitive price points. The company has boasted of launching the most affordable phones with three rear cameras and a hole-punch display. Now, Infinix is looking to nab another first with the Infinix S5 Pro – claimed to be the lowest priced phone packing a pop-up selfie camera. The latest Infinix model also features three rear cameras with a 48-megapixel main snapper, a pixel-dense full-HD+ notchless display, and a decent 4,000mAh battery.
The brand, owned by Transsion Holdings, is also jumping onto the Android 10 bandwagon with the Infinix S5 Pro. With the grand ambition of taking the fight to popular Chinese smartphone makers such as Xiaomi and Realme, does this device have enough substance to actually emerge as a solid alternative? We find out in our review:
Infinix S5 Pro design and build quality
Big and bold – these are the two words that first came to mind when we took the Infinix S5 Pro out of its retail package. The frame and rear panel of the phone are made out of plastic, but the build quality is good. We noticed minor flex, especially in the middle of the rear panel and along the edges, but not enough to be noticable with day-to-day usage, and much better than the flimsy Infinix Hot 8 (Review). The rear panel is curved on all four sides and meets the frame without creating any sharp edges.
Infinix has done a good job of giving the rear panel a glass-like finish, and thankfully, the phone is not too slippery. The colour options are both rather garish, and won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. The Violet colour option that we had for review has a strong pink undertone that gradually darkens and looks purplish towards the edges, including the frame. The glossy rear panel has a mirror-like finish and is extremely reflective. The other option is Forest Green which is equally bright.
This look might appeal to people who like vivid colours and drawing attention. Unfortunately, the Infinix S5 Pro is only available in these two colours, and if you are looking for a more subtle option, you are out of luck.
The rear camera module creates a large bump and makes the phone wobble when placed on a flat surface. Also, the design seems very similar to that of the Vivo V15, down to the shape and placement of the fingerprint scanner and the physical buttons. The volume and power buttons are within reach and offer a clicky response. As for the pop-up front camera, Infinix says it has been designed to withstand 150,000 lifts, which translates to 50 cycles each day for over eight years. However, we noticed that dust easily accumulates around the pop-up module.
The Infinix S5 Pro doesn’t look like a budget phone from the front, thanks to the notch-less display. However, it is stuck with a Micro-USB port, which is disappointing since rivals have now moved on to the modern USB Type-C standard. The phone has a triple slot tray for two Nano-SIMs and a microSD card, which is a sigh of relief since there’s no hybrid solution. The fingerprint sensor was not accurate in our experience, which was a huge annoyance. It failed to recognize our fingerprint in one go almost every time we tried to unlock the phone.
Infinix S5 Pro specifications and software
The Infinix S5 Pro has a 6.53-inch full-HD+ IPS LCD display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, which makes for a 91 percent screen-to-body ratio. The panel has a pixel density of 403ppi and Infinix has used 2.5G curved-edge NEG Dinorex glass for protection. The phone does not come with a pre-applied screen protector.
Infinix’s latest offering relies on the MediaTek Helio P35 SoC paired with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage, which can be expanded by 256GB. The phone is equipped with a 4,000mAh battery, but fast charging is limited to 10W. Connectivity is handled by 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5, and Wi-Fi 802.11ac. There is also a 3.5mm headphone jack at the bottom, sitting alongside the mono speaker.
The Infinix S5 Pro’s triple rear camera setup is headlined by a 48-megapixel OmniVision sensor with an f/1.79 aperture. There is also a 2-megapixel depth camera and a dedicated low-light sensor. Interestingly, the company markets the Infinix S5 Pro as a triple rear camera phone, but only one of the three sensors is actually capable of taking photos on its own. The pop-up module houses a 16-megapixel front camera with an f/2.0 aperture. Camera features include AR emojis, Portrait HDR, and wide selfies.
The Infinix S5 Pro runs Android 10 with the custom XOS 6.0 UI. Our review unit was stuck on the dated November 2019 Android security patch. Aside from a native dark theme, the Android 10-based iteration of XOS does not bring any notable new features to the table, and its design also remains unchanged. There is a tonne of bloatware; both first-party and third-party. Notably, Kika keyboard still ships as the default on the Infinix S5 Pro, despite having being booted from the Google Play Store because of ad fraud.
The preinstalled Palm Store and AHA Games apps act as Play Store alternatives, but the quality of apps they offer is poor. Some of the preinstalled apps send spammy notifications, but this can be turned off. XOS 6.0 also shows a carousel of instant apps at the top when you pull up the app drawer. These are essentially online apps that don’t need to be downloaded and installed, but they are also inundated with ads, which can be quite frustrating.
On the bright side, XOS 6.0 also offers some useful features. We quite like the convenience offered by the Smart Panel, which allows quick access to frequently used apps and tools. We also noticed that navigation gestures are more reliable compared to XOS 5.0 on older Infinix phones. The Social Turbo feature is pretty interesting, and lets you record WhatsApp calls, apply automatic face beautification in video calls, and see messages that have been recalled by their senders. Infinix has said that this has been developed in collaboration with WhatsApp and users’ security and privacy have not been compromised even though Social Turbo has full access to your messages.
Infinix S5 Pro performance
The screen of the Infinix S5 Pro is crisp, and viewing angles are acceptable. Colours are punchy, but there is a distinct bluish tinge to the display which makes everything appear a little cold. Unfortunately, there is no system setting to adjust the colour profile or the temperature of the display.
The brightness is adequate, and we did not have to struggle while using this phone outdoors under direct sunlight. However, a minor annoyance is that the display is quite reflective, which is especially evident when the UI’s dark mode is enabled. Also, despite its full-HD+ resolution, this phone is only Widevine L3 certified, which means you cannot stream HD or higher resolution content on platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.
Coming to actual performance, the MediaTek Helio P35 chip proves to be reliable, as long as you stick to common tasks. The phone handled multitasking between apps with ease, and did not resort to aggressive RAM management with 10-15 social media and productivity apps running in the background. However, gaming is where the MediaTek Helio P35 starts to struggle.
Casual games such as Mario Kart and Alto’s Odyssey ran fine, but the phone struggled with graphics-intensive games. PUBG Mobile ran at the Balanced graphics setting with the frame rate set to Medium, while COD Mobile defaulted to the Low graphics preset. Even so, we noticed frame drops and occasional stutters every now and then. Synthetic benchmark tests also narrate a similar story.
The Infinix S5 Pro scored 187 and 1,070 in the Geekbench 5 single and multi-core tests respectively. Coming to the more graphics intensive benchmarks, the phone reached 449 in 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme and 822 in the 3DMark Sling Shot tests. It is quite evident that the Helio P35 is weaker than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665, which can be found inside phones in the same price bracket. Also, it performs significantly worse than the MediaTek Helio G70, which powers the Realme C3 which is priced even lower at Rs. 6,999.
Coming to the cameras, the layout of the default camera app remains unchanged. All the camera modes including Video, AI cam, Beauty, and Bokeh Effect, among others, are located in a row at the bottom, while the HDR, flash, scene mode, and settings icons are at the top. Notably, there is no Pro mode in the camera app, and you also can’t take photos in 16:9 aspect ratio. Another quirk is that despite having a dedicated low-light sensor, there is no Night mode.
The Infinix S5 Pro is severely undercut by rivals that offer more versatility in the form of wide-angle and macro cameras, but what it lacks in versatility, the Infinix S5 Pro tries to make up with raw image output. Daylight photos turn out really well for a phone priced under Rs. 10,000. The images are crisp and retain a good amount of detail. There is good contrast, and dynamic range is decent as well. We quite liked the fact that the Infinix S5 Pro does not overprocess photos, and colours look natural. However, the phone occasionally struggled with white balance under harsh sunlight and produced washed-out landscape shots.
The phone also impressed us with its close-ups, which retain a healthy amount of detail and have punchy colours. Another strong area of the Infinix S5 Pro is portrait shots. The phone did a good job of subject separation and the depth effect was acceptable. Edge detection was also decent, except with hair when the subject in focus was a human.
Low-light photography is definitely not this phone’s forte. Despite packing a dedicated low-light sensor, night shots turned out grainy with minimal sharpness and contrast. We tested the low-light sensor’s effectiveness by physically covering it, but couldn’t spot any visible difference in photos except for a slightly higher ISO. The phone would have produced better results by combining multiple shots captured at different exposure levels using a Night mode.
Selfies captured by the 16-megapixel front camera look pleasing and skin tones were natural, but there is not much to resolve in terms of detail if you zoom in. Infinix has toned down the aggressive skin smoothening that we have seen on its previous phones, which is a welcome move. What we didn’t like was that the background is overblown in selfies shot outdoors under sunlight. Portrait selfies look decent, but the background blur is flat.
There is a wide selfie mode, but the results were almost always distorted. There is also an AR emoji feature, but the animated face avatars look more like bad 2D masks. Head movements are captured smoothly, but eye tracking could have been better.
Battery life was just about average. With regular usage that involved day-long Internet connectivity, up to three hours of music playback over Bluetooth headphones, and around an hour of gaming and social media usage each, the phone had 20-25 percent left in its battery at the end of the day. Playing a graphics-intensive game such as PUBG Mobile for half an hour consumed 10 percent of the battery, and the phone didn’t get too hot.
In our HD video battery loop test, the Infinix S5 Pro lasted 15 hours and 42 minutes before the battery fully discharged. The bundled 10W charger is quite slow though. It took 61 minutes to charge the 4,000mAh battery up to the 50 percent mark, after which the charging rate slowed down and it took an additional 1 hour and 53 minutes to charge this phone fully.
The Infinix S5 Pro has a few things going in its favour. The notchless full-HD+ display and pop-up selfie camera are impressive for a phone in this price bracket.The performance, however, is just middling, and when compared to equally priced rivals, this phone leaves a lot to be desired. The main camera performs well in the daytime, but despite packing a dedicated low-light sensor, night photography output is sub-par. Battery life is also barely average, and it takes almost three hours to charge the 4,000mAh battery.
If your primary concerns are style and standing out, and you can make a few compromises in terms of functionality, the Infinix S5 Pro could be a decent pick for Rs. 9,999. On the other hand, if you want the maximum value for your money, the Redmi Note 8, Realme 5S, and Vivo U10 are better than the Infinix phone in almost all key areas.