Infinix, from the house of Transsion Holdings, is gearing up its India operations under the sub-10K budget smartphone segment. Why else would they launch three devices back-to-back, with a price difference of just a couple thousand bucks between them? First, we saw the Infinix Smart 3 Plus, which aimed to provide seamless smartphone experience to the crowd that aims to switch from thing-of-the-past feature phones for just 7K INR. Next is the Infinix S4, about which I will talk in this article. Last (but not the least?), there is Infinix Hot 7 Pro, which is priced just shy of the border at 9,999 INR, so maybe no more devices from the brand in this price band, at least this year.
Clearly, the company aims to capture a piece of the budget market, which is currently dominated by the likes of Xiaomi. Samsung, Motorola, Realme, are few brands who have tried to enter this segment but haven’t been as successful as they’d have wanted. The Infinix S4 sits cosily between the two other models mentioned earlier and is priced at 8,999 INR. How does it fare? Let’s find out.
Before I begin, I’d like to point out that this review may read more as a comparison between the Infinix S4 and the Smart 3 Plus. Blame the brand for reusing most of the features!
The well-designed Infinix S4 is impressive on first look. The rounded edges make for a better grip. The plastic body comes with a glossy gradient back, which further fades into a darker color towards the bottom. Although the rear of the device is prone to fingerprint smudges, a TPU case bundled in the box instantly comes to rescue. Infinix S4 is available in blue, grey, and purple colour variants.
The front houses a waterdrop notch at the centre, with a 32 MP camera lens and an earpiece on top wedged between the frame and the display. No dedicated LED flash for selfies, which could be considered a let-down. It is compensated with a software-based screen flash.
The triple camera setup at the rear is powered by artificial intelligence, and along with the quad LED flash, is placed vertically on the top left. The cameras are enclosed in a curved oval frame made up of the same plastic as the frame. The words ‘AI – Triple Camera’ are engrossed in silver below the flash. The fingerprint sensor sits in the middle of the top half, with the Infinix branding below it. The series name (S) is written at the bottom centre, with another “Designed by Infinix” branding below it, all in black. The fingerprint sensor has matte texture as opposed to the glossy back, thus making it easily distinguishable.
The micro USB charging port is in the middle at the bottom, with either side having a 3.5 mm headphone jack along and the speaker grille. The primary microphone lies in between the headphone jack and the charging port.
The right side of the smartphone contains the volume rocker button and a non-textured power button (it was textured in the cheaper Infinix Smart 3 Plus). Wonder why brands keep playing with such simple-yet-useful features over-and-over again with different models or series. The left contains the SIM tray which supports dual nano SIM cards, and a dedicated microSD card for external storage.
The box also contains a SIM ejector tool, and a charging adapter with a micro USB cable.
The display on the Infinix S4 is lifted as is from the Smart 3 Plus – 6.21-inch HD+ screen with a resolution of 1520×720 pixels, 2.5D glass cover, and 500 nits brightness, ugly notch resulting in reduced bezels on three sides, with a thicker chin in comparison. Same as before, the notch can be hidden with a UI tweak.
The bright and vivid display works as expected even under direct sunlight. The humongous size makes it a good candidate for consuming video content and playing games, but the reduced sharpness and lesser pixels-per-inch fail to render the content according to its quality. Also, the ‘auto brightness’ feature appears to be a little buggy. When going to a brighter environment, the display sometimes fails to adapt to the lighting conditions, rendering itself illegible. I am resorting to setting the brightness manually on this device, which seems to be a step backward.
Infinix S4 sports a triple camera setup (13 MP primary + 2 MP depth + 8 MP 120-degree wide angle) on the rear with quad LED flash. The artificial intelligence integration allows the setup to identify the condition in which it is being used, and thus select a mode automatically. For instance, it can determine and choose among HDR, night, or sports mode depending on the scene in the view. Moreover, the AI mode is the default mode. There is no switching it off! Thus, one is to rely on the intelligence, failing which the shots won’t come out as expected. The front shooter is a 32 MP lens.
When compared to the camera setup on the Smart 3 Plus, the addition of a wide-angle lens is a welcome move. This has been made possible by the removal of the dedicated low-light sensor. As a result, the low-light images on this device clearly fail to impress with their reduced sharpness and a lot of noise and grains, not that they were any good earlier. The wide-angle shots themselves seem to be distorted in most of the cases.
The photos taken during the daylight turned out to be decent, with a good amount of details being captured. Autofocus has improved – is much faster now and results in getting the exposure right. Edge detection in the bokeh mode still fails to impress though – this is after the latest software update which explicitly mentions improving the edge detection.
The front shooter captures decent selfies in daylight thanks to HDR support, but the photos lose sharpness as the lighting conditions degrade. Exposure seems to have improved. Edge detection in the portrait mode has a similar fate as that of the rear camera setup. The front camera also has an AR mode, wherein the face is decorated with various augmented reality stickers. Overall, the selfie experience has improved when compared to the Smart 3 Plus.
Infinix S4 runs on the MediaTek Helio P22 chipset. It is supported by 3 GB RAM, and 32 gigs internal storage which is expandable via the dedicated slot.
By increasing the RAM in S4, Infinix has solved one of the major challenges presented by the Smart 3 Plus. The phone delivers a smooth multi-tasking experience – no lag was observed when running and switching multiple apps. Playing basic games was a smooth experience overall, with a few instances of sluggish behaviour over time. 3 gigs should now be an industry standard as far as the memory on smartphones is considered – no matter the price range. Anything less doesn’t cut it anymore, all because of the ever-increasing hunger of the apps.
The fingerprint sensor does a decent enough job of unlocking the device.
Infinix S4 runs on the same software as used by the Smart 3 Plus – XOS 5.0 Cheetah based on Android 9 Pie. The usual Read Mode, Eye Care, recently used apps shortcut, etc. are present.
Software-based face unlock deserves a special mention.
Infinix S4 is powered by 4,000 mAh battery, which is 500 mAh more in comparison to you know who. The backup remains impressive.