Infinix Zero 5 Review: Underrated Phablet Powerhouse

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While the brand might not ring a bell to everyone, Infinix makes a couple of decent value-for-money phones, and the Zero 5 is no exception. It may not have that trendy 18:9 display (hence its huge size), but its dual rear camera setup with 2X optical zoom makes it an interesting offering for a hair under $276.

Can Infinix make some noise in the mid-range market with the Zero 5? Let’s take a quick look at the spec sheet.

Infinix Zero 5 Specs
  • MediaTek Helio P25 octa-core processor
  • 6GB of RAM
  • 5.98-inch Full HD IPS display; 1920×1080 resolution with Corning Gorilla Glass
  • 64GB internal storage (expandable via MicroSD up to 128GB)
  • 12-megapixel f/2.0 primary camera and 13-megapixel f/2.6 secondary camera with 2X optical zoom, autofocus, LED flash
  • 16-megapixel f/2.0 front camera with LED flash
  • 4G, LTE
  • Dual SIM
  • WiFi, Bluetooth
  • GPS, A-GPS
  • USB-C, Fingerprint Sensor
  • 4350mAh Battery with XCharge
  • Android 7.0 Nougat, XOS 3.0 UI

It is one big phone

Because it does not use an 18:9 display, the Zero 5’s almost 6-inch display resulted in a phone that is relatively big. While it is still pocketable, you will need extra big pockets for the Zero 5. Other than its humongous size, the build is very decent with its aluminum unibody shell, just as we pointed out in our quick review.

One thing that’s nice with the Zero 5 is that it has separate trays for the SIM cards and the MicroSD. Yes, you can use two SIMs and a MicroSD card at the same time. The only catch is that only the SIM1 slot it LTE capable, leaving the SIM2 slot limited to 3G connectivity.

While the rear does remind us of another phone, the use of a faux carbon fiber plate for the camera unit gave the Zero 5 a premium look, which looks really good especially with the Bordeaux red model we are using for this review.

Big display means great video and gaming experience

While it uses a less trendy 16:9 aspect ratio, the Zero 5’s 5.98-inch display is made for those who consume a lot of video content. It has a decent brightness level by default and renders colors well without being too saturated. Aside from watching videos, playing games is a nice thing to do as you have a large screen estate, along with decent internals to boot, which we will discuss in the next section.

A legit mid-range powerhouse

Equipped with an Helio P25 processor paired with 6GB of RAM, the Zero 5 is a performer for its class. We recorded an AnTuTu score of 65308, which brings it close to the score we got with the OPPO F5—a mid-range phone equipped with a newer Helio P23 chip and a smaller 4GB RAM.

With our real-life use, multitasking is very efficient with the Zero 5. Even when we do heavy tasks with it, be it long-exposure photography or gaming, the Zero 5 manages to keep the temperatures stable. Overheating is not an issue with the Zero 5, and that is even if we were playing graphics-intensive games with it.

Speaking of games, we tried playing Marvel Future Fight, Asphalt 8 and NBA 2K17with the Zero 5, and it’s internals do get the job done. For the first two games, the Zero 5 was near to flawless in running them on high settings. As for NBA 2K17, you get lower framerates when you max out the settings, but the game is still very playable with little to no lags. Check out our GameBench stats for the three games:

While the 46% FPS stability may discourage you, its Median FPS of 31 makes the Zero 5 one of the better mid-range phones in running Marvel Future Fight.

With Asphalt 8, everything is smooth sailing with the Zero 5.

Pushing NBA 2K17 to max settings, the Zero 5 is a relatively smooth performer. However, if you want to attain higher frame rates, it is recommended to lower the settings. In fact, we were hitting a median FPS of 56 when we ran the game on Low-to-Mid settings.

XOS is a well-designed skin in spite of bloatware

While you get only Android 7.0 and a heavily skinned UI, Infinix’ XOS is a pleasure to use. You get nicely laid-out settings and slide down notification panel, along with a swipe up gesture for opening the app drawer. Though there are a bunch of bloatware installed with it, they do not affect the overall operation of the phone, making the overall experience with XOS a good one.

While it is well-designed, there are a few bugs we spotted in it. Among these is a buggy Bluetooth connection, where the connection has a tendency to drop at times, especially when paired with an external audio device. We hope that Infinix will issue an update to fix this minor issue soon.

Cameras really shine through with photography

Aside from sporting a dual rear-camera, the Zero 5 is one of the most affordable phones to sport a 2X optical zoom. We talked about the rear cameras in our first shots article, and we are particularly impressed at three things: 1) The reliability of its 2X optical zoom, 2) It’s low-light performance, and 3) Its professional mode, making the Zero 5 a great phone to take long exposure photos.

As for the 16-megapixel front camera, the absence of an LED flash is not a big deal since it performs well even in low light.

While it is a real performer when it comes to photography, it is a different situation when it comes to video. Aside from being limited to 1080P shooting, the absence of OIS and/or EIS result in unstable footage. Should you be using the Zero 5 for videos, you must have a good gimbal with it (or place it on a tripod) to get good footage.

Video aside, we can’t deny how the Zero 5 has one of the better cameras for its price. Check out the photos we took using the Zero 5:

A phablet that can last for more than a day

Being a large phone, Infinix was able to put a generous 4350mAh battery inside it. Pair it with a power-efficient Helio P25 processor, and this phone can last for almost two days without charging it. Our PCMark battery test resulted in an impressive battery life of 12 hours and 12 minutes, which is very impressive considering that the battery has to power up a large 5.98-inch Full HD display.

In real life tests, we managed to 1 day and 18 hours before we needed to juice it up. Our usage includes a few hours of gaming, several photography sessions, the occasional social media feed browsing, and the usual calls. Aside from the cameras, the Zero 5 also has an efficient battery to boot.

Charging it up is no issue, as it is equipped with Infinix’s XCharge quick charging tech. Charging it from 5% to 100% only took us a shy below one and a half hours, which is good should you need to quickly juice up the Zero 5 while on the go.

Verdict: An underrated phablet with excellent value for money

For a hair under $276 (it is actually being sold in Lazada for $257 as of this writing), the Zero 5 offers real value for money for its class. While it is one huge phone, the Zero 5’s impressive internals and large battery can get you going for more than a day, regardless of what you do with the phone. It’s dual rear cameras are its standout feature, as it offers a legit optical zoom, along with a pro mode that will push the Zero 5’s cameras to its full potential.

If there’s one challenge with the Zero 5, it is its availability. Right now, Infinix sells its phones online via Lazada, and that there are no physical stores as of this writing. If Infinix decides to sell the Zero 5 in stores, we expect it to be a good seller against its more popular mid-range rivals.

(unbox.ph, https://goo.gl/sC3QED)

 

 

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