It still awesome after all this time of paying attention to the tech industry, that there are products out there that I have literally never heard of, like the Infinix Zero 8 phone. Saying that, I’ve never heard of Infinix either, before creating this review. Well, Infinix are a relatively new company, founded in 2013. Their primary focus markets look to be Africa, Asia and the Middle East looking at their website, and they’ve got a whole host of mobile phones, with one of them being the Infinix Zero 8. But they’re also known for their quirky model numbers too.
Looking at the phone, it’s evidently clear that this is a handset that doesn’t follow conventional design patterns that are usually associated with flagship handsets. Most notably is the diamond rhombus camera on the rear of the handset. It’s a really good looking handset, but I understand how it might not be to everyone’s taste.
More so with the fact that the Infinix Zero 8 blends two tones of matte silver, with our handset anyway, pretty harshly. There’s a solid line that runs between the two, and has been designed to mimic the bottom of the camera housing. The rear of the handset is susceptable to scratches and blemishes including finger prints, but Infinix do supply a thin silicon transparent casing with the handset. It’s branded pretty tastefully with the Infinix name, but unfortunately, like we’ve seen wiith other Asian handsets in the past, it’s also marked with CE logo for copyright reasons. It really ruins what I consider to be quite a beautiful and quirky looking handset. It’s bordered with a mirrored plastic rim, which will protect the phone from drops, but it’s nowhere near as seamless looking as say an iPhone 11 or a Samsung S20. It’s a design choice that was made to hide the fact that two sides of the phone were bolted together. It works for sure, but it’s just not as pristine as some other flagship handsets on the market these days.
Down the right hand side you can find from top to bottom the volume rocker, as well as the power button, which has also been paired up by the finger print scanner – or in this case, the thumb print scanner – which is surprisingly reactive to a scan. I’m very impressed with how fast the scanner reacted to my thumb print and how fast the phone actually unlocked. The SIM card and microSD card tray is located on the left hand side and requires a tool to unlock, and on bottom you can find a USB Type-C input as well as a trusty headphone jack. Infinix supply a basic headphone and microphone combo with the phone, which is alright, but nothing special when it comes to audio quality. Think the basic Apple headphones, but an Infinix version.
There’s also no hiding the fact that the Infinix Zero 8 is an asbolute chungas of a handset. Granted, when holding in the hand for some one handed use, it felt alright. The phone itself is a little top heavy, thanks to the large diamond housing for the camera, but everything seemed well within reach. Using my thumb to unlock the device had no issues although I couldn’t stretch my thumb up very far to the top of the device. I could get about half way and that’s it. Typing was also a little difficult with one hand. I often had to switch to two to reply to Whatsapp messages. I also had to opt for the older style three button navigation at the bottom of the screen too, as using gesture control again one handed was nigh-on impossible. But, I do like a big screen.
The screen itself measures in at just under 7-inches. We would have laughed some time ago at a phone with a screen this size, but here in 2020, with more media being consumed on our handsets, it’s actually quite welcome. However, it’s only coming in at 1080×2460, so there’s a lot to be desired from the resolution. Though there’s something special happening here. It has a 90Hz refresh rate and a 180Hz touch sampling rate.
And yes, day to day use with the Infinix Zero 8 just feels a lot smoother than the usual 60Hz panels we’ve come to expect from modern day handsets. Where this phone does let down the team is with its pixel response times. There’s a strange hazyness that happens to text if you’re scrolling down an article too fast, which was evident when we were looking at our own website on the phone. It’s definitely unreadable, so if you’re a fast reader, then stopping and starting may get on your nerves. This ghosting wasn’t as obvious when gaming was concerned though, probably because there’s a lot more going on on the screen itself. But for primary white and black text websites, it wasn’t good, especially as this phone is touting a 90Hz display as a selling feature.
Another downfall to the screen quality is the fact there isn’t the ability to fine tune the colour tints. And at times, when watching some casual videos, colour looked a little muted. There wasn’t any real punch. However, there’s a bit of software trickery going on in the background here. The screen claims a max brightness of 450nits, however Infinix is claming their handset is HDR10 and HLG compatible. It didn’t help, and when watching my usual go to HDR Costa Rica video on YouTube, it again looked very dull. It’s a real shame that the screen has left such a sour taste in my mouth considering that it’s a pretty decent size for media consumption. And yes, before you go all stir crazy, I know that YouTube isn’t the best source for HDR content, but chances are this type of online video content is going to be the most widely consumed on a phone.
The screen is also as edge to edge as the bezels allow, and yes, while there’s a slightly wider than I’d like to have seen chin, it does a pretty good job of covering pretty much all of the front real estate. This is until you get to the hole punch camera. Now this style of selfie cam isn’t new, and while we’ve seen hole punches from the likes of Samsung and Apple, the holepunch cam here again lacks refinement. There’s a solid black border that surrounds the two lenses, and it is far from a clean implementation. Infinix have done a great job though of centering their notification bar with the front-facing cameras, making it look part of the notification bar. It’s only really blatant when you’re watching videos.
While we’re talking about media, we may as well talk about the speaker while we’re here. It’s not bad. It’s a mobile phone speaker after all, and it’s not going to give you the best quality. It’s alright for watching YouTube videos, but I don’t think you’d want to sit through a sitcom or movie inside of Netflix with this. Stick a decent set of headphones in instead. There is an equiliser that you can use to fine-tune your audio, but it barely really made a difference to the onboard audio. But, this is kind of expected from a mobile phone speaker.
Android xOS Features
The Infinix Zero 8 uses their own Android skin called xOS and oh my god is this software full of junk. I don’t want to spend too much time on Android this time round in this review, because I didn’t have a very good experience with it. As soon as you start up the phone – and by the way, that was a usual Android experience – but once I hit the homescreen… advert. If I opened up the app tray… adverts for apps. If I went to my notification screen… you guessed it… advert. Even the keyboard, where the predictive text guesses usually go featured an ad to download skins for my phone from “tailored authors”. This, plus an unbelievable amount of pre-loaded apps, that let’s be honest, you’re never going to touch… it really dampened my experience. Just absolute garbage.
Even permissions were starting to get a little tedious. Everything I clicked on felt as if I needed to give away data, or give some kind of access to my mobile phone. It got to a point where I became a little nervous that I had entered in my work email as my Android user account, as of course this is a review phone. But WOW did they want some info from me.
I feel bad for dumping on what I thought was shaping up to be a pretty decent handset at the start of this review, but the Android experience has just let it down in such a big way. To be honest with you, I kind of gave up looking through the rest of it or paying it any more attention, and the time spent removing all the bloatware was just not a great first impression, and to be honest with you, I was just a tad too nervous to open some of the apps. Who has ever heard of BoomPlay or AHA Gaming or even XShare? Feeling nervous is just not something I want to happen when I open my brand new shiny phone, considering your packaging and physical first impressions are so good!
Now that Android is out the way, let’s concentrate on the phone specs… if you want to continue that is. The Infinix Zero 8 is packing a Mediatek MT6785 Helio G90T, an octa-core processor clocked at 2.0Ghz and a Mali-G76 MC4 graphics chip backed up by 8GB RAM. And, for the most part, the phone isn’t too bad when it comes to performance. A Geekbench 5 benchmark scored the phone at 527 for a single-core score and 1,674 at a multi-core score. This puts the Infinix Zero 8 pretty much on par with a iPhone 6S. So, not the fastest by a long shot, but it can still hold its own. I found no issues zipping through the apps I did use, and for any kind of gaming. It was all a very pleasant experience. 3DMark came out with a mediocre score of 2,527 on the Slingshot Extreme – OpenGL tests.
There’s also 128GB of storage too which is ample in this day and age. I’ve never been able to fill up my peronal phones, and I’m a video fanatic and also love to keep my Spotify playlists downloaded. 128GB would be absolutely fine for an average user, and pretty generous too considering the price of this handset.
You’ve got a 4,500mAh battery inside too which I must say, was absolutely wonderful. I’ve been writing this review (at time of writing of course) for around three days. And for those three days I’ve been pretty hands on with the phone. And I’m still sitting here, three days later, with 35% of battery left. This phone for some reason or another holds its battery life very well. There is a power consumption setting in the options menu that you can engage with, and by default it was switched off, but what is unbelievablel is that in the main settings screen, it says I’ve got two days of battery left, but inside the menu it says I’ve got four hours left. There’s an ultra power setting on the phone too, which will boost your phone by an estimated 100 hours worth of battery lif. You’ve got super quick 33watt charging too to take advantage of, so you’ll probably never have to turn off this phone again.
So, let’s take a look at the crown jewel of this phone, the diamond rhombus shaped camera on the back. As you can see just from looking at it, there are four cameras available to you. The biggest is a 64 megapixel, f/1 wide-angle snapper, and trickling down you can find an 8 megapixel ultrawide at f/2.3, and two “depth” cameras, both at f/2.4.
Round front are two selfie cameras, one for standard shots at 48 megapixels with an f/2.2 aperture, and the second is an 8 megapixel ultrawide lens with the same aperture.
Throughout the menu, which by the way has been put together very well and looks very clean, are a whole host of camera modes that you can choose from. AI Cam mode will choose the best camera settings based on subject though, which can be seen changing in the corner depending on what you’re pointing the phone at. But it’s nice to see that the various camera modes like portrait, panoramic, beauty, night and professional mode has been split up along the bottom swipe menu. Video modes can also be reached from that same slider.
For the most part, you’re not going to see many issues with the peformance of the camera and the photos it takes. Sure, it doesn’t quite match up to the results of flagship handsets, but if you’re wanting a camera for sharing images on your Instagram account, then you’re not going to find much better around the sub-£400 mark. The issue you might run into though is noise. There’s a significant amount of noise in these photos, especially if you pinch and zoom to take a closer look at the photos. Autofocus is pretty accurate when using the standand and ultrawide lenses, and there’s even eye tracking too if you’re wanting to follow round a subject, or if you have a moving subject in frame.
One let down was the ‘macro’ mode which unfortunately, just did not deliver me a macro shot. Holding the phone close to my subject, like you would when taking a macro shot, just rendered blurry images, and looked as if it just wasn’t working at all. I just couldn’t seem to auto focus on anything when my phone was on top of it. It told me I needed to be around 2.5cm away from the subject, so I did. But it fared the same.
The selfie camera fared well, and it produced some pretty decent images. And even in the bokeh/portrait mode, the separation from subject and background was relatively crisp. I never really noticed any kind of soft edges. The HDR helped here too, bringing out as much detail in the shot as possible, especially when it came to skies. Skies on a mobile phone have a habit of overexposing, so they look white. Of course on an overcast day like we’re beginning to see in the UK it happens more often than not, but even so, the faint detail of the clouds was decent enough.
The video camera films at up to 4K at 30 frames-per-second, which is pretty decent for a budget handset. However, like we’ve seen with the screen already, colours look very muted and flat. Even at lower resolutions, there’s no way of upping those frames either for a slower motion shot if you were pulling the footage into post. There is though, a dedicated slow motion mode that you can use, which will film in up to 960fps, but this is only for a very short clip. Lower this down to 240fps for a more continuous slow motion filming mode. One thing I’ve noticed though, is that if you’ve moved down to the wide-angle lens, options become limited. Recording quality drops to a maximum of 1080p, though you do retain the auto focus, including on stills too. The image-stabilization is also pretty handy here, being a heavy phone. And it does a great job of keeping moving images as smooth as possible.
The Infinix Zero 8 mobile is a mixed bag for me. On one hand, looking at its design and style, and the fact the screen is massive, and even the intricate camera housing on the back, it is the complete recipe for what I would consider a unique and quite funky handset. But, the Android experience just absoutely lets it down in such a massive way. And unfortunately, I can’t recommend a phone where you’re going to be spending the first few hours uninstalling bloatware, and the fact that you’re served an advert every five minutes is just plain frustrating. The camera though is alright. It’s not perfect, but if you’re a bit of a social media fanatic, and want a decent snapper to upload some shots but don’t want to break the bank, then it wins in this department. If Infinix can really scale back on the amount of bloat and the ads on their Android zOS, then sure, come back and check it out. But for now, I recommend you give this a hard pass, unless of course you’re that sold by the awesome design. For more information, head over to the Infinix website.