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Infinix Hot 9: ‘Sound’ value – plus a few cool tools

 A jumbo battery, excellent cinema sound and  max-use of display area, makes the Hot 9 a good  buy for binge video watchers

Anand Parthasarathy

July 4 2020: There is an invisible but very important dividing line in the Indian smartphone market   and that occurs at the Rs 10,000 price point.  There a huge customer base of millions of Indians, who self-impose Lakshman Rekha if we can call it that: They are neither able nor willing to spend more on a phone. 

But while limited by their purse, there are no limits to their aspirations -- and they want the latest and best of technologies. The challenge is to give them (most of) what such customers desire, without breaking their purchase limits.

In over 20 years of reviewing mobile devices, I am convinced that   very few phone makers have the canny sense to realise this fact of the handset business – and are able to do something about it. And among them, Infinix has perfected this art rather nicely.

Their recent launch of the Hot 9 range only bears out my hypothesis:  by packing in features and specs that buyers in this price bind could only aspire for – till now.

Consider what the Infinix Hot 9 offers:

A full HD 6.6 inch screen – almost bezel-less and with the front camera “punched” into the top left hand corner of the screen so that when you view video, you have the maximum view area.

A quad camera combo on the rear with a 13 MP main lens with a 2 MP depth sensor, a 2 MP macro for  closeups and a low light sensor.   The triple LED flash almost works like studio lighting to chase away the shadows and dark corners when shooting at night or in low light. Keeping Indian vanities in mind, the built-in AI 3-D body shaper lets you subtly reshape /enhance key elements of the human figure. Did I hear somebody say ‘ the camera cannot lie’?  No longer true!

The selfie camera is a fairly standard 8 MP   and has a wide-angle mode to shoot those groupies.

Memory-wise the Hot 9 offers a RAM/storage combo of 4 G/64GB which should be adequate – you can another 256 GB with a micro SD card.  The phone has a very generous battery – 5000 mAh, among the biggest available today so you can binge-watch movies all day without having to recharge. Talking of movies, the DTS Surround sound, I found to be excellent, even without using head phones.

I usually check Infinix phones for any clever extra goodies and the Hot 9 did not disappoint:  They have added a recorder feature you can use with Whatsapp, something that does not come native. There is a feature that lets you go “dark” and hide your location…  useful if you value your privacy.

Some of the priciest phones from abroad tend not to care about features like Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Voice over WiFi (VoFi) -- but cost-conscious Indians value these features which reduce monthly plans. Infinix has remembered this and Hot 9 offers both features.   The OS is the latest Android 10   with an overlay of XOS Dolphin.   Another thoughtful feature that reflects the Indian DNA of Infinix:  a double flashlight option when both front and rear LED lamps kicking in… very useful if you have a sudden power failure at home or a flat tyre on the highway!

All these thoughtful extras make the Hot 9 very good value for the asking price of Rs 8999. For a thousand rupees extras, you are also offered the Hot 9 Pro which is similar in all respects except that the main lens of the rear camera is 48 MP instead of 13 MP...which makes it an even better deal.

 Links to Infinix HOT 9 and HOT 9 Pro sites.