Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Infinix Note 30 5G Review: A Capable Budget 5G Smartphone That’s Priced Right

The Infinix Note 30 5G has launched at a time when 5G is readily available in most major cities in India. Infinix seems to have made a smart choice by adding 5G connectivity with this device in this segment, as not adding it would put it in the same boat as some others such as the Realme C55. 5G support aside, there’s plenty else on offer as well with this new Note device from Infinix. It’s got a new MediaTek SoC and some other features one rarely finds at this price point.

However, software has long been a big paint point for the company, but has this changed with the new Note 30 5G? Let’s find out.

Infinix Note 30 5G price in India

Infinix’s Note 30 5G is available in two variants in India. The base variant with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is priced at Rs. 14,999, and a second variant with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage is available at Rs. 15,999. Paying the additional Rs. 1,000 for the top-end model does make better sense as you get double the RAM and storage at just a slightly higher price.

It’s also available in three finishes – Magic Black, Interstellar Blue and Magic Gold. The latter has an orange shade with a soft-finish vegan leather rear panel. I received the matte-finished Magic Black variant  for review.

Infinix Note 30 5G design

The Infinix Note 30 5G is an extension of the brand’s Note series and does not succeed or replace any previously launched smartphone in the lineup. With that, Infinix has done a fine job with the design by going with a sensible matte-finish on the rear panel and a reflective finish for the frame. This means that the back does not gather any smudges, but the frame does. This is a necessary evil as it provides the required grip to hold this large device comfortably.

Infinix Note 30 5G Review design2 ndtv InfinixNote305G  Infinix

The Magic Black finish of the Infinix Note 30 5G has a matte-finished polycarbonate rear panel

 

The phone is quite large and those with medium or small hands might find it difficult to hold. To give you a fair idea, it has a footprint similar to Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra, but is thankfully not as heavy at 204g. Infinix made a smart decision by using polycarbonate for this phone’s frame and rear panel, as the large 5,000mAh battery also adds to its weight and ends up making the phone appear quite chunky.

To my surprise, the Note 30 5G also has an official IP53 rating for dust and water resistance. It’s not a big deal as far as IP standards go, but it’s good to have and will bring some peace of mind for users.

Due to the phone’s slightly boxy design, the bezels around the display do appear a bit thick, but the one at the bottom edge is noticeably thicker. The display has a hole-punch cutout for the phone’s selfie camera and is said to use NEG glass for scratch protection. During my review period, I did not find the display to be much of a smudge or a dust magnet. Infinix also offers a tempered glass screen protector in the box, for those who need some added protection.

Infinix Note 30 5G specifications and software

The Infinix Note 30 5G has a MediaTek Dimensity 6080 SoC, a new chipset which was announced in March this year. While its name and numbering might be a bit confusing and seem like a premium part, this is still a budget SoC. The good part is that it brings along 5G connectivity with support for 14 5G bands. Other communication standards include, Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth, NFC and support for the usual satellite systems.

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The Infinix Note 30 5G’s design appears modern but also quite large and chunky

The Infinix Note 30 5G offers stereo speakers (tuned by JBL) and also a 3.5mm headphone jack. The SIM card tray has three dedicated slots for two nano-SIM cards and a microSD card (up to 2TB) as well. The large 5,000mAh battery can be charged using the 45W charger which is included in the box. The packaging also includes a TPU case and a Type-A to Type-C cable.

While the above hardware specifications surely make a good impression, the phone still struggles quite a bit when it comes to software. It runs XOS version 13 which is based on Android 13, but it looks and feels very different from anything you have probably come across on an Android smartphone.

You do get a homescreen and an app drawer and there are plenty of widgets to choose from as well. There’s also a nice Suggestions widget which shows frequently used apps. However, all of this is heavily themed and might not appear familiar to those who have been using smartphones with leaner skins or even near-stock Android software.

A swipe to the right to access the Google Discover feed and you will find a Zero Screen, which shows details such as workout data and phone usage instead. The only way to get to the Discover feed from the homescreen is to tap on the ‘G’ logo in the Google Search widget which basically launches the Google app. In the Settings app, the Battery section is called Marathon Power for some odd reason.

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Infinix’s XOS 13 software comes with plenty of preinstalled bloatware and third-party apps

 

Open the camera app and the interface can be best described as overwhelming as the carousel is loaded with options. The standard camera mode is called AI Cam, but there’s also an AI button on the left side which enables the AI scene recognition features. There’s are separate Beauty and Portrait shooting modes, but I did find this useful as I did not have to disable beautification effects in Portrait mode, which some prefer. There’s also a video mode (which is thankfully just called “video”) but it’s accompanied by a Film mode (for adding effects to videos) as well. Swiping up from the carousel lets you access even more modes!

There’s also Infinix’s own AI-enabled assistant called Folax, which is good for simple commands like switching on Bluetooth or weather-related queries but will mainly resort to Google searches (via a browser page) to show results for slightly complex queries. Unfortunately, I could not find or enable the much talked about ChatGPT-style conversation mode as this did not seem to be available on my review unit.

Apart from the above, the Infinix Note 30 5G is loaded to the brim with bloatware apps such as XClub, WeZone, XShare Mini, Visha Player, Carlcare, Aha Games — all of which cannot be uninstalled. Then there’s third-party apps like Instagram, Facebook, Messenger, WPS Office, Spotify, Snapchat, JioCinema, Nojoto that can thankfully be uninstalled if not needed. Given the number of apps, I was a bit surprised to not receive any spammy notifications during the review period.

There’s also some stuff to like in XOS, like the ability to reply to a notifications within floating windows, a notification sound for when the battery has completed charging, bypass charging when gaming, and also a game anti-addiction mode for those who tend to go overboard. There’s also the ability to adjust swipe and motion speeds when interacting with the software interface.

Infinix Note 30 5G performance

The Infinix Note 30 5G’s 6.78-inch 120Hz full-HD+ IPS LCD produces punchy colours at the default settings, and a bluish tone with the Original colour style enabled. While brightness seemed sufficient indoors, it just wasn’t bright enough outdoors and appeared quite dim under direct sunlight, making it difficult to use when snapping photos or viewing content. Viewing content indoors was a good experience as the phone offers Widevine L1 certification, allowing for full-HD+ quality playback when streaming video.

The display’s refresh rate is of the adaptive variety but only switches between 120Hz and 60Hz when set to auto. However, I preferred setting it to 120Hz as many apps appeared to have broken or stuttered scrolling and forcing the display to 120Hz resulted in a visually smoother appearance. This stuttering was mainly visible in most third-party apps.

Coming to benchmarks, the Infinix Note 30 5G managed 4,01,814 points in AnTuTu (v10), along with 767 and 2,061 in Geekbench’s single and multi-score tests respectively. In terms of graphics, the phone achieved 12fps, 22fps and 55fps in GFXBench’s Car Chase, Manhattan 3.1 and T-Rex test suites. These scores are slightly lower than the OnePlus Nord CE 3 Lite which is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon SoC and is more expensive than the Note 30 5G.

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The Infinix Note 30 5G has three rear cameras, out of which only one is accessible

 

As for gaming, the Infinix Note 30 5G performed well and did not heat up much even when gaming for extended periods. I tried out Asphalt 9: Legends which worked smoothly (sans a 60fps mode) at the High Quality graphics setting. Call of Duty: Mobile was just about playable but maxed out at Medium graphics and High framerate settings. The 240Hz touch sampling rate while playing Call of Duty: Mobile felt a bit inadequate and could not keep up with quick swipes. Audio quality through the JBL-tuned speakers was surprisingly good, delivering sufficiently loud and clear audio.

Battery life with that large 5,000mAh battery usually lasted me a little over a day with casual use. This result was with the display set to 120Hz. Our standard battery life test managed average results running for about 13 hours and 5 minutes. I honestly expected better battery life from the Note 30 5G.

Charging on the other hand was impressive for a budget smartphone. Using the bundled charger, the phone managed to go from a dead battery to 68 percent in 30 minutes and completed the charge in just 53 minutes, which is pretty good. The phone also offers a bypass charging feature which can supply power to the phone directly without charging the battery when plugged in so there’s not much heat produced and phone stays cooler, which is useful when playing games.

Infinix Note 30 5G cameras

The Infinix Note 30 5G has three rear-facing cameras, but only one of them is accessible to the user. There’s a 108-megapixel primary camera, a 2-megapixel camera for gathering depth data and a third AI camera. Selfies are handled by a 16-megapixel front-facing camera.

When shooting photos in daylight, the main camera managed sharp-looking photos with good details. Dynamic range was quite good but not great as I noticed some clipped highlights in the brighter areas of some photos. Colours were a bit saturated so I preferred keeping the AI scene recognition feature switched off. Although the camera lacks a macro mode or camera, close-ups of objects had good details and vibrant colours.

Infinix Note 30 5G daylight camera samples (Top to bottom: Selfie Portrait mode, Main camera close-up, Main camera landscape)

 

In low light, the primary camera managed some average quality photos with decent dynamic range and a similar colour saturation we noticed in the daylight photos. Details were on the lower side and I also noticed some clipped highlights near bright sources of light and dark patches in the shadows.

Enabling the dedicated Night mode showed an improvement in the image quality with good dynamic range, details and sharpness. However, this mainly applied to street-lit scenes (or those with ample lighting) as using the Night mode in dimly lit areas did not yield good results, with flat textures that ended up looking like paintings once you zoom in a little.

Selfies captured in daylight looked decent at best with limited details and dynamic range. Edge detection in Portrait mode was far from accurate so the overall results were far from impressive. In low light, photos had average details and appeared quite soft. Selfies can be captured using Night mode but it only seems to oversharpen the images, adding no extra detail.

Infinix Note 30 5G low light camera samples (Top: Auto mode, bottom: Night mode)

 

Videos recorded at 1080p 30fps had average details but appeared quite shaky. Turning on the Ultra-video stabilisation mode resulted in much better quality. Sadly the camera maxes out at an odd 2K resolution for video recording and the electronic stabilisation feature is limited to 1080p 30fps (even though the phone can shoot at 1080p 60fps), so that is the best quality you can get. Videos captured at 1080p 30fps in low light looked quite shaky and appeared average in terms of quality.

Verdict

Infinix has done an excellent job of balancing the Note 30 5G’s hardware specs with performance and equally good value. But it does fall short of expectations in certain areas. While the display’s slightly weak legibility outdoors isn’t necessarily a deal breaker, a messy software experience could be.

Despite this, the phone still offers very good value in terms of features and price. From 5G connectivity, stereo speakers, to an IP53 rating, and 45W fast charging — there are a good combination of features here that’s currently tough to find on any other smartphone in this segment.

If you are okay with taking the time to learn the software’s slightly convoluted layout and don’t mind putting up with the bloatware, then the Infinix Note 30 would be a decent 5G option in this segment for you. On the other hand, if you are looking for a slimmer smartphone with an OLED display, or for a cleaner software experience, the Moto G73 5G (Review) might be a better choice for some, now that it has dropped in price.


Apple unveiled its first mixed reality headset, the Apple Vision Pro, at its annual developer conference, along with new Mac models and upcoming software updates. We discuss all the most important announcements made by the company at WWDC 2023 on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.
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