Many of you may not have heard of the Infinix brand of smartphones before. The company has been around since 2013 and is based in Shenzen China, but their smartphones have become popular in some Middle Eastern and African countries. Today we’re looking at the new Infinix Zero 8 which is the flagship phone for these emerging markets. In many countries, when you hear “flagship”, you’re probably thinking that the price will be $1000-2000 USD. That’s a lot of money! Infinix’s flagship costs around the equivalent to $250 USD.
The Infinix Zero 8 starts off with a Mediatek MT6785 Helio G90T chipset, with an Octa-core (2×2.05 GHz Cortex-A76 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55) CPU and Mali-G76 MC4 GPU. We’ve got 128GB of storage space and 8Gb of RAM, and there’s a MicroSD card slot that accepts up to 2Tb of extra storage. For a display, we’ve got a 6.85″ IPS screen with 2460 x 1080 pixel resolution. This is not a 5G phone, but it supports the following 4G/3G/2G bands: GSM:B3/B8, GSM: B2/B3/B5/B8, WCDMA: B1/B8, WCDMA: B1/B5/B8, FDD: B3/B7/B20, FDD: B1/B3/B5/B8, TDD: B38/B40/B41. Those do not include T-Mobile USA’s LTE bands, so for me, I was stuck on 2G. There’s WiFi that supports everything up to 802.11n, so that’s missing 802.11ac support. Bluetooth is there along with a USB type C data/charging port. The battery has a 4500 mAh capacity that can provide about 31 hours of talk time. There are four cameras on the back with an LED flash, and two cameras on the front.
Hardware and Design
The design of this phone looks great. Our model is the silver version which beautifully refracts light thus showing different colors. There’s also a matte “v” shape that adds to the unique design.
The diamond-shaped camera bump contains four camera lens/sensor combos along with an LED flash.
On the top edge, there’s nothing but clean chrome finished rounded plastic.
The bottom edge shows the speaker grill, the USB-C data transfer and charging port, as well as a microphone hole and we nicely have a 3.5mm headset jack, which is also important for the FM radio antenna.
The left edge holds the SIM card and MicroSD card tray. This phone supports two nano-SIM cards so that you can have two cell phone connections at the same time. MicroSD storage expansion is great to have too. Something that is missing from many much more expensive flagship phones these days.
The right edge is where you’ll find the power button and volume up/down rocker. The power button doubles as a fingerprint scanner for quick unlocking. Its also indented on the edge so that the fingerprint scanner is easy to find by touch.
There’s an oval pill-shaped punch hole area in the screen that houses two front-facing cameras.
The Infinix Zero 8 includes Android 10 and a customized XOS Dolphin 7 user interface along with a good number of pre-installed applications.
One part of the XOS interface is that there’s a “Smart Panel” that appears with a left edge or right edge swipe. It’s customizable so you can choose tools and apps to have quick access to. That’s pretty nice, except the left edge-swipe gesture interferes with other apps that also use edge swipe gestures.
Another part that I really like is that when you open a folder of icons that you may have on one of the home screens, you can swipe down from the middle and move all of the icons to the lower part of the screen. This makes them much easier to reach while holding the phone in one hand. There are also a few useful utilities that can protect against viruses, clear out memory, keep the CPU from overheating, translate languages, etc.
There are also two other app stores installed beside the Google Play store. There’s the Palm Store and the AHA Games Store. Both are made by Shalltry Group in Shanghai who also made the XOS launcher and other utilities. One thing that’s a bit suspicious about these app stores is that they’re set by default to auto-update apps that you may have installed from other stores. For example, I installed Pulse and Jitsi Meet from the open-source F-Droid repository. A little while later, they were both updated to different versions that didn’t exist in their open-source project repositories. Jitsi Meet had a higher version number than what existed. Pulse was updated to require signing in and creating an account.
Beyond that, there are a lot of bloatware apps and games included. They’ll often fire off notifications to get your attention too. Most of them are removable though, so that’s good.
The biggest issue I had with the software was that I couldn’t find a one-handed mode. The screen on this phone is so tall, it’s impossible to reach the top edge in order to open the notifications tray while holding the phone with one hand. Some Android launchers get around this by making a “swipe from the middle on home screen” gesture shows the notifications, but not here. My favorite is Huawei’s 5 button bottom navigation bar option which has a button next to the task manager button that shows the notifications tray with one tap. It’s so much easier that way.
The Infinix Zero 8 has 6 cameras on the phone in total. As a photographer, I’m very interested in having an increased range of photography capabilities that I can carry around in my pocket. With smartphones, the easiest way to do that is to add multiple cameras with different lenses or sensors that are useful in different scenarios. My favorites are the ones with different focal length lenses so that you can compose different viewpoints without using digital zoom although the different focal lengths are often attached to completely different image sensors. None of the cameras are compatible with Open Camera and the Camera API2 at least for RAW DNG output, so we were unable to get unprocessed versions of these photos. That’s unfortunate, but for this price, you can’t have everything.
Let’s see what each one is capable of…
64Mp Rear camera
The “normal” 1X lens/sensor camera combo on the back is technically 64Mp, but it mainly outputs to 16Mp JPG images. Below is a series of 100% crops of some photos from a few other phones as compared with the Infinix Zero 8. As you can see the detail and color production of the Zero 8 is not the best, but it’s not terrible either, and personally, it’s preferable to the image from the $1400 Surface Duo.
Below is a gallery of software-processed JPG samples from the 64Mp rear camera. In some cases, the HDR mode is a little too obvious, but still, the images are certainly acceptable for social media sharing. The night photos tend to fall apart though.
8Mp Rear ultra-wide angle camera
Having ultra-wide-angle lens cameras on smartphones is so awesome. I love being able to get a nice wide distorted view of the world once in a while. It’s excellent to have this camera as a choice for reframing your view on the Infinix Zero 8, but it’s certainly lower quality than the 64Mp camera. Other much more expensive phones have better quality ultra-wide cameras as well, but again… this is about 1/4th the price of those phones.
2Mp Macro camera
One of the cameras is dedicated to extreme close up photography. You can hold the lens about an inch away from something and it will be able to focus on it. Below is an extreme close-up sample of a post card. You can see the printing ink dots and even a tiny eyelash. Personally, I rarely need a camera like this. It’s nice to have, but I would have rather have a 70mm focal length equivalent lens instead.
2Mp depth camera
The fourth rear camera is only used for depth sensing in those fake-background filter portrait photos. The fake background blur looks ok if you down-sample the resolution far enough to not see any details, but at full resolution, you can certainly see mistakes. This is true with all of those fake-background blur filters though. You’re better off not using them at all unless you’re down-sampling your photos for something like a 630×480 pixel resolution screen.
48Mp Front facing camera
Of course, we need decent selfie cameras on a flagship phone. The Infinix Zero 8 has a 48Mp wide-angle lens/sensor combo on the front that’s generally used by default. The dynamic range on this one is not very wide at all. That means bright sun-lit areas are going to get washed out very much. You need to find the perfect lighting in order to get good pictures out of this one. See below for a few samples.
8Mp Ultra-wide Front facing camera
Having an ultra-wide-angle front-facing camera is a pretty excellent option. Being able to switch to a different focal length so easily adds so much more flexibility to your photography. I love it! The ultra-wide front-facing lens/sensor combo doesn’t give you great image quality, but the ultra-wide view is certainly worth having. You can see a few samples below:
The 4500 mAh battery works quite well for keeping the phone running for about 2 days. For talk time it’s rated for about 31 hours. It will certainly get through a weekend.
Pricing & Availability
The Infinix Zero 8 is mainly only available in offline brick & mortar stores. There is a store finder on their website. Their stores mainly only exist in African and Middle Eastern countries, so you may have difficulty finding this device in other countries. The price should be approximately the equivalent of $250 USD.
Pros & Cons
- Gorgeous refractive design
- 6 cameras for distinct photography/video functions
- Good battery life
- Expandable storage
- 3.5mm headset jack and FM radio
- Approximate $250 USD price
- Suspicious included bloatware/software
- Screen is way too big for one-handed usage and software is not designed for one-handed usage
- No wireless charging
- Camera software doesn’t support RAW output
- Camera quality is not as great as phones that cost 4 times more
- No water resistance
- Doesn’t support 4G bands in USA
Usually, we think of flagship smartphones as being very expensive these days. Samsung has flagships in the $2000 USD range. The Infinix Zero 8 is only $250. That’s a huge difference. For me, in New York, this phone only works on 2G EDGE with my T-Mobile account, so missing 4G LTE internet speeds was pretty frustrating. That’s probably one reason the phone isn’t sold here. I’m sure in the African and Middle Eastern countries where this is available, users will have a much better connectivity experience, and given the low price, I’m sure many people will find the features of the Infinix Zero 8 to be quite satisfactory.