Infinix Hot 20 Play review: budget-friendly entertainer

Here's my take on Infinix new Hot series smartphone - Infinix Hot 20 Play

Review Summary

Expert Rating3.5/5

Design
★★★★★
★★★★★
Display
★★★★★
★★★★★
Software
★★★★★
★★★★★
Camera
★★★★★
★★★★★
Performance
★★★★★
★★★★★
Battery
★★★★★
★★★★★

Pros

  • Capable 90Hz refresh rate screen
  • Good battery life
  • Decent cameras in daylight

Cons

  • Slow performance
  • Bloatware

The Infinix Hot 20 Play is the company’s new budget offering in the Hot-series lineup. The handset is an iterative upgrade to the Infinix Hot 12 Play (review) which was introduced earlier this year, and offers a MediaTek chipset, 18W fast charging, Android 12, and a bunch of other minor updates. I decided to put the Infinix Hot 20 Play through its paces to find out if the phone has what it takes to be a good budget smartphone. Read the full review to find out.

Verdict

The Infinix Hot 20 Play works out just fine. The handset scores well on key aspects such as the battery life, display, and cameras, but could do with better performance. The Infinix Hot 20 Play would have been a good everyday-use device for everyone had it gone with a better chipset and a near stock-Android software.

The lowdown

  • The Infinix Hot 20 Play is available in three colour options: Luna Blue, Aurora Green, and Racing Black. I was sent the Aurora Green review unit of the handset, and after looking at it, I can say that it should be the go-to choice for buyers. The colour would make you flaunt your device. As for the design, the Infinix Hot 20 Play has a polycarbonate build with a textured finish underneath the glastic layer at the back and curved edges. The phone is a bit slippery, but doesn’t attract fingerprints and smudges. The handset is also comfortable to wield, thanks to its 209 grams weight which seems to be evenly distributed. I had no trouble holding the device to stream hour-long content.
  • Moving on, the handset sports a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and a rectangular camera module, which doesn’t protrude much and keeps the device relatively steady when it’s lying flat on a surface. The volume rocker and power button can be found on the right spine of the phone, while the left spine houses a SIM ejector tray, which has a dedicated slot for a microSD card. The USB Type-C port, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a speaker grille are all positioned at the bottom edge of the device.
  • The Infinix Hot 20 Play sports a punch-hole on its 6.82-inch HD+ display that bears a 90Hz refresh rate and 500 nits of peak brightness. It’s an IPS LCD panel with relatively thin bezels on all sides except the bottom, which has a wide chin. The panel gets sufficiently bright for the content to be legible even under direct sunlight and offers decent viewing angles. The picture quality is good for the price; however, the handset can only stream content in SD (480p) resolution from Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and other streaming platforms. As for the 90Hz screen refresh rate, it works well across supported apps and UI.
  • At the core of the Infinix Hot 20 Play lies MediaTek Helio G37 SoC, which is paired with 4GB of RAM and 3GB of virtual RAM. The latter uses a portion of the phone’s storage. Speaking of which, the handset comes with 64GB storage onboard, which is further expandable up to 256GB using a microSD card. Be that as it may, the device’s performance is average. Even the on-screen keyboard takes time to open. The apps are also slightly slow to load, while there is some delay in multitasking. The Infinix Hot 20 Play is not the device to buy if you are a power user or into gaming. The handset is best suited for basic smartphone usage.
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  • The Infinix Hot 20 Play packs a dual-rear camera setup, comprising a 13MP primary sensor and an AI lens. Up front, the handset features an 8MP snapper for selfies and video calling. Both front and rear cameras support features like portrait mode, AI cam, Beauty mode, AR shot, time-lapse, and LED flash for low-light photography. The cameras perform well, at least in daylight. The 13MP primary sensor and 8MP selfie shooters are quick to focus and shoot images in no time. As for the results, the images, in general, lack sharpness, which has been the case with most budget smartphones. The colours look decent though. That said, the AI cam mode oversaturates the hues sometimes to make up for the lack of details, which affects the overall dynamic range. The portrait mode of the handset works largely on human subjects, but is slightly off with edge detection and failed to deliver a natural-looking bokeh effect. In low light, the Infinix Hot 20 Play produces unusable results. Despite the rear and selfie camera flash, the handset offers grainy shots with very few details to show. The colours also look washed out. There is no night mode to help the cause.
  • Software-wise, the Hot 20 Play runs Android 12 out of the box, which is heavily customised by Infinix’s custom skin XOS 10.6. The custom skin adds a ton of features such as ‘Smart Panel’ to quickly access frequently used/ recently installed apps and ‘X Clone’ to create a clone of any app for the secondary account. The XOS 10.6 also features game mode, photo compressor tool, kids mode, and more, but the push notifications and bloatware, some of which you cannot even uninstall, hampers the overall experience. Additionally, as of writing this article, the phone was running on September’s security patch. There is no word on when the Hot 20 Play will get recent security updates. 
  • The Infinix Hot 20 Play is driven by a 6,000mAh battery, which netted a score of 16 hours and 49 minutes on the PCMark test. In real life, the phone can easily last up to a day and a half with regular usage. Since the phone cannot handle heavy gaming and multitasking, you can switch the refresh rate to 60Hz to extend the battery life. The handset comes with an 18W fast charging solution, which takes close to 3 hours to lift a dead battery to 100 percent. The phone’s bottom-firing DTS speaker is loud but crackles a bit at maximum volume. That said, the speaker has 3D sound processing, which offers a decent experience while watching videos or listening to music.
  • Moving on, the Infinix Hot 20 Play’s fingerprint scanner is slow but reliable, while its Wi-Fi supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The handset comes with 4G LTE connectivity, which worked fine for me on Airtel’s Faridabad network.

Final verdict

The Infinix Hot 20 Play earns points for its battery life and display. The handset can comfortably last you for a day on regular usage between charges, while its 90Hz refresh rate display offers relatively smooth scrolling and animation. Watching content on the device is also a decent experience. The cameras on the Hot 20 Play are not extraordinary, but they do well when the sun is out. However, the Infinix smartphone fails to leave a mark in the performance and software departments. The handset can only handle basic tasks and some light gaming at best, while its software needs better optimisation and the latest security patches.

At Rs 8,999, the Infinix Hot 20 Play competes against the Realme C33 (review) and Moto E22s, both of which are capable devices. The Realme smartphone packs a better chipset and cameras than the Infinix phone, whereas the Moto E22s runs stock Android OS. That said, the handsets are not big-screen entertainment devices and have relatively shorter battery life. So if those things matter to you the most in a smartphone, the Infinix Hot 20 Play could be a worthy buy.

Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5

Pros

  • Capable 90Hz refresh rate screen
  • Good battery life
  • Decent cameras in daylight

Cons

  • Slow performance
  • Bloatware

Key Specs

Infinix Hot 20 Play
RAM4 GB
ProcessorMediaTek Helio G37
Rear Camera13 MP
Front Camera8 MP
Battery6000 mAh
Display6.82 inches (17.32 cm)
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Infinix Hot 20 Play Price
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Rs. 8,999.00
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