Infinix Hot 40i review: a compelling sub-10k option for selfie lovers

Review Summary

Expert Rating
7.5/10

Design
★  
7.0
/10
Display
★  
7.5
/10
Software
★  
8.0
/10
Camera
★  
7.0
/10
Performance
★  
7.0
/10
Battery
★  
8.0
/10

Pros

  • Decent display
  • 32MP selfie camera is impressive
  • Good battery life
  • Magic Ring brings a novelty factor

Cons

  • Slow charging speed
  • Performance could be better

The sub-Rs 10,000 price segment in India’s smartphone market has seen its ups and downs over the years. At one point in time, this price segment saw frequent smartphone launches. However, fast forward to 2024, and it looks like finding a capable option that ticks most boxes has become quite tough.

Infinix, which has been doing really well in both the budget and mid-range price segments, has introduced its new offering – Hot 40i – under Rs 10,000 in an attempt to offer unprecedented value for the price. Do its claims hold up? Read my review to find out.

Verdict

Infinix Hot 40i is a no-nonsense device that gets the basics right and delivers on some key fronts. The highlight features here are the phone’s impressive display, useful software features, and a segment-leading 32MP selfie camera, which is unheard of in this price category. If you want to buy a feature-rich phone under Rs 10,000 that shoots good selfies and will help you elevate your social media game, this could be a solid choice.

Design and display

The Hot 40i comes with striking aesthetics that have been described by the company as the “Glow Line” design. The brand says that the glow lining features vibrant and shimmering colours with a soft finish. The standout colour variant here is Starfall Green but we received the Palm Blue variant of the Hot 40i, which closely resembles the Rainbow Blue variant of the Smart 8 HD. The brand has used a smooth matte finish at the back that feels easy on the hand. The Hot 40i features a large triple camera housing at the back of the phone with two camera sensors and a ring light.

The phone’s sides have a reflective finish and I felt comfortable with the grip on offer here. At no point did the phone feel slippery. The power button with an embedded fingerprint sensor is located on the right side of the phone and can easily be accessed with the thumb. I didn’t have any issues reaching the volume rocker, placed right above the power button, with my thumb. Ergonomically speaking, the phone comes with a functional design that doesn’t come in the way of your experience.

Thankfully, the phone also comes with a 3.5mm jack (sorely missed on modern phones in higher price ranges), located at the bottom of the phone. 

Moving on to the display, the handset features a 6.56-inch IPS LCD panel with HD+ (1,612 x 720 pixel) resolution and up to 90Hz refresh rate. In the display settings, you get an option to choose between 60Hz refresh rate for longer battery life, 90Hz refresh rate for a smooth visual experience, and an Auto-switch option for automatically switching the refresh rate depending on the content. With thin bezels around the display and a punch-hole selfie camera, the handset manages to offer an impressive 89.70 percent screen-to-body ratio. I found the display quality to be impressive, and feel that the only aspect of the display that can be improved is the peak brightness, which sits at 480 nits… despite this number being fairly typical in this particular segment.

Cameras

The Hot 40i features a 50MP primary camera, coupled with an AI sensor and a ring flash at the back. Before we jump into the camera performance, let’s talk about the modes on offer first. While clicking pictures you get the standard Photo, Beauty, Portrait, and Super Night options from the home screen of the default camera app. While recording videos. you get the video and short video options. 

In the beauty mode, you get the option to either choose AI smart beauty effect or manually adjust filters such as smoothening skin, skin colour adjustment, slim face, and enlarging eyes. The camera app also offers Panorama mode, Documents (for clicking pictures of documents), Ultra HD, AR Shot (lets you click shots with animal-themed filters), Time-Lapse, and Slow Motion modes. In the Pro mode, the app lets you adjust the EV, ISO, White Balance, AF, and other settings to ensure you’re able to click pictures exactly how you want. Apart from the Portrait Mode, you get the option to use 2x digital zoom in all other modes. If you want specific camera modes to show up on the home screen of the default camera app, you also get the option to rearrange the modes.

In my experience, the Infinix Hot 40i managed to click decent pictures in daylight (especially with the 50MP mode on) but these images have a slightly warm tone to them. The shots taken in low-light scenarios show some grain too, but using the ring flash, you can click some decent pictures. You can have a look at the camera samples below to get a better idea of the phone’s optical performance.

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To give you a better perspective of the camera performance, I clicked some shots with Itel P55+ and Infinix Hot 40i to compare the camera quality offered by these two phones. I preferred the colour accuracy offered by the P55+ between the two. You can also see the warm tone in the camera sample clicked via the Hot 40i here.

At the front of the phone, you get a segment-leading 32MP selfie camera, which is supported by a flash as well. Not only this, thanks to the 90-degree wide-angle lens, you can accommodate more of your friends in your selfies. In this price segment, where most brands usually focus on just getting the basics right, this combination of features is useful to have. The high-resolution front camera manages to click detailed pictures and in low light, the front flash helps. While the latter can overexpose subjects in certain scenarios, the end results are consistently better than what you get with other phones without flash at this price point. 

Coming to videos, you get the option to shoot in up to 1080p resolution at 30fps. You can choose the option ‘Fingerprint Shooting’ to start recording videos with the power button. The phone also lets you record slow-motion videos at 120fps to help you capture shots with a fun perspective. In my usage, the video quality was decent and I liked having the slow-mo and time-lapse options.

An interesting mode here is ‘Short Video’. Here, you get predesigned templates to use and shoot videos that can be shared on social media channels. For those of you who create content for social media, or even want your profile to stand out, this is an useful mode to have at your disposal. Given how more modes can be added with future updates, I believe this is a feature that should ideally be available on all modern phones, irrespective of the price range.

Performance and Software

Infinix Hot 40i is powered by a UNISOC T606 SoC, which is an octa-core chipset with two A75 cores clocked at 1.6GHz and six A55 cores clocked at 1.6GHz. The handset comes with Mali-G57 MC1 GPU, which handles the graphics performance. The phone is available with 8GB RAM (which can be expanded up to 16GB with the RAM expansion feature) and the only storage option available in India is 256GB (expandable via microSD card up to 2TB). In this price range, the 8GB+256GB combination is certainly impressive. However, it is important to note that UNISOC T606 is not an exceptional chipset in this price range. The iTel P55 offers the 5G-capable MediaTek Dimensity 6080, while the Realme C53 comes with UNISOC T612 in this same price bracket. Both these chipsets outperform the T606 in benchmarks. However, in my usage, I didn’t face any major lag or stutter issues with the Hot 40i. I even played demanding games such as Battlegrounds Mobile India, Asphalt 9: Legends, and NBA 2K Mobile, and the phone managed to handle these games effectively. I didn’t face concerning issues regarding heat as well.

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In the AnTuTu benchmark test, the phone managed to score 2,66,030, while on the Geekbench benchmark, it scored 376 in the single-core test and 1389 in the multi-core test. The phone also handled multitasking well and the apps in the background loaded almost instantaneously from where I left as soon as I switched back to them. 

The handset runs XOS skin based on Android 13 out of the box and includes some nifty features. The highlight feature here is the Magic Ring, which is reminiscent of Apple’s Dynamic Island on the iPhone and essentially creates a bubble around the selfie camera to display information in an interesting manner. You can choose to customise the functionality of the Magic Ring by using the toggles for aspects like Face Unlock, Background Call, Charging Animation, Charge Completion Reminder, and Low Battery Reminder. This adds a touch of novelty to the user interface.

Apart from this, you get other Infinix features such as MemFusion (to increase RAM space), Smart Panel (to provide access to common functions), Social Turbo (which includes useful features such as voice recorder and video retouching for WhatsApp), XClone (dual accounts for apps), Game mode (gaming-centric features to enhance performance), Video Assistant (prevents notifications from disturbing you while watching video content), and Kids Mode (to guide your kid towards healthy digital habits). Xboost, which is a gaming engine developed by the brand itself, provides you with one-tap optimisation options while playing games to give you a consistent performance.

The phone also boasts some “intelligent features” that aim to ease up your life by learning your habits. These include recommendations of services based on your phone usage, speeding up app launches by learning the apps you use and predicting the app you will use next, and providing real-time payment reminders, bedtime reminders, and more. 

The phone also comes with the ‘Folax’ voice assistant that lets you make calls, take photos, play music, and set alarms, even when you’re not connected to the Internet. There’s also a 200 percent Super Volume Booster feature that lets you increase the volume for a solid omnidirectional sound effect. This could come in handy when you are trying to watch a video in a situation where there is plenty of ambient noise.  

As far as connectivity options are concerned, there’s NFC support, 4G, a dual Nano SIM + microSD card slot, and a USB Type-C port for charging.

Battery and charging speed

The Infinix Hot 40i packs a 5,000mAh battery that comes with support for 18W charging. Barring the Realme C53 and Moto G24 Power which offer 30W+ fast charging, this is pretty much the standard charging speed you will get in the sub-Rs 10,000 segment. Still, it does feel slow as it took me 2 hours and 21 minutes to charge the phone from 0 to 100 percent.

The battery capacity ensures that you can easily use the handset for more than a day with regular use and even two days with light usage. In our PCMark Battery test, the phone lasted a whopping 18 hours and 52 minutes.

As per the brand’s claims, the Ultra Power Saving mode can deliver 24 hours of standby backup and 2 hours of calling at 5 percent battery levels, which could come in extremely handy in a pinch.

Final verdict

Talking about the competition in this price segment first, the POCO M6 stands out for its performance, and could be worth a look for that, while those looking for 5G support can consider the Itel P55 5G. However, the Infinix Hot 40i’s highlight is its front camera. When people ask for phones with capable selfie cameras, we usually have to look towards higher price segments. Priced at Rs 9,299, the Hot 40i helps bridge this gap and comes across as a solid choice for selfie lovers at an affordable price point. The phone also brings a host of useful software features that add to the user experience, and therefore, comes across as a good buy in the sub-10k segment.

Editor’s rating: 7.5 / 10

Reasons to buy

  • Display quality is pretty good for the price
  • 32MP selfie camera is capable of taking detailed shots
  • The battery life is good
  • Magic Ring adds a novelty factor

Reasons not to buy

  • Slow charging speed
  • Performance could be better

Key Specs

Infinix Hot 40i
RAM8 GB
ProcessorUnisoc T606
Rear Camera50 MP + 0.08 MP
Front Camera32 MP
Battery5000 mAh
Display6.6 inches (16.76 cm)
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Infinix Hot 40i Price
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Rs. 9,028.00
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