Infinix Hot 11S Review: A Decent Gaming-Focussed Budget Smartphone
There isn’t much choice if you are looking to buy a smartphone for gaming in the lower end of the budget segment. Most smartphones priced at around Rs. 10,000 today do offer decent software performance, but are not big on gaming, and are unlikely to feature a high-refresh-rate display.
Infinix seems to have created a space for itself, targeting exactly this audience. The Infinix Hot 11S offers a large, high-refresh-rate display as well as a capable budget gaming processor and stereo speakers, all of which make it stand out of the crowd in terms of hardware specifications. We’re going to see how well it performs, and whether there are compromises in other areas.
Infinix Hot 11S price in India
The Infinix Hot 11S is available in a single 4GB RAM, 64GB storage configuration, and is priced at Rs. 10,999 in India. It is offered in three colours: 7 Degrees Purple, Green Wave, and Polar Black. We received a Green Wave unit for review.
Infinix Hot 11S design
The Infinix Hot 11S is a fairly large and broad device, but has a slim side profile. It has a plastic back that features a wave-like pattern over a metallic finish. Over the pattern is a coating of enamel that gives the phone a glossy look. Unfortunately, this makes the phone appear quite cheap, and also makes it a smudge magnet. It would have been a very elegant-looking design had Infinix skipped this glossy coating.
You’ll see a pill-shaped camera module on the back which stands out and looks unique, with a large lens cutout for the primary camera. However, this is simply cosmetic. It protrudes only by a few millimetres from the surface, so the phone does not wobble much when placed on a table. The fingerprint sensor sits right next to the camera module, which does make reaching it a bit of a stretch, given the phone’s large overall footprint.
The Hot 11S sports a 6.7-inch full-HD LCD with a hole for the front-facing camera. The display is protected by NEG Dinorex T2X-1 glass, which was good at resisting fingerprints and remained smudge-free in my experience. The display features a 20.5:9 aspect ratio but is both broad and tall, making one-handed use impossible.
Infinix Hot 11S specifications and software
The Infinix Hot 11S uses MediaTek’s Helio G88 processor. The phone is available in a single configuration with 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM and 64GB of storage. The internal storage is expandable by up to 256GB thanks to a dedicated microSD card slot in the SIM tray. Communications options include Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5, and a USB Type-C port. The phone is powered by a 5,000mAh battery which can be charged relatively quickly using the included 18W charger.
The Hot 11S runs Infinix’ XOS 7.6 which is based on Android 11. It’s a heavily skinned version of Android, but does not feel sluggish in regular use. The default theme and icons remind me of old HTC handsets, with a green, white and black palette. There were some minor touches that I liked, such as a battery charging completion tone. The Ultra Touch feature lets you adjust the swipe speed (for vertical scrolling sensitivity) and motion speed (for those who prefer faster UI animations). There’s also a useful Game Zone app which does not offer per game optimisations, but does let you disable automatic brightness adjustment and offers a Game Anti-Addiction feature, with a reminder function and parental controls.
While there is a lot to like, XOS does come with a lot of preloaded third-party apps such as Beez, YoParty, WPS Office, Hi Browser, and more. While most of these can be uninstalled, there are also apps such as Palm Store and Phone Master which push lots of annoying notifications and cannot be removed. At least these notifications can be disabled in the Settings app. There are a lot of app doubles (or triples), for instance there are three file manager apps: the default Android one, a second one from Google (called Files), and a third from Infinix, which just redirects all functions to the other two.
Infinix Hot 11S performance and battery life
XOS felt buttery smooth, and the 90Hz display contributed to that. With just 4GB of RAM I was a bit surprised to see a lot of apps remain in memory and not restart upon being opened. The 90Hz display showcased a ghosting effect that was mainly visible when scrolling through a webpage with lots of text. Colours are punchy and the display gets quite bright outdoors, but viewing angles are not good. The brightness and colours change quite a bit when viewed off-centre especially when holding this phone horizontally to watch video.
The Hot 11S has Widevine L3 certification and only supports SD video playback so videos streamed on Netflix did not look sharp. The big display also adds to the problem by stretching that SD video content across a large space. This phone also has stereo speakers, an interesting feature at this price. They provide a good audio experience both while watching movies and playing games, but the sound is a bit hollow at high volumes.
The Infinix Hot 11S performed on par with the competition when it came to benchmarks. It scored 2,19,517 in AnTuTu, and 373 and 1,350 in Geekbench’s single and multi-core tests respectively.
Games ran smoothly for the most part. I tried out Call of Duty: Mobile and the Hot 11S performed well with the graphics set to Medium and frame rate set to High. The phone did warm up within minutes of entering a tournament, but didn’t get so hot that I had to stop playing. Asphalt 9: Legends performed well at the Default graphics setting and even managed High Quality graphics with some stuttering.
With a 5,000mAh battery, the Infinix Hot 11S delivered good battery life leaving me with about 50 percent left at the end of regular work day. The phone will easily last two days with light use, and about a day and half with regular use, which includes some gaming. The 18W charger managed a 40 percent charge in 30 minutes, and fully charged the battery in 1 hour and 54 minutes, which is not bad for a budget smartphone.
Infinix Hot 11S cameras
The Infinix Hot 11S features three rear cameras, at least as far as the spec sheet goes. There’s a 50-megapixel primary camera, a 2-megapixel depth sensor, and third “AI camera”. According to Infinix, the AI camera’s sole purpose is to recognise scenes and adjust the main camera’s parameters accordingly. Surprisingly, there’s no way to turn off the AI enhancements of the camera if you don’t like them. Selfie duties are handled by an 8-megapixel front camera. There’s even a dual-LED front flash, neatly placed in the display’s bezel to the right of the selfie camera. This also lights up when the phone is charging. The camera app interface is quite simple and features a slide-out tray just above the camera mode labels, for quick access to more modes.
Photos taken in daylight came out with a decent level of detail and good dynamic range. Photos of landscapes were a bit dull. Shooting close-ups of objects often led to overexposed backgrounds. Shooting people led to some odd background blur even when the portrait mode was not selected.
Selfies taken in daylight looked a bit oversharpened and overexposed. Edge detection in Portrait mode was below average. The same applies when shooting subjects using the primary rear camera, with the edges of objects getting trimmed and blurred.
In low light, the primary camera showed below-average detail, and had trouble locking focus most of the time. The Night mode brightened up photos and increased the dynamic range. The front-facing flash helped bring out more detail in selfies taken in low light, but there was still plenty of noise.
Videos can be shot at 720p, 1080p, and 2K. Recorded videos looked quite average. There’s no stabilisation, so walking and even just panning made clips look really jerky. The camera also had trouble exposing scenes correctly and the brightness shifted dramatically when panning.
The Infinix Hot 11S does offer good value for money compared to familiar names in this segment such as the Redmi 10 Prime (Review), but its camera performance is inconsistent. The 90Hz refresh-rate display and stereo speakers, combined with decent performance and excellent battery life make this phone an attractive option under Rs. 11,000 for casual users and budget gamers. There’s also Realme’s Narzo 50A (Review), which offers similar specifications with a bigger 6,000mAh battery and leaner software, to consider.