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Infinix HOT 40 Pro Review: A “Pro” Budget Phone?

Jullian Robin Sibi 0

I’m not sure how we got to the point where almost every gadget uses the Pro name. Ever since we’ve used that name for anything other than targeting business professionals, it lost a lot of credibility. When Infinix launched its new HOT 40 Series in the Philippines, seeing the Pro model surprised me a bit. Is the Infinix HOT 40 Pro with its P6,999 price tag worthy of that Pro name? Find out in this review!

Disclaimer: Infinix Philippines sent over the HOT 40 Pro review unit in Horizon Gold. It arrived on January 11, 2024. I unboxed it on January 16, 2024, and I’ve used it for over a week as my main Android phone.

Unboxing Experience

Infinix HOT 40 Pro Review - Inside the Box
Inside the box (from left to right, top to bottom): USB-A to USB-C cable, 33W power adapter, SIM ejector tool, manuals & warranty card, Free Fire-inspired jelly case, Infinix HOT 40 Pro in Horizon Gold

I still find it interesting that phone brands haven’t done more in terms of partnerships with gaming companies. We get the usual stuff inside the box of the HOT 40 Pro, but one thing stands out. That jelly case with the Free Fire branding looks nice. I’m not exactly sure if the aforementioned case plus the Free Fire-themed box sleeve is what makes it Free Fire Edition or not. Based on some of the reviews I’ve seen, the Philippines might just get the Free Fire Edition outright.

Design and Build

Infinix HOT 40 Pro Review - Design and Build

Stop me if you’ve never seen this design before. (I may or may not have used a similar line in a previous review but that’s where we are with phone designs lately.) While the rear camera layout bears a striking resemblance to a fruit phone, I appreciate Infinix making plastic look good. Having flat sides shows off that modern sensibility. It also helps that the four colorways (Starlit Black, Palm Blue, Starfall Green, and the Horizon Gold I have here) look more premium than what its price tag would leave you to believe.

One thing I like most about this phone is how it still includes a microSD card slot and a 3.5mm headphone jack. I keep repeating this point whenever I see them but it’s nice for phone makers to keep features like these in budget phones. It’s also great to see dual speakers on a sub-P7,000 phone! They’re loud enough, even if you shouldn’t do it due to that tinny sound at near the highest volumes.

For a P7,000 phone, it looks like it can hang with phones in the P10,000 range. That familiar back with the nice colors helps this phone stand out. Unfortunately, I have come across something that I didn’t expect to see on a phone.

This Build Issue…

Two days into using the HOT 40 Pro, I noticed a weird bulge at the bottom of the screen. This was surprising to me as none of the other phones I’ve used had any issue that’s similar to this. I reached out to Infinix Philippines about this and they were just as surprised that this happened. All I did before this happened was charge the phone from around 30% to 100%.

Infinix HOT 40 Pro Review - A Build Issue

It’s honestly unfortunate that this happened, but I hope and pray I just got a bad unit. This issue won’t color the rest of my thoughts about this phone until I see more of this issue out in the wild.

Display

Infinix HOT 40 Pro Review - Display

The HOT 40 Pro uses a 6.78-inch FHD+ IPS LCD with a 2460 x 1080 resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. Getting 120Hz at this price was just unheard of a few years ago, which only means good things for mobile gamers on a budget. It’s bright enough indoors but almost unusable outdoors with its 500 nits peak brightness. I’m just so used to brighter screens now that any phone with a display lower than 1000 nits peak brightness just looks dim to me. (Or maybe I’m getting older, who knows?)

It’s a good display for the price considering it has a 120Hz refresh rate. There’s probably a limitation in boosting brightness levels when it comes to using LCD, but I hope to see at least 1000 nits peak brightness as a standard.

Performance and Software

The main reason why I doubted the Pro name on this phone is its performance. Infinix used the MediaTek Helio G99 processor on the HOT 40 Pro. Coupled with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, this phone performs well in most tasks. While I only got Low settings on Honkai Star Rail, the game ran okay with the usual frame drops. Less demanding games like Mobile Legends and Pokémon UNITE ran well on this phone.

Infinix HOT 40 Pro Review - Honkai Star Rail Settings

I only use the AnTuTu benchmark as a “frame of reference” for other phones I review these days. In case you care about the results, here they are.

The HOT 40 Pro runs XOS 13.5 based on Android 13. I’ve mentioned in previous reviews that XOS feels slow despite having a high refresh rate. While my overall sentiments stay the same, this version feels a bit snappier. There is still a noticeable lack of polish though compared to other Android skins. It also doesn’t help that Infinix doesn’t have a good track record regarding software updates.

Infinix HOT 40 Pro Review - XOS 13.5

One software feature I’d like to highlight is Magic Ring. This is Infinix’s version of the Dynamic Island and I’m not sure if every phone maker should implement this. It does look nice and marketing the feature is easy, but its usefulness only goes beyond how the phone maker implements it. I would rather not see it on other phones if it’s just limited to the four of five built-in capabilities all of these versions share.

Infinix HOT 40 Pro Review - Magic Ring

Battery Experience

The Infinix HOT 40 Pro has a 5000 mAh battery with 33W fast charging. It’s great seeing these two specs become the norm across the smartphone market. At the very least, you can expect a full day of use from most phones. I got more than 14 hours after running the PCMark Work 3.0 battery life test. In my actual use, I typically get through a day and a half. My typical use consists of social media apps, at least an hour (or two) of YouTube, and sometimes a few gaming sessions.

Cameras

Infinix HOT 40 Pro Review - Cameras

Five years ago, cameras on budget phones were almost an afterthought. Good cameras would only show up when you paid more. These days, we’re getting specs like 108MP main cameras and even ultrawide cameras in some cases!

You get that 108MP main camera in the Infinix HOT 40 Pro. There is that 2MP macro camera but we don’t need to talk about how useless it is again. This phone also has a 32MP front camera which is rare in a phone for its price. Are the photos coming out of the HOT 40 Pro any good? Let’s find out!

Click on the photos for full-resolution versions!

The 108MP main camera of this phone does a good job of color reproduction in most scenarios. I thought I would immediately dismiss the photo quality because of the software but that isn’t the case here. My favorite photo of the whole bunch is the standard 1x shot of this yellow flower. I even like the 2x zoom photo and its seemingly natural bokeh effect. The bokeh effect is better on the 1x photo though.

Indoor shots are good as well, but the close-up shots of food were the ones that amazed me. For a sub-P7,000 phone, the quality I see here is so good.

If there’s one feature Infinix can be proud of, it’s the Super Night Mode. While there is still noise in this low-light shot from the HOT 40 Pro, it is pretty much more usable than without using Super Night Mode.

Front Camera

The HOT 40 Pro rocks a 32MP front camera which is incredible to have for a sub-P7,000 phone. Quality is decent in most situations but I didn’t expect much in this department. You can pretty much count on this front camera for group shots as well thanks to its resolution.

Should You Buy the Infinix HOT 40 Pro?

Infinix HOT 40 Pro Review - Conclusion

The Infinix HOT 40 Pro continues the HOT Series tradition of punching above its weight class. While I’m still iffy on the notion of a “Pro” phone in the entry-level segment, this phone embodies what that means well.

Getting a Helio G99 and a 108MP main camera in a phone for under P7,000 is an achievement in itself. It’s also nice to see 8GB RAM and 256GB storage at this price point since I have long complained about Android phones not having enough RAM in the entry-level.

While that build issue is something people should keep an eye on, this is one entry-level smartphone you should consider. If you’re someone who values performance a lot and the features surrounding that matter, then the Infinix HOT 40 Pro is the one for you. I still think Infinix should work on its software, particularly in the matter of software updates. It may not hurt them now, but the mature smartphone market could lean towards longevity and the brand just isn’t reliable in that aspect.

Pros

  • Stunning colorways with a matte back
  • A big 6.78-inch 120Hz FHD+ IPS display
  • It may be old, but nice to get a Helio G99 processor in a sub-P7,000 phone
  • Dual speakers, 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD card slot
  • Good battery experience with its 5000 mAh battery + 33W fast charging
  • A surprisingly good 108MP main camera
  • The Super Night Mode feature is good for what it is
  • Decent selfies with the 32MP front camera

Cons

  • Can be unwieldy due to its size
  • Maybe a minor thing, but that build issue could be a sign of poor quality control
  • Slow-feeling user experience with XOS 13.5
  • No commitment to software updates
  • Why is that 2MP macro camera alive??

The Infinix HOT 40 Pro retails for P6,999 with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. It comes in four colors: Starlit Black, Palm Blue, Starfall Green, and Horizon Gold. You can get one at Infinix concept stores and authorized retailers nationwide. It is also available online via e-commerce partners Shopee, TikTok Shop, and Lazada.

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