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Infinix Zero 4 Review - Priority In Photography

The Zero 4 is a beautiful machine right off the bat. It has the promise of delivering great photography experience even on a low sub PHP 12K price range. However, its packed with an ageing MT6753 chip running the show inside.
Infinix Zero 4 Review
A promising affordable photography phone?

The question is, will this be your next great affordable camera centric smartphone? Will it still be speedy enough even with the use of an ageing chip? Let's find out!


Display Quality

Amazing screen for the price!
Amazing screen for the price!

The 5-point multitouch, 5.5-inch IPS Gorilla Glass 4 Display with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution that results to 401 pixels per inch is vivid and sharp!
One of the very best screen screen for the price!
The blacks and the dynamic range is good for the price range but we've seen better. At the lowest brightness settings, it gets very comfortable when using at night time. At 25% brightness, it gets noticeably brighter that we could use it at average lighting conditions and made us almost never put the screen at maximum brightness.

The viewing angles are great and at max brightness, we were able to read the screen no problem. We only found one or two situations where it couldn't compete with the sun!

Audio Quality

There are two speaker grills for symmetry but only the left side works. It gets relatively loud that it was able to compete with our friend's home entertainment system at maximum volume without distortion. 

Once we plugged-in our personal RHA S500i in-ear monitors and the stock Zero 4 headphones the audio remains consistent with great bass, mids and highs and powerful volume. This isn't for audiophiles but for most people this is more than enough!

It can handle FLAC files with relative ease with minimum damage to the battery consumption.
Zero 4's audio game is strong!

The microphone on the phone and on the stock earphones the other hand is good. I have never experienced complaints from calls I made with the Telco providers or with Facebook messenger or Viber.

Battery Life

7 hours of 25 mins to be exact!
7 hours of 25 mins to be exact!

PC Mark battery benchmark clocked in at at least 7 hours! Having a 5.5 inch 1080p screen with 3200 mAh, the battery endurance is respectable. 

In real life performance, the 3,200 mAh battery would last at least 8 hours with our normal day to day workflow of unplugging the phone at 7 AM and spending the day texting, calls, browsing, YouTube video streaming and navigating with Waze. 

The powerbrick is equipped with 2A of charging power which helps charging time to around two hours from 0 to 100%! The charging time is consistent with our Tronsmart cables and Tronsmart USB hubs with no problem.

Camera

Infinix Zero 4 camera
It has the same Sony sensor found with the higher-end OnePlus 3, ZenFone 3, and Mate 8!

The phone is equipped with a primary 16 MP f/2.0 Sony IMX298 sensor (identical w/ Mate 8) w/ laser autofocus and OIS (optical image stabilization). The camera app has HDR, Face beauty, panorama, various flash modes, various filter modes.
Manual camera mode
Manual camera mode

The main camera takes sharp, decent contrast images that pop but with colors that are a little washed out for our liking. Lowlight performance is okay, not great. Grain is present but its not obtrusive. At least it isn't as bad compared with most mid-range phones.

There is a Pro mode that allows controls for ISO, shutter speed up to 6 seconds, white balance and manual focus. It's nice to have but we feel that most people will ignore it given that the user interface is a little difficult because you are only allowed to control one at a time which can be time consuming switching from each category for each shot.

For serious smartphone photographers this isn't a problem but for the ones who want to just point and shoot, the auto mode is still faster.

Rear Camera Samples

Auto vs HDR
Auto vs HDR
Close-up test
Close-up test
Normal vs 4x super zoom!
Normal vs 4x super zoom!
Manual cam test
Manual cam test
Night shot!
Night shot!
Strong yet yellowish flash
Strong yet yellowish flash

The secondary 8 MP f/2.2 camera with wide angle lens and LED flash is the same story. It is less sharp and less detailed than the main camera but shakiness is controlled well.
Selfie camera even has grids and beautify levels
Selfie camera even has grids and beautify levels

We just find the colors to be a little washed out that it lessens the impact of vibrant colored subjects. Otherwise it is a competitive selfie camera experience w/ good beautify levels.

The LED flash helps in low light (it even has a softlight flash mode ala Vivo V5). You can even use the "softlight flash" mode for videos which is great in lowlight conditions.

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie
It has wide angle lens
It has wide angle lens
It has wide angle lens
Lowlight conditions w/o flash
Softlight flash mode
Softlight flash mode

The main camera has a max 1080p video recording. Due to its OIS, shakiness is lessened. Picture quality is decent too. However, it does not have options for how many frames per second at any resolution which is a bummer.

In front, 720p selfie videos is decent and bright, though a little washed. Good enough for casual Instagram stories and video calls. It isn't just as stabilized compared to the main camera. Otherwise, we love the quality.


Video Samples


Performance

The benchmark scores
The benchmark scores

With an Antutu score of at least 40K, it is good enough for most tasks and 1080p video with OIS. Navigating and using the phone is snappy with a smoothness that is oddly satisfying. We almost never experienced lag with our time with the phone.
Considering that it has an ageing MT6753 chip, performance is surprisingly capable!
Given the 1080p resolution it is the best for almost all tasks without hurting the battery too much. We were surprised that it ran Asphalt 8 Airborne consistently at HIGH settings with at least 30 fps. The graphics isn't as good as compared to other phones in its class though. It isn't the best but at least it is good to know that it can
XOS should be improved
XOS should be improved

It is running Android 6.0 Marshmallow based XOS. XOS is an okay skin of Android with some noteable changes to UI that we think could be improved. There were some settings or features that would normally take less steps to get to but XOS added a couple of more steps.

The XOS launcher felt like it could also be streamlined as we found the launcher to be slowing us down with design organization changes. This is our own personal preference and we think most people won't mind.

We hope they can stream line this but generally it feels like stock android with different colors and some organizational changes. Maybe it can be fixed by providing the latest Android Nougat update.

VPN and OTG are present are easy to access. The Fingerprint is very good. On par with the second generation iPhone fingerprint sensors. It's fast and we never had a misread of our fingerprint. There's gyroscope for AR mode while playing Pokemon GO.

Other features like screen recording and high performance mode is welcomed. This makes this a great phone for mobile smartphone gaming where you want to be able to share your gameplay footage at maximum hardware settings. 

Pros - Premium build,  display is bright and vibrant, audio performance is strong, optimized performance
Cons - Protruded main camera might be prone to scratches, XOS needs to be streamlined, refinements to post processing (camera has potential) 

Verdict

At this price range, we have nothing but great things to say about this phone! We love the audio, the screen and the raw performance. The only gripes are two things. The dated chipset (even if it is optimized) and that XOS needs some refining. Otherwise this could be one of the better options for the under PHP 12K price range! I think Infinix can fix both with a firmware update so lets hope they do! 

We recommend the Infinix Zero 4 as a camera focused handset on a budget!

Build / Design - 4
Display - 4.5
Audio - 4.5
Battery - 4
Camera - 4
Performance - 4
Average - 4.16 / 5
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