It comes with really nice upgrades compared to its predecessor and we got to take it through its paces for a good amount of time.
Right before we get into the review here’s what you get in the box:
- The phone
- Type-C charging cable
- 10W power brick
- Screen Protector that has already been applied
- TPU case with Future Now written on its side
- Sim ejector tool
The phone comes in a plastic frame. It’s thin but with a heft thanks to the gigantic 6000mAh battery packed in. The back has a reflective design and our unit comes in Racing Black. Other colours include Legend White and Origin Blue.
The back sports the 13MP dual-camera setup and a fingerprint reader.
At the bottom, we have a headphone jack, microphone, speaker and Type-C charging port which is pretty much a welcome upgrade for the Hot series.
On the right side are the volume rocker buttons and power buttons. While the left side has the slot for the dual nano-SIM cards and another for an external microSD card.
Coming to the front is the 6.82″ IPS LCD display slightly interrupted by the punch-hole selfie camera.
This is a 720p screen and sports a 90Hz refresh rate and 180Hz touch sampling rate. The display is really good – almost 1080p good. The screen is bright and crisp and that high refresh rate makes it even more enjoyable not just for scrolling through Twitter and Instagram but also for browsing the web, binge-watching the latest series and movies but also gaming.
Generally, I loved the design and how the screen feels slick and nice. The bottom facing speaker will serve your multimedia needs well too. The fingerprint reader was quick and reliable too. The switch from micro-USB to type-C is impressive especially if your household has been dominated by Type-C cables and fast charging bricks.
Infinix brought much-needed upgrades to the Hot 12 Play internals compared to its predecessor. We get a Helio G85 Processor coupled with Mali G52 GPU – all of which are huge improvements over the Helio G35 and PowerVR GE8320 GPU.
The phone comes with Android 11 and XOS 10.
XOS 10 features on-trend system-wide icons, rebound effects, and enhanced privacy packaged into a fresh and secure software experience. Alongside these headline features, XOS 10 comes with MOL translation engine, Smart Panel, Power Marathon, XClone, Monster Game Kit, Dar-link 2.0 Game Booster Software, DTS Audio, and Privacy Tracker for a seamless experience on the Infinix Hot 12 series.
Infinix Hot 12 Play ships with 4GB RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. Another feature under the sleeve is the MemFusion feature that lets you expand RAM by converting part of the onboard storage into virtual RAM to make the phone run smoothly. On the Infinix Hot 12 Play, you have the option to expand by 1GB, 2GB or 3GB giving you a maximum of 7GB.
To expand the RAM being offered, head to Setting, scroll to the Special Function option and then tap on it to unveil other XOS 10 features such as MemFusion, Game Mode, Video Assistant and others listed above.
Tapping on the MemFusion option gives you the option to enable this feature and switch between the options given: 1GB, 2GB or 3GB. It’s worth noting that the phone will have to restart for the modification to work.
All the combination makes the phone both play and power-packed. They translate to really impressive real-world performance. Apps load fast and stay open for longer in the background – perfect for multitasking as the Infinix Hot 12 Play will keep up with various tasks you throw at it as you go throughout the day.
Gaming is where it excelled as expected. The high refresh rate kept up with most games – light games to graphic intense games. Ninja Arashi 2, Asphalt 9:Legends, Among Us, ASlto’s Adventure, Grim Valour, Atomas, Critical Ops, Dead target, Dead Trigger, Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition, Linn Path of Orchards, RTeal Racing, Temple Run 2, and Transmission played at 90fps.
PUBG Mobile struggled and you have to keep graphics settings at balanced, medium frame rate and high SFX audio quality to get smooth gameplay ranging between 60 and 90fps.
It’s good to know that the Hot 12 Play held its own.
Infinix Hot 12 Play ships with the usual bloatware that can be annoying – from suggested apps to annoying notifications from the Plam Store. Good thing is that you can disable these apps.
So far I loved its performance thanks to the new upgraded internals and tech.
To sustain its winning performance, Infinix slapped a 6000mAH battery to keep the lights on the Hot 12 Play. This battery is huge and it takes a while to fully exhaust it. I was pulling over 8 hours of screen-on-time with heavy use and on moderate use, it was pulling two and half days. I bet light use can make it a three-day phone.
All that impressive battery life performance is brought down with the slow charging. It’s nice we have type-C charging but the power brick is capped at 10W. When the phone dies, you’ll have to excise a lot of patience as it takes close to 3 hours to fully juice it up.
All in all – you’ll never have to worry about the phone dying on you when you’re out and about. I was averaging between 25% and 20% charge at the end of the day and that’s with heavy usage – leaving me with enough for some late-night gaming and scrolling on Instagram, TikTok and scouring through the internet rabbit holes.
As pointed out above, Infinix Hot 12 Play ships with a dual main camera setup which includes a 13MP and a 2MP additional lens. For selfies, we have an 8MP front-facing camera.
Camera modes include AI Cam(default), Beauty, Portrait, AR Shot, Slow Motion, Video(1080p max), and Time-Lapse(1080p) on the selfie camera. It’s worth noting that there’s no Night Mode on this phone.
Infinix Hot 12 Play takes really decent shots. Selfies are portraits are presentable – good enough for social media on Stories and WhatsApp status. I loved how it handled background blur, colours, sharpness, contrast and exposure for some selfies and portraits even in low light. It was quite impressive.
For selfies and portraits, the Infinix Hot 12 Play gets my mark of approval.
The same results are replicated for the main camera too. It took really nice and sharp photos in bright outdoors with flatter natural-looking colours, decent saturation and contrast. It tried its best in low light given that it doesn’t come with night mode.
Overall, its camera performance is good enough and reliable for most shots. I’m glad it still keeps up with its stellar overall performance and that Infinix didn’t compromise a lot when it comes to the photography capabilities of its budget gaming phone.
Infinix Hot 12 Play is a well balanced entry-level gaming smartphone that’s also a decent camera smartphone. It’s a step forward for the company and I enjoyed using it as my daily driver. The 90Hz refresh rate, the 6000mAh battery, the 7GB of RAM, the Helio G85 chipset and the camera setup make the phone an easy recommendation to most consumers looking for an affordable smartphone that packs impressive performance without breaking the bank.
Pricing and Availability
Infinix Hot 12 Play will come in two configurations:
- 4GB RAM and 128GB onboard storage – Ksh 18,499
- 4GB RAM and 64GB onboard storage – Ksh 16,499
- Regular Infinix Hot 12: 4GB RAM and 128GB onboard storage – Ksh 19,999