Ever heard of things fall apart?
Three months later, the Infinix S5 that we boldly declared (in our review) as a stellar device and probably the best budget camera phone has started to show some age.
We admit that the initial review period is usually a bed of roses at least for most phones and everything just seems to work but like every relationship, time takes a toll on you and the ugly side starts to show.
This is the unfortunate story we have with the Infinix S5. A device that launched at the end of 2019 and was retailing at KES 15,000 – the price hasn’t changed – but as of March 2020, things weren’t looking so good in our relationship.
So What’s Still Good?
The Design has held up really well. That gradient back still looks good and in line with a lot of smartphone design from this year. On the front, the story continues. There’s a punch-hole display that definitely looks better than other budget phones. In short, the looks are still stellar.
Battery Life is Great. Despite the long charging time, the Infinix S5 does last a good one when it comes to battery life. There’s no day I have had anxiety that the phone would die on me before the end of the day. Actually, on some days I just don’t charge it overnight and I still get through a good chunk of the day without running for a cable.
Oh, the Camera. As we said in the initial review, the camera on the S5 is good, not great but good. A good number of buyers at this price point will be more than happy with the results. Shots look nice in broad daylight, the macro lens does a good job at getting you closer to subjects and the artificial bokeh isn’t that bad. The selfie camera also holds up pretty well. If you want to see how good the camera is, check out these photos we took in our initial review:
So that’s the good stuff but here’s where the pain starts.
Everything That’s Falling Apart
The fingerprint scanner really sucks. We did note this in our first review but things seem to be getting worse. Rarely will I scan my finger once and get access to the phone, I’d have to do so two or three times. The alternative is an equally painful face unlock feature that’s really not worth your time – just stick to using a password, PIN or pattern.
It haaaaaangs. Lord Jesus! This phone is a disaster when it comes to performance. Open up chrome and you can literally count to ten before it reloads the website that you were just looking at a few minutes ago. The social media platforms also suffer the same fate. Open it up, and woi! But do you know what’s worse? Taking a photo and quickly closing the camera only to realize the photo you took didn’t get saved.
Yup, this has happened to me so many times and the remedy is to wait a while before taking another photo, closing the camera app or trying to view that photo.
Low display brightness. This phone reminds me of Flo Rida’s song, “…Shawty got low low low low low low low low…”. Trying to use the Infinix S5 outside on any day that’s not a cloudy day is an extreme sport. The display doesn’t get as bright as we’d want to and before you run to the comments section to tell me this happens with other phones as well, I KNOW BUT IT STILL SUCKS!
ADS! I think I will resort to addressing this in a foreign language. Infinix yǒu shé me wèntí. After the first month of usage, something strange started happening. The 1 million (not literally) pre-installed Infinix apps started demanding my attention by constantly sending me ads every now and then.
I wish this was one app but multiple apps? Really? Scooper wants you to read some weird article, AHA games thinks you should check out some unrelatable game, Phone Master is constantly reminding you to optimize your phone – even when you really don’t need to and oh yeah, there’s the once in a while “app suggestions” that show up on your notification shade and app drawer.
Still worth it?
While some of these issues like the ads can be solved by spending time disabling apps, revoking notification access and getting a third-party launcher, there’s really nothing much you can do about the performance and fingerprint issues.
Is the Infinix S5 a good phone? Yes, yes it is. Would I buy it? ka wi na goma?