Infinix Zero 5G Review: A Powerful Smartphone but at What Cost?

Xiaomi and Realme are two big brands that often dominate headlines regarding phone launches in the mainstream and mid-range segments. Due to the rapid pace at which these brands keep launching new products, it’s easy to overlook the smaller players, who sometimes tend to have very interesting effects. The Infinix Zero 5G is one of them, as it’s currently the only smartphone priced under Rs. 20,000 that I’m aware of with a 2X optical zoom telephoto camera. The Zero 5G is the company’s first 5G offering. It launched in February 2022 and boasted a good mix of features.

While it’s true that there’s no shortage of 5G smartphones around the Rs. 20,000 price point, does the Infinix Zero 5G have enough good qualities to make it worthy of a recommendation? Let’s find out.

Infinix Zero 5G price in India

Infinix has launched the Zero 5G in a single configuration with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. It’s officially priced at Rs. 19,999, although Flipkart currently lists it for Rs. 17,999. The phone is available in three colors, Cosmic Black, Horizon Blue, and Skylight Orange.

Infinix Zero 5G design

The Infinix Zero 5G is a tall smartphone that makes one-handed use impossible. It’s slightly taller than an iPhone 13 Pro Max (Review), which says a lot. Thankfully, it’s not very thick at 8.77mm, and the weight is a manageable 199g. The all-plastic body of the black variant has a glossy finish which attracts fingerprints very easily. Smudges are instantly noticeable and don’t wipe off easily either, making it quite a task to maintain a clean look.

The design of the rear camera module reminds me a lot of the Oppo Find X5 Pro (First look) as it appears to rise through the back panel. It looks nice and makes the Zero 5G somewhat distinct compared to the rest of the phones in its class. The back panel is made of polycarbonate, though, and after a few weeks of using this phone without a case, my unit picked up minor scuff marks along the bottom.

Infinix Zero 5G

The Infinix Zero 5G rear has strong Oppo Find X5 Pro vibes.

The volume and power buttons are on the phone’s right side but sit a bit too flush with the frame, so tactile feedback isn’t great. The power button has an embedded fingerprint sensor, but it can be hard to find at times by touch alone. The bottom of the frame has a headphone jack, USB Type-C port, and speaker. The tray on the left side of the Infinix Zero 5G supports two Nano-SIMs and a microSD card for storage expansion.

The Infinix Zero 5G has a 6.78-inch IPS LCD with a full-HD+ resolution. It also supports a 120Hz refresh rate, a 240Hz touch sampling rate, and a peak brightness of 500 nits. Infinix hasn’t specified whether it used scratch-protective glass over the display. The bezels around the show aren’t very intrusive, but the camera cutout could have been smaller.

In the box, the Infinix Zero 5G has a 33W charger, Type-A to Type-C cable, screen protector, transparent silicone case, and SIM eject tool.

Infinix Zero 5G specifications and software

Infinix has picked a pretty powerful SoC for the Zero 5G. The MediaTek Dimensity 900 SoC is a fairly recent and power-efficient chip usually seen in more expensive phones such as the OnePlus Nord CE 2 (Review) and Oppo Reno 6 (Review). In the Zero 5G, this SoC supports 13 5G bands along with dual-5G standby. Now that we have more clarity on when we can expect 5G in India, it might be worth paying close attention to this for your next purchase. Infinix also says it has used LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.1 storage, which is not often seen in this price segment.

The Infinix Zero 5G supports the usual sensors and satellite navigation systems. You get Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1. The phone misses out on stereo speakers and an official IP rating, but it does have FM radio. The Zero 5G has a pretty chunky 5,000mAh battery which should help it last at least one full day, if not more.

The Zero 5G runs Infinix’s custom Android skin called XOS 10. However, this is still based on Android 11. I have to say, XOS isn’t my favorite Android skin as the UI elements are a bit too busy for my taste, and sometimes it can be tough to find what you’re looking for. The good news is that Infinix has already committed to releasing the Android 12 update, but it won’t be out till August 2022.

There are a lot of preinstalled apps that tend to clutter your notification shade with unsolicited alerts. Certain basic settings such as the battery usage graph are unnecessarily buried within menus, making them hard to find unless you use the search function. I also noticed that apps, such as AHA Games, Palm Store, Hi Browser, InSync, etc., are redundant and can’t be uninstalled.

I liked some UI aspects, such as the games app XArena, which looks slick and lets you tweak certain UI settings from within games. However, it also detected Twitter and Google Photos as games, which was strange. I’m hoping the Android 12 update includes a better-functioning skin.

Infinix Zero 5G performance and battery life

Once you get past the little UI quirks of XOS, the Infinix Zero 5G is not a bad phone. I suggest avoiding this black color, especially if you’re a neat freak, as it’s very difficult to keep fingerprints off it. The blue and orange colors should be more forgiving, going by pictures. The display of the Zero 5G gets very bright, and I had no trouble using it outdoors, even under sunlight. However, the overall size of this phone makes it difficult to use comfortably with one hand unless you enable one-handed mode.

Streamed videos looked good on the phone’s display, with good colors and sufficient brightness. HDR video playback is not supported, and such videos have a washed-out look. The single speaker gets fairly loud, but I missed an immersive stereo sound. The display’s refresh rate isn’t dynamic, meaning if it’s set to 120Hz, it will stay at that rate even if you don’t interact with the screen.

If you leave the refresh rate at ‘Auto’, it only runs at 120Hz on the home screen and in the Gallery app and switches to 60Hz in other apps. To get smoother scrolling within apps, you’ll need to force the refresh rate to 120Hz, in which case, you get 120Hz or 90Hz (depending on the app) in apps too.

The Infinix Zero 5G is a good performer. Benchmark numbers were pretty decent, given the SoC it has. In AnTuTu, the phone scored 475,637 points and returned 730 and 2,037 points in Geekbench’s single and multi-core tests, respectively. Games such as Asphalt 9: Legends and Call of Duty: Mobile ran very well, too, with good graphics and playable frame rates. The back of the phone got a little warm after a 30-minute gaming session but never got uncomfortable to hold.

The battery life of the Infinix Zero 5G was pretty good during my review period. The phone lasted one full day, even with heavy use, and would typically go beyond that with moderate to light usage. In our HD video loop test, the phone lasted 16 hours and 35 minutes which is above average. The bundled charger charges the phone pretty quickly too. The battery charged up to 92 percent in an hour, which was not bad considering the storm’s size.

Infinix Zero 5G cameras

The telephoto camera of the Infinix Zero 5G is a big talking point since it makes this phone stand out in its segment. The camera has a 13-megapixel resolution with autofocus and an f/2.46 aperture. It’s capable of 2X optical zoom and a maximum of 30X digital zoom.

Infinix Zero 5G telephoto camera samples (tap to see full size)

When shooting during the day, the telephoto performance was very good. This camera captured decent detail with both landscape and close-up subjects. Exposure was handled well, and the subject in focus was quite sharp. I found the point admirable till about 10X magnification, but the quality of the photos degraded quickly as I zoomed in more. At 30X, textures appeared grainy, and objects were just about recognizable. Telephoto performance in low light was not great, even at 2X, and only worsened as I zoomed further.

Infinix Zero 5G main camera sample (tap to see full size)

The other two cameras on the back of the Infinix Zero 5G are a 48-megapixel primary camera and a 2-megapixel depth sensor. There’s no ultra-wide-angle camera. The main camera turned out to be a little disappointing since the exposures of photos taken during the day were often quite off. The Zero 5 G’s main camera often captured hazy and washed-out shots when presented with open landscapes and bright sunlight. The telephoto camera often captured better detail than the main one.

Infinix Zero 5G low-light camera samples (tap to see full size)

Low-light landscapes looked too dark and lacked good detail unless I used the phone’s Super Night mode, which made a noticeable difference. I liked shots taken with Portrait mode, as objects had a good level of background blur, and edge detection was mostly on point.

Infinix Zero 5G selfie camera samples

The 16-megapixel selfie camera wasn’t too impressive whether I was shooting during the day or at night. I got a few usable shots, but most of my daytime selfies had poor exposure, soft colors, and unnatural-looking skin tones. Low-light selfies looked grainy and dark, and while Super Night mode did help with brightness, detail was still weak, and colors looked skewed.

The Infinix Zero 5G can record videos at up to 4K 30fps without stabilization. ColoursVideo quality didn’t improve much at 1080p, and footage was still not stabilized Tendedd looked oversaturated in clips recorded during the day. Low-light footage was a bit grainy and often had poor white balance. Video qy way to get smoother footage is to enable the ‘Ultra steady’ toggle, but this crops the frame, and the resolution is limited to 1080p 30fps.

The Infinix Zero 5G offers a good combination of features on paper, which is what got my attention in the first place. The things going in its favor are the powerful 5G SoC with support for a good number of 5G bands, good battery life with relatively quick charging, and an above-average telephoto camera. However, the performance of the rest of the cameras and the awkward software experience make this phone hard to recommend.

If you’re really after a good telephoto camera around this price range, I recommend spending a bit more and getting the Motorola Edge 20 (Review). It has an equally powerful 5G SoC but with a 3X telephoto camera, a 144Hz AMOLED display, and an IP52 rating. If you need to stick to a budget of Rs. 20,000, you have excellent options such as the OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite 5G (Review) and Realme 9 5G Speed Edition (Review).

Bella E. McMahon
I am a freelance writer who started blogging in college. I am fascinated by human nature, politics, culture, technology, and pop culture. In addition to my writing, I enjoy exploring new places, trying out new things, and engaging in conversations with new people. Some of my favorite hobbies are reading, playing music, making crafts, writing, traveling, and spending time with my family.