The sub-Rs. 10,000 price segment is huge in terms of potential buyers, and many smartphone manufacturers are doing their best to grab a share of it. In the race to dominate this segment, we have seen manufacturers trying every possible thing including smartphones with quad-camera setups, AMOLED displays, and big batteries. Such features were distant dreams even a few months ago. Customers are spoilt for choice, and can be more demanding than ever before. Infinix has thrown one more smartphone into the mix, called the Infinix S5 Lite.
Just like its elder sibling, the Infinix S5, this Lite model sports a hole-punch display. This type of display has been a feature on some flagship devices, and hasn’t even trickled down to a lot of mid-range smartphones yet, so we weren’t expecting to see one on a phone priced at Rs. 7,999 just yet. How good is the display, and has Infinix cut other corners to deliver this feature at such an aggressive price? We put the Infinix S5 Lite to the test to find out.
Infinix S5 Lite design
The Infinix S5 Lite looks a lot like the Infinix S5 (Review), and it will be impossible to distinguish between the two when looking at them from the front. A 6.6-inch display dominates the face of this smartphone, and Infinix claims a 90.5 percent screen-to-body ratio. The company has opted for a 20:9 aspect ratio which isn’t very common at this price point either. The IPS display panel has decent viewing angles but we found it to be low on brightness. The device also lacks an ambient light sensor, just like the Inifinix S5, which could be a big problem. You’ll need to adjust brightness manually all the time. The camera hole is on the top left corner. Also, for what it’s worth, the front camera wasn’t perfectly centred within its hole on our review unit.
We found the Infinix S5 Lite to be slightly taller than usual, and we needed to shuffle it in our hand. The power and volume buttons are on the right, and are reachable when using this phone one-handed. The SIM tray is on the left, and has two Nano-SIM slots as well as a dedicated microSD card slot. The Infinix S5 Lite sports a Micro-USB port at the bottom, which is acceptable for the price but we have seen Xiaomi introduce the USB Type-C port at this price point. Next to the Micro-USB port is the 3.5mm headphone jack and the loudspeaker.
At the back, the S5 Lite sports a triple camera setup which is one big difference compared to the quad-sensor array on the S5. There’s also has a quad-LED flash which seems like overkill. The fingerprint sensor is positioned near the camera module, and we found this placement to be a little too high for our liking. Infinix offers the smartphone in three colour options: Midnight Black, Quetzal Cyan, and Violet. We had the Quetzal Cyan version for this review. The Infinix S5 had a slightly rounded back which made it comfortable to hold, but the S5 Lite has a flat back which is made out of plastic just like the phone’s frame.
Infinix ships the S5 Lite with a protective case and a screen protector along with a 6W charger, which is a bit of a letdown when you consider the 4,000mAh battery that this smartphone packs.
Infinix S5 Lite specifications and software
The Infinix S5 Lite is powered by the MediaTek Helio P22 octa-core processor clocked at 2GHz. This is now a fairly old SoC and it does show its age. Newer smartphones such as the Realme 5 (Review) sport the more recent Qualcomm Snapdragon 665. There is 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage which are both good for the price.
This phone supports Bluetooth 5, Wi-Fi, 4G with VoLTE, GPS, FM radio, and USB-OTG. While the ambient light sensor is missing on this device, it does have other basic sensors.
The software on this phone is similar to what we have seen on other Infinix devices. It’s called XOS Cheetah 5.5 and is based on Android 9 Pie. There are quite a few customisations to the UI but it is still easy to find your way around it. What we didn’t like was the amount of bloatware that comes preinstalled on this smartphone. Apps such as Palmstore and AHA Games are alternatives to the Google Play store and suggest several apps for you to try. PHX Browser, Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp also come preinstalled on the S5 Lite. We did see spammy notifications from some of these apps, which got annoying very quickly.
If you don’t fancy the camera hole, you do get the option to mask it with a black band. You can also swap the traditional three-button navigation layout for gestures. The UI lets you enable a Smart Panel which is a drawer with icons to launch a favourite app or perform an action, such as taking a screenshot.
Just like its elder sibling, the S5 Lite has a feature called “Intelligent voice broadcast” which announces the latest news, the names of callers, and senders of incoming messages out loud. It can also alert you to notifications from apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. This does not read out the contents of messages which somewhat satisfied our privacy concerns.
Infinix S5 Lite performance and battery life
As we’ve said before, the MediaTek Helio P22 is now an old SoC and it shows its age when you push it. Regular tasks such as making calls, scrolling through apps, and WhatsApp messaging were handled quite well on the S5 Lite, but we noticed long load times when we launched heavy apps. The phone has 4GB of RAM which helps apps resume quickly from the background. The fingerprint scanner, as well as face recognition, were quick. We found the screen’s brightness to be slightly too low, and the speaker to be tinny.
We ran our usual set of benchmarks to gauge this smartphone’s performance, and the numbers weren’t bad but weren’t impressive either. The S5 Lite didn’t manage to run AnTuTu 8 but it scored 157 points in Geekbench 5’s single-core test and 821 points in the multi-core test. In GFXBench, the smartphone scored 11fps in Manhattan 3.1 and 25fps in the T-Rex scene.
We played PUBG Mobile on the S5 Lite, and the smartphone defaulted to the Low graphics preset. The game stuttered occasionally which forced us to drop the frame rate further. The phone did not heat up to a noticeable extent when playing games for short durations, but it did get warm to the touch after a while. Playing PUBG Mobile for 18 minutes resulted in a 6 percent battery drop.
The 4,000 mAh battery delivers decent battery life if you don’t stress the phone out. With regular tasks such as calling, messaging with WhatsApp, and using Google Maps for navigation, the smartphone lasted about a day an a half. In our HD video loop test, the S5 Lite went on for 13 hours and 46 minutes. The supplied 6W charger is extremely slow and takes over 4 hours to charge the smartphone completely, which was disappointing. Infinix should have incorporated quick charging and included at least a 10W charger in the box. We would recommend that buyers invest in a faster charger. Competition such as the Redmi 8A (Review) support faster charging.
Infinix S5 Lite cameras
The triple camera setup at the back consists of a 16-megapixel primary camera with an f/1.8 aperture, a 2-megapixel depth sensor, and a low-light sensor of unknown resolution. For selfies, this phone has a 16-megapixel shooter with an f/2.0 aperture. We found the camera app to be very basic in terms of the shooting modes it offers. There is no night mode, which is surprising considering the fact that there is a dedicated low-light sensor.
Focusing was a little slow, and we needed to wait for the phone to lock focus before taking shots. Dynamic range wasn’t great, and as a result dark areas in our sample shots were underexposed. Images weren’t sharp, and details were lacking in objects at a distance. We also noticed a slight yellow colour tone in some of the daylight shots we took.
For close-up shots, the smartphone needed even longer to focus. It also didn’t always set the exposure right. We often had to tap the screen to set the focus and exposure. The resulting shots were still below average in quality, and the S5 Lite didn’t produce good depth-of-field in close-up shots.
There is a Bokeh mode which can be used to take portrait shots. It lets you adjust the level of blur before you take a shot. Photos taken in this mode seemed to have decent separation between the subject and the background, but the S5 Lite tended to overexpose backgrounds.
Low-light shots were disappointing as well. They appeared artificially boosted, and grain was visible on zooming in to shots. Since there is no Night mode, we had to wait for the AI to kick in and detect low-light conditions. It seems as though the smartphone puts its dedicated low-light camera to use when the AI detects low light, since resulting shots were a little brighter and had marginally better detail. Either way, low-light photography isn’t a strong point of this phone, and you’ll probably have to use the flash for better shots.
Selfies taken with the front shooter were good enough for social media. You do have the option to take shots in Bokeh mode, and we saw good edge detection. Infinix has also added an AR Shot mode which lets you place stickers on subjects before taking a shot. These are fun, and we see can people using them often. Video recording resolution tops out at 1080p for both the primary rear camera as well as the selfie camera. There is no electronic stabilisation, which means that output is shaky. Video recording with a light source nearby offered better results than shooting out in the open. Colours appeared too boosted for our liking.
Camera performance definitely needs some improvement, since the competition at the same price level manage better shots in most conditions. Considering that this smartphone has a dedicated low-light sensor, its low-light results should have been better.
The Infinix S5 Lite is the most affordable smartphone with a hole-punch display in the market right now. Thanks to this feature, it looks a lot more premium than it actually is. However, using it does not feel as good. The choice of processor is questionable, considering that this segment has moved on to more powerful options. That’s not all – dropping the ambient light sensor from a smartphone priced at around Rs. 8,000 just isn’t acceptable. Having a big battery does help the S5 Lite deliver good battery life, but the lack of fast charging could be a problem for many people.
If you fancy a smartphone with a hole-punch display, you’d be better off waiting for something else, since too many corners have been cut on the Infinix S5 Lite to meet this price. We would recommend that you take a look at the Redmi 8 (Review) or consider recently discounted phones such as the Redmi Note 7S (Review) or Realme 3 Pro (Review) that have stood out in recent sales.