While the flagship smartphones continue to drive the industry by offering the latest and greatest in technology, there’s still a great underlying factor that drives sales – price.
In South Africa, the three biggest flagships available today all carry a cost above the R20,000 mark. That’s not something many South Africans can afford, even over a 24-month period to pay it off. As such, mid-range smartphones have increased their market share. Unlike previous years, where mid-range smartphones were simply a mix of older-generation flagship features recycled to cash in on the market, the modern mid-range smartphone’s can, at times, compete with many other flagship devices.
A few weeks back, Hisense celebrated its 50-year anniversary at an event which showcased some of its tech throughout the years. In addition to this, the event also doubled for the launch of their latest smartphones, the Infinity H30 and Infinity H30 Lite.
The devices both offer all the modern-day smartphone features without burning too much of a hole in your pocket.
Build and Design
On the first look, there’s not much to set the H30 apart from many other mid-range smartphones. It looks very similar to the Honor 10 Lite launched earlier this year. But, upon unboxing, you’ll notice that Hisense has thrown in a few extras that add some value to the product. These items – over and above the standard Type-C charger, a pair of earphones and user manual – are the screen protector film and plastic cover.
It might have been ideal for the screen protector to be fitted already, but the inclusion alongside the cover is welcome and speaks to the user requirements for many buyers. Another inclusion, although not contained within the contents, is the one-year warranty period, which covers a free screen repair for any damages. You don’t often find all these inclusions for a mid-range smartphone, which makes them a bonus here.
The device measures 164.37×77.1×8.75mm, which is fairly standard for a device within the category. While there aren’t any definitive specifications for its weight, I would put it down between 150g and 180g, which is lightweight enough not to feel like a brick in your pocket, despite its larger frame.
On the right-hand side of the unit, it includes a single-button volume rocker on the top and a power button slightly below that, both within thumb reach. On the left-hand side, there’s a shortcut button, which adds some decent shortcuts within various apps, which will be discussed in the Software section below. Just above this button is the nanoSIM/microSD slot.
As with many smartphones released in 2019, the H30 features a pearlescent, plastic rear cover with a glossy finish. You’ll also find the standard, circular fingerprint sensor in reach of your index finger, as well as a dual-lens camera and flash on the top left-hand side.
On the bottom of the unit, you’ll find a Type-C charging port, speaker grille on the right, as well an auxiliary jack on the left.
Overall, while the build is fairly standard across all aspects of a mid-range smartphone, Hisense includes additional elements within the contents, as well as a one-year screen warranty, to add great value to prospective owners.
Screen and Display
The screen on the Infinity H30 is quite large, measuring 6.5”. The panel is a U-Infinity screen, which has an FHD+, 2160×1080px resolution display. Again, these stats are comparable to many other flagship devices from 2019. The screen has an 80.58% screen-to-body ratio, with an edge-to-edge design.
The front-facing camera has been a hot top for quite some time now, but many mid-range smartphones have settled upon the dewdrop (or water drop) notched approach, which takes up quite a lot less real estate than many of the other options.
The display itself is has a vibrant colour approach, which looks great. The screen is also smooth to touch, which makes usage quite easy overall. It may sound like an odd thing to state for a glass coated surface, but often times the surface isn’t as smooth as others, which is noticeable across various devices. The H30 doesn’t fall into that trap, offering a polished device, both on the front and rear of the unit.
Performance and Battery
When it comes to the performance of the H30, the unit doesn’t disappoint either. Featuring a Mediatek Helio P70 chipset with an Octa-core CPU, it’s no slouch. Far from it. Coupled with its Mali-G72 MP4 GPU and 4GB RAM, there’s enough under the hood of the H30 to compete at all levels. There aren’t many smartphones in South Africa sporting the Mediatek Helio SoCs, with devices we’ve reviewed previously including BlackView, Xiaomi, and surprisingly, the LG Q7. As with the performances on Q7, the performances across the board on the H30 were good. It’s not going to be setting the world alight in terms of overall benchmarks, but delivering even on higher-end gaming performances on a mid-range unit is definitely something worth noting.
My usage of the H30 was a mix of daily-driver to backup phone. The results, either way, were good in terms of battery life. As a daily driver, the unit was capable of surviving an entire day, and a little extra into the second day, on a single charge. Switching the device to a secondary unit pushed battery life out to between 5 and 7 days between charges. During this time, I would use the device for various tasks 5-10 times per day for a few minutes at a time. Most of the performance here is derived from the H30’s AI power saving modes, which reduces consumption during non-use. The AI actually accounts for a lot of the performance gains and savings on the device, as well as a number of other features, which we’ll touch on below.
Software and Camera
As with many other Chinese branded smartphones, the has a familiar feel about it. That said, the H30 does have a separate app drawer, unlike the homescreen variants of the many others. The app drawer, however, is somewhat hidden. At the bottom of the homescreen there’s an onscreen menu button, which, when swiped up enters into the multitasking screen for app management. Swiping up a second time then only takes the user into the app drawer. A long press of the same menu button opens Google’s search app, which can be used by means of a voice or text-based request.
While the rest of the features remain fairly standard amongst the vanilla Android build, the introduction of the “smart button” changes up the way which users could potentially use their smartphones. It does, however, take some getting used to. When in the homescreen (and a few other non-standard apps) clicking the button switches between recently used apps and screens. For the native apps, there are a few additional usages. For starters, within the Music app, the button starts and stops play. In the Camera app, it switches between front and rear-facing cameras. In the Browser app (and a few other text-based applications) users can switch to and from night mode. In the Gallery app, users can enter edit mode. In the Contacts app, it opens the most recent called contacts. In the video-based apps, you can switch to and from split screen modes. All of the modes are very useful, allowing for optimum use and efficiency. Switching into the split-screen mode, for example, is very useful if you wish to watch a video while continuing your work. The screen is large enough to facilitate this.
Another aspect of the H30’s software is its security. The unit offers both fingerprint unlock, via the rear-mounted sensor, as well as facial recognition. Both of these biometric security features worked brilliantly. I was impressed as to how well the facial recognition worked, as it recognised my face in milliseconds even in the darkest of rooms. During the few weeks’ worth of usage, there wasn’t a single instance where the device failed to recognise my face or require me to use the backup pin.
As mentioned previously, the H30 has quite a lot of AI built into the OS. While facilitating optimum usage during the course of the day to save on resources such as battery life and CPU power, the AI also features heavily in the camera app. When choosing to use the AI mode, the software chooses the best settings for each shot, making changes based on indoor or outdoor, light or dark, colourful or full photos. For those who love taking photos of their babies (or someone else’s baby), there’s a baby mode built into the app as well, which allows you to select a sound to draw the attention of said baby in the direction of the phone to take the best shots. I can’t be too sure how successful this feature is since I wasn’t going around taking photos of random babies. There are also a few pre-set filters users can select from to change up those dull photos.
At the end of the day, even with all the features and AI built in, the quality of the images is what’s most important. With its dual-lens camera (16+2MP, F2.2, PDAF), the rear-facing camera produces good results. In well-lit environments, the quality of images was great, colourful and crisp. Landscape photos were also very colourful, but often times lacked some crisp detailing on standard images, resulting in a few blurry shots when zoomed in. In the less lit environments, the AI switches the scene well enough, lighting it up with a few effects of its own to get some additional detail from the shot. The result here, while grainy, was impressive. Moreover, I was surprised by the front-facing camera (20MP, F2, FF), which managed to take quite decent selfies in poorly lit rooms.
The Hisense Infinity H30 is a very good midrange smartphone. With a retail price of R5,499, the device competes not only in overall specifications and real-world performances, as well as in terms of pricing. The unit has a fair number of features for a device in its price category, making it a really good purchase for any prospective buyers.
Hisense Infinity H30
The Hisense Infinity H30 has a sizable screen with a host of great features for a midrange smartphone, making a really good purchase.
- Great number of features
- Sizable screen
- Long-lasting battery
- Great price
- OS requires a bit of learning
- Ease of Learning 0%
- Ease of Use 0%
- Design 0%
- Performance 0%
- Enjoyment 0%
- Value for Money 0%