The latest Galaxy phones, Pixel phones, and iPhones are usually lauded as the most exciting phones of the year. That’s true; they’re exciting, but they’re not interesting. A lot of the time, it’s the underdogs who churn out the most interesting handsets; the obscure companies that produce phones that are worth much more than their price tag will indicate.
Infinix is one of those underdogs. This is a pretty obscure Chinese smartphone OEM, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t deserve the spotlight. We were given the opportunity to review the Infinix Note 30 Pro.
This is a more budget-friendly phone than the premium options out there, but as you’ll see, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t deserve your attention. Sometimes, price is just a number, and the fine line between premium and mid-range can blur. Let’s dive into the review of the Infinix Note 30 Pro.
Infinix Note 30 Pro Review: Build and design
I repeat: Sometimes, price is just a number, and that became evident when I first picked up this phone. When making a budget-friendly handset, the premium feeling is usually the first thing to take a hit. The Infinix Note 30 Pro is an interesting case when it comes to the feel in the hand, and not for a bad reason.
As far as first impressions go, I had a hard time believing that this phone cost less than $500 let alone $300 when I first picked it up. The Infinix Note 30 Pro has a certain heft to it that you don’t get with most budget phones. While it’s hefty, it doesn’t feel bulky. Infinix was able to reach that balance between hefty and heavy.
That’s just my first impression, however. What makes this phone an interesting case is the fact that it feels pretty premium without really using premium materials. If you take a second and appraise the phone, you’ll start to notice some things. Firstly, the frame of the phone is made from plastic. That’s not something that you’d see in a more premium phone, not even a modern Pixel A series phone.
Also, the back is made from plastic. However, it doesn’t really feel like it. It has the cool sensation that you’d get from a metal unibody phone.
The solid metal camera island only adds to the feeling. While the materials are more budget-oriented, Infinix was able to fake it and deliver a decently premium-feeling phone using modest materials.
As for the design, the Infinix Note 30 Pro is having a bit of an identity crisis. It’s pretty yet industrial at the same time; flamboyant yet fortified. The phone is heavy and sturdy, and the metal camera package gives it a very no-BS look to it. The camera package is just this hunk of square metal on the back. It makes the phone look like a tank…
But, at the same time, it’s very pretty. There’s this pleasant soft-touch material on the back that plays with the light in such a pleasant way. Depending on the angle of the light, the phone will reflect several colors. You get hints of blue, teal, green, and rose gold. It’s really a sight for sore eyes. Also, the metal camera package is a delightful rose gold.
Infinix Note 30 Pro Review: Display
It’s hard to put into words how beautiful this phone’s display is. I can say flat out that a display this amazing does not belong on a sub-$300 phone; yet, here we are. Again, price is just a number, and the delusions I had about what a $300 phone should cost were shattered the moment I laid eyes on this display.
It’s an OLED display, but it goes much deeper than that. Any company can slap an OLED display on a phone, but that doesn’t automatically make it good. The colors are punchy, the blacks are deep, the contrast is great, blah blah blah blah. We’ve heard that advertising copy before.
The beauty of this display goes beyond the hardware; Infinix did an amazing job calibrating this display. With the Bright-colored mode enabled, the colors are saturated, but that’s not what makes them beautiful. They’re punchy enough to dazzle the eye and make movies and videos pop, but they don’t go overboard. You can see where Infinix restrained itself. It struck the right balance to make the colors absolutely gorgeous.
While the colors have been tuned amazingly, some of the bolder shades of red will sizzle a bit. At full brightness, if you’re looking at photos of vibrant red roses, it might be a bit too much for the eyes. That’s the nature of the color red and digital displays, however.
It’s summer here in Florida, so using a phone outdoors is just asking for a hard time. In the case of the Infinix Note 30 Pro, sunlight visibility is not a problem. It doesn’t get as bright as a Galaxy S23 Ultra, but it’s definitely up there at 900 nits. I have no trouble seeing the screen in the bright sun. I’d literally need to have the sun directly reflected on the phone’s screen to have a hard time.
All in all, there’s no reason for this phone’s display to be this good! I can honestly say that this phone’s display trumps the display on the $1,000 Motorola Edge+. I even found it more enjoyable than the display on the Pixel 6. It goes toe-to-toe with the displays on some of Samsung’s phones, and that’s saying a lot. I can honestly say that the display is my favorite aspect of this phone.
Infinix Note 30 Pro Review: Speakers
Watching your media on this phone is great, but what about listening to it? The audio experience with this phone is pretty good, which is a bit of a letdown because the build quality and display are so great.
Out of the box, the speakers are nothing to write home about. They’re not great, but they’re not particularly good. The speakers are rather tinny, and they lack any sort of depth. They’re speakers to get the job done, and that’s what they do.
One thing I’ll say about the speakers’ out-of-the-box quality is that the highs cut through pleasantly. Higher tones come through nicely, and they’re great if you’re a person who’s into ASMR.
But, these speakers have a trick up their sleeves
If the speakers don’t sound like they’ll suit your interests, you can fix that. This phone has some tools that you can use to customize the audio quality. Starting off, there’s a handful of audio profiles that you can change the sound based on the listening scenario.
The Smart option will choose the profile based on the audio that’s playing. There’s a Music option that gives you a warmer, bassier, and wider sound. The Video setting will boost the high tones more so that voices cut through better. The Game setting will give you a more neutral profile.
Next, you can make adjustments to each sound profile. In the settings, you can choose the stereo settings. You’ll be able to choose whether you want a wide stereo sound, a more frontward sound, or a traditional sound.
Under those settings, you can choose which aspect of the sound to boost. You can choose to boost the bass, the vocals, or the treble.
Last, but not least, there’s an EQ that you can use to further customize the sound. It’s a 5-band EQ that adjusts the 100Hz, 300Hz, 1KHz, 3KHz, and 10KHz bands. Each band can go between -5dB and +5dB. It’s pretty robust for a built-in EQ, and it can help you further fine-tune your sound.
After fine-tuning the sound, there was definitely a difference. The speakers definitely sounded better. However, the difference wasn’t like night and day. After making tweaks, I still felt that the speakers were lacking in depth. I’d say that the sound options do a good job, but they can’t make a pair of decent speakers sound great. That’s what the speakers are, decent. They’re not bad, but they’re definitely nothing to write home about.
Infinix Note 30 Pro Review: Battery
Back in the day, most mid-range phones were destined to have smaller batteries than flagships. However, things have changed; a ton of mid-rangers are rocking batteries as large as the latest Galaxy S phones. The Infinix Note 30 Pro is rocking a large 5,000mAh battery.
I was more than pleased with the battery life of this phone. I usually start off my day with a full battery. After that point, I’d typically have to charge it by the afternoon of the next day. It wasn’t uncommon for me to get a day and a half of moderate usage out of this phone. That consists of a ton of social media, a good amount of video-watching, and casual gaming.
On heavier days, days when I’d play games more religiously or be binge-watching content, I’d still have a hard time killing the battery before turning in for the night.
The Infinix Note 30 Pro comes with a charger in the box, and that’s a major plus for this phone. The charger is a 68W charging brick, and it can charge the phone very quickly. Charging from 0% to 100% doesn’t take much more than an hour. It also comes with 15W wireless charging.
Infinix Note 30 Pro Review: Performance
Yes, I’m going to say it again: Price is just a number. That statement is extremely true when talking about this phone’s performance. Honestly, if this was just a few years earlier, I’d be calling this phone a flagship killer (remember those things?).
The Infinix Note 30 Pro is using the MediaTek Helio G99 SoC. Now, we’ve all become accustomed to instantly associating MediaTek with poor performance. However, that’s not always the case, and the Infinix Note 30 Pro is proof of that. Infinix did a great job at optimizing the software for the chip.
Starting off with navigating the software, this phone just glides. Jumping from app to app and using said apps, I didn’t really notice any stutters or dropped frames. That’s not to say that they’re non-existent, as there is the occasional hiccup. Maybe the phone lags when rotating the screen for a fraction of a second; maybe it drops a frame when opening the app. However, those instances are few and far apart.
Also, when it comes to using the apps themselves, the story is the same. I didn’t stumble across any apps that could slow this phone down. With a processor like the Helio G99, you’d expect typical mid-range performance, but I think that this phone goes beyond that. It’s definitely in premium mid-ranger territory.
The performance is also helped by the smoothness of the 120Hz display. Gliding through the interface and using this phone with the 120Hz display just makes it feel that much more fluid. It gives you the experience of just picking up a phone and using it without any performance issues- like you’d get from a flagship phone.
When using this phone for extended periods of time, it doesn’t really heat up too much. It gets warm, but it was never hot to the point where it felt uncomfortable. One thing to note is that the camera island is made from metal, and that could get quite warm. However, it’s more than manageable. It manages to keep cool using a VC liquid cooling system.
Infinix Note 30 Pro Review: Gaming
Gaming on this phone isn’t too bad. It’s like getting a B+ on a report. It’s not bad by any means, but it’s right on the cusp of greatness. Right off the bat, your run-of-the-mill 2D games will run like butter. Games like Sweet Sins 2, Fishing Paradiso, Dream Hopper, Dragon Ball Z Dokkan Battle, and so on will run with no problems. That’s to be expected because of this phone’s baseline performance.
Moving from 2D to simple 3D games doesn’t yield any different results. They run smoothly with no stutters or lag. These include games like Crash of Cars, Pocket World, Sonic Rush, and so on. Even the decently graphically intensive 3D game Sky: Children of The Light runs smoothly. If you’re going to be doing more casual gaming, then you won’t have any problems using this phone.
Now, let’s crank up the graphics. There are games that tower above the rest in terms of graphics, and one of the best-looking games on the market is Genshin Impact. This game is pretty… and it’s pretty daunting. How does this phone perform against this title? Not bad, but not great.
When you load up Genshin Impact, which looks like it belongs on the PS3 or Xbox 360, you’ll see the phone struggle to keep up. However, this is if the graphical settings are turned to the maximum setting.
If you knock the graphical settings down to regular, then you’ll be able to get pretty smooth gameplay. Overall, if you knock the settings down to their lowest setting, you still won’t be able to get up to 60fps. So, with more graphically intensive games, you should expect the phone to chug just a bit.
The Infinix Note 30 Pro is definitely more for casual and light gaming. More graphically intensive games are definitely playable, but you should expect less-than-smooth gameplay.
Infinix Note 30 Pro Review: Camera
A big part of the smartphone experience is the camera, so let’s see if that large camera package on the back is just for show.
Starting off with the details, the Infinix Note 30 Pro produced nicely detailed images. they come out reasonably sharp. They look great when they’re zoomed out. However, the phone does lean on the oversharpening a bit. It actually creates this weird spaghetti noodle effect when you zoom in closely.
Shots in the bright sun are well-exposed without being overexposed or underexposed. I’d say that the dynamic range is pleasing. I noticed a few times, however, when the exposure leaned on the bright side just a little. It’s not too bad, however. Just be prepared for a few extended highlights.
The colors produced by the Infinix Note 30 Pro are nice, but they have one minor flaw. They’re nicely saturated without going overboard. It has the classic issues with digital sensors in that properly exposing reds is difficult. However, the colors are nice overall.
The one minor drawback is that they tend to lean rather warm. The photos are noticeably warmer than the scene. They can almost change the whole feeling of the scene. I took a picture of some rocks on the ground. They’re grayish rocks in the midday sunlight. Instead of showing a bland and gray scene, it gave me this warm, almost desert-like scene. I’d prefer that the system focused more on color accuracy.
The low-light performance with this phone isn’t amazing for the price, but it’s not too bad. I’d say that it’s as good as a flagship phone’s low-light performance from around 2016-2017. The quality degrades rather quickly when you turn down the lights. However, it still manages to keep the scene well-lit and it still retains the colors nicely.
Infinix Note 30 Pro Review: Software
The thing that differentiates this phone from most other phones in the West is the software. The Infinix Note 30 Pro is running a heavily skinned version of Android called XOS. It’s version 13.0.00, so it’s based on Android 13.
For the most part, the software is really good. It’s different, but it still remains intuitive. Infinix didn’t change too many things about the software, so if you’re used to using Android phones, you’ll feel right at home.
There are a bunch of settings and features that you can dig through, so you’ll be able to tailor the software experience to your liking. This involves a bunch of gestures and home screen customizations.
There are a few complaints
The notification shade is split into two pages. You’ll swipe down from the top left of the screen to summon the notifications and the top right of the screen for the quick settings. You can swipe between them, but most Android users are used to having everything available on one screen.
Another issue has to do with compatibility. There are certain apps and services that will not work on this phone, and that might be because of the region this phone was made for. Just know that not every app from the Google Play Store will work on this phone.
The Infinix Note 30 Pro does come pre-loaded with a third-party app store called the Palm Store. you can use that, but it won’t have the same robust library of apps that the Play Store has.
Also, I could not set up Google Wallet, which was a major bummer.
Infinix Note 30 Pro Review: Additional and missing features
This phone has some features and additions that make the experience that much better. For starters, it comes with a 3.5mm headphone jack, so you won’t need to worry about charging it while listening to music. Also, there’s microSD card expansion.
On the side of the phone, there’s a fingerprint scanner on the power button. It’s super fast and accurate. Along with the fingerprint scanner, there’s also the option to use face unlock. The face-unlocking feature is very accurate and extremely fast. You can unlock your phone even if your face is at an angle. Using the lift-to-wake feature, you’ll simply have to lift your phone, and, within a second of you swiping your screen, the phone’s unlocked.
Here’s a feature that you don’t see on many phones. If you need to frame a selfie in the dark, there’s actually an LED flash on the front of the phone along with the one on the back.
Another nice feature of this phone is reverse wireless charging.
What it’s missing
This phone has IP water and dust resistance, but it’s only IP53. This means that it can only survive if caught in the rain. It can not be submerged fully under the water. If that happens, then you risk damaging the phone.
Being a reviewer, I’ve come across the full spectrum of devices from premium masterpieces to downright trash. There’s often a recurring theme among these devices: the more expensive the device, the better.
Notice how I used the word “often” and not “always”. This is because every so often, I stumble upon a device that gives me so much more value than I initially expected. This is exactly how I feel about the Infinix Note 30 Pro. We’re conditioned to think that once a phone falls below the $300 line, it ceases to be a worthy handset; it’s just a phone to get you through the day.
But, the Infinix Note 30 Pro completely smashes that notion. This phone is, in so many ways, much better than its price lets on. The display is drop-dead gorgeous, the design is pretty premium, the performance is snappy, the camera performance is strong, the software experience is great, and so on.
I can honestly say that the Infinix Note 30 Pro is one of the best phones I’ve reviewed, especially for this price. I highly recommend that you pick it up.