Infinix Note 5 Stylus review: Affordable stylus phone with a surprisingly good camera
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Infinix has introduced yet another mid-range smartphone for the Indian market. This time around the Transsion Holdings backed smartphone maker has tried to offer something new to consumers in the affordable price-segment by launching Note 5 Stylus which offers a unique accessory which we currently get with the flagship Samsung smartphones. PROS: - Smudge resistant design - Lag-free performance - Value for money stylus phone - Longer battery backup CONS: - Selfie camera bokeh mode is of average quality - Not fit multimedia consumption - Display lacks brightness outdoors Full Specifications The Note 5 Stylus comes in a metal body and unlike other mid-range handsets, feature just one camera sensor at the back panel. You will also not find a bezel-less or a notch display as the handsets offer a pretty standard screen surrounded with big bezels on all four sides. We tested the handset to understand if the 'Stylus' can win over today's trending features like dual-lens cameras and edge-to-edge displays. The Infinix Note 5 Stylus is the second mid-range smartphone after LG to offer a stylus at the sub 16K price segment. Infinix has named it Stylus as X Pen and it can help you do a lot with your phone in a number of ways. Upon taking out the X Pen from its slot, you will be presented with a bunch of options including create memo, capture a screenshot and paint among others. If your work involves a lot of note-making and carrying a diary and a pen is not an option or something you don't prefer, the X Pen can come really handy. Some of the other useful features that the stylus has to offer are Easy calculate and handwriting recognition, etc. The Easy calculate feature is a great feature for students as the stylus lets you perform mathematical calculations on-the-go making this phone a great buy for college goers. The handwriting feature works to improve the overall experience while taking notes. What’s not good about X Pen Stylus? The stylus bundled with this budget phone could use some improvements as the response time is not instant and its touch sensitivity is not brilliant. Besides, Infinix should add some more features to the list to make the most out of stylus. Overall, the X Pen with Note 5 Stylus can come out as a great tool if you prefer making notes on your smartphone or simply love to doodle. If you are a college student and don't want to spend a fortune on Samsung's pricey Note phablets, the Infinix's budget phone is a very good alternative. Crisp and clear 5.93-inch FHD+ panel The Infinix Note 5 Stylus sports a tall 5.93-inch FHD+ display panel which offers a screen resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixels. The Note 5 Stylus display is not bitten by the notch bug and we get a standard elongated display. The bezels on the display are narrow on the sides, however, the top and the bottom has slightly thicker bezels which does reduce the maximum surface area of the display. This is not the best smartphone in this price-point to consume multimedia content. The display offers a peak brightness of 500 nits and offers an 85 percent of NTSC color gamut. The color produced by the display is slightly on the cooler side and the brightness levels are good if not the best-in-class. The screen feels a bit dull while using the phone outdoors and you will face difficulties in reading the content or watching the video under direct sunlight. On the other hand, the display works just fine indoors. Design: Sturdy Metal body design The Infinix Note 5 Stylus offers a metal body design which does feel sturdy when held in hands. The review unit which we received is red in color and has a matte finish at the rear panel. Thankfully, the rear panel of the device is not a fingerprint magnet and the device is also smudge resistant. The big display size does make it slightly uneasy to operate the device with one single hand, however, you can perform some basic tasks such unlocking the phone and scroll up and down easily with one hand. Coming to the placement of the keys, the volume rockers along with the power key is placed at the left panel, whereas, the right panel only has the SIM card tray. The microUSB slot for charging and data transfers, 3.5-mm audio jack, speaker grills, and the Stylus are placed at the bottom panel of the smartphone. The rear panel comprises of the single-lens camera module with a fingerprint scanner. I found the placement of the fingerprint scanner optimum and within reach of the index finger when we pick up the smartphone. Overall, I would say the Infinix Note 5 offers a decent robust design which not only looks good but also feels good when held in hands. Hardware and Software: MediaTek P23 CPU with stock Android UI The Infinix Note 5 Stylus comes under the Android One program as the earlier Infinix releases including the Infinix Note 5. The device offers a stock Android UI which offers a smooth performance and a premium user experience. The device ships with Android 8.1 Oreo out-of-the-box based on Android One program. The major advantage of the stock Android UI is that it doesn't come with any third party-app pre-installed. The pre-installed apps on the device are only the Google apps including Google photos integrated with Google Lens and Google Maps. I personally am a big fan of the stock Android UI as it allows for a bloatware free user experience. The device draws its power from a mid-range MediaTek P23 chipset which is paired with 4GB of RAM to take care of the multitasking. The Note 5 Stylus comes with 64GB of inbuilt storage which is further expandable up to 256GB via microSD card slot. You do get a dedicated microSD card slot with the device. Coming to the performance of the smartphone, the device performs without any major performance issues. I used the device as a daily driver and was able to carry on with various tasks quite easily. The Infinix Note 5 Stylus is fast and fluid and can also handle games like PUBG. Camera: Single-lens rear camera module and an AI backed front camera Unlike most of the latest mid-range smartphones in the market, the Infinix Note 5 Stylus features a single-lens 16MP camera at the rear. Even though the smartphone misses on a secondary lens to capture the detailed bokeh images, it did deliver some crisp bokeh shots by taking good use of software algorithms. The depth of field effect in images shot by Note 5 Stylus look better than even some smartphones that boast dedicated depth sensors. The regular images also look vivid and have amazing detailing. The colors are a bit on a saturated side but it's nothing major that you cannot correct in post-processing. The rear camera also offers various modes such as HDR mode, AI auto scene detection, professional, panorama, and time-lapse modes, all of which function properly without much fuss. Overall, the image quality captured by the rear camera on Note 5 Stylus has taken us by surprise. It is one-of-the best camera we have tested in sub Rs. 16k price-point. Up front, there is a 16MP camera with f/2.0 aperture backed by AI to capture selfies and to make/receive video calls. The front camera also supports softlight flash, AI boke, AI beauty, timelapse and wideselfie modes. The Note 5 Stylus captures good quality selfies with proper detailing, however, AI portrait mode is not very effective and delivers average looking selfies. Battery: Big 4,000mAh battery The Infinix Note 5 Stylus packs a big 4,000mAh battery unit. The battery comes with Quick Charge fast charging support and the device gets charged from zero percent to 100 percent well within an hour. The smartphone ships with 18w charger inside the box. The huge battery unit allows the device to last for longer durations with just one single charge. I used the device with moderate to heavy tasks and got a battery backup of one complete day easily. Verdict While most of the smartphone brands are incorporating dual-lens cameras and edge-to-edge displays, Infinix has taken an entirely different path. The Note 5 Stylus can be a great budget alternative to the premium Galaxy Note phablets. The other features offered by the device are also decent, especially the single lens rear camera that can capture some stunning shots. The big battery, bloatware free Android One UI and a dedicated microSD card slot are some added bonus features which make Note 5 Stylus a competent phone in mid-range price-point.