The Hisense Infinity H30 is the latest smartphone from the Chinese appliance and electronics manufacturer. In South Africa, most of us know Hisense for their TVs; in fact, when I first moved to Johannesburg, I bought a Hisense plasma TV because of the extended warranty.
Hisense is not a brand you’d associate with a smartphone, but the “Infinity” brand was announced in December 2013, alongside the Prime 1. Last month the H30 and H30 Lite was released in South Africa and I’ve been testing it since. I ran an (unscientific) poll about whether you’d buy the phone or not, was surprised that how brand-conscious people were. I know South Africans always look for a bargain (who doesn’t), but brand definitely plays a part, too.
Aside from that, it’s not a common smartphone so I understand why people may be weary, especially about UI. Here’s what my experience has been like.
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The H30 is a slim and elongated handset that just about fits comfortably in one hand. It does not feel like it houses a large 6.5-inch screen, but it does, thanks to the mostly narrow bezels. The screen-to-body ratio is 83.3%. However, you would need to hold it with both hands to type, single hand-typing was almost impossible for me.
The screen is a full HD (FHD) display with a 2160x1080p resolution, and for those who really want to know, it has 370ppi. It has a glossy exterior and comes in a light-changing ombré hue, similar to the competing Huawei P Smart 2019, along with the same dewdrop notch.
Essentially, you’re getting a phone that fits into what 2019 handsets should look like. I have the ‘ice blue’ shade and it looks great; I love these colours.
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The H30 comes with preloaded with the newest Android 9 Pie operating system. It also has the full Google Suite of apps, like Gmail, YouTube, Chrome, Play Music, Play Store, Photos, etc. The user interface is clean and it’s not overloaded with bloatware like you’d find on other smartphones. Hisense does not add its own software above the Google offering. Win.
However, it did take a while to find the app drawer. There is a little dash at the bottom on the middle to indicate as such, but it’s all about the gestures. If you tap it in an upward direction like what you do with every other Android, it brings up open apps that you can kill off or switch between. To access the app drawer, you need to tap and hold the dash all the way to the top of the screen for it to become visible.
Here you can find games like Asphalt Nitro, Kingdoms, Puzzle Pets and Sonic Runners. Other apps include Opera Mini, Opera News, My Files, Mobile Manager, Notes, Radio, Calculator, etc. If you hate bloatware, you will love the H30 interface.
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The H30 has a dual rear camera, a 20MP+2MP with built-in AI, and a 20MP front-facing camera. For a smartphone with this price point, it’s great to see a 20MP selfie-cam because the truth is that people love taking selfies. The cameras offer four basic modes: video; photo; beauty and pano (except, pano doesn’t work on the front).
Now, about that selfie-cam… I think the Chinese market love having a beauty mode with options to slim your face, enlarge your eyes, and well actual beauty mode cranked up to 10 removes my freckles, resulting in a soft look. I’m not a fan of this but it’s here if this is your thing. It also shoots full 1080p HD videos on the front-camera; you can drop to 720p or 480p.
The main dual-camera takes good pics. I turned the HDR on and this was the result of a landscape shot, as you can see, colours are popping:
This is an example of a bokeh shot. Remember, you can choose the level of blur from 1-10:
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Overall, I think the Hisense Infinity H30 is really good value for money. It’s one of those instances where you know you’re getting more phone for your money. It certainly helps that it comes in fun colours, looks very 2019 with the dewdrop notch, and still has the earphone jack. Battery life is really good, too. The user interface is not ruined by bloatware and it’s a great device if you’re looking for something within this range. Don’t overlook it because of the brand.
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 13 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. I’m usually unashamedly taking food photos (@nafisaeats on IG).