Hisense has got it in its head that it want to impress you. And with the Hisense Infinity KO, the company’s first locally-released water- and dust-proof handset, they might have succeeded. Even if we’re questioning their usage of all-over glass, however toughened, for a rugged handset.
You can level that complaint at Samsung’s Galaxy S7 right now, so Hisense are in good company. Though the Infinity KO is about a third of the price of Samsung’s newest flagship. It’s a member of the specialised Infinity lineup, of which the camera-centric H7 Pureshot is a member, but this one’s speciality is being able to swim. For a while, at least.
Shiny Black Print-Magnet
It’s also handy when it comes to hiding in plain sight. Which is a nice way of saying that the Infinity KO, from a distant anyhow, is cleverly disguised as an older Sony Xperia handset. Black glass on the front and back, with a rubberised band on the top and bottom giving way to a metallic-looking strip down the sides? Yeah, Sony might do a double-take, even if the handset’s thicker than the typical Xperia is. Or is that ‘was’?.
Look closer, though, and the KO is its own phone. The power button, volume rocker and also a dedicated camera shutter button are resident on the right-hand side, while a flap on the left conceals the SIM card slot (for dual SIMs, no less) as well as the charge port. Keeping it sealed is the only way to keep the water gremlins out, and you’ve got to keep the headphone port (along the top) plugged as well. Shame we’re probably going to lose that little bit of plastic eventually.
Circuits And Silicon
The Infinity KO shares a lot of characteristics with the Infinity H7 PureShot, notably the display and processor. Where the KO deviates it’s always an improvement over the H7. Expect glass instead of plastic (which is an aesthetic improvement, even if it’s prone to going smash), more RAM, and a later edition of Android (of course).
The 5-inch screen is the same, though, with a 720 x 1,280 resolution doing the job. And it does the job, it just isn’t fantastically pretty while its doing it. Still, the KO’s screen is bright and clear enough, with defined edges on most of the OS’s iconography. It’s jarring to encounter a fuzzy icon, though.
There’s a solid 3GB of system RAM available, another spot where the KO has a leg up, and the processor is an octa-core consisting of two Cortex A53 quads. The first is clocked at 1.36GHz, while the second tips the scales at 998MHz. Or 1.0GHz. We reckon we can give them that much.
Storage is billed as 32GB, out of the box, of which 25.22GB is available to users. The Android 5.1 Lollipop OS and the pre-installed software (like OfficeSuite 8, WeChat and a few other free additions) takes up a fair chunk of space. There’s also a 3,200mAh battery, which does an impressive job in standby with the battery saver enabled. We actually forgot about the phone for more than a week and when we located it, the handset still had more that 50% battery left. But… note that it wasn’t connected to WiFi or Bluetooth at the time.
Marking The Bench
It’s a good-enough catalogue of hardware but how does the Hisense Infinity KO perform in a practical sense. Well, you’re not going to notice much slowdown due to the hardware. Any hitches will almost certainly be software related. That said, it’s not exactly nipping at the heels of the top three smartphone makers in the world.
We ran the KO through Geekbench and came back with a single-core score of 624. Multi-core’s result was 2,257, which are in line with the results garnered by the Infinity H7 (if a little higher). Besides the RAM bump, the pertinent hardware is almost the same, after all.
Where the H7 had problems, though, was with AnTuTu. It was unable to run the benchmark at the time. The KO didn’t have these problems, popping out a score of 31,929.
The Cam’s The Thing (Also: Waterproofing)
Hisense have outfitted the KO with the same camera combination as the H7 PureShot. Expect a middling-but-serviceable 13MP front snapper which will take good enough shots outside in ideal light and will serve up some grain in lower-light conditions. The 5MP front-facer is a better experience, even if it has that make-me-pretty filter enabled by default. We don’t look like that – though we sometimes wish we did.
But the rugged Infinity KO has one other item that we’ve only mentioned in passing. An IP67 rating that, assuming you’ve paid attention during the usage briefing, will let you submerge the handset in one metre of water for up to 30 minutes without any nasty side effects, like a bag of rice and a new phone appearing on your bank account’s list of transactions. Having given this one a practical test, we can affirm that it works. Still, try to avoid dropping it in the toilet.
If we were going to recommend between the Hisense Infinity KO and the Infinity H7 PureShot LTE (yes, that’s its full title) then the KO gets the nod. Easily. Why? Similar specs across the board but improvements that all slant the KO’s way. Even the camera setup, the PureShot’s selling point, is the same. Add to that the R4,000 price and the KO’s IP67 rating just seals the deal.