Since the inception of the Galaxy Note and S-Pen, we have seen many companies creating an alternative. Unfortunately no company succeeded in creating one, and these so-called ‘Note’ smartphones are either left in the dust with no further software improvements and successors, while current smartphones apart from Samsung with the Note moniker are mostly devices with huge displays. As Samsung succeeds with the Galaxy Note 8 this year, Infinix Mobile thinks there’s still demand for an alternative, hence it produced the Note 4 Pro smartphone, which comes with a stylus called the X-Pen and retails four times cheaper than the Note 8. Is the Infinix Note 4 Pro a worthy alternative to the more expensive Note 8 or Note FE? We find out.
The Infinix Note 4 Pro looks pretty much like an older Galaxy Note in many ways, first it has a 5.7-inch display, which has been a standard size since the Galaxy Note 3, it also has a familiar front facing fingerprint scanner. Turn over to the back, you find a design that pretty much resembles an HTC device or more recently, a OnePlus 3T. For a smartphone that is released in 2017, I won’t consider the Note 4 Pro to be a modern looking device, but I’ll look past that for a device that costs below RM1000.
Nonetheless, the Infinix Note 4 Pro has a solid build quality and it certainly doesn’t feel cheap with an all metal design, due to the huge battery and large screen size, the phone is rather heavy at 205g, once you snap on that beautiful smart cover that houses the X Pen stylus, it further extends the phone’s width, which some may find it troublesome to have the phone in their pockets, otherwise that extra bulk does serve as a better way to hold the device when scribbling notes with the stylus.
As a 2017 device, the Note 4 Pro doesn’t attract for what it has under the hood, even though the MediaTek MT6753 octa core chip still works fine in terms of smartphone performance, it is actually missing a whole lot of stuffs that smartphone processors today are already capable of, such as the more power efficient FinFET process and dual SIM 3G standby. Otherwise, the rest of the hardware remains pretty decent for a sub RM1000 device, it has 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage, a 5.7-inch Full HD IPS display with 500 nits brightness and a 4350mAh battery that supports the company’s proprietary X Charge quick charging technology. Additionally, I’m glad that Infinix has given dedicated slots for dual SIM and memory expansion, hence there’s no need to compromise each of the slots should you require two SIM cards and to expand the phone’s memory.
Although the Note 4 Pro didn’t ship with the latest build of Android Nougat, I’m glad that Infinix hasn’t stuck around with Android Marshmallow like certain Chinese phone makers, but like many other Chinese smartphones, the Note 4 Pro is preloaded with several bloatware, which fortunately most of them can be removed if you don’t want them. XOS, the company’s proprietary software launcher, unsurprisingly feels like most Chinese smartphone launchers, there is an app drawer that lets you quickly browse through your apps, but you can’t stop installed apps from adding on to the home screen, removing them from the home screen simply means uninstalling the app.
Fortunately, things aren’t entirely bad with the phone’s software, I particularly love the lock screen wallpapers, which has high quality images and shows inspirational quotes every time I turn on the display, I also have my home screen configured with a 5×5 app grid size so that I can show more icons on the large display, browsing between app folders is also rather convenient as you merely need to swipe left or right.
In addition, XOS has a set of useful apps, you can hide apps, secure files and create second instances of apps, I find the latter to be the most useful as it doesn’t limit adding secondary app instances on just messaging and social apps, in fact you can pretty much add any installed apps on the phone, such as a second instance of Spotify, if you happen to have a second account.
The X-Pen is an interesting hardware, unlike Samsung’s solution, the stylus is battery powered and draws power from the phone’s battery to charge when the smart cover is used, the 3-pin gold connectors are also used to detect the pen’s presence. The X-Pen requires some effort to pull out from the silo, which you will eventually get used to, and once it is out you will find a familiar carousel of features found on its competitor, though the experience isn’t as intuitive as Samsung’s solution, the stylus pressure is decent enough for casual note taking and art drawing, which I would consider it to be on par with the Galaxy Note 3.
Surprisingly, the Note 4 Pro supports off screen memo, though you can’t pin it to the lock screen like you do on the Note 8, it does work when you pull out the stylus when the screen is off, the X Note app is basically a toned-down version of the Samsung’s S Note, it only supports exporting notes in to PNG and JPG files. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to create Live Messages, action memos, perform instant translation or even drag and drop content from one app to the other, which is why the phone costs RM3000 less than the Galaxy Note 8.
While I haven’t had high expectations for the Note 4 Pro’s camera, the camera software is a surprisingly good one with a proper professional mode, image settings such as exposure, shutter speed, ISO and focus can be adjusted with the cool camera dial on the software.
For casual social media uploads, the Note 4 Pro’s main 13-megapixel camera is going to be sufficient, I was rather impressed with the picture quality the camera was able to produce in good lighting, contrast and color reproduction is surprisingly decent for its class, but once you move indoors, it begins to show its limits with soft focusing issues and high noise levels. On the other hand, the front 8-megapixel camera comes with a rather bright LED flash light, and unlike other smartphones, you can adjust the LED’s brightness in the settings, picture quality is also decent.
As a productivity centric device, I appreciate that Infinix didn’t fit a paltry battery size for the Note 4 Pro and with that said, I was even more impressed with the inclusion of an extremely fast 5A charging capability, a solution that is like OnePlus’ Dash Charging, which you will require to use the included power brick and cable to make it work. In my tests, the phone’s battery life works fine, but not great, it will last till the end of the day with moderate use, but devices with such battery sizes in today’s standards should have lasted more than a day, hence I blame the 28nm Mediatek chip and the power-hungry display.
Connectivity wise, I haven’t had any issues with the phone’s wireless connectivity, though it is a shame that you can have 3G standby when the main SIM is used for 4G, I was happy that Infinix has enabled 5GHz WiFi, which gets you up to 150Mbps of wireless transfer speed. I am also happy to report that the phone’s GPS works properly, as you may know that old MediaTek chips tend to have issues in positioning, call quality was also great with strong LTE signals.
The Infinix Note 4 Pro surprises me a lot as a Galaxy Note alternative, the company’s claim of it being #TheBetterNote does tick a few boxes that Samsung’s flagship doesn’t, it is cheaper, comes with a much faster charging technology, and a better after-sales service package. As a standard for all Infinix devices in Malaysia, the company is providing a 1-to-1 exchange within 15 days of purchase if you encounter any issues with your device, and it also comes with a complimentary 6-month screen crack warranty. The Note 4 Pro isn’t a perfect device, and for the price of RM999 inclusive of the smart cover and X Pen, you really can’t deny that this is the best Galaxy Note alternative if you merely require a stylus to do simple note taking on a phone.
- Decently priced
- Great accessories bundle
- Quick Charging
- Decent note taking features
- Acceptable camera performance
The Not so Good
- Dated processor
- Battery life is average in today’s standards
Interested in getting one? Click here to purchase from Lazada.