[Review] Performance of the 2023 Infinix Note 12 budget gaming phone

Prior to this review, I admit I had never heard of Infinix before, but on a little digging I learned that they are a Hong Kong-based mobile phone manufacturer that exists since 2013.

The Infinix Note 12 2023 ANTI LAG-LAG CLUB (Note 12) is one of its latest releases in the Malaysian market that caters to the gaming-loving crowd, positioned as a budget-friendly mid-range gaming smartphone.

Color me curious, so when we were given the chance to review the Note 12, I took it.

With memories of recently playing around with the REDMAGIC 7S Pro and ASUS ROG Phone 6 still fresh in my mind, I tried to keep my expectations for the Note 12 on the lower end, given its price.

But maybe I didn’t need to.

A standard smartphone outside

Starting with the basics, you get a rather plain design on the outside, which is mostly picked up by a matte finish that could pass for metal.

Even when you get your hands on it, it’s not easy to tell that it’s actually plastic, which I would say speaks to its overall toughness.

The back is kept clean, with no fancy bells and whistles you’d find (and perhaps be embarrassed about) on high-end gaming phones.

The cameras are housed in a circular watch-like face, which looks sleek but annoyed me a bit – I’ll explain later.

On the front, the Note 12 features a 6.7-inch FHD True Color AMOLED display with a fixed 60Hz refresh rate.

I found this interesting compared to the 7S Pro and ROG Phone 6, which offered variable refresh rates of up to 120Hz and 165Hz respectively.

During gameplay though (Genshin Impact, because sure), I didn’t experience a huge framerate degradation since Genshin Impact is capped at 60Hz anyway.

For those who often play battle royale, racing, or first-person shooter (FPS) games, this could be a downside.

Hardware that is not very user-friendly for gamers

When it comes to the gaming experience on the Note 12, I think I can very clearly separate the pros from the cons.

To end on a softer note, I’ll start with the cons. They include the location of the camera housing, the lack of a gamer-friendly charging port, and the lack of shoulder triggers.

While nice to look at, I realized that the camera housing, being so big and round, actually irritated me while gaming.

This was because it would be exactly where I needed to place my fingers for grip when gaming, so I would end up smudging the lenses. There’s simply no other way to grab the Note 12 while gaming without hitting the cameras.

I didn’t feel like I had this issue with other phones (gaming or not) as most of them had more rectangular, low-profile camera bezels that sat tightly in the top corner of the phone .

When it comes to charging the phone, you only have the option of a port on the bottom edge, which would mean holding the phone a little more awkwardly to make room for the cord.

The underlying benefit is that if you suddenly need to recharge after a long gaming session, the time it takes to charge the phone will be a nice break for your eyes and body.

Something that seems indispensable on gaming phones are shoulder triggers, which allow users to have more control or expand the range of in-game actions.

On the Note 12 these were missing, but it tries to make up for that by letting you map two in-game controls to the volume up and volume down buttons.

A lofty goal, but the execution is rather clunky. The volume buttons are placed a bit too close to the middle, meaning you’d have to stretch your finger unnaturally (when in a normal landscape gaming grip) just to press them.

Not to mention, the fact that the volume up and volume down buttons sit side by side, you can only use one finger to trigger both.

Again, this made for unnatural and clunky gameplay, and I felt like giving up this feature made my game more comfortable.

Excellent overall gaming performance

The cons above were largely based on experience, but you might be more reassured to hear that performance-wise the phone excels at such a price.

You may have noticed earlier that the full name of the phone included the words “anti lag”, which is quite a promise to make.

When I’m actually using the phone, I’d say apps start up fairly quickly, but I’ve definitely seen faster on other gaming phones, unsurprisingly.

Nonetheless, the Note 12’s Helio G99 processor proves its capabilities, holding up well in my Genshin Impact game on overclocked settings.

I don’t think I’ve hit the performance limits of the phone with my regular use, but I was definitely putting it through its paces.

The graphics were pretty cool!

I still managed to keep up with my cooperative teammates well, and mobile gaming on the Note 12 was far from painful. It was quite pleasant, actually.

I even had the included phone case, but the heat buildup was manageable thanks to its 10-layer graphene cooling system, which is claimed to reduce core temperature by up to 7°C.

Its 5,000mAh battery also lasted well, with over two days of use when I wasn’t actively gaming. When I played for hours, I also didn’t feel like the battery was draining too quickly.


In conclusion, I have to say that the Note 12 is actually a very good gaming phone for a specific group of gamers.

In fact, I’d even say it’s excellent all things considered considering its RM799 price tag.

It’s affordable to the point where I think it could make a reliable secondary device for gaming purposes only, while you keep a more refined flagship phone as your daily driver.

I say this because I personally feel the Note 12 lacks as a daily driver, as I’ve been using flagship-level devices for years now and can’t see myself downgrading.

But if budget phones have always been your go-to, then the Note 12 is an ideal all-rounder, with camera specs that satisfy too.

For context, on paper it has a 16MP front camera, with 50MP, 2MP and an AI lens camera on the rear. No bad specs, and the images you get are sufficiently detailed and clear, much better when shooting in natural light.

Another group of users that I could see benefiting from this phone are perhaps young people who want to start their career in esports.

Investing in a high-end, expensive gaming phone isn’t an easy purchase for many who still live on their parents’ expenses, and they might even realize that consistent, competitive gaming isn’t for them. later.

Thus, the Note 12 is an affordable and reliable device for budding gamers who just want to test the waters before getting too committed to the idea.

Advantages The inconvenients
Long battery life with fast charging capabilities No ergonomic charging port
Fairly smooth performance even with more demanding mobile games Lack of shoulder triggers for precise game control
Phone stays cool during long gaming sessions Camera housing gets in the way of grip while gaming
  • Learn more about the Infinix Note 12 2023 here.
  • For more on the vice presidents’ verdicts, click here.

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