Rarely do I ever get a chance to have 2 smartphones at the same time for review, and having both of them being smartphones of the same price and in the same category is pretty much impossible. But somehow the stars aligned and I was able to get the Itel S23+ and the GTeL Infinity 13. Both smartphones cost just under $200, both of them are available on credit and both of them could not be more different from each other.
I mean look at them. The GTeL on dimensions is shorter and wider but also about 3mm thicker than the Itel. Itel going for a back finish that gives off a gradient that moves with the angle of the light. There are 2 color options available, Lake Cyan and Elemental blue which is the one I have here. It also has curved edges front and back that make it comfortable to handle and a substantial 2-tier camera island. They also added an inscription on the top edge. Designed by Itel.
GTeL goes for a very conservative and subdued design. The color is very tame and so is the finish, coupled with color-matched side rails. So on the box, GTeL says this color is Black. But to me, it looks more like a dark copper green and is very similar to one of the signature colors on the iPhone 11 Pros. It has a much smaller camera island that feels like the right size and because the phone is so thick, it vastly reduces the size of protrusion of the cameras. I would say the cameras on the GTeL protrude half as much out of the phone as the cameras on the Itel.
Personally, on style points for the back, GTeL is a winner. I love the flat edges, the tame aesthetic, and the proportions of the back elements. The logos and all other writings are under the glass adding a layered effect to it. I like it.
Then we move over to the front and it’s a massive role reversal. Yes, I have to say I prefer the flat panel on the Infinity 13 but that’s about it. The Itel S23+ does a much better job efficiently utilizing the space on its face. The bezels are much thinner and the punchole for the camera is a more technically pleasing solution as opposed to the dated waterdrop notch on the GTeL. It’s a simple thing that can make a phone look more appealing.
In fact, if I could, I would take the back design, color, and finish from the GTeL and mix them with the small bezels and punchole camera of the Itel and have the perfect-looking phone. However, we are going to all just put a case on it so maybe the style points GTeL has for its back design count for less so the Itel S23+ might take it.
Now moving on to features we have quite an interesting battle. GTeL’s advantage on the Itel is on the headphone jack, the memory card slot, a more convenient power button-mounted fingerprint scanner, and a smoother 90Hz refresh rate display. All these are features the GTeL has that the Itel doesn’t.
But Itel has its own set of features missing on the GTeL. A bigger display that is AMOLED (The latest display technology) and sharper than the one on the GTeL at FullHD+ versus just HD+ on the GTeL. Thanks to the AMOLED display on the Itel, it also supports an always-on-display which gives you some useful information without turning on the display like your time, date, and notifications.
It also has more RAM and internal storage of 8GB and 256GB as opposed to 6GB and 128GB, a higher resolution 32MP selfie camera with a dedicated selfie flash and it’s lighter than the GTeL by 26g. The GTeL keeps things clean and so on the software front, it’s much closer to stock Android where Itel goes for the approach of more customization.
Both look great in my books really regardless of the diverging approaches but Itel benefits as a result by having some useful software features that the GTeL does not have. These include WhatsApp-specific features that allow you to record WhatsApp calls, apply effects to your WhatsApp video calls, or even change your voice when you are on a WhatsApp call.
I went deep into these features in the individual reviews for the GTeL Infinity 13 and the Itel S23+ so you can go check those out for all the juicy details. Otherwise, this category is a hard one to pick. Gun to my head I would pick the Itel for that gorgeous display, the RAM, and the higher resolution selfie camera with its flash.
Both phones are using different processors. Itel went with a Unisoc chipset for the S23+ and GTeL decided to go with Mediatek for the Infinity 13. In day-to-day usage, the performance is right about the same. Without benchmarks to split hairs with, you really can’t tell the difference between the 2.
In some instances, the GTeL feels slightly more responsive because of the smoother display but the speed apps launch and the in-game performance is right about the same. What about efficiency? Which chipset was better at sipping power?
Well again the GTeL Infinity 13 and the Itel S23 were tied on battery life. Both devices achieved a very impressive 30% power drain after an hour each of gaming, video recording, and video streaming. Both devices are easily capable of 2 days of regular usage without needing a charger.
So on performance, I’ll call that a tie. You can’t tell them apart in performance in the real world even if you tried.
Now first off, both Itel and GTeL are guilty of a crime. They basically have a multi-camera setup but only one of the cameras is actually useful. If you have a limited budget you can either have one very decent camera or you can have multiple average cameras. I will put my money on Itel and GTeL picking the route of one very decent camera.
Both have 50MP main cameras but Itel takes the edge with a 32MP selfie camera versus the 8MP on the GTeL.
Again it’s very close between the 2. In auto mode, GTeL is spitting out 50MP images vs. 12MP on the Itel due to binning. On paper, the technique Itel is using is supposed to produce better quality shots but the advantage is very slim in environments with ideal lighting.
On a technical basis, the Itel seems to struggle less with HDR. It does a better job of ensuring good exposure of all the parts of the image. GTeL’s camera has a slightly wider focus range than the Itel, a result of it having a slightly smaller imaging sensor than the Itel. The good part about this is that it has some shooting conditions where more of the object or subject you are taking a photo of is more in focus.
The advantage of the bigger camera on the Itel is that it produces a stronger blur of the background and better separation of the object you are taking a photo of and its background. As for which one looks better, it purely depends on preference.
These 2 phones use scene recognition to identify the objects in front of the camera and then try and improve the image based on some presets of how to make that object look more appealing in a photo. In English, it means more vibrant greens, blues, and reds.
This then made the actual quality of the pictures from the Itel and the GTeL swing either way depending on which AI was able to do a better job with post-production. So in one scene, Itel might make it look too green and GTeL gets it right and in another scene, GTeL makes it too blue and Itel gets it spot on. There is no clear consistent better camera between the 2 when shooting with the main camera in very well-lit environments.
Okay so when the light drops a bit, things start swinging the way of GTeL. Itel is slightly over-exposing images and in the bright areas, the picture is losing a bit of detail as you can see on this part of this vintage camera.
But it’s really such a tiny difference that you might only notice on side-by-side comparisons. Where the differences are plain as day is the selfie camera.
The GTeL falls behind terribly here. Its 8MP camera is just not good enough to take on the 32MP that’s on the Itel. The Itel does a much better job detecting a face and making sure it’s well exposed, especially in scenarios where the background has a bright afternoon sky in it. The Itel is also collecting a lot more detail on my skin than the GTeL. Itel’s front camera is just a better selfie camera and it can also extend its lead in lower light conditions with the selfie flash.
Right. If we were looking at the rear camera alone then this would have been another tie. They are evenly matched there maybe by the smallest of margins the fractionally better exposure on the GTeL could earn it a win by the skin of its teeth. But Itel completely destroys GTeL in the selfie department and the gap there is a lot bigger. So if you don’t care about the selfie camera then the GTeL takes it in the camera department just by the skin of its teeth. But if you are big into both cameras front and back or worse just the front camera period then the clear winner is the Itel S23+.
This is so hard. The GTeL Infinity 13 and the Itel S23+ both have big wins and big losses in what seems to be equal measure. Choosing which one is better is not just a case of how many things one does better over the other. Preference will play a big part when it comes to which of these things mean the most to you.
One might say they don’t care about a headphone jack because they use bluetooth or that they don’t care about an AMOLED display because frames win games or the lack of a memory card slot could be a total dealbreaker.
Okay fine, you really want me to pick a side. Gun to my head I would pick the Itel S23+ primarily for the 8GB of RAM and the sharper AMOLED display with the slimmer bezels. Also on price, the Itel S23+ in its 256GB trim looks to be slightly cheaper than the GTeL when it’s available in-store at around $175 – $180.
Which one would you pick and what would your top 3 reasons be? I need to know.