Yesterday, a reader asked the following question: “Which of the Infinix phones have NFC?” It is a simple question, so I set out to provide an answer. But for the benefit of those who are new to the term, NFC, here is the point where I explain what it is.
NFC – Near-field communication – is a technology that enables two electronic devices to communicate at very close proximity, usually within 4 inches of one another. It is a contactless system used for exchanging information and files, as well as for secure payment systems e.g. Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Fitbit Pay, or any bank mobile application that supports contactless) for making secure payments.
NFC has a history dating back to 1983 when the first patent was granted. Nokia, Philips and Sony established the NFC Forum in 2004, the same year that Nokia introduced it on a phone. But it didn’t become widespread for years after that.
I wrote my first NFC article in 2010, and it was titled simply, Near Field Communication. That article too was inspired by a question asked at MobiFest 2010, where I was a speaker. I should update that article.
Searching for Infinix phones with NFC
If you are looking for a feature on smartphones by a brand, the easiest way to find it is to go look at the flagship product of that brand. Flagship products have all the bells and whistles that a manufacturer is capable of – which is also why they tend to be the most expensive products in the manufacturer’s line-up. Chances are that the manufacturer does not include that feature in their product line. There are exceptions to this, of course.
Anyway, with that in mind, I dashed off to have a closer look at the specifications sheet of Infinix S4. I found no mention of NFC. Hmm mm. I dug through MobilityArena, then dashed over to GSMArena, Wikipedia, and others. There is either no mention of NFC in relation to the S4 or it is clearly stated that the phone does not support NFC.
I repeated the same search for info about NFC on Infinix S5 and got similar results. Just to be sure, I checked a few other models, after which I arrived at one clear conclusion: there are no Infinix phones with NFC out there. To give the benefit of doubt, perhaps there are a few that do have it, and they are just unknown or unsung. But I found none. Zero. Zilch.
But as a rule, if you need NFC functionality, phones by Infinix Mobile is not where to look. Just because TECNO and Infinix are sister companies, I looked up a few TECNO phones, including Phantom 9 and Camon 12 Pro. Neither had any mention of NFC.
So, as it is for Infinix, so it is for TECNO: NFC is not a standard feature on their smartphones.
Where are the NFC services in Africa?
It is a bit of both good and bad. These brands design phones primarily for the African market, where NFC is not a thing yet. Even in a cosmopolitan city like Lagos (or Abuja), how many services have you come across that are deployed via NFC? I haven’t run into a single one myself.
The bad side is that if you are a frequent traveller and use NFC-based payment systems when you are out of the country, you need to look elsewhere for phones that have NFC. Infinix and TECNO phones are not designed with you in mind.
I have used NFC on some of my smartphones, but only to transfer files and info between two devices. Back in 2012, I spent some time playing with it between three smartphones – Samsung Note II, Lumia 920, and Nokia 808 PureView. It was early days with NFC technology back then, and I got less than satisfactory results. See An Afternoon with NFC across three smartphones for the full story.
That was 7 years ago and the technology is, no doubt, much more matured now. As far as payments are concerned, though, I have had no such experience with NFC, though I have had NFC-enabled smartphones for years.
Mobile brands that have NFC phones
There are phone brands that have been supporting NFC for years now. They include: Nokia, Samsung, Apple, OPPO, Google, Huawei, among others.
So, in answer to the question asked by our reader, there are no Infinix phones with NFC that I know for now. If you use NFC-based services and require a phone with NFC support, for now, Infinix and TECNO are not where to look.
2021 Update: In 2021, Infinix began to announce and release smartphones with NFC. They are:
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.