If you compare the raw spec-sheet of Honor 5X, you might find it a few notches below contemporaries like K4 Note and Le 1s. Add to it an added cost of 1 to 2 thousand Rupees, subtract flash-sale-sold-out headlines, and it’s quite clear as to why it’s not enjoying the same scale popularity. However, Honor 5X is one of those phones which turned out to be way better than our initial assessment, and perhaps deserves more attention.
Note: If you are looking for specific details like benchmark scores, free RAM, sensors present etc, you can also jump to our Honor 5X FAQ
Key Specifications and Features:
|Display||5.5-inch full HD (1920x1080p) IPS TFT LCD display with 403ppi|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 octa-core (MSM8939) (4×1.5GHz + 4×1.2GHz), Adreno 405 GPU|
|Internal Storage||16GB, 128GB MicroSD support|
|Software||Android Lollipop based EMUI 3.1|
|Primary Camera||13 MP sensor, LED Flash, PDAF, F2.0 aperture lens|
|Secondary Camera||5MP Front-Facing Camera, F2.4 aperture lens|
|Dimensions and Weight||151.3×76.3×8.15mm and 158 g|
|Others||Dual SIM, 4G LTE, Fingerprint sensor|
- Great display
- Attractive premium design
- Good Camera hardware
- Audio quality could have been better
- Stutters with heavy usage
- Hardware codec support feels incomplete
It looks good, and uses durable quality materials
The Honor 5X doesn’t exactly exudes those ‘metallic’ vibes as you would expect from a metal-unibody phone. From the front, the handset looks more of a plastic phone for 2 reasons. First is the color contrast. The rear side has brushed metal feel, but the front is white plastic covered with glass (which is very common).
The second and more significant reason is because the white plastic stretches beyond glass and engulfs it to form a part of side edges. So when you examine it from sides, you will see a plastic edge where you would otherwise expect a neat, shiny chamfered lining. Besides the feel of the metal alloy used is also to blame.
This isn’t all that bad though. The honor 5X looks pretty slick and premium (we like the Silver Grey variant best). It is quite slim and is lighter than both LeEco Le 1s (Full Review) and Lenovo K4 Note (Full Review |FAQ), which makes day to day handling better.
The aluminum used on the rear is flanked by perforated texture, elegant plastic strips on top and bottom, which look good in person than in images. The best part is, that we have been using Honor 5X without a case for more than a week now, and the metal rear + sides and protruded camera module have managed to keep all scratches and scuff marks at bay. I have heard about back accumulating fingerprint smudge marks, but that is absolutely not the case with our review unit.
This is something important for me because whenever I buy a new phone, I use it with in a proper case and tempered glass for first 6 months and then live without a case. The Honor 5X can also handle accidental drops better than K4 Note and Le 1s.
The display is its key strength
Huawei has always been good with IPS LCD panels, and the one used on Honor 5X is certainly impressive. Colors calibration and temperature, viewing angles, brightness (which is further enhanced under sun) are all perfect for the price.
The black strip borders the display to render illusion of narrow bezels, but this isn’t something that would bother you. By default, the display comes with a plastic scratch guard, which is of good quality as far as plastic screen protectors go. We didn’t feel any pressing urge to replace it.
Performance is good, but not great
The Snapdragon 616 ticking inside at 1.5 GHz is good enough for day to day usage, but takes its sweet time loading heavy apps or switching between heavy apps.
Gaming performance on Honor 5X wasn’t very good. Games take their time loading, run well but the phone stutters occasionally, which can be a huge penalty while gaming. Also the onscreen buttons keep popping by accidental presses and that becomes increasingly irritating. It’s not a handset for avid gamers, but very few are at this price.
For day to day use, the performance is good if not snappy. Our usage is heavy and we do keep more apps on our phone than most basic or average users, and with our kind of usage, RAM deficiency has begun to show up. The handset doesn’t hang or lag while you are using basic apps.
EMUI is often kicking Apps out of RAM. However, basic and moderate users shouldn’t face any day to day performance issue. Also It gets warm with gaming, but the handset doesn’t have heating issue.
Camera performance is quite good for the price
The Honor 5X rear camera has its flaws, but overall image quality is pretty good for average users and all practical purposes. The camera app is simple to use. HDR mode works fine. There is a weird Good Food mode which makes your food look more attractive. And Honor 5X is good at stitching Panoramas.
The low light performance is where Honor 5X beats its adversaries hands down. There is noise in low light images, but still details are good and colors more accurate. The post processing software is a bit aggressive at times, but at the end of the day, Honor 5X allows you to click good shots without putting in much work. The selfie camera performance and video recording is also very decent.
Full resolution samples coming soon
Software and Fingerprint Sensor
The EMUI software offers all features and options in the book, many of which are quite handy. We like timeline on system apps and on notification shade, option to flick down on home screen to see recent apps or search for new ones, granular notification management and data consumption management or to add an extra button to navigation bar to and many more.
The software is strict with background apps and prompts you with a notification when an app is consuming power in the background. It notifies us for all apps which need to sync and push notifications unless you whitelist them. You end up saving significant amount of battery juice, but some of your apps might stop syncing if you are not paying attention. The UI also hides all lockscreen notification by default when you set the lockscreen and you have to enable each one separately.
The fingerprint sensor works fine, but is less fast and accurate when compared to phones like Nexus 5X and Lenovo K4 Note. Huawei has added a number of gestures to fingerprint sensor. You can configure swap up for recent apps, swap down for notification shade, tap for back, long press for recent apps and so on. We used these gestures for a while, but accidental navigations out of apps makes them tiresome. You might still want to keep one or two of these enabled.
EMUI Features and Gallery
Battery backup and Audio
The battery backup on Huawei Honor 5X is better than what we usually see on 3000 mAh battery phones, and credit for the same also goes to Emotion UI. The bundled 1 Amp charger doesn’t charge it at a rapid pace though. A power saver mode is also present if you wish to be extra cautious on special days.
The dual speaker grill houses a mono speaker. It’s fairly loud, but sound quality isn’t anything to boast about. Audio quality could have been better.
Noise cancellation works great and thus call quality is pretty awesome. No issues.
If you made it through the review, you would know that we were impressed by Honor 5X, which is refreshingly good. All handsets in this budget need you to forgive one or more flaws, and Honor 5X is no exception. It is favored by decent design, good quality display and very useable camera hardware, but performance and audio quality leave you wanting for more. If you are a basic or moderate users, we have no qualms about recommending Honor 5X in this price range.