Recently I was at the Honor 5X European launch in Munich, Germany. Since then, as well as recovering from a Red Bull Cola high, I’ve been working on the review of the Honor 5X.
In this article I’ll give you my review of the hardware and my impressions. I’ll do my best to keep Leigh happy by including pictures of the device in shrubbery. Who am I to say no to that…?
Honor (Huawei) have had quite a high hill to hop over when it comes to product. Launching online to “digital natives” and exclusively on the Three UK network, the company has enjoyed success in the enthusiast market and further since launching in Europe just over a year ago. The Honor 5X is the replacement of the Honor 4X, and raises the bar in terms of overall offering and especially aesthetics.
The Honor 5X has a body made of metal and an impressive spec sheet:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 – Octa-core 1.5GHz Cortex-A53 w/ Adreno 405
- 5.5-inch LCD IPS 1,080 x 1,920px resolution, 401ppi
- Android 5.1.1 with Huawei’s EM UI 3.1 on top (plans for Android 6.0 Marshmallow)
- 13MP rear-camera sensor, f/2.0, dual-LED flash, 1080p@30fps video, 5MP front-facing camera sensor
- 3000mAh battery
- Fingerprint reader
- 16GB of storage, expandable up to 128GB via microSD
The front of the device is dominated by the lovely 5.5″ IPS LCD screen, which has great viewing angles. Above the screen there is the usual array of sensors and the earpiece. The review unit was supplied with a plastic screen protector already applied. We have confirmed that retail units also have the pre-applied screen protector in place at unboxing.
The right side of the device is home to the power button and volume rocker.
The left side of the device is where the two SIM trays are. One takes a nano-SIM and the other takes a Micro-SIM and a microSD. Important note: the Honor 5X can be used in dual-SIM mode and have expandable storage at the same time, unlike other devices in the same category.
The top of the device is home to the 3.5mm audio jack and noise cancelling microphone.
The bottom of the Honor 5X has a centrally positioned micro-USB port for charging and data, and two symmetrical grilles. One is the microphone for calls, while the other is the speaker of the device.
On the back you will find the camera, LED flash and fingerprint sensorencased in the brushed alluminium main panel.
The Honor 5X runs on EMUI, Huawei’s Android distro based on Android 5.1. Honor have told us that the marshmallow version of the OS is in the works for the 5X.
Overall this is Huawei’s standard software UX: a launcher with no app drawer, customised icons, availability of themes from the a dedicated store and a few very useful additions to base Android.
The lockscreen is in style with the rest of the UX. I particularly like and use the Quickpanel with handy shortcuts on the lockscreen: recorder, calculator, torch and camera.
The Honor 5X is powered by a power sipping Qualcomm Snapdragon 6-series chipset, which when paired with the 3000 mAh battery lasts me a full day of relatively heavy use.
The Honor 5X has a 13MP camera on the rear. A f2.0 aperture, 28mm lense takes care of the optics and flash is provided by a single LED bulb.
The camera app is an EMUI fare, with simple controls and a slider between the main modes: Photo, Video, Time-lapse, Beauty and Good food.
Camera shots in good lighting conditions are decent, but can be a bit noisy and in low light things are slightly worse. HDR in standard photo mode can improve things slightly but shadow/light conditions can be made worse in some situations.
The Honor 5X has a cool time-lapse mode which generates fun videos. Great for travel and fun memories if you can keep the device still for long enough.
The Good food mode made little difference to the snaps I take to pop on Instagram, though sometimes they did make me realise how greasy some of the food I was consuming was.
For social media use the camera on the 5X is adequate, but when compared to the Honor 7’s camera there is a noticeable gulf in performance. Essentially the camera is OK, but don’t expect to take your best snaps with the Honor 5X. To see more of my camera work with the Honor 5X check out the hashtag I’ve been using: #ShotOnHonor5X.
The front facing camera is a 5MP unit, which seems to perform very similarly to the rear one with regards to light noise. Low light selfies can be disappointing but in good lighting conditions and when using a reasonable amount of beauty mode results are postable to social media.
I really like the built in barcode/QR reader built into the Honor camera, it can be particularly useful when you just need to quickly scan something.
The Honor 5X is undoubtedly great value for money: you get a lot of bang for your pound. Honor have made a revolutionary step forward with the 5X compared to its predecessor, the 4X. The full metal body, excellent screen and good battery life are all things you would expect from competing flagships. I would say the only weak point of the device is the overall camera performance, but it is still on a par with competitors in the same price range.
At current pricing without discounts you aren’t far off the price of a discounted Honor 7. If the camera is a deal breaker I would recommend saving up a bit longer and getting the smaller more powerful sibling. If on the other hand you are after an affordable 5.5″ smartphone and the camera isn’t too important to you the Honor 5X is a no-brainer.