Huawei Honor 4X was a decent smartphone under the 11,000 price range last year, and it gave Huawei the much-needed recognition in India though it had a good run with Holly 2 and Honor 6 series. This year the company launched the successor to the Honor 4X, The Huawei Honor 5X and this time around the device features metal build, fingerprint sensor and many more, so how well does the Honor 5X fare? Can it survive the competition? Let’s find that out in our full review.
Huawei Honor 5X Review:
Huawei Honor 5X Design and Build: The Honor 5X has adopted some significant design changes over the 4X, the rear side is now completely metal and the silver frame running around gives it a premium look. The brushed silver finish for the rear panel makes the device a delight to see; the edges are slightly curved making it comfortable to hold in hands. Flipping the phone to the front side, we are greeted with the same old routine look which changes everything design wise, not that it looks ugly, but it is tad bit dull and boring to watch. I wish Huawei had done some design tweaks to the front panel. The camera bumps on the rear side make won’t allow the smartphone to rest completely on a flat surface. The phone looks good and feels comfortable to hold, although if you have small hands, one-handed usage might be a problem as the phone is a bit wide for regular hands.
Talking about the design, on the front you have a 5.5-inches Full HD display and above the display, you find a usual set of sensors, 5-megapixel selfie camera, and main earpiece, the three capacitive buttons are placed on the display. On the rear side, you find the 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash; and you also have a fingerprint sensor down below the rear camera module and finally the Honor branding below it. The back panel can’t be removed meaning the 3000mAH battery is also not user replaceable. To the right side, you find the power on/off and volume rockers; these buttons do give a good amount of feedback when pressed. To the right, you have SIM card slot and MicroSD card slot, of the dual SIM slots one can take Micro and the other Nano. On top, the 3.5mm audio jack and on the bottom, MicroUSB port, and speaker grill. Design wise there is nothing to complain about except for the routine design of the front panel.
Huawei Honor 5X Display: The Huawei Honor 5X sports a 5.5-inches Full HD 1080p display, the display quality seems decent for the price, the viewing angles are great so is the sunlight legibility which is adequate. You can adjust the display temperature via the system settings. The color reproduction is quite acceptable, watching videos and hight quality pictures was always a delight. For a 5.5-inch smartphone, 1080p display panel should be the minimum requirement, and we must appreciate Huawei for not skimping on that. The only issue with the display panel that we felt is that it looks a bit dull, we also noticed a similar problem with Honor 4C back then and like any other smartphone which does not come with oleophobic coating, the Honor 5X also attracts fingerprints making us clean it more often than not. Overall an excellent 1080p panel with great viewing angles and sunlight legibility, bearing the low brightness levels, we don’t have anything to complain.
Huawei Honor 5X Performance and OS: The Huawei Honor 5X is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 616Soc with Adreno 405 GPU coupled with 2GB of Ram. The Snapdragon 616 is relatively a new chipset, but we won’t say that it is a significant upgrade over the terrible 615 chipset, but a decent upgrade. The interesting thing about the 616 chipset is that it doesn’t heat up that much as it did on 615, Huawei’s optimization should also be appreciated for that. Though it does not heat up, the general performance of the device is pretty average, we always found ourselves waiting for a second or two while switching between apps, the heavily customized EMUI and 2GB Ram is to be blamed here(more on that later). Talking about the gaming, we played games like Crossy Roads, Asphalt 8, Modern Combat 5; we noticed frame drops and lag while playing the heavy games in highest graphic settings while we had no such issue with short-term games like temple run and subway surfers. Changing the graphic settings to medium made the device handle these games perfectly. Moving along, The general day-to-day usage of the device is not that impressive.
Moving along, The general day-to-day usage of the device is not that impressive, like we said multi-tasking on the 5X was never smooth and we noticed U.I level lag more often than not. Coming to the OS, the Huawei Honor 5X runs on Android 5.0.2 and is expected to get the marshmallow update later this year. While we are at it, the general U.I lag and lag in multi-tasking is because of the heavily customized skin which is just too much to handle for a 2GB Ram smartphone, things would have been better if Huawei would have included 3GB instead of 2. The Ram management on the other is just the same, apps run out of memory and reloads all the time once we switch back to them. Overall we are pretty upset with the Huawei Honor 5X general performance, the heavily customized EMUI, and 2GB of Ram are to blame here.
Honor 5X Camera: The Huawei Honor 5X features a 13-megapixel rear camera with LED flash and a 5-megapixel front camera for selfies and video calls. Talking about the camera performance, the pictures captured in the broad daylight and ample of light look great and sharp with a decent amount of details in them. The Camera app interface is simple and neatly arranged, You have live filters, HDR mode, beauty mode and some other modes which will let you take full advantage while capturing photos.
The Honor 5X camera can shoot 1080p video front the rear camera and the video recorded is decent enough, and the lack of Optical Image Stabilization can be clearly seen in the video footage. Things tend to change as we move to indoor or low-lighting conditions, the pictures have so much noise in them, and the lack of detail make the captured image unusable though the flash might help at times that is not as powering as we would expect. Overall the rear camera is a hit or miss just like any other smartphone camera in the similar price segment. On the front, you get a 5-megapixel shooter that will suffice the need for selfies and video calls.
Have a look at the sample images we shot with the Honor 5X in various scenarios.
Honor 5X Fingerprint Sensor: The Huawei Honor 5X comes with a fingerprint sensor which is quite a common thing even for budget smartphones. The fingerprint sensor on the Honor 5X is extremely fast and accurate 90% of the time; you can register up to 5 fingers. There is nothing much to talk about the fingerprint sensor; it is fast, and it is accurate almost all the time.
Honor 5X Battery: The Huawei Honor 5X packs a 3000mAH non-removable battery on board, the battery life is one of the biggest positive point for the device. We got a screen on time of over 4:30-4:45 minutes on a single charge. If you are a casual to moderate usage you can expect the battery to last for an entire day without having to charge it again. The time taken to charge the battery from 0 to 100% is slight over 2 hours; the fact that it lacks fast charging support is to be blamed for that. Overall the battery backup is surely one of the biggest advantage of the Honor 5X.
Honor 5X Connectivity and Others: The Huawei Honor 5X supports 4G LTE, Dual SIM(Micro+nano), Bluetooth 4.1, WiFi 802.11b/g/n, GPS. The Honor 5X had no issues with 4G reception in Hyderabad, and the call quality is also up to the mark, the WiFi signal reception is decent, although it lacks 5GHz band, the 2.4GHz band works great. It lacks OTG support, but you have a separate slot for MicroSD card so storage shouldn’t be an issue.
Verdict: Huawei Honor 5X is currently priced at Rs.12,999 and is competing with LeEco Le 1s, Redmi Note 3(3GB Ram) in India, considering the competition Huawei Honor 5X still has to get so many things right before it can prove itself as a worthy contender. The Heavily customized EMUI coupled with just 2GB of Ram results in average performance, below par low-light camera, routinely designed front panel are some of the biggest complaints. While on the bright side, the super fast fingerprint sensor, excellent battery life, Good quality 1080p display panel, decent build quality puts the 5X back in the race again. You decide for yourself, it battery and fingerprint sensor and good display are your primary requirements then you should pick the 5X, but then performance is what matters the most to you 5X is not for you.