The "1-Minute" Review
- EMUI interface is love or hate
- Occasional lag and performance hiccups
- Pre-installed bloatware
- A bit of case creaking and bending
With its latest release, the Honor 5X, Huawei is hoping to make a splash in the mid-tier market. Respectable specs, a clean metal chassis design and a price that is sure to grab your attention puts the handset in prime position to challenge the big names in the market.
But does everything translate to a good user experience? We’ve dug through the best reviews on the Internet to bring you the scoop on this device. Let’s dive in!
While not exactly a buzz phrase any more, metal chassis add an undeniable bit of sophistication to the mobile experience. Huawei opts for a smooth, brushed metal look with just a peek of plastic at the top and bottom to avoid interfering with signals. You’ll also find a fingerprint sensor on back nestled right below the camera.
Overall, though the phone is far from small, reviews noted it was comfortable to hold and felt great in the hand. TechRadar stated, “It looks like a premium, quality phone as soon as you pick it up. It feels like it has that weight you expect when you pick up a high-end phone.”
If you’re worried about durability on a budget-friendly handset, you’ll find Gorilla Glass around front and after using it for a week, The Guardian notes that it “feels like it could take a knock or two without issue.”
Heading to the front of the Honor 5x, you’re greeted with a 5.5-inch 1080p IPS display. Reviews for the screen were largely positive. Tom’s Guide stated that the screen “proved to be a good partner for my Netflix binges and casual gaming.” Alphr chimed in, calling it “perfectly pleasant, with colours popping nicely off the screen.”
Everyone was also quick to note how bright the screen is. Android Central says, “it's bright enough to use outside even without the brightness-boosting daylight mode, and vibrant enough without looking weirdly oversaturated.”
Unfortunately, a lack of screen treatment had reviewers ranting about fingerprints and smudges. But that’s the only real downsides mentioned about the display.
Powering the phone, you’ll find an octa-core Snapdragon 616 CPU. This is where many reviews felt that the budget roots of the phone begin to show. Performance reviews were firmly average on the device. Though that might be influenced by the software--a point we’ll cover later in the summary.
Android Central noted, “It's not horribly slow, but there are noticeable moments of animation slowdown.” NDTV put it through its paces and reported, “smooth functioning through the user interface, decent performance with games and heavily encoded videos, and minimal heating issues.”
To keep apps moving along snappy and provide quick loading times, Huawei opted for 2GB of RAM. This is more than enough for most day-to-day usage and might even work for power users or gamers.
16GB of internal storage is just enough for a full set of apps and a couple games or movies. If you’re looking to add more storage space, microSD support allows for easy expansion up to an additional 128GB.
Keeping the handset chugging along is a 3000mAh battery with 2 amp charging. While it doesn’t support rapid or wireless charging like many flagships, reviews noted that battery life was great for all-day use. Charges in most reviews completed in a couple hours, so it should be easy to top off your charge throughout the day if needed.
Android Central pushed their 5X to the limits and found a single charge “easily good for an entire day of heavy use, with up to 5 hours of screen-on time depending on what you're doing.”
Hoping to snap a few pictures with your phone? The 13MP rear camera with flash and 5MP front-facing camera with beauty modes for selfies both received decent reviews. Low-light images and HDR features all received high marks.
Gotta Be Mobile was the most critical, stating, “Compared to most in this price range, it again exceeded expectations, but not by much. Colors were decent, auto-focus and the actual shutter speed were slower than we’d like, but it gets the job done.”
Next the camera, you’ll find a fingerprint scanner. Reviews of the scanner are positive. With most noting quick response times, comfortable placement and high accuracy. Gotta Be Mobile compares it to some of the best scanners available, declaring, “Some are amazingly fast like the Nexus 6p or Galaxy Note 5, while others could use some work like the LG V10. Huawei sits somewhere right in the middle, if not near the top.”
If there was one item that stood out in all reviews against the handset, it would be the software Huawei chose for the interface. They’re EMUI 3 launcher running Android 5.1 received little love from reviewers.
Using an iOS-like approach, the EMUI interface ditches the app drawer in favor of placing all of your shortcuts on the home screen. Add in some cartoonish design choices and a bit of lag and you have what The Guardian refers to as “a mixed bag.”
Fortunately, if EMUI 3 isn’t to your liking, fixing that is as simple as loading up your favorite launcher on Google Play.
In all, the handset received great reviews. By combining an excellent price with solid specs and performance, Huawei might make a dent in the market with this one.
Tom’s Guide summed up the feeling of other reviews well, saying, “Among [similarly priced] phones, though, the Honor 5X provides excellent performance in a stylish package, making it the budget phone to beat.”
What the Critics Are Saying...
Prices (Where to Buy)
Huawei released the Honor 5X on January 31, 2016.
Huawei Honor 5X prices will vary depending on retailer, age, special offers and whether or not it's purchased with a service plan. If purchased with a 2 year service contract for example, you would likely pay much less for the phone itself up front. Huawei's suggested retail price is $199.99. You can compare Honor 5X prices from around the web here on The Informr.
We've got you covered! Download a free PDF copy of the Huawei Honor 5X user manual here.
Huawei backs up the Honor 5X with a 1 Year parts & labour warranty.
If your Honor 5X has problems and is still within its warranty period, you could contact Huawei support or the retailer you purchased the phone from. You'll find Huawei's contact information here. If your phone is off warranty and needs repair for a physical problem such as a broken screen or bad battery, you should visit an authorized service centre or a local phone repair shop. You can also connect with others in The Informr Community Forum to find and share answers to questions.