Honor 5X Review - Another potential winner from the ranks of Huawei Honor that will help the company grow leaps and bounds






Honor 5X Review - Another potential winner from the ranks of Huawei Honor that will help the company grow leaps and bounds
Huawei is a brand that has created a magnificent name for itself in the world market with its range of smartphone and networking devices. Though in India, it has still not been able to make it to the top 3 list as yet with their e-brand Honor, but with their line of devices and their top notch quality, they are sure to hit the jackpot sooner or later. Honor 4X, Honor Holly and Honor 7 and others have been quite well received by reviewers and users alike. Recently, Huawei launched Honor 5X in India for a price of Rs. 12,999 on Flipkart and Amazon. You can catch the news of the launch here:

Today, we have the Honor 5X smartphone with us for review and we will see how it fares. It would be interesting to note if this device is able to carry the ever growing legacy of Huawei and Honor ahead or turns out average or below par. Before we start the review, we would like you to see 2 videos showing the robustness of this smartphone as it handles a huge load of pressure and then manages to withstand drops from various heights. These videos can be found at the following link:

Before starting the review, let us take a look at the specifications of the phone.

Specifications of Honor 5X:

SIM Card Support: Dual SIM (Micro-SIM/Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
Display: 5.5 inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16 M colors, 1080 x 1920 pixels, ~72.2% screen-to-body ratio, ~401 ppi pixel density
RAM: 2 GB
ROM: 16 GB
Expandable Memory: Up to 128 GB
Processor: Qualcomm MSM8939v2 Snapdragon 616, Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53
GPU: Adreno 405
Front Camera: 5 MP, f/2.4, 22 mm 
Rear Camera: 13 MP, f/2.0, 28mm, Autofocus, LED flash
Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh battery
OS: Android OS, v5.1.1 (Lollipop)
Connectivity Options: 3G, LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, Hotspot, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, Bluetooth 4.1, A2DP, microUSB v2.0
Sensors: Fingerprint, Accelerometer, Proximity, Compass
FM Radio: Yes
Fingerprint sensor: Yes
Colors: White, Black, Gold

Unboxing

Honor 5X is delivered in a small, rectangular, aquamarine colored, top opening cardboard box. On the top of the box, the branding 'honor' has been imprinted twice. On opening the lid of the box, you will find the smartphone lying at the top. Looking ahead, you will find white colored data cable, charger and a needle pin to remove SIM card slots. We could not find earphones or any documentation in our review unit box, maybe because its a review unit or maybe they aren't included. The packaging is neat and the cardboard used is of good quality.

Honor 5X Review - Another potential winner from the ranks of Huawei Honor that will help the company grow leaps and bounds





























Design and Build Quality

The first thing you'll notice when you'll hold Honor 5X is the sturdy grip and the elegance that the device provides. It has more of a squarish design with little to no curves. Even though it has a 5.5 inch screen, the device does not seem large in hands, thanks to the screen to body ratio. This can be a unique selling point for people looking to buy large screen smartphones but don't have huge hands. My hands are medium sized, and the phone fits just perfect in my hands too. The bezel is extremely thin on both sides, almost close to being not there. However, when you'll switch on the smartphone, you will see thick black outlines on all sides of the screen, which is a turn off for us, specially in phones colored other than black. This is because a white bezel, then a black border and then the brightly lit phone makes it seem that the touchscreen display is embedded a few mm inside the glass rather than floating on the glass itself. This is a sort of a deal breaker for us. Thankfully, Huawei has us covered as a black version of the smartphone is available is well.

Lets look at the front of the device. At the top and bottom of the screen is almost half an inch of white bezel. The top bezel houses a proximity sensor, the front camera lens, a medium sized speaker grille and an LED indicator light, while the bottom bezel is absolutely blank as the Back, Home and Recents buttons are embedded in the user interface.

Taking a look at the edges, the top edge has the 3.5 mm audio connector port and a microphone hole, the left edge has two SIM and microSD card slots, the bottom has a speaker, a microUSB connector port and a microphone, while the right edge has Volume Rocker and Power/Sleep button. The volume rocker and power buttons are made of textured metal and the feedback from the buttons is just perfect as you get that click sound as well a hard tap letting you feel that the buttons have been pressed successfully at one go. The travel of the buttons is still an issue though and we would have liked the buttons to travel a bit further into the chassis.

The back of the device is silver metal with a dotted head and chin, and a body plate. The body plate has the appearance of horizontal lined texture, which is only a visual treat as there is no friction otherwise. Even though it has a smooth back, the device does not feel slippery due to its straight squarish design language. The back does not register fingerprints at all either. At the back, there is an LED flash, the rear camera lens, a fingerprint sensor, 'honor' branding and self declaration.

The back cover is not removable. There is a sticker placed at the back to show how to insert SIM cards and microSD card but you'll have to let go off the sticker and keep it at a safe location to see later how to insert the cards.

We could not make out any flaws with the design and build quality of the phone and the word which keeps striking our mind to mark Honor 5X's design is 'Elegant'.

Design Pictures

Honor 5X Review - Another potential winner from the ranks of Huawei Honor that will help the company grow leaps and boundsHonor 5X Review - Another potential winner from the ranks of Huawei Honor that will help the company grow leaps and bounds


Honor 5X Review - Another potential winner from the ranks of Huawei Honor that will help the company grow leaps and boundsHonor 5X Review - Another potential winner from the ranks of Huawei Honor that will help the company grow leaps and bounds


Honor 5X Review - Another potential winner from the ranks of Huawei Honor that will help the company grow leaps and boundsHonor 5X Review - Another potential winner from the ranks of Huawei Honor that will help the company grow leaps and bounds


Display

The display on Honor 5X is sufficiently bright. The one thing that we noticed immediately is that the display as well as the colors used in the user interface are very easy on the eyes unlike other phones which do seem to cause a headache or two if you look at the display continuously. The user interface uses a very decent mixture of subtle as well as solid colors making the display a charm for the eyes. There is no pixellation whatsoever and the viewing angles are fairly deep. Screen reflection has been controlled very well too. Very frankly, the colors seemed just right on watching Youtube videos which again many smartphones can't boast of. The blacks are pretty dark too. The only minor flaw that caught our notice is that the brightness of the display seems to change as we move between windows even though the ambient light is maintained at the same level. If you wish to see this, click on the camera icon, and then when the camera opens, click the Home button. Then see the brightness of the home screen change from overly bright to medium tone. This can cause nausea for some people if they continuously move between apps. It seems that this is not a bug. The UI designers seem to have chosen it that way purposefully. And finally, we have found a deal breaker too. The display is not very usable under direct sunlight and you'll end up twisting and tilting the device as well as your eyes and head to be able to make out what's on the screen.

Operating System and Software

Honor 5X is equipped with Emotion UI 3.1 layered over Android Lollipop 5.1.1. Being a Chinese branded phone, there is no app drawer and all the apps are arranged under scrollable home screens, though the screens are not infinitely scrollable. The first thing we applaud the user interface is for its uniformity. The icons, colors and fonts retain their identity across all screens. What it does mean is that you do not feel like playing with various operating systems on a single phone which can be quite painful and difficult to absorb. The next thing that caught our attention is that there is minimal bloatware on the system, in fact nothing branded Huawei or Honor. That's a major plus point as many users and reviewers run away from brands that fill their smartphones with unnecessary apps. Moreover, no bloatware means extra memory space as well. In terms of apps, we found Mirror, Magnifier and Backup as the apps provided by Honor as its minimum offering. Mirror is not too useful since we already have the camera app to check our faces. We really could not make out any use for Magnifier while Backup is the one that can be handy for people wishing to encrypt their content or move between devices. How to do that is really beyond the scope of this review. All Google apps are bundled too as a tiny little addition.

The notification panel floating down by swiping from the top is slightly modified as notifications and shortcuts have been moved to separate tabs which personally we would like under a single page without the need for a separate time consuming click. Under the settings, there are a few motion gestures that can be enabled, like double touch to wake up the screen or draw letters to open a specific application when the screen is off, all of which can be quite handy in case you can learn them. More settings include decreasing the size of the screen and moving it to one side for one hand operation, a few ways to tweak the navigation buttons at the bottom and a glove mode. All in all, quite useful.

You can also swipe down the home screens to be able to search apps, contacts, messages etc. which looks extremely similar to iOS search screen, we don't really know who has inspired whom and we aren't going into that conversation here.

If it were for us to pick the pros of this UI, it has to be uniformity, minimalistic approach and lack of bloatware. But at the same time, some users might see these same points as disadvantages with the UI, just a differing perspective.

Camera

The camera app has a large number of options and settings. It offers a number of modes like Panorama, HDR, Watermark etc. along with various settings like ISO, white balance, image adjustment along with many others. A Good food mode is also present to click amazing pictures of your food and post them on social media websites. Let us take a look at these 3 pictures taken from the rear camera at default settings to see how the camera performs in real world usage.

Honor 5X Review - Another potential winner from the ranks of Huawei Honor that will help the company grow leaps and bounds



















Honor 5X Review - Another potential winner from the ranks of Huawei Honor that will help the company grow leaps and boundsHonor 5X Review - Another potential winner from the ranks of Huawei Honor that will help the company grow leaps and bounds

At the very outset, we would say that the camera reproduces astounding colors, specially the basic ones like blue, red, yellow and green. Though a bit of noise does start appearing when the ambient light is less like in the first image above. However, we just love the fact that the images are photo realistic. The camera shots are neither under exposed, nor over exposed, they maintain high detail as you can see on the car in the 2nd picture as well as on the leaves in the 3rd. But we would like to give brownie points to the camera for bringing out what we see with a naked eye in images captured as well, for us that's outstanding. Any smartphone that post processes the images with a color tinge is a strict no-no for us. Honor 5X camera does not do that. The front camera selfies are usable too though they wash away the colors slightly understandably.

Performance

Honor 5X runs through most of the daily tasks without any problems. Everything tends to run smoothly. Apps are fast to open and multitasking isn't a problem. We downloaded and installed Temple Run 2 and the game ran through without any frame rate drops. The phone does not overheat while playing games or charging. The speakers are incredibly loud and clear at medium to high volume settings which makes it great fun to watch Youtube videos and play games. Call quality is crisp as well.

Fingerprint sensor

Smartphone fingerprint sensors are becoming a norm these days and all of them are pretty fast. Honor 5X does not disappoint either. Though we prefer the Apple and Samsung way of going with a fingerprint sensor at the front of the device more, still we are now becoming used to those at the back too. The fingerprint sensor on Honor 5X is amazingly fast and works 360 degrees. There are no possible logins with other unregistered fingers. Additionally, the fingerprint sensor can be preset to functions like taking photos, answering calls, stopping alarms, showing recent apps or notification panel and also for launching specific apps or calling specific contacts with various gestures and settings. The fingerprint sensor on this smartphone adds a lot of value to it.

Battery

Honor 5X has a 3000 mAh battery. To check for battery time, we charged the battery to 100% and then started using the phone in medium use cases. We browsed the web, downloaded and installed a few apps and games, did some calling and Whatsapp messaging, played a few games, watched videos on Youtube and threw in some amount of standby time too. The battery ended after 12 hours which is great battery life. Most users would easily carry it through one day usage with a single charge before plugging it overnight for next day's use.

Rating

4.5 stars out of 5

Bottomline and Verdict

So now after going through various aspects of the Honor 5X, lets get to the bottomline. This is another sweet deal by Huawei. We could not find much wrong with the smartphone. The only deal breaker we saw through was a lack of sunlight legibility of the display. But then, competition at this price point is pretty tough. Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 32 GB, Lenovo K4 Note, Asus Zenfone 2 Laser, Motorola Moto G Turbo, Moto G (3rd Gen), Samsung Galaxy J5 and a few others are all worthy competitors in a similar price range. To be able to find its own identity in this plethora of devices is a tough ask but frankly, we think Honor 5X does have the guts to stay afloat and sell a lot of units with its simple yet elegant design, a crisp display, a good camera, decent performance, an above average battery, a blazing fast fingerprint sensor and a simple user interface. So does it go wrong anywhere, we don't really think so. We think Honor 5X is a potential winner from the stable of Huawei Honor that will propel the company to greater heights and stamp its position as an industry leader in the list of smartphone manufacturers.

That's it for our review of Huawei Honor 5X smartphone. Do hit the 'like' button if you liked the review and share the word across. You can also like our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/technodivide to keep yourself updated of latest technology news, reviews and tweaks. If you have any suggestions regarding the review or the device, feel free to leave us a comment below. Stay tuned since we have many more such reviews coming up in the near future.


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