In this article, let’s review the Honor 5X, a budget mid range smartphone from Honor. Though, this device is priced as a budget phone, features, design and the user experience give it a feel of a good high end smartphone.
Honor is Huawei’s Smartphone e-brand for digital natives. Honor has been expanding aggressively in global markets, and has successfully launched in 74 global markets, entering the bestselling charts in most of the European countries honor launched. This is also the first Honor phone which is available for the US market at just 199 USD. The Honor 5X was announced early this week in India at a price of 12999 and is available in three colors – gold, silver and grey. The phone will be sold on both Amazon and Flipkart and is available for pre-orders. The sale of Honor 5X will commence starting 1st February midnight.
Alright, Lets look at how this phone performs in these 4 key areas –
Hardware, Look and Feel:
The phone is made from brushed metal alloy that adds to the premium look and feel of this phone; and not many companies offer a metal body in this range as of now. The top and bottom of the phone are made up of plastic. The phone comes with a premium aircraft grade metal that also offers 5 layer heat sinks with copper shielding cover. The phone is neither heavy, nor very thin. Its a good weight in the hands; and doesn’t slip-off easily. The curved back is quite ergonomic and the rear flows very well to the front. There is a LED notification on the top of the phone as well.
The power button and volume rockers are placed on the right side which feels vey neat and also offers a good amount of tactile feedback. The buttons also have a textured feel to it making it more comfortable to use.
The rear of the phone sports the camera and the finger print sensor. The finger print sensor is an impressive feature on this phone (or in any Huawei phone in that matter). The finger print reading is fast (the company says 0.5 seconds to unlock) and also, has worked well all the times for me, 10/10. Kudos to the team. When compared with other phones in this segment, the accuracy is pretty neat.
The emotion UI provides you way more options to further make use of the finger print sensor, than to just unlock your phone. Gestures help you do that. For e.g.: Swiping up on the finger print scanner shows the recently used apps. Swiping down brings in the notifications page to quickly read through and toggle settings. A tap can be configured to take you to back screen or even click a picture while you take a selfie. You can even take a call, or use it like a home button with customisations available. Here are some of the options, you can set.
The phone is powered with a Snapdragon 616 processor, an Adreno 405 GPU and a 2GB RAM; thats a bummer. There are 3GB variants available in China. not sure, why they weren’t made available here in India and the US. The phone has a onboard 16GB ROM, expandable upto 128 GB. The performance is slightly sluggish with some screen refreshes when you toggle between the running apps. There is a bit of delay on the load when you launch apps; not a major deal breaker. Probably, it would’ve been better with a better processor and the 3GB RAM; however, must appreciate the Emotion UI for making the OS much user friendly and providing some good sneaks that help in better performance when compared to other phones which are running on a 615/616 processor.
The left side is for the SIM and SD card slots. This phone has 2 seperate slots for a nano SIM & Micro SIM and a Micro SD card. Unlike few other phones which offer Hybrid SIM models, you do not need to sacrifice on a SIM to add up a Micro SD card.
The Display is very impressive and sharp. I find it to be one of the real good features of the phone. Its a 5.5 inch, IPS Panel display powering a full HD resolution of 1080 * 1920. The quality and the details are neat. Images aren’t over-saturated or too warm/cold. the colours are vibrant and the brightness on the screen is impressive as well. Reading text on the phone is pretty good. I like the fact, it isn’t too sharp giving a realistic clear text.
The phone has a 3000 MAH battery which offers a good battery life of over a day; It gives me SOT of 6.5 hours which is pretty impressive. With Emotion UI, there are tons of more customisations which you can do, to make your phone even better in terms of battery saving. Thanks to the patents Huawei has on the same.
The Headphone Jack on the top and Micro-USB port and speaker grill towards the bottom. The sound quality on the phone isn’t great when you play music on loud speaker; it gets slightly better with a headset. However, The call quality is very impressive and the volume is good too.!
Software, User Experience:
The Honor 5X is running Android 5.1 out of the box with the customised version, the Emotion UI 3.1. The company has announced that, this phone will get the Marshmallow update with the Emotion UI 4. These days, Every company have their own android skins for their phones. Out of all, my personal favourites have been the Flyme OS, MiUI and Emotion UI. They are not just basic customisations, but give users few features which are actually worth trying. Lets talk about that some other time!
This phone offer Emotion UI 3.1. There are few software features which makes the phone pretty good. My personal favourite is the notifications window. They show a lot more detail on a timeline about the app notifications and your system. Shake to re-align icons is cool as well. Themes would also fancy some people. If something is lacking on the EMUI, its the performance. It definitely needs some improvement.
The camera is powered with a 13MP sensor, a f2.0 aperture which does allow a lot of light and a Dual LED flash to use in low-light conditions. In outdoors, the camera performs very well and is quick. The quality of pictures is pretty neat and the details are sharp with colors being good as well. Thankfully, the software doesn’t over-sharp the images and hence, images feel realistic. Emotion UI also offers a great camera software which gives you options for smart selfies, food mode etc.
Here are some samples pictures I clicked. will upload few more as I use the phone.
The phone doesn’t come with an optical image stabiliser built in. You can shoot a 1080p video on this phone. The video processing on the phone can be better, but is certainly good enough for a mid range smartphone.
The slo-mo and time-lapse features are also there. Here is a sample time-lapse video, I shot early this morning. Not the best, and certainly not the worse either. One point worth mentioning is that, when I used this camera for a longer time to shoot this time-lapse video, it didn’t warm the phone – Thats a very neat behaviour.
The follow-focus on the videos is a pretty good addition. The front camera performance is decent and does take some good pictures; and if you’re a selfie lover, there are tons of more options to play around.
Pros and Cons, Value for Money:
With a brushed metal, premium design and a gorgeous display its impressive. Talking about value for money, At USD 199 USD, its definitely worth considering the phone in the US. With devices like LeEco Le1S, CoolPad Note 3 and Mi Redmi Note 3 in India, I would’ve preferred, if Honor had priced the phone a little more aggressive. Today in the market, There are few other devices in this range which offers better specs; however, its not just about the specs at times. Its more on the user experience. I personally love how the honor phones offer a good user experience with its Emotion UI; and of course the accurate finger print scanner which doubles with great gesture controls. I believe, software updates with Honor aren’t going to be an issue either.
I would’ve loved had Honor brought in the 3GB variant model in India and the U.S. Not sure, if they have plans to bring it in as a limited edition phone at some point this year.
Summing up, This phone offers a good design, beautiful display and most importantly, finger print scanner which is accurate and does a lot more things than just unlocking your phone.
Do let me know what you think. Thanks for reading!