Honor 5X Review: Huawei’s House Brand Delivers

by Reads (3,014)
Editor's Rating

Ratings Breakdown (1-10)

    • Service, Warranty & Support
    • 7
    • Ease of Use
    • 6
    • Design
    • 8
    • Performance
    • 6
    • Value
    • 9
    • Total Score:
    • 7.20
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Overview

  • Pros

    • Slick exterior design
    • Decent display
    • Unique and useful dual SIM design
    • Multi-functional fingerprint ID sensor
    • Great photo quality
  • Cons

    • EMUI skin over Android 5.1.1 needs some work
    • U.S. carrier support too limited
    • No Android Marshmallow (6.0)
    • Slow battery recharging
    • Lacks NFC and dual-band Wi-Fi

Quick Take

That the major carriers have dropped subsidies and contracts makes the Honor 5X's $200 price tag appealing. Its quality build, large display, and handful of high-end features only add to it.


Honor smartphones are the Huawei “house brand” – a line of affordable, value-oriented mobile devices that may not outperform the Samsungs and the iPhones of the world, but that still perform respectably and appeal to casual users who want a functional smartphone but aren’t willing to pay upwards of $700.

The Honor 5X is a $200 phablet from Huawei.

The Honor 5X is a $200 phablet from Huawei.

The Honor 5X is Huawei’s latest mid-range smartphone, a gorgeous devil with a form factor that was supposedly modeled after the Guggenheim Museum in Spain, according to Huawei. That might be a bit of a stretch, but the Honor 5X certainly isn’t hard on the eyes (at least not until you’ve added a protective case). Looks aside, one of the biggest thing the 5X has going for it is price. At just $200, it’s incredibly affordable. But does it stack up against the likes of Apple and Samsung? Keep reading to find out.

Build & Design

The Honor 5X is encased in a curved aluminum alloy body that you can get in one of three colors: sunset gold, dark gray, or daybreak silver. It’s almost a full six inches long, measuring 5.95 x 3 x 0.3 inches, which could make it somewhat unwieldy for those used to smaller phones. Its weight of 0.3 pounds, in addition to its rounded edge design, improve the feeling of comfort in your palm.

The display face is buttonless, relying instead on onscreen capacitive buttons for performing basic Home, Back and Overview navigation. The bottom bezel is thicker than the top bezel, presumably to aid with better handling while cutting down on the occasional fingertip misfires so common with touchscreen mobiles. The top bezel is where you’ll find the 5MP front-facing camera, ear speaker, indicator light and sensors. The side bezels are so thin they’re practically nonexistent.

The Honor 5X has an all-metal back panel.

The Honor 5X has an all-metal back panel.

Rotating the Honor 5X onto its belly reveals the 13MP primary camera lens, an LED flash, and what we consider to be one of this smartphone’s coolest features: its fingerprint ID Sensor, which is ideally positioned for easy one-handed use. We’ll delve into further detail on the fingerprint sensor later.

The bottom edge of the Honor 5X is home to two speakers, one on either side of the standard microUSB (USB 2.0) port for charging and data transfer. Along its top edge, you’ll find a pinhole microphone and 3.5mm headphone jack.

The right edge is home to a one-piece volume rocker and power button. The orientation of buttons is a departure from what we prefer – having one on either side of the device to eliminate accidental power button pushes, rather than being stacked on top of one another – and the positioning of the buttons so close to one another (with the volume rocker above the power button) could pose something of a learning curve.

The left edge of the 5X is where you find another of its big selling points, two side-by-side SIM trays. Both are compatible with nano-SIM, micro-SIM and microSD, and are easily accessed with the included eject tool. Where most dual-SIM phones double up the SIM with the microSD card slot, the Honor 5X doesn’t. This is a most welcome addition.

The Honor 5X has a unique dual-SIM setup.

The Honor 5X has a unique dual-SIM setup.

Display & Speakers

Honor 5X speakers and microUSB 2.0

Honor 5X speakers and microUSB 2.0

The 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 full HD IPS display is laminated and offers a wide range of viewing angles with minimal glare. Color temperature can be adjusted manually from Settings, but the default view offers a vivid range of colors – 16.7 million, according to Huawei. It’s has 401 pixels per inch, which is lower than the 2015 flagship smartphones that top 500, but the difference is only slightly noticeable when held side by side with something like the Galaxy Note5. The 5X display matches some of 2014’s best smartphones, which makes it good enough, especially considering the Honor 5X price tag.

The speakers, which are located on the bottom edge of the device, deliver crisp audio that doesn’t suffer much from the typical tinniness associated with maxing out the volume level. When turned up all the way, the speakers emit loud enough audio to be heard even in a busy environment. Naturally, the Honor 5X’s audio performance is even better when connected to a set of mini-speakers or earbuds, and volume levels sufficient to damage hearing can be easily produced. (We don’t recommend this.)



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