honor 5X Review

Introduction


honor 5X Review
honor 5X Review
honor 5X Review
honor 5X Review
An explosion occurred in the mid-range smartphone market last year, showing all of us that there’s considerable value in price-conscious devices. Huawei, in particular, came swinging out of the gate with its own model in the P8 Lite, a $249.99, ‘lighter’ version of its high-end Huawei P8 smartphone. Despite the low cost, it failed to stand above the other prized devices in the segment at the time.

Fast forward to the present, they have something pretty sweet getting its name from Huawei’s sub-brand. Looking at the honor 5X, it’s hard to fathom that it’s been graced with an outright $200 price, seeing that it comes with a fingerprint sensor and a nice build. Other specs add to its drool worthy stature, but as we know, it takes more than that to be recognized as incredible.

The package contains:
  • honor 5X
  • Wall Charger
  • microUSB cable
  • SIM ejector tool
  • User guide

Design

The metal design is appreciable, but there’s a ‘cheapness’ to its feel.

The honor 5X's metal body looks nice from afar, including its chamfered beveled edge, but upon closer inspection, its brushed finish doesn’t seem to have the same level of sturdiness we get in more premium metal phones. In fact, there’s that slightly ‘cheap’ feel to it. Still, it’s a pleasant new direction for its cost and all, which is still better than how the Huawei P8 Lite attempted to look ‘premium’ with its plastic body.

The honor 5X comes with a recessed fingerprint sensor on its back side. It works rather well – it's been fairly responsive and accurate in our testing.

 

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Front view | Side view
honor 5X
honor 5X
5.96 x 3 x 0.32 inches
151.3 x 76.3 x 8.15 mm
5.57 oz (158 g)

honor 5X

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5
6.01 x 2.96 x 0.29 inches
152.7 x 75.14 x 7.4 mm
4.96 oz (141 g)

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5")

HTC Desire 820
HTC Desire 820
6.21 x 3.1 x 0.3 inches
157.7 x 78.74 x 7.74 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

HTC Desire 820

Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US)
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US)
6 x 3.04 x 0.43 inches
152.5 x 77.2 x 10.8 mm
6.00 oz (170 g)

Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US)



honor 5X Review

Display

Resolution is great for a _phone_ of this caliber, but colors are still a tad off.

For the price and all, we’re fairly excited to know that the honor 5X is endowed with a healthy 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 IPS display. Sure enough, we’re satisfied to see 1080p resolution on a _phone_ of this caliber. Details, as expected, are plentiful in providing sufficient sharpness.

Now, while we like that its peak brightness tops out at 585 nits, ensuring that outdoor visibility is not an issue, as well as its okay viewing angles, the other aspects about the display are just unflattering. Firstly, the panel is noticeably cold, so colors have a bluish tone to them, because of the ~8000K color temperature. It’s not necessarily the most color accurate screen: yellows are heavily influenced by green – while magentas favor a bluish hue.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 665
(Excellent)
29
(Poor)
1:960
(Average)
7280
(Good)
2.14
5.34
(Average)
5.68
(Average)
honor 5X 585
(Excellent)
7
(Good)
1:1251
(Excellent)
8021
(Poor)
2.19
2.9
(Good)
6.77
(Average)
HTC Desire 820 543
(Excellent)
17
(Poor)
1:1813
(Excellent)
7119
(Good)
2.19
3.83
(Good)
5.16
(Average)
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 403
(Good)
23
(Poor)
1:1213
(Good)
7248
(Good)
2.68
3.25
(Good)
5.2
(Average)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 73.9%
78.3%
77.3%
16.9%
1.5%
9.5%
41.3%
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 79.2%
79.3%
72.3%
17.9%
12.6%
15%
38.4%
HTC Desire 820 84.3%
82.4%
84.8%
16.7%
16.4%
5.7%
13.2%
honor 5X 86.3%
85.7%
84.2%
6.6%
0.5%
12.4%
4.3%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all

honor 5X Review

Introduction


honor 5X Review
honor 5X Review
honor 5X Review
honor 5X Review
An explosion occurred in the mid-range smartphone market last year, showing all of us that there’s considerable value in price-conscious devices. Huawei, in particular, came swinging out of the gate with its own model in the P8 Lite, a $249.99, ‘lighter’ version of its high-end Huawei P8 smartphone. Despite the low cost, it failed to stand above the other prized devices in the segment at the time.

Fast forward to the present, they have something pretty sweet getting its name from Huawei’s sub-brand. Looking at the honor 5X, it’s hard to fathom that it’s been graced with an outright $200 price, seeing that it comes with a fingerprint sensor and a nice build. Other specs add to its drool worthy stature, but as we know, it takes more than that to be recognized as incredible.

The package contains:
  • honor 5X
  • Wall Charger
  • microUSB cable
  • SIM ejector tool
  • User guide

Design

The metal design is appreciable, but there’s a ‘cheapness’ to its feel.

The honor 5X's metal body looks nice from afar, including its chamfered beveled edge, but upon closer inspection, its brushed finish doesn’t seem to have the same level of sturdiness we get in more premium metal phones. In fact, there’s that slightly ‘cheap’ feel to it. Still, it’s a pleasant new direction for its cost and all, which is still better than how the Huawei P8 Lite attempted to look ‘premium’ with its plastic body.

The honor 5X comes with a recessed fingerprint sensor on its back side. It works rather well – it's been fairly responsive and accurate in our testing.

Front view | Side view
honor 5X
honor 5X
5.96 x 3 x 0.32 inches
151.3 x 76.3 x 8.15 mm
5.57 oz (158 g)

honor 5X

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5
6.01 x 2.96 x 0.29 inches
152.7 x 75.14 x 7.4 mm
4.96 oz (141 g)

Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5")

HTC Desire 820
HTC Desire 820
6.21 x 3.1 x 0.3 inches
157.7 x 78.74 x 7.74 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

HTC Desire 820

Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US)
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US)
6 x 3.04 x 0.43 inches
152.5 x 77.2 x 10.8 mm
6.00 oz (170 g)

Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US)



honor 5X Review

Display

Resolution is great for a phone of this caliber, but colors are still a tad off.

For the price and all, we’re fairly excited to know that the honor 5X is endowed with a healthy 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 IPS display. Sure enough, we’re satisfied to see 1080p resolution on a phone of this caliber. Details, as expected, are plentiful in providing sufficient sharpness.

Now, while we like that its peak brightness tops out at 585 nits, ensuring that outdoor visibility is not an issue, as well as its okay viewing angles, the other aspects about the display are just unflattering. Firstly, the panel is noticeably cold, so colors have a bluish tone to them, because of the ~8000K color temperature. It’s not necessarily the most color accurate screen: yellows are heavily influenced by green – while magentas favor a bluish hue.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 665
(Excellent)
29
(Poor)
1:960
(Average)
7280
(Good)
2.14
5.34
(Average)
5.68
(Average)
honor 5X 585
(Excellent)
7
(Good)
1:1251
(Excellent)
8021
(Poor)
2.19
2.9
(Good)
6.77
(Average)
HTC Desire 820 543
(Excellent)
17
(Poor)
1:1813
(Excellent)
7119
(Good)
2.19
3.83
(Good)
5.16
(Average)
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 403
(Good)
23
(Poor)
1:1213
(Good)
7248
(Good)
2.68
3.25
(Good)
5.2
(Average)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 73.9%
78.3%
77.3%
16.9%
1.5%
9.5%
41.3%
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 79.2%
79.3%
72.3%
17.9%
12.6%
15%
38.4%
HTC Desire 820 84.3%
82.4%
84.8%
16.7%
16.4%
5.7%
13.2%
honor 5X 86.3%
85.7%
84.2%
6.6%
0.5%
12.4%
4.3%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all

Interface and Functionality

The EMUI 3.1 experience is an acquired taste, but suffices for the basic things.

Although it’s branded as honor, it’s running Huawei’s customary Emotion UI; EMUI for short. Unlike the recent Huawei Mate 8 we reviewed, the honor 5X is running the older EMUI 3.1 experience on top of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. That might be a drawback for some, but Huawei pledges to have updates to bring it up to EMUI 4.0, as well as Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

In comparison, the experience is toned down here for the honor 5X, which is expected considering it’s not trying to be a high-end phone. However, it shares many of the features we’re familiar with, like a one-handed UI and gesture controls, but you won’t find real side-by-side multi-tasking here, nor any of those knuckle gesture features.

The experience manages to suffice for what it’s worth, but it’s still an acquired taste.

System Performance

The Snapdragon 615 is starting to show its age.

Under the hood, the honor 5X receives its muscle power from an octa-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 SoC, which is coupled with 2GB of RAM. This chipset powers other devices like the Motorola DROID MAXX 2, HTC Desire 820, Alcatel OneTouch Idol 3, and yes, even last year’s Huawei P8 Lite. Honestly, though, it would’ve been better for it to receive something newer. Sure, it handles navigation with some relative ease, but cracks under the pressure with more intensive stuff – so don’t think about gaming with this one! 

Again, we can’t complain about the phone’s value, considering that it’s attached with 16GB of internal storage and expansion via its microSD card slot.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 37548
honor 5X 35183
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 32175
HTC Desire 820 31749
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 975
honor 5X 1108
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 933
HTC Desire 820 2048
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 2022
honor 5X 2327
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 2254
HTC Desire 820 925
Sunspider
Lower is better
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 1472.2
honor 5X 1171.7
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 1306.7
HTC Desire 820 1123.4
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 14
honor 5X 15
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 15
HTC Desire 820 25.2
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 5.5
honor 5X 6
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 6
HTC Desire 820 11.7
Geekbench 3 single-core
Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 579
honor 5X 696
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 664
HTC Desire 820 697
Geekbench 3 multi-core
Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 2320
honor 5X 3028
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 2402
HTC Desire 820 2563
View all

Camera

The camera won’t blow you away, but it’s acceptable given its caliber.

Slapped with a 13-megapixel rear camera, it’s accompanied with an LED flash, 28mm wide-angle 5-element lens, f/2.0 aperture, and up to 1080p video recording – while the front snapper is a 5-megapixel one. In typical fashion, it employs the familiar Huawei camera interface we see in all of its smartphones. There’s a handful of shooting modes to choose from, but noticeably absent are the manual and nighttime modes we find in its high-end devices.


Image Quality


With affordably priced phones, the camera is usually one department where things tend to go downhill. In the case of the honor 5X, we’re forgiving about some of its unsavory qualities under low light, seeing that there’s a certain degree of degradation that we expect. For most other scenarios, the 13-megapixel snapper does nicely to capture some alright looking shots – those taken under ideal lighting condition in particular. However, it has some issues with its focus, as well as casting a greenish hue.

Of course, photos are a bit splotchy looking under low light, as well being infiltrated by some digital noise. The end result, obviously, are photos that appear subdued and soft-toned, but not entirely unusable.

Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 2.4
2.7
574
376
honor 5X 3
3.5
556
506
HTC Desire 820 4
No data
561
470
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 4.2
No data
368
281
View all

Video Quality


Likewise, the video capture quality leaves more to be desired. It suffices due to the phone’s caliber and positioning, but it’s undoubtedly nowhere close to being on the same pedestal as the elites. Videos recorded by the honor 5X produce some decent looking details, but its audio recording is a bit sharp – while the lack of continuous focus means that touch focus is required to constantly readjust. Well, it could’ve been worse, but we’ll take it.


Multimedia

The flatter tones of its speaker minimizes its audio punch.

If you can stomach the color inaccuracies of the display (or at least partially correct for them by setting white balance better), you'll find that the 5.5-incher of the honor 5X is a good fit for on-the-go media consumption. Like any phablet, really.

The video and music players are both pretty basic and offer little more than you'd expect from a built-in solution. The Gallery is a bit different in that its photo editor is actually quite powerful and integrates features — such as pixelization for censoring parts of the image and a bucket load of filters — that you'd usually be forced to seek elsewhere.

Listening to the music coming out of its internal speaker, it musters up a maximum volume level of 73.7 dB. In smaller spaces, it’s reasonable enough to echo around and become audible, but its flatter tones don’t allow it to have a stronger presence in open areas.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
HTC Desire 820 1.941
honor 5X 0.52
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 0.489
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 0.223
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
HTC Desire 820 69.5
honor 5X 73.7
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 77.7
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 68.8
View all

Call Quality

Hello! Can you hear me now? Not really.

honor 5X Review
More emphasis should’ve been placed in its in-call performance, just because it’s a challenging experience overall. Through the earpiece, its weak volume combined with the scratchy voices we hear makes it almost impossible to discern our callers when we’re in a noisy place. Meanwhile, our callers complain about the robotic-like voices they hear on their end. And finally, the speakerphone’s lack of substance and power makes it just as troublesome to use.

Battery

Average-like battery performance, but the recharge time is just flat out ridiculous.

On the inside, it’s been stuffed with a modest 3000 mAh battery. In our custom battery test, it propels the honor 5X to reach a continuous on-screen time of 6 hours and 54 minutes, which isn’t bad quite honestly. Conversely, though, it delivers an average-like performance in our real-world testing by achieving one-day battery life – so yeah, nightly charges are necessary with this.

The initial recharge time test we did with the honor 5x returned an obnoxiously long result. Because of this, we're currently working with honor to see if the issue isn't isolated to our unit. We'll update this part of the review once we're ready with new test results.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
Alcatel OneTouch IDOL 3 (5.5") 8h 29 min (Excellent)
honor 5X 6h 54 min (Average)
Asus ZenFone 2 Laser (US) 6h 52 min (Average)
HTC Desire 820 6h 49 min (Average)
View all

Conclusion


The strategy is simple with this one. Essentially, honor is the first out of the gate to set the bar for what we expect out of phones in the mid-range category this year – and the honor 5X surely raises some brows in the process. Combing over the phone specs, while also being mindful about its full retail cost of $200, there’s certainly a lot going for this phone.

Not only is the honor 5X well spec’d and priced, but the metal design and included fingerprint sensor definitely add value to this already packed smartphone. Indeed, all is not 100% perfect with it, evident by its lackluster call performance, painfully long battery recharge time, and weak video recording quality, but for the cost and all, some folks might be willing to justify the tradeoffs.

Although it’s still early on, the honor 5X is definitely a choice to mull over if you’re looking for a backup or replacement – without having to settle for something cheap-cheap.

Software version of the review unit: EMUI 3.1
Android Version: 5.1.1
Build Number: KIW-L24C567B130
Kernel Version: 3.10.49-g6d8163b


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