Huawei's sub-brand Honor has gained much popularity in India, especially because of smartphones loaded with good specifications at a comparatively lesser price of it's smartphone range.
Recently, the company added one more feather to its basket of offerings - the Honor 5X, a mid-ranger smartphone priced at Rs. 12,999. The Honor 5X, the successor of the last year launched Honor 4X, comes with significant specs upgrade and a very intelligent fingerprint scanner on board.
The Honor 5X is perfectly fine, it impresses from the moment you pick it up. It looks similar to the Nexus 6P or the Huawei Mate 8, but it doesn't quite feel like a premium flagship. However, the major advancements in this device is the all-metal body and fast recognizing fingerprint scanner on the back.
Anyway, let's go deeper into the subject and see whether you would agree with me or not. Let's carry on with the review.
Design And Built
The Honor 5X looks and feels impressive from the moment we started using it. With the thickness of 8.15mm, the handset is sleek and the aluminum body construction with aerospace-grade diamond-polished and chamfered edges feels quite premium as well. The brushed metal finish at the back of the device also ensures to get a decent grip and there is no worry about the device slipping out of the palms.
It feels nice and durable while holding and quite lightweight, but the metal design doesn't feel like an extremely premium smartphone. It has to be mentioned that the metal does makes the phone quite slippery. Unfortunately, the metal is not of the highest grade, and appears to have taken design cues from the Huawei Mate 8 and the Nexus 6P, with diamond-polished aluminum alloy body.
The usual array of buttons including the power and volume rockers are arranged along the right side of the phone. The buttons feature a textured pattern that makes for a pleasant experience when using them. The headphone jack and the microUSB port are at up top and at the bottom respectively, with flanked by two grills, even though only one of them houses the speaker.
On the left-hand side, you will find dual-SIM slot and a microSD card slot. Unlike other mid-ranged smartphones featuring a hybrid SIM slot, Honor has setup three separate slots: two for the SIM card and one for the microsSD card. On the back, you will see 13 megapixel camera along with dual-LED dual tone flash and there is also a fingerprint reader below the rear camera.
It is certainly very impressive that Honor has managed to bring a smartphone with high-end features, a metal build, fingerprint into a device that falls in the budget category.
The Honor 5X sports a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1080x1920 pixels. The display has 72.2 percent screen-to-body ratio. Carrying the 5.5-inch screen the smartphone does not feel phablet-sized or too big at any point.
The display is actually quite impressive as well, and features vibrant colors that aren't too over saturated, and with the whites being neither too warm, nor too cool. With greater than 400ppi pixel density the display is impressive, and the saturation levels appeared well-balanced. There is no doubt that it is an excellent display, in the absence of a direct comparison with the other smartphones out in the market.
One of the missing features in the display is the oleophobic coating, which is the treatment provided to most touchscreen devices to avoid being a fingerprint magnet. Missing this coating means, the Honor 5X's display gets absolutely piled with smudges from even casual use.
Hardware & Storage
Under the hood, the smartphone is packed with a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 octa-core processor at a clock speed of quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 and quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 paired with Adreno 405 GPU.
The handset is available in two variants differentiated by RAM capacity: 2GB and 3GB of RAM, both variants have 16GB of internal storage. There is also a microSD card slot that can further expand the storage up to 128GB.
The hardware combination is found in most smartphones that fall in this premium but affordable categories, but doesn't match up to current generation flagships. The CPU is the same as found in the Moto X Play.
People who need numbers, the AnTuTu Benchmark v6.0.1 ranked it with 35417 points. It scores lesser than most of the popular phones like the Nexus 6, OnePlus Two and Samsung Galaxy Note 5. But again that doesn't make the Honor 5X a lesser efficient device in any way.
The Honor 5X is equipped with a 13-megapixel primary camera on the back, featuring a dual-LED dual tone flash with f/2.0 aperture, and there is a 5-megapixel selfie camera with wide angle lens. The camera app comes with bunches of shooting modes like Good Food, Time-lapse, Beauty and more. There is also a slow motion video recording at 120fps and a perfect selfie mode among others.
There is no optical image stabilization, however, the overall quality is actually more of the same when compared to other smartphones that fall in this price range. In optimal light conditions, such as outdoors, the camera performs to the best of its ability and images look nice.
The HDR mode is available to help brighten up the shadows, and does a great job most of the time. The interesting part is that the camera will try to compensate for the lack of light by increasing the shutter speed, but with no OIS, you need a very steady hand to avoid blurry photos.
The front-facing 5-megapixel selfie camera also takes some decent shots. Indoor shots end up being less sharp. The overall camera experience definitely has a lot of room for improvement, but it actually par when compared to its similarly priced competition.
Software and Interface
On the software front, the Honor 5X runs on Android Lollipop wrapped under EMUI 3.1. The user interface offer number of energy saving features that take care of power-hungry background apps. The same feature helped the Honor 7 to achieve some remarkably good standby time and it is expected to have the same effectiveness on the Honor 5X.
The user interface is of course, very different from stock Android. The notification drop down is very well organized, and splits in two parts: one containing all the notifications and another bring up the quick toggles. All the customization can be seen in the form of themes, transition animations, home screen grid, and also get some fun features like shake to re-align icons and auto-align.
One of the talking features in the smartphone is its fingerprint scanner placed at the back, which is claimed to read the biometric data in half a second. The company calls it as Fingerprint Identification 2.0 technology, which not only to unlock the device but also keeps learning every time for better accuracy while using the fingerprint reader.
In addition to unlocking the device, it can also be used to lock apps and files. The fingerprint reader can record up to 5 fingerprints. It can reader accepts 360-degree impressions, and can be used with wet hands as well.
The Honor 5X is packed with 3,000mAh battery that the company claims to provide more than a day battery life. Further, the battery is packed with Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0, which is claimed to charge from zero to 50 percent in just 30 minutes.
When using the phone on Normal performance mode, the Honor 5X can easily get through a day of use with double-digit battery. Even with nearly every app to run in the background, turned on sync, the Honor 5X left with more than 20 percent of battery life at the end of the day.
The Honor 5X with a metal body, 5.5-inch HD display and a top-notch fingerprint sensor, all come together to offer a solid package. With the price tag of Rs. 12,999, the Honor 5X will be a direct competition for the latest smartphones by its Chinese rival such as Lenovo K4 Note and LeEco Le 1s.
What we liked in the device is the fast fingerprint sensor, build quality, battery life is impressive. However, the phone is quite likable in terms of design and gut. With all the positives of the hardware, the device gives a solid performance, but the EMUI's design could use a little bit of a tune-up. The only one complain that I personally have is the mediocre camera quality.