Huawei Honor 5x Review: A Killer Budget Phone

Disclaimer: This product was provided for Review by honor USA. I used this device for a period of 30 days.

Ever since the OnePlus One’s release a couple years ago, the entire smartphone market has been scrambling to create sub-$300 phones with the same feature list as some of today’s flagships. While the flagship market has barely seen a decrease in sales, when Huawei brought their normally China-exclusive smartphone lineup to the American market, it quickly sold and is enjoyed by many.

There are plenty of cheap smartphone options today, including arguably more reputable brands, such as Apple, Motorola, and even Google. So how does the honor 5x hold up?

Design

The design of the honor 5x is relatively premium, and it sets the standard for future phones to come at this price points. Depending on the size of your hand you be required to do some hand gymnastics to use this phone with one hand. There is no doubt the honor borrowed some design aesthetics from previous phones, but it is original enough to stand out of the crowd.

The back panel is metal, with two plastic bar at the top and bottom. These plastic bars blend in and don’t really take away from the build. But it does retain the slippery feel in the hand that is found on other metal smartphones.

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Display

The display is 5.5 inches and has a 1080p resolution. With 401 ppi pixel density the display is nice and sharp with a good amount of pixels. It’s no AMOLED screen that can be found on flagship Galaxy S7, rather it is an IPS. It is good enough for an average consumer. EMUI also lets you change the color temperature too, which is a neat feature. There is no color shift when turning or tilting the device. The display does a good job of staying vibrant without being saturated unlike some other phones…. Visibility in direct sunlight was okay. Colors were somewhat washed out to a degree, but the brightness was strong enough to make in readable in sunlight. You won’t find outdoor visibility to be good as some flagships, but considering it’s price point the display does not disappoint.

Keep in mind that AMOLED, and even better screens are also present in some other budget options, such as the OnePlus X or the Blu Studio Energy 2. I would recommend your standards be higher in the current state of smartphones, however the other features will hopefully make up for it’s downfalls.

Battery

The honor 5x has a a big battery, bigger than or equal battery size that can be found in higher end phones. I usually get about 3-4 hours of screen on time. Sometimes on 5 hours depending on how heavy I use the phone. Auto brightness was mostly on, that should give you an idea of what battery life should be like for you. No fast charging is found on this device, which isn’t as bad I thought it was going to be, especially with such a big battery.

Software

The software seems to be the biggest downside of the honor 5x, and most of Huawei devices. The honor 5x runs EMUI 3.1 based off of Android 5.1.1. Huawei has said that EMUI 4.0 based off of Android 6.0 will be coming the honor 5x in the near future. There is no material design or any hints of stock Android to be found in system apps and most of EMUI. Not even Android’s beloved app drawer. Although that can be fixed by installing a third party launcher. EMUI is not all that bad. Things such as the notification panel is seem to be more efficient. One side houses all your notifications, while the other side has quick settings. EMUI also edits the app icons on the home screen. It rounds off the edges, and this undoubtedly makes some icons look weird. The OS isn’t as refined as I expected. EMUI had some occasional bugs and some random reboots for some reason.

The software takes advantage of the fingerprint scanner in more ways than most phones. Swiping down on the fingerprint scanner drops down the notification panel. While in the the notification panel, double tapping the scanner clears all notification. Tapping the scanner acts at a back button and takes you back to your previous activity.

 

Camera

The camera on the honor is mediocre. Not too good, yet not too bad. This camera suffers in low light. The pictures tend to get get noisy and grainy. In good lighting condition, the camera does impress for $200. The camera shoots in 1080p, even though the sensor is capable of 4k. The camera app itself is reminding of the one found on iOS devices, so it will be familiar for a select group of people.

With the swipe to switch modes and the filter menu being so reminding of iOS, Huawei added some of their on things too. They have a menu contains things such as HDR, watermark, panorama, best mode, and slow mo. Watermark adds a watermark of your current location and weather in your area. Best mode takes multiple pictures and the device decides which one is the best.

Camera Samples

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Conclusions/Final Thoughts

The Honor 5x is impressive for it’s low price point, and even out stood my Galaxy Note 4 in some regards. Whether you need a budget phone as a starter, or you misplaced your beloved flagship, for Android-familiar people this smartphone will be nothing short of home.

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