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Honor 5X review

 Review: March 2016  

Rating: 5 stars

In a nutshell: If your budget is mid-range but your aspirations are premium, then the Honor 5X from Huawei could be a good choice. Avoid the frustrations and compromises normally involved in selecting a mid-range smartphone, with this premium-designed handset. Packed with high-end features like an 8-core Snapdragon processor, Full HD 5.5 inch screen, 3,000mAh battery and customisable fingerprint sensor, the Honor 5X delivers a high-end experience for a lot less than you'd expect.

Today's best buy: Huawei Honor 5X Dual SIM from Laptops Direct (£164.97)



Huawei's premium Honor brand is beginning to get some name recognition here in the UK, and the Honor 5X is the third handset to launch on the Three network. The 5X is a mid-range Android phone with a huge screen but a small price. It promises to deliver a lot for your money, but is it too good to be true? Let's take a look!

Design & looks

The Honor 5X, despite being a mid-range phone, is large, with a screen size of 5.5 inches not normally seen on a phone this cheap. It also features premium design elements normally reserved for flagship phones.

Available in Black, Silver or Gold, the phone is constructed from aircraft-grade aluminium, with a flat front and a curved back that makes it easy to handle, despite its large size. Whilst it's not what we'd define as "ultrathin", it's just a whisker over 8mm in depth, and that's thinner than almost all its mid-range rivals. Weighing in at 158g, it's a lightweight phone for its size.

Huawei has gone to some lengths over the detailing of the 5X. The aluminium case is diamond-polished and brushed, with a laser-etched logo, giving it the looks of a much more expensive product. Curves and chamfers on the back and sides add interest to its sleek form, although the front does look a little bland in comparison.

The right edge houses a power button and volume rocker, and the speaker is nestled in the phone's bottom edge, giving decent volume, even when the phone is placed on a desk. A power amp and enlarged speaker chamber help to add a bit of oomph to audio.

On the rear of the phone you'll find a fingerprint sensor that's easy to set up and reliable in use. As well as unlocking the phone, you can configure the sensor to make or answer a call, launch an app, or take a photo. This takes a little practice to learn, but once mastered is a very useful way of using the phone. It reminds us a little of LG's G4 rear controls.

The 5.5 inch screen is another key feature of this phone. The laminated IPS display is bright and very sharp, with a Full HD 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution giving a very high pixel density of 400ppi. As you'd expect with an IPS display, viewing angles are good, colour reproduction is accurate, and even the contrast is quite respectable.

Octa-Core performance

Huawei has decided to opt for a Snapdragon 616 processor for the 5X. This is a powerful mid-range processor, with a total of 8 cores in "big.little" configuration - 4 cores running at a speedy 1.5GHz and 4 at a battery-saving 1.2GHz. Coupled with 2GB of RAM and an Adreno 405 GPU, the device is fast and capable of playing some pretty demanding games. There's no lag or stutter in everyday use.

The phone has a very reasonable 16GB of onboard storage, and this is expandable using a microSD memory card up to 128GB capacity.

The 5X runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with Huawei Emotion UI 3.1. The Emotion add-on is modern, friendly and relatively harmless, as manufacturers' add-ons go. We expect an upgrade to Android Marshmallow to be released in due course.

Twin cameras

The 5X performs pretty well at photography. The 13 megapixel rear camera, with its wide f/2.0 aperture lens, handles most lighting conditions, capturing sharp well-exposed images, although with some grain in evidence in low light. There's a good choice of shooting modes, including a special "food" mode, if you enjoy posting those kinds of pictures on Facebook. The camera can also capture video including slow-motion and time-lapse modes.

The front camera is ideal for selfies, with a wide-angle 22mm lens and a 5 megapixel sensor.


The Honor 5X has better 4G support than previous Honor phones, with more bands supported. It also has dual SIM support for nano and micro SIM cards. Other connectivity options include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB, and GPS.

Impressive battery life

We're pleased by the size of the battery onboard the 5X. With a 3,000mAh capacity, it's substantially larger than the majority of mid-range phones. Even heavy users will find that the phone lasts a full day on one charge. Moderate users would probably get two days of use between charging.

The SmartPower 3.0 software can extend battery life by up to 30% by turning off certain functions when the phone is not in use.

Conclusion - great value

This is the second Honor phone for us to review, and we've been impressed once again. Huawei really does seem to deliver on its promise of a premium product on a budget.

There's nothing in the phone's appearance to give away its low price. In fact, the phone looks as good as many high-end devices costing twice as much. The screen is large and of high quality, the 8-core processor is fast, the battery life is good, and there are other features like the fingerprint scanner that we really wouldn't expect at this price point.

If you think that you need to spend upwards of £30 a month to grab a good-quality smartphone, think again! The Honor 5X does the job for half the price. Admittedly, the processor and cameras are mid-range, but overall, the 5X punches well above its weight.

Honor 5X features include:

Best buys
Huawei Honor 5X Dual SIM
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Huawei Honor 5X Dual SIM
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Differences between honor 5x and 5c?

Asked by brent from uk on 11th Aug 2016
Honor 5x v 5c
Apart from the size, what the difference between theses two phones ?

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