Honor 5X Is The Budget Phone King! Full Review!

Discussion in 'Android News' started by DroidModderX, Feb 1, 2016.

  1. DroidModderX

    DroidModderX Super Moderator
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    Not everyone is in the market for the latest and greatest flagship device. Tech addicts like me are in an endless cycle of buying and selling phones just to keep up with the latest gadgets. Some more sensible folks are just interested in having a high quality phone that works well and is affordable. If you are that kind of user having a dependable device means having a device that is also built to last not only in build materials, but also in internals and software. There are thousands of Chinese smartphones that can be had at a bargain, but only a select handful of them fit this bill. Huawei has built their brand on quality handsets in Asian markets, but has only recently decided to make the jump into the US market. Their first US release could be the Budget Phone King. Honor sent me over a 5X for review, and I have to say that so far I have been very impressed with this device that can be yours for less than $200! This is my full review of the device.

    Build and Design:

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    The Honor 5X brings a lot to the table when it comes to build quality and design. In fact this is where the Honor 5X really shines. Most sub $200 devices feature an overwhelmingly plastic build. Heck even Samsung Galaxy Flagship devices featured a plastic build up until about a year ago. The 5X features a metal unibody design. The only plastic on the back is a small strip near the top and bottom that blends in very well and ads a bit of depth to the look of the phone that I actually enjoy. The back of the device looks stunning. The brushed metal design makes for a premium top tier look and feel. The sides are metal and feature chamfered edges which make for a pleasant gripping experience. The only downside to the metal is the fact that it is lower grade and scratches easily. My review unit already has some light scratches. The metal is also pretty slick.

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    The power button and volume rocker can be found on the right side of the device. They offer comfortable placement for optimum reachability, are textured making them easy to find, and are firm and tacky. You will find the 3.5mm headphone jack at the top of the device which is fine. I normally keep my phone upside down in my pocket so I prefer the jack on the bottom, but that is strictly my personal preference. The micro-usb chargeport is centered between dual speaker grill and some sharp looking screws on the bottom, and you will find the dual sim card slots on the left side of the device. The 5X weighs in at a light 158grams, and is slightly thicker than some flagships at 8.2mm. Overall the design of this phone is way more than I expected at the price range.

    Display:

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    Another impressive feature of the Honor 5X has to be the 5.5" IPS LCD display. This display has a 1920x1080 resolution which makes it 401ppi. Colors are bright and vibrant, and are not oversaturated like colors normally associated with AMOLED displays. I did notice a slight blue tint to the display which is almost unnoticeable. My eyes are trained to see these sort of things. It wouldn't be an issue for the average users; however, there is a setting to change the color temperature of the display so you can make colors as warm or cool as you like.

    Images and high quality videos look great on this display and text pops. Viewing angles are also pretty good on the device. One bonus to the IPS display is the fact that it is easier to view outdoors than an AMOLED. This display will not match QHD displays, but that is to be expected. For a 1080p IPS display, this is about as good as it gets.

    Hardware and Performance:

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    The Honor 5X features mid tier yet high quality specs. Huawei decided to go with the Snapdragon 615 Octacore 64bit chipset clocked at 1.5 instead of a cheaper Mediatek chipset which in my opinion was a good choice. The Adreno 405 GPU takes care of graphics processing. The review unit that I was sent included 2GB of ram, but there is a 3GB version. The internals of this phone should be plenty to push low intensity processes like scrolling from screen to screen or opening apps, but even small tasks like this see some lag and stutter. This is due to the Emotion UI software overlay. Adding a custom launcher (especially the Google Now Launcher) seemed to take care of all lag issues.

    The device I received also came with 16GB storage, most of which was taken up by the software on the phone leaving me only about 8GB of wiggle room. The good news is that the 5X features an expandable storage slot so you can add up to 128GB of extra storage. Unfortunately the phone ships with Lollipop which doesn't make great use of that expandable storage. When Marshmallow arrives you will be able to use that external storage as internal storage. The dual sim slot means you can use both your work and personal sim at once. Only one sim will be able to access LTE data while the second sim can access 2g data. The phone is compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile 4G LTE which most other devices in this price range can't say.

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    The speaker on the bottom of the device gets pretty loud but is very tinny. I would only really use the phone's speaker if trying to share audio with a group of people for personal audio on the device I would just use headphones. The included non removable 3000mAh is good for all day use. I was able to get upwards of 4-5 hours of screen on time depending on my usage and never ran out of juice before the end of the day. Unfortunately there is no quick charging tech built into this device at all which means you will pretty much need to charge this device overnight. The included charger is a low powered 5v/1a charger which is about as slow at charging as they come. The device is actually rated for higher power chargers so a third party charger might actually help to speed things up slightly.

    FingerPrint Scanner:

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    The fingerprint scanner is another standout feature on the Honor 5X. I have seen fingerprint scanners on budget devices, but you often get what you pay for. This is not the case with the 5X! Rear placement of the scanner makes it very easy to get to and use. I prefer it to the bottom front placement of other devices like the Note 5 and Galaxy S6. The included fingerprint scanner is as fast as they come. It easily matches the speed and accuracy of the Nexus 6P scanner. In my testing it never missed my fingerprint.

    Other than just being fast, the scanner includes some other nifty tricks. You can add gestures to the scanner like swipe down to bring down the notification panel, double tap to dismiss notifications, and swipe up to pull the drawer back up. You can also assign actions to digits. This means you can set up your right index finger to take you to the unlocked homescreen while your right middle finger opens up the twitter app! I can see myself using this all the time.

    Camera:

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    I have a love-hate relationship with the 13mp rear shooter. The f/2.0 aperture makes for a pretty speedy shutter. Shots that I took with the camera where in great lighting conditions. The camera features no Optical Image Stabilization which means shots where I was able to grip the phone firmly with two hands were nice and sharp. Images where I was not able to stabilize the phone were blurry and useless. Colors were pretty natural. When in places with lots of sunlight images were a bit overexposed. Video out of this camera was pretty much useless. Everything was totally overexposed and grainy. Colors were washed out and the way the camera compensates for white balance was jarring. The lack of OIS makes for herky jerky videos as well. If you are only worried about shooting images this camera may work well for you as long as you can keep it steady.

    The front facing 5MP camera was only really useful for goofing around. You won't be able to take any award winning selfies here. The front facing camera is just kind of meh, which is to be expected with a device in this price range.

    Software:

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    I am personally just not a fan of Emotion UI. The skin is very heavy and pretty much everything it adds does nothing to improve performance and speed. It takes a lot of queues from iOS. There is not app drawer, app icons are very cartoony like iOS, menus and even the notification panel seem very iOS like. I know that stock Android would perform better on this device with the included internals. I know that OEMs have to do something to set their devices apart, but for me I would have just preferred a stock Android experience.

    Luckily Huawei has a developer program. You can easily unlock the bootloader on this device. Which means eventually you should be able to add a custom ROM. Cyanogenmod 13 should do a lot to improve performance on this device once it is available.

    Conclusion:

    As with any device in this price range there will inevitably be some corners cut. The corners cut on this device are less than any other device I have tried in this price range. The exclusion of NFC, Optical image stabilization, and higher storage options are offset by all the great features included. The design of this device is elegant and is much more than you would expect from a $200 device. The display is more than enough to enjoy high quality, high def content, and the camera operates well in optimum situations. The fingerprint scanner is my favorite feature and I love the fact that it is programmable. If you are looking for a phone in the $200 price range the Honor 5X is a device you should be looking at!

    Pricing and Availability Honor 5X

     
    #1 DroidModderX, Feb 1, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2016
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  2. DroidModderX

    DroidModderX Super Moderator
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    Photos That Were Shot With Stable Hands:

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    Image I took with One Hand On The Fly:

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  3. DroidModderX

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  4. cereal killer

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    @DroidModderX that is one hell of a review. Awesome pics too! You sold me on it :)
     
  5. Jonny Kansas

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    Awesome review. Definitely seems like a great device in that price range. I especially like the idea of some of the added features of the finger scanner.

    Might not be a bad backup device. Of course, I'm saying that with an old S3 in my pocket as a backup. Think I'd definitely want to unlock this sucker and get something more stock on it. From what I've seen, I won't like emui either.
     
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