Ry's Honor 5X Review


Moderator Captain
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Nov 16, 2010
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Honor is looking to bring their brand into the US and is doing so with the Honor 5X, a stylish device aimed at millennials. If you thought that 2015 was the year of the midrange price phone, Honor is kicking off 2016 with a device that sets some higher expectations on materials and build quality in this price range. Will a killer body and low $200 price entice customers to the Honor brand? Let’s find out.

About this review:

I tested the Honor 5X on the T-Mobile network without a microSD card installed. Dual-SIM capability was not in scope for my review as this is uncommon for use in the United States. The Honor 5X was provided to me by Mobile Nations through Honor. During the review, the Honor 5X received a system update with the January 2016 Security Level. Mobile Data, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS (high accuracy) were all enabled.



The Honor 5X in-hand feels more expensive than it’s $200 price tag suggests. Put a more recognized brand name on the back and this device could easily go for $300 and up. The brushed-aluminum back impresses and the slight curves makes the phone easy to hold. Coupled with the weight coming in at 158g, the Honor 5X has an airy but solid feeling.

Physically, the Honor 5X is nearly the same size as the third generation Moto X Pure Edition. On the back, top center sits the 13-megapixel rear camera flanked by the flash to the side. Below the camera is the excellent fingerprint sensor. Up top, you’ll find a mic and the 3.5mm audio port. Down below is the micro USB port with a speaker on side and a mic on the other. On the front you’ll find the 5-megapixel front-facing camera, proximity and ambient light sensors, the notification LED, and earpiece above the 5.5 1080P (Full HD) IPS LCD display. The right side features all the buttons, with volume rocker above the power button. The left side has two SIM trays - the top one for use with a Micro SIM card, the other a dual tray with support for a Nano SIM and a micro SD card.

One missing piece of note is that the Honor 5X does not support 5 GHz Wi-Fi. You may notice a difference on crowded 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi networks.

But take a step back and the phone screams premium. You’re getting very solid hardware at relatively low price.

Fingerprint Sensor

The Honor 5X has an excellent fingerprint sensor. Set up was a breeze. I’ve become accustomed to pulling the phone out of my front pocket while having my index finger on the sensor. By the time I’m face to screen, I’m at the home screen.

Based on the results of the Android Central Readers’ Choice Awards, it seems as though the having the Fingerprint Sensor on the back if the preferred choice for the Android Central crowd. The Honor 5X is my first daily use of a Fingerprint Sensor and for me, I would have preferred to have the sensor on the front of the device. My day job has me at a desk for most of the day and I’ve found it cumbersome to pick the device up to unlock it to check my notifications.

Either way, the Fingerprint Sensor just works - works well, works quickly.


It seems like camera and image quality was the headline feature of higher-end Android devices in 2015. At $200, the Honor 5X seems to do an adequate job with photography.

Honor’s camera app feels quick to launch and is relatively easy to use. You can scroll through various shooting modes and a dedicated on-screen buttons for the flash and switching between cameras. Tap to focus worked well in, especially in good lighting.

The Honor 5X camera’s auto modes were average and low light, indoor photos were useable for stationary objects. The front-facing camera worked well indoors for this price point. See Sample Photos below.


Calls on the Honor 5X using the earpiece were clear. I had no issues hearing callers and callers had no issues hearing me.

Switching over to speakerphone, the single bottom speaker was clear and loud enough. Audio from videos and music sounded fine. It’s not as loud and clear as say the dual front-facing speakers of a Moto X Pure Edition, but the Honor 5X’s speaker sounds good.


First things first. Before I get into the software experience, there are two areas in the settings that users should be aware of, Power Saving and Protected Apps. This review was written with Power Saving mode set to “Normal” and all apps I’ve downloaded set to be able to run after the screen is turned off. On day 1, I noticed some wonkiness with performance - especially with multitasking and coming back from screen off.

EMUI is Honor's (and Huawei’s) custom interface for Android. The Honor 5X is running EMUI 3.1 on top of Android 5.1.1. It’s not Marshmallow but I can forgive that at this price point. That doesn’t mean Honor is not committed to updates. During my testing, the Honor 5X received an update that bumped the security level from December 2015 to January 2016.

You’ll notice the look and feel will be very iPhone/iOS-like. One reason is that EMUI has no app drawer. All apps are placed on a homescreen. You may want to disable app shortcut settings in Google Play or you may see a toast pop-up message after installing an app that says a shortcut was already created. For Android users that never use iOS, this may take some getting used to but if you’ve used an iPhone, your setup on EMUI will likely just have a bunch of folders for your various apps and games. If this bothers you, you can just install a new launcher.




Personally, I don’t run battery benchmarks to come up with my thoughts on battery. As mentioned earlier, Power Saving mode was set to “Normal” and every app I downloaded was allowed to run in the background while the screen is off. Mobile Data, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and GPS (high accuracy) were all enabled. I’m not the type to shut these down.

Based on my mixed usage, the 3000 mAh will get me through a days of use. In a typical day, I’ll make a call or two, send and receive about 10 to 30 text messages, while checking in on various group chats on Hangouts. As far as media, I’d watch a 5 to 10 minute YouTube video or two and stream over Google Play Music or Pocket Casts. The only days where I battery took a significant hit was when I played the GPS-heavy Ingress for about an hour. 15 to 30 minutes of Bloons Tower Defense 5 didn’t do anything significant.

Overall, users will find battery to be more than adequate though at 3000 mAh with no Quick Charge 2.0, it may take some time to top-up. The included 1A charger is slow and you may want to buy 2.1A wall and car chargers for day to day use.

Closing Thoughts

Honor's first official smartphone for the US market is a solid value. This phone is only $200. While there are trade-offs ("flagship-level" images, NFC), I feel that giving customers a big screen, an excellent Fingerprint Sensor, and all-day battery make the Honor 5X a solid competitor in a now crowded good mid-range market. Honor still needs to work on refining (and possibly simplifying) their behind the scenes options but for a first effort, they've done a remarkable job with the 5X.

Who should buy this phone?
  • Customers wishing to save money by not buying a “flagship”.
  • Customers that want a great Fingerprint Sensor unlocking experience.
  • Customers looking for a premium design without the premium cost.

What would I change?
  • The memory and battery defaults are conservative. In my opinion, the defaults should be set to normal and every downloaded app should be able to run with the screen off.
  • Can I suggest an aggressive “Turbo” mode?
  • NFC would complete the Fingerprint Sensor experience.

The quick hits:

  • Retail price is only $200.
  • One of the best Fingerprint Sensor unlocking experiences at any price point.
  • Good enough camera at this price point.
  • Materials and build quality are a steal at this price point.

  • Honor’s software could be a little less aggressive with memory and battery management - default settings are conservative.
  • iPhone-like default home screen could take a little getting used to for Android users.
  • A great fingerprint sensor without NFC (and Android Pay) feels like a missed opportunity.
  • Limited to 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi.
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Moderator Captain
Trusted Member
Nov 16, 2010
Visit site
Sample Photos:

Note: these were uploaded from the Honor 5X directly to Imgur through the Imgur app.









Posted via the Android Central App
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