- Beautiful design
- Fast fingerprint sensor
- Low price
- Problematic UI
- Can only buy online
The Honor 5X has had a strange to say the least, something the Chinese manufacturer isn’t unused to. It was announced back in October 2015, released in some Asian markets the next month in November and then shown off again the CES 2016 in Las Vegas ready for a US release.
But now the phone is coming to the UK and the rest of Europe. Even in the UK it comes in at a remarkable price of £169.99 (US$199.99, about AU$275).
Honor has managed to make a great looking phone here, channeling elements of its parent company Huawei and its Mate 8 phablet. It has a similar design language, but comes with a smaller screen in the form of a 5.5-inch, 1080p window.
That equals 408ppi – and it looks just as good as the Huawei Mate 8 display does, proving it’s not all about 2K.
The screen is vibrant, and flicking through the colourful Emotion UI 3.1 brings out exactly what that screen can do.
But the most the 5X takes from the Huawei Mate 8 is its design. The brushed aluminium feel is out in full force here and it’s a case of if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
It feels like a premium, quality phone as soon as you pick it up in your hands. It feels like it has that weight you expect when you pick up a high-end phone, and though some are looking for the lightest phone money can buy, that’s unlikely to be a phablet lovers prerogative.
Honor’s marketing speech highlights that the Honor 5X is meant to be inspired by the famous Guggenheim museum in Spain. I don’t really see how that has affected the end product here apart from it being made of metal – but all you need to know is edges are rounder than before and the metal finish feels and looks great.
The Honor 5X comes with 16GB of storage, which is a little disappointing. You can expand that up to 128GB with the use of a microSD card, but it’s just not the same as having it ready and waiting on the phone.
The US version of the Honor 5X hosted a Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor, but this new version coming to Europe has an even snappier Snapdragon 616 processor squeezed in at what seems to be the last moment before release.
And on top of that you also get 2GB of RAM.
Camera wise I didn’t get much time to test it out – but the results we have seen look promising. On the back is a 13MP camera and on the front is a 5MP selfie shooter.
That front facing camera is quite a surprise considering most Chinese manufacturers are jumping up to the heights of 8MP on the front to catch your selfies. But from a quick look around on the phone, this seems to look just as good as you’ll need it to.
There’s a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone, in the traditional Huawei way, and it works surprisingly well. I only got a few moments to play around with it but from my brief testing period showed the claim it unlocks in 0.5seconds does seem to be accurate.
And Honor has adapted in a new idea that depending on what finger you use to unlock the phone will open up a different app. It sounds like a smart idea to use your index finger on your left hand for music and your little finger on your right to open up the messaging app.
Honor won’t let up on the skins over its Android software though. Emotion UI 3.1 is in full force here, and I’m a little disappointed as the update to 4 – which was on the Mate 8 – has brought about improvements. Some won’t mind it though, and it’s something those who aren’t fussed will grow to like in time.
Inside is a 3000mAh battery, which for a phablet sounds rather small. I haven’t had time to test that out properly though so we shouldn’t judge yet, wait for our full review to get a verdict on that.
This might be one to watch out for. When you consider the price of the Honor 5X compared to some other phablets out on the market it can be hard to argue that this isn’t a great choice.
It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if you’re looking for a cheaper phablet with premium specs this is certainly one of the best out there.