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Huawei Honor 5X #ExpressReview: A good option for budget buyers

Huawei has done a decent job with the Honor 5X, which offers a fairly robust performance for its price-point.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Written by Shruti Dhapola | Updated: February 17, 2016 3:50 pm
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All metal, mid-range pricing seems to be the new mantra for smartphones in the Indian market. For Chinese player Huawei, the new Honor 5X is supposed to be its answer in this category and has generated quite a buzz.

Huawei Honor 5X is banking on its all metal finish and fingerprint scanner to help it stand out in the crowd, but we’ve seen newer players like Le Eco’s Le 1s enter the market with much fanfare and higher specs at lower-price. Huawei has also promised an Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for its Honor 5X; Android updates to the next OS are very rare at these price-point and it’s a given that if you buy a mid-range phone, you’re going to be stuck with an old OS for sometime.

But is all of this good enough to make the Huawei Honor 5X stand out in this highly-competitive space? Here’s what we thought after reviewing the smartphone.

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Huawei Honor 5X

Sure the Honor 5X carries an all-metal design with a body made of what Huawei calls “diamond-polished aluminium alloy” and has CNC drilled speakers at the bottom next to the micro-USB slot. But overall there’s nothing unique about the design. From the front, it could be any other smartphone that might have launched last year.

The 5.5-inch Full HD display, I feel is marred by the really large bezel and it’s something that really stands out when you start using the device. On the back, the honor logo comes right at the bottom and the camera unit is jutting out. This sort of reminds one of how the camera unit has been styled on high end Samsung smartphones, except the LED flash is on the right.

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While the design might not be radically different, the Huawei Honor is definitely light, despite its 3000 mAh battery, and I didn’t have trouble using this device with one hand.

Specs: 5.5-inch Full HD IPS display |Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 octa-core processor| 2GB RAM and 16GB ROM | 13 mp rear camera + 5 mp front camera | 3000 mAh battery | Android 5.1 Lollipop based on EMUI 3.1| Fingerprint scanner on the back

Price: Rs 12,999

What’s good?

The strongest point of this phone in my opinion has to be the camera. It’s definitely not the fastest focus, and yes the camera takes a couple of seconds to render the shot, but it does the job well. In low-light settings, the results are quite acceptable and the camera does manage to filter out some noise. I like the fact that the colours don’t look over-saturated, although it really can’t handle reds. The selfie-camera is also quite good and shouldn’t disappoint selfie-lovers, even in low-light settings or inside a room.

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The fingerprint scanner is another feature that Huawei has touted with this smartphone and it works like a charm. I didn’t encounter any issues setting up this security method, and it worked right at all times.

In benchmarks, the Huawei Honor 5X came in after the Lenovo K3 Note and the Vivo X5Pro for us in Antutu rankings. While the smartphone ran smoothly with multi-tasking activities, such as browsing the web, watching Netflix or even playing some HD games, I was unable to run the Asphalt 8 Airborne on this smartphone. Other than this, the Honor 5X didn’t give us any other performance hiccups.

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On the audio and call quality front, the Honor 5X has been one of the better options we’ve tried in this price-range. The 3000 mAh battery should easily last you a day with moderate to heavy usage. There’s also a very good battery saver mode in the Huawei UI which turns your phone into a feature phone of sorts, when you have less than 10 per cent battery.

What doesn’t work?

The Huawei Honor 5X takes forever to charge. Be prepared to put this one aside for a good 3-4 hours, especially if you are hoping to get it up from less than 10 per cent to a more respectable number.

The phone does start to heat up, especially after you’ve spent some time playing games or watching a movie.

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The EMUI can be a bit challenging at times. One can see that it is clearly inspired from Apple’s iOS; there’s no separate app drawer, if you swipe up from the bottom on the locked screen you can see some select settings.

However, I often found myself trying to locate apps that I had just downloaded or updated because EMUI has no one method for arranging these. For instance, the Facebook and Instagram apps were placed in a screen before the home-screen, and I discovered this one only when I began my hunt for the apps.

Should you buy?

Huawei has done a fairly decent job with the Honor 5X. Yes, this is not the fastest smartphone in this price-range, nor does it come with 32GB space, and it is priced slightly higher at Rs 12,999; but Honor 5X offers a fairly robust overall performance. If you’re not willing to bet on newcomers in the market, the Honor 5X is a worthy alternative.

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