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Honor 5X Smartphone Review

Florian Wimmer (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 03/12/2016

Direct metal. Huawei's direct marketing brand Honor is always good for a bargain. We have the Honor 5X with a metal body and high-quality cameras in our lab this time. Let us see whether the smartphone's details are also convincing.

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In review: Honor 5X.

For the original German review, see here.

Affordable smartphones with high-quality equipment from the Far East have been giving established suppliers a hard time for some time now, and they have caused a price slump in the smartphone sector. Regardless whether it is a smartphone by OnePlus or Honor: They all bring a touch of premium feeling with their quality casings and fast SoCs, and yet they only cost a fraction of an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S and co.

Honor now launches the 5X on the market. It is a 5.5-inch smartphone from the mid-range priced at just below 230 Euros (~$256, recommended price) that also features a metal casing and fingerprint scanner. It is possible to insert SIM cards in either micro or nano format in the smartphone and, if desired, both also as dual-SIM.

The competition proves that the Honor 5X is a real bargain. They are considerably weaker, much smaller for the price, or they are simply more expensive. We use OnePlus' X, Asus' ZenFone 2 Laser, Samsung's Galaxy J5 and Motorola's Moto G as comparison devices in this test.

Honor 5X (5 Series)
Processor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 MSM8939v2 1.7 GHz
Graphics adapter
Memory
2048 MB 
Display
5.5 inch 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel, capacative touchscreen, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB 
, 9.67 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo audio jack, Card Reader: micro-SD max. 128 GB, 1 Fingerprint Reader, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: motion sensor, proximity sensor, light sensor, compass, fingerprint scanner
Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.1, GSM (850/900/1800/1900), UMTS (900/1900/2100), LTE (B1/B3/B7/B8/B20), Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.2 x 151.3 x 76.3 ( = 0.32 x 5.96 x 3 in)
Battery
11 Wh, 3000 mAh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Android 5.1 Lollipop
Camera
Primary Camera: 13 MPix AF, LED flash, videos @1080p/30FPS
Secondary Camera: 5 MPix
Additional features
Speakers: speaker situated on lower edge, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, charger, USB cable, HonorClub, HiCare, phone manager, 24 Months Warranty, fanless
Weight
158 g ( = 5.57 oz / 0.35 pounds), Power Supply: 51 g ( = 1.8 oz / 0.11 pounds)
Price
229 Euro

 

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Case

Honor's 5X does not look really special from the front. The display is framed in white, black or gold. However, the user sees elegant metal that is brushed on the back and matte on the sides when looking at the smartphone's sides or rear. The design slightly resembles HTC's One handsets apart from the camera and fingerprint scanner. Both have rounded edges, the back is plain yet with stylish looks.

The back protects the smartphone well. Only pressure on the screen is conveyed to the liquid crystals and becomes visible there. We could barely twist the smartphone. Honor's 5X is pleasant to hold with a weight of 158 grams, which does not get too heavy. The smartphone feels slip-proof, and there is not much risk that it will slip out of the hand.

Connectivity

Honor's 5X is state-of-the-art with 16 GB of internal storage and micro-SD slot. Many equally priced comparison devices even only have 8 GB of storage. The USB port is not a Type-C model and only transfers data in the USB 2.0 standard. There is no support for transferring image data, and although USB OTG is present the feature cannot be used in the handset's factory state. A free file manager from Google's Play Store and a possible firmware update would remedy this.

Software

Android 5.1 is the operating system chosen for Honor's 5X. Honor covers it with its "Emotion UI 3.1" user interface. It changes the looks toward iOS with more basic app icons, pop-up files and rounded icon edges. Honor barely installs any additional software. However, a phone manager that allows setting security features and smaller tools, such as a mirror, is preloaded.

Communication & GPS

The smartphone supports radio networks up to LTE Cat. 4 (max. 150/50 Mbit/s down/up) and is thus up-to-date. High-end devices already offer higher speeds providing the wireless network supports them. However, four GSM, three UMTS and five LTE frequencies should ensure that the user can be reached almost anywhere in the world via Honor's X5. The network quality was decent in our test. We usually had a strong signal even indoors in an urban area using the moderately developed German O2/E-Plus network.

Honor's 5X connects to Wi-Fi networks via the 802.11 b/g/n standards, which are also very common. Although high-speed ac standard would be faster, we do not deem it a must particularly in this price range. The reception quality was very good in the router's area (FritzBox 6490) and pages opened very quickly. The signal was still 4/5 at a distance of ten meters from the router and through three walls; pages still opened just as quickly.

GPS Test: indoors
GPS Test: indoors
GPS Test: outdoors
GPS Test: outdoors

The installed GPS modem could not track us indoors and had some problems outdoors, as well. It took a fairly long time to find us, and then its accuracy varied strongly and sometimes was only at 100 meters.

We compare the GPS module in Honor's 5X with Garmin's Edge 500 navigation system on a bike trip. Honor's 5X does not do a bad job and is sometimes even more accurate than the expensive navigation system. However, the review sample also occasionally clearly deviates from the route, for example in the woods section before the river or during the trip along the railway track. The GPS will likely be accurate enough for everyday use, but users who have to rely on it should look around for another device.

GPS Garmin Edge total
GPS Garmin Edge total
GPS Garmin Edge crossing
GPS Garmin Edge crossing
GPS Garmin Edge woods
GPS Garmin Edge woods
GPS Honor 5X total
GPS Honor 5X total
GPS Honor 5X crossing
GPS Honor 5X crossing
GPS Honor 5X woods
GPS Honor 5X woods

Telephone & Call Quality

The parent company Huawei modifies Honor's phone app. However, its functionality is not very different than Google's stock app: The keypad and an overview of recent calls are found after opening it. A feature: The "Contacts" and "Messages" app can be opened directly via two tabs. The phone app in Honor's 5X is very intuitive to use in total.

The overall call quality is rather middling. The earpiece distorts easily and tends to hum at higher volumes. On the other hand, the microphone does not render a very clear sound to our contact: Muffled and distorted voices reach the recipient.

Photo front-facing camera
Photo front-facing camera

Cameras & Multimedia

Honor's 5X is at least on par with most comparison device in terms of pixel count having 13 megapixels on the rear and 5 megapixels on the front. Only OnePlus' X can offer 8 million pixels on the front.

The primary camera's photos look good at first glance. Details remain well-recognizable even when zoomed. However, edges fray very visibly. Photos from, for example, the iPhone 6s Plus are clearly higher in contrast making single color hues better to discern. The photos also look more vivid and sharper. The photos' sharpness decreases evidently toward the edges. Furthermore, single color hues could be more differentiated. In total, the photos are satisfactory for this price range.

We photograph a test picture under defined light conditions for a closer analysis. Here it becomes evident that the sharpness is good but colors look a bit too pale on the photos. Our color comparison based on the reference color space also confirms that. The colors often look somewhat richer here than on the photos of the primary camera. Videos can be recorded in Full HD at 30 frames per second. They look sharp and the auto-focus readjusts quite fast.

The front-facing camera is suitable for selfies. Its color reproduction is good. Color noise quickly becomes visible in darker areas when zoomed. Overall the photos look crisp and relatively sharp, though.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the zoom step. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
Primary camera test picture
Primary camera test picture
Primary camera test picture details
Primary camera test picture details
Primary camera color reproduction (above: camera's color, below: sRGB reference)
Primary camera color reproduction (above: camera's color, below: sRGB reference)

Accessories

Honor's 5X is shipped with a USB cable, charger, quick-start guide and tool for opening the casing's slots. Honor's View Flip Cover is sold for roughly 20 Euros (~$22) on the Internet. The manufacturer does not offer any product-specific accessories otherwise.

Warranty

Honor offers a 24-month warranty on its products.

Input Devices & Handling

Huawei's Honor does not rely on Google's stock keyboard but uses the quite popular "Swype" alternative. Although it offers multiple settings, it makes a cramped impression due to the keys' double assignment and the multitude of displayed icons. It is no problem to switch to the Android keyboard or to install other keyboards. However, typing is fast and reliable also on the preloaded solution.

Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard portrait mode
Keyboard landscape mode
Keyboard landscape mode

Display

Honor's 5X could almost pass as a phablet with a screen diagonal of 5.5 inches. The screen has a Full HD resolution and its reproduction looks bright and fine subjectively. In fact, we can confirm the high brightness with our tool: An average of 521.1 cd/m² is the highest rate by far in the comparison field. Although we only measure 496 cd/m² in the more practical APL50 test, but that is still a very good rate.

The illumination of 85% is still homogeneous enough. The brightness decreases visibly particularly in the upper right corner. That is not visible to the naked eye even on large colored surfaces. The maximum brightness is dimmed slightly in battery mode, but it still achieves very good rates.

475
cd/m²
499
cd/m²
538
cd/m²
500
cd/m²
535
cd/m²
554
cd/m²
509
cd/m²
522
cd/m²
559
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 559 cd/m² Average: 521.2 cd/m² Minimum: 5.84 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 85 %
Center on Battery: 535 cd/m²
Contrast: 1244:1 (Black: 0.43 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 4.88 | - Ø
ΔE Greyscale 5.2 | - Ø
Gamma: 2.26
Honor 5X
Adreno 405, 616 MSM8939v2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
OnePlus X
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AA, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500KL
Adreno 306, 410 APQ8016, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy J5
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Screen
-30%
25%
-1%
-2%
Brightness
521
314
-40%
460
-12%
407
-22%
353
-32%
Brightness Distribution
85
91
7%
95
12%
95
12%
93
9%
Black Level *
0.43
0.3
30%
0.49
-14%
Contrast
1244
1557
25%
853
-31%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
4.88
6.28
-29%
3.28
33%
3.92
20%
5.22
-7%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
5.2
8.24
-58%
1.89
64%
3.81
27%
3.96
24%
Gamma
2.26 106%
2.12 113%
2.21 109%
2.27 106%
2.08 115%
CCT
7766 84%
8145 80%
6734 97%
7361 88%
7308 89%

* ... smaller is better

Honor's 5X provides a very good black level for its very bright screen: 0.43 cd/m² is not a top rate, but it is solid. Our review sample cannot compete with OLED panels, such as used in OnePlus' X, and offer an absolute black. However, it results in a good contrast ratio of 1244:1.

We use the CalMAN software and a spectrophotometer to analyze the accuracy of color reproduction. In fact, the screen has a visible bluish tint that is, however, relatively moderate. In particular, the cyan color hues and white areas are clearly shifted from the reference rate of the sRGB color space. Looking at the comparison devices, the screen in Honor's 5X is in the midfield in terms of color deviation.

CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN ColorChecker
CalMAN Colorspace
CalMAN Colorspace
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Grayscale
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
29 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 14 ms rise
↘ 15 ms fall
The screen shows relatively slow response rates in our tests and may be too slow for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 67 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (27.3 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
30 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 15 ms rise
↘ 15 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 250 (maximum) ms. » 13 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (42.9 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM not detected

In comparison: 59 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 456 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 10420) Hz was measured.

The high brightness competes with the glare-type screen regarding outdoor legibility. However, it is still possible to recognize content well even on bright days thanks to the screen's brightness. It is no problem in the shade or indoors to begin with. Furthermore, Honor's 5X has the option of raising the brightness to increase legibility even further in bright sunlight.

The installed IPS panel allows recognizing content even from very flat angles.

Outdoors
Outdoors
Viewing angles
Viewing angles
Discussion

Performance

Qualcomm's Snapdragon 616 MSM8939v2 is a fast mid-range SoC that is furnished with eight cores in two clusters. The first is made for performance-driven applications and clocks at up to 1.7 GHz. The second is more energy efficient but its clock speed of 1.2 GHz is still fast enough for more basic tasks. The Adreno 405 graphics solution is integrated. It is also a mid-range model and should be sufficient for most games.

As expected, our review sample's system and computing performance is faster than that of Samsung's Galaxy J1 or Motorola's Moto G, but it lags behind OnePlus' X. For example, the distance to OnePlus' X based on an upper-range SoC is not that big with only 17% in PCMark.

Honor's 5X takes the second place behind OnePlus' X in browser performance. Browsing with Honor's 5X is also quite fast in routine use.

The storage speed is only average in read but is quite fast in write. We evaluate the performance of external memory media with our Toshiba Exceria SD-CX32UHS1 reference card that achieves the following rates: Maximum read 95 MBit/s and maximum write 60 MBit/s. Thus, the 28.45 MBit per second in read and 13.78 MBit per second in write are not superb rates. At least, it is possible to move apps from the internal storage to the external memory card.

Geekbench 3
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Honor 5X
3047 Points ∼10%
Samsung Galaxy J5
1403 Points ∼5% -54%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
1561 Points ∼5% -49%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Honor 5X
698 Points ∼15%
Samsung Galaxy J5
464 Points ∼10% -34%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
526 Points ∼11% -25%
AnTuTu Benchmark v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Honor 5X
37152 Points ∼20%
OnePlus X
52463 Points ∼28% +41%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Honor 5X
5.4 fps ∼1%
OnePlus X
8.6 fps ∼2% +59%
Samsung Galaxy J5
1.8 fps ∼0% -67%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500KL
1.8 fps ∼0% -67%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
1.7 fps ∼0% -69%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Honor 5X
5.9 fps ∼5%
OnePlus X
10 fps ∼8% +69%
Samsung Galaxy J5
3.8 fps ∼3% -36%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500KL
3.8 fps ∼3% -36%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
3.7 fps ∼3% -37%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Honor 5X
14 fps ∼1%
OnePlus X
21 fps ∼2% +50%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500KL
5.2 fps ∼0% -63%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
5.3 fps ∼0% -62%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Honor 5X
14 fps ∼4%
OnePlus X
23 fps ∼6% +64%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500KL
9.2 fps ∼3% -34%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
9.5 fps ∼3% -32%
3DMark
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Honor 5X
1089 Points ∼42%
OnePlus X
1117 Points ∼43% +3%
Samsung Galaxy J5
734 Points ∼28% -33%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500KL
733 Points ∼28% -33%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
758 Points ∼29% -30%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Honor 5X
103 Points ∼1%
OnePlus X
643 Points ∼8% +524%
Samsung Galaxy J5
42 Points ∼1% -59%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500KL
41 Points ∼1% -60%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
39 Points ∼1% -62%
Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Honor 5X
129 Points ∼3%
OnePlus X
710 Points ∼15% +450%
Samsung Galaxy J5
53 Points ∼1% -59%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500KL
52 Points ∼1% -60%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
49 Points ∼1% -62%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Honor 5X
8174 Points ∼12%
OnePlus X
17156 Points ∼25% +110%
Samsung Galaxy J5
9079 Points ∼13% +11%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
10148 Points ∼15% +24%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Honor 5X
7764 Points ∼2%
OnePlus X
14541 Points ∼3% +87%
Samsung Galaxy J5
3782 Points ∼1% -51%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
3789 Points ∼1% -51%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Honor 5X
7852 Points ∼4%
OnePlus X
15051 Points ∼8% +92%
Samsung Galaxy J5
4345 Points ∼2% -45%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
4402 Points ∼2% -44%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Physics (sort by value)
Honor 5X
8445 Points ∼13%
Samsung Galaxy J5
8732 Points ∼13% +3%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
9544 Points ∼14% +13%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Graphics (sort by value)
Honor 5X
5056 Points ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy J5
2193 Points ∼1% -57%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
2135 Points ∼1% -58%
1920x1080 Ice Storm Extreme Score (sort by value)
Honor 5X
5551 Points ∼3%
Samsung Galaxy J5
2631 Points ∼2% -53%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
2580 Points ∼1% -54%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Physics (sort by value)
Honor 5X
8343 Points ∼5%
Samsung Galaxy J5
8697 Points ∼6% +4%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
9385 Points ∼6% +12%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Graphics (sort by value)
Honor 5X
10045 Points ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy J5
4692 Points ∼1% -53%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
4712 Points ∼1% -53%
1280x720 Ice Storm Standard Score (sort by value)
Honor 5X
9609 Points ∼5%
Samsung Galaxy J5
5227 Points ∼3% -46%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
5298 Points ∼3% -45%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Honor 5X
9 Points ∼1%
OnePlus X
843 Points ∼55% +9267%
Samsung Galaxy J5
615 Points ∼40% +6733%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500KL
643 Points ∼42% +7044%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
484 Points ∼31% +5278%
Graphics (sort by value)
Honor 5X
763 Points ∼9%
OnePlus X
1975 Points ∼23% +159%
Samsung Galaxy J5
314 Points ∼4% -59%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500KL
316 Points ∼4% -59%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
315 Points ∼4% -59%
Memory (sort by value)
Honor 5X
787 Points ∼20%
OnePlus X
662 Points ∼17% -16%
Samsung Galaxy J5
399 Points ∼10% -49%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500KL
797 Points ∼21% +1%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
394 Points ∼10% -50%
System (sort by value)
Honor 5X
1378 Points ∼21%
OnePlus X
2225 Points ∼34% +61%
Samsung Galaxy J5
1058 Points ∼16% -23%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500KL
1077 Points ∼16% -22%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
1166 Points ∼18% -15%
Overall (sort by value)
Honor 5X
297 Points ∼9%
OnePlus X
1252 Points ∼38% +322%
Samsung Galaxy J5
534 Points ∼16% +80%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500KL
646 Points ∼20% +118%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
515 Points ∼16% +73%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
Honor 5X
3794 Points ∼47%
OnePlus X
4450 Points ∼55% +17%
Samsung Galaxy J5
3966 Points ∼49% +5%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541 (Android 5.1.1 Lollipop)
3701 Points ∼46% -2%
AndroBench 3-5
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Honor 5X
10 MB/s ∼13%
OnePlus X
14.22 MB/s ∼19% +42%
Samsung Galaxy J5
7.2 MB/s ∼10% -28%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
5.11 MB/s ∼7% -49%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Honor 5X
17 MB/s ∼12%
OnePlus X
16.31 MB/s ∼12% -4%
Samsung Galaxy J5
19.25 MB/s ∼14% +13%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
22.79 MB/s ∼17% +34%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Honor 5X
78 MB/s ∼41%
OnePlus X
49.31 MB/s ∼26% -37%
Samsung Galaxy J5
39.4 MB/s ∼21% -49%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
22.33 MB/s ∼12% -71%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Honor 5X
144 MB/s ∼24%
OnePlus X
235.51 MB/s ∼40% +64%
Samsung Galaxy J5
145.47 MB/s ∼24% +1%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
131.42 MB/s ∼22% -9%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Honor 5X (Chrome 48)
12510 ms * ∼21%
OnePlus X (Chrome 46)
7264.1 ms * ∼12% +42%
Samsung Galaxy J5 (Chrome 38)
14074 ms * ∼24% -13%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500KL
14680 ms * ∼25% -17%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541 (Chrome 44)
11843 ms * ∼20% +5%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Honor 5X (Chrome 48)
3595 Points ∼8%
OnePlus X (Chrome 46)
4810 Points ∼11% +34%
Samsung Galaxy J5 (Chrome 38)
3038 Points ∼7% -15%
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500KL
3012 Points ∼7% -16%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541 (Chrome 44)
3296 Points ∼7% -8%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score (sort by value)
Honor 5X (Chrome 48)
21.92 Points ∼0%
OnePlus X (Chrome 46)
28 Points ∼0% +28%
Samsung Galaxy J5 (Chrome 45)
18.424 Points ∼0% -16%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541 (Chrome 44)
20.832 Points ∼0% -5%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Honor 5X (Chrome 48)
65 Points ∼11%
OnePlus X (Chrome 46)
85 Points ∼15% +31%
Samsung Galaxy J5 (Chrome 38)
52 Points ∼9% -20%
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541 (Chrome 44)
52 Points ∼9% -20%

Legend

 
Honor 5X Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 MSM8939v2, Qualcomm Adreno 405, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
OnePlus X Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AA, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy J5 Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 8 GB eMMC Flash
 
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500KL Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 APQ8016, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541 Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 8 GB eMMC Flash

* ... smaller is better

Games

Honor's 5X holds its ground in games. However, we did not manage more than 24 frames per second (FPS) in the racing game Asphalt 8: Airborne. The average was 21 FPS. The GPU is the limiting factor here. It was loaded to capacity while the processor would still have had plenty of reserves. The performance was better in the 3D shooter Dead Trigger 2. We reached an average of 32 FPS in high settings. That was enough for smooth gameplay. It could get tight in future games with even higher graphics requirements. All games ran in Full HD.

Navigating via touchscreen and position sensor functioned accurately and without issues.

Asphalt 8: Airborne
Asphalt 8: Airborne
Dead Trigger 2
Dead Trigger 2
Asphalt 8: Airborne
 SettingsValue
 high21 fps
 very low35 fps
Dead Trigger 2
 SettingsValue
 high32 fps

Emissions

GFXBench battery test
GFXBench battery test

Temperature

The temperature development on the surface is moderate. Honor's 5X primarily heats up on the front in the camera's area during prolonged load. It can reach up to 41.6 °C here. The temperatures on the back are lower with at most 37.5 °C. Although both rates are palpable, they will hardly be a restriction in real-world use. The temperatures are distributed quite evenly over the entire casing. For example, Asus manages to create a hot spot in the ZenFone 2 Laser.

The GFXBench battery test shows that the SoC is not throttled even during prolonged load.

Max. Load
 41.2 °C38.4 °C38.4 °C 
 41.6 °C38.1 °C35.8 °C 
 39.7 °C37.3 °C37.5 °C 
Maximum: 41.6 °C
Average: 38.7 °C
35.6 °C37.3 °C37.5 °C
35.6 °C37.1 °C37 °C
35.3 °C36.9 °C36.3 °C
Maximum: 37.5 °C
Average: 36.5 °C
Power Supply (max.)  35.9 °C | Room Temperature 22.2 °C | Voltcraft IR-260

Speaker

Speaker test: Pink Noise
Speaker test: Pink Noise

The speaker is situated on the smartphone's lower edge where the microphone for voice recordings is also found in many current devices. Honor's 5X also follows this pattern: The mono speaker is behind the grille on the lower edge. Its maximum volume of 81 dB(A) is fairly loud, but it does not produce a pleasant sound.

The Pink Noise graph illustrates the reason for this. The focus is placed on trebles. Low tones are virtually non-existent. High pitches are sometimes disagreeably prominent even at half volume. The speaker can be used for quick music sampling or a short Internet video, but connecting headphones or speakers to the 3.5 mm audio jack or via Bluetooth delivers a considerably more pleasant sound.

Energy Management

Power Consumption

Honor's 5X is not exactly frugal in terms of power consumption when compared with other devices. However, it should be said that the comparison devices in this price range all only have a screen diagonal of 5-inches and sport weaker SoCs. The somewhat more expensive OnePlus' X is also a 5-inch handset, but its SoC is stronger and yet it requires less power than our review sample.

It needs a minimum of 0.87 watts when turned on, and up to 6.34 watts during load - a relatively high rate. The OnePlus only requires half of that. The idle consumption of OnePlus' X smartphone is so much lower that it can no longer be explained with the smaller screen.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.13 / 0.3 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.87 / 2.08 / 2.22 Watt
Load midlight 5.26 / 6.34 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Gossen Metrahit Energy

Battery Runtime

The power consumption already pointed to it: Honor's 5X battery life is decent but lags behind our expectations. Although it can outperform all other devices in our real-world Wi-Fi test with 10:43 hours, the load runtimes are particularly very tight. Our experience shows that the smartphone could last two days without recharging the battery when not used intensely.

However, it is quite possible to extend the runtimes via the incorporated energy-savings mode. Depending on the energy-savings plan, background services are limited or only basic functions are made available.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
17h 33min
WiFi Surfing v1.3
10h 43min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
10h 02min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 24min
Honor 5X
Adreno 405, 616 MSM8939v2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
OnePlus X
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AA, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy J5
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Motorola Moto G 3. Gen 2015 XT1541
Adreno 306, 410 MSM8916, 8 GB eMMC Flash
Asus Zenfone 2 ZE500KL
Adreno 306, 410 APQ8016, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Battery Runtime
24%
38%
27%
-58%
Reader / Idle
1053
968
-8%
1292
23%
1364
30%
Load
144
339
135%
350
143%
264
83%
WiFi
WiFi v1.3
643
549
-15%
495
-23%
526
-18%
267
-58%
H.264
602
514
-15%
657
9%
677
12%

Pro

+ high-quality metal casing
+ good price-performance ratio
+ compelling battery life in WiFi test
+ moderate temperature development
+ bright screen
+ good and stylish software
+ decent camera configuration
+ dual-SIM
+ fingerprint scanner with additional features

Cons

- middling GPS reception
- poor call quality
- speaker's low quality
- high load consumption
- short battery life under load

Verdict

In review: Honor 5X. Test model courtesy of Honor Germany.
In review: Honor 5X. Test model courtesy of Honor Germany.

Huawei has in fact compiled a decent package. A high-performance device wrapped up in a classy casing, and all that at a great price. The software is stylish and practical, the cameras shoot decent pictures and a full-sized 24-month warranty is also included.

Honor's 5X is a bargain with some shortcomings that need to be accepted: poor call quality, middling speaker, and unstable GPS reception. However, the attractive casing and bright screen compensate for that.

Another weakness of Honor's 5X is the battery life under load, which leaves us a bit undecided. On the one hand, a lot of things about the smartphone appealed to us; it definitely has its advantages for the low price. On the other, buyers can get an even higher performance for a small surcharge or in a model from last year, and they then do not have to grapple around with the existing (and throughout avoidable) shortcomings of Honor's 5X.

Price-conscious consumers should take a look at Honor's 5X because many of its features are unique in this price range (screen size, performance, casing quality). Buyers who can spend a bit more will find quite convincing alternatives.

Honor 5X - 03/07/2016 v5
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
83%
Keyboard
70 / 75 → 93%
Pointing Device
93%
Connectivity
42 / 60 → 70%
Weight
92%
Battery
92%
Display
86%
Games Performance
13 / 63 → 20%
Application Performance
30 / 70 → 43%
Temperature
87%
Noise
100%
Audio
53 / 91 → 58%
Camera
75%
Average
70%
84%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Honor 5X Smartphone Review
Florian Wimmer, 2016-03-12 (Update: 2016-11-23)