Notebookcheck

BQ Aquaris X5 Plus Smartphone Review

Andreas Kilian, Tanja Hinum (translated by Maria Vittoria Occhipinti), 12/20/2016

Bright+. BQ, a Spanish manufacturer, is launching the Aquaris X5 Plus, a mid-range device with a fingerprint sensor, dual SIM functionality and a (very) bright 5-inch FHD screen. In our review, we will find out how well the smartphone fares in the modern market.

BQ Aquaris X5 Plus

For the original German review, see here.

If you are looking for a mid-range smartphone, you are in luck: market giants, like Samsung, Sony and Huawei, and countless smaller manufacturers are producing attractive devices for this market. The relatively young Spanish manufacturer, BQ, is now offering the Aquaris X5 Plus: 5-inch FHD display, fingerprint sensor and Snapdragon-652-SoC. The buyer can choose between 16 GB internal storage and 2 GB of RAM (299.90 Euros/~$312) or 32 GB internal storage and 3 GB of RAM (40 Euros/~$42 more). Our test model has the former, smaller capacities. The device is available in black and white.

Direct competition (price up to 300 Euros/~$312) includes models, such as, the Sony Xperia XA, the ZTE Axon 7 Mini and the Huawei P9 lite. We are including more expensive phones, like the Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) and the Gigaset ME, as their prices have recently been cut and potential buyers from this segment might be interested in them as well.

BQ Aquaris X5 Plus (Aquaris Series)
Graphics adapter
Qualcomm Adreno 510, Core: 600 MHz
Memory
2048 MB 
Display
5 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 441 PPI, Multi-touch - 5 capacitive touch points, IPS, Dinorex-Glass, Anti-Fingerprint, Quantum Color +, 620 Nits, NTSC 84%, glossy: yes
Storage
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB 
, 10.5 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm audio jack, Card Reader: microSD up to256 GB, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: Hall sensor, eCompass, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, UKW-Radio, Wi-Fi Direct, Miracast
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2, 2G GSM (850 / 900 / 1,800 / 1,900), 3G HSPA+ (850 / 900/ 1,900 / 2,100), 4G (LTE ) FDD (800 / 1,800 / 2,100 / 2,600), SAR (Head): 0.253 W/kg (10g), SAR (Body): 1.480 W/kg (10g), Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7.7 x 145 x 70 ( = 0.3 x 5.71 x 2.76 in)
Battery
11.8 Wh, 3200 mAh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Camera
Primary Camera: 16 MPix (Auto-focus f/2.0, 2160p-Video @ 30 fps, 720p-Video @ 120 fps, Sony IMX298)
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix (Fix focus f/2.0, 1080p-Video @ 60 fps, Sony IMX219)
Additional features
Speakers: Mono speaker below, Keyboard: virtual, USB cable, BQ Plus App, 24 Months Warranty, fanless
Weight
145 g ( = 5.11 oz / 0.32 pounds) ( = 0 oz / 0 pounds)
Price
299 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case

The test model measures 145 x 70 x 7.7 mm (~5.7 x 2.8 x 0.3 in) and weighs 145 grams (~5.1 oz), which is typical for a 5-inch device. The touchscreen is protected by strong Dinorex glass, but we were soon able to recognize scratches on it. The back of the device is slightly rough and, although it does not feel as great as a glass or aluminum back, this surface allows the user to have a better grip on the phone. The metal border of the Aquaris X5 Plus provides a high level of sturdiness, preventing users from bending the device. However, when we pressed on the screen, we could see visible deformations of the display.

The workmanship quality is acceptable. The transition between the touchscreen and the border should be smoothed out so as to improve the feel of the device.

The device has two side flaps: the left side has two Nano SIM card slots and the right side has a microSD card slot. The battery cannot be removed.

Size Comparison

147.5 mm / 5.81 inch 71 mm / 2.8 inch 7.8 mm / 0.3071 inch 153 g0.3373 lbs146.8 mm / 5.78 inch 72.6 mm / 2.86 inch 7.5 mm / 0.2953 inch 147 g0.3241 lbs145 mm / 5.71 inch 70 mm / 2.76 inch 7.7 mm / 0.3031 inch 145 g0.3197 lbs144.5 mm / 5.69 inch 69.4 mm / 2.73 inch 7.7 mm / 0.3031 inch 160 g0.3527 lbs144.8 mm / 5.7 inch 71 mm / 2.8 inch 7.3 mm / 0.2874 inch 155 g0.3417 lbs143.6 mm / 5.65 inch 66.8 mm / 2.63 inch 7.9 mm / 0.311 inch 137 g0.302 lbs

Connectivity

Our test model has 16 GB internal storage and roughly 10.5 GB is free for the user. If you want more storage space, you can install a microSD card. The card can be formatted as internal or external storage. We appreciate that BQ has given the user the freedom of choice.

The device comes with a micro USB port that supports USB OTG. It also offers Miracast, Wi-Fi Direct and NFC. The 3.5 mm audio jack and RGB notification LED are integrated as well. 

Software

The Aquaris is being deployed with stock Android 6.0.1. In the settings, the user can configure the notification LED or the equalizer. Furthermore, it is possible to swap between the current and the previously accessed App by tapping the right navigation key twice. We like the frequency of updates: during the month of November, we received an up-to-date security patch and the manufacturer is planning an upgrade to Android 7.

We like that the phone comes without unnecessary Apps pre-installed: the standard Google Apps and the BQ Plus App can be found on the device. The BQ Plus App includes information about how to extend the warranty.

Lock screen
Lock screen
Home screen
Home screen
App drawer
App drawer
App drawer
App drawer
Quick settings and notifications
Quick settings and notifications
Previously opened Apps
Previously opened Apps
LED Configuration
LED Configuration
Equalizer
Software version
Software version

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Communication and GPS

The BQ Aquaris X5 Plus supports Dual SIM Dual standby. One SIM slot can use LTE networks while the other has to use 2G or 3G networks. It is possible to change which SIM uses which network without restarting the phone. The reception in urban areas was quite good.

The test model can connect to WLAN networks of the 2.4 or 5 GHz frequency The device performs great with 348 MB/s (receiving) and 258 MB/s (sending). Only a few devices are faster, like the Google high-end model, the Pixel XL. The WLAN range is acceptable.

The wireless communication is possible thanks to Bluetooth 4.2, Wi-Fi Direct and NFC.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Google Pixel XL 2016
Adreno 530, 821 MSM8996 Pro, 32 GB eMMC Flash
515 MBit/s ∼100% +48%
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
Adreno 510, 652 MSM8976, 16 GB eMMC Flash
348 MBit/s ∼68%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
281 MBit/s ∼55% -19%
Fairphone 2
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AA, 32 GB eMMC Flash
164 MBit/s ∼32% -53%
Lenovo Moto Z Play
Adreno 506, 625, 32 GB eMMC Flash
121 MBit/s ∼23% -65%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 32 GB eMMC Flash
52.7 MBit/s ∼10% -85%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Google Pixel XL 2016
Adreno 530, 821 MSM8996 Pro, 32 GB eMMC Flash
435 MBit/s ∼100% +69%
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
335 MBit/s ∼77% +30%
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
Adreno 510, 652 MSM8976, 16 GB eMMC Flash
258 MBit/s ∼59%
Fairphone 2
Adreno 330, 801 MSM8974AA, 32 GB eMMC Flash
254 MBit/s ∼58% -2%
Lenovo Moto Z Play
Adreno 506, 625, 32 GB eMMC Flash
112 MBit/s ∼26% -57%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
Adreno 405, 617 MSM8952, 32 GB eMMC Flash
54.9 MBit/s ∼13% -79%
GPS indoors
GPS indoors
GPS outdoors
GPS outdoors

Outdoors and indoors, the Aquaris X5 Plus locks on the location of the user quickly and with an accuracy of up to 3 meters (~10 feet). It is one of the first smartphones to use GPS, GLONASS and the brand-new GALILEO satellite system. The Qualcomm IZat location service can also be turned on.

We took the device for a bike ride with our professional biking GPS, the Garmin Edge 500. The smartphone deviated slightly from the route of the professional GPS near the bridge. Overall, the BQ Aquaris X5 Plus had a roughly 2.4% (290 meters/317 yards) shorter path than the one recorded by the Garmin GPS. As such, our test model is quite precise.

Garmin Edge 500 - Route
Garmin Edge 500 - Route
Garmin Edge 500 - Underpass
Garmin Edge 500 - Underpass
Garmin Edge 500 - Turning Point
Garmin Edge 500 - Turning Point
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus - Route
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus - Route
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus - Underpass
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus - Underpass
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus - Turning Point
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus - Turning Point

Telephone and Speech Quality

Telephone App: numeric pad
Telephone App: numeric pad
Telephone App: favorites
Telephone App: favorites

The telephone App is the standard software from Android Marshmallow. It has a favorites list, a numeric pad, a caller list and direct access to the contacts database. The upper region always has a search bar.

For normal calls, the Aquaris X5 Plus provides clear audio for both sides. The speaker does a good job as long as the user remains outside noisy environments.

Cameras

Front camera (click for original)
Front camera (click for original)
Main camera (click for original)
Main camera (click for original)

The 8 MP Sony IMX219 sensor and f/2.0 shutter ensure good image quality with the front camera (in good lighting conditions). In poor lighting, the details are not recorded properly and the picture blurs. However, the blurring stays within acceptable limits. Videos can be recorded in Full HD and are quite smooth thanks to the 30 frames per second. It is possible to record with 60 fps, but the image is cut down significantly. It is a little sad that BQ has taken the front flash (from the Aquaris X5) out of its "Plus" model.

The main camera of the Sony IMX298 sensor offers 16 MP and an f/2.0 shutter. The test model provides sharp captures in daylight, which definitely benefit from auto HDR mode (scene 2). Unfortunately, the quality drops in lower lighting conditions significantly: many details are lost when the module attempts to suppress the blurring, the auto-focus does not always do a good job and the image may turn out shaky due to the missing picture stabilizer (scene 1 and 3). Depending on the subject, the dual-LED flash can be helpful. If you like taking panorama shots, you might be disappointed: they have low vertical resolution and appear washed out. Videos can be captured in 4K resolution at 30 frames per second. Outdoors, many details can be captured, but the playback always stutters slightly. Parts of the movie, which have similar content, can end up suffering from the high compression. Alternatively, the camera can capture videos in Full HD at 60 frames per second. The auto-focus is active, but especially indoors, it is not always accurate. 

The photo App has a manual mode and multiple scene modes. It can be called up by double-clicking on the power button (when in standby mode). It is possible to swipe between the main functions (panorama, photo, video and "Motions") by using a swipe to the side. This transition takes a little time. We like that the manufacturer keeps updating the App and adding new functions. During our testing period, we received an update that included a function for a 120 fps slow motion mode.

ColorChecker colors photographed. In the bottom half of each patch, the original color is shown.
ColorChecker colors photographed. In the bottom half of each patch, the original color is shown.
Excerpt from the test picture
Excerpt from the test picture
Test picture (click for original)
Test picture (click for original)

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. 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

Accessories and Warranty

The Aquaris X5 Plus is delivered in a nice packet. The device, a USB cable, a slot tool, the warranty information and an illustrated guide to get started with the device are included. A headset or a power adapter is not included. The latter can be purchased from the manufacturer (online shop) for 5.95 Euros (~$6). Matching rubber or hard-plastic cases can also be found there.

While the previous generation of BQ models was being sold with a 5-year warranty, the test model in front of us has a mere 2-year manufacturer’s warranty. The manufacturer will repair the device (even if the damage was inflicted by the user) as long as the customer has purchased the 29.90 Euros/year (~$31) warranty option for the BQ Plus.

Input Devices and Interface

The BQ Aquaris X5 Plus uses the standard Google keyboard. Thanks to the precise touchscreen, the user can input text quite fast. If the vibration feedback is too strong, you can adjust the level in the system settings. Alternatively, you can use swipe gestures to input text on the keyboard.

The power button and the volume rocker have clear, yet slightly hard, pressure points. They are seamlessly integrated in the metal border of the phone. If you touch the keys lightly, they creak a little. The space below the display is assigned to three capacitive navigation keys. BQ has stuck to the standard Android look and placed the "Back" key on the left side (no caption provided). On-screen navigation keys can be turned on when needed.

The fingerprint sensor reads input reliably and fast. Its placement is a little poor as it is on the back of the phone. This means it cannot be used when the device is lying on the table. We like that tapping it twice wakes the screen up. It is also possible to do the opposite: two quick taps to the status bar will send the phone to standby mode. These features must be turned on the in the settings before they can be used.

Subjectively, the performance of the test model is decent. Animations run without issues and the App start without long waiting times. Content is quickly adjusted to the orientation of the screen.

Vertical keyboard
Vertical keyboard
Horizontal keyboard
Horizontal keyboard

Display

Subpixel
Subpixel

The 5-inch IPS panel of the BQ Aquaris X5 Plus has a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, which results in a pixel density of 441 ppi. This is quite sharp for content.

The "Expanded Brightness" option will allow the display to reach 650 cd/m² with manual adjustments and while displaying an entirely white image. The values do not change significantly when we display evenly distributed dark and bright areas (Average Picture Level/APL 50) or when the brightness sensor is turned on. The Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016) is the only device from the circle of comparison devices which has a similarly bright screen, but only with the automatic brightness regulation active. The high black value of 0.93 cd/m² results in a modest contrast of 688:1 and the illumination of 85% leaves room for improvement. Subjectively, we did not notice any disturbing, uneven lighting zones. We like that the backlight of the panel does not use PWM controls as this prevents distracting flickering.

590
cd/m²
626
cd/m²
559
cd/m²
602
cd/m²
640
cd/m²
585
cd/m²
600
cd/m²
657
cd/m²
625
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 657 cd/m² Average: 609.3 cd/m² Minimum: 7.32 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 85 %
Center on Battery: 640 cd/m²
Contrast: 688:1 (Black: 0.93 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.8 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 2.6 | 0.64-98 Ø6.4
Gamma: 2.35
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
IPS, 1920x1080, 5
Sony Xperia XA
IPS, 1280x720, 5
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
AMOLED, 1920x1080, 5.2
Huawei P9 Lite
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.2
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
Super AMOLED, 1920x1080, 5.2
Gigaset ME
IPS, 1920x1080, 5
Screen
Brightness middle
640
518
-19%
327
-49%
505
-21%
378
-41%
445
-30%
Brightness
609
475
-22%
335
-45%
468
-23%
380
-38%
456
-25%
Brightness Distribution
85
81
-5%
94
11%
88
4%
91
7%
93
9%
Black Level *
0.93
0.61
34%
0.74
20%
0.38
59%
Contrast
688
849
23%
682
-1%
1171
70%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.8
6.8
-143%
6.3
-125%
4.1
-46%
1.95
30%
4.29
-53%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
5.7
11.4
-100%
11.4
-100%
5.8
-2%
3.09
46%
7.89
-38%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.6
7
-169%
7.1
-173%
4.9
-88%
1.86
28%
4.97
-91%
Gamma
2.35 94%
2.35 94%
2.25 98%
2.5 88%
2.13 103%
2.57 86%
CCT
6477 100%
8151 80%
7637 85%
7116 91%
6376 102%
7625 85%

* ... smaller is better

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: 52 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 9868 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

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
34 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 11 ms rise
↘ 23 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 87 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (25.5 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
80 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 42 ms rise
↘ 38 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 636 (maximum) ms. » 99 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (40.8 ms).

The color calibration of the display is good: the average Delta values of 2.8 (colors) and 2.6 (gray levels) are quite close to the ideal range (below 3). The color temperature of 6,477 K is almost ideal (optimal is 6,500 K). The gray levels do not have a color tinge.

Gray levels (sRGB)
Gray levels (sRGB)
Mixed colors (sRGB)
Mixed colors (sRGB)
Saturation (sRGB)
Saturation (sRGB)
Color space (sRGB)
Color space (sRGB)

Thanks to the high brightness, the phone is legible even outdoors. Still, we would recommend avoiding direct sunlight or strong reflections, as they can be quite annoying.

Outdoors when cloudy
Outdoors when cloudy
Outdoors in sunlight
Outdoors in sunlight

At flat viewing angles, the screen loses a little brightness but, due to the quality of the IPS screen, the colors do not change. Dark content may appear brighter, depending on the positioning of the user.

Viewing angle from the left ...
Viewing angle from the left ...
... and the right.
... and the right.

Performance

The heart of the BQ Aquaris X5 Plus is a Snapdragon-652-SoC, which offers 4 conservative Cortex A53 cores (up to 1.4 GHz) and 4 very powerful Cortex A72 cores (up to 1.8 GHz). This is a 64-bit processor, but the OS runs in 32-bit mode. The graphics output is handle by the Adreno 510 GPU, which clocks at 600 MHz.

The performance of the Aquaris X5 Plus is above average, as is shown by the clear lead our test model carves out in all browser benchmarks and AnTuTu v6. Furthermore, in BaseMark OS II and PCMark, the device takes second place indisputably in the table. Thanks to the high GPU performance of high-end models, like the Gigaset ME, our phone places a little lower in GPU tests. Furthermore, the Sony Xperia XA has an advantage in on-screen tests, due to its lower screen resolution.

The internal storage of the Aquaris X5 Plus performs at an acceptable level. Although the read speeds are decent in comparison to the other devices, the sequential write speeds leave a lot to be desired (placing our device near the bottom of the table). The memory card slot is as fast as that of the competitors (Sony Xperia XA and ZTE Axon 7 Mini). With a read speed of 73.19 MB/s and a write speed of 54.87 MB/s, the device can handle our reference card quite well (Toshiba Exceria Pro M401 THN-M401S0640E2, UHS-I Class 3, max. read speed: 95 MB/s, max. write speed: 80 MB/s).

AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
75533 Points ∼28%
Sony Xperia XA
48331 Points ∼18% -36%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
46968 Points ∼17% -38%
Huawei P9 Lite
50366 Points ∼18% -33%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
41676 Points ∼15% -45%
Gigaset ME
54213 Points ∼20% -28%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
843 Points ∼41%
Sony Xperia XA
717 Points ∼35% -15%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
10 Points ∼0% -99%
Huawei P9 Lite
765 Points ∼38% -9%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
741 Points ∼36% -12%
Gigaset ME
1233 Points ∼61% +46%
Graphics (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
1635 Points ∼6%
Sony Xperia XA
669 Points ∼2% -59%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
827 Points ∼3% -49%
Huawei P9 Lite
818 Points ∼3% -50%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
488 Points ∼2% -70%
Gigaset ME
4449 Points ∼15% +172%
Memory (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
798 Points ∼13%
Sony Xperia XA
1076 Points ∼17% +35%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
1052 Points ∼17% +32%
Huawei P9 Lite
1346 Points ∼21% +69%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
554 Points ∼9% -31%
Gigaset ME
781 Points ∼12% -2%
System (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
2582 Points ∼16%
Sony Xperia XA
2289 Points ∼14% -11%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
1379 Points ∼8% -47%
Huawei P9 Lite
2438 Points ∼15% -6%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
2153 Points ∼13% -17%
Gigaset ME
1422 Points ∼9% -45%
Overall (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
1297 Points ∼15%
Sony Xperia XA
1043 Points ∼12% -20%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
328 Points ∼4% -75%
Huawei P9 Lite
1197 Points ∼14% -8%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
810 Points ∼10% -38%
Gigaset ME
1571 Points ∼19% +21%
Geekbench 4.0
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
3248 Points ∼26%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
2511 Points ∼9%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
2092 Points ∼8% -17%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
1204 Points ∼21%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
698 Points ∼12% -42%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
4964 Points ∼37%
Sony Xperia XA
4685 Points ∼35% -6%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
3663 Points ∼27% -26%
Huawei P9 Lite
5339 Points ∼39% +8%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
4008 Points ∼30% -19%
Gigaset ME
4544 Points ∼34% -8%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
9138 Points ∼18%
Sony Xperia XA
4046 Points ∼8% -56%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
3371 Points ∼7% -63%
Huawei P9 Lite
4756 Points ∼10% -48%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
3611 Points ∼7% -60%
Gigaset ME
7109 Points ∼14% -22%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
3464.7 ms * ∼6%
Sony Xperia XA
9609.8 ms * ∼16% -177%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
11109.2 ms * ∼19% -221%
Huawei P9 Lite
9396.5 ms * ∼16% -171%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
11887 ms * ∼20% -243%
Gigaset ME
7670 ms * ∼13% -121%
JetStream 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
50.1 Points ∼15%
Sony Xperia XA
27.5 Points ∼8% -45%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
23 Points ∼7% -54%
Huawei P9 Lite
29.03 Points ∼9% -42%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
22 Points ∼7% -56%
Gigaset ME
28.475 Points ∼9% -43%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
30 fps ∼0%
Sony Xperia XA
18 fps ∼0% -40%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
17 fps ∼0% -43%
Huawei P9 Lite
19 fps ∼0% -37%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
14 fps ∼0% -53%
Gigaset ME
51 fps ∼0% +70%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
31 fps ∼1%
Sony Xperia XA
28 fps ∼1% -10%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
18 fps ∼1% -42%
Huawei P9 Lite
19 fps ∼1% -39%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
14 fps ∼0% -55%
Gigaset ME
50 fps ∼1% +61%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
14 fps ∼0%
Sony Xperia XA
7.2 fps ∼0% -49%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
6.7 fps ∼0% -52%
Huawei P9 Lite
7.8 fps ∼0% -44%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
3.8 fps ∼0% -73%
Gigaset ME
24 fps ∼0% +71%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
14 fps ∼0%
Sony Xperia XA
15 fps ∼0% +7%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
7 fps ∼0% -50%
Huawei P9 Lite
8.4 fps ∼0% -40%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
3.8 fps ∼0% -73%
Gigaset ME
25 fps ∼1% +79%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
9.6 fps ∼0%
Sony Xperia XA
4.8 fps ∼0% -50%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
4.2 fps ∼0% -56%
Huawei P9 Lite
4.5 fps ∼0% -53%
Gigaset ME
17 fps ∼0% +77%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
9.4 fps ∼0%
Sony Xperia XA
11 fps ∼0% +17%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
4.5 fps ∼0% -52%
Huawei P9 Lite
4.9 fps ∼0% -48%
Gigaset ME
18 fps ∼1% +91%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
1793 Points ∼43%
Sony Xperia XA
1259 Points ∼30% -30%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
1102 Points ∼26% -39%
Huawei P9 Lite
1373 Points ∼33% -23%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
1479 Points ∼35% -18%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
1252 Points ∼15%
Sony Xperia XA
525 Points ∼6% -58%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
606 Points ∼7% -52%
Huawei P9 Lite
473 Points ∼6% -62%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
275 Points ∼3% -78%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
1342 Points ∼21%
Sony Xperia XA
603 Points ∼9% -55%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
673 Points ∼10% -50%
Huawei P9 Lite
554 Points ∼9% -59%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
336 Points ∼5% -75%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
11532 Points ∼13%
Sony Xperia XA
12138 Points ∼14% +5%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
9670 Points ∼11% -16%
Huawei P9 Lite
13676 Points ∼16% +19%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
9495 Points ∼11% -18%
Gigaset ME
10927 Points ∼13% -5%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
21668 Points ∼4%
Sony Xperia XA
10916 Points ∼2% -50%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
9913 Points ∼2% -54%
Huawei P9 Lite
11318 Points ∼2% -48%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
7542 Points ∼1% -65%
Gigaset ME
25016 Points ∼5% +15%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
18127 Points ∼8%
Sony Xperia XA
11156 Points ∼5% -38%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
9858 Points ∼4% -46%
Huawei P9 Lite
11769 Points ∼5% -35%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
7903 Points ∼3% -56%
Gigaset ME
19445 Points ∼8% +7%
AndroBench 3-5
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
54.87 MB/s ∼63%
Sony Xperia XA
50.68 MB/s ∼58% -8%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
50.27 MB/s ∼58% -8%
Huawei P9 Lite
25.1 MB/s ∼29% -54%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
73.19 MB/s ∼76%
Sony Xperia XA
72.87 MB/s ∼76% 0%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
73.89 MB/s ∼77% +1%
Huawei P9 Lite
60.81 MB/s ∼63% -17%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
12.44 MB/s ∼5%
Sony Xperia XA
10.6 MB/s ∼4% -15%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
6.7 MB/s ∼3% -46%
Huawei P9 Lite
15.35 MB/s ∼6% +23%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
11.2 MB/s ∼4% -10%
Gigaset ME
15 MB/s ∼6% +21%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
36.85 MB/s ∼21%
Sony Xperia XA
22.05 MB/s ∼13% -40%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
14.05 MB/s ∼8% -62%
Huawei P9 Lite
38.22 MB/s ∼22% +4%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
22.9 MB/s ∼13% -38%
Gigaset ME
22 MB/s ∼13% -40%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
47.03 MB/s ∼19%
Sony Xperia XA
68.64 MB/s ∼27% +46%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
122.84 MB/s ∼48% +161%
Huawei P9 Lite
46.24 MB/s ∼18% -2%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
60.4 MB/s ∼24% +28%
Gigaset ME
131 MB/s ∼52% +179%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
228.44 MB/s ∼25%
Sony Xperia XA
240.43 MB/s ∼26% +5%
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
230.82 MB/s ∼25% +1%
Huawei P9 Lite
283.55 MB/s ∼31% +24%
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
209.4 MB/s ∼23% -8%
Gigaset ME
232 MB/s ∼25% +2%

Legend

 
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus Qualcomm Snapdragon 652 MSM8976, Qualcomm Adreno 510, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Sony Xperia XA Mediatek Helio P10 MT6755, ARM Mali-T860 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
ZTE Axon 7 Mini Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 MSM8952, Qualcomm Adreno 405, 32 GB eMMC Flash
 
Huawei P9 Lite HiSilicon Kirin 650, ARM Mali-T830 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016 Samsung Exynos 7580 Octa, ARM Mali-T720 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Gigaset ME Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 MSM8994, Qualcomm Adreno 430, 32 GB eMMC Flash

* ... smaller is better

Games

Despite the high resolution of 1920x1080 pixels, the Adreno 510 GPU manages to run demanding games, like Asphalt 8, smoothly at high settings. Less hardware-hungry games, like Angry Birds 2, are no hurdle for our test model.

The internal sensors and the precise touchscreen allow us to game comfortably. The internal speaker produces good sound, but it can be muffled as it is on the side.

Asphalt 8: Airborne
Asphalt 8: Airborne
Angry Birds 2
Angry Birds 2

Emissions

Temperature

At load, the BQ Aquaris X5 Plus heats up evenly but never crosses the 40 °C (104 °F) mark. The phone is never uncomfortably hot. Thankfully, the device does not have to throttle the SoC. We checked this by running the battery test of GFXBench, which runs the Manhattan test 30x in a row and notes the battery status and the performance of the device. Overall, the phone had a performance difference of a mere 0.5%.

GFXBench Manhattan: performance
GFXBench Manhattan: performance
GFXBench Manhattan: frame times
GFXBench Manhattan: frame times
GFXBench Manhattan: battery use
GFXBench Manhattan: battery use
Max. Load
 37.8 °C
100 F
37.3 °C
99 F
36.6 °C
98 F
 
 37.7 °C
100 F
37.5 °C
100 F
36.5 °C
98 F
 
 36.6 °C
98 F
36.6 °C
98 F
35.8 °C
96 F
 
Maximum: 37.8 °C = 100 F
Average: 36.9 °C = 98 F
33.4 °C
92 F
36.5 °C
98 F
38.5 °C
101 F
34.9 °C
95 F
35.5 °C
96 F
39.9 °C
104 F
34.8 °C
95 F
36.5 °C
98 F
39.9 °C
104 F
Maximum: 39.9 °C = 104 F
Average: 36.7 °C = 98 F
Room Temperature 21.2 °C = 70 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(±) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 36.9 °C / 98 F, compared to the average of 33.1 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(+) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 37.8 °C / 100 F, compared to the average of 35.6 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 39.9 °C / 104 F, compared to the average of 34.1 °C / 93 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 27.3 °C / 81 F, compared to the device average of 33.1 °C / 92 F.
Wärmebild BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
Wärmebild BQ Aquaris X5 Plus

Speaker

Speaker characteristics
Speaker characteristics

Like the Sony Xperia XA or the Huawei P9 lite, our test model has a mono speaker on the bottom edge. The sound is not blocked when the phone is on a table. However, if you are holding the device in landscape mode, you might end up blocking the speaker.

At 88.52 dB(A) (in our pink noise test), the Aquaris X5 Plus has a decent maximum volume. In comparison to the Sony Xperia XA, the sound is more even and well rounded. Of course, the phone does not offer any bass, but the equalizer will allow the user to customize it to suit their individual taste.

The sound output via the 3.5 mm audio jack is quite good. Unfortunately, there is an electrical disturbance and background rustling which reduces the quality of the output. These are audible when pausing playback.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2031.634.92525.428.83125.328.44032.936.75033.638.46331.634.18028.425.61002726.912520.828.41602238.320021.346.625020.853.531521.258.340019.46250019.564.963017.767.180017.967.2100017.871.9125017.373.9160017.473.4200016.774.1250017.276.7315018.277.4400017.978.4500017.682.1630017.777.5800017.8771000017.978.31250018.1751600018.267.8SPL3088.5N1.373median 17.9median 71.9Delta1.311.52832.42833.331.333.332.531.732.534.92634.947.639.447.633.736.233.730.728.630.727.925.427.930.421.330.433.223.333.235.122.535.141.822.441.845.421.345.45018.45055.817.555.860.517.560.56717.26767.416.867.468.117.368.164.817.464.858.716.658.76417.36471.517.671.57417.67474.517.774.573.917.473.97117.77169.417.969.458.318.158.348.918.148.98229.88248.51.348.5median 60.5median 17.7median 60.511.61.611.6hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseBQ Aquaris X5 PlusSony Xperia XA
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (88.52 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 29.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (3.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 6.3% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (3.8% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (21.2% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 20% of all tested devices in this class were better, 11% similar, 69% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 49% of all tested devices were better, 8% similar, 43% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Sony Xperia XA audio analysis

(+) | speakers can play relatively loud (82.02 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 24.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (7.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.3% higher than median
(±) | linearity of mids is average (9.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 10.7% higher than median
(±) | linearity of highs is average (7% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (28.4% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 74% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 18% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 83% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 12% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Frequency diagram to compare (Checkboxes can be selected!)

Energy Management

Power Consumption

In terms of consumption, the test model does not set any new records. When idle, the device matches the consumption level of the competitors, which is not very high. At load, the Aquaris X5 Plus needs a lot more power than slightly weaker competitors. However, in a head-to-head with the similarly powerful Gigaset ME, our test model is far more conservative.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.02 / 0.26 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.87 / 1.33 / 1.35 Watt
Load midlight 5.44 / 7.11 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
3200 mAh
Sony Xperia XA
2300 mAh
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
2705 mAh
Huawei P9 Lite
3000 mAh
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
2900 mAh
Gigaset ME
3000 mAh
Power Consumption
8%
23%
-9%
3%
-32%
Idle Minimum *
0.87
0.72
17%
0.68
22%
0.73
16%
0.96
-10%
0.75
14%
Idle Average *
1.33
1.5
-13%
0.96
28%
2.09
-57%
1.64
-23%
1.7
-28%
Idle Maximum *
1.35
1.57
-16%
1.06
21%
2.11
-56%
1.71
-27%
1.84
-36%
Load Average *
5.44
3.48
36%
3.22
41%
4.15
24%
2.98
45%
7.18
-32%
Load Maximum *
7.11
6.04
15%
6.75
5%
5.05
29%
5.08
29%
12.75
-79%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Life

The battery life is typical. The Aquaris X5 Plus lasts around 8 hours and 24 minutes in our practical WLAN test. The brightness is set to around 150 cd/m². This places it ahead of competitors like GigasetZTE and Sony, but it cannot beat out the great run times of Huawei P9 lite or Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016).

As there is no power adapter in the delivery, we used a Lenovo adapter (max. 2 A / 5.2 V) to charge the 3,200 mAh battery. From empty to full, the device needs 3 hours and 10 minutes. If you turn on the "Optimized Charging" option, the phone completes the full charge in 20 minutes less.

Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 (Chrome 54)
8h 24min
BQ Aquaris X5 Plus
3200 mAh
Sony Xperia XA
2300 mAh
ZTE Axon 7 Mini
2705 mAh
Huawei P9 Lite
3000 mAh
Samsung Galaxy A5 2016
2900 mAh
Gigaset ME
3000 mAh
Battery Runtime
WiFi v1.3
504
353
-30%
399
-21%
604
20%
626
24%
393
-22%

Pros

+ sturdy case
+ dual SIM functionality
+ microSD card can be formatted as internal storage
+ USB-OTG, Miracast and NFC
+ fingerprint sensor
+ precise sensors and good touchscreen
+ decent overall performance
+ very bright display with good color accuracy
+ acceptable speakers
+ sharp pictures and videos in daylight …

Cons

- … but lower quality in poor lighting conditions.
- rough transition between the touchscreen and the border
- internal memory has weak write speeds
- modest contrast of the screen
- no headset or adapter included in delivery
- battery is integrated

Verdict

In review: BQ Aquaris X5 Plus. Test model provided by BQ Germany.
In review: BQ Aquaris X5 Plus. Test model provided by BQ Germany.

The BQ Aquaris X5 Plus is quite impressive for a mid-range smartphone: the processor performance is more than sufficient for everyday tasks and features like USB OTG, Miracast and NFC are great to have. The display is extraordinarily bright and the picture quality of the two cameras is quite good when the lighting is right. The main camera produces some very detailed shots. However, in reduced lighting, the camera lacks sharpness and the gap between the test model and a more expensive, high-end device becomes tangible. We like the three card slots and the dual SIM functionality. The fingerprint sensor will ensure the device is physically secure.

The BQ Aquaris X5 Plus is a well-rounded mid-range smartphone: it offers a great screen, lots of features and good performance (overall). The contents of the delivery package are a little sparse.

In certain shops, the larger 32 GB version of the Aquaris X5 Plus (with 3 GB of RAM) is available for the same price as our test model. However, if you are looking for a bigger screen and longer battery life, then we recommend looking at the 300 Euros (~$312, recently reduced) Samsung Galaxy A5 (2016).

BQ Aquaris X5 Plus - 12/09/2016 v6
Andreas Kilian

Chassis
85%
Keyboard
70 / 75 → 93%
Pointing Device
89%
Connectivity
48 / 60 → 81%
Weight
93%
Battery
91%
Display
88%
Games Performance
41 / 63 → 66%
Application Performance
51 / 70 → 72%
Temperature
91%
Noise
100%
Audio
68 / 91 → 74%
Camera
71%
Average
76%
85%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > BQ Aquaris X5 Plus Smartphone Review
Andreas Kilian, 2016-12-20 (Update: 2018-05-15)