Notebookcheck

Honor 5C Smartphone Review

Florian Wimmer (translated by Liala Stieglitz), 07/11/2016

It's an honor. A superb screen and decent camera wrapped in a metal casing – with a price of under 200 Euros (~$223), the Honor 5C makes a big impression. This review reveals whether the 5.2-inch smartphone is really that great.

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For the original German review, see here.

Huawei's subsidiary, Honor, has specialized in making life hard for established smartphone manufacturers with a very good price-performance ratio of its devices. With its 5.2-inch Honor 5C, the Chinese company has now launched a smartphone on the market that settles in the lower mid-range for under 200 Euros (~$223). This might even be successful with a self-developed SoC, metal casing, high-resolution cameras, and dual antenna.

Its larger brother is the 5.5-inch Honor 5X with a slightly lower resolution camera and fingerprint scanner. The battery, installed memory, and screen resolution are identical.

The Honor 5C has to compete against 5-inch devices from the same price range, such as HTC's Desire 530, Samsung's Galaxy J5, LG's X Screen or OnePlus' X.

Honor 5C (5 Series)
Graphics adapter
Memory
2048 MB 
Display
5.2 inch 16:9, 1920 x 1080 pixel 424 PPI, capacitive touchscreen, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
16 GB eMMC Flash, 16 GB 
, 10.46 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm combo audio jack, Card Reader: micro-SD max 128 GB (in second SIM slot), NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: accelerometer, proximity sensor, compass, WiFi Direct
Networking
802.11 b/g/n (b/g/n), Bluetooth 4.1 LE, GSM (850/​900/​1800/​1900), UMTS (900/​2100), LTE (B1/​B3/​B7/​B8/​B20); maximum speed 150 GBit/s (download), 50 GBit/s (upload); SAR rate: 1.12 W/kg (head), 0.42 W/kg (body), Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 8.3 x 147.1 x 73.8 ( = 0.33 x 5.79 x 2.91 in)
Battery
11.4 Wh, 3000 mAh Lithium-Ion
Operating System
Android 6.0 Marshmallow
Camera
Primary Camera: 13 MPix f/​2.0, AF, LED flash, videos @1080p/​30fps
Secondary Camera: 8 MPix f/​2.0
Additional features
Speakers: speaker on lower edge, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, HiCare, Health, phone manager, compass, file manager, 24 Months Warranty, FM radio, fanless
Weight
156 g ( = 5.5 oz / 0.34 pounds), Power Supply: 47 g ( = 1.66 oz / 0.1 pounds)
Price
199 Euro

 

Case

It is obvious that the casing has been designed very ergonomically when holding Honor's 5C. All edges are curved and the smartphone is pleasant to hold. However, Honor's 5C is rather slippery due to the relatively sleek surfaces. With a weight of 156 grams (~5.5 oz), the smartphone is not a lightweight compared with other handsets. Nevertheless, it did not seem heavy or too light.

The casing's back is made of brushed aluminum. It cannot be opened and the battery cannot be removed. Both nano-SIM slots, one of which can be used with a micro-SD card, are accessed with the included tool for pulling out the tray on the casing's side.

The casing is available in three colors: overall gold, silver with a white front, and gray with a black front.

Connectivity

16 GB of storage and 2 GB of RAM are standard in the price range; OnePlus' X offers slightly more working memory. FM radio can be received on Honor's 5C, and NFC is also present. USB OTG, i.e. option for connecting external storage devices, is not supported.

The micro-SD reader supports cards of up to 128 GB, but one of the two SIM slots will have to be sacrificed for it.

Left: SIM and micro-SD slot
Left: SIM and micro-SD slot
Right: Volume control, standby button
Right: Volume control, standby button
Upper edge: 3.5 mm combo audio jack
Upper edge: 3.5 mm combo audio jack
Lower edge: Speaker, micro-USB port
Lower edge: Speaker, micro-USB port

Software

The operating system of our review sample is based on Android 6.0. The security patches are from the 1st of May, 2016. Honor covers it with Huawei's own EMUI 4.1 user interface that modifies the looks significantly. The software is nice to use. However, it is a matter of taste whether the user finds it better than standard Android - we found some things, such as the settings and pull-down menu rather more complicated.

The manufacturer has also installed a number of additional apps, which will probably not appeal to purists. Besides games, a number of social media apps and tools such as a compass or mirror app for the front-facing camera, Huawei's apps "Design", "Phone Manager" and health and fitness apps are preloaded. Sometimes we found the handling rather user-unfriendly here. For example, things such as the display background are easier to change in the setting than via the "Designs" app. Furthermore, some app functions already exist in Android in other places.

Communication & GPS

Wi-Fi test client
Wi-Fi test client
Wi-Fi test server
Wi-Fi test server

Honor's 5C communicates with mobile networks via GSM, UMTS and LTE. Although the five LTE bands are sufficient in Europe, it will probably be impossible to access networks in other regions of the world, particularly since only two UMTS frequencies and four GSM frequencies are supported. The reception was good in both indoors and outdoors in an urban area.

The Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n standards are available for accessing networks. Thus, it is not possible to use the 5 GHz frequency range. We tested the reception with a new standardized Wi-Fi test that will also be used for all future tests: The Linksys EA 8500 is used as the reference router. We position the handset exactly one meter (~3 ft) away from it and use the iPerf and jPerf test tools. The transmission rates are considerably lower when the performance of Honor's 5C is compared with premium smartphones such as Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge or Huawei's P9. However, our handset does not support 802.11 ac that makes much higher speeds possible. Nevertheless, the graphs clearly illustrate that the transmission rates of Honor's 5C fluctuate significantly.

Subjectively, in the practical test, websites opened at an average speed near the router (FritzBox 6490) at full reception strength. The page opened at roughly the same speed at a distance of ten meters (~33 ft) and through three walls; the full reception strength was maintained.

Honor 5C
Mali-T830 MP2, Kirin 650, 16 GB eMMC Flash
Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
Mali-T880 MP12, 8890 Octa, 32 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
Huawei P9
Mali-T880 MP4, Kirin 955, 32 GB eMMC Flash
Networking
453%
326%
iperf Server (receive) TCP 1 m
49.8
303
508%
249
400%
iperf Client (transmit) TCP 1 m
58.3
290
397%
205
252%
GPS test indoors
GPS test indoors
GPS test outdoors
GPS test outdoors

Although the GPS module could not track us indoors, some satellites were found. It took a moment before our position was found with an accuracy of five meters (~16 ft) outdoors.

We took Honor's 5C and Garmin's Edge 500 professional navigation system on a mountain bike ride to gather practical results. The route measured by both devices deviates by 250 meters (~273 yd) at the end. Although this is not yet critical, it is quite a difference. Overall, the accuracy of the professional navigation system seems higher; Honor's 5C clearly deviates from the driven route in some places. Straight paths are often curved. However, overall, the GPS module does a good job and it is quite suitable for private use.

GPS Garmin Edge 500: Overview
GPS Garmin Edge 500: Overview
GPS Garmin Edge 500: Crossing
GPS Garmin Edge 500: Crossing
GPS Garmin Edge 500: Riverside
GPS Garmin Edge 500: Riverside
GPS Honor 5C: Overview
GPS Honor 5C: Overview
GPS Honor 5C: Crossing
GPS Honor 5C: Crossing
GPS Honor 5C: Riverside
GPS Honor 5C: Riverside

Telephone & Call Quality

Huawei has also modified Google's standard phone app slightly. The design is more angled. The keypad appears right after it is opened, and recent calls are displayed above it. Contacts and favorites can be accessed via two tabs.

We quite liked the call quality: The earpiece can get very loud, but it does not distort audibly. Voices sounded pleasant and clear. The microphone is also good, and transmitted our voice clearly and relatively naturally to the other end. However, unfortunately it had problems with quiet tones. Thus, the user had to speak rather louder before the call quality of Honor's 5C impressed us.

Cameras

Photo: Front-facing camera
Photo: Front-facing camera

Honor's 5C has a 13 megapixel camera with auto focus and LED flash on the rear in the standard configuration. However, the photo quality did really impress us. Compared with the camera in the Galaxy S7 Edge, we liked the photos taken with Honor's 5C better since the photos of the premium handset look too sharp. The iPhone 6s Plus offers more details and its sharpness is more pleasant. The color reproduction of Honor's 5C also appealed to us: It is perhaps slightly too yellow, but it conveys a relatively warm impression. Honor's 5C also deals quite well with back light. On the other hand, the more expensive devices have a clear advantage in low-light conditions. The photos of Honor's 5C quickly look blurry and out of focus.

Videos can be recorded in 1080 at 30 frames per second with the rear-facing camera. We also liked the image quality here, and the colors are displayed in warm tones.

The front-facing camera offers a generous 8 megapixels, reproduces colors well and achieves good image sharpness. Overall, both cameras surprised us pleasantly; problems only evolved in low-light conditions without flash.

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

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We additionally analyze the camera's colors and image sharpness with a standardized reference photo and color card that we photograph. It is seen that the colors are too dark compared with the reference, and that white has a visible beige tint which confirms our observation of very warm color tones.

The image sharpness and reproduction in our reference photo are good, and details also look sharp. However, the edges are clearly blurred. Colored areas also look slightly spotty in the zoomed photo.

Photo of reference card
Photo of reference card
Reference card (detail)
Reference card (detail)
Screenshot of ColorChecker colors. Reference colors are displayed in the lower half of each patch.
Screenshot of ColorChecker colors. Reference colors are displayed in the lower half of each patch.

Accessories & Warranty

Honor ships the smartphone with a charger, USB cable, an in-ear headset and a SIM tool. Other accessories specifically made for Honor's 5C are not currently available. However, a stylish Bluetooth speaker for 30 Euros (~$33) or Honor's own selfie stick for 20 Euros (~$22) can be found in the manufacturer's own VMall.

A 24-month warranty is included, which is just as long as the retailer's legal warranty period.

Input Devices & Handling

Huawei preloads its "Huawei Swype" keyboard by default. "SwiftKey" is also on the system and of course Google's standard keyboard can be enabled. Huawei's keyboard did not impress us in the practical test since the small keys often led to typos in practical use. We also found the keyboard too cluttered with double assignments, which made it very confusing. However, this is a matter of taste and it is always possible to swap the input device for another one.

The touchscreen responded very quickly to our inputs and is very accurate into the corners. The menu keys are implemented as software buttons. The volume control and power button are situated on the right. The finger can find them easily and they have a relatively clear pressure point.

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

Display

The 5.2-inch Full HD panel based on IPS technology that Honor has installed in the 5C is certainly a highlight in this price range. It is very bright with an average of 498.4 cd/m² and also very homogeneously illuminated with 93%. Honor's 5C achieves a maximum of only 490 cd/m² in the practical APL50 test, but this is still very bright. The maximum brightness is maintained with the sensor.

509
cd/m²
497
cd/m²
481
cd/m²
491
cd/m²
515
cd/m²
505
cd/m²
492
cd/m²
497
cd/m²
499
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 515 cd/m² Average: 498.4 cd/m² Minimum: 5.75 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 93 %
Center on Battery: 515 cd/m²
Contrast: 1051:1 (Black: 0.49 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 6.2 | 0.8-29.43 Ø6.3
ΔE Greyscale 7.4 | 0.64-98 Ø6.6
Gamma: 2.28
Honor 5C
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.2
HTC Desire 530
IPS, 1280x720, 5
LG X Screen
IPS, 1280x720, 5
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
AMOLED, 1280x720, 5.2
OnePlus X
Active Matrix OLED, 1920x1080, 5
Huawei P9 Lite
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.2
Honor 5X
IPS, 1920x1080, 5.5
Screen
7%
-5%
6%
-18%
2%
13%
Brightness middle
515
375
-27%
392
-24%
289
-44%
312
-39%
505
-2%
535
4%
Brightness
498
376
-24%
376
-24%
291
-42%
314
-37%
468
-6%
521
5%
Brightness Distribution
93
91
-2%
90
-3%
96
3%
91
-2%
88
-5%
85
-9%
Black Level *
0.49
0.32
35%
0.27
45%
0.74
-51%
0.43
12%
Contrast
1051
1172
12%
1452
38%
682
-35%
1244
18%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
6.2
6
3%
7.5
-21%
4.7
24%
6.28
-1%
4.1
34%
4.88
21%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
11.4
9.5
17%
13.1
-15%
7.3
36%
5.8
49%
8.66
24%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
7.4
4.5
39%
9.9
-34%
3
59%
8.24
-11%
4.9
34%
5.2
30%
Gamma
2.28 105%
2.26 106%
2.07 116%
2.03 118%
2.12 113%
2.5 96%
2.26 106%
CCT
8664 75%
6975 93%
9704 67%
6291 103%
8145 80%
7116 91%
7766 84%

* ... smaller is better

The contrast of 1051:1 is quite decent, but the black level of 0.49 cd/m² is higher than those of the comparison devices. Naturally, the Galaxy J5 and OnePlus X  stand out here since both use AMOLED screens and can thus display absolute black.

The tests using the spectrophotometer and CalMAN software deliver details about color reproduction. Since it is possible to set the color temperature either manually or with predefined "warm" and "cool" profiles, we also test these settings. A strong bluish tint is visible in the "standard" color profile, and bright tones and white are clearly falsified. This is logically even stronger in the "cool" color profile. The color deviations are also greatest here. This turns into a somewhat weaker greenish tint in the "warm" color profile. The panel is not suitable for professionals. Users should not rely too much on the displayed colors when checking photos either.

CalMAN ColorChecker: Standard
CalMAN ColorChecker: Standard
CalMAN Colorspace: Standard
CalMAN Colorspace: Standard
CalMAN Grayscale: Standard
CalMAN Grayscale: Standard
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps: Standard
CalMAN Saturation Sweeps: Standard
CalMAN Grayscale: Cool
CalMAN Grayscale: Cool
CalMAN ColorChecker: Cool
CalMAN ColorChecker: Cool
CalMAN ColorChecker: Warm
CalMAN ColorChecker: Warm
CalMAN Grayscale: Warm
CalMAN Grayscale: Warm

The measured response times are decent. Furthermore, the screen does not utilize pulse width modulation for dimming the brightness.

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
23 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 10.8 ms rise
↘ 11.2 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 26 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (26 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
28.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 12.4 ms rise
↘ 16 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 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 12 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is better than the average of all tested devices (41.6 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: 54 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 10727 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 588200) Hz was measured.

The screen's high brightness allows using the smartphone in the outdoors. However, the eyes have to cope with stressing reflections in bright surroundings. Direct sunlight is also too much for the very bright screen. Displayed contents are again quite legible as soon as the smartphone is tilted away slightly from the sunlight.

The viewing angle stability is also good thanks to the IPS technology. The image remains quite visible even from very flat angles.

Outdoors, minimum brightness
Outdoors, minimum brightness
Outdoors, maximum brightness
Outdoors, maximum brightness
Viewing angles
Viewing angles

Performance

Standard chips like everyone has? This does not come into question for Huawei, and consequently not for its subsidiary Honor. In-house SoCs are a must, and it is the new HiSilicon Kirin 650 that is also found, for example, in Huawei's P9 Lite. It offers enough performance reserves for most tasks, is built in the 16 nanometer process, and therefore works quite efficiently. The eight cores are divided into two clusters of 1.7 GHz and 2.0 GHz.

Honor's 5C can clearly outperform most equally-priced devices. The achieved scores are double or higher in some benchmarks compared with Samsung's Galaxy J5HTC's Desire 530 and LG's X ScreenOnePlus' X can keep up, and is usually roughly on par with our review sample.

The graphics unit is also much faster than those in the comparison devices, or somewhat slower than the Adreno 330 in OnePlus' X. The graphics solution in our review sample is an ARM Mali-T830 MP2 that clocks at up to 600 MHz.

AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Honor 5C
53143 Points ∼23%
OnePlus X
52463 Points ∼23% -1%
HTC Desire 530
23561 Points ∼10% -56%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
27232 Points ∼12% -49%
LG X Screen
22955 Points ∼10% -57%
Huawei P9 Lite
50366 Points ∼22% -5%
Honor 5X
37152 Points ∼16% -30%
Geekbench 3
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Honor 5C
3914 Points ∼10%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
1425 Points ∼4% -64%
LG X Screen
1436 Points ∼4% -63%
Huawei P9 Lite
3768 Points ∼10% -4%
Honor 5X
3047 Points ∼8% -22%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Honor 5C
906 Points ∼18%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
473 Points ∼10% -48%
LG X Screen
473 Points ∼10% -48%
Huawei P9 Lite
883 Points ∼18% -3%
Honor 5X
698 Points ∼14% -23%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Honor 5C
1440 Points ∼40%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited Graphics (sort by value)
Honor 5C
303 Points ∼4%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Unlimited (sort by value)
Honor 5C
367 Points ∼7%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
Honor 5C
1418 Points ∼39%
Huawei P9 Lite
1370 Points ∼37% -3%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
Honor 5C
317 Points ∼6%
Huawei P9 Lite
305 Points ∼6% -4%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
Honor 5C
383 Points ∼8%
Huawei P9 Lite
369 Points ∼8% -4%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Honor 5C
1418 Points ∼39%
OnePlus X
1117 Points ∼31% -21%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
709 Points ∼19% -50%
LG X Screen
716 Points ∼20% -50%
Huawei P9 Lite
1373 Points ∼38% -3%
Honor 5X
1089 Points ∼30% -23%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Honor 5C
480 Points ∼6%
OnePlus X
643 Points ∼8% +34%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
42 Points ∼1% -91%
LG X Screen
42 Points ∼1% -91%
Huawei P9 Lite
473 Points ∼6% -1%
Honor 5X
103 Points ∼1% -79%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Honor 5C
563 Points ∼9%
OnePlus X
710 Points ∼11% +26%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
53 Points ∼1% -91%
LG X Screen
53 Points ∼1% -91%
Huawei P9 Lite
554 Points ∼9% -2%
Honor 5X
129 Points ∼2% -77%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Honor 5C
13588 Points ∼17%
OnePlus X
17156 Points ∼22% +26%
HTC Desire 530
6583 Points ∼8% -52%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
9022 Points ∼11% -34%
LG X Screen
9033 Points ∼11% -34%
Huawei P9 Lite
13676 Points ∼17% +1%
Honor 5X
8174 Points ∼10% -40%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Honor 5C
11319 Points ∼2%
OnePlus X
14541 Points ∼3% +28%
HTC Desire 530
3871 Points ∼1% -66%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
3838 Points ∼1% -66%
LG X Screen
3791 Points ∼1% -67%
Huawei P9 Lite
11318 Points ∼2% 0%
Honor 5X
7764 Points ∼2% -31%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Honor 5C
11755 Points ∼6%
OnePlus X
15051 Points ∼7% +28%
HTC Desire 530
4261 Points ∼2% -64%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
4400 Points ∼2% -63%
LG X Screen
4352 Points ∼2% -63%
Huawei P9 Lite
11769 Points ∼6% 0%
Honor 5X
7852 Points ∼4% -33%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Honor 5C
19 fps ∼1%
OnePlus X
21 fps ∼1% +11%
HTC Desire 530
4.8 fps ∼0% -75%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
5.2 fps ∼0% -73%
LG X Screen
5.1 fps ∼0% -73%
Huawei P9 Lite
19 fps ∼1% 0%
Honor 5X
14 fps ∼1% -26%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Honor 5C
20 fps ∼4%
OnePlus X
23 fps ∼5% +15%
HTC Desire 530
8.9 fps ∼2% -55%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
9.7 fps ∼2% -51%
LG X Screen
9.6 fps ∼2% -52%
Huawei P9 Lite
19 fps ∼4% -5%
Honor 5X
14 fps ∼3% -30%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Honor 5C
7.9 fps ∼1%
OnePlus X
8.6 fps ∼2% +9%
HTC Desire 530
1.7 fps ∼0% -78%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
1.8 fps ∼0% -77%
LG X Screen
1.8 fps ∼0% -77%
Huawei P9 Lite
7.8 fps ∼1% -1%
Honor 5X
5.4 fps ∼1% -32%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Honor 5C
8.4 fps ∼2%
OnePlus X
10 fps ∼3% +19%
HTC Desire 530
4 fps ∼1% -52%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
3.8 fps ∼1% -55%
LG X Screen
4 fps ∼1% -52%
Huawei P9 Lite
8.4 fps ∼2% 0%
Honor 5X
5.9 fps ∼2% -30%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Honor 5C
4.5 fps ∼1%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
fps ∼0% -100%
Huawei P9 Lite
4.5 fps ∼1% 0%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Honor 5C
4.9 fps ∼3%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
fps ∼0% -100%
Huawei P9 Lite
4.9 fps ∼3% 0%
PCMark for Android - Work performance score (sort by value)
Honor 5C
5120 Points ∼50%
OnePlus X
4450 Points ∼43% -13%
HTC Desire 530
2922 Points ∼28% -43%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
4126 Points ∼40% -19%
LG X Screen
4031 Points ∼39% -21%
Huawei P9 Lite
5339 Points ∼52% +4%
Honor 5X
3794 Points ∼37% -26%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Honor 5C
707 Points ∼42%
OnePlus X
843 Points ∼50% +19%
HTC Desire 530
10 Points ∼1% -99%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
551 Points ∼32% -22%
LG X Screen
491 Points ∼29% -31%
Huawei P9 Lite
765 Points ∼45% +8%
Honor 5X
9 Points ∼1% -99%
Graphics (sort by value)
Honor 5C
814 Points ∼9%
OnePlus X
1975 Points ∼21% +143%
HTC Desire 530
231 Points ∼2% -72%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
312 Points ∼3% -62%
LG X Screen
302 Points ∼3% -63%
Huawei P9 Lite
818 Points ∼9% 0%
Honor 5X
763 Points ∼8% -6%
Memory (sort by value)
Honor 5C
1504 Points ∼34%
OnePlus X
662 Points ∼15% -56%
HTC Desire 530
300 Points ∼7% -80%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
643 Points ∼15% -57%
LG X Screen
491 Points ∼11% -67%
Huawei P9 Lite
1346 Points ∼30% -11%
Honor 5X
787 Points ∼18% -48%
System (sort by value)
Honor 5C
2600 Points ∼25%
OnePlus X
2225 Points ∼22% -14%
HTC Desire 530
742 Points ∼7% -71%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
1060 Points ∼10% -59%
LG X Screen
1011 Points ∼10% -61%
Huawei P9 Lite
2438 Points ∼24% -6%
Honor 5X
1378 Points ∼13% -47%
Overall (sort by value)
Honor 5C
1225 Points ∼28%
OnePlus X
1252 Points ∼29% +2%
HTC Desire 530
149 Points ∼3% -88%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
585 Points ∼14% -52%
LG X Screen
521 Points ∼12% -57%
Huawei P9 Lite
1197 Points ∼28% -2%
Honor 5X
297 Points ∼7% -76%

Legend

 
Honor 5C HiSilicon Kirin 650, ARM Mali-T830 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
OnePlus X Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 MSM8974AA, Qualcomm Adreno 330, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
HTC Desire 530 Qualcomm Snapdragon 210 MSM8909, Qualcomm Adreno 304, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016 Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
LG X Screen Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 MSM8916, Qualcomm Adreno 306, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Huawei P9 Lite HiSilicon Kirin 650, ARM Mali-T830 MP2, 16 GB eMMC Flash
 
Honor 5X Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 MSM8939v2, Qualcomm Adreno 405, 16 GB eMMC Flash

A very similar impression evolves in Internet browsing. Honor's 5C loads intricate websites faster than most comparison devices from this price range. However, OnePlus does a slightly better job here again.

Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score (sort by value)
Honor 5C
9111.2 ms * ∼15%
OnePlus X
7264.1 ms * ∼12% +20%
HTC Desire 530
17470.6 ms * ∼29% -92%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
13046 ms * ∼22% -43%
LG X Screen
12879.8 ms * ∼22% -41%
Honor 5X
12510 ms * ∼21% -37%
Huawei P9 Lite
9396.5 ms * ∼16% -3%
Octane V2 - Total Score (sort by value)
Honor 5C
4188 Points ∼8%
OnePlus X
4810 Points ∼10% +15%
HTC Desire 530
1796 Points ∼4% -57%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
2730 Points ∼6% -35%
LG X Screen
2650 Points ∼5% -37%
Honor 5X
3595 Points ∼7% -14%
Huawei P9 Lite
4756 Points ∼10% +14%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score (sort by value)
Honor 5C
73 Points ∼9%
OnePlus X
85 Points ∼11% +16%
HTC Desire 530
34 Points ∼4% -53%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
47 Points ∼6% -36%
Honor 5X
65 Points ∼8% -11%
Huawei P9 Lite
67 Points ∼8% -8%
JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score (sort by value)
Honor 5C
27.934 Points ∼8%
OnePlus X
28 Points ∼8% 0%
HTC Desire 530
12.1 Points ∼4% -57%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
16.8 Points ∼5% -40%
LG X Screen
15.666 Points ∼5% -44%
Honor 5X
21.92 Points ∼7% -22%
Huawei P9 Lite
29.03 Points ∼9% +4%

* ... smaller is better

Unfortunately, the 16 GB of internal storage is packed with preloaded bloatware with very little storage space remaining. It outperforms the comparison devices many times over in random read, and it also has a clear lead in all other sectors.

We test accessing the micro-SD card with our Toshiba Exceria Pro M401 (THN-M401S0640E2) reference card that accomplishes a maximum of 95 MB per second in read and 80 MB per second in write. Honor's 5C is far  from these maximum speeds, and does not come close to the very fast micro-SD card reader in Samsung's Galaxy J5. Overall, the reader's speed is situated midfield.

AndroBench 3-5
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Honor 5C
24.21 MB/s ∼28%
HTC Desire 530
18.22 MB/s ∼21% -25%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
46.61 MB/s ∼53% +93%
LG X Screen
46.95 MB/s ∼54% +94%
Huawei P9 Lite
25.1 MB/s ∼29% +4%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard (sort by value)
Honor 5C
51.93 MB/s ∼54%
HTC Desire 530
35.56 MB/s ∼37% -32%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
79.83 MB/s ∼83% +54%
LG X Screen
75.3 MB/s ∼78% +45%
Huawei P9 Lite
60.81 MB/s ∼63% +17%
Random Write 4KB (sort by value)
Honor 5C
15.7 MB/s ∼10%
OnePlus X
14.22 MB/s ∼9% -9%
HTC Desire 530
8.96 MB/s ∼5% -43%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
11.6 MB/s ∼7% -26%
LG X Screen
8 MB/s ∼5% -49%
Honor 5X
10 MB/s ∼6% -36%
Huawei P9 Lite
15.35 MB/s ∼9% -2%
Random Read 4KB (sort by value)
Honor 5C
61.7 MB/s ∼36%
OnePlus X
16.31 MB/s ∼9% -74%
HTC Desire 530
11.82 MB/s ∼7% -81%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
21 MB/s ∼12% -66%
LG X Screen
10 MB/s ∼6% -84%
Honor 5X
17 MB/s ∼10% -72%
Huawei P9 Lite
38.22 MB/s ∼22% -38%
Sequential Write 256KB (sort by value)
Honor 5C
75.5 MB/s ∼35%
OnePlus X
49.31 MB/s ∼23% -35%
HTC Desire 530
55.76 MB/s ∼26% -26%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
72 MB/s ∼33% -5%
LG X Screen
72 MB/s ∼33% -5%
Honor 5X
78 MB/s ∼36% +3%
Huawei P9 Lite
46.24 MB/s ∼21% -39%
Sequential Read 256KB (sort by value)
Honor 5C
263 MB/s ∼32%
OnePlus X
235.51 MB/s ∼28% -10%
HTC Desire 530
126.99 MB/s ∼15% -52%
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
147 MB/s ∼18% -44%
LG X Screen
131 MB/s ∼16% -50%
Honor 5X
144 MB/s ∼17% -45%
Huawei P9 Lite
283.55 MB/s ∼34% +8%

Games

Even demanding games such as "Asphalt 8: Airborne" can still be played smoothly at 26 frames in high settings - despite the screen's Full HD resolution. Control via touchscreen and position sensor functions accurately, reliably, and without delays.

"Asphalt 8: Airborne"
"Asphalt 8: Airborne"
"Dead Trigger 2"
"Dead Trigger 2"
Asphalt 8: Airborne
 SettingsValue
 high26 fps
Dead Trigger 2
 SettingsValue
 high30 fps

Emissions

GFXBench battery test
GFXBench battery test

Temperature

The temperatures on the smartphone's front are clearly increased during load: We measured a maximum of 42.2 degrees Celsius (~108 degrees Fahrenheit), and this, on the lower edge where the menu buttons are found of all places. It is naturally good that the rear remains much cooler since that is the largest area touched when holding the handset. The temperatures are very limited locally and decrease toward the upper edge.

The smartphone's front lower area is still warm in idle mode; the upper and back areas do not heat up noticeably.

Can the smartphone uphold its performance even after a prolonged load period? The GFXBench battery test says "yes". The same sequence is rendered 30 times and the frame rate is logged. It remains stable within a range of a few frames.

Heat map front
Heat map front
Heat map rear
Heat map rear
Max. Load
 38.4 °C38.1 °C40.9 °C 
 38.4 °C38.1 °C42.2 °C 
 37.3 °C37.6 °C40.2 °C 
Maximum: 42.2 °C
Average: 39 °C
33.8 °C34.6 °C35.9 °C
34.4 °C35.2 °C35.6 °C
34.4 °C35.1 °C35.5 °C
Maximum: 35.9 °C
Average: 34.9 °C
Power Supply (max.)  36.3 °C | Room Temperature 21.4 °C | Voltcraft IR-260
The maximum temp on the upper side is 42.2 °C, compared to the average of 35.9 °C ranging from 21.1 °C to 71 °C for class Smartphone.

Speaker

"Pink Noise" speaker test
"Pink Noise" speaker test

The speaker situated on the lower edge behind the right-hand dotted grille in Honor's 5C can reach a volume of 87.9 dB(A). This is quite decent, and the sound is also better than in some other low-cost smartphones. Of course, the handset cannot match the sound of more expensive devices such as HTC's 10 or Sony's Xperia Z5. OnePlus' X also offers a better sound.

However, since the sound is not too tinny, and mids and trebles are fairly balanced and transmitting voice also functions quite well, the speaker is quite suitable for everyday use. Furthermore, a clear audio signal is transmitted via the 3.5 mm audio jack and Bluetooth for external speakers or headphones.

Energy Management

Unfortunately, Honor's 5C is not very restrained in terms of power consumption. The consumption rates in both turned off state and standby are still acceptable, but our review sample required over two watts on average in idle mode. It climbed up to 5.18 watts during load. The similarly strong OnePlus X, for example, is considerably more moderate.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.14 / 0.27 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 0.89 / 2.07 / 2.15 Watt
Load midlight 3.46 / 5.18 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Gossen Metrahit Energy
Honor 5C
3000 mAh
HTC Desire 530
2200 mAh
OnePlus X
 mAh
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
3100 mAh
Huawei P9 Lite
3000 mAh
Honor 5X
3000 mAh
Power Consumption
-37%
37%
32%
0%
-15%
Idle Minimum *
0.89
1.58
-78%
0.6
33%
0.61
31%
0.73
18%
0.87
2%
Idle Average *
2.07
2.59
-25%
0.91
56%
1.41
32%
2.09
-1%
2.08
-0%
Idle Maximum *
2.15
2.66
-24%
1.12
48%
1.51
30%
2.11
2%
2.22
-3%
Load Average *
3.46
5.22
-51%
3.04
12%
2.56
26%
4.15
-20%
5.26
-52%
Load Maximum *
5.18
5.67
-9%
3.2
38%
3.1
40%
5.05
3%
6.34
-22%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

Honor's 5C primarily owes its good runtimes to its generously sized battery of 11.4 Wh. Thus, it lasts 9:44 hours in the practical Wi-Fi test. This should easily get the user through a work day even when continuously used. The smartphone is depleted quickly during load. Samsung's Galaxy J5 does a better job with one hour more of runtime in the Wi-Fi test and long load runtimes. Overall, Honor's 5C offers a good battery life that definitely makes two days of use without recharging quite realistic.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
16h 37min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
9h 44min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
10h 02min
Load (maximum brightness)
2h 36min
Honor 5C
3000 mAh
LG X Screen
2300 mAh
HTC Desire 530
2200 mAh
OnePlus X
 mAh
Samsung Galaxy J5 2016
3100 mAh
Honor 5X
3000 mAh
Huawei P9 Lite
3000 mAh
Battery Runtime
2%
5%
23%
59%
2%
28%
Reader / Idle
997
976
-2%
1117
12%
968
-3%
1599
60%
1053
6%
1404
41%
H.264
602
457
-24%
514
-15%
658
9%
602
0%
568
-6%
WiFi v1.3
584
553
-5%
425
-27%
549
-6%
643
10%
643
10%
604
3%
Load
156
177
13%
250
60%
339
117%
402
158%
144
-8%
272
74%

Pros

+ superb Full HD panel
+ price-performance
+ decent photos in bright light
+ modern Android
+ NFC
+ high performance
+ good call quality
+ useful battery life
+ dual-SIM

Cons

- sleek casing
- non-removable battery
- either second SIM or micro-SD
- no USB OTG
- no App2SD
- limited wireless frequencies
- a lot of bloatware
- poor camera quality in low-light
- relatively heavy

Verdict

In review: Honor 5C. Review sample courtesy of Honor Germany.
In review: Honor 5C. Review sample courtesy of Honor Germany.

OnePlus' X was quite a sensation among affordable mid-range smartphones at the time. Honor's 5C is no less surprising: High-quality components are hidden behind the naked and at a first glance not really spectacular specifications, which make our review sample a rival for considerably higher priced devices.

Example 1 - the camera: The photos look sharp, but not too sharp, offer good color reproduction and the front-facing camera also takes decent selfies. Although gimmicks such as 4 K videos are not available and the camera does not shine in low-light conditions, it nevertheless presents a great performance for the price range.

Example 2 - the screen: Full HD, high brightness, IPS - what more could we want especially as long as the three figured price still starts with a "1". Of course, the black level could be lower and a bluish tint is visible, but that is also acceptable in this price range. The high performance, large battery and decent call quality are also plus points.

Honor's 5C is a worthy and affordable rival for OnePlus' X. Our review sample clearly surpasses what is expected from this price range, particularly in terms of component quality.

Users who often need their smartphone on other continents will not get far with the few wireless networks. Buyers who want high-speed Wi-Fi will also be disappointed. Furthermore, the battery cannot be removed. Dual-SIM is nice to have, but having to choose between a second SIM or a micro-SD card is also unfortunate.

Then again, we are in a price region of under 200 Euros (~$223), and here the price-performance ratio of Honor's 5C is currently simply unbeatable. A clear purchase recommendation.

Honor 5C - 07/06/2016 v5.1
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
86%
Keyboard
60 / 75 → 80%
Pointing Device
93%
Connectivity
39 / 60 → 66%
Weight
92%
Battery
92%
Display
84%
Games Performance
25 / 63 → 40%
Application Performance
48 / 70 → 69%
Temperature
85%
Noise
100%
Audio
60 / 91 → 66%
Camera
73%
Average
72%
84%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Honor 5C Smartphone Review
Florian Wimmer, 2016-07-11 (Update: 2018-05-15)