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Honor 5X review: solid specs, incredible price

AndroidPIT honor 5x 2
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Huawei's Honor 7 was the price-performance miracle of 2015, and the follow-up, the Honor 5X, is being sold at an even more attractive price. It's also the company's first phone to officially launch in the US. In our Honor 5X review, we look at what this new competitor has on the likes of the Moto X Play and Huawei GX8, and whether it belies its low price.

Honor 5X


  • Good battery life
  • Good build quality and feel
  • Cheap


  • Average camera
Honor 5X
Honor 5X
Honor 5X: All deals

Honor 5X release date and price

Honor introduced the 5X at CES in Las Vegas in January. What caused a stir was the device’s pricing – it's being sold for a mere US$199. Similarly equipped smartphones, such as the Motorola Moto X Play or Huawei GX8, cost more than US$300.

The Honor 5X is priced similarly to the Moto G (2014), but promises performance on the level of the Moto X Play.

The Honor 5X is now available to order in the US through AmazonNewegg and HiHonor.


Honor 5X design and build quality

The Honor 5X impresses from the moment you pick it up. It's visually similar to the Nexus 6P or Huawei Mate 8, but it doesn’t quite feel like a premium flagship. In that respect it's more comparable to the Honor 7; it has the same polished bevelled edges leading into the frame.

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All of the Honor 5X's buttons are located on the right side of the frame. / © ANDROIDPIT

The power button and volume rocker are well-placed on the left-hand side of the phone. The Honor 5X weighs less than you'd expect for a 5.5-inch smartphone: 158 g. By comparison, the nearly identically equipped Huawei GX8 weighs 167 g.

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The upper and lower edges of the back of the Honor 5X are made of plastic to ensure that the antennas can receive a clear signal. / © ANDROIDPIT

On the left side there are two slots: one is a dual-SIM slot and the other is for microSD cards. The Honor 7 only has one slot, meaning you have to decide whether to use two SIM cards or pair a SIM with a microSD card. The Honor 5X’s arrangement means that it is possible to house two SIM cards and a microSD card in the device simultaneously.

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The dual SIM and the memory expansion options can be used in parallel. / © ANDROIDPIT

Honor 5X display

The Honor 5X has a 5.5-inch full HD display using IPS technology, which gives it a pixel density of 401 ppi. While there are smartphones with higher resolutions and thus higher pixel densities, they don’t offer any clear advantage over the Honor 5X display.

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The 5.5-inch IPS screen is bright and sharp. The viewing angles are also very good. / © ANDROIDPIT

The Full HD display is consistently sharp and viewing angles are good, although the protective film seems to attract fingerprints. This film can be removed, at the expense of scratch protection – the display is not made of Gorilla glass or other reinforced glass.

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Look closely and you'll see the protective film around the speaker and the front camera. / © ANDROIDPIT

Honor 5X special features

The Honor 5X is a dual-SIM device, has a microSD reader and a fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint scanner, in particular, makes the Honor 5X unique in its price range.

AndroidPIT honor 5x 3
The Honor 5X is the only smartphone in this price range to have fingerprint scanner. / © ANDROIDPIT

The two SIM brackets are different. One holds a nano-SIM, the other takes a micro-SIM. This makes the phone ideal for newcomers, who might not have a nano-SIM. Only one of the two SIM cards can be used for LTE operation, and you can determine which SIM the device should use in the software settings.

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Unlike the Honor 7, the Honor 5X can hold two SIM cards and a microSD card. / © ANDROIDPIT

The fingerprint scanner doesn't take long to configure and it unlocks the device quickly and accurately. It is also possible to configure it for other functions in the settings.

Seven actions can be activated, ranging from answering calls or taking a photo to opening the notifications panel or recent apps: just about everything is doable.

Honor 5x Fingersensor
The fingerprint sensor can be configured for additional actions in the settings. / © ANDROIDPIT

Honor 5X software

Our Honor 5X was running EMUI 3.1, which is based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. Honor has already confirmed that an update to Android 6.0 marshmallow will be along shortly.

To find out what to expect from the combination Android 6.0 Marshmallow and EMUI 4.0, take a look at the Software section of our Honor 7 review.

Honor 5x emui software
An update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow and EMUI 4.0 is on the way. / © ANDROIDPIT

We have already reported in numerous reviews, such as those of the Huawei P8, Mate S and the Honor 7, on the features that EMUI brings. Nothing has changed from these versions of EMUI to the one found on the Honor 5X.

As is often noted, Huawei and Honor devices do not feature an app drawer; instead, all apps are placed on the home screen. To maintain some order, you can group apps together in folders. If you’re not a fan of this approach, you could always download one of the numerous launchers from the Google Play Store. If you’re interested, you can take a look through our best Android launchers article.

The version of Android on offer here is, thankfully, protected against the Stagefright vulnerability.

honor 5x stagefright
No need to fear the Stagefright vulnerability: the Honor 5X is protected. / © ANDROIDPIT

Honor 5X performance

The Honor 5X is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 615, the same processor used in the Oppo R7 Plus and the Moto X Play. The Huawei G8 was also meant to have the same processor, but Honor’s parent company ultimately decided upon a slightly modified Snapdragon 616. The Honor 5X is unremarkably solid in specs when compared with its competitors.

Honor 5x Geekbench Antutu
The performance benchmarks are solid if not overwhelming. / © ANDROIDPIT

But the Honor 5X does have one key advantage: it is at least US$80 cheaper than the other phones mentioned above. 

Honor 5x vellamo
The Honor 5X ranked alongside the Lenovo A7000 in both the above tests. / © ANDROIDPIT

In everyday life, the smartphone behaves inconspicuously. This is meant positively, in as much as it does not suffer from the annoying stuttering and lag that is common on other devices. Apps, especially games, were quick to load.

Honor 5x basemark x medium
In our graphics-intensive test using Base Mark X 1.1, the Honor 5X delivers in the medium quality and... / © ANDROIDPIT
Honor 5x basemark x high
...scores acceptably well in the high-quality settings.   / © ANDROIDPIT

Honor 5X audio

The Honor 5X audio is good during calls, even in very noisy environments. The voice quality is clear and understandable, and we got no complaints from the other end of the line when we conducted some test calls.

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Those aren't stereo speakers. Only the holes on the left are used for audio.  / © ANDROIDPIT

If you want to use the Honor 5X for music, games or videos, you might find the audio a little lacking. It only has a mono speaker, which, despite being sufficiently loud, is placed unfavorably at the bottom of the smartphone's frame, meaning that it'll often be covered by your hand, especially when holding the device in landscape orientation.

Honor 5X camera

The main camera is similar to those of other Huawei smartphones. Both the GX8 and the Honor 5X pack a 13 MP rear camera and 5 MP front-facing camera. But, unlike the Huawei GX8, the Honor 5X has neither a dual LED flash nor optical image stabilization.

AndroidPIT honor 5x 11
The main camera of Honor 5X shoot photos up to 13 MP. Pity there's no optical image stabilization. / © ANDROIDPIT

The camera app bears the typical hallmarks of an EMUI app designed for the Asian market; in selfie mode, there is a slider to soften out wrinkles, for example. Otherwise, the app and all recording modes are identical to those of the Honor 7.

IMG 20160201 114811
With good lighting, the main camera captures strong 13 MP images. / © ANDROIDPIT

The image quality of the Honor 5X is highly dependent on the lighting conditions. As long as the light is good, both cameras capture good quality images with natural color reproduction. But in low light, noise increases sharply in the image.

IMG 20160201 115142
In artificial and low-light image noise picks up quickly, as seen on the green of our table football pitch. / © ANDROIDPIT

The quality of photos is fine for sharing on social network sites. If you’re serious about your smartphone photography, however, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Honor 5X battery

The Honor 5X carries a fairly average 3,000-mAh battery. In our AnTuTu test, it achieved a similar score to the Huawei GX8.

honor 5x battery benchmark
The AnTuTu test shows the Honor 5X to have nearly identical battery life to the Huawei GX8. / © ANDROIDPIT

The same picture is also reflected in the everyday use. With moderate use (frequent WhatsApping and emails, 30 minutes of phone calls, 30 minutes watching videos and playing games) the Honor 5X lasts a good day and a half.

If you reduce your use a little, you can easily squeeze two days out of it.

Honor 5X technical specifications

Early Verdict

The Honor 5X is an attractive smartphone with sturdy performance for its price range, a hearty battery life and agreeable camera performance. Specs-wise, there’s little to set it apart from its competitors, but when you consider it’s price, it has a clear advantage.

The Moto X Play costs around US$350, as does the Huawei GX8, and the Oppo R7 Plus sits at over US$400. At US$199, the Honor 5X is an absolute bargain and, therefore, sees four stars pinned to its chest at the end of its AndroidPIT review.

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  • $1,199.99
  • $999.99
  • $799.99
  • $1,799.99
  • $1,799.99
  • from $999.99
  • $999.99
  • $699.99
  • $449.99
Go to comment (12)
Shu On Kwok

Shu On Kwok
Senior Editor

Since 1999, Shu has written about the colorful world of IT and telecommunications. His career started as a presenter at the five-hour TV show NBC GIGA, which led him through several career stages until he finally joined the AndroidPIT team in May of 2015. His passion for mobile devices and gadgets knows no boundaries. Whether Android, iOS or Windows, Shu feels at home with any OS.

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  • 1
    Michael Brooks Mar 26, 2016 Link to comment

    In the long term...or short term as the case may be since it's now approaching three months of ownership, this phone is proving that 'cheap' is the key word when it comes to describing it. The first one was fantastic for all of two weeks when the battery would go from 100% to 38% within two minutes of unplugging it. After quite a fight with Huawei's customer service, they sent a replacement. That phone lasted about a month before it started having quirky battery problems as well (but nothing that would warrant a return), however the screen glitching out into assorted blocks of colors or simply not coming on did warrant a return...which again was a fight to get accomplished. Now I am on the third phone and this one gets a white line across the screen upon waking up, however Huawei technical support claims that this is normal across all devices. So while the phone may look nice and have decent specs for it's price. If you are a heavy user of text, email, twitter and phone calls, this is not the phone for you. I took a shot with this phone as I was not impressed with the current version of the Motorola G series (having had the very stout 4G LTE version prior to this phone). At this rate I think I'll either be replacing the Huawei 5x every month or so, or looking for something else that isn't insanely overpriced for a chunk of metal and plastic.

  • Xiaodong Qi 1
    Xiaodong Qi Feb 29, 2016 Link to comment

    A detailed user review can be found on the hihonor forum with drop tests. If you have a min, please register on the Huawei forum and vote up my review as user i2000s for my hardwork. Tomorrow is the deadline for voting. Thanks!

  • 1
    Techie from Trivandrum Feb 16, 2016 Link to comment

    in honor 5x open multiple options music,movie,messages and then again open new application. in that time remaining all application should run in back ground.after that if we try to open any of the application run in background half screen show black in color and not possible to open that application also. i thought that its an issue

  • 1
    Tom Smith Feb 12, 2016 Link to comment

    I just took the Honor 5x phone out of the box, plugged in the USB and the SIM card. Started the phone, and it is stuck at EMUI Huawei software installing Do not unplug usb or press any key! It's been at 0% and it is not moving. Anyone else had this problem?

  • Mobile Price 2
    Mobile Price Feb 11, 2016 Link to comment

    Hi there!

    #HiHonorIndia to give five Honor 5X smartphones away to five lucky winners!

    To Enter, Click: https//

  • Mobile Price 2
    Mobile Price Feb 11, 2016 Link to comment

    +Decent design and build
    +Great display
    +Reliable performance
    +Excellent fingerprint sensor

    -Average battery life
    -Software can be annoying
    -No wow factor

    • PATTERZ 9
      PATTERZ Feb 23, 2016 Link to comment

      Software can be hair tearing

  • Raj Rao 1
    Raj Rao Feb 8, 2016 Link to comment

    Yes this is very nice article and thanks for posting this informative article about Honor- 5x smartphone, It has a great features in minimal of cost. Great job.

  • Alex Garcia 12
    Alex Garcia Feb 8, 2016 Link to comment

    I'd buy to have as a backup
    No bull. It seems u can't go wrong with the price.

  • 10
    Abhyuday Feb 5, 2016 Link to comment

    I am seriously getting sick of this honor 5x bull.
    The redmi 3 which is going to be released soon has a snapdragon 616, a 4100 mah battery and a way better design. For? $107.
    The redmi note 3 has a mediatek helio x10, a 4000 mah battery and a fingerprint scanner for way less.
    Comparatively, this phone sucks. Don't buy it. What a sucky review.

  • 10
    sam pack Jan 26, 2016 Link to comment

    Screen to big. Big screens are more of a womens phone 📱 to me. Ijs

  • 18
    Deactivated Account Jan 26, 2016 Link to comment

    Specifications are very good in this price bracket. One thing matters that is built & components quality if these are already fulfilled in this device then for sure it will win lot of hearts. Lets wait & watch until unless it is not launched any statement about it is not fair.

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