Honor 5X hands-on and first impressions

by: Lanh NguyenJanuary 6, 2016
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CES 2016 has been quite busy thus far, and we’ve already seen tons of interesting new gadgets that have us pretty interested. One of the most exciting announcements from the trade show is that Honor is finally planning on breaking into the U.S. market with the Honor 5X. This is particularly big news, since up until now, the China-based smartphone manufacturer hasn’t yet sold any of its devices directly in the US. Rather, interested folks have needed to import Huawei or Honor smartphones through third parties, which can be a bit pricey at times. Thankfully US residents have no need to go through this process any more.

So what does the Honor 5X bring to the table? We’ve just gone hands-on with the device, and we’re ready to give you our first impressions. Without any further ado, here is our first look at the Honor 5X.

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If you’re at all familiar with the general design of Honor devices, you actually might be a tad surprised here. The Honor 5X sports a metal body that feels quite premium in the hand. Around front you’ll find a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display that comes in at a resolution of 1920 x 1080. It’s not often that we see smartphones at this price point sport Full HD displays, so we’re happy this Honor device comes with a slightly higher resolution display than the rest of the pack. And just like the Huawei P8, the 5X has small bezels surrounding all parts of the screen.

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The fingerprint sensor on the Honor 5X is a breeze to set up

Around the back you’ll find a 13MP main camera with an f/2.0 aperture that also comes with Huawei’s SmartImage 3.0 image processing technology. Directly under the camera sensor there’s a touch-based fingerprint scanner that’s actually pretty easy to set up. We’re happy to see more and more manufacturers include fingerprint recognition on their devices – especially in the budget market. The front camera is a 22mm wide angle 5MP sensor with f/2.4 aperture, four elements blue glass infrared filter and 720p HD video.

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The Honor 5X measures 8.15mm thick and weighs in at 158 grams, which doesn’t make this device extremely light, but it is definitely acceptable for an affordable smartphone. Of course, the added thickness has one bid advantage – more room for a larger battery. The 5X comes with a non-removable 3000mAh unit, which Huawei claims can last over a full day for heavy users. On the bottom, the 5X comes with a mono speaker placed inside machine drilled holes. Huawei has also chosen not to include USB Type-C on this device, instead going with the standard MicroUSB.

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Performance so far is pretty hit-and-miss, though EMUI v3.1 is very promising

It’s all powered by an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 processor clocked at 1.5GHz with 2GB of RAM. It also comes with 16GB of on-board storage and microSD card expansion up to 128GB. You’ll be able to use two SIM cards in this device as well. And like other Snapdragon 615 devices, the performance thus far is reasonable, though we’ve noticed some minor hiccups when scrolling through the user interface.

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Speaking of user interface, the 5X runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop with Huawei’s EMIU version 3.1 on top. There is a planned upgrade to Marshmallow sometime in the coming months, though we have no details as to when exactly we can expect it to arrive.

Specs

 Honor 5X
Display5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 resolution, 401ppi
TP & LCD full lamination
Operating systemAndroid 5.1 Lollipop
Huawei EMUI 3.1
ProcessorOcta-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 616
Memory2GB of RAM
Internal Storage16GB, expandable up to 128GB via microSD
Dual SIMYes
Cameras13MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, SmartImage 3.0 image processor, 28mm wide angle lens with flash
5MP front camera with f/2.4 aperture, 22mm wide angle
Mobile ConnectivityGSM 850, WCDMA Bands 1, 2, 4, 5, LTE Bands 2, 4, 5, 12, 17
ConnectivityWiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 2.4QG
Bluetooth 4.1
microUSB 2.0
GPS, AGPS, Glonass
SensorsFingerprint sensor, Accelerometer, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor, Digital compass
Battery3000mAh, non-removable
Dimensions151.3 x 76.3 x 8.15mm
158g
ColorsDark Grey, Daybreak Silver, Sunset Gold

Gallery

Like what you see so far? You can purchase the Honor 5X from both Amazon for $199.99 in Dark Grey, Daybreak Silver and Sunset Gold color options. We’re really enjoying this device so far, so we’d like to know your thoughts in the comments below and stay tuned as we’ll be updating this post with a hands on video later today.

Buy now on Amazon - $199.99
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  • 404

    *insert not bad obama meme here* i like the device

  • Abhijeet

    For the price this device seems like a win! Now only if there was a way to put stock android on it.

    • Elphonse Elric

      Since they use a snapdragon in it, one would hope it’d be easier to put stock on it, than if it used some exotic SOC like the mediatek or kirin.

  • Ro Bear

    “The microSD slot can also be used as a second SIM card slot if need be, as well.”

    This is incorrect. There are dual sim slots AND a microSD slot.

    • Jimmy Westenberg

      Good catch. :)

      • Ro Bear

        Thanks – I’ve been testing the device for the last couple weeks. It’s pretty solid.

  • Josué Gutiérrez

    It’s a shame the LTE Bands are worthless here in Costa Rica, no 3 and 7 Band, so is a no buy from me.

  • Biga173rd

    $199! that’s a steal.

  • Big O

    Looks great, but its a bit worrying that there were noticeable performance hiccups in the limited hands on time. Although that just seems consistent with what you get from the SD615.

  • Armand Bernard

    apart from the larger screen, isn’t this basically the same as the Honor 7 at a lower price? That’s fantastic of course. I didn’t think it was possible to get these specs for $200.

  • Droid22

    Does it have fast charging?

    • Michael Merrill

      Yes because its running with snapdragon 615 which supports Qualcomm quick charge 2.0

      • ProductFRED

        Not necessarily. The feature has to be turned on (licensed).

  • charlie Jason

    Why not stock android, instead of their ugly custom UI.

  • Say What??

    If it had 3gb instead of 2gb I’d have picked one up for the wife.

    • Kunal Narang

      Say what??

    • Remy Cajallena

      2gb is good. where it needs improvement is that processor… and I somewhat surprised that it doesn’t have gyro.

      • DDD

        Does that mean that there’s no Landscape mode with this phone?

        • Remy Cajallena

          just having gyro means that you can turn your phone into a really cheap vr solution…

  • Btort

    release a damn phone smaller than 5.5! we got too many 5.5 and up phones already. plus I’d rather keep my 6P if I were to choose anything bigger than a 5.5

    • Remy Cajallena

      we need more 5.5 phones

      • Btort

        all we have this year are 5.5 besides s6, m9 and a few others

        • Remy Cajallena

          I meant we need moar of those at the below $200 price points….

    • adfa asdfs

      I heard there are many hands enlargement programs now that work very well that won’t turn you into Lizard(Curt Connors).

  • jax

    Honor 5X vs Lenovo K4 Note vs xiomi mi4i. Which phone I should buy? which one is the best choice.?

    • ѦՊԻ

      I think 5X is the best .

    • m_shark

      I’m looking at Elephone M2.

  • Kazahani

    I recently dropped my G3 and would LOVE this. Anyone know if Verizon will activate it?

    • Pilz

      It’s a GSM phone, so no

  • Cletus

    does it come with a gorilla glass display or not??

    • DDD

      It does not.

  • EdInBoca

    Makes no sense that the phone would have a fingerprint scanner but no NFC. How do you manufacture a phone these days without NFC?? I use Android Pay a lot so this Honor5X would be useless to me. Huawei needs to keep up with changes.

    • adfa asdfs

      Did you not get the memo that its $200?

  • Cluckern

    Had this had a Snapdragon 616 or 620, NFC, and a 4000mah battery, this would have been the exact phone I’ve been waiting for, but as is, it’s still an amazing value

  • Alex

    5x got otg function????

  • Soulfly

    wait. I was reading about Dual SIM… AND SD-Slot?

  • FixerZ

    Any screen protection like scratch resistance??

  • adfa asdfs

    So Lamination vs Gorilla glass 3?

  • abhishek agrawal

    if u could provide with some camera samples

  • MoreLikeStanDarsh

    correction – it works on 2 of 4 major US carriers.

  • Ruby

    Was consider upgrading my Xiaomi RedMi Note (4G) with the Honor 5X as my travel phone when working in Europe but noticed it doesn’t include Band 3 (1800 MHz). LTE 1800 is the most common 4G international frequency. No thanks.

  • Daniells Wabuge

    When making reviews for such large phones, I think it should be a necessity to mention whether the display is glass, plastic, gorilla glass, dragon trail or strengthened glass.