In the past, buying a smartphone that was priced around $200 meant signing yourself up for a bad all around experience. Thankfully, budget-friendly handsets have gotten surprisingly good over the past couple years, and today we’re going to compare two of the best on the market — the BLU Vivo 5 and the honor 5X.

Both of these powerhouses cost only $200, which is insane considering how much both of them bring to the table. Interested in seeing how this plays out? Below is our full comparison of the BLU Vivo 5 and the honor 5X!

Specifications

Before we get going, let’s run through the specs:

 BLU Vivo 5honor 5X
Display5.5-inch AMOLED display
720 x 1280 resolution
Corning Glass 3
5.5-inch IPS LCD display
1920 x 1080 resolution
ProcessorOcta-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A53 Mediatek MT6753Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 Qualcomm Snapdragon 616
GPUMali-T720MP3Adreno 405
RAM3GB2/3GB
Storage32GB16GB
MicroSDYes, up to 64GBYes, up to 128GB
Cameras13MP rear camera
5MP front camera
13MP rear camera
5MP front camera
BatteryNon-removable 3150mAhNon-removable 3000mAh
Dual SIMYesYes
SoftwareAndroid 5.1 LollipopAndroid 5.1 Lollipop
ColorsSilver, GoldDark Grey, Sunset Gold, Daybreak Silver
Dimensions151.9 x 74.6 x 6.9mm151.3 x 76.3 x 8.2mm
Weight142.6g158g

Design

honor-5X-Vivo-5-1of14

On the design front, both of these smartphones aim to blur the line between high-end flagship and affordability by offering metal designs, though there are certainly some differences in how this effect is achieved. For the BLU Vivo 5, we are looking at a true unibody design made from one block of metal, like you’d find on devices such as the iPhone and HTC A9. This is a more costly approach for BLU, but translates into a more premium feel than you get with many of its competitors. It looks durable too, and doesn’t really feel like it’s going to get scratched easily like other phones made of aluminum.

blu-vivo-5-review-22

The honor 5X is also made from metal and looks pretty nice, though the design isn’t “full metal”. The Honor 5’s back and sides are made of metal, but the top, bottom, and a few other bits are actually plastic. This type of design is more cost effective for OEMs, but does detract some from the premium experience this phone offers. All in all, it’s an easy device to hold, though the metal here makes it a little more slippery than some other devices out there, the grade of mental also makes the device a bit more prone to scratches and bruises.

honor-5X-Vivo-5-11of14

In the hand both of these devices feel good, but the BLU Vivo 5 feels just that extra bit better. Due to its lighter weight of about 142.6 grams compared to the honor 5X’s 158 grams, the Vivo 5 is easier to hold and maneuver as well. Additionally, the Vivo 5 measures only 6.9mm thin and manages to squeeze in a larger 3150mAh battery, while the honor 5X comes with an 8.2mm thickness and a 3000mAh battery.

Both of these handsets look great, but we’re actually going to give the BLU Vivo 5 the win in this category. While the honor 5X is a gorgeous device, the Vivo 5’s metal unibody, thin build and premium feeling metal make this the more attractive pick.

Display

honor-5X-Vivo-5-14of14

Both the Vivo 5 and honor 5X sport 5.5-inch displays, though the display technology used here differs quite a bit for each handset. The Vivo 5 comes with an AMOLED panel with a resolution of 1280 x 720, resulting in a pixel density of 267ppi. On the other hand, the honor 5X comes with an IPS LCD display and a Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080), which results in a pixel density of 401ppi.

blu-vivo-5-review-8

The war between AMOLED and LCD often comes down to personal preferences, but from what we’ve seen both of these devices come with their positives and negatives. The Vivo 5’s AMOLED display provides deep blacks and vibrant colors, as well as slightly pinkish whites. There is one downside to the Vivo 5’s screen though, and it’s that it comes in at only a 720p resolution. That said, the advantages of AMOLED over LCD mean that this is still a highly enjoyable display, especially if you look past just the resolution. The display also features Gorilla Glass 3, which makes it a bit more resistant against scratches and scuffs.

honor-5X-Vivo-5-9of14

Turning to the honor 5X, we find a pretty impressive display, despite being only of the LCD variety, featuring vibrant colors that aren’t overly saturated and whites that are neither too warm nor too cool. Text is sharp and clear, and brightness is of no concern, allowing for comfortable outdoor visibility. One thing to note here is that the backlight does tend to shine through in darker areas more than what other LCD panels offer, which can get quite annoying at times. Also, the bezels on the 5X are much larger than the ones found on the Vivo 5.

Like we said earlier, both devices come with their good and bad points when it comes to the displays being used, though the Vivo 5’s better touch responsiveness, vivid colors, and better protection due to Corning Glass make it a very compelling option for those that are willing to look past its on-paper resolution.

Processor and hardware

honor-5X-Vivo-5-3of14

Under the hood, the Vivo 5 comes with an octa-core MediaTek MT6753 processor, clocked at 1.3GHz and backed by the Mali-T720 GPU and 3GB of RAM. There’s also 32GB storage built in, with a microSD slot allowing you to expand the memory even further. When it comes to day-to-day use, the Vivo 5 runs very smoothly, with animation stutters a rarity. Jumping in and out of apps is also a breeze, though there are occasional short pauses when switching things around in the recent apps screen. You also get 32GB storage which is quite a bit for a phone at this price, and you also get microSD to expand things even further.

honor-5X-Vivo-5-4of14

For benchmark nuts, the phone scored 2,850 on GeekBench, with Antutu giving it a score of 38,009. These numbers won’t blow anyone away, but are on par with other phones in this price range and should be more than enough to provide a solid Android experience. Even for gamers, the phone has plenty of power and, while there may be a few dropped frames here and there in some of the more graphically intensive games, there’s really nothing to complain about, especially given the price tag.

Battery life is also pretty great with the Vivo 5, helped by the phone’s 3150mAh non-removable battery. Thanks to the low resolution AMOLED display and a fairly energy efficient processor, we were able to easily make the phone last a full day, and could even go without charging overnight to find the phone still had some juice left in the morning. Of course, part of this is due to its intelligent standby power saving mode which is on by default. Our screen on time for the BLU Vivo 5 averaged about 6 hours of screen, which really very impressive.

honor-5X-Vivo-5-7of14

When it comes to special features, the Vivo 5 offers a USB Type-C connector, which is pretty uncommon in this price range. Sure, Type-C means you have to get different cables, but USB Type-C is reversible, meaning there’s a lot less fumbling around in order to plug that cable in. Type-C also results in fairly fast charging times, which is an added perk when compared to phones like the honor 5X.

blu-vivo-5-review-12

On the other hand, the honor 5X sports an octa-core Snapdragon 616 processor, clocked at 1.5GHz and backed by the Adreno 405 GPU and 2GB of RAM. This phone skimps on the internal storage, offering only 16GB, though it does still have microSD expansion.

Looking at the Benchmarks, the honor 5X scores a bit higher than the Vivo 5 on GeekBench with a score of 3165, though the opposite story is seen with AnTuTu, with the phone offering a score of 26673 vs the 38k score found on the Vivo 5. What this means is that the performance between the two should be pretty similar, at least in theory.

That said, while navigating around the UI with the Vivo 5 is a fast and fluid experience, things can actually be a little sluggish with the Honor 5x at times. Animations will be choppy occasionally with the honor 5X, and applications do take an extra second to open. There is also a bit of a delay when pressing keys on the keyboard, and the phone even freezes for a second or two while typing. You may also see app refreshes when switching between them via the recent apps screen, which might not be the end of the world, but it does make the experience feel a bit less polished.

honor5X_2

Frankly speaking, most of these issues probably have more to do with the lack of polish found within Huawei’s EMUI software package than any major failing with the processor package that honor utilizes, but it’s still something to keep in mind. As for running apps and games, the honor 5X is more than capable of getting the job done, even if you may encounter some minor sluggishness from time to time.

The honor 5X comes with a 3000mAh non-removable battery, and while it’s not as big as the battery found in the Vivo 5, it still offers pretty impressive battery life. Even on a day which involved a lot of gaming and taking pictures, the device managed about 5 and a half of screen-on time. The battery life may not be quite as good as the Vivo 5, but it’s still pretty solid, though ultimately the Vivo 5’s power efficient processor and AMOLED display give BLU a slight edge here. It also needs to be mentioned that without any form of quick charging, the honor 5X does take a very long time to recharge from empty, with a charge time of around 5 to 6 hours, which may be a major turn off for some.

honor-5X-Vivo-5-5of14

While the honor 5x doesn’t have type-c onboard, it does have its own special ‘extra’ in the form of a fingerprint scanner, placed on the back of the phone. The rear placement of the fingerprint reader definitely grows on you, and makes unlocking the device very easy, and without the need for any unnecessary hand gymnastics. The scanner also unlocks the device directly without the need to press the power button first, and the reader is very fast and reliable. To see a fingerprint scanner on a budget-friendly device is an impressive fact by itself, and even more so when considering its high quality.

honor5X_17

For those that are wondering which phone has the better sound quality? The winner here is clearly the Vivo 5.

The Vivo 5 gets pretty loud and even at max volume there’s no problem with sound being muffled or distorted. It lacks a lot of bass, but the mids and highs are perfectly mixed. In contrast, the honor 5X’s placement makes it really easy to cover up and we found that the speaker quality isn’t particularly good with audio sounding a bit muffled and distorted, even at lower volume ranges.

honor-5X-Vivo-5-6of14

Bottom-line, both phones have their own pros and cons when it comes to hardware and performance. On paper, the key specs should be similar, but the Vivo 5 tends to be a bit smoother in day-to-day use and has battery life that’s slightly above the honor 5X. Probably the biggest deal though is the addition of an extra gig of RAM and the double storage when compared to the Honor 5X. These features make a big difference when it comes to performance and it’s very disappointing that honor skimped out here. We applaud BLU for taking on the extra cost involved to ensure smooth performance and plenty of storage space.

On the other hand, the honor 5X does have nearly as good specs and battery life, and offers a fingerprint scanner for those that prefer this kind of security method over a traditional pin or password.

Cameras

honor-5X-Vivo-5-2of14

Both of these handsets come with 13MP rear-facing cameras and 5MP front cameras, though the on-paper aspects only tell part of the story.

First talking about the Vivo 5, the main shooter on this device is quite good, especially for a phone in this price range. Even though it doesn’t have optical image stabilization (OIS), you’ll still be able to get some good shots with this camera, provided you’re in good lighting.  In areas with less ideal lighting, the camera here tends to overexpose in some scenarios, and struggles to find dynamic range in shadows. There is somewhat of a grain issue when taking outdoor photos, but most other phones in this price range suffer from the same fate.

blu-vivo-5-review-11

Performance in dark areas will be hit and miss at best. It all has to do with how steady you can keep your hand as the camera’s shutter speed becomes very slow to compensate for lots of light. Most of the time, your shot will become blurry, but every once in awhile, you’ll capture something perfectly.

On the front the 5MP camera is capable of taking some nice selfies, though indoor shots end up having a fair amount of noise. In the end, the front facing camera might have some minor issues with noise, but should be more than good enough for most users.

BLU Vivo 5 camera samples

Turning to the 13MP camera found on the honor 5X we find a somewhat similar story. In optimal conditions, photos taken with this device look pretty good. Without any post processing or sharpening going on, pictures tend to have a lot of softness to them, but despite the seeming lack of sharpness, the images are still clear. The color temperature seems to be more towards the warm side, and colors appear to lack that punch of vibrancy as well. Areas of photos will also be overexposed the majority of the time, but all said and done, you can certainly get some pleasant looking shots from this camera when in good lighting situations.

honor5X_10

HDR is available to help brighten up the photos, and it does a great job for the most part. As lighting conditions deteriorate, the camera will try to compensate for the lack of light by increasing the shutter speed, but very steady hands will be required to avoid blurry photos.

The front-facing 5MP camera also takes some decent shots, albeit with some extra noise. Indoor shots end up being less sharp and with a great amount of noise as well. The overall camera experience definitely has a lot of room for improvement, but is actually par for the course when compared to its similarly priced competition.

honor 5X camera samples

Overall, the BLU Vivo 5’s image quality seems to be slightly better, dependent on lighting, but for the most part you’ll find the front and rear camera experiences to be pretty similar. Sure, neither of these phones begin to compete with the cameras found on today’s more expensive flagships, but they are really pretty decent when you stop and think about the price you’re paying.

Software

honor-5X-Vivo-5-8of14

Both the BLU Vivo 5 and the honor 5X feature heavily skinned versions Android 5.1 Lollipop, and there’s actually one big similarity with both of these software packages: there’s no app drawer. While this kind of arrangement might not be for everyone, it is arguably a more simplistic approach, with all your apps easily accessible right from the homescreen. For those that want to further organize things, you can also create a set of folders for specific types of apps. This kind of layout was once uncommon in the Android world, but with LG removing the app drawer on the LG G5 and Samsung making it optional with the S7 series – this is quickly becoming the norm for many devices.

blu-vivo-5-review-20

Moving past this similarity, you’ll find there’s actually quite a few differences between these two phones. For one thing, the notification bar in the BLU Vivo 5 is unique compared to most other Android screens, due to its quick settings. Instead, the quick settings are found in a pull up menu on the bottom, similar to iOS devices. This is arguably a more convenient setup, though it might take getting used to for many Android users. The biggest thing though is that even with a pretty heavily skinned interface, you’ll find that the Vivo 5 is actually very smooth and lag free in almost all uses. There’s little in the way of animation stutters or lag, and you’ll find everything is pretty snappy.

honor-5X-Vivo-5-12of14

Turning to EMUI 3.1 on the honor 5X, you also get an app drawer-less UI that has its very own take to the notification drop down, settings, and even the multi-tasking window. Speaking of the notification drop down on the honor 5X, you’ll find it is well organized and is split into two parts — one part for notifications and the other for quick settings. This allows more notifications to be shown on the display at once while also offering quick access to a few settings, which is nice. Customizations are seen in the form of themes, transition animations, and home screen grid, and you also get some fun features like shake to re-align icons and auto-align.

honor5X_16

Overall, EMUI actually has more ‘extras’ baked in, but not necessarily a god thing. Many of these features are unnecessary or even somewhat confusing, and certainly not something you’ll miss if you opt to pick up a Vivo 5 instead. It’s also important to point out that multi-tasking is going to be all that much better with the Vivo 5 due to the fact it has barely made any changes to the recent apps menu. While EMUI has a custom recent apps menu that is actually pretty slow when it comes to switching apps or closing them out, the near-stock recent apps menu on the Vivo 5 is very responsive.

For stock Android fans, both skins might be a bit too ‘heavy’, but if speed is your primary concern, the Vivo 5’s UI does have an edge here.

Wrapping up

honor-5X-Vivo-5-10of14

So there you have it — our look at the BLU Vivo 5 vs the honor 5X. Both phones have a lot to offer and a very competitively priced. Performance is quite good on the Vivo 5 and the honor 5X, though we’d say the BLU device has the upper hand. The cameras and software experiences are pretty evenly matched as well, with both devices bringing some useful features to the table. It’s not too often that two inexpensive devices pack a big punch like this, especially for the price point.

You can buy the BLU Vivo 5 and honor 5X from Amazon both for $199.99, which is an absolute steal.

Whether you choose the BLU or honor device is of course up to you. If you’re looking for a true all-metal chassis, thin design, AMOLED display, solid performance and great battery life, go with the BLU Vivo 5. If you’re more interested in a fingerprint sensor and a higher resolution display, the honor 5X might be more your cup of tea.

Now, our comparison isn’t meant to give you all the details — just an overview of the most important aspects of each device. For a better look at these phones,take a look at our BLU Vivo 5 and honor 5X reviews. What are your thoughts? If you had $200 to spend on a new device, which one would you choose? Let us know what you think in the comments!