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Under the umbrella of its parent brand Huawei, Honor is bringing in great consumer experiences at an affordable pricing. Honor had launched the Honor 5X in India late last month taking over the affordable fingerprint security enabled smartphones coming forward. We had released a video earlier stating our first impressions, and now we have our thoughts jot down for the review as below.

Design

Honor 5X has a brushed metal look with aluminium chassis and back. The back reminds us of the HTC One M8 with kind of similar metallic looks but it is not that premium. 5.5-inch display on my daily driver, OnePlus One is lengthy but not wide whereas it is different here. The device from the front is a little too wide. It feels different, something which we are not used to.

The power and volume rockers are arranged along the right side of the phone. On the left side there are two slots: one is a dual-SIM slot and the other is for microSD card. On the base you have the microUSB charging port in the center, surrounded by speaker grill openings of which only the right side is the speaker section. On the back, you will find a 13 megapixel camera along with dual-LED dual tone flash and there is also a fingerprint reader below the rear camera.

Fingerprint Scanner

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The fingerprint scanner doesn’t take long to configure and it unlocks the device quickly and accurately. Fingerprint scanner can take in around 5 fingerprints and unlocking was quick with the fingerprint scanner. We even tried unlocking the device with mildly oily fingers and slightly moist fingers, and it worked fine. After using the device for about 10 days we found the fingerprint scanner to work perfectly 8 out of 10 times. The manufacturer has used the second-generation FPC rim-free touch fingerprint sensor that the company claims to offer better performance, greater accuracy, and a 0.5-second unlocking time. Also Honor’s innovation expands its use-case to operate the phone. For instance, you just need to click the sensor to go to the previous page which is more convenient than clicking the back button every time or you can just slide down over the scanner to drop down the notification panel, or to click pictures, (just touch and hold the sensor while on the camera app).

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Software

Huawei Honor 5X runs on Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system with company’s EMUI 3.1 Lite out of the box, but it will get an update to Android 6.0 Marshmallow soon. The Emotion UI 3.1 generally runs smooth but there were some instances where we felt that the phone should have been more snappy. Swiping through the home screens is quick, but opening folders experienced slight lag at first couple of instances. You can download and use any launcher from the Play Store you wish, and we expect people to do just that. The notification panel has a timeline-like interface that spaces out individual notifications and applies a hefty skin to toggle buttons. But most notifications don’t fit right with overall EMUI and don’t have room to expand with a two-finger swipe.
The Honor 5X comes with a lot of pre-installed apps such as WPS Office, UC browser, InMobi services, Apps Gallery, Honor Club, Hi Honor (which takes you to the site), Clean Master among others. You can thankfully uninstall unwanted third-party apps, but system apps such as magnifier, weather cannot be uninstalled. The HiCare app lets you connect with Honor service centre through an app, which gives you a list of service centres and gives you an option to directly contact service hotline as well as visit forums on Facebook.
Phone Manager app lets you scan your device, clean memory, adjust traffic management, change power saving modes and more.

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The entire software experience is nothing extra-ordinary. Apart from a couple of tweaks, Emotion UI 3.1 has nothing special to offer. While the SOS feature might come handy for some users, it is annoying throwing those constant notifications.

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Camera

The 13MP camera sensor is definitely big enough, and a fast f/2.0 lens helps its causes. Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) is missing here but Honor touts its “SmartImage 3.0” image processor as being able to crunch everything you take in through the lens and make a nice crisp picture out of it. The camera app bears the typical hallmarks of an EMUI app designed for the Asian market. For starters, you now have a Good Food and Time Lapse mode which are present along side the Beauty, Photo and Video modes. A tap on the viewfinder in the standard shooting mode locks focus and offers a slider to raise or lower the brightness. The camera works fine in natural light or brightly illuminated set ups, while in low-lit areas, we were not convinced. The quality of photos is just fine for sharing on social network sites. If you’re serious about your smartphone photography, you’re better off looking elsewhere.

Performance

The Honor 5X is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 processor coupled with 2GB of RAM. In terms of performance the device certainly fits in with its competition in the budget phone space. Apps open relatively quickly, you can multitask well and handle individual apps just fine. There might be an occasional stutter in the interface when you push it too hard or try to run a foreground app while others are performing tasks in the background. Fortunately all this can be minimised after you turn off the power saving mode and install a custom launcher like Nova Launcher or Action Launcher. Leaving the Honor 5X in Normal power mode, things are about as you’d expect from a mid range (₹12,999) smartphone. Earpiece speaker is loud enough and we did not hear any distortion even at high volume levels. The phone does get warm on the rear side after playing heavy graphic intensive games like Grand Theft Auto San Andreas and Real Racing 3.

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Battery Performance

The Honor 5X is powered by a 3000 mAh battery which is non-removable,and when you pair that up with a mid-range processor and 1080p display it ends up working out well when it comes to battery life. While Reviewing the device from last 10 days we have been using this device with Normal performance mode turned on. The device can easily get through a day of use with double-digit battery to spare (on average 15%  to be precise).  We were disappointed to see the charging adapter provided with this device which outputs only 5V / 1A dramatically slower than most wall chargers you get nowadays.
We were disappointed to see the charging adapter provided with this device which outputs only 5V / 1A dramatically slower than most wall chargers you get nowadays.

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Final Verdict

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Honor 5x is completely be beaten by the Le 1s in this department. The metal finishing on the phone is evidently low on quality, especially when you pitch it against the LeEco Le 1S. Also Le 1s is better equipped in terms of hardware but Huawei isn’t selling phones via flash sales. Also, when you’re getting 3GB with 32GB storage in Le1s with ₹2000 less than Honor 5X it does make sense why Huawei would prefer selling the 2GB RAM with a 16GB storage model in the market. But we have to agree with the fact that Huawei’s brand value post Nexus 6P has reached new heights. Overall if we talk about the smartphone it looks well-built with a decent performing fingerprint sensor. Comparing it with other competitive devices the same spec sheet will look expensive at ₹12,999 and we think Honor could have done it a little better.
 
So Should you buy it? It all depends on your priorities which might take you to a different conclusion, but I’ll keep the competition before this smartphone right now.

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