The Honor 5x is a mid-range phone from Huawei that has been around for about a month now. Though I will say this much: mid-range is the new low-range. There's so much competition for phones in the Rs 12k segment. The Honor 5x costs Rs 12,999, incidentally.
What Honor, who Huawei, did you ask? Remember -- they made the Google Nexus 6P in 2015. That apart, Huawei is no weakling in the mobile space. It’s among the top three smartphone makers in the world.
But it’s still trying to break into India’s top ten (which it hopes to do this year). Which is why I don't usually see people around me carrying a Huawei phone, and I'm thinking they need to do something about their marketing in India. Maybe they will, now.
The Honor 5x is a very standard looking phone from the front. It's more elegant from the sides, where it has some metallic detailing. And the back is a brushed metal which looks pretty good, really. Also on the back is a fingerprint scanner -- it looks like these are becoming standard even on budget phones, so it's time we stopped making a noise over them. It works well.
The phone is pretty light, for the amount of metal it has, and it's got a good in-hand feel because of the way the edges have been shaped. But for all that, it is a 5.5-inch device and still counts among the big phones and is difficult to use one-handed, if that's what you like to do.
You have to watch for slipperiness, given that smooth back panel. Which doesn't open, by the way. The SIM trays for dual cards (micro and nano 4G) and a memory card slot are all on the outside. The buttons for power and volume are really among the nicest because they're soft and yet clicky. Overall though, a bit more attention to detail would have made this a better-looking gadget.
The 1080x1920 IPS LCD display is not bad. As far as colours and angles go, it's quite good and for a budget phone -- no complaints. It's bright and sunlight-legible. But there's an annoying black border around the screen area. To go with the display, there’s some pretty grim sound. All phone calls sound like they were made from under a blanket and I found myself getting very irritated with anyone who called me until I realised it was the phone.
The device runs on a 64-bit octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 SoC with 2GB or RAM. There's 16GB internal storage with 128GB expandable. The device is running on Android 5.1.1 and updates are promised. It has a 3,000mAh battery, which performs well.
These specs are not bad, but for all that, the 5X is a bit sluggish sometimes, such as when starting up apps. Not seriously and not with a lot of stutter, just sometimes. It also comes out lower than some others in a similar price bracket on benchmarks. Huawei has a pretty busy EMUI skin on top of Android and you could either love it or hate it. I'm going with the latter, despite the odd extra feature here and there--but then I like to customise my phone my way.
The 13MP rear camera and the 5MP front camera have lots of modes and settings, but for all that, are average performers, especially indoor.