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Honor 5X : Initial Impressions

The Honor 5X aims to deliver a premium smartphone in an affordable package, skipping the fluff for what they’re calling a “No Nonsense” smartphone. You’ll find that rings true with a quick read through the specs.

It’s a 5.5-inch 1080p metal beauty that sports a respectable 64-bit Octa-Core Quaclcomm Snapdragon 616 and 2GB of RAM. Other specs include 16GB of storage (with a microSD card for expansion), a 13 megpaixel rear camera, 5 megapixel front camera, 3,000mAh battery and a fingerprint scanner. Connectivity comes in the form of WiFi N, Bluetooth 4.1, microUSB 2.0 and GPS/aGPS with GLONASS.

It’ll run Android 5.1 Lollipop out of the box with Huawei’s EMUI 3.1 on top, and that comes with some nice benefits of its own. Video editing tools for the camera, app launching shortcuts using individual fingers on the fingerprint scanner and more offer up some pretty unique and robust functionality.

So, let's take a closer look at the phone. The Snapdragon 615 processor feels about as quick as I think this chip can on a 1080p display, and that's to say "pretty good."  It's a bit odd to me that Honor went with the older 615 instead of the newer 616 or 617, both of which offer more modern features and standards support. (The 616 and 617, for example, both support Bluetooth 4.1, faster memory, and more advanced radios.) Still, it bests the Snapdragon 410 on speed in several categories - processor clock, RAM speed, and GPU - a chip more commonly found at this price point.

It's metal, yes, but nothing about it screams "premium" from the rooftops when comparing with honor 7 , it merely feels cold, metallic, and a bit industrial. LeEco Le 1s, by comparison , comes off with a much nicer feel and fit and finish. This isn't to say the H5X is poorly-built, merely that metal is not a cure-all,but one must feel its power and capacity.

The display is pretty bright, colors are good, Saturation is noticeably exaggerated on greens, a common ailment in IPS display smartphones, probably to make a naturally slightly dull panel "pop" more.  This is a good full HD screen, and would make most people quite happy for the price.

I've only had a few minutes with the camera, but my initial impressions are, for something at this price, very good. Colors seem well represented, and while detail is a bit fuzzier than I'd like, it's still pretty decent. Compared to the far more expensive phones , the Honor 5X has been producing very noticeably superior results indoors, a testament to Honor's alleged focus on the camera experience.

The phone - by default - does not allow newly-installed 3rd-party apps to run in the background when the display is off (you must go in and enable them to, if you want) in the name of saving battery life. For some people, that may well be worth it, but that it's not disclosed and rather buried in an obscurely-named settings menu item ("protected apps") doesn't sit well with me. Apps also aren't able to push banner text or lockscreen notifications by default, and must be individually enabled to do so if you'd like them to. I could go on for a while about EMUI, but I won't here - let's save that for the full review.

Lets find out:

Before we end: the fingerprint scanner! It works. It's lightning-quick to respond, and I've had no issues with it as of yet. It's definitely a handy feature to have, especially on a phone that is so affordable. So good on Honor for that. The H5X is on sale on flipkart, and our detailed  review will be up in the coming days.

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