Huawei Honor 5X review: A decent performing, premium looking budget smartphone

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A couple months ago we reviewed the Huawei GX8, and now it’s time for a look at its sibling. Our Huawei Honor 5X review takes a look at another budget smartphone from the Chinese device maker. To be honest, the Honor 5X is very similar to the GX8 so there won’t be a lot of differences outside of the look of the phone. Read on to find out what we thought.


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Other specifications include:

  • 1.5 GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon 616, 8-core processor, 64 bit (MSM8939v2)
  • 2GB RAM
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop running EMUI 3.1
  • Bluetooth v4.1, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Fingerprint scanner, accelerometer, proximity sensor, compass
  • GSM, HSPA 42.2/11.5 Mbps, LTE Cat4 150/50 Mbps

What’s in the Box

  • 1x Huawei Honor 5X
  • 1x microUSB cable
  • 1x USB power charger
  • 1x SIM ejector pin
  • 1x Quick Start Guide
  • 1x Warranty Guide
The Huawei Honor 5X smartphone and included accessories.


Much like the Huawei GX8, the Honor 5X has a pretty premium feel to it. The aluminum metal body is present once again, and it also has rounded corners, albeit less rounded than the GX8 making it look more rectangular.

The power button is on the right side of the device with the volume buttons just above that. The headphone jack is on the top of the phone, towards the right side, with the Micro-USB port and stereo speaker grille at the bottom. The left side of the phone houses the SIM card and microSD card slots, and on the back of the phone you’ll find the camera lens, flash, and fingerprint scanner.

Honor 5X smartphone right side with power and volume buttons.

On the front of the phone, you’ll find your front facing camera next to the earpiece and a notification light to the right of that. Unlike the GX8, the front screen doesn’t have rounded edges so it feels a bit more square and your finger doesn’t slide off and on the screen quite as nicely.

As with other Huawei offerings, the Honor 5X is a nicely designed smartphone.


The Honor 5X features a 5.5″ IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen display with a 1080p resolution. I’ve always found 1080p on a 5.5″ screen a bit large, but that is easily rectified by decreasing the font size in the settings. Content was easily viewable under various lighting conditions and angles, and the adaptive brightness worked well in adjusting the screen brightness depending on current lighting conditions. Colour representation was pretty bang on and wasn’t oversaturated like is seen on some other devices.


While it’s not stock Android, Huawei’s EMUI 3.1 UI offers a few useful features that a pure Android device doesn’t. EMUI is fairly clean, and allows you to apply different themes to the phone to suit your style. There are of course minor changes to the notification shade and settings, but it’s mostly skinning. One feature that I really liked with the EMUI UI was the ability to swipe across the bottom navigation icons towards one side of the screen and have the screen shrink towards that side for easier one handed operation.

Like the GX8, Huawei added functionality to the fingerprint scanner. Not only do you use it to unlock your phone, but swiping down will pull down the notification shade, swiping up will hide it, double tapping with the notification shade open will clear your notifications, and finally you can use it as a camera shutter when you have the camera app open. All small things, but once you get used to using them, it’s hard to remember that functionality is missing when you use a different device.

As with the Huawei GX8, the added fingerprint scanner functionality is fantastic.

One thing to keep in mind when resetting your Honor 5X though: there is a checkbox that you need to make sure to check that also erases all photos when factory resetting the device. If you don’t check it off, the phone will reset to factory conditions, but your device photos will remain behind. It can be a useful feature if you have to reset your phone and don’t have a way to backup your photos, but can also be easily overlooked if you are resetting your phone to give or sell to someone else to use.


The Honor 5X utilizes a 1.5 GHz Qualcomm® Snapdragon 616, 64 bit, 8-core processor. To be honest, I didn’t see much of a difference between the MSM8939v2 over the MSM8939 chip used in the GX8, both devices were very responsive, apps opened quickly, and games and videos ran smoothly. As with the GX8 there was the odd stutter when updating a lot of apps at once, but during day to day use the Honor 5X is more than sufficient in the performance department.


Again, the speakers on the Huawei Honor 5X are o.k., they are pretty loud and the sound is crisp and clear, but I’m still not a fan of placing speakers on the bottom of a smartphone. There’s not a lot of punch in the bass either, so if you’re into heavier bass type music, you’ll be missing out on that end of the spectrum.

Still not a fan of the bottom facing speakers.


Even though the Honor 5X doesn’t sport optical image stabilization, the 13MP back camera still did a decent job of capturing images. As mentioned in the GX8 review, the included camera app adds settings such as “Good Food,” “Beauty,” and Time-Lapse along with photo and video taking capabilities. The Good Food setting worked surprisingly well and pictures of food taken with this setting on definitely looked better. You can also tweak a range of settings including touch to capture, take photos automatically when smiles are detected, object tracking focus, and even adjust ISO and white balance.

100% crop of photo taken with Huawei Honor 5X.

Reception/Call Quality

Reception and call quality on the Honor 5X was perfect. There were no issues on either end of the conversation with being able to hear the other party in the call.

Battery Life

Like the GX8, the Honor 5X features a 3000mAh battery which is a pretty decent battery capacity for a smartphone. I could easily last the day with plenty of battery life left over, and not have to worry about needing to find a plug for a quick top up during the day.


The Honor 5X is no longer available on Huawei’s website, but can be found on Amazon for just under $200. This is definitely a great price for a 1080p 5.5″ Android device, however considering the Huawei GX8 is also selling for $199.99 on Huawei’s website (down from the original $349.99 selling price), I’d probably be more tempted to go with the GX8. It honestly just boils down to personal design preference between the two, although the GX8 also has OIS on the camera.


If you’re looking for a budget Android smartphone with decent performance, battery life, and camera, you can’t go wrong with the Huawei Honor 5X.

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*We were sent a demo unit of the Huawei Honor 5X smartphone for the purposes of this review.

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