The world of low-cost phones is a world of compromise, but Huawei does a pretty darn good job making its Honor 5X a usable phone with a mix of high- and low-end features (see specs chart below). You'll still run into flaws here and there in the camera's photo quality and processing speeds, but compared to other phones in its category, the 5X is a more than decent buy.
One of the Honor 5X's best assets is the fingerprint reader on its back, which is accurate and easy to use. The phone is also more attractive than you'd expect for its $200 price tag, which converts to about £135 and AU$275. Handling its formidable 5.5-inch metal build can be clumsy, but no more so than other phones of its size.
Don't let the Honor 5X's Android 5.1 software turn you off (we're not sure about Huawei's Android 6.0 upgrade plans), nor Huawei's custom Emotion UI interface that's laid out more like Apple's iPhone than purists would like (there's no app tray, just home screens populated by folders and apps). You'll soon catch on, and besides, you can experiment with the extra software options, like gestures, various visual themes and one-handed use, that are now standard Huawei fare.
Here's where the 5X tripped up most. Camera specs sound good on paper and on the whole images look colorful and bright, though not as sharp or detailed as other phones'. It also struggled to crisply focus on people. Selfies likewise appear soft and cast a blue-grey wash on images taken indoors. The 5X's lower-end processor is common for phones in this range and mostly gets you what you need, but sharp-eyed gamers may note a dip in speed. Also, storage space is on the smaller side, but you'll be able to expand it with a microSD card if you run out of room.
You can track the phone's battery life by turning on a meter in the settings. Anecdotally, it lasts a nice, long time on standby, but heavy use drains it at a faster rate; it should last a full work day. The Honor 5X wouldn't run CNET's battery drain video, so I wasn't able to compare it to other phones yet. I'll post test results as soon as I can test it.
I'm not exactly sure why Huawei chose to make the Honor 5X nearly identical on the inside to its pricier GX8 ($350, or about £240 or AU$485), but the end result makes the Honor 5X that much more enticing. You can buy it from Huawei's Honor website as well as other third-party retailers in your area. For example, in the US, it'll sell at HiHonor.com, NewEgg and Amazon.
Hardware specs comparison
|Huawei Honor 5X||Huawei GX8||Motorola Moto G (Late 2015)||Blu Vivo 5|
|Display size, resolution||5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels||5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels||5-inch; 1,280x720 pixels||5.5-inch; 1,280x720-pixels|
|Dimensions (inches)||6x3x0.32 in.||6x3x0.30 in.||5.6x2.9x0.48 in.||6x3x0.27 in.|
|Dimensions (millimeters)||151x76x8.2 mm||152x77x7.5 mm||142x72x12.2 mm||152x75x6.9 mm|
|Weight (ounces, grams)||5.6 oz.; 158 g||6 oz.; 167 g||5.5 oz.; 155 g||5 oz.; 141 g|
|Mobile software||Android 5.1 Lollipop||Android 5.1 Lollipop||Android 5.1 (upgrades to 6.0)||Android 5.1 Lollipop|
|Processor||1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615||1.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 615||1.4GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 410||1.3GHz octa-core MediaTek MT6753|
|Expandable storage||Up to 128GB||Up to 128GB||Up to 32GB||64GB|
|Battery||3,000mAh (nonremovable)||3,000mAh (nonremovable)||2,470mAh (nonremovable)||3,150mAh (removable)|
|Fingerprint sensor||Back cover||Back cover||None||None|
|Special features||Dual-SIM card slots||Dual-SIM card slots||Customizable online (varies by region)||Dual-SIM card slots|
|Price off-contract (USD)||$200||$350||$180 (16GB); $220 (32GB)||$200|
|Price (GBP)||Converts to £135||Converts to £245||£179 (16GB); £209 (32GB)||Converts to £135|
|Price (AUD)||Converts to AU$275||Converts to AU$511||AU$369 (32GB)||Converts to AU$275|