Huawei Honor 5X review: Aiming High

Aiming High

GSMArena team, 16 February, 2016.

Unboxing the Honor 5X

The Honor 5X's packaging is nothing fancy, the phone comes in a matte teal box with Honor's logo in shiny recessed letters. Huawei's logo makes a cameo appearance on the back of the packaging saying "Powered by Huawei".

Honor 5X packaging with blue aqua color box - Huawei Honor 5x review The back of the packaging has Huawei's logo on it - Huawei Honor 5x review
Honor 5X packaging with blue aqua color box • The back of the packaging has Huawei's logo on it

It seems like Huawei doesn't want there to be a complete disconnect between the two brands, but it wants the consumer to recognize both names almost interchangeably. We can assure you, this will not be the only time we see "Huawei" on or around this phone.

The superb metal body would pleasantly surprise anyone who's paid $199.99 for such a device. - Huawei Honor 5x review The superb metal body would pleasantly surprise anyone who's paid $199.99 for such a device. - Huawei Honor 5x review
The superb metal body would pleasantly surprise anyone who's paid $199.99 for such a device.

Putting the device aside, we remain with a flat box with a SIM removal tool and some documentation. Underneath this is a Huawei branded AC adapter with 5V @ 1A output charger so charging speeds will be average. However, Honor's website has mentioned the 5X is compatible with a 2A charger as well. Below the charger is a standard micro-USB cable, both wrapped in heat-shrink plastic.

The charger even says Huawei on it - Huawei Honor 5x review
The charger even says Huawei on it

Hardware

As we mentioned in the unboxing, the Honor 5X might catch you by surprise. Because you'd expect a $200 phone to be plastic-y and hollow, you don't expect the Honor 5X to feel as 'premium' as it does at 158g.

The metal build is unusual to see on a midrange device - Huawei Honor 5x review The metal build is unusual to see on a midrange device - Huawei Honor 5x review
The metal build is unusual to see on a midrange device

The front of the phone, like many phones, is not much to look at. It's quite plain actually. There are no logos or icons. The forehead of the phone has a standard speaker grille, a 5-megapixel camera, and the standard proximity and light sensors.

Lower front of the device - Huawei Honor 5x review Forehead has standard sensors - Huawei Honor 5x review Forehead has standard sensors - Huawei Honor 5x review
Lower front of the device • Forehead has standard sensors

Turn the phone over to the backside and here we find the centerpiece surrounding the phone's surprisingly low price. The backside is actually made of metal, though, it's kind of hard to explain, but it feels like it's more "wrapped" in metal rather than actually made of metal.

If you're one of those people who like to carry a phone without a case, you will also want to carry a small cloth because you will likely never stop cleaning the fingerprints from the back of this device. We had to clean the device so many times to get it ready for our studio shots.

We like the character that brushed metal brings along. It makes it feel more modern and gives it a professional vibe. The other plus about most metal finishes is the variations in shades of different lighting. The color tends to morph anywhere from mirror to gray on our silver unit.

Keeping the rear of the device clean was difficult - Huawei Honor 5x review Keeping the rear of the device clean was difficult - Huawei Honor 5x review
Keeping the rear of the device clean was difficult

Regardless, it still has that premium feel when holding it in your hand and it has a very attractive, finely and horizontally brushed aluminum texture that looks great when holding it up to light. The texture actually reminds us of any modern refrigerator with brushed stainless steel. Since this texture is so fine, it doesn't do much for the grip of the phone, nor does it resist any fingerprints, it does the exact opposite of that.

Along the top and bottom edges of the backside are strips of pit-textured plastic to allow various radio signals through. The upper plastic panel narrows into a small insert that trails toward the 13 Megapixel camera sensor. Just to the left of the sensor is a single LED flash. Just below the camera sensor is the fingerprint scanner whose placement is synonymous with many of Huawei's devices.

Bottom grille is actually made of plastic - Huawei Honor 5x review Upper and lower inserts let signals pass through - Huawei Honor 5x review Upper and lower inserts let signals pass through - Huawei Honor 5x review
Bottom grille is actually made of plastic • Upper and lower inserts let signals pass through

On the top edge of the 5X we find a single 3.5mm headphone jack and a noise-cancelling microphone, which doubles as a video recording mic for stereo audio. Turning it over the bottom side, you'll find two symmetrical grilles, the one on the right side is a speaker while the left side is a microphone for phone calls.

The right edge of the device is home to the only physical buttons found on the device. The Honor 5X uses Huawei's button-layout which places the power button underneath the volume rocker. This is a bit awkward to get used to if you've never encountered it before.

Right view - Huawei Honor 5x review Top view - Huawei Honor 5x review Bottom view - Huawei Honor 5x review textured buttons power button is under the volume rocker - Huawei Honor 5x review
Right view • Top view • Bottom view • textured buttons power button is under the volume rocker

The left side of the device houses no buttons but two SIM trays. The top one is for a microSIM while the lower one is a longer tray that's home to a nanoSIM and a microSD card. While it is still unusual to see a DualSIM setup in the US, it's a welcome option to have, especially for those who carry two phone numbers or for those traveling overseas.

Left side view - Huawei Honor 5x review Dual trays allow for one microSIM, one nanoSIM and one microSD card. - Huawei Honor 5x review
Left side view • Dual trays allow for one microSIM, one nanoSIM and one microSD card.

Reader comments

  • Dongabby

My honor x5 network is 2g, how can change it

  • Checoufé

I have it. Its actually very good but after 2 years it hangs a lot! It was very good but I wasn't quit satisfied with its camera

  • Anonymous

am using honor 5x with 16g internal memory,but i keep on seeing 4g internal memory,what will I do to get d 16g