Honor 5X review

Katharine Byrne
9 Feb 2016
Honor 5X
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT (SIM-free)

The Honor 5X is one of the cheapest phones to come with a fingerprint sensor, but its terrible camera and sluggish performance hold it back



Processor: Octa-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 616, Screen Size: 5.5in, Screen resolution: 1,920x1,080, Rear camera: 13 megapixels, Storage (free): 16GB (10.5GB), Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Dimensions: 151x76x8.2mm, Weight: 158g, Operating system: Android 5.1.1


More impressive is its octa-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 processor and 2GB of RAM, as it’s quite rare to see this particular chipset on a phone under £200. Even the 3rd Gen Moto G only has a quad-core Snapdragon 410 inside it, so the Honor 5X provides a significant boost in speed.

In Geekbench 3, for example, it scored a respectable 697 in the single core test and 3,064 in the multicore test, the latter of which is around 500 points faster than other Snapdragon 615 handsets I've tested such as the Motorola Moto X Play and Sony Xperia M4 Aqua.

However, I found it was actually quite sluggish in everyday use, and the keyboard in particular was very laggy and unresponsive at times. It also took a turn for the worse when I ran our web browsing test, as its Peacekeeper score of 573 is very much below average compared to other phones with a similar chipset. For the most part, web browsing was relatively effortless, as I was able to browse media-heavy web pages without articles appearing too jerky, but it often stumbled when it came across adverts. Sometimes it ignored my thumb swipes altogether, becoming very slow for a couple of seconds before returning to normal speed again. It didn't happen very often, but it was still very irritating nonetheless.

The 5X proved equally stuttery when playing games, too, as Hearthstone was often momentarily brought to a halt by character speech bubbles and choosing different cards to attack. This isn't surprising given its result of 349 frames (or 5.6fps) in GFX Bench GL's offscreen Manhattan 3.0 test, but simpler games such as Threes! worked much better, so you might be better off sticking to 2D games on the Honor 5X as opposed to power-intensive 3D titles.

Battery life is pretty decent, though, as it lasted 10h 34m in our continuous video playback test with the screen brightness set to 170cd/m2. This isn't quite as long as the 3rd Gen Moto G, but it's still more than enough to get you through the day. 


Its 13-megapixel rear camera was a bit of a mixed bag. Outdoors, it produced some great photos. Colours were a little on the cool side, but there was plenty of detail present across the frame. At full resolution, object outlines could be quite sharp and grainy at times, but it's certainly not as bad as other smartphone cameras I've tested. I was also impressed with its HDR mode, as this brightened up each shot considerably while bringing more contrast into the clouds and surrounding buildings in the frame.

Honor 5X camera test

^ The sky is a little overexposed here, but otherwise colours were bright and accurate, and there was plenty of detail present

Honor 5X camera test HDR mode

^ Switching to HDR mode made photos look even better, as the sky had a lot more contrast, and photos were generally brighter overall

Indoors, however, it often struggled to focus, produced soft, rather blurred shots even after multiple taps of the focus ring. There was a fair amount of noise present in lower lighting conditions as well. Thankfully, enabling the bright, neutral flash made pictures appear much sharper, so you'll probably need to use this at all time when taking photos inside even when there's lots of light.  

Honor 5X camera test indoors

^ Indoor shots were much more difficult to take, as the camera struggled to focus correctly even when there was plenty of light available

Honor 5X camera test indoors with flash

^ Turning on the flash helped immensely, though, so we'd recommend keeping this turned on at all times when taking pictures inside


Taken together, the Honor 5X just has one too many flaws to warrant a full recommendation. It might be one of the only phones you can buy under £200 with a fingerprint sensor, but for me it still can't beat the simplicity and superior build quality of the 3rd Gen Moto G. There's also the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua to consider, which is slightly smaller than the Honor 5X, but has a very similar chipset, takes better pictures and has the added benefit of being waterproof for only £180 SIM-free. In this case, the M4 Aqua is by far the better value smartphone in this price range, but those after something cheaper and more compact should stick with the Moto G. 

ProcessorOcta-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 616
Screen size5.5in
Screen resolution1,920x1,080
Screen typeIPS
Front camera5 megapixels
Rear camera13 megapixels
Storage (free)16GB (10.5GB)
Memory card slot (supplied)microSD
BluetoothBluetooth 4.1
Wireless data3G, 4G
Operating systemAndroid 5.1.1
Battery size3,000mAh
Buying information
WarrantyOne year RTB
Price SIM-free (inc VAT)£190
Price on contract (inc VAT)N/A
Prepay price (inc VAT)N/A
Contract/prepay supplierN/A
Part codeKIW-L21

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