Huawei’s online-only offshoot Honor has been, without a doubt, making some interesting phones ever since its inception. The company has been focusing largely on offering affordable and mainstream phones in order to attract more consumers. All this while, its parent company — Huawei — has been enjoying the reward of its close association with Google on the new Nexus 6P.
But you can never rest on your laurels in the Indian phone market. It is hyper competitive and Huawei’s new Honor 5X looks like the perfect way to take on this competition. The Honor 5X is an all-metal phone that rocks a FullHD screen, a capable Snapdragon 616 processor with 2 gigs of RAM, expandable memory, fingerprint scanner and a 3,000mAh battery. All this costs just Rs.12,999! Now, this may not sound as tempting as what Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 3 offers but if all works as intended, it can make the Honor 5X the budget phone to beat in the Indian market.
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The Honor 5X looks nothing like the Honor 4X, which is nice. You know what’s even better? That it looks a lot like the Honor 7. Why? Because the Honor 7 is a mid-tier phone that costs above Rs.20,000. The Honor 5X borrows heavily from the Honor 7, which in turn borrowed heavily from the Mate 7. While it’s no longer the most original designs around, we are glad that folks back at Huawei are not out taking inspiration from other brands. They are doing their own thing, and we appreciate that.
The Honor 5X is also entirely — almost — built of metal. The top and bottom ends of the phone still have plasting casing on them. These parts house the sensors and the antenna. The build quality is definitely a notch below what you get with the Honor 7, but keep in mind that this is a phone that costs Rs.13,000. The Honor 5X is certainly a looker when you compare it with the Honor 4X, but the Le 1S has to be the sexiest phone at this price point right now. Period! A lot of this has to do with the excellent screen-to-body ratio of the Le 1S. The Honor 5X has chunky bezels, which kind of bring it down. A neat trick that Huawei has employed to give the illusion of a finer bezel — especially on the sides — is the use of a black strip all along the display. Every time when the screen is off, it would appear that the phone has thinner bezels, which is kind of cool. Turning on the display breaks the illusion. There was a time when you only expected HD displays in phones below Rs.15,000. Times they are a changing, for the better. FullHD is the new HD.
The Honor 5X — in line with this new-found trend — comes with a 5.5-inch FullHD IPS screen with a 1080×1920 pixels resolution which roughly translates to 403 ppi pixel density. As for real world output, the Honor 5X’s screen gets significantly bright, even if colours on-board are not very accurate. Whites have an odd bluish tinge to them especially when you tilt the screen. Colours on the whole are colder by default on the Honor 5X. There is an option to correct colour temperature manually, which helps a bit, but not as much as we would have liked.
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The screen itself is very reflective and is prone to smudges and fingerprints. Good bit is that the phone is very bright and hence perfectly usable under direct sunlight. The Honor 5X runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop-based EMUI 3.1, which is the company’s custom user interface. Needless to say, there’s some heavy skinning involved here as well. The phone will be upgradable to Android Marshmallow. When exactly? That’s not for certain.
Huawei’s Emotion UI may not be as visually appealing as Xiaomi’s MIUI, or as simplistic as LeEco’s EUI, but it’s feature packed to the brim, and is very, very slick provided you’re the kind of person who’s as curious as a cat and likes to dig into things. EMUI 3.1 focuses largely on customisability and battery management. Emotion UI has a number of useful Easter eggs scattered all across its length and breadth. You can get quick access to apps like voice recorder, calculator, torch and camera (depending on the theme, there could be more) right from the lock screen by swiping up from the bottom edge. This saves you the trouble of unlocking and sifting through your apps when you’re in a hurry. The home screen meanwhile gives you a quick search feature (accessed by swiping down) that can sift through apps, contacts and messages to help you quickly find what you’re looking for. Features like one-hand UI and dual window are also worth mentioning.