Honor 5X review – Sets the bar for budget smartphones

If any phone that has caught any attention from the tech world, it’s the Honor 5X. This phone has been the talk of the town since it was announced. Once reviewers got it in hand, the hype got even stronger. For the Honor 5X the hype is real. The phone backs up it’s talk. For only $199 you’re getting an amazing experience.

Last year the budget phone that got everyone’s attention was the Moto G and rightly so. Motorola delivered a really great phone in the budget category. As a matter of fact, Motorola gave us their best yet with the G, Pure Edition, and Style. Those were phones you couldn’t wrong with. However, this year is already off to a great start and to be honest, the Honor 5X is going to be hard to beat.

There isn’t much not to like about the Honor 5X and with keeping the price tag of $199 in mind, the few complaints I have are minor.

What I Like

Build Quality – The metal form factor of the Honor 5X is what makes this device stand out so much. It feels like you’re holding a $500+ device in your hands, the same quality experienced with today’s top flagship phones such as the Galaxy S6, HTC One M9, Nexus 6P to name a few. Metal materials simply raises the quality of a device to the next level every time, making it a very smart move to make the Honor 5X with metal.


Being that the materials are made of metal might raise the question if the device is slippery or not. To me, it’s not slippery in most conditions. The Honor 5X is sized just right for handling the phone. Now if my hands are dry and cold it does increase the slipperiness, but even then because my hands are larger than average I am able to hold the phone without being concerned of dropping it. Not to mention I typically use a case with all my devices. If you like your devices naked, the Honor 5X will give you peace of mind it’s not going to slip out of your hands.

Fingerprint Sensor – This is a feature I want on every phone. I don’t care where the sensor is placed, as long as it’s present on the phone. Once you get used to using a fingerprint sensor to unlock your phone, you won’t want to use another devices without the feature. Much like the Honor 5X’s big brother, the Nexus 6P, the fingerprint sensor is placed on the back. For the most part the sensor is the same experience like the Nexus 6P. The sensor has a metal finish with a capacitive touch feel.


The sensor performs well and is very responsive. Personally, I like the sensor placed on the home button area, but I have also grown accustomed to locating the sensor on the back ever since I have used the Nexus 6P. When using other devices I tend to still reach for the sensor on the back. Kind of like the experience from the LG G3/G4 volume and power buttons being placed one the back. One of the benefits of the sensor being located on the back is when reaching in your pocket you can place your finger on the sensor while pulling out of your pocket and have the device’s home screen already opened up by the time you look at the screen.

Unlocking the phone and security isn’t where the fingerprint sensor features stop. There are a handful of gestures you can use with the fingerprint sensor!

  • Link with contacts to call with one gesture
  • Swipe down to view the Notification Drawer
  • Double tap to view Recent Apps
  • Launch apps
  • Snap pics
  • Answer calls

As you can see the Honor 5X takes the fingerprint sensor to the next level.

Screen Quality – The Honor 5X has a 5.5″  1080p FHD  IPS display and it looks good! Typically I am a fan of 2k+ displays because it’s now 2016 and if you’re putting anything less out these days you’re giving us old tech, but keeping in mind that the Honor 5X costs only $199 I am quick to forgive the 1080p screen. However, it’s easy to forgive because it actually looks really nice for only being 1080p. The Honor 5X is a prime example of the argument that you can’t really tell the difference between a 1080p screen and 2k screen.

Camera – The Honor 5X camera is very good! Usually if a camera gives me a bad experience I will not use the phone. The camera does not disappoint and I am happy with the results produced. Within the camera app are features like time lapse, shutter controls, button actions, slo-mo, focus options, and more. I’m confident this camera will produce the results I want out of a camera.


Follow the hashtag #Bane5X for some photo/video samples taken right from the Honor 5X without any editing, along with some Instagram posts.

The two shots below are taken from the Honor 5X. No edits.

IMG_20160130_162748 (1)

IMG_20160214_193928 (1)

Dual SIM Support – The Honor 5X comes with a dual SIM card support that also acts as a micro-sd card port. Port two can be used as a SIM card or sd card port. The 5X comes with 16GBs of internal storage, which these days is not that much after adding all your apps and HD pics/vids. I was pleased to see that I could expand my storage with this phone.

IMG_20160214_210137 (1)
Developer Support – I’m not the average user. I like to tinker with my phones and discover ways to make it “better” than whatcha get out of the box. One of those ways is to install custom ROMs and mods. The developer support is strong with this one. Be on the lookout for many ROMs and mods coming out for this device. If you like to root and mod your phones, this is one you’re gonna want to get.

Price – Did I mention that the Honor 5X only costs $199? #NuffSaid. Well, let me add one more thing about the price. I asked three people who have never heard of the 5X and they all estimated the price to be above $550. They were shocked when I told them the price was actually only 200 bucks.


What I Don’t Like

UI – The UI needs some work. EMUI isn’t horrible, but it’s not great either. EMUI is like a hybrid between TouchWiz and LG’s UI. There are some cool features, but it just looks outdated. While I would prefer stock Android over EMUI, I still want features and that’s what EMUI does give though.


Availability – One of my biggest wishes for phones this year and onward is to have compatibility on all major networks. The Honor 5X is a GSM phone, meaning it will work with T-Mobile and AT&T. While those are good options for carriers to use, there are regions of the country that Verizon works best, such as the Southeast.

No NFC – Mobile payments is on the rise. Android Pay is doing everything it can to become a major way to pay for products/services. More companies are adopting mobile payments. Therefore, NFC is a must have feature.

Speakers – While this isn’t a deal breaker for me, I would like the sound quality to be a bit better. I’m not too picky on placement of the speakers, but they need to sound good. I would not recommend using the speakers as the main sound source for music or videos.


Button Placement – The power button is below the volume buttons. I am used to the opposite. Therefore, I find myself accidentally pressing the power button when I mean to press the volume rocker. Not a huge deal, but it’s annoying when I mean to press one button, but press something else.



Final Thoughts

As you can tell there are many pros about this phone along with a few cons. The cons are more so preferences than actual problems or issues. The Honor 5X is a well built phone and only sets you back a couple hundred bucks. If you’re using a GSM network you can’t go wrong with this phone. Heck, this phone could even make for a great media/streaming device.

The Honor 5X definitely set the bar for budget phones in 2016. I really don’t see any other companies giving us anything better than this guy.

Will you be getting the budget beast? Let us know in the comments!

Get your Honor 5X HERE

Thanks for taking the time to read this post and we sincerely hope you found it helpful and enjoyable! Please feel free to leave your thoughts down below in the comments and don’t forget to subscribe to Bane Tech on YouTubeGoogle+Facebook, Twitter Instagram!

Follow me


Addicted to tech, smartphones, & gadgets! I share my experience about them! Reviews, guides, & more! Techies - Geeks - Nerds! Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/BaneTech