BQ Aquaris M5 review

Can BQ make the big leagues?

BQ Aquaris M5 review

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It has a strong feature set and an attractive price point, but with almost no name recognition in the UK, can the BQ Aquaris M5 really hope to make any headway against the better funded competition?

We liked

This is a phone that feels good from the moment it is picked up. The soft-touch plastic and clean design set it apart from the rest of the budget blowers kicking around, and one-handed use is perfectly achievable.

With a Full HD resolution, the screen on the M5 is pin sharp, with nice colours, strong viewing angles and acceptable sunlight legibility.

Sporting a large battery for the size, and with a power sipping processor and the efficient Android Marshmallow, the battery life on display is really rather decent.

BQ Aquaris M5 review

We disliked

Although the camera sensor promises greatness on paper, in reality it is only decent, with other devices such as the Moto G4 performing better at a similar price point.

While the update to Marshmallow brings many welcome improvements, the build I used needed a little more testing, as I came across more bugs and crashing apps than I was otherwise used to.

Though it is possible to get a good deal on the price of this device, it is too expensive directly from BQ and requires a little shopping around.


BQ has seen rapid growth in its homeland, and now has grander ambitions across the rest of Europe.

The Aquaris M5 is the spearhead of a new mid-range crusade, and it has a lot going for it. With a big battery, Android Marshmallow, a good processor, a healthy serving of RAM and a lovely screen, it compares well to most of the competition.

Yet with a camera that is mostly average and some bugs and other issues on the software side, it needs a little more polish. Moreover, if BQ wants to make any real headway in the UK, it will need to adjust its pricing. The Aquaris M5 can be had for as little as £150, but it takes some effort to find it at this price.

Despite these drawbacks, this is an excellent budget handset, and recommendable to almost everyone. Devices like this are proof that the 'flagship' class of smartphone is no longer necessary for the common man.

First reviewed: July 2016

Sean is a Scottish technology journalist who's written for the likes of T3, Trusted Reviews, TechAdvisor and Expert Reviews.