Honor 5C review

The Moto G4 has a new low-cost rival

Honor 5C review

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Like previous Honor phones such as the Honor 6 Plus, the 5C's battery life strategy is to use a big, high-mAh count unit. It's rated at 3000mAh, which is large for a phone with a 5.2-inch screen.

In general use we found the Honor 5C lasted through a solid day of fairly intensive use. It's long-lasting enough not to be annoying or unreliable, but perhaps not quite as stellar as the milliampere count may suggest. It lands on the 'good' side of normal.

Honor 5C review

Its performance in our usual 720p video test, which involves playing a 90-minute film at maximum brightness with Wi-Fi running in the background, is nothing special, though. The Honor 5C lost 23% of its charge, which is significantly more than the 17% shed by the Moto G4. This may be because of the screen's high power consumption at max brightness.

The one thing we miss on the Honor 5C in daily use is fast charging. Fast-charging phones can often go from empty to 80% in under 30 minutes, but this handset takes a good two-plus hours to charge up.

Fast charging is increasingly being introduced on cheaper phones, so the Honor 5C's successor may well offer it.


The Honor 5C's camera can take some really striking images for a budget phone. It's all down to the series of really quite good 13-megapixel sensors that started being used in cheap phones a couple of years ago.

This phone has a 13-megapixel f/2 rear camera, with most likely either a Sony or Samsung sensor. Much like the screen, it offers the sort of experience you would have had to pay top dollar for a couple of years ago.

In daylight, colors are vivid and largely natural-looking, the level of detail is excellent, and a mix of good dynamic range and sensible metering deliver shots that generally look good, and at times look quite terrific. There's a little bit of shutter lag, but in real-world use this is offset by a screen that lets you see what's going on comfortably, even on a sunny day.

Honor 5C review

While strong cameras in cheaper phones have been around for a while now, we're still very satisfied with what the Honor 5C offers. It's particularly good for taking dramatic-looking close-ups, with the combo of pronounced background blur and the ability to focus quite close up proving powerful.

That's not to say it's without flaws, though – there are several. First, low-light image quality is poor. It's very easy to take blurry low-light shots, and the fizzy-looking night processing makes images look quite ugly.

Focusing isn't too hot either – and this is the biggie. Looking back over the few hundred images we shot with the Honor 5C, swathes of them were out of focus because the AF system simply hadn't clicked in. You need to be sure the phone has focused properly before shooting to avoid missed moments, because it's quite poor at focusing without a finger prompt.

Honor 5C review

As such the Moto G4 is perhaps a bit stronger in the camera department, but the Honor 5C still does well.

Its selfie camera is good too. Honor is actually keener to boast about this front camera, an 8MP Sony/Hynix sensor. It too has an f/2 lens, can capture quite a lot of detail, and renders colors naturally.

That an affordable handset like the Honor 5C can fit in not one but two respectable camera setups shows you how little you have to pay to get decent daylight smartphone snaps these days – what you have to pay extra for is good low-light shots.

The Honor 5C can only really take fair low-light shots if you're able to keep the phone ultra-still. There's a full-on Manual camera mode that enables you to slow the shutter speed right down, but without optical image stabilisation it's not all that much use handheld; you'll either need to rest the phone on a surface, or be the oddball carrying around a phone tripod.

Another feature you miss out on here is 4K video; you can only capture at 1080p, and the video mode doesn't use software stabilisation either.

Andrew Williams

Andrew is a freelance journalist and has been writing and editing for some of the UK's top tech and lifestyle publications including TrustedReviews, Stuff, T3, TechRadar, Lifehacker and others.