Honor 5X review

A premium phablet that's unbelievably cheap

Honor 5X review
Honor 5X review

TechRadar Verdict

All the normal problems of Huawei are present in this Honor phone, but there's a lot to love and for the price it's quite astonishing what the company has managed to achieve.


  • +

    Gorgeous display

  • +

    Decent battery life

  • +

    Strong processing power


  • -

    Ugly UI

  • -

    Not a premium feel

  • -

    Lacking some features

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The Honor 5X is a phone that only comes along every once in a while. It took me by surprise with how high-spec it has managed to be while still only coming in at a really low price.

The first time I picked up the phone I was initially a little let down by what this was, but then sitting back and taking a few moments to contemplate, I came to realise that the Honor 5X is incredible for its price.

It's remarkable that Honor is managing to retail this phone for £189.99 (US$199.99, about AU$275). That's without the discount offered by some retailers at launch, but may continue on in the future.

Honor 5X

For the level of spec you're getting here, it's quite impressive how Honor has managed to keep the price so low.

Honor is an off-shoot of parent company Huawei, which has been producing phones for years and is starting to become a major contender in Western markets. Honor is where it plans to release the cheap, yet "cool" phones with lower price tags, and the 5X is exactly that.

Let's take a look and see what are the highlights and lowlights of the latest cheap, Chinese phone.


Honor has highlighted the premium aluminium back on the 5X, but when you pick up this phone you notice right away that it isn't as high-end as you were hoping.

That's partly down to it being such a light handset. But it's also partly down to the tacky feeling metal on the back of the phone. That said, it looks great when you put it down or leave it on the table in a pub.

Honor 5X

It's only when you pick it up that you notice how cheap it feels and when you compare it to the Huawei Mate 8 the weight makes an enormous difference.

The Honor 5X is made of an aluminium alloy uni-body that looks fantastic, at a distance, for such a cheap phone. The back of the phone has a brushed metal effect and the logo at the bottom has been etched in by a laser.

I feel it's a bit of a shame that's then followed by the Huawei name and details Honor has to fit on the back of the phone though.

The edges of the Honor 5X are more premium than the back and feel like they are able to take the odd knock on without taking any visible damage.

Honor 5X

Even though the phone is reasonably large, the power button and volume rocker on the right hand side are still easy to access with your thumb. I did find the button placing a little too close together, especially when trying to turn down music through my pocket and trying to judge where the rocker was sitting through my jeans.

On the left hand side sits the microSD, microSIM and nanoSIM drawers. Yes, this phone comes with all three.

It means you can up the storage, which you'll likely need to as it's only 16GB, and have two different SIM cards in all at the same time.

Honor 5X

Many other dual-SIM phones have to sacrifice the extra storage for this, so I'm impressed how Honor has managed to make this possible on the Honor 5X.

The bottom of the phone is home to the speaker grille surrounding the microUSB slot for charging and data transfer. Personally I disliked the grille on the Huawei Mate 8, but for me it seems to work on the Honor 5X.

Honor 5X

The slightly more budget feeling design complements the steampunk look of the speakers and I'm not as opposed to them here than I was on Huawei's flagship phone.

Some will likely find the Honor 5X a little unwieldy – but it's not going to be such as big problem as it was on the Mate 8.

Housing a 5.5-inch screen on the 5X, with relatively slim bezels, Honor has managed to keep this package tight and I feel those with smaller hands will still be able to control this phablet better than other options like the iPhone 6S Plus.

Honor 5X

The 5X was, according to Honor, inspired by the Guggenheim Museum in Spain. Personally, I don't see where that has made an impact. A lot of the design on the Honor 5X is just the Huawei Mate 8 on a budget.

But that's not a bad thing. More than halving the price of an already cheap phone is a phenomenal step for Honor and you can't go in expecting something with a high-end, take-your-breath away design.

James Peckham

James is the Editor-in-Chief at Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.