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Opinion 217 Shares 16 comments

Android Fanclub: "The Honor 5X is the best phone ever made"

I want to talk to you about the Honor 5X. Specifically, why it’s the best phone ever made. I know some of you might disagree – it has a few problems, after all – but, I think it's basically the best phone ever made. Here's why I'm the biggest fanboy of the Honor 5X. 

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The Honor 5X: the best phone ever? / © ANDROIDPIT

Some body to love

The Honor 5X captures the heart immediately. Some phones look cheaper than they are and others look more expensive. The Honor 5X looks like it could cost three times what it does (or 5x...geddit?).

I love how wide its edges are. Really. I know it's a bizarre thing to fall in love with, but manufacturers are currently locked in an arms race for thinness; the Honor 5X prompts the question: Why?

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Rear curve > chamfered edge > flat edge > display portion: combined, they feel good. / © ANDROIDPIT

At 8.3 mm thick, it's not a necessarily fat smartphone, it's just thick for the era it exists in. The flat metal rim is already reasonably wide, then the display adds an extra millimeter or two, plus there's the sloped chamfered edge on top: but all you really feel is a flat metal bar which begs to be touched by every finger each time you pick it up. And it looks the part.

Manufacturers are locked in an arms race for thinness; the Honor 5X prompts the question: Why?

It’s also light: given the metallic body and almost 6-inch by 3-inch size. It's light to the point where I had to confirm I was, in fact, holding a metal phone and not a hairnet filled with wafers. While carrying the 5X, I routinely asked myself, "Is this what it’s like to be the Hulk?" 

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Look at how the headphone jack cuts into the chamfered edge and the off-centre pinhole mic. Laughable engineering. / © ANDROIDPIT

But look at the button placement. It’s so wrong. It’s not in the middle or anything. The headphone jack slices into the chamfered edge like someone just pointed to the phone and said: "try drilling a hole, there."

But goodness; that brushed rear. Run your fingers over it – it’s like running your hands through Aslan’s mane. Yet the Honor 5X doesn't exist in a fantasy kingdom (and it's not a dangerous, if loyal, companion but we could talk forever about the differences) it’s right here, available for just $200.

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This rear gives the 5X a looks and feel that makes it seem far more expensive than it actually is. / © ANDROIDPIT

It’s right here, available for just $200 

The Honor 5X underscores the rise of the low-cost midrange perhaps better than any other Android phone. It does so much for so little. It has a fingerprint scanner, microSD card support, a Full-HD display: it cuts the most sensible of corners. 

Run your fingers over the Honor 5X – it’s like running your hands through Aslan’s mane

No phone can include every single feature, and sacrifices have to be made. On the 5X, there a plenty to be found. It lacks 5 GHz Wi-Fi, NFC, wireless and quick-charging. It’s not very fast, it’s full of strange little software hiccups like how parts of the camera software can be viewed in landscape but some parts only in portrait.

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Full-HD displays on a sub-$200 phone while the expensive Xperia Z5 still remains at HD. / © ANDROIDPIT

However, this isn't about what it lacks because all of these corner cuts are in the context of price. Most devices have strong competition at their price point, but there's little that can battle the Honor 5X for $200.

The worst software ever?

Most of the complaints leveled at Huawei and Honor devices is that its software interface, known as EMUI or Emotion UI, is terrible. It's not particularly fast and has its quirks, but this idea has been completely blown out of proportion. 

It's similar to iOS, but so what? That alone does not make something bad. It has some inconsistencies but there are many innovative features of this software that aren't just gimmicks, but useful additions that would be at home in other interfaces.

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Emotion UI: not as painful as the critics say. / © ANDROIDPIT

The capture smiles camera feature, for example, is a superb idea. How many times do we fail to capture photos at the right moment? Capture smiles takes a picture automatically when it detects a smiling face; it's a good idea that works. 

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Me, testing 'capture smiles'. / © ANDROIDPIT
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Me, after 'capture smiles' worked perfectly on the first attempt. / © ANDROIDPIT

And the fingerprint gestures are great too. Swiping across the fingerprint sensor to open notifications is easier than moving your thumb to the top of the display to pull it down, or using a second hand.

If this worked every time, and the scanner was in an easier to reach location, it would transform from 'a good idea' to 'essential feature'.

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Lockscreen shortcuts and fingerprint gestures; more than just gimmicks. / © ANDROIDPIT

Ultimately, I appreciate manufacturers who try to add interesting or unique flourishes to the Android software, because this has resulted in some excellent features of the years. Just to be clear, I’m saying I appreciate attempts to improve upon stock Android, not I prefer EMUI itself to stock Android.

Final thoughts

The 5X delivers on style and performance and comes at a low price: it's so rare to find this in other products. So rare, in fact, that when people do find such items – be it clothing, a household appliance, a musical instrument etc – they tend to cherish them.

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Gorgeous phone, gorgeous price. / © ANDROIDPIT

It might be rough around the edges in a few areas, but, generally speaking, it offers an experience far beyond what you would normally get for a similar price. I've even looked at it in comparison to the iPhone 6s.

Is the Honor 5X the best phone ever? No, in many places it’s serious lacking. Would I recommend it? Yes, my friends, I absolutely would.

Editor's note: Android Fanclub is a series from the editors of AndroidPIT on phones they're obsessed about. Their opinions are not a reflection on final review scores.

16 comments

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  • Ted Lee 6 months ago Link to comment

    Bought this phone on Friday as a result of this articles recommendation. Sent it back yesterday. Great hardware, but the garish Emui that ASUS layers on top of Android really ruins the experience. If this phone was offered with stock Android it would be a hit, but in its current form, it's a miss.

  • Ajay Cs 6 months ago Link to comment

    I think Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 is way better than Honor 5X.. But what do I know? It has almost all the features mentioned in this review,plus an awesome processor -Snapdragon 650. The 650 is actually better than the snapdragon 810. Trust me, it kicks ass. At this price range, Redmi Note 3's benchmark scores compete with those of one plus two and Google Nexus 6P. I love everything about this phone except the camera which (even though has a buttload of filters, modes and features )cannot be compared to an iPhone 6 or a Samsung Galaxy S6. A cooler-looking metallic finish, a faster fingerprint sensor and an OS jam-packed with tweaks that takes customization to the next level. Call me when you find a better device.

  • The reason it's so light, is because there's fookall inside the thing. Thick and light is not a good sign in my opinion.

    It's like a big Easter egg with thin chocolate and nothing inside. Probably tastes like shit too.

  • Seriously?? LG 2 is like the "Picture perfect" phone everything you want from a flagship BOOM its there... Camera,display,performance u name it. Although softwares a bit of pain in arse but can be fixed with cyanogen mod

  • Paolo 6 months ago Link to comment

    I get this phone is REALLY good for the price, but honestly,... No. The Galaxy Note 3 is far superior to this. For the same price used, you get 60FPS AND 4K UHD recording, a significantly better CPU/GPU, a world of accessories, and significantly more ROM options (Make it into anything from a baby Nexus 6P to a more usable Note 5.) I dare say Note 3 is THE BEST PHONE EVER MADE, because it's the last true "Flagship" in every sense of the word, all other phones after it are basically clones of each other one way or another...

  • vicky 6 months ago Link to comment

    What about moto g 4 plus ??

  • personally I'd go for Honour V8, just for the camera..
    until I read about ZTE,s latest device Axon 7 which really raises the bar for flagship spec's at almost mid range price point.

  • Everyone has a favourite phone, your's is obviously this one, and it's no were near the best phone.

  • I purchased this device in February and instantly fell in love with it. I've never seen a thick device so light. The fingerprint sensor and the gestures are useful and are not gimmicks. I do have some problems with EMUI but not too much.
    I have seen that this device is so dev friendly that I can see over 10 different custom ROMs on the XDA website including CM13, Resurrection Remix, Bliss ROM, SlimROM, CrDroid to name a few.
    I think after using CM13 on Honor 5X you'll feel like it is a budget Nexus.
    So, people having problems with EMUI can just flash these ROMs and live happily ever after.

  • Mark 6 months ago Link to comment

    Not even close to the best phone ever. That title in my opinion goes to the Note 4. That phone has it all.

  • I have it as a backup phone and occasionally switch between my Nexus or this. The only thing that bugs me is how EMUI can sometimes make it lagg. But it's not that The longevity of the battery is what makes it worthwhile . Not the best phone ever. But a pretty good phone. You definitely get your money's worth.

  • While I don't believe it's the best phone ever made .. I actually give that title to the Galaxy S II Epic 4G Touch 😊 I do appreciate Huawei creating this device with that metal unibody and fingerprint scanner at that price point. I'm not really a fan of no app drawer however I don't know much about EMUI to just trash it. Perhaps I should buy the phone see for myself.

  • storm 6 months ago Link to comment

    Another boring metal phone. Imagine if they had been brave with plastic. They could have put in better hardware at the same price point and made a lighter, tougher, more durable phone with better specs.

    This illusion of aluminum and glass as premium is hurting smart phones.

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