THE HONOR 5X isn’t a phone you will fall instantly in love with. But a combination of mid-range looks and solid performance ultimately make this budget phone hard to resist. Additions like an aluminum body, a super-smart fingerprint sensor, and a solid camera distinguish this smartphone from the rest of the low-cost options. And for those who can’t or don’t want to spend more than necessary on a phone, it’s a great choice.
The first thing you notice when you pick up the Honor 5X is the aluminum body—a rare find at this price point. There’s a fingerprint sensor embedded into the panel right under the camera. The scanner is great: quick to recognize up to five different fingers, and it can be used to open a specific app or call a specific contact. It takes a while to remember which finger launches the browser and which calls the local pizzeria, but once you figure it out it’s a great shortcut. The sensor can be used for other features, too, such as opening and scrolling through the notification panel or recently used apps, taking photos, answering calls, or even accessing protected apps and locked gallery albums.
Speaking of shortcuts, Huawei’s customized software lets you draw a letter on the screen to open a corresponding application of choice. I found it useful for opening the Voice Recorder, Flashlight, Shazam, and Spotify. Some other additional gestures can be enabled from the settings menu and include more regular options, like double-tapping to turn the screen on or flipping it to mute calls and alarms.
Unfortunately, the software also comes with a selection of Gameloft games as well as the company’s own e-commerce and services, leaving nothing more than 9.6 GB of usable space out of the initial 16 GB (the maximum the Honor 5X offers). The good news is the expansion slot supports up to 128 GB microSD cards, even though that means spending more money on your new phone.