Catering to the growing budget market in Nepal, Honor has unveiled two affordable smartphones simultaneously: the X5 Plus and its sibling, the X6a. On paper, both phones look pretty similar, with the exception of the rear camera setup. I had the opportunity to spend a week with the more affordable of the two, the Honor X5 Plus. Here are my insights and experiences with the device.
Honor X5 Plus Review: Specification
- Display: 6.56″ TFT LCD, 90Hz refresh rate, 16.7 million colors
- Resolution: HD+ (720 × 1612), 20.15:9
- Dimension and Weight: 163.32 x 75.07 x 8.35mm, 188g
- Chipset: MediaTek Helio G36 (12nm)
- CPU: Octa-core (4 [email protected] +4 [email protected])
- GPU: IMG GE8320
- Memory: 4GB RAM/ 64GB storage (expandable up to 1TB)
- OS: MagicOS 7.1 based on Android 13
- SIM: Dual Nano SIM
- Back Camera: Dual camera setup (50 MP camera (f/1.8)+depth camera (f/2.4))
- Front Camera: 5 MP Camera (f/2.2)
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1, WiFi, GPS, AGPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo, NFC, Type-C USB 2.0
- Battery: 5200mAh LiPo
Honor X5 Plus Review:
- 163.32×75.07×8.35mm, 188g
- The fingerprint sensor on the power button
The design looks like just another phone. I would say it is not bad, but the camera at the back is just the same as any other device I have seen from Redmi, Realme, and so on.
While the Honor X5 Plus is a relatively big phone, its portability was never an issue in my experience. Thanks to a plastic build, it weighs less than 190 grams and the weight distribution isn’t too bad either. Additionally, the fingerprint embedded in the power button is quick.
- 6.56″ TFT LCD, 16.7 million colors
- HD+ (720×1612 px), 20.15:9
- 90Hz refresh rate
The Honor X5 Plus features a 6.56-inch TFT panel with 720×1612 px resolution—a pretty normal-sized screen and a fairly sharp one for the price. That being said, it’s still not a full-HD panel, which would have been nice to have.
The bezels are manageable, but the chin is noticeably large. But even with that, content consumption is perfectly okay and enjoyable on this device. Moreover, this might be the only smartphone bringing 90 Hz below the cost of NPR 15,500.
Screen doesn’t reach the maximum refresh rate very often
Though I just praised the X5 Plus for bringing a 90Hz panel, the sad truth is that it rarely hits that mark. This might be because the phone uses an entry-level chip, which might not be powerful enough to push those frames. Which brings us to…
The performance is a bit on the compromise side. The phone is slow, but there is a separate performance mode, which helps a little bit. Despite that, the lag is hard to ignore, and most games and even the UI itself crashed a few times in my testing. The reason might be partly due to the unit featuring a full-fledged Magic OS.
This kinda soured my taste buds since I wasn’t expecting it to be ‘that’ bad. On the bright side, I had no problem scrolling through social media and browsing videos.
- MagicOS 7.1 on top of Android 13
I like the design of the system apps, especially the control center, even though it looks like Honor tried to somewhat mimic iOS. The settings, notes, and phone app all are quite pleasing! Honor’s Magic OS is pleasing enough for me to give it a green flag at this price point.
- Back: 50 MP (f/1.8) main camera, (f/2.4) depth camera
- Front: 5 MP (f/2.2)
In short, cannot complain but average>>>
The photos from the Honor X5 Plus are ok-ish for the price. They lack sharpness, and the shadows are fully dark. Additionally, the exposure management is quite bad. But well, you cannot complain considering the price! Another thing is that the Honor X5 Plus’ shutter speed seems quite slow, so a little shake might ruin the whole image.
Even with the dedicated HDR mode, it cannot handle exposures and shadows reliably. However, one clear win is that the phone can focus on one object while maintaining the lighting for another object, but it is more of a work of OS than the camera itself. And the 2x digital zoom is okay!
There is also a dedicated Hi-Res mode, but you lose quite a lot of processing.
Honor offers two modes in this department: portrait and aperture. And to be frank, I didn’t notice much difference between the two. The portraits come out decent with good edge detection, some amount of detail, and vibrant colors. Both do the same job, though you can click the image without bokeh in portrait mode. I can safely say that the Honor X5 Plus takes decent portraits at its cost.
Selfies do not look natural. The skin tones look a bit white-washed.
Same with the selfie portraits; the skins are a little whitish. Exposure maintenance is another thing that budget smartphones lack, and this time is no exception.
Lowlight performance is no stunner either! There is no special mode dedicated to it, plus it cannot maintain lights and darks. Nonetheless, the sunset photo turned out to be decent.
- 5200mAh LiPo
- 10W charging
Moving onto endurance, the Honor X5 Plus has satisfactory battery life. I ran the phone in ‘Performance’ mode all the time, and even then, this gave me more than a day’s worth of use. However, charging it back with the included adapter (10W) is sloo…oow and takes about two full hours.
Honor X5 Plus Review: Conclusion
So, there are quite a lot of compromises being made here. The device provides the best refresh rate you can get at this price, a quality OS experience, and a good battery life. But all these are overshadowed by the laggy performance, leading the screen to not reach its maximum threshold most of the time, slower charging, and average cameras.
A better phone would be the Redmi 12C at a much cheaper price. This substitute provides better performance and a better camera. Charging is similar, though! And, for the best camera in the price range, go for the Samsung A04. However, if you can, I would highly recommend adding an extra 2.5k and gunning it for the Redmi 12 (review) which is better than all of the above and brings a well-rounded package at an affordable price.
Honor X5 Plus: Pros and Cons
- Good design
- Quality OS experience
- Excellent battery life
- Subpar performance
- Slow charging
- Mediocre cameras