Huawei Honor 5C is a successor of Honor 4c, one of the first affordable Honor handset that successfully turned heads last year. The Honor 5C, however, has more in common with the recently launched Honor 5X – the one that received polarized reviews, and the one that we admired as a decent phone for basic and moderate users.

Does Honor 5C evoke similar appreciation? Does it successfully transpose the same experience to a more compact, more affordable form factor? Let’s find out in our full review.

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Note: For specific questions like benchmark scores, OTG supports, SD card implementation, etc. head to our Honor 5C FAQ Post. 

Honor 5C Specifications And Features:

Model Honor 5C
Display 5.2-Inch, IPS FHD Display, 424ppi
Processor HiSilicon Kirin octa-core Chip (2.0GHz x 4 Cortex A53 + 1.7GHz x 4 Cortex A53), Mali-T880MP2
RAM 2GB
Internal Storage 16GB eMMC 5.1 storage, 10.4GB available for users (expandable up to 256GB)
Software Android 6.0 Marshmallow based EmotionUI 4.1
Primary Camera 13MP sensor, LED Flash, autofocus, F/2.0 Lens, Full HD video recording, Slow motion videos supported
Secondary Camera 8MP Front-Facing Camera, F/2.0 lens
Battery 3000 mAh, no fast charging
Others Dual SIM (Hybrid slot), 4G LTE and VoLTE, Fingerprint sensor, Smart Power 3.0
Price 10,999 INR

Pros

  • Good, compact design
  • Sharp display
  • Reasonably good camera
  • Android Marshmallow based software
  • Good Battery backup
  • Fast and accurate fingerprint sensor

Cons

  • pre-installed plastic screen protector attracts smudges
  • No USB OTG

Design

The brush metal back plate goes a long way and imparts that premium feel and X factor to the Honor 5C design. However, It is still more plastic than metal.

Honor 5C (2)

The aluminum alloy on the rear is surrounded by textured plastic on all sides. Even though it has been painted the same color, it is unlikely that anyone would confuse it for metal. Moving further, a white plastic rim holds the touch glass intact, and the touch glass itself has a plastic scratch guard pre-installed.

Honor 5C Specification and price in India (5)

When held in hands, the Honor 5C feels plasticky, which in no way means that it’s uncomfortable or feels odd. We would choose a well-built plastic phone over a hackneyed metal slab any day. But if you prefer that metallic sheen, perhaps other options would feel more appealing.

Another peeve point is that the camera juts out a bit. In our 2 weeks of using it without a case, the camera glass has resisted all scratches. So, this isn’t something you should be worried about.

The front surface is dominated by the 5.2-inch Full HD display, which also makes room for navigation keys (customizable). The empty bezel below has been filled with Honor branding. The rear-mounted Fingerprint sensor, ports, mono-loudspeaker (Bottom) and hardware keys are all aptly placed.

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The takeaway here is that Honor 5X is a compact phone that looks good. Since most manufacturers have already resorted to a 5.5-inch or bigger display phones, the Honor 5C’s form factor is what makes it unique and appealing.

Display

The 5.2-inch Full HD IPS LCD display panel on Honor 5C is sharp and crisp. Viewing angles are good. However, the color contrast could have been better (feels a little washed out). Like always, whites are tinged with blue, but by now that’s precisely how most people love them.

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Emotion UI provides an excellent color temperature circle within the display settings, and it does work like a charm for anyone who wishes to toggle color temperature. We do come across similar toggles and color temperature presets on other handsets, but more often than not they are useless.

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The maximum brightness and associated sunlight visibility is good enough, but not great. The display glass is also a bit reflective. Option for auto brightness is present but doesn’t work very well. Brightness haphazardly increased at times and I ended up turning it off for good.

Honor 5C Specification and price in India (9)

We do believe that the choice of a pre-installed scratch guard isn’t an ideal one and could backfire. We would recommend that you peel off the scratch guard and replace it with a good quality tempered glass.

Also Read: LeEco Le 2 Review: Punches Above Its Price Tag

Camera

The Honor 5C camera performance is consistent and better than what we usually come across in this price range. It isn’t perfect by any measure, but good outdoor performance and an effective pro mode in the camera app helps a lot. You can fine tune your captures and also edit them to your heart’s content later.

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In good outdoor and even indoor lighting, colors are vivid and details great. In low lighting, the camera sometimes struggles with metering issues, and often disproportionally increases ISO. Perhaps, that’s true for all cameras in this budget.

The camera app is easy to use and offers several customization options without being overwhelming. Options like light painting and time-lapse videos are indeed fun to play with, while simultaneously being rare in this price range. The quality of video recording is strictly average and leaves a lot to be desired. Check out some camera samples below.

Honor 5c Camera Samples

Performance, Software, and Battery

The Honor 5C relies on its own Kirin 650 chipset, a big.LITTLE architecture based SoC with two clusters of Cortex A53 cores. Unlike the Snapdragon 650 and 652, there are no high-performance Cortex A72 cores and that shows in the performance too.

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Even when it isn’t as fast as say, Le 2 and Redmi Note 3, its feels perfectly adequate in normal day-to-day usage. Most high-end games also worked well. The performance is noticeably better than what we usually see on  abundant Snapdragon 615 and MediaTek MT6753 powered handsets.

Also Read: Vivo V3 Review: A Compact Phone That Holds Its Ground Well

The new Emotion UI is based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The software looks and feels a lot like the last iteration. Perhaps, a new notification shade would have felt better. Most Marshmallow features like doze mode, Now On Tap, etc. are present and work well, but the Direst Share feature is missing.

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The software is also a bit aggressive with pushing apps out of RAM, which might not bode well with heavy multi-taskers. We did come across a few bugs time and again and that did make the software + hardware experience feel unrefined. You are not likely to run into any serious performance issue, though.

Call quality is excellent in our area. The Fingerprint sensor on the rear is fast and accurate. The audio output from the mono speaker on the bottom is reasonably loud, and audio quality from headphones is pretty good.

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The 3000 mAh battery and EMUI 4.1 work in tandem to offer great battery backup. Fast charging isn’t supported, though. On most days we managed to retain 20 to 30 percent juice by bedtime, even with fairly heavy usage.

Also Read: How Do You Go About Buying A New Smartphone?

Verdict

The Honor 5C does many things right. A good camera, ergonomic design, reasonable performance and latest Android version are things that swing scale in its favor. This is also a phone that should be appealing to those who prefer compact, easily manageable handsets. At the same time, it is one of those phones that gets the job done but doesn’t make you skip a heartbeat. Which means, that it might not be compelling enough to make people who prefer larger displays (who are in the majority) choose it over existing phablets. A lower price would have helped.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Display
Chipset performance
Software
Camera
Audio
Battery
Call Quality
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The author spent a significant chunk of his formative years resisting technology. He now keeps an eye on where the world is heading to and drives a passive pleasure from this indulgence. His passion for writing, learning and growing drives him each day. When his day ends, he enjoys the pleasant languor and detoxifies with family.

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