If you have been looking for a decent budget Android phone somewhere in the 10,000 INR to 15,000 INR price band, these are interesting times. Huawei today added Honor 5X to the list of worthy contenders. The handset is also more expensive than its primary rivals Le1s and K4 Note, though not by a wide margin. Perhaps many will be willing to pay the extra 1000 bucks simply to escape flash sale rigmarole (Yup, you don’t need to beat the virtual queue to buy this one). We examined Honor 5X today at New Delhi Launch event. Here is what we like and what we didn’t.

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Key Specifications and Features:

Model Honor 5X
Display 5.5-inch full HD (1920x1080p) IPS TFT LCD display with 403ppi
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 octa-core (MSM8939) (4×1.5GHz + 4×1.2GHz), 405 GPU
RAM 2GB
Internal Storage 16GB, 128GB MicroSD support
Software Android Lollipop based EMUI 3.1
Primary Camera 13 MP sensor, LED Flash, PDAF, F2.0 aperture lens
Secondary Camera 5MP Front-Facing Camera, F2.4 aperture lens
Dimensions and Weight 151.3×76.3×8.15mm and 158 g
Battery 3000 mAh
Others Dual SIM, 4G LTE, Fingerprint sensor
Price Rs. 12,999

Another metal unibody phone? Well, almost.

Honor 5X looks good and is comfortable to handle. What makes it fall short? The top and bottom strips on the back are actually plastic. Besides, Huawei didn’t allow us to peel off the plastic protector on the rear, which makes us a bit apprehensive about the quality of metal being used.

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The side frame is chamfered, but only on one side. Towards the front, there is a rounded chrome finished plastic lining. The shortcomings we have mentioned aren’t exclusive to Honor 5X and for the price, the build quality is pretty good.

Honor 5X Photo Gallery

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The display gives it a significant edge

Honor 5X truly shines where K4 Note and Le 1s fail to deliver. Huawei has in the past delivered some compelling IPS LCD panels and the Honor 5X is no exception. Display brightness and viewing angles seemed impressive. Colors are a bit oversaturated compared to what we are used to seeing on IPS LCD panels, which is something that should agree with majority of users out there.

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A narrow black band runs across the display which looked a bit odd in white Honor 5 variant. Also, a scratch-guard comes pre-installed on the display, so you are pretty much covered against scratches.

The Fingerprint sensor felt slow

Another highlight of the Honor 5X is the rear mounted fingerprint sensor. It is still soon to be critical about its performance, so yeah you should take this with a pinch of salt, but in our initial testing the Honor 5x fingerprint sensor felt a bit slow. If you haven’t used a faster one before, you might not be able to spot that difference fraction of a second makes to fingerprint sensors (which is a lot). The accuracy was good though.

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Another talking point here is how Huawei implements the fingerprint sensor. You can use it for things like navigation or opening specific apps, besides convenient unlocking of your phone.

Familiar EMUI3.1 Software

Huawei’s Emotion UI is what we are quite familiar with at this point of time. It isn’t exactly popular but is definitely feature rich. Huawei tries to cram in everything that you might have heard of. There is gesture support, numerous themes to choose from, Magazine lockscreen, a timeline bar for all notifications and a lot more. For now the software is based on Android Lollipop, but chances for Marshmallow upgrade in future are good.

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The Snapdragon 615 being replaced with Snapdragon 616

The Indian Honor 5X variant replaces Snapdragon 615 with 616. The former has slowly and steadily earned a reputation for quirky issues and inconsistent performance. On paper, Snapdragon 616 is an incremental upgrade with lower cluster clocked at slightly higher frequency, but Huawei assured us that Qualcomm has fixed many bugs to improve the overall efficiency of the handset.

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Other Hardware and Expectations

Honor 5X won’t be winning the ‘best specs award’ but has enough muscle to deliver good user experience. The Indian variant comes with 2GB RAM and 16GB storage. You can plug-in a MicroSD card to augment storage but USB OTG is not supported. The 13MP seemed to click decent shots in low ambient lighting, and we will have more to say on camera performance only after our full review.

The Honor 5X has made it to our list of worthy handsets under 15,000 INR. The competition is pretty tight on this list inhabited by some enticing yet imperfect phones. There are several questions unanswered as of now, so there is no point judging its merit just yet, but yes, we are eager to spend more time with the Honor 5X.

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