This is the first part of a multi-part series brought to you by Benjamin Rossington. I have owned the Huawei Honor 5X as my daily-driver since it first became available in the U.S.
“Corners Cut for Price” or “The Price of a Pretty Device”
If you missed Part One, click *here*
PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
Before we look into the hardware, I should inform you this device comes from the manufacturer looking and operating very different from a standard Android device. Huawei has a fairly heavy ‘skin’ on their devices, called “EMUI”. This device originally shipped with EMUI 4.0 and Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop). Since I no longer longer use the original ROM, and Nougat isn’t available from the manufacturer, I will be focusing on Lineage OS 14 on this device. My reasoning for switching the ROM? The Huawei Honor 5X is a much more capable device than the stock ROM would lead you to believe. I was initially quite happy with my original purchase, until the Android M update took too long to reach me. When it finally did, it was lacking in performance so badly I wanted to throw it. I ditched the stock ROM and moved to CM13, then CM14, and now Lineage OS 14, and I am quite happy with this device again.
The Honor 5x is the first offering from Huawei subsidiary Honor. It features a beautiful 1080p LCD screen, metal body, fingerprint scanner, 4G LTE ready (single sim), dual sim functionality, 16Gigabytes of storage, and 2Gigabytes of RAM at an original price of $199.
The standard features are present here, Bluetooth (v4.1), WiFi (2.4Ghz only), 13Mp camera, 5Mp selfie, GPS, FM music, etc.
I am ignoring the software issues, refer to the PSA above to see why.
Without further adieu, let’s start complaining about the Huawei Honor 5X!
The following features were stripped down in the production model:
3Gigabytes RAM standard > lowered to 2Gigabytes RAM standard (1)
1.7Ghz max CPU speed > throttled to 1.5Ghz max
USB-OTG removed > hardware to support is present, software missing. (2)
No Qualcomm® QuickCharge 2.0 capability > hardware is present, but not supported. (3)
Lower resolution cameras used; uses software interpolation to increase the apparent resolution of the images. (4)
WiFi in use is only 2.4Ghz, single band. (5)
Bluetooth is only v4.1 compatible.
LTE technology only available for SIM1, despite the hardware physically supporting LTE on both SIMs.
No external video output supported physically. The only option is non optimized Chromecast screen mirroring. (6)
(1) When I pre-ordered my personal device, the only option available was 3Gigabytes. Somewhere between my order being placed and the item being delivered, it lost a whole Gigabyte of RAM.
(2) USB-OTG was most likely left unsupported to keep the smaller battery capacity acceptable. You realize each OTG device is powered by your phone, right?
(3) Qualcomm® QuickCharge 2.0 hardware is present, but not the corresponding firmware. You will not be able to achieve a proper ‘QuickCharge’ even with a compliant charger. This device originally shipped with a 500mA power adapter. Now, it’s advertised as coming with a 2.0A (2,000mA). I have used a 2.1A charger since the first month of ownership with no issues. It charges from completely dead and powered off to 100% in about an hour. If it is powered on, it can take 2-3 hours.
(4) The cameras use software techniques to squeeze a few extra megapixels out of the hardware. This can result in speckling and washed out colors in certain conditions.
(5) Utilizing only the 2.4Ghz band causes issues with Bluetooth connectivity. Attempting to use a Bluetooth speaker and WiFi to stream Netflix results in stuttering unless within 10ft of the router.
(6) There is no support whatsoever for external displays. Not even with a custom ROM. I had high hopes of using a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard with an external monitor to work on various hobbies and past times. Nope. 🙁