The Huawei Honor 5X Review: Mid-Range Meets Maturityby Brandon Chester on February 29, 2016 8:00 AM EST
- Posted in
- Snapdragon 616
- Honor 5X
At this point, the performance of Snapdragon 616 is pretty much a known quantity. Nothing much has changed from Snapdragon 615. On paper, you have Snapdragon 615 with a peak clock speed of 1.7GHz on one of the Cortex A53 clusters, and a peak clock speed of 1.0GHz on the other. In practice, we've seen other implementations where one cluster goes up to 1.5GHz and the other goes to 1.11GHz. Snapdragon 616 in the Honor 5X is essentially the same as those implementations, with a small 90MHz boost on the second cluster.
Since pretty much all of Qualcomm's mid range and low end SoCs act as a quad core A53 CPU in practice, the differences in performance tend to come from the small frequency differences between them, as well as software differences from device to device. With the Honor 5X one would hope that it's able to match the Huawei P8 Lite for performance, and pull ahead of the 2015 Moto E and Moto G models by a small margin.
In our web browser benchmarks I would say that the Honor 5X performs right around where you'd expect. Scores are very close to the Moto G (2015) and the P8 Lite, which is where they should be when one considers that all the devices are basically bound by the performance of a single Cortex A53 core running at 1.4 to 1.5GHz. The gap in Octane does strike me as interesting though, as that Snapdragon 615 ran at the same 1.5GHz frequency as the Honor 5X's Snapdragon 616. Unfortunately, I no longer have the P8 Lite to take a look at this.
In pretty much all of BaseMark OS II's tests the Honor 5X is very close to the P8 Lite. The web test shows a larger gap between the two, with the Moto G actually performing closer to the P8 Lite than the Honor 5X does. Where the Honor 5X really pulls away from Snapdragon 400 series devices is the graphics performance sub test. Adreno 405 is simply much faster than Adreno 305/306 which we see in the Snapdragon 400 series SoCs, and that's just one of the benefits you get when paying the premium to move up from the $100-150 price bracket.
The Honor 5X doesn't make as strong of a showing in PCMark as it does in our web tests and BaseMark OS II. It ends up sitting behind the Moto G in all but one test, and often by a noticeable margin. Once again we see that there's a gap with web browsing performance, which in light of the similar gaps in Octane and BaseMark's web test makes me wonder if there's something on the software side reducing performance compared to Motorola's fairly "stock" firmware. One thing to note is that Huawei has addressed the problems they were having with the writing sub test, and we haven't been seeing the triple digit scores of devices like the P8 Lite for some time now.
Apart from the curious case of the Zenfone 2, Snapdragon 615/616 offers the best performance that you're going to get in a $200 smartphone. The Honor 5X does appear to have some odd reductions in web browsing performance compared to other Snapdragon 410 and 615 smartphones, including Huawei's own P8 Lite, but it's difficult to say exactly what could be causing this beyond it probably being something different in the software between all these devices.
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londedoganet - Monday, February 29, 2016 - linkNo LTE Web Browsing battery test? Are the bands incompatible?
Brandon Chester - Monday, February 29, 2016 - linkI was having difficulties getting sufficient reception due to the weather conditions. The phone has to be placed in a place where it's vulnerable to snow and rain. I'll try to run it at a later point if it's possible.
tipoo - Monday, February 29, 2016 - linkLooks like a fair jump over the Moto G for around the same price, nice to see this space heating up. I think the midrange is honestly where the excitement is now, the high end has gotten boring.
Though, neither this nor the G are close to taking down the Zenfone 2 for GPU performance yet in the same price category, impressively. I'm unsure if the early issues with the 2 were worked out (battery life, screen color shifting to save power), but for gaming that has both trumped. I'd like to see the Zenfone 3.
blanarahul - Monday, February 29, 2016 - linkIf wonder what the real life performance /power differences are between S610 and S615 considering that the extra four cores barely make any difference. Also S610 should be a little cheaper as well.
usama_ah - Monday, February 29, 2016 - linkI purchased one from Amazon the day it was released for my mom. Prior to that she was using my OG Moto X on AT&T in Chicago.
She's extremely pleased with the phone. There was a slight learning curve going from a near stock launcher to this OS but she loves the big, bright screen and the fingerprint unlock. Camera is good enough for her too. She has noticed the slight UI jankyness while moving about but that's not something she cares about. She uses WhatsApp with family and gets a LOT of pictures and videos so now she doesn't have to delete to make room because she can move them to a microSD card (I set it up to be one button transfer to microSD since WhatsApp doesn't let you default media there). She loves the battery life, and usually charges every other day. She loves the build quality and color (we got her the gold). Works well on AT&T LTE in Chicago and soon she'll be running dual SIM when she goes overseas.
Overall I'm very happy with the purchase, and more importantly she is. It was hard for me to not get her the Moto G but I think we made the right choice, for her. If I was to recommend one to a friend I might still recommend the Moto G first because of customization and flexibility, closer to stock interface. Maybe this year's G will also have a fingerprint reader, we'll see.
zeeBomb - Monday, February 29, 2016 - linkPhone doesn't surprise me due to all the phones I looked at MWC, LOL.
Brandon, if you get the chance, review the Alcatel Idol 4!
fanofanand - Monday, February 29, 2016 - linkSo it barely beats year old Motorola and Asus phones that sell for the same price. We are impressed because it has a little aluminum? I'd rather a plastic phone with Marshmallow, a better LTE radio, faster ram, and more NAND. This seems like year old specs at the launch, which shouldn't impress anyone.
formerglory - Monday, February 29, 2016 - linkFun fact: the Honor 5X's screen *doesn't* have an oleophobic covering, thus the screen protector that comes with it (that has a coating). Ideally, you're not supposed to remove it, or else suffer the wrath of a constantly fingerprint-covered screen.
revanchrist - Monday, February 29, 2016 - linkThis is a low end phone priced at mid range price. Man, look at the Snapdragon 616, it's manufactured on 28nm LP. How old was that process already? I'll consider the 28nm HPM Snapdragon 650 and 652 and even the 14nm LPP Snapdragon 625 as mid range, but not the Snapdragon 615 and 616 thanks.
beginner99 - Tuesday, March 1, 2016 - linkMy though as well. I don't see the midrange except in price. A53's are too slow for midrange and if you really use those, take ones made on 14/16 nm and hence better battery life. The charts clearly show you are better off with a 2 year old flagship.