Honor 5C in-depth review - Cheap but not very cheerful

Honor continue with their go-to-market strategy of creating smartphones aimed at digital natives that look premium and have specs that immediately appeal. While the strategy has mostly worked out for the Huawei start-up, 5C is their latest roll of dice. But will it be the budget champion we have been promised?

 Honor 5C Review - Cheap but not very cheerful
3.5

Review by Sunetra Chakravati,6/20/2016 2:19:32 PM

8

out of 10

Performance

9

out of 5

Look and feel

8

out of 5

Ease of use

7

out of 5

Features

5

out of 5

Battery life

Pros:

Value pricing | premium looks | Full HD display

Cons:

No fingerprint sensor | camera not great | low on-board storage

 

- By Sunetra Chakravarti

 

Look and feel

Squint a little and you will be hard pressed to tell the difference between the HTC flagship- One M9 and Honor's latest launch to the market- the 5C. A similar brushed metal back adorns both, but look closer and you see the sparing use of metal is obvious on the 5C.

The metal backplate is encased in a plastic/polycarbonate frame and that the phone is a lot lighter than what it would be if it were a unibody metal one like the HTC number.

 

The power button is on the right and the square camera lens on the back is the only punctuation apart from the Honor logo etched at the bottom. If I had to be really critical of the design, I would probably call it a bit boring, but other than that there is nothing offensive about it and the best bit is that owing to the 5.2-inch screen, the size of the handset is very ergonomic and you will have no problem using it one-handed.

However, the glass on the front isn't reinforced and took on fingerprints v easily- no oleophobic coating there. If you opt to buy this phone, use some of the money you save for a case and cover because the brushed metal back picked up scratches v easily in my handbag.

Ultimate media guzzler?

The holy trinity of media guzzling is: good screen size, display and battery life and the 5C doesn't disappoint... too much. The Honor 5C has a 5.2-inch Full HD display (1080x1920 pixels) with a IPS LCD panel and videos I streamed off Youtube were okay but the colours were quite some way off.

I got a weird tint to most videos and somehow they were not as sharp as I would have hoped from a Full HD display... If I had to rate my experience of watching the finals of the female gymnastics event on the BBC iplayer app on the phone, it wasnt as I would have liked it to be. It was bordering on fuzzy and the sharp colours of the costumes werent as bright as I would have expected and the audio sporadically bordered on tinny.

There is a 3000mAH battery which did quite well when I streamed HD videos over wi-fi and lost 8 percent of power during 30 minutes of streaming with 100 percent brightness. The audio is again just sufficient without being anything to remember the experience for. 

 

 

Honor are offering the 5C as a dual-SIM model and you can either use a SIM and a microSD card or two SIM cards on the handset. However, only one of the cards will have 4G capabilities and again the consumer will be able to take a decision on which SIM to use for data.

Processor, software and Emotion UI

There is a home-grown Kirin 650 processor on-board with a 16nm chipset technology which helps improve performance while bringing in battery-saving features. The 2GB RAM matches the processor and it does not suffer from a mis-matched RAM and processor issues like the OnePlus 2 did.

The phone comes with 16GB onboard storage and a little over 6GB is used for the system and software so users get around 9.73 GB to play with. There is no fast charge included and the phone is charged using a microUSB cable.

 

The phone boasts Android Marshmallow with Emotion UI 4.1 overlay. Apart from the lack of an app drawer, there are a lot of customisation options available ranging from setting your own theme to home screen transitions. There are some tweaks on how it otherwise is, on other Android handsets but nothing that can be a deal breaker.

Camera

There is a 13-MP primary camera on board and it comes with the usual range of trims and frills... Swipe right to get a host of options, including pro photo, light painting, good food, time lapse and slow-mo. The primary camera additionally comes with a wide-angle lens with an F2.0 aperture. There is also a flash-enabled HDR mode. However, the camera cannot be trusted to take pictures that are high in clarity, detail or colour reproduction. 

In bright sunlight, you get fair to middling images with fuzzy corners but in anything less than optimum sunshine, the results are very poor. 

The front-facing camera is an 8-MP one and boasts of 10 different beauty modes, which should be enough for even the most discerning selfie-takers.

Verdict

Honor seem to be in a rush to grab the value phone market without an actual USP apart from its price. The fly in the ointment is that there are others out there that beat it at its own game. And the likes of Moto G4 and Vodafone Smart ultra 7, further make it very difficult for it to succeed.

Whereas the Smart ultra 7 is cheaper at £135, albeit with a less than perfect camera, the Moto G4 is £19 more expensive than the Honor 5C and packs a punch.

The Honor 5C is a good phone, but not one that will make punters rush in... unless the deal is sweetened considerably by a UK network like Three who regularly have Honor exclusives.

A better display and screen would have elevated the Honor 5C to the top of the charts but the lack of them doesn't harm its prospect much.

This is not a very exciting phone but that will not undo its success out there. 

Honor 5C specifications

Website: vmall.eu

Price: £149.99

Operating System: Android 6.0.1

Dimensions:147x74x8.3mm

Weight: 156 g

Resolution: 1080p Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) 

Display: 5.2-in IPS 

Processor: Octa-core 2.0GHz Kirin 650; 2GB RAM

Camera: 13-MP LED flash. Selfie camera: 8-MP. Video recording: 1080p (30 fps)

Memory: 16 GB internal, up to 128 GB microSD Card support

Battery: 3000 mAh

Fingerprint sensor: No