The Honor 5X should have been one of the best phones of 2016. So why has no-one heard of it?
The 5X was the cheapest high-spec phone of last year, but it had one big problem: it was slow. It’s now down to the £200 (RM1105) Honor 6X to fix that - and if it can’t, it'll merely show that Honor doesn’t know how to make a great cheap phone anymore.
Let’s not leave you in suspense. It does a solid job, making this one of the better picks if you have RM1500 to spend rather than RM3000+.
Keep at arm’s length
The 6X has one classic Honor design trait. It’s a “stay 3ft away and I look about RM2000’s worth” phone.
Its back is bronzed gold, made of aluminium, and the combo of a fingerprint scanner and a dual camera on the back tell anyone with a strand of nerd DNA this isn’t a cheapo phone. Actually get the Honor 6X in hand, though, and you can see where the budget elements are. Thankfully, none are clangers.
For example, the bits at the top and bottom of the back are plastic rather than aluminium, and so are the buttons. The 6X also feels a bit thicker than the sort of phone you might buy for RM2500-plus. Saying this about something 8.2mm thick seems faintly ridiculous, but that’s the level of tech entitlement we’ve achieved. One more civilisation goal ticked off.
After using the Huawei Mate 9 Porsche Design edition, the Honor 6X also feels a little chunkier all-round. But at a sixth of the price, we’ll take the sacrifice.
It’s a nice-enough phone, one that if your friends turn their noses up at, it’s because they’re brand snobs. Honor: it’s no Samsung, but the phones are a helluva lot cheaper most of the time.
Gadget side orders
The 6X has some good bonus features too.
As with recent more expensive Honor phones, a fingerprint scanner sits on the back, rather than the front. It’s extremely fast and generally reliable: there’s no button to press, you just place your index finger over the recessed pad and the phone unlocks.
This being an Honor phone, there are also loads of gestures you can use, like flicking down to open the notifications menu, silencing alarms and taking pics in the camera app.
There’s a chunky 32GB of storage too, and the SIM tray has a microSD slot. Sure, there’s no IR transmitter, but even Honor doesn’t feel the need to cater to that level of nerdery anymore.
The one surprising part of the 6X hardware is that it uses an older microUSB port instead of USB-C for charging. Some previous Honor phones had slightly outdated specs because they launched in China several months (decades in tech terms) earlier, but this one is actually pretty new. We’re going to have to shrug this one off: who knows why?
Big screen, smaller price
One of the main draws of the Honor 6X is that it gets you a big, sharp screen for not that much cash. It’s a 1080p, 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen - the same sort you find on Sony’s most expensive phones.
This being a much cheaper phone, the colours are that little bit less poppy, and the contrast just a little less strong. However, it’s still a great display for the cash. Good for games, good for Netflix and not so huge the Honor 6X needs a briefcase rather than a phone case.
Right out of the box, the colours looked a little bit, well, off, but you can fiddle with the tone using a rainbow temperature slider in the Settings menu. Quite why anyone would want a purple tinge to their phone is a mystery to us, but there are standard “warm” and “cool” presets that tweak the display without making it look flat-out odd.