2015 was an amazing year for budget smartphones. But it looks like 2016 is kicking off even better.
We all know about the OnePlus X, a small powerful $250 smartphone that is unbelievably well-built. But China has another contender in the cheap smartphone arena-- the Huawei Honor 5X; an even less expensive and arguably more powerful smartphone. It's also larger, has a bigger battery and has something that the OnePlus X doesn't have-- a fingerprint sensor. Between these two, you can see an obvious difference in design direction. You're all familiar with the OnePlux X's all-glass covered front and back and aluminum sides. The Honor 5X sticks to the regular Huawei design language mostly with glass on the front and an aluminum frame and unibody around most of the device. The only difference lies on the top and bottom of the phone, which is actually made from plastic instead of metal.
The size difference is pretty noticeable. The X measures in with a 5-inch display, a 1080p AMOLED panel while the Honor 5X comes in with a 5.5-inch 1080p LCD panel. Pixel density is also obviously better on the X but so are the colors and the brightness. The 5X has a great display but it doesn't look so good compared to the AMOLED on the OnePlus X. Plus, it's quite dim in comparison.
Internally, it's a completely different story. The OnePlus X is basically a OnePlus One rebranded. It runs the same 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, and 16GB of internal storage. Though still plenty powerful for a modern day smartphone and it's proven itself in efficiency. The 5X uses an octa-core Snapdragon 615 processor with four running cores at 1.5GHz and another four cores at 1.2GHz. Unlike the X, it only has 2GB of RAM but the same 16GB of internal storage. Also worth to mention that both of these devices do offer microSD card slot expansion.
But what's the performance difference between them? Geekbench paints a pretty accurate picture here. Notice how much faster the single-core performance on the OnePlus X is. But notice the difference in multi-core score. Because the OnePlus X has cores clocked in at 2.3GHz, it could do single-core tasks like UI navigation and sometimes Google Chrome in a breeze. However, when you need the extra horsepower for gaming or multi-tasking, the four extra cores found on the Honor 5X will come in handy. Although the one last GB of RAM sort of evens out the playing field. Between these two, you'd be pressed to find a difference in world performance. Both can be buttery smooth but both also have slight hiccups when loading larger desktop websites. Also, the Honor 5X with the Google Now launcher does add some weight. That's the only way to really compare the software experiences.
And speaking of the software, let's dive into that. The OnePlus X runs Android 5.1 Lollipop with ColorOS. It's a fairly stock-looking skin but it does give you tons of customization options. You also have things such as Shelf but I never found myself using it ever. Over on the Huawei Honor 5X, out of the box, it runs Android Lollipop but it also has EMUI 3.1 and unlike the OnePlus X, it does not feel like stock Android at all. Solution, you can either go with Google Now Launcer or Nova. With that, you get about 90% of the experience of stock Android although through a skin and the only things that you can't change are the way the notification tray looks like and the menu structure. Though they aren't half bad and both are very responsive. In terms of smoothness, I would say both are basically the same. Buttery smooth for the most part but you can definitely slow it down if you want to.
The last thing I want to talk about is battery life. While the 5X has a larger 3000mAh battery, the OnePlus X and the 5X are about even in terms of usage. I think the skin on the 5X consumes more battery life and the OnePlus X is definitely more power-efficient. It will get you around 4-5 hours of screen on-time which is usually enough to go through an entire day's worth of usage.
So for the price, the Honor 5X is definitely something to consider. $50 you can save and you get a larger device. Although personally, I think I like the OnePlus X a little too much due to its construction and size. Though, you'd be absolutely happy with either one of these in your pockets.
If you want me to do a camera comparison between these two, make sure to go crazy on that thumbs up button below.