Honor smartphones have gained a lot of attention in past few years as they provide a real value for money. Honor 5C is the latest budget smartphone from Huawei offering a top tech at a bargain price of ₹10,999. The metallic finish handset has some really nice offerings like the fingerprint scanner, a 13 MP camera, an in-house CPU, octa-core Kirin 650 which is based on a new 16 nm FinFET fab process found in various flagship chips such as Kirin 950 and Snapdragon 820. Is Honor 5C the only smartphone to look for if you have that budget? Let’s see the Honor 5C review and find it out.
In the Box
- Honor 5C with built-in battery
- Micro USB Cable
- Power Adapter
- SIM Ejector Pin
Honor 5C Specifications
- Display: 5.2-inch Full HD IPS Display (1920 x 1080 pixels)
- Software: EMUI 4.1 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow
- Fingerprint Scanner: Yes, at the back
- CPU: 2.0 GHz octa-core processor (8 Cortex-A53 cores), Kirin 650 SoC
- GPU: Mali T830
- Memory: 2 GB
- Storage: 16 GB internal storage, Expandable using MicroSD card
- Main Camera: 13 MP, f/2.0, autofocus, LED flash
- Front Camera: 8 MP, f/2.0
- Connectivity: Micro USB, Bluetooth v4.1, Wi-Fi b/g/n, GPS, AGPS, GLONASS
- Network: 4G LTE support, Hybrid Dual SIM (GSM + GSM/MicroSD)
- Battery: 3000 mAh (non-removable)
- Dimensions: 147.1 mm x 73.8 mm x 8.3 mm
- Weight: 156 grams
- Price: ₹10,999
Design and Build
I really like the Honor phones as they are particularly targeted to an affordable market. Honor 5C is kept budget friendly and priced between ₹10,000 and ₹15,000. It appears to be a direct competitor to the ₹12,499 Moto G4 but falls in a smaller size 5.2-inch segment. A 5.2-inch sounds decent in terms of comfort, and you can hold it pretty well in one hand easily. Weighs 156 grams and 8.3 mm thick, Honor 5C is a perfect fit for one hand.
When I picked up the Honor 5C, it actually looked like Honor 5X before I realized the phone wasn’t completely metal but plastics on the sides. You get that Honor 5X resemblance from the backside.
If we talk more about the design front, the handset is made of metal and plastics. Honor 5C takes on the aircraft grade metal back as far as the design goes. You’ll notice a fingerprint scanner which you’ve been seeing on the Honor 7 and Honor 5X. Due to its glossy finishing, the phone looks metallic from a distant and overall appearance seems quite unique and pretty neat.
Honor 5C has a 13 MP f/2.0 aperture rear camera with a single LED flash and 8 MP front camera with f/2.0 aperture. Further resides is the neat fingerprint scanner below the rear camera. There you can see Honor branding on both sides. Honor 5C put internal on-screen buttons not external touch buttons taking a portion of space on the display.
The specs do sound promising on paper, the handset boasts a powerful Kirin 650 CPU which doesn’t seem to be a weaker component, in my opinion, it can compete with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 617. However, 2 GB RAM and 16 GB storage, nowadays, seem too mainstream and it would be good if a 3 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage would be provided. Competitors such as ASUS Zenfone Max and LeEco Le2 offers a 32 GB internal storage. Nevertheless, a micro SD card can be used to expand up to 256 GB. The hybrid SIM tray on the left supports a two nano SIM cards (GSM + GSM) or one nano SIM and one MicroSD (GSM + MicroSD). While all the buttons lie on the right. The Honor 5C supports 4G LTE network.
The bottom features a Micro USB port, not the newest USB Type-C. The loudspeaker resides on the right grill while the other grill has a microphone. The top has another microphone and a 3.5 mm audio jack.
Honor 5C boasts a 5.2-inch full HD IPS display (1920 x 1080 pixels resolution). Honor did a nice job bringing in a very bright and crisp display. Viewing angles are pretty good and visibility under sunlight shade is sufficient. The indoor viewing is bright enough. You have the option to select the color temperature as Warm or Cold.
I do prefer a Gorilla glass at this point. It would be better to stick a Corning Gorilla Glass but Huawei wants to stick with their own home-made stuff. The front glass isn’t Corning Gorilla Glass yet appears to be a decent scratch resistant glass prone to heavy fingerprint smudges which make the display look messy.
Software and UI
Like many other rivals out there like the Moto G4 featuring an unskinned version of Android, Honor remains to stick with their own modified EMUI. Honor 5C features EMUI 4.1 based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
EMUI skin is highly modified to achieve the best user experience from Android OS. If you are familiar with the Huawei and Honor smartphones, the homescreen doesn’t feature an app drawer offering a user-friendly environment. All the apps can be found on the homescreen which can be customized further. The Emotion UI seems to be more refined and polished in the new version (EMUI 4.1). The interface ran smooth, didn’t lag or felt sluggish.
The navigation bar can be customized to get a desired placement of the buttons. There you have a floating dock which was also found on Honor 5X and Honor 7. We didn’t find any option for the multi-window feature. Perhaps, the smartphone doesn’t support it, however, Honor 5X and Honor 7 had it.
There is a ‘Health and Fitness’ app that logs a record of how many steps you followed, how many calories you burnt, and how many distance you’ve covered.
We have already talked more about the software in our previous Honor smartphones.
The Honor 5C has a fingerprint scanner on the back. It is fast and accurate. No matter in which position you place your finger, it supports 360-degree fingerprint recognition. The fingerprint scanner also works with wet fingers.
Only 6 attempts are required to add a fingerprint which is pretty good compared to the phones that usually asks you to verify it up to 19 times verification. Honor 5C supports up to 5 different fingerprints at a time.
The fingerprint scanner is smart and supports gestures by tapping the on the scanner. It can take a selfie, answering a call, stop an alarm, and browse photos by swiping left or right from the gallery. How cool is that?
Hardware, Performance, and Gaming
What powers the phone is an octa-core processor from Kirin 650 SoC. There are total 8 Cortex-A53 cores in which 4 cores are clocked at 2 GHz for high-performance and other 4 are clocked at 1.7 GHz for less power consumption. It is more likely to be a powerful hardware than the Honor 5X. With the ARM’s big.LITTLE technology, all 8 Cortex-A53 cores can run simultaneously meaning the smartphone can handle 8 processes together. On performing basic tasks, the Kirin 650 smartly switches to the 4 Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 1.7 GHz while the other 4 Cortex-A53 cores clocked at 2 GHz can be used for heavy tasks. It also boasts Mali-T830 GPU for gaming needs and a 2 GB of RAM.
The performance of the apps is smooth and lag-free. Multitasking is yet another tremendous thing to do on Honor 5C. The only thing I find unusual is why they kept 2 GB RAM when the system itself uses ~900 MB which is almost half of the total RAM usage. I would expect 3 GB RAM module since some portion of the RAM is taken away by the system and what is left can be a delusion for multitasking if someone actually performing it and this could be the reason why Honor 5C doesn’t support multi-window feature even though it has a very good CPU as compared to the Honor 5X.
The AnTuTu scored 52804 points in our tests. The score on the Geekbench 3 gave us nice results. It scored 903 points on a single-core benchmark and 3921 on a multi-core benchmark.
Kirin 650 chipset outperformed the Qualcomm Snapdragon 617 with those numbers we saw in the Geekbench 3 and AnTuTu benchmarks. Kirin 650 proved to be a top performer, a power-efficient and reliable chipset.
Gaming on Honor 5C is sufficient. We tried to run a few games to see how well is the gaming on Honor 5C. Games like Angry Birds Go, Traffic Rider, and Asphalt Nitro ran completely fine and other similar games can run fluently. These games did not lag in our test, the gameplay was quite well. The GPU performance is good for games requiring a moderate level of hardware resources.
Games Tested on Honor 5C:
- Angry Birds Go
- Traffic Rider
- Asphalt Nitro
The phone temperatures levels are very good. On idle, we got 33 degrees while on load, we got degrees. The temperature remains cool on Honor 5C (under 40 degrees).
Honor 5C is equipped with a stunning 13 MP rear camera and an 8 MP front camera. The main camera employs a 5P macro lens for crystal-clear shots. The camera features PDAF and f/2.0 aperture with single LED flash. We were expecting to get a dual tone LED flash but that’s all it has. At this price, the Honor 5C camera performs very well, Honor 5C impressed us with its camera performance. Like all the other Honor smartphones, they do quite well in the camera portion.
Honor 5C Camera Specifications
- Camera: 13 MP autofocus, single LED flash
- Optical Image Stabilization (OIS): No
- Features: Geo-tagging, Tap to Focus, HDR, Pro Photo Mode, Beauty Mode, Panorama, Good Food, Light Painting, Time Lapse, Slow-mo, Continuous Shot, Pro Video, Beauty Video, All Focus, Watermark, Audio Note, Document Scan
- Video: Up to 1080p video recording, 1080p@30 FPS, Slow Motion 480p@120 FPS, Pro Video
- Front Camera: 8 MP from Sony/Hynix
Honor 5C offers much more than just an average camera. The Auto mode detects the scene automatically. The camera software offers a number of features such as Geo-tagging, Tap to Focus, HDR, Panorama, Pro Photo Mode, Beauty Mode, Good Food, Time Lapse, Slow-mo, Light Painting, Pro Video, Beauty Video, All Focus, Watermark, Audio Note, and Document Scan. Swiping on the other side leads to a camera filter. You can also find gestures like touch the fingerprint scanner to capture a shot in the camera settings. The best feature I find is the Ultra Snapshot which instantly clicks the image by opening the camera in a very quick moment when you press the volume down key two times while the phone is in sleep mode.
Honor 5C Camera Samples
Check out the honor 5C camera samples, they are captured in different lighting conditions.
The camera is an amazing stunner, I have to say. Images captured in the day time turn out to be very good, they look highly crisp, sharp and bright. The low-light scenarios were quite okay. It all depends on the incoming lights, the low-light performance reflects when there is plenty amount of lights where it gets impressive. We saw a very light reddish tint when capturing low-light shots albeit they exhibit sharpness with a tad amount of noise.
The camera lens is very accurate with focusing on the objects. As it is a budget phone, the camera doesn’t support OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) and that’s totally expected. There aren’t any phones featuring an OIS aided camera in sub ₹10,000 price as far as I know.
For camera enthusiast, a Pro mode is provided to tweak the image settings so you can have full control over the manual stuff on the camera. We were also impressed by its 8 MP front camera. It takes great selfies, beauty mode works like a charm. At night, the front camera uses the screen’s brightness aiding as a front flash to capture low light images, pretty smart, though.
Honor 5C camera supports Full HD videos. Here’s a video sample captured in the daylight. The Pro Video can be used if you want to tweak the video settings before recording.
Storage and Connectivity
The Honor 5C comes with an average 16 GB internal storage. The Micro SD slot is in the same tray that holds SIM card. The user gets 10.41 GB free space to use. A preinstalled app named ‘Storage Cleaner’ can be used to clear the junk files to increase the space. The phone supports a MicroSD card which can be used to expand the storage up to 256 GB. To use the MicroSD card slot, the handset loses the dual SIM functionality due to its hybrid SIM tray.
We benchmarked the storage performance using AndroBench and here are the results. The results are quite decent, we got 264.22 MB/s sequential read and 41.64 MB/s sequential write speed. The random read speed is 34.65 MB/s and write speed is 10.93 MB/s.
The Honor 5C packs a decent amount of battery capacity i.e. 3000 mAh which is built-in and cannot be removed. Honor 5X also had the same battery capacity. Honor 5X also had the same battery capacity 3000 mAh but the battery on the Honor 5C came out to be better than that in the Honor 5X which is supposed to be using a CPU from Qualcomm Snapdragon 616.
The battery will get you through the day, on moderate use. The battery runtime is more than sufficient when used on a day to day activity and ran close to a couple of days. During our 44 hours of usage, the battery dropped to 39% on minimal usage. With its newly designed CPU, the battery backup turns out to be good as compared to the other smartphones having the same battery capacity. We did various tasks from music playback to video streaming and gaming.
You also have the power saving options like you used to see in other Honor phones. The EMUI provides you a battery control panel or to be called as a battery management tool from where you can select options to extend battery. These 3 power plans: Performance, Smart, and Ultra, can give you a chunk of battery backup.
Here are the battery test results of the Honor 5C. We performed various tasks to see how much the apps and games consume the battery.
Honor 5C Battery Test Results
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Verdict – Should You Buy It?
When it came to pricing, Honor remains to be an aggressive player. Honor 5C is undeniably the best budget device available at an entry level price of ₹10,999. For people who wants a budget phone with a top-notch camera and substantial battery backup, Honor 5C is surely for them. As a true value for money, Honor 5C also focuses on software experience and offers demanding specifications.
- Very Good Camera
- Crisp and Bright Display
- Good Battery Life
- Fast Fingerprint Scanner
- MicroSD Support