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Honor 5C



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Honor 5C
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  • Honor 5C


We check out Honor’s Moto G challenger

Honor phones are an interesting bunch. The brand basically exists so that Huawei can continue targeting the affordable end of the market, without hindering its push to rebrand as a premium phone maker.

That's why past Honor handsets such as the Honor 7 and Honor 5X have featured the strengths and weaknesses of Huawei phones – great hardware held back by the firm’s Emotion UI.

When I first picked up the Honor 5C at the phone’s London launch, I got a strong feeling history was repeating itself. But after a couple of hours with the device, I found myself warming to it, and left the event feeling the Honor 5C has the potential to be a worthy rival to the insanely good-value Moto G4.

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Top tech at a bargain price

The Moto G is TrustedReviews’ current budget phone of choice for a variety of reasons, chief of which is its ability to match the technical specifications of phones costing up to £100 more.

The only possible complaint I had with the Moto G was its 5.5-inch size, which places it firmly in the phablet segment of the market. The Honor 5C, on the other hand, offers equivalently impressive hardware, but packed in a 5.2-inch chassis that's much easier to hold.

Honor 5C

The Honor 5C has the same sized 3,000mAh battery as the Moto G and matches its 1080p screen resolution. The rear camera also also has the same 13-megapixel max resolution as the Moto G. Honor wouldn’t reveal which exact sensor the camera uses, but during my opening shots I was impressed.

Shots taken in the automatic setting looked sharp and had decent contrast levels. The autofocus was also suitably fast and the phone had a wealth of shot options. Highlights include the light-painting setting seen on the Huawei P9, plus the usual assortment of HDR, panorama and manual settings you’d expect.

The Honor 5C also has a higher-resolution 8-megapixel front camera than the Moto G's 5-megapixel unit.

Honor 5C

I didn’t get to run the two head to head, but during my opening set of snaps the Honor 5C’s front camera proved more than good enough for taking selfies and video calling – though I still wouldn’t recommend anyone using the camera’s Beauty mode, unless they want to look like Gollum from Lord of the Rings.

The Honor 5’s processor is potentially better than the Moto G’s. The Moto G is powered by Qualcomm’s slightly old 617 CPU while the Honor 5C runs using Huawei’s Kirin 650. Huawei claims the 650 is 65% faster than competing mid-range CPUs such as the Qualcomm 617.

In theory there is some evidence to support Honor’s claim. The Qualcomm CPU has a lower 1.5GHz clock speed and 28nm fabrication node. The Kirin chip has a 2GHz clock speed and is 16nm – for non-techies, as a rule of thumb a lower nanometer (nm) size is better, though it doesn't always work out that way.

I didn’t get a chance to benchmark the Honor 5C to test Huawei’s claim during my hands-on. But during my opening tests the phone felt responsive and I didn’t notice any bugs, or issues with its performance.Honor 5C

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But it’s not all rosy

All this sounds great, but I still have a couple of concerns about the Honor 5C. The 5.2-inch screen size helps to make it more comfortable to hold than the Moto G, but I’m not 100% sold on its build quality. Honor made a big deal about the Honor 5C’s “aerospace-grade aluminum” metal back plate, claiming it gives the phone a premium feel. But during my hands-on I wasn’t convinced. The plate itself is fine, but any illusion that the phone feels high-end breaks the moment you pick up the device and realise the metal back is housed within a plastic frame. The screen also isn’t coated in Gorilla Glass, which means it could scratch fairly easily.

I’m also concerned about its use of Emotion UI 4.1. Emotion UI is Huawei’s custom Android skin, and it's been a big stumbling block for past Honor and Huawei phones I’ve reviewed, due to its needless deviations from the stock Android menus and because of its mass of bloatware.Honor 5C

Being fair, Huawei/Honor has done a great job of reducing the amount of bloatware on Emotion UI in recent months – during my hands-on I only noticed a handful of bloatware apps. But the UI changes are still a massive pain. My biggest complaint is Honor’s insistence on replacing Android Marshmallow’s gorgeous app icons with Honor’s child-like own versions, and the removal of the OS’s app tray. Some people like the removal of the app tray, because it makes Android feel more like iOS, but for me it’s a big mistake that makes curating and managing your homescreen a faff.

I’m concerned Emotion UI will also impact the Honor 5C’s chances of being upgraded to the final version of Android N later this year. Android skins always delay how quickly phones can receive software updates from Google. This is because the company behind the skin has to tweak its code to work with the new version. A Honor spokesperson at the event’s inability to tell me if – let alone when – the Honor 5C will be upgraded to the final version of Android N further fuelled my concerns.

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Honor 5C opening impressions

The Honor 5C is undeniably excellent value for money as a piece of hardware. It has internal specs that match, if not beat, the Moto G4's. But its use of Huawei’s Emotion skin will be a sticking point for many buyers. I can’t help but feel Honor should follow Motorola’s example and load its handsets with an unskinned version of Android.


June 23, 2016, 7:37 am

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Alka Ahir

July 6, 2016, 1:46 pm

“Much More”
When you expect something from someone there has to be the ways but accordingly the chances has to be such. The phone really works powerful with all the problems keeping aside and solving our situations. The problem of hanging is also resolved and there is no such situations left out. The phone is really awesome without the problems been faced.

Alka Ahir

July 7, 2016, 1:02 pm

“Color OS”
It is type of hard thing for me to digest the fact that the phone that I am using is typically been neglected by some of the false drawn people. I am talking about Oppo A37 that is working with all the established keen features. There is one of the major system where Oppo A37 is one of the best phone one could ever have. With the interest of being the part there off the best thing of this phone is its camera, the brightening of the selfies.

Alka Ahir

July 22, 2016, 1:55 pm

Happiness is to have the best phone of the year. The phone that has everything in it. All of the data can be stored and if not then even it stores your hard disk and lets it work very easily. Hard disk can work very well without any problem. Not everything you fix has a problem of hanging. There are something really worth out of it. The phone that I have recently bought has got superb features like its camera. I have bought my Oppo A37.

Roy Evans

January 15, 2017, 8:44 pm

What a fantastic phone. size, build quality, screen, battery life all great. Who needs a phone costing over £500 when you can have one of these? Does everything brilliantly. I want high performance from my phone for browsing and videos etc. I get it all with this phone. Awesome. Had a LG G3 before this and the honor feels sharper. The quad HD on the G3 is pretty pointless on a 5.5 inch screen and just gives the processors more work to do. The Honor is gorgeous at full HD. Dual sim capability and SD card memory expansion are also great features for me. got mine from 3 for £11 per month!! Unbelievable value. Get one, you will not be disappointed. Flagship phone snobs need not apply )))

Roy Evans

January 15, 2017, 8:58 pm

Reviewer seems hung up on Android upgrade problems down the line due to emotion UI (a really nice UI BTW) but in reality it's not going to bother most users. also the comments about the case are just nit picking. It's a nicely presented phone. Who cares if the sides are plastic, the phone looks really nice and is slim. Go look at one and see for yourself. you can save yourself a lot of money. It's almost like these reviewers are paid to keep the public's perception of lower priced phones as flimsy underperformers when in reality they are blazingly fast, and totally capable of handling anything you throw at them.

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