Honor 5X vs Nexus 5X: Can Huawei Take On Google’s Nexus?


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Do phone manufacturers feel awkward when they release a phone with the same name? I mean, designing a device with a lot of inpirational cues from a rival is one thing, but when two devices are literally entitled the same way, does everyone on the development teams just cringe?

We reckon so. And if that’s the case, then it seems a bunch of people at Google and Huawei are probably both cringing like crazy right now, because the current Honor flagship (built by Huawei) is called the Honor 5X, while one of Google’s latest Nexus phones (made by LG), is called…you guessed it…the Nexus 5X.

Aside from the name, they’ve got to be pretty different devices though, right? Well we aim to have a look and find out for you.

Google Nexus 5X vs Honor 5X: Design

Google’s latest Nexus 5X looks very much like the previous Nexus 5, both being made by LG and featuring that pretty standard Nexus look; a somewhat generic “tab” shape with rounded corners and a smooth plastic shell material made from decent quality polycarbonates. The bodywork is largely only interrupted by two circular shapes towards the top-middle of the rear panel – a porthole for the camera sensor, and a fingerprint scanner immediately below that. Other than this, the Nexus 5X is a suitably thin handset as they go, and it’s available in black, white, or an eye-catching pale blue.

Meanwhile, the Honor 5X seems to be a bit of a mashup of design styles. We can see some iPhone in there (punched speakers in base), some Samsung Galaxy S6, a hefty dollop of HTC One (brushed metal, endcap and antennae design), and even a pinch of Sony (it’s quite angular overall, you see). Despite (or perhaps because of) this mixture, the Honor 5X does end up with its very own style that looks rather interesting to the eye and plenty premium enough for our tastes. It’s also worth noting that the Honor 5X is a good deal larger than the Nexus 5X with a 5.5in display and a bigger chassis at 151.3 x 76.3 x 8.2 mm.

Google Nexus 5X vs Honor 5X: Software

One issue I have with the Honor 5X, however, is its software: Huawei’s custom UX is bloody awful in practice and a pain to use in comparison to the simplicity and good looks of stock Android. What’s the issue? Well for a good long while Huawei’s UI software has effectively been trying to mimic Apple’s iOS in terms of layout, design, and interaction; you don’t, for example, have the usual Android app drawer and instead just swipe right onto a continuously scrolling field of applications. This is just one example, but there are tons of other ways in which the UI becomes overly complex compared to stock Android. It simply feels very clunky and most of it seems to be for the sake of looking flashier – not something everyone wants. To be fair, you can customise the appearance with a wide selection of preset skins, and you can mix and match, but some of the core functionality (like the lack of an app drawer) remains consistent anyway.

Nevertheless, Huawei does ship the Honor 5X with an unlocked bootloader, so you can tinker with the software until your heart’s content. This is a pretty big deal actually too, as plenty of OEMs prefer to keep things locked down in this regard. 

So if you do get this phone, you will probably want to bone up on how to install custom ROMs like CyanogenMod. 

These are the basic steps for unlocking the Honor 5X’s bootloader: 

  • Visit the EMUI global site – http://emui.huawei.com/en/plugin.php…nload&mod=list
  • Click Unlock Bootloader
  • Sign in to Huawei ID
  • Accept the unlocking agreement
  • Enter device information and click Submit
  • Get code and enjoy

The Nexus 5X doesn’t really need any introduction in this regard; it has just about the best software experience you can get on any phone, bar none, with its stock implementation of Android Marshmallow. Best of all you can guarantee continued support from Google as, just like all other Nexus handsets, it will be kept up-to-date with the latest software builds as they are released, and the software will come straight from Google over-the-air with no need for approval from carrier networks. So, you’ll be getting Android N as soon as it drops!

Google Nexus 5X vs Honor 5X: Specs & Hardware

Nexus 5X:

Dimensions: 147 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm Display: 5.2in IPS LCD 1080 x 1920 pixels (~423 ppi pixel density)
OS: Android Marshmallow
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
Memory: 2GB
Storage Options: 16GB/32GB
SD-Support: No
Imaging: 13 MP, f/2.0, laser autofocus, dual-LED flash
Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 2700 mAh battery

Honor 5X:

Dimensions: 151.3 x 76.3 x 8.2 mm Display: 5.5in IPS LCD 1080 x 1920 pixels (~401 ppi pixel density)
OS: Android Lollipop
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 615
Memory: 2GB/3GB
Storage Options: 16GB
SD-Support: Yes, up to 128GB
Imaging: 13 MP, f/2.0, autofocus, LED flash
Battery: Non-removable Li-Po 3000 mAh battery

Both devices seem to be fairly well matched when it comes to the camera hardware and battery cells, although the Honor 5X edges out ever-so-slightly in front with a full 3000mAh. Google’s handset has more varied options for onboard storage, but lacks microSD expandability, while the Honor 5X packs support for a full-size 128GB microSD. It’s also worth noting that there are two different RAM variants for the Honor 5X, both with 16GB of onboard storage.

But probably the most important difference comes in the processor and software. Naturally being a Nexus device the Nexus 5X uses the very latest version of Google’s Android system – version 6.0 Marshmallow – and will be continually kept bang up to date. The Honor X is a little bit behind on Android Lollipop, although it’s still a competent software setup. Google has a slightly more competetive processor though, with the Snapdragon 808, though neither are top of the line, you can nonetheless be sure that the handset coming with the Nexus branding will be about as well-optimised as it’s possible for a phone to be!

Or if you’re in the US: 

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