During the honor 8 launch event, honor Malaysia also announced the release of the affordable 5 series to their line up, the honor 5A. The budget friendly honor 5A priced at RM599 is considerably cheaper than its siblings where the honor 5C priced at RM799 and honor 5X priced at RM899.

If you’re looking for a smartphone that fits your tight budget, do read on to find out more.

Retails for RM599 (Black and White), RM629 (Gold).

Specifications Overview

General

  • Dimension: 154.3  x  77.1  x  8.45 mm (6.07  x  3.03  x  0.33 in)
  • Weight: 168 g (5.92oz)
  • SIM: Dual SIM (Micro)
  • Connectivity:
    • GSM / HSPA / LTE
    • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
    • Bluetooth 4.0, A2DP, EDR, LE
    • GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS

Display

  • Size: 5.5 inches
  • Resolution: 720  x  1280 pixels (~267 PPI) IPS

Under the hood

  • CPU: HiSilicon Kirin 620, Octa-core, 8x 1.2 GHz Cortex-A53
  • GPU: Mali-450MP4
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • Storage: 16 GB, supporting MicroSD up to 128 GB
  • Battery: Non-removable 3000 mAh Li-Po

Camera

Software

  • OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • UI: Emotion UI 4.1

Included in box:

  • USB charging adapter (1A)
  • USB-A to Micro-USB cable
  • Sim ejector tool
  • Documentation paperwork

Build Quality

First, in terms of build quality, there’s nothing fancy here as the phone is made of plastic with the exception of the glass at the front of the touch screen.

When I first pick up the phone from the box, I am impressed with the overall solid feel of the phone. Even plastic build can be solid!

Even with plastic build, honor added some unique element to the package with the intertwined and textured back panel.

When I mean textured surface, your fingers are definitely going to feel the slight bumps on the rear panel. While the pattern is sort of subtle, but it definitely helps in providing additional grip during one handed operations.

Of course the rear panel is removable in order to access to the dual SIM slot and MicroSD card slot.

Battery however is non-removable.

The rear panel is slightly flexible unlike those hard shell type rear cover.

Primary SIM and MicroSD slot at the right, while the secondary SIM slot at the left.

The phone only supports micro SIM.

The 3.5mm audio jack at the top of the phone.

One more thing however, as the sides of the phone are chromed plastic, it will not age well. In time, the chrome surface would gather scratches and eventually peel off, revealing the ugly dark silver-ish plastic.

Power and volume buttons at the right side.

It is quite interesting that honor had both volume rocker and the power button sharing the same surface texture.

Bottom of the device, you’ll find the Micro USB port for charging and data transfer. Again, only the right side of the grill houses the speaker, while the left grill houses the microphone.

The downward facing speaker is as expected, nothing special. They are easy to be blocked when you’re holding the phone in landscape, and definitely not the best sounding mono speaker you’ll ever have. It works fine for phone calls and that’s pretty much it.

Display

No surprise, the display on this sub-RM600 category smartphone is OK-ish. 1280×720 HD resolution on a 5.5 inch display is at least the current base standard for this price range. At 267ppi pixel density, the display sharpness is sufficient for normal usage. Unless you were to compare it to a 1080p Full HD display side-by-side, it will look slightly blurred out especially at the edges of the text. Still, please leave that magnifying glass aside and use your phone like a normal person would.

Colour reproduction and viewing angle is great thanks to the IPS panel. Brightness however, suffers especially when you try to use it outdoors.

Camera

The rear camera on the honor 5A is promising on the paper, 13MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture lens, but how does it fare against real world usage?

Auto Focus speed

AF is definitely the weakness here. Yes, it can product sharp and focused image, however the time taken for the camera to focus on the subject is way too long. This is not the camera for quick snap shot.

White balance & colour

While the auto white balance works accurately to real life situations, but the colour reproduction is not exactly the case here. The colour would often look washed out despite the overall colour temperature is on the right track. This issue only got worst when you’re shooting in low light situation where the high ISO sensor noise kicks in.

ISO performance

Speaking of the ISO performance, despite that the low light performance of this camera is not that great, but in well lit situations, it could churn out some really nice looking photos.

Camera app

The camera app used in the honor 5A is still the older version, where the camera modes are shown at the side of the shutter button instead of Pro-Camera.

You still can access to other camera modes in the mode list.

Front facing 8MP f/2.0 is reasonably good for selfie shots and video calls.

Performance

honor 5A runs on the latest version of Huawei’s Emotion UI 4.1 (EMUI), which is based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

The score is not something spectacular.

Real life performance? I’d say it is sufficient for your social needs but I definitely feel there’s occasional slow down now and then, albeit not that noticeable.

Battery Life

The scenario from the above screenshots, unplugged in the morning 9am, moderate usage throughout the day till midnight with no charging in between. Apps installed include Facebook, WhatsApp and several other social applications.

From 100% down to 20%, I manage to get 15 hours of usage with 3 hours of total screen on time. If we do some math here, the total screen on time for a full charge would be somewhere around 4 hours. The battery life performance remained consistent throughout my testing period and I guess that’s pretty much how Kirin 620 would provide to us.

Consider that I had better experience with the honor 5C and honor 8 which provides at least 5 hours of screen on time, I find the honor 5A is extremely weak at the battery efficiency.

Charging from 10% to 100% requires around 3 hours with the included 5V/1A charger and USB cable. No fast charging here, so make sure you charge your device ahead of any outings.

Final Thoughts

As you have read, I do have quite a few qualms over the honor 5A, but don’t get me wrong. Even if the phone falls short in a few areas, but it is a very capable phone. It handles most of day to day task well, even runs games like Asphalt 8 relatively well.

However what I feel the most out of place is the pricing of this phone. Priced at RM599, the honor 5A is facing quite a fierce competition against Xiaomi Redmi 3s and Flash Plus 2. If only if honor made this a 5-inch phone and priced at RM499 or RM449, it would absolutely made a difference here.

Pros:

  • Good build quality
  • Unique textured back
  • IPS display
  • Good performance

Cons:

  • Chromed plastic
  • No fingerprint scanner
  • Slow camera auto focus
  • Sub-par battery life
  • Slow charging

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