I'd like to think of 2015 as the year of budget smartphones. We're talking about trends in the consumer electronic sector. You may have noticed-- it's 2016 and the trend of powerful budget smartphones continues with the Huawei Honor 5X and the BLU Vivo 5. If you're in the market for a new budget smartphone, I'm going to hopefully help you out and make this comparison as simple and straightforward as possible.
So what's neat about both of these $200 off-contract smartphones is that they feature a unibody aluminum build construction. The Honor 5X looks nicer but its polish is so smooth that the metal actually starts to feel like plastic. The Vivo 5 features a less polished rear that has a hint of texture that the Honor 5X just doesn't offer. I also like that it's thinner, coming in at 6.9mm thick versus the 8.2mm thick 5X.
Both feature a microSD card slot for expandable storage but it's worth noting that the base model of the 5X features 16GB of storage whereas the base model of the Vivo 5 features 32GB of storage.
In the display department, it's going to come down to personal preference, like most things in life. On one hand, we have a 5.5-inch 1080p LCD panel present in the 5X. And on the other, we have a 5.5-inch Super AMOLED 720p resolution display. I like pixels and I'm all about the pixels but I like the AMOLED display better. Even though the Vivo 5 display has less pixels per inch than the 5X, the color vibrancy, contrast and even the brightness are superior. It's even better in direct sunlight.
You can't look past the software experience. Each device runs an unjust skin on top of Android 5.1 Lollipop. There is no app drawer and notification panels and quick settings can be a bit of a mess to the native stock Android user. I highly recommend you download and install some form of stock Android launcher from the Play Store but keep in mind, it won't fix everything. If I had to pick a favorite, I'd lean more on the side of the Vivo 5 simply because the animations are smoother than on the 5X and there are slightly more stock Android elements in the skin than its competitor. Most notably, the notification cards and overview tray.
Both devices do not feature NFC. The Honor 5X does feature a fingerprint scanner, whereas the Vivo 5 does not. The fingerprint scanner is on the back of the phone in a natural place for your index finger and it's an excellent scanner. It unlocks the phone very quickly. It's more consistent and quicker than a flagship smartphone like the LG V10.
Performance is a bit of a mixed bag though overall because no matter the differences between the two, they both perform very well considering their price and their build and all things considered. The Honor 5X features a Quad-Core Snapdragon 616 processor with 2GB of RAM while the Vivo 5 features a MediaTek Octa-Core processor with 3GB of RAM. In general, I prefer Snapdragon chipsets over MediaTek chipsets. But while we're talking about budget on mobile CPUs, the difference between Qualcomm chips and MediaTek chips are minor.
After running each device through Geekbench 3, I found the Honor 5X to narrowly beat the Vivo 5 by no more than 100 or 200 points. You will find that that is not the case though when running AnTuTu or GFX bench benchmarks. But I will say that apps open up and load a hair quicker on the Honor 5X, scrolling though is much smoother on the Vivo 5 as the skin appears to be more optimized. The additional GB of RAM or so may help with that as well.
Both smartphones feature a 13MP rear-facing camera sensor. I do prefer the Honor 5X sensor because it appears to capture more detail when zooming in or cropping an image. It also doesn't over expose subjects quite as often as the Vivo 5. in addition, the Vivo 5 tends to oversaturate images to the point where it's unappealing. I'm all about vibrant colorful photos and displays but there's always a limit. Remember: everything can be construed with a vel curve.
With a metal build construction, that means you generally can't remove or replace the battery without disassembling the entire device. The Honor 5X features a 3,000 mAh while the Vivo 5 features a 3,150 mAh battery. Battery life is pretty excellent for both devices but the Vivo 5 takes the cake. Where the Honor 5X can get close to 6 hours of on-screen time, the Vivo 5 can get closer to 8 hours of on-screen time.
Both smartphones features bar facing speaker grilles. After testing the sound quality with some trustee check faker tunes, I was pleasantly surprised with the Vivo 5 speaker. It's not great but it definitely sounds better than the Honor 5X. It's a crisper, louder and more defined sound overall.
But overall, both smartphones (I think) are worth well over $200 off-contract. The Honor 5X is the more popular smartphone because it comes from a larger manufacturer but that doesn't mean it's necessarily the better device. I think the fingerprint scanner though is brilliant. It might be what really helps you decide which smartphone to select. It's not everyday you see a budget smartphone feature a fingerprint scanner. But with that said, I do prefer the Vivo 5 in nearly every other department-- the build, display, performance, speaker and battery life. I will say, the camera performance is considerably worse. And in a lot of departments, the difference is negligable.
I think that those of you in the market for the best budget smartphone for $200, you cannot look past these two smartphones. You heard my opinion of each device. Now I want to hear yours. Let me know which smartphone you like more and why in a comment down below.