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Huawei Ideos X5 Pro Review
Around the middle of last year, Huawei had introduced the Ideos Pro smartphone. A neat looking phone with a set of decent features but a tad high on price. The company recently introduced the successor to the device in the form of the Ideos X5 Pro. The company has now added a few enhancements and the device has been re-launched at a slightly lower price. However, in the last six to eight months, a lot has been happening on the Android front, and manufacturers have been putting their best foot forward crafting devices in this price bracket. To know if the smartphone can stand strong with the current competition, read on.
Maintaing the same design
On the design front, Huawei hasn’t brought in a lot of changes. The Huawei Pro X5 features the same deign as its predecessor and likewise even tips the scale at 130 grams. The same oval design adds comfort while holding the phone. Its rubberized back ensures a firm grip and one can easily operate the phone using one hand. Maintaining the same design, the front exhibits a large 3.8-inch display with 480 x 800 resolution. The capacitive touchscreen accurately responds to touch. The rim on the front side is chromed with Android's four distinctive buttons below the screen – Back, Apps, Home and Search. The rubberized backside has an easily removable flap that hides the microSD card slot while the 5 Megapixel camera sensor slightly protrudes outward with an LED flash that is placed right next to it. The left edge features the volume controls while the top edge has the power/sleep button and 3.5mm jack. The lower edge features a mic and micro USB port. Speakers are placed on the front and back side.
X5 at an angle
You will notice the speakers on the front and backside. There is an LED indicator near the speaker area which keeps you updated about the status of the phone, when it’s charging, missed call or unread messages or so on. On this front, there is nothing much to talk about as the phone hasn't undergone any improvement as such. Nevertheless, we still like it; it’s the same old yet tasteful design. The build quality is decent but the screen is prone to scratches and acts as a stubborn finger print magnet too.
On video: Huawei X5 Pro
Though Huawei didn’t plan on a design makeover for the X5 Pro, the company has gone ahead and boosted its power with a 1GHz Scorpion processor. It runs on the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) operating system and one will find the screen featuring an ICS-kind of lockscreen, which is actually a Huawei lockscreen itself. The lockscreen takes you to shortcuts like Messages, Call log, simple unlock and the homescreen too. On the homescreen, the app shortcut is on the lower left hand side (a bit odd). Navigation is smooth and the user interface is slick and easy to use. The phone's UI also features a 3D-ish flow for swiping through desktops using cube, slide and rotation styles. It is nice to see the inclusion of the Swype keyboard, which is swift once you get the hang of it. There’s Huawei’s keyboard as well as an alphanumeric option.
Slick and smooth
In our tests, the X5 Pro scored 2511 on Antutu and in the Linpack test, it scored 39.91 MFLOPS in single thread run and 33.85 MFLOPS in the multi thread run. For this kind of price, those scores are quite good.
When we tried playing music and video files, it gave us default options which included playing through the Cloud+ Gallery. The stock player couldn't play AVI and MOV files so essentially it supports MP4 and a couple of other standard formats. Third party players like Rockplayer, allowed us to play all video files quite smoothly. The device also manages to play 1080p videos, almost without stutter. The default players didn't allow much tweaking.
The X5 Pro manages to emit clear cut music tones. With SRS WOW HD settings the overal bass in the audio is enhanced and the surround tones become well balanced. The X5 also features a few more EQ presets and the player's UI is also visually quite attarctive. The external speakers are loud enough for a small room but we'd urge you to refrain from using them in public places. If you're looking for a slightly more personalised tone in your audio you could opt for a third party media player app but the native player is nevertheless pretty good on its own. It has 1.5GB of internal memory which can be expanded further via microSD card slot so rest asured you have enough space for your media. The X5 Pro also has a fairly decent FM radio.
The smartphone is loaded up with all the connectivity options like Bluetooth (with A2DP and EDR), Wi-Fi (with Hot Spot creation), 3G, microUSB and GPS. Talking about its most basic yet important function - calls - we must say that it has good ambient noise cancellation, callers could hear us clearly even in crowded areas. However, we cannot say the same about call reception signal which went low in some covered areas. Huawei has also preloaded the device with several handy apps like Streams, Google Maps, Task manager, file manager, AllBackup, Documents To Go and facebook and Twitter apps.
Scoop of the cloud
The X5 Pro also comes with the Huawei exclusive Cloud+ service. This service has been integrated with the device and offers features like Streams, Cloud+ drive, Phone Finder Message+, Cloud+ Gallery, HiSpace and more. Cloud+ Drive needs users to create an exclusive account that allows storing photos, music, videos, documents and more. It helps synchronize contents on various devices and offers 16GB of free online space. Cloud+ allows data backup in case you lose your device and also helps you find the phone with the Cloud+ Phone Finder app. There’s Message+, which allows instant messaging among Huawei users and also allows sharing photos, videos and other files. HiSpace is again a Huawei App store exclusive to Huawei smartphone owners with more than 1500 top apps for work, play and everything in between.
The X5 Pro has a 5 megapixel camera with autofocus just like its predecessor and does just about a fine job. You can go ahead and tweak the exposure, screen mode, and store location. It does a mediocre job in low light while bright light images are just about fine. The device also employs 720p video recording. However, with too much light, the colors look a little washed out.
Photo taken with the 5MP camera
The smartphone is equiped with a 1500 mAh battery, and with average usage we didn't find the need to charge it everyday. In our video playback test we managed to squeeze just over 5 hours and fifteen minutes of non-stop playback with 75 percent brightness and Wi-Fi running in the background downloading emails, chat messages, FB updates etc. In our Tech2 Loop Test we ran the handset for for one entire loop that consisted of 2 hours each of video, music and audio streaming and 1.5 hours of talk time. We began a second loop and were able to get 1 hour of video, 1 hour of audio, and about 15 minutes of audio streaming. Totally that worked out to about 9 hours and 45 minutes of non-stop usage. That's good for a handset in this bracket.
Putting it in a nutshell, the Huawei Ideos X5 Pro is a pretty neat device for 13,800 athough it has some minimal changes over the predecessor and the price hasn't seen a huge jump either. It performs well enough, the screen responds accurately and Huawei's trendy cloud apps and services are quite handy. However, the screen is susceptible to scratches, and is a stubborn finger print magnet, nothing a screen guard worth 150 wont fix though. One has to open the backflap to access the microSD card slot, but this shouldn't make much of a difference as it's still a hot swap option. Another great asset is the battery that will easily let you use the phone for a full day without needing to reach out for your charger. Competition to this phone could be the SE Walkman with Live which falls in the same price range. However, Huawei has a larger touchscreen, a slightly more user friendly UI and additional Huawei specific features. We seriously suggest you consider the IDEOS X5 Pro as it offers quite a bit for the price.