AffordaPRO: Honor Choice Earbuds X5 Pro Review!

Hi-Res on the soft side, and an affordable price in the other.

Back in May, we attended the grand opening of the Honor store in SM City San Lazaro. And in this opening, the Honor Magic6 Pro was also revealed. After the event, we were given the Earbuds X5 Pro as an appreciation gift for attending. Of course it was a random color, so we’re glad we got the black one. We got so used to white earphones that black feels unique and different.

We promised a review quickly, but due to other factors, we weren’t able to do so, only until now. What we noticed immediately is that this is actually the PRO model of the Earbuds X5 and very visible on the top left is the Hi-Res marking. That alone already impressed us. We also checked online for the price and sure enough it is quite affordable at PHP 2,499.

With that said, does the X5 Pro light a candle against the X3? Is that PHP 2,499 price tag a cause of doubt? This is why we’re going to review the device. Remember, Honor claimed that the Earbuds X3 Lite has a PHP 3,999 price, so it’s questionable why the Pro, the X5 Pro at that, is priced a tad lower.

By the way, Edifier, coincidentally, has TWS earbuds of the same name, but designed differently. Do not get the two confused.

DESIGN: Nothing Special

The earbuds are an ODM product without any branding. It looks similar to the Oppo Enco Air we had before except that one is white and this one is metallic grey/black. The former also has an “Oppo” branding at the hinge while this one has none whatsoever. Also, curiously, there is a button underneath that you have to press in order for the buds to send Bluetooth signals to nearby devices. The setup is slightly more complicated, but we’ll get to that later.

The buds have a clear glossy design that reflects. The buds are so shiny that they can act as some sort of micro mirror of sorts. The “L” and “R” indicators are frankly more visible and larger this time, compared to the Freebuds X3 Lite. They don’t look anything special. Not that it’s a bad design. What’s the word we’re looking for? “Standard”? Yes, that. The case also feels mundane and mediocre. Nothing special that makes it unique. It having no branding doesn’t help either.

The box itself is more refined than the Earbuds X3 Lite and has more information. The buds’ most notable feature is Hi-Res Audio certification. Which, even at this price range is incredibly rare. It also has an LDAC codec. According to the box, the buds claim of 46dB of adaptive ANC and 40 hours of battery life. Inside are extra earbuds, a manual and warranty card, and the charging case with the buds inside. By default, the earpieces are fitted with medium-sized silicone earbuds. Also, the charging cable is absent. The charging hole is located underneath the case, and you can charge it with any USB-C cable you have at home, and Honor might have also thought about this. Less wires mean fewer mess and somehow less impact on the environment.

COMFORT: Uneven Silicone

The earbuds come with two other differently sized silicone tips. By default, the earpieces are fitted with medium-sized tips. These tips feel a little loose to wear, especially with the left earbud. I move my head slightly and the left bud feels like it’s going to fall off. It seems like the silicone tips are not exactly symmetrical. I also need to adjust the buds frequently, like glasses that need raising every single time. It can be mildly annoying at worst.

Setup/Honor AI Space: Slightly Complicated

Honor has recommended us to connect the buds via AI Space which is downloadable via Google Play and Apple App Store. This little app is where you can control the buds and change settings freely. By the way, the app requires you to create an Honor account before adding any related devices. If you find this a bit cumbersome, then you don’t have to download the app. It is completely optional and simply connecting to Bluetooth will get the buds active.

Also, in case you lose the manual, you can find the gesture controls here. You can also add activate/deactivate noise cancellation, check battery life, and update it if necessary. Unfortunately, there is no manual equalizer and you’re stuck with presets which include treble and bass boost. The app also provides information about the battery life of the individual earpieces and the case. 40 hours of battery life is pretty standard for any earbuds at its price. Noise cancelling can also rapidly decrease battery life if kept on for too long.

The app also provides a way to track your earbuds in case it gets lost. You can also adjust gestures here for both left and right earbuds. You have limited choices though as the settings are presets.

Setting up the buds is a bit complicated compared to other buds we’ve tested. Buds like the Creative Zen Air and Oppo Enco Air only asks of you to turn on Bluetooth and connect the buds when you remove them from their case. Even the Honor Freebuds X3 Lite works in a similar fashion. However, for the X5 Pro, it’s a tad different.

We mentioned earlier that there is a button underneath the case, just beside the USB-C port, that you need to hold to connect the buds and send Bluetooth signals. We initially thought this was a power button of sorts (it isn’t). The buds also need to be inside the case for it to work. Once you see the small LED light blinking, that means the buds are ready to connect to a Bluetooth device. Once the Honor Choice Earbuds X5 Pro appears in the Bluetooth list, that means the phone is communicating with the earbuds. Tap it and wait for it to connect. And this is the process everytime you want to connect to other devices.

After creating an account or signing in to Honor AI Space, simply press the + Button. If your buds are already connected to your phone, the app will detect it immediately. It takes approximately 5 steps to get the buds properly connected and ready for use, if the app is included.

ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION: Effective, Truly Isolating

The buds have two ANC modes: “Noise Cancelling” which cancels out up to 46dB of noise, which is pretty high even in an industrial environment, as well as a toned down “Awareness” mode, useful for outdoor use since you still need to clearly hear vehicles, people, and other obstacles around you. It’s best you don’t use it while walking like every other earbud for your own safety and alertness.

How well does the noise cancellation work? Well, we used it in a bus at one point and we couldn’t hear the environment around us. Though, when there’s no music playing, we could still hear outside noise. However, we guarantee you even if your parents are shouting at you, you can’t hear them anyway. Outdoors, the earbuds can cancel most loud noises adequately, apart from train roars and vehicle horns (and even these are distorted). The noise cancellation is adequate enough for the price, and surprisingly, works better than we give it credit for. Even the Zen Air performed worse and that one is more expensive.


Since the buds support Hi-Res, we’d like to test how good these earbuds do with apps that do support it. Quick, guess. Which app do you think first when you hear “Hi-Res” supported? If you said “Spotify”, then congratulations, you’re reading us right. Other notable apps include PowerAmp though you might need to pay for a full version to make best use of it. Spotify is the same but at least you can spend as little as PHP 7 to experience Spotify Premium for one day.

Typically, Hi-Res Audio is equivalent to 96kbit/s bitrates or higher. By default, Spotify is set to 96kbit/s (“Normal” Audio quality) but this can be raised higher if your plan allows for it. Spotify Mini only allows for up to “High” (approx. 160kbit/s) audio, which is more than enough for this test if the Earbuds X5 Pro does support Hi-Res. If the earbuds don’t state this, then the buds can, at best, support 16-bit audio depth at 44kbit/s. The high bitrate is what allows you to hear the tiny bits of sound you typically will not hear, or find a hard time hearing, with cheaper earbuds or with standard speakers, such as low frequency percussion or basslines in the background.

This is what we find amusing because in some games (don’t worry, we’ll get to the latency part later) like Mobile Legends, we can hear the main menu theme with better details and fidelity than simply using speakers. It felt truly immersive. We were able to hear bits of violins and percussion we would normally not hear when just using speakers. The buds were also able to capture minute details of other sounds, such as when we played “Dati” by Sam Concepcion, or “What is Wrong With” by Kessoku Band. We used a mix and match of genres ranging from classical, to metal, to pop, and orchestral, and everything in between to truly determine how well the Earbuds X5 Pro pick up certain sounds. We’re no audiophile, but it feels satisfying when you observe these tiny pieces of detail and hear it clearly. It’s like cameras picking minute details of the image thanks to a big sensor and large megapixel count.

Although there is no equalizer, the given treble and bass boost presets work wonders. Both presets have a perfect balance between the bass (with bass boost) and treble that it sounds premium. So, from here, we can conclude that the Hi-Res claim on the box is truthful.

We tried to run both the Earbuds X3 Lite and X5 Pro to compare them, since we have both. The X5 is the successor yes, but we have the Pro instead of the regular one. Both earbuds are configured to their bass boosted settings to be even. Both earbuds are neck and neck when it comes to sound quality but the X5 Pro, thanks to Hi-Res Audio, has slightly more details and a better blend with its audio frequencies. Still, you cannot identify the difference between the two if you are not observant.

We also compared it to the Creative Zen Air, our daily driver. This is a far more direct comparison since they are two differently branded earbuds at a similar price point. Creative’s main portfolio is audio products, while Honor’s are smartphones. So, in theory the Zen Air should blow the X5 Pro out of the water.

The Creative Zen Air has slightly better vocals but the Honor earbuds have better bass lines and better latency. The Honor earbuds are connected with the Tecno Spark Go while the Zen Air on the Nord 3. Since Spotify only can support one device at a time, even with Premium Mini, we decided to run YouTube instead, where individual devices are supported independently. The Tecno Spark Go is obviously slower than the OnePlus Nord 3 which is a midrange device. However, the Honor Earbuds was able to play music faster than the Zen Air, even if we pause it multiple times. So, in our book, the Earbuds X5 Pro wins this one, latency alone.

CONNECTIVITY: Multiple Connections, Fast Pairing

According to Honor’s website, the Earbuds X5 Pro supports Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity, which has the ability to connect to other devices simultaneously. We were able to connect the buds successfully both on the OnePlus Nord 3 and Tecno Spark Go simultaneously. Plus, after the somewhat complicated setup, the buds were able to connect rather instantly too. Also, after connecting it for the first time, you don’t have to do the same tedious process again. Just long press the connect button underneath the case and once it blinks, you’re good to go (make sure the buds are still inside the case and the case itself is open before you use them).

Speaking of connectivity, the buds themselves have decent latency and can keep up with games with intense action, such as Genshin Impact and MOBA titles like Mobile Legends and Honor of Kings. As we mentioned earlier, these buds play music faster than the Creative Zen Air (but on par with Honor’s Earbuds X3 Lite). When playing games, the sound itself is just as immersive as with playing music.

BATTERY LIFE: 40 Hours is Underselling It

The box claims of a 40-hour battery life. Of course, this includes the case. No way the buds themselves could last this long. Do note that this metric is lab-tested and we’re not even sure if this was tested with ANC enabled. ANC drains battery life fast, so we recommend turning it off if it is not needed.

The buds disconnect and turn themselves off if not in use after 10 minutes. That is, no music is playing in the background, and they are not in your ears for a certain period. The buds do not disconnect if you simply place them inside the case. For that, you need to close the case. As we mentioned earlier, its setup mechanism involves the buds being placed in the case first before using.

We used the buds for three days (from 1:30PM), without charging. The case is at 100% capacity while the buds are at 60-65%. The buds themselves have separate batteries and it appears the left bud dies first before the right bud, even if they are simultaneously charged. This is not just an Honor issue as even Apple’s AirPods have the same inconsistency. Our other earbuds seem to have that problem too. However, that’s a minor issue. Just charge them back to the case if needed.

The buds won’t charge if the case is open. Also, there will be a red indicator to tell you that the buds have zero percent battery and are charging. A green light indicates that the buds are fully charged. The same indicators will appear if you charge the case using a USB-C cable.

Honor is underselling the earbuds. 40 hours is barely two days of use and here we are, three days and still kicking. We were able to use the buds for three days just relying on the case to charge the buds. According to Honor’s website, the buds themselves have 9 hours of playback (with ANC off) and 40 hours upon multiple charges inside the case. If the buds have completely drained batteries, the case charges them to full and still have 83% left. The left bud usually has 3-5% less capacity than the right bud.

The case has no given charging cable. However, unlike phones, this is less of an issue and may even be beneficial as there are fewer cables lying around. Just use your typical 10W USB-C cable and you’re good to go.


The Honor Earbuds X5 Pro are surprisingly really good for an asking price of PHP 2,499. It is listed in Honor’s Lazada with this price. These are earbuds with Hi-Res Audio support, something that’s very rare at this price range. Not only that, these buds have an excellent battery life lasting for about 3 days before charging, good latency, rapid connection with multiple devices, and surprisingly detailed sound quality despite its affordable asking price. Once you learn the gesture controls, it’s easy to manage the buds. We also like how there is a clicking sound every time you use hand gestures, proving that the control panels of each bud are solid.

With that said, it is not without its flaws. Firstly, the earbuds have a generic design. It’s so generic that it doesn’t even have branding. It’s most likely an ODM product. Secondly, the left earbud feels loose with the given medium sized silicone (but the right bud fits just fine). Thirdly, the buds don’t come with a charger, though we admit this is more of a nitpick than anything. Finally, on first time use, it is complicated to setup. Having to press a button underneath the case and the buds must be inside the case first, with it open. Thankfully, once you get this process done, everything is easier.

AI Space app also needs some improvement, the biggest one is that the app still lacks an equalizer and you’re stuck with presets. The presets, however, work well with the buds and are carefully finetuned.

We’re very happy we got this as a freebie during the SM City San Lazaro Honor Store Opening. Having this as an appreciation gift is very generous of them already.

You can get the earbuds via Lazada. They may also appear as a freebie on some Honor devices.


  • Hi-Res Audio and LDAC support on a sub-3K price.
  • Excellent and detailed audio quality, regardless of what audio preset you choose
  • When bass boosted, the buds emphasize the bass without overtuning it. Same goes for treble boost
  • Active Noise Cancellation filters noise very well
  • Fast connectivity and multiple device support
  • Long-lasting battery lasting for about three days on default


  • Generic design. Even the buds and case have no branding
  • Left earbud feels loose with the default silicone tip
  • The buds do not come with its own charger
  • May be complicated to setup for the first time