The Good: Smooth feel, propedal switch, doesn't blow through travel, relatively lightweight.
The Bad: Not enough adjustments or adjustment indicators on the shock.
To start off, I will say that this review is for the 2011 version of the shock. The only factor separating the 2012 and 2013 models from the 2011 version is kashima coat. Basically, I'm just trying to say that I cannot attest to the performance of the gold stanchion coating.
Right out of the box, the DHX 5.0 has a nice feel and with its 50-300psi main chamber, it can accommodate a wide range of riders and riding styles, though I should say that it tends to need to be pumped to higher pressures than normal. The rebound dial also has an impressive 22 clicks of adjustment, though depending on your frame, it can be difficult to access. The propedal switch is a simple, effective way to stiffen up the shock to trail-bike efficiency. Finally, the piggyback provides a bottom-out feature which can make a noticeable change in how the shock moves through its travel.
On the trail, the 5.0 does a good job of absorbing both big, square-edged hits and smaller but consecutive compressions. As with all air shocks, you can use different pressures to truly customize the shock. The bottom-out adjustment works surprisingly well, and has a wide range of tuning. On one end of the scale, I rode the Whistler bike park's tougher trails and never bottomed-out while maintaining a smooth ride, and on the other side, I can bottom out off of 4-foot drops.
The biggest area Fox could improve in is adjustability. While the current adjustments work well, the addition of more dials and switches would elevate this shock to another level. Replacing the current rebound dial with separate low and high speed rebound dials would be a nice touch. Also, the introduction of low and high speed compression adjusters would make the shock even more versatile. Adding indicators for the rebound dial would be beneficiary as well. In summary, the host of features that the DHX 5.0 currently houses work great, but even more bells and whistles would earn this shock a 5-star rating.
If you're a rider who doesn't like tinkering with his/her components and wants a shock that will work well in whatever setting you run, go for the DHX 5.0. However, if you want to set up your shock perfectly to specialize in one type of terrain, perhaps go for something like the cane creek double barrel instead.