Huawei GR5 2017 Initial Hands-on Review: Most Affordable Dual-cam On The Block

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Dual-camera phones are the hottest thing in the mobile world right now, with players like LG, Apple and even ASUS releasing their own interpretations of the concept. While Huawei wasn’t the first company that outed phones with dual-cameras, it’s certainly the first company to heavily leverage on the tech, coming out with the Honor 6 Plus and the P9. Today we’re going to take a look at the most affordable dual-lens equipped phone in the company’s lineup, the 2017 version of the GR5, to see what the mid-range phone is capable of.

Huawei GR5 2017 specs

  • 2.1GHz Kirin 655 octa-core processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch full HD IPS display, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 32GB of expandable storage
  • 12-megapixel rear camera with 2-megapixel secondary camera
  • 8-megapixel front camera
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, Fingerprint scanner
  • 3,340mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow, EMUI 4.1

Initial Impressions: Metal body, dual camera

While the folks at Huawei won’t admit it, the 2017 version of the GR5 is basically a Mate 9 Lite or if you want to be extra fancy, an Honor 6X. We’ve gone into detail why Huawei’s doing all of this branding gymnastics for basically the same phone, but the short version of it is that the Honor brand didn’t work out in the PH (and in other territories) because we’re not a market that’s big on online sales.

Read: Here’s what happened to Huawei’s Honor line in the PH

Anyway, the new GR5 looks great, and much like Huawei’s other phones, has a metal body. The rear of the phone is curved, much like the company’s flagship Mate 9, and the dual-camera arrangement mirrors that of its more expensive brother. As with most midrange devices nowadays, the new GR5 comes with a fingerprint scanner on the rear, right below the camera.

The overall build quality is an improvement over last year’s GR5, with the device sporting a more matte color compared to the shiny, smudge-prone finish of the previous iteration. Button layout is pretty typical, with the power and volume rocker on the right,3.5mm jack on the top and the USB port on the bottom, flanked by speaker grilles.

The 5.5-inch full HD display has smaller bezels compared to the previous iteration, and is generally more pleasing to the eye. Viewing angles as well as color reproduction is pretty spot on.

While those two cameras have been downgraded from the Mate 9 and no longer have the Leica branding, they still do roughly the same thing. The 12-megapixel camera is the one on the top while the 2-megapixel camera is on the bottom. Basically the bottom camera provides depth information to the 12-megapixel shooter, which allows users to add bokeh to their shots via the software.

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Obviously software bokeh is no match for the real thing. It’s not something you’ll probably use all the time, since some shots do better with it than others, though it’s another tool in the toolbox that you can whip out should you need it.

Inside this year’s GR5 beats a HiSilicon 2.1GHz Kirin 655 octa-core processor, paired with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of expandable storage. Coincidentally, that’s the only configuration of the GR5 in our country, unfortunately. The 2017 GR5 performs well enough with this setup, performing relatively quickly without too much lag. Its AnTuTu scores are pretty decent, and are along the lines of a device in its price range.

The phone is powered by Android 6.0 Marshmallow with the company’s EMUI 4.1 layered on top. The phone has a bunch more battery in it compared to the previous iteration as well – 3340mAh versus 3000mAh – which should mean better battery life.

That’s pretty much it for this initial review of the 2017 GR5. We’re going to be using the phone in the next few weeks to see what it’s capable of.

(unbox.ph, https://goo.gl/WafX83)

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