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Head-to-Head: Huawei GR3 2017 VS Zenfone 3 Max 5.5

Huawei Philippines recently stealth-launched the 5.2-inch GR3 2017 mid-ranger in local shelves. The GR3 2017, as is Huawei tradition, is branded with different names depending on the region. It’s also known as the Nova Lite in European markets, and as the P8 Lite (2017) in different territories.

Looking at its pricing and specifications, the GR3 2017 is Huawei’s answer to ASUS’s popular Zenfone 3 Max 5.5. Let’s see which of the two is the better buy with an on-paper comparative analysis.

Huawei GR3 2017

  • HiSilicon Kirin 655 octa-core processor
  • ARM Mali-T830 MP2 GPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 5.2-inch FHD IPS display, 1920 x 1080 resolution, 2.5D glass
  • 16GB expandable storage, up to 128GB via microSD
  • 12-megapixel rear camera, BSI, phase detection AF, LED flash
  • 8-megapixel front camera
  • Dual SIM, 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, NFC
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Android 7.0 Nougat (EMUI 5.0)
  • Php 8,990

Read: The GR3 2017 Is Huawei’s Bang For The Buck Smartphone

ASUS Zenfone 3 Max 5.5 (ZC553KL)

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 octa-core processor
  • Qualcomm Adreno 505 GPU
  • 3GB RAM
  • 5.5-inch FHD IPS display, 1920 x 1080 resolution, 2.5D glass
  • 32GB expandable storage, up to 128GB via microSD
  • 16-megapixel rear camera, PixelMaster, laser AF, LED flash
  • 8-megapixel front camera
  • Dual SIM, 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth 4.1, GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
  • Fingerprint scanner
  • 4100mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow (ZenUI 3.0)
  • Php 9,995

Read: ASUS Zenfone 3 Max ZC553KL Review: Mid-range Dilemma

Huawei’s mid-ranger pulls ahead with a newer, more powerful chipset and updated OS

The GR3 2017 is equipped with a powerful, middle-tier HiSilicon Kirin 655, which is typically compared to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625/626 and 652/653. ASUS’s handset only comes with an entry-level SD 430. Operating system and user interface optimizations aside, the GR3 2017 wins here.

Touching on the OS versions, the GR3 2017 comes pre-loaded with the newer Android Nougat, which comes with its own improvements from the last-gen Marshmallow implementation.

ASUS’s Zenfone 3 Max 5.5 does garner a small edge over its competitor with a base 32GB internal storage, compared to the GR3 2017’s 16GB.

Both have relatively the same display features

It’s Huawei’s 5.2-inch IPS display versus ASUS’s 5.5-inch IPS display. In the absence of other distinguishing features, we’ll leave the victor to user preference. It’ll depend on whether the user’s hands fancy a “regular” sized smartphone or a “phablet” form factor phone.

The Zenfone 3 Max 5.5 claims the better rear shooter, but not by a lot

Both phones’ camera setups aren’t exactly noteworthy and, based on multiple enthusiast reviews, even have the same trouble with low-lighting conditions. We’ll go with ASUS’s PixelMaster 3.0-powered snapper on this one, as it boasts more features and a better track record.

ASUS’s handset has a larger battery, but the GR3 2017 has a newer fab process

The Zenfone 3 Max 5.5 has a 4100mAh battery. The GR3 2017 only comes with 3000mAh worth of juice. Sadly, both handsets don’t have any form of quick charging technology. Even with the GR3 2017’s newer, more power-efficient chipset, we think it’s not going to match the uptime of the ZF3 Max 5.5, but it will help shorten the gap.

Verdict: Again, yet another “user preference” thing

Huawei’s GR3 2017 looks cleaner and sleeker, comes cheaper, and boasts more powerful hardware and a newer OS compared to its competitor. It loses ground with its somewhat weaker rear camera and a smaller battery pack. The handset does feature a more power efficient SoC, due to its newer fabrication process.

ASUS’s Zenfone 3 Max 5.5 is the more expensive option, with a somewhat better PixelMaster rear camera setup and a significantly larger 4100mAh power pack.

As with most of these Head-to-Head articles, it all boils down to what the user wants out of their smartphones. Mid-tier smartphones have very competitive pricing as well as specifications, so that’s mostly going to be the bottom-line for comparisons within the category.

Want a smaller, but more powerful and also cheaper handset? Go with the GR 2017. 

It’s the larger Zenfone 3 Max 5.5 for the shutterbug. The handset’s beefy power pack will please users who’re glued to their phones all day. It’s the more expensive choice, though.

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  1. Additional information, if you are fond of going on a low signal area (going on the mountains, basements, etc.), better choose Huawei GR3 2017. Just read reviews about Asus Zenfone Max 3 5.5 having signal issues which are weaker than other devices.

  2. I owned a zenfone max 3 5.5 and just bought Gr3 2017 two days ago and here’s my personal comparison for the Two device.

    Build – I must say both have very decent build and even though the gr3 frame is plastic but doesn’t mean it feels cheap in the hand. The only concern for the zenfone max 3 5.5 is the crack issues in the screw area and lot of people encountering this kind of problem even me.

    Design – In this aspect i’ll go with the Gr3 really appreciate the Jet black color plus front and back glass panel

    Camera – Zenfone 3 max 5.5 wins in this round not by far, Gr3 camera is very decent but pixel master 3.0 really did a great job.

    Battery life – For the zenfone 3 max 5.5, I get 5-6 hours screen time and lastly like 7-8 hours. Mostly 3-4 hours usage of mobile legends app and the rest is data usage. For Gr3 i get 3 – 4.5 Hours screen time, spent 2.5 hours playing of mobile legends and data usage. l get like 5 – 6 hours of usage for Gr3.

    If you are on the budget Gr3 is definitely bang for the buck no doubt about it, But if you are looking for more camera and battery power zenfone 3 max 5.5 is the best choice.

    – Compact design
    – Feels premium
    – Nougat 7.0
    – Smaller battery
    – Prone to smudge
    – 16Gb internal storage
    – Takes awhile to fully charge approx 2hrs

    Zenfone 3 max 5.5
    – Sturdy design
    – Feels premium
    – 32Gb internal storage
    – 16mp camera
    – 4100mAh
    – Crack will appear after days or months of use due to quality build.

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