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Huawei GR5 Hands-on, First Impressions: Taking Mid-range To The Next Level

Huawei GR5 06

We take a look at Huawei’s GR5

While Chinese company Huawei isn’t afraid of playing with other big name smartphone makers in the high-end category, it makes the big bucks by offering plenty of beautiful mid-range smartphones at extremely competitive prices. Today we’re taking a look at their latest mid-range offering, the GR5. With a compelling design and specs, the GR5 is a phone that’s worth considering if you’re looking for a handsome smartphone without breaking the bank.

Huawei GR5 specs

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 octa-core processor
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 5.5-inch full HD IPS panel, 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • 16GB of expandable storage, up to 128GB
  • 13-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, AF LED flash
  • 5-megapixel front camera, f/2.4 aperture
  • Dual SIM
  • 3G, LTE
  • WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, A-GPS, Fingerprint scanner
  • 3000mAh battery
  • Android 5.1 with EMUI 3.1

Huawei GR5 05

Initial Impressions: Premium metal design and build with a mid-range price tag

If you follow our reviews of Huawei’s recent phones, you’ll know that the Chinese firm has already mastered the art of making metal phones. The GR5 is no exception – and while the phone uses less metal than Huawei’s other, more expensive offerings, it feels every bit as premium as the company’s flagship.

Huawei GR5 08

The GR5 uses an all-metal, unibody aluminum body, with a brushed metal back. It looks and feels great, giving the phone a very premium feel. It’s one of the nicest phones for the price range we’ve ever seen externally – in fact there’s a bunch of high-end, more expensive smartphones from other companies that could take a lesson or two from Huawei in terms of their build quality and design.

Huawei GR5 02

The phone feels nice in the hands and is quite hefty without feeling too heavy. The frame of the phone has been chamfered for that extra touch of class. There’s a slight curve on both ends of the phone’s body, which makes the GR5 easier to hold when you’re using it one-handed.

Huawei GR5 01

The GR5 also sports Huawei’s now trademark, rear-mounted, fingerprint scanner for an extra layer of biometric security. Imaging chops are provided by a 13-megapixel rear camera with f/2.0 aperture and a front-facing 5-megapixel front camera with a f/2.4 aperture.

Huawei GR5 09

As far as the controls go, the GR5 has both volume rocker and power button on the right, while the SIM card slots are located on the left. The 3.5mm jack and USB port are located on the top and bottom respectively. The GR5 uses bottom mounted speakers for better sound.

The phone uses a 5.5-inch full HD display, with on-board Android navigation keys. The bezels are kept to a minimum, which we like. Just like Huawei’s other products, the GR5 runs EMUI 3.1, layered on top of Android 5.1 Lollipop. Overall the display is quite good, with good color reproduction all around, as well as generous viewing angles.

Huawei GR5 04

The GR5 sports a Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 octa-core processor, which sets it apart from the identical Honor 5X being sold in other countries, which has a Snapdragon 615 processor. So what’s the difference between the 615 and the 616? Well, the 616 uses a slightly faster low-power cores which run at 1.2GHz compared to 1GHz in the 615. This theoretically means slightly faster performance when the phone is running less demanding tasks (like messaging and the like). As far as GPU and benchmark goes, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 is identical to the 615 processor.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 processor is paired with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage. The phone is quick and snappy, though at this point we really wish there was an option to revert to stock Android from EMUI since we’re really not feeling it. Thankfully downloading and installing aftermarket launchers from the app store would help alleviate the problem if you’re realling not digging EMUI.

Huawei GR5 07

That’s it for this hands-on of the GR5. This particular handset is priced at Php 11,990 in the Philippines.

John Nieves

John is a veteran technology and gadget journalist with more than 10 years of experience both in print and online. When not writing about technology, he frequently gets lost in the boonies playing soldier.

14 Comments

  1. Angmahal! Overheating ang snapdragon 616! Cherry mobile pa rin ang bang for buck phone! Bakit di nila gayahin ang local phones na mura. Hindi ito sulit para sa 10k pataas! Anlalaki ng bezels! blah blah blah blah!

    1. Malalaki ang bezels ang gusto kong phone e 3000 pesos lang pero samsung s7 ang specs. Lahat ng phones sa unbox ay mahal kaya lahat ng articles e magrereklamo ako na makapal ang bezels at mahal. Blah blah blah blah

  2. “Taking Mid-range To The Next Level” akala ko nka snapdragon 650/652 nahiya naman 1yr old zenfone 2 ko dito.

    1. Kahit anong sabihin mo mahal din ang asus. Kailangang tularan natin sina abuzelzel at zobelbel na laging may reklamo sa lahat ng phones. 1k cherry mobile phone for da win!

  3. kung di niyo gusto wag kayo bumili. ang ganda na nga nyan. medyo mataas nga lang sa SRP nyan na $200. I’m waiting for G5 though. Bili kayo S7. Medyo taasan lang ng konti ang brightness. Tingnan nio display quality after one year.

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