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Huawei GR5 2017 Unboxing And First Impressions - Curvy Metal With Dual Cam Made Affordable

Today, the mainstream midrange market are dominated with smartphones with selfie in mind. That is a cool thing, but Huawei wants us to think outside of the box and do even more.
Metal build, dual cameras!

Enter the announcement of Huawei GR5 2017 to the Philippine market, the company's bet to be your all-in-one smartphone with affordable price tag. The device highlights its stunning premium type design & build, promising specs, big battery capacity, and modern security features.

Related: First Photos Captured By The Dual Main Cameras Of Huawei GR5 2017!

On top of that, this handset is equipped with a dual camera camera setup that consist of a 12 MP + 2 MP main camera that can create beautiful background blurs w/ bokeh balls and refocus technology via software ala Huawei P9.

Now, let's see if it is as great as it sounds on paper. Let's start!

Disclaimer: Our GR5 2017 unit was seeded by Huawei Philippines to conduct an unparalleled intensive review.

Huawei GR5 2017 Specs

Display: 5.5 Inch FHD IPS 1920 x 1080 resolution w/ 2.5D curved glass at 401 ppi
CPU: 2.1 GHz 64 Bit Kirin 655 octa core processor
GPU: Mali T830
ROM: 32 GB expandable via micro SD card slot up to 128 GB
Back Camera: 12 MP f/2.0 w/ 6P lens, PDAF + 2 MP secondary sensor w/ LED flash
Selfie Camera: 8 MP f/2.0 w/ wide angle lens and auto face detection
Battery: 3,340 mAh
OS: Android 6.0 Marshmallow w/ EMUI 4.1
Connectivity: WiFi, 3G, Bluetooth 4.1, LTE w/ VoLTE, OTG, GPS, A GPS, dual SIM
Sensors: Hall, light, proximity, accelerometer, compass, sound, gyroscope
Others: Fingerprint sensor, Colors: gray, gold, silver
Dimensions: 150.9 x 76.2 x 8.2 mm
Weight: 162 g
Price: PHP 13,990

Unboxing / Accessories

What's included inside?

Coming from last year's model, the new arrives with identical accessories inside the box. Fortunately, the wall charger improved as it now has 2A of fast charging instead of the regular and slower 1A of power output.

Then it still has the same regular USB to micro USB long cables, earbuds w/ microphone, translucent polymer case, and SIM ejector tool. We also noticed that the device comes with a pre-installed screen protector on its screen. That is a great thing.

Note 1: The plug USB wall charger for the Philippine market is flat.
Note 2: The actual PH retail unit comes with a FREE monopod / tripod in one!

Build Quality / Design

On-screen keys present!
On-screen keys present!

The GR5 2017 has better construction and more refined design coming from its predecessor inspired by the Mate 9  flagship. The device is mostly metal allover (back and frame) w/ metal-like plastic upper and bottom plates at behind. Craftsmanship is comparable with some higher-end smartphones.

Craftsmanship is comparable to higher priced smartphones!

In front, there's a 2.5D curved glass that's very sexy in the eyes. However, there's no mention of any sort of glass protection. Maybe that's the reason why Huawei pre-loaded it with a layer of screen protector.
3.5 mm headphone slot and microphone on top
3.5 mm headphone slot and microphone on top
Microphone, micro USB port, and single speaker below
Microphone, micro USB port, and single speaker below
Ejectable hybrid SIM tray at left
Power button and volume rocker located at right
Power button and volume rocker located at right

Like what we said earlier, this phone is inspired by the Mate 9 flagship in terms of design. That is a great thing as it made the handset looks stunning in person for an affordable midrange phone. It has slight chamfered edges on the upper frame, curved arching back, and semi rounded corners while keeping it slim at just 8.2 mm. Speaking of slimness, the bezels are also much narrower against its older 2016 variant. The camera behind is just protruded so putting the free case is an option to prevent its lens from scratches.

Ergonomically, the phone is simply a JOY to hold due to its proper curved and just right heft at 162 g. All the buttons and ports are on standard Huawei locations as well. LED light for notification and charging is also present.

Initial findings

1. It packs a 5.5 inch FHD IPS screen that's large and sharp enough for most. We also liked that fact that the glass they used is the 2.5D one for better viewing angles.
2. It has the highest Antutu score among all the mainstream midrange smartphones we tested at over 56K! That suggest that this could be a very snappy handset for casual usage and multitasking. For gaming, its Mali T830 should be decent. The battery is larger now at 3,340 mAh coming from 3,000 mAh of the 2016 GR5 variant.
3. Build and design is simply stunning at this price point. It can easily be mistaken as a high-end smartphone. 
4. The main camera is very good and loaded with options and modes not commonly found in this price range. In particular, we like its "wide aperture" mode to create background blur and beautiful bokeh. The selfie camera w/ wide angle lens and screen flash is no joke as well. We'll post sample selfies in our full review.
5. USB OTG works on a midrange Huawei phone (finally), there's gyroscope sensor for AR and VR, and LED notification is also present.

Camera teaser

Bokeh on a budget
Bokeh on a budget
Good background blur!
Good background blur!
Manual mode! ISO 100, 2 seconds shutter speed
Manual mode! ISO 100, 2 seconds shutter speed
Night mode feature
Night mode feature

As of the moment

This could be the good type of affordable dual camera setup for everyone at the start of this year. This device is also very well engineered and has great specs at this very competitive price bracket.

For our review: Huawei GR5 2017 Review - The New Midrange Wonder To Beat
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