Huawei GR5 2017 Review: Dual Cam on a Budget


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Dual cam setups are now becoming a trend in smartphones, The Iphone 7 Plus, the ASUS Zenfone 3 Zoom, And the Huawei Mate 9 are just some of the devices that leverage the capabilities of this technology. The thing is though, a phone with a dual cam setup often comes with a steep price tag, which is acceptable, since a lot of work goes into the research, and implementation of this feature.

Huawei is no stranger to dual cam setups. In fact, they were one of the very first to have it in the form of the P9, which by the way, was an excellent device for photography. And now, the company has decided to try something new: Introducing the GR5 2017, a smartphone with dual rear cameras, and much more affordable price tag.

Premium Doesn’t Mean Fancy

As with most Huawei phones, the GR5 sports a minimalistic approach to design. 2.5D glass up front, and a metal back. It’s not striking, nor is it fancy, but when held in the hand, it feels like an expensive piece of jewelry crafted with the utmost level of precision.

gr5 16 wm1

While the GR5 uses on-screen buttons for navigating the user interface, a little bit more reduction on the bottom bezel would’ve been nice.

gr5 8b

The rear panel houses the dual cameras, an LED flash, a fingerprint sensor, and the usual branding.

gr5 1n

At the right side of the device is the volume rocker, and the power button. And while these do complement the overall look, the buttons feel cheap and wobbly.

gr5 2x

The headphone jack is located at the top, while the bottom houses the speakers (Yes!) and a standard MicroUSB Port.

A Display With Lesser Appeal

gr5 18 Custom wm1

The 5.5-inch Full HD display on the GR5 2017 isn’t exactly the most appealing one you’d find, but it does have accurate colors, decent sharpness, and is bright enough for use even under direct sunlight.

A Decent Daily Driver 

  • HUAWEI Kirin 655 Octa-Core Processor @ 2.1GHz
  • 3GB of RAM, 32 GB of Internal Storage Expandable up to 128GB via MicroSD Card
  • 5.5-inch Full HD Display with 2.5D Curved Glass
  • 12MP + 2MP Dual Rear Camera
  • 8MP Front Camera
  • LTE, Dual SIM
  • Emotion UI 4.1 on top of Android Marshmallow
  • 3340mAh Battery

The Octa-Core processor in the GR5 2017 certainly does a great job of handling day to day tasks such as sending emails, watching YouTube videos, Web Browsing, Social Media, and more without any issues. The 3GB of ram also helps in multi-tasking as switching between running apps didn’t cause any hiccups.

gr5 g1 gr5 g4

Can you game on this device? Certainly. From the casual DJ Max Technkika Q, to the fast paced Asphalt 8, and even the popular game Mobile Legends, the GR5 2017 can handle them, though you’ll have to turn down your settings in heavier games for a more desireable experience.

A Good Camera for the Price

The bread and butter of the GR5 2017 is its dual rear camera setup which involves a 12MP main shooter and a 2MP camera for the Bokeh effect. And true enough, I was able to take some nice shots with it. Colors are accurate, details are completely captured, and the overall quality was top notch, at least for a device of this price. It doesn’t have any stabilization though, so you’ll have to keep your hands in check when taking photos.

As with night shots, the device managed to capture considerable amounts of detail with minimal noise, even in a challenging condition.

The front camera isn’t as good, but it was somehow able to produce decent selfies in good lighting. No hints of over processing, or unnecessary blurring. Night shots weren’t up to par though, as pictures came out less detailed.

The default camera app does offer a handful of modes to play with, as well as Pro mode for making adjustments to the individual elements of your shot.

EmotionUI is Smooth, But Perhaps Too Simple

While Huawei’s Emotion UI is known to be resource heavy, it does run pretty smooth on the GR5 2017. There was no lag or stutter when navigating the UI, and some of the default apps actually look good, such as the Music app.

I feel like this skin has a lot of potential, had it been given some additional features like motion controls for double tap to wake or sleep, or perhaps by adding more options to customize the overall look and feel.

Great Battery Life

gr52017 batt

When you have the GR5 2017 with you, your powerbank will most likely stay in your bag for most of the time, as the battery in this device can last you a whole shift of light to moderate usage, and it will still have juice in it on your way home.

Charging time’s average though, as it took around 2 hours to charge the device from 0% to full using the supplied charger.


If you want to take good quality pictures with your phone, the Huawei GR5 2017 is certainly a great choice at a reasonable price. The build quality is superb, the battery life is great, and the performance is more than what you’d expect.

It does have a few quirks, such as the less than appealing display, the heavy UI, and the lack of OIS, but it was built for capturing moments, and it does that well.

The Good

  • Design and Build Quality
  • General Performance
  • Rear Camera
  • Battery Life
  • Price (PhP13,990)
  • Fast Fingerprint Recognition
  • Well Optimized Software
  • Speaker Placement

The Not So Good 

  • Display
  • Front Camera
  • Gaming Performance
  • No OIS


Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.

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