The battle between local and international manufacturers to dominate the mid-range handset segment is on. And
Huawei, which used to be one of the less recognised brands in Bangladesh, is slowly picking up the pace with the launch of exciting devices every quarter. This quarter we saw Huawei launch two devices, with very close price points, in a very short span of time: GR5 and its kid bro GR3. We recently got to review the GR5 (which is also marketed as the Honor 5X in other countries), a metallic mid-ranger, priced around BDT 23K. Here's our take on the hunky device:
We all knew that Huawei's been working to make a mark on consumers' minds by tagging up with different partners and bringing out a full spectrum of uniquely designed smart devices, including wearables. The GR5 is no exception. The brush metal uni-body back structure of the phone is certainly a stunner. The camera and the fingerprint sensors are in the back, while the micro SIM tray and hybrid tray are on the left. The volume rocker and the power button are on the right. The Android navigation buttons are on-screen--something we are not fans of. Also we were only able to use the micro SIM, since the nano SIM tray of the test unit was faulty. Micro SD worked fine though.
GR5 boasts a 5.5-inch IPS screen which, for the price that you pay, is pretty darn good. With a pixel density of 401ppi and 1080X1920 crisp resolution, the GR5 blows the competition out of the water.
The GR5 comes equipped with a 13MP primary shooter, which is powered by the Sony IMX214 sensor. The secondary one is a 5MP front-facing camera. We were pretty impressed with the f/2.0 aperture primary camera. The snaps that we took were zippy, vibrant and full of details. In full daylight, this phone's primary camera can compete with the top dogs. The secondary camera was good too. Taking group selfies seemed easy enough. The bulging size of the phone might be a downside for one-handed selfies, but due to the phone being lightweight, we managed to take them without any hiccups. The camera UI had some interesting add-ons. We did see them before in Mate 8. Besides the Instagram-like filters, the phone also has beauty mode, good food mode, time lapse mode, etc. Other run-of-the mill options like HDR, panorama, best-shot, slow-motion videos are also there.
The GR5 also comes with a 3000 mAh battery, which is sealed shut behind the uni-body back. It might seem good enough for day-to-day usage, but not to me. And probably because of two other things: the UI which hogged a good amount of CPU, and the big, bright screen. It has a Samsung-inspired ultra-saving mode that turns the phone into a black & white feature phone, thus giving you lengthy battery life in case of emergencies.
Under the hood, the GR5 packs an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 616 processor. The 1.5 GHz CPUs are coupled with an Adreno 405 GPU and 2 GB of RAM. 2GB RAM is OK, but 3GB would have been better considering the fact that more Chinese manufacturers are bringing out 3GB RAMs in this price range.
The Emotion UI (EMUI) 3.1 skin, based on Android 5.1.1, comes out of the box, and we felt the phone was a bit sluggish. We experienced some delay in the touch screen and fingerprint scanner response times. We also tried playing Subway Surfer and Asphalt 8: Airborne. The phone ran smoothly on medium setting, but it got hot within 5 minutes (which is normal, I guess).
Display: FHD 5.5 inches, 1080 x 1920 (~401 ppi),
CPU: Qualcomm MSM8939 Octa-core
OS: Android OS v 5.1 + EMUI 3.1
ROM: 16 GB
RAM: 2 GB
Camera: 13 MP AF camera+5 MP FF camera
Battery: 3000 mAh
Sensors: Fingerprint, accelerometer, proximity, compass etc.
Price: Tk 22,990/-
On paper, GR5 seems like a great device. It comes with a premium metal chassis, vivid display and stout processor. Granted it runs EMUI 3.1, which makes the phone laggy when you start juggling multiple apps on the go, the phone comes with a good camera and an affordable price tag. Certainly a phone you should consider if you want a premium looking smartphone on a budget.
Photos: Rahin Sadman