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Huawei GR5 first impressions, premium dual camera photography made affordable

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The Huawei GR5 is a truly incredible phone, I have been using it for two whole days now and I decided to give you a glimpse of my experience so far. This first impression will serve as a trailer of what is to come in the final and in-depth review.


To start with, the GR5 is designed for the young, trendy and photogenic audience.  Those that are looking for a phone that is beautiful enough to complement their fashion conscious personalities as well as capture their surroundings with detailed photos that leave nothing to chance. With such a target market, design and the camera features should be a top priority. Does the Huawei GR5 measure up? Let’s find out.

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Design and display


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The GR5 design is one to behold. The front has 2.5D glass that curves all so slightly towards the edges to meet the smooth metallic back. The back has a contour that follows the curvature of the human hand to ensure great ergonomics. The rear hosts dual camera lenses slightly raised with a polished metallic border around them. Next to it is a circular fingerprint sensor that is indented for easier access, it also has a shiny polished borders. The only negative is that the back is so slippery and the phone isn’t very secure in the hand. Luckily, the phone is not heavy and its slim 8.2mm dimensions make it easier to grasp even with one hand. The curve on the back gives an illusion of the phone being slimmer than it is.


Pressing the power button turns the 5.5 inch IPS display on. The full HD panel is sharp with true to life colours that aren’t saturated. In case you prefer more richness in your renderings, there is a color temperature setting that contains the options of default, ‘hot’ and ‘cold’, with cold being the most saturated. You can also choose your own custom saturation with a colour slider. The panel gets bright enough for sunlight legibility but the reflection of the display can get in the way sometimes. At night, the screen’s brightness can get low enough to avoid squinting. In addition, there is a handy ‘eye protection’ mode available for filtering harmful light from the display at night.



The shooter at the back is Dual 12MP + 2 MP depth sensor. This rear camera has a tonne of features, Huawei didn’t leave any stoned unturned in this department. The 2MP collects depth information to give you great looking background-defocus shots or what they call bokeh effect. The effect is trending nowadays but only a handful of phones can do it, otherwise you will need a professional DSLR camera to put it off. Huawei GR5 goes further to let you change focus even after you have already taken the shot, which is very convenient.

pic 1

Depth focus
Depth focus
Bokeh effect: the background is blurred out
Bokeh effect: the background is blurred out
Changing the focus after the shot
Changing the focus after the shot

There is also a very unique night mode on board. It takes several consecutive pictures each with more light than the previous one, then after the whole process is done, the camera gives you the best photo of them all. You can also grab a photo of your own as the process continues.

Rear camera modes continued
Rear camera modes

Rear camera modes

There is also other features like slo-mo mode, HDR, beauty photo and beauty video, good food mode, the incredible light painting and even a document scan mode.

Lastly, there is no self-respecting camera that lacks pro-mode, the GR5 has it too, it comes with a lot of options in form of sliders to fine tune the photos to your liking.

The selfie camera is an 8MP shooter. It comes with a beauty slider that hides any blemish on the subject’s face. Other modes include panorama which would be very handy for group selfies, time lipse mode, beauty photo and video and finally a very interesting make up mode. This last mode lets you set virtual make up on your face, it comes complete with lipstick that is very spot on. It knows where your lips are and it applies lipstick right on them.

Performance and software

Octa core with 3GB RAM, 32GB internal storage


There is more to the GR5 apart from photography and design. The phone packs a Kirin 655, a capable octa core coupled with a generous 3GB of RAM. The device performs fluidly through all operations. Multitasking, as you would expect from such amount of RAM, is a breeze. I tried some gaming with titles such as the Dream League Soccer 17 and it was smooth all through and interestingly, the phone did not heat up.

The software inside is the Android 6.0 running under Huawei’s custom skin the EMUI 4. This UI is very elaborate, it changes every facet of stock android, you get a revamped notifications pull down,  reorganized settings, no application drawer (which needs some getting used to) and much more. There is no trace of the Google OS left uncovered. Huawei did it in a manner that does not slow down the device, it is very well optimized. Honestly, I prefer a manufacturer that makes an effort to differentiate their devices from the pool of phones running stock software. Huawei implements value adding features such as battery manager which gives exhaustive control on battery usage and even alerts you when an app drains too much the juice.


Almost 5 hours of on screen time and yet the battery is at 53%, impressive!

The battery caps at 3340mAh. Am still testing its longevity but so far so good. Battery saving features are in plenty including the very crucial ultra-power saving mode. Unfortunately the phone takes quite a long time to fill up.

Stay tuned

This was just a first impressions preview, more information on the phone will be coming soon including camera samples, multimedia dissection, battery longevity details and more so stay tuned to TechMoran




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Dennis Mathu
Dennis Mathu
I cover motoring news, gadgets, software releases, mobile apps and enterprise systems powering corporations. Contact me at [email protected] or [email protected]

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