Honor Play Feature
REVIEW SUMMARY
Design
8
Display
7
Performance
9
Battery
8
Camera
7

We are gradually getting used to the scary pace at which the smartphone market is evolving. Among the latest trends, gaming phones are explicitly emerging as a new flare in the industry and intend to take mobile gaming to the next level. The all-new Honor play is such an offer from the Chinese phone maker.

The device comes with top of the line specs like a flagship processor, dual camera, a notched screen, and some clever software as well as hardware optimizations like the GPU Turbo Technology, a heat management system and enhanced graphics.

What Comes Out-Of-The-Box?

Acccessories Honor Play

Honor Play ships with standard accessories in the box i.e. the phone itself along with Honor’s earphones, a charging brick that supports 18W fast charging and a USB Type-C data cable to juice up the phone or transfer data to your PC.

The phone also comes with a Jell-O case which you can instantly snap on to protect it from scratches.

So is it all just gimmickry or is the Honor Play a gaming-centric phone that will gratify mobile gamers’ needs, as the company claims? We used the handset extensively for a few days and now can give you our detailed real-life review of the gadget.

Design

Honor Play Back
Metal Unibody Design

Its surprising to see that the company has gone on a conservative path while designing the phone. Although well-built with rounded corners, the phone is entirely made out of metal, which pulls it legions behind in beauty as compared to the glass finish of Honor 10.

We had the Black unit for review which honestly made a bold statement the moment you look at it. The metal build feels robust and sits in hands perfectly while easily manageable with one hand, thanks to the trendy aspect ratio.

The phone is a unibody with antenna lines running at the back on top and bottom areas. The rear hosts the dual camera setup vertically placed in the top left corner along with the traditional fingerprint scanner in the center.

Power and Volume Key
Power and Volume Keys

Usual right-hand side hosts the power and volume key, and due to the taller design, they are pretty easy to reach and operate while on the left you’ll find a dual-hybrid SIM card slot that can also be used to enhance memory via microSD card.

Honor Play Sim Tray
Dual Hybrid Sim Tray
USB type C Honor play
USB Type-C Port along With Headphone Jack

Though some of the users might not like a metal unibody phone one thing is for certain; metal gives you a lot more durability than glass does. Though glass main look better, on the bright side this metal build makes the phone more sturdy and you don’t have to worry about smudges and fingerprints on the back.

Display

Honor Play offers the current design course i.e. packing a larger display in a sleek and smaller body by minimizing the bezels and providing a notch in the screen with a lot of screen estate to play with.

Honor Play Display
FullHD+ Display

The phone packs a 6.3-inch IPS LCD with 1080×2340 pixels resolution and a 19.5:9 aspect ratio that translates into a pixel density of 409 ppi. The display is as sharp as can be expected from an LCD panel.

The colors are all sharp and natural but inclined on the cooler side but I guess we should get used to such displays in Huawei and Honor devices. The viewing angles on display are excellent. Although being fairly bright, the display is extremely reflective which makes it difficult to use in sunlight.

Software

The Honor Play runs EMUI 8.2 which is the latest version of the company’s custom UI skin. Although this is purely a matter of preference, we think EMUI is a great skin loaded with quick features and shortcuts.

From toning down the display’s resolution to customizing the home screen and animations, EMUI gives you a lot of facilitation to personalize your phone. You can also swipe down on the home screen to open the universal search which looks up your searched item in the local drive as well as online.

Honor Play is the first phone with the revolutionary Gpu Turbo that enhances the graphics by 60% and saves 30% battery

However, the bloatware that we earlier saw on the cheap honor phones like the Honor 7S and Honor 7A has also made its way to the Honor Play’s interface. Moreover, the company should have included a resource intensive game by default to showcase its GPU Turbo technology.

Performance

The device undoubtedly delivers a jaw-dropping performance. It comes packed with the flagship grade processor Kirin 970 which debuted with the last year’s Mate 10 and has also found its way to the newly launched Huawei Nova 3.

The phone managed to grab decent scores in the benchmark test, thanks to the flagship grade processor.

Honor Play Benchmark Results
Antutu Results (L) and Geekbench Results (R)

Being a gaming phone, Honor Play comes with 64GB internal storage so you can install your favorite storage consuming games along with other media. A 4GB RAM makes the phone snappy and quickly responsive. GPU Turbo Technology comes integrated out of the box as the cherry on the cake.

We ran the most rigorous testing on Honor Play and were pretty satisfied with the performance. The device also gathered decent scoring on Geekbench and AnTuTu benchmarks

On moderate usage test, it felt like the phone was asking for more. We literally wanted to skip the moderate usage and go for gaming but then again we wouldn’t be able to give you our feedback if we did that. Needless to say, having a flagship chipset, the phone performed outrageously.

Now coming to what you are here for; Gaming and heavy multitasking. Let’s get this straight; this phone is an absolute annihilator of heavy games, thanks to the GPU Turbo. The only disappointing thing that we came across is that the tech is yet not optimized for all the resource-heavy games but only the selected ones like PUBG, Mobile Legends etc.

While heavy gaming we could clearly notice the smoothness in the game because of turbo tech and didn’t notice any frame drops whatsoever. Same goes for the multitasking which was a delight to experience. However, we did notice that the phone’s temperature rose during longer gaming sessions.

The phone is nothing less than a beast when it comes to resource heavy apps. Be it gaming or multitasking, the phone never takes a breath

Honor Play comes with a huge battery of 3750mAh so you won’t have to worry about the low battery in the middle of your busy day. It comes with 18W Fast charging support which can charge the phone to 50% in 30 mins. Honor Play is a complete solution package for your power needs.

Regarding the battery usage in our real-life tests, the phone dropped a 13% battery in one hour which, at first worried us, but then again we were delighted to see that the more we used the phone heavily the less it consumed the battery, thanks to the battery conserving GPU Turbo Technology.

While in our heavy usage testing and gaming session, the phone managed to eat up 19% of the battery which is amazing only because the GPU Turbo not only enhances the performance of the phone but also conserves the battery usage.

Camera

Back Camera Honor Play

Honor Play packs a dual rear camera with 16MP + 2MP lenses with f/2.2 and f/2.4 aperture respectively. On the front, the phone hosts a 16MP camera. Both the cameras come with AI tweaks.

On the auto mode, the camera captures decent colors, however, lacks the detail that we earlier experienced on the Huawei P20 Lite. In most cases, AI tends to oversaturate the color. AI seems to be slapped like a filter on the photos rather than actually refining the pictures for better color.

Building Pic with Auto Mode on Honor Play
Auto Mode
Building Pic with AI Mode on Honor Play
AI Mode
Building Pics with HDR Mode on Honor Play
HDR Mode

You can turn the AI feature on and off manually with a toggle in the camera app. The HDR mode of the camera, however, works better than the AI and brightens up the dark corners of the picture instead of overdoing the whole picture like we saw in the company’s budget phone, Honor 7S.

Image in Day Light with Auto Mode on Honor Play
Auto Mode
Image in Day Light with AI Mode on Honor Play
AI Mode

While shooting indoors, we noticed that where the HDR tends to maintain a balance between the colors in the dark and bright corners, AI goes for an aggressive treatment and in turn distorts the color i.e. turns Yellow light into Orange and loses detail.

Auto Mode on Honor Play
Auto Mode
HDR Mode on Honor Play
HDR Mode
AI Mode on Honor Play
AI Mode
Bags Pic with Auto Mode on Honor Play
HDR Mode
Bags Pic with HDR Mode on Hono
Auto Mode

The wide aperture mode on the phone works just fine. Same goes for the portrait mode where the camera detects the foreground and background with precision and attempts to blur only the background in a way that the blur won’t be stretched to the main subject in the picture.

Wide Aperture Mode on Honor Play
Wide Aperture Mode
Image wirh Wide Aperture Mode on Honor Play
Wide Aperture Mode
Portrait Mode on Honor Play
Portrait Mode
Image Taken in Auto Mode with Honor Play
Low Light Conditions

Our Verdict

Summing it all up, Honor Play is a terrific gaming, made even better by a creatively enjoyable camera and a big screen. Since gaming is getting more complex these days and if you are into that, Honor Play is the perfect option for you.

Besides having a solid metal build, the phone packs a flagship processor in a midrange price, a huge battery and other perks like fast charging, ample internal memory and plenty of RAM for your performance needs.

However, if you are specifically an avid gamer and want a good run for your money, Honor Play is the best phone you can get without breaking your bank.

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