- Good performance
- Excellent display
- Good all-round camera experience with some creative options
- Elegant design
- Great battery life
- Great value for money
- Top-notch performance
- Large screen with thin bezels and a notch
- Metal unibody
- No EIS for 4K, 1080p@60fps videos are terrible
- Not very easy to hold and use
- Mediocre photos in low light
- Average cameras
- The phone can heat up under pressure
Honor has joined companies like Razer by coming out with a smartphone specifically aimed at gamers, but this one has focused more on affordability then on premium features, we are nasphones.com and this is our Honor Play Review .
unlike the glass back bills have been so popular recently the honor play has a unibody of solid aluminum, the curved sides and rounded corners mean the phone fits nice and comfortably in the hands and the matte finish helps give a bit of grip .
ours is in the ultraviolet color and though it isn’t the snazziest we’ve seen lately it does look nice when it catches the light, it has a fingerprint reader on the back, and as usual for a Huawei or honor device it’s blazing fast and accurate to wake up the phone .
there is face-Unlock too, which uses machine learning to keep up with how your face changes over time, it works well but it’s not as secure as a fingerprint, storage wise there’s 64 gigs of memory on board and it is expandable through the hybrid slot .
the honor play has a single bottom firing speaker, it only scored a good mark in our loudness tests and we really wish there were stereo speakers on a gaming phone . Read More : Honor Magic 2
then again the sound quality is excellent, with deep bass and rich sound, sound with headphones is quite decent too and there is a 3.5 millimeter jack to plug into, it’s not the loudest so you might want to avoid high impedance headphones, but you do have access to hissed and sound options such as 3d audio .
the honor play packs is 6.3 inch IPS LCD with a 1080p resolution, it has a really tall aspect ratio too a 19.5:9, what you notice right away is to notch cut out at the top, which is pretty wide, it has is the earpiece, sensors, notification LED and selfie cam .
if you don’t like the notch you can hide it with a black bar, though this doesn’t work as well on an LCD as an AMOLED, which has much deeper blacks .
overall the screen does a decent job but nothing mind-blowing, the black levels are far from stellar resulting in an average contrast ratio, you can play around with the color presets to suit your taste, there are plenty to choose from pick a normal plus the warm option got us pretty accurate colors .
the Honor Play’s max brightness is alright, at 407 nits, but there’s no boost outdoors in auto mode, we got a good score for sunlight legibility but nothing impressive . Read More : Honor Magic 2 3D
the honor play runs on Android 8.1 with emui 8.2 on top, the gallery has been improved in emui 8.2 and it now supports a I driven image sorting .
the machine learning can group images by people locations and other shared criteria, party mode is another new feature which allows people to connect multiple phones, to play the same song simultaneously .
and the game suite gives you a dedicated space to access all of your games, as well as holding options for them such as acceleration and blocking interruptions .
by default apps are on the home screen, but if you miss androids usual layout you can enable a drawer in settings, there is also a search feature which can be accessed by swiping down anywhere on the home screen, pretty handy .
and honor is promising a new feature via software update called 4G smart shock, it will allow the phone to vibrate along to the sounds and supported games, something like Rumble feedback in a controller .
speaking of gaming, this is the honor play after all, let’s talk about is high level performance, under the hood is a Hisilicon Kirin 970 (10 nm) chipset, the same is in the flagship Huawei P20 and either 4 or 6 gigs of ram . Read More : Honor 10
as you’d expect the owner plays benchmark scores are impressive, on par with the top-of-the-line Huawei devices, as far as heating goes the honor plays all metal chassis helps disperse the heat and we didn’t see any throttling during games, however there was eventually some heat build up during extensive benchmark rounds .
one advantage the honor play can boast is that it comes with Huawei’s GPU turbo technology out of the box, GPU turbo optimizes the use of resources behind the scenes, for more efficient graphics processing and less power consumption, it isn’t necessarily improved maximum frame rates, but instead acts to smooth out the FPS and minimize dips .
however it doesn’t work for every game, on the contrary for now it is only supported by PUBG and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, it’s up to developers to actually optimize their apps to take advantage of GPU turbos benefits .
battery life on the honor play is excellent, with a large 3750 milliamp hour battery, the honor play earned a 94 hour endurance rating and our proprietary tests . Read More : Honor 8X
you can game for a pretty long time without need for a top-up, when you do need to charge you can make use of the bundled 18 watt charger, on our cause a quick charge as opposed to their faster super charge, as the name suggests it isn’t super fast as we only go from 0 to 35% in half an hour .
the honor play has the dual camera setup similar to what we saw in the Huawei Honor 7X,we’re looking at an f/2.2, 16 megapixel main camera, face detection autofocus and a secondary depth sensor .
one feature shared by recent honor and Huawei phones is AI driven Scene Recognition, the algorithms recognize the subject and adjust shooting parameters and colors .
with AI mode turned on daylight photos have more than enough detail, saturated yet Pleasant colors, low noise levels and superb contrasts .
if HDR is required is applied in real time, so you get a lot out of both your shadows and your highlights, the normal samples without AI are quite good too, they have plenty of detail, very accurate colors, high contrast and even lower noise levels, the dynamic range is quite impressive as well .
in low-light the AI mode isn’t as capable as on the Huawei P20 phones, there’s no tripod free night mode available here, the samples are very noisy, but with the bright exposure and warm colors . Read More : Honor View 20
the regular low-light images are nothing special too, but they have far less noise, they are quite soft and the contrast is rather low but the colors are true the life .
if you’re looking for some defocus backgrounds in your photos there are two modes to choose from here, portrait mode is the one meant for people, you can enable and disable the background blur add beautification and simulate lighting .
in the aperture mode you can choose the simulated aperture in the range between F/1.5 to f16, you can even change the aperture later after the shot has been taken .
subject separation isn’t perfect in either mode, but given the right subject and background you can have some usable and convincing portraits .
the honor play has a 16 megapixel selfie camera with a fixed focus lens, you need to shoot your face from pretty close to be in sharp focus . Read More : Top 10 Smartphones in 2018
once you get the distance right the level of detail is very good, colors are lifelike, dynamic range is good for a selfie cam, there’s also a selfie portrait mode, actually the default when you switch over from the main cam .
you can shoot videos in 4k@30fps, they have placing colors, plenty of contrast, great dynamic range and a steady framerate, thus a nice level of detail too .
shooting in 1080p@30fps allows for electronic stabilization, the colors contrasts and details are good like in the 4k videos, but here there is some over sharpening .
we did run into major issues when recording in 1080@60fps, these are always blurry and look out of focus, hopefully as fixed with the future software update .
so the honor play, overall you get a nice metal build, great battery life, a good camera and top-notch performance, as far as being the best smartphone for gamers that’s still up for debate .
the Hisilicon Kirin 970 (10 nm) is definitely powerful but to still beat by the Snapdragon 845 in the Xiaomi Pocophone F1, you’re also missing a pair of stereo speakers .
the gaming centric software features are yet to provide real benefits, GPU turbo is great but won’t help at all unless Huawei gets developers support on actual titles . Read More : Huawei Mate 20 X Unboxing And Key Features
and I’m excited for the 4d Rumble but still waiting for that update at the time of this review, and it also needs dev support, so as far as I’m concerned the honor play is a solid mid-range phone that just happens to be really good at gaming .
as around 320 euros is some of the best bang for your buck you can find and it deserves our recommendation .
Disclaimer : We can not guarantee that the information on this page is 100% correct
Specification: Honor Play
GSM / CDMA / HSPA / LTE
CDMA 800 & TD-SCDMA – China, GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2
HSDPA 850 / 900 / 2100
LTE band 1(2100), 3(1800), 5(850), 8(900), 38(2600), 39(1900), 40(2300), 41(2500) – China
HSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, LTE-A (3CA) Cat16 1024/150 Mbps
Available. Released 2018, August
157.9 x 74.3 x 7.5 mm (6.22 x 2.93 x 0.30 in)
176 g (6.21 oz)
Hybrid Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)
IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
6.3 inches, 97.4 cm2 (~83.0% screen-to-body ratio)
1080 x 2340 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio (~409 ppi density)
Android 8.1 (Oreo); EMUI 8.2
Hisilicon Kirin 970 (10 nm)
Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A53)
|Memory Card Slot||
microSD, up to 256 GB (uses SIM 2 slot)
64 GB, 4/6 GB RAM
16 MP, f/2.2, PDAF, 2 MP, f/2.4, depth sensor, Dual
LED flash, HDR, panorama
2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 1080p@30fps (gyro-EIS)
16 MP, f/2.0, 1.0µm
|Selfie Camera Video||
Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
4.2, A2DP, LE, EDR, aptX HD
Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
Yes (market dependent)
2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
Fingerprint (rear-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Fast battery charging 18W, Non-removable Li-Po 3750 mAh battery
Midnight Black, Navy Blue, Violet, Player Edition Red, Player Edition Black
|Specific Absorption Rate||
1.10 W/kg (head)
About 320 EUR