Honor Play review: Is Honor's affordable flagship the best mobile phone?

I think that in my two-and-a-half year career as a tech journalist I have seen a large number of focus-balanced slogans and slogans. Just this year, almost every major smartphone launch is filled with marketing-driven waffles and fancy phrases that do not really do justice to their respective phones. The foolish slogan of Honor Play is another to add to that list.

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"Crazy smart, crazy fast". That is what Honor thinks is the best way to summarize his latest affordable flagship phone, the Honor Play, in just four merged words. But, and somebody might have to tell Honor about this, there is actually much more in this smartphone than in the nonsensical slogan that you would believe it.

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Honor Play review: what you need to know

From the offset, the Honor Play is a typical smartphone rate. It is equipped with everything you should be nice and familiar with at the moment: there is a 6.3 inch Full HD screen at the front, complete with an iPhone X-style notch, and the phone is powered by Huawei & # 39; s own flagship processor, the Kirin 970 There is also 4 GB RAM, 64 GB expandable storage and a dual 16 and 2-megapixel camera installation at the rear.

The Honor Play is also a tempting proposition for gamers. Honor's GPU Turbo, which is basically a nice name for a lot of software optimizations included with Kirin-compatible handsets, improves the efficiency and power consumption of the phone while gaming. Is the Play the best smartphone for gaming? Well, you can read my findings below.

Honor Play review: price and competition

The Honor Play is already shaping to be a pretty interesting device, that is obvious. Yet there is one thing that is still a bit of a mystery. The moment I write this review, I'm worried that Honor has not told us how much this phone will cost.

Oh, we know the figure of the ballpark at least. Fitting between the View 10 and the X-branded line-up, says Honor, we can expect the game to cost around £ 300 when it first appears on the shelves of your local phone store. I will update this review when I hear more official details, of course.

At that price we watch the Honor Play against similar budget titles, including Motorola's Moto G6 – our current well-favored favorite – and the Asus Zenfone 5. That does not mean that the game is safe from the threat of its own siblings either: both the Honor 10 and View 10 are still doing the rounds and are excellent alternatives.

Honor Play review: design

The Honor Play is not exactly a class apart when it comes to aesthetics. Indeed, it seems almost identical to everything that the company has pumped over the past few months – that's a lot of phones by the way. Moreover, it does not look too much like other handsets that were launched this year.

That is not necessarily a negative, and it is certainly a rather nice phone to look at. Coming in black or navy blue midnight, it really looks like something you've twice paid the price for, with a matte aluminum chassis, complete with softly rounded edges and a silky smooth all-display front.

As for the practical aspects, there is enough here for every aspiring flagship. The volume and power keys are next to each other on the right edge of the phone, while a combination of microSD and nano-sim tray is on the left. You will find a 3.5 mm headphone jack next to the USB-C charging port and a solid speaker grill on the base. At the back of the phone you will see a small circular fingerprint reader, which stands next to a pair of vertically aligned rear camera's – more on that later.

Honor Play review: Display

The screen is also not special. Of course I always laughed a bit when one of these beauties was revealed with all the views, but I dare say that I think it's time for a fresh look.

Yet it is a beautiful screen in itself. By measuring 6.3in from a slightly rounded angle to a slightly rounded angle, Honors IPS display managed to produce 91.6% of the sRGB color gamut in the standard "vivid" color mode of the phone. Colors were perhaps a bit too spicy for my taste and usually quite over-saturated in the mouth, but the alternative "normal" display mode of the phone was much more reserved.

Contrast is also to snuff tobacco. Images look at 1,589: 1 face to face with out and the maximum brightness of 465cd / m2 is perfect for a game of PUBG when the family BBQ starts to relax.

Honor Play review: performance and battery life

The big draw for the Honor Play is now the perceived performance level of the flagship. Equipped with the same chipset as the £ 680 Huawei P20 Pro – an octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 970 processor, clocked at 2.4 GHz – you can save yourself a fortune and buy Honor Play instead, right?

Well, according to the demanding Geekbench 4 multi- and single-core CPU tests, there is very little to distinguish between the two phones when this amounts to unprocessed speed. Indeed, it is obvious that the game performs just as well as its expensive competition, and indeed is faster than its competitors with comparable prices.

Now that mobile gaming is big business, with more smartphone manufacturers struggling desperately for part of that mobile esports cake, Play is a great gaming tool. The integrated Mali-G72 GPU blends perfectly with the latest Android games and produces stable frame rates when playing even the most notoriously demanding titles, including PUBG Mobile and Asphalt 9.

Now that we're talking about it, the Honor Play has one last trick on its metaphorical sleeves when it comes to gaming. Start the last two games that I have mentioned and you will notice a special feature: something that Honor calls "scenario-based shocks". What this feature does is vibrating the phone, depending on different scenarios, such as the explosion of a nearby grenade or the revving of the engines of your high-end sports car.

It's a similar function to that of Sony's Xperia XZ2 and although it might be a bit gimmicky, it does offer a slightly more immersive gaming experience when you struggle for that elusive chicken dinner during the morning shuttle.

And you will also play a game on a single charge for a large part of the time. Although by far the best I have tested, the game reached 13 hours and 9 minutes in our continuous video display test before the battery levels went down to zero.

Honorable Play Review: Camera

Dual-camera arrangements are not new, not at all, and the performance of the Honor Play is not exactly fanciful. You will find a few cameras on the back of the phone; one is a standard RGB 16-megapixel f / 2.2 effort of the standard, while the other is a depth-value 2-megapixel f / 2.4 camera. The idea is that the secondary camera helps to improve your beautiful bokeh effect shots, while the main sensor adds details and color data.

Results, as you would expect given the lack of specifications at the highest level, are not that surprising. Recordings in good light are generally pretty good; there is a lot of detail and the color reproduction is perfect. When the light fails, however, the Eerspel starts to really struggle.

That is because of the rather narrow aperture. Simply put, the camera's photo camera does not let in enough light, and as a result, your images suffer, with dark colors and images with less fine details. Telephones are starting to perform remarkably well in low light, but unfortunately this nightly performance has not gone through to mid-range handsets, with such excellent Instagram-worthy recordings that are only reserved for the pricey flagship models.

Honor Play review: Verdict

Collect the scores, however, and the Honor 9 is indeed a fantastic flagship. It may not be the photography companion I was hoping for, and the design is rather uninspired, but in other areas that matter – image quality, battery life and performance – this phone really shines.

Again, I ask the question: why spend four times more on the latest flagship phone? The Honor Play is an almost perfect, shining example that you can save your pocket money and buy a device that you may not have considered before, and are equally impressed with the upgrade.

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