Honor Play First Look: an affordable gaming phone with a flagship review

The Honor Play follows in the footsteps of the Razer phone and the ROG phone from Asus as part of a new wave of game-based handsets that hit the scene. It is Honor's attempt to participate in the fast-growing mobile gaming segment with a device that also promises affordability.

As the name implies, the game is built with gaming in mind. But look at the specification sheet and the feature set, and it does not seem as concentrated a device as you would expect. There is no doubt that it is a powerful device phone, especially because the most spicy chipset from Huawei, the Kirin 970, runs the show. 4 GB of RAM (for the version going to markets, including the UK) seems relatively conservative, since the competition is at least 6 GB, and in some cases 8 GB, depending on which device you like. The Honor Play, however, must be much more competitively priced than its competitors, so some sacrifices had to be made.

Honor has supplemented the chipset with the company's recent GPU Turbo update, which promises up to 60% improved graphical processing while delivering up to 30% more energy efficiency.

Honor Play from top to bottom and back parallel to each other

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Honor representatives showed me how the update makes it possible to beat even the most complete flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and iPhone X in both frame rate, when playing optimized games such as PUBG Mobile, and battery life. while gaming (the packs in a large 3750 mAh battery too). What I have been told makes sense, but we will not know how accurate Honor's claims are until we test the telephone extensively in our full investigation.

The Honor Play is a modest device to watch. Despite its large size, the beautifully rounded metal back is comfortable to hold. All physical buttons are located on the right, the USB-C port and a headphone jack are on the bottom and there is a fingerprint sensor that is suitable for the back.

Honor Play blue-black colors

Honor in Midnight Black above and Navy Blue below

In the standard Midnight Black and Navy Blue it is a rather generic-looking handset, but the market-specific Ultraviolet and Nebula Purple options are much more striking, as are the two special black and red Player Edition options; with colored accents and a laser engraved back. The latter two versions are linked to a partnership with Audi's Le Mans team as a means of strengthening the phone's tagline, "Crazy Fast, Crazy Smart", but the connection seems vague at best.

A more tangible inclusion is the audiovisual experience, which revolves around a fully capable 6.3-inch Full HD + LCD. Given the expected low price of the phone, the display holds a lot of promise. The size not only makes it great to watch videos and games, but colors and viewing angles also seem pretty respectable.

The Hansen audio technology of the company is also available to provide & # 39; 3D sound & # 39; with support for 7.1 virtual surround sound and Honors even has a look at Sony's book and adorns the game with "4D Smart Shock", which promises dynamic vibrations based on of game audio. If this results, it is a striking feature that we would never expect on this handset for this price.

Honor Play camera close up 2

Although camera's are not the center of the game, it still offers solid specifications, with 16-megapixels on both the front and back, plus a 2-megapixel secondary rear sensor for portrait shots and the option for AI- enhanced imagery, as on the Honor 10. I will test this thoroughly if I fully view the Honor Play, but the first impressions are promising.

GPU Turbo update aside, the Play software experience is reasonably pedestrian. It's good to have Android 8.1 with the company's EMUI 8.2 at the top (the first phone with the updated user experience out of the box) but in general it's the same user experience that every Huawei and Honor phone has decked out over the past year.

Honor play USB C macro

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Game Suite keeps all your games in one place, suspends notifications while you are gaming and adjusts performance while playing to take advantage of the aforementioned improved performance where Huawei and Honor have clearly worked hard. The company even worked with Blue Hole and Gameloft to make titles like PUBG and Asphalt 9 work as well as possible on the hardware (and software) of Play.

Honorable Play release date and prize

While the Honor Play has already been announced in China and several other Asian markets, including Thailand, Pakistan and India, it still has to find its way to the West. IFA 2018, the major annual show of consumer electronics in Germany, acts as the starting signal of the telephone on European markets, with relevant prices and availability that will be announced on 30 August.

In the meantime, we expect pricing between £ 250 / € 280 and £ 300 / € 330 based on the price linked to the original launch markets on the phone; which means that it is a seriously competitive option if you are looking for a well-equipped alternative to the best mobile phones already available, or the recently launched Pocophone F1.

First impression

In reality, there is little that distinguishes Honor Play as a gaming-oriented device just like many other Kirin 970 handsets in the company's portfolio, but that does not mean it's not equipped for a great gaming experience to deliver.

Marketing messages and branding are the key to designing this phone as a suitable Razer phone, Xiaomi Black Shark or ROG Phone alternative, while the aggressively low prices must entice customers who would otherwise not be interested in the concept of gaming. phone. This thing can even cause a person like OnePlus.

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