Flagship performance at an aggressive price
Honor has been consistently launching some interesting devices that offer an excellent price-performance ratio. The latest to join its portfolio is Honor Play that guarantees high-end hardware and software experience for an affordable price.
Honor’s recent spate of launches has been glass, so it’s refreshing to see Honor Play adopting a metal design. Available in choices of black and blue, the metal finish at the back and the glass front dominated by the display and thin bezels give the phone a premium look.
The dual cameras along with the flash and fingerprint sensor are placed at the back while a speaker, 3.5mm audio jack and USB-C port are placed at the bottom. The hybrid SIM slot is on the left and the power and volume buttons are on the right.
Honor phones generally come with their in-house developed Kirin processors and Honor Play is no surprise. With 4GB RAM and flagship SoC onboard, the Honor Play is great to use with smooth and stutter-free performance.
Honor Play runs EMUI 8.2 (based on Android 8.1) and while it’s heavily customised, some of the features it brings are handy. For instance, it supports face unlock and keeps lock screen notifications hidden until it is unlocked. Smart AI gallery classifies pictures and automatically segregates them depending on time, location, holiday, or occasions.
The interesting thing, however, is the phone comes with GPU Turbo, which is Huawei/Honor’s solution to improve graphics efficiency while at the same time improve battery life. Currently, there are only a handful of games supporting GPU Turbo and PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) is one of them. We played PUBG on the device and found the overall performance to be good. The only drawback right now with GPU Turbo is that Honor has to work with developers to integrate GPU Turbo and the game cannot take advantage of the feature automatically. GPU Turbo will eventually be rolled out to other Honor devices in the coming months.
The phone has a 6.3-inch FHD+ (1080x2340) display with an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. The screen looks great with good colours and contrast. Users can even change the colour temperature and the resolution to HD+ to save battery life.
Honor Play has a 16MP+2MP setup at the back and takes advantage of AI to recognise different objects in real time and while it does a good job in recognising them, the optimisations AI implements aren’t up to the mark. In most instances, we are better without AI. Pictures shot in daylight were good but the camera suffered in low-light scenarios. The camera quality is just about okay.
The phone can capture videos to up to 4K and supports EIS. However, it works only if you shoot at Full HD or below. Selfie-wise, the 16MP front-facing camera captures decent selfies.
All said and done, Honor Play looks great and delivers flagship performance with good battery life but needs some work on the camera front.