honor Play review — Cheapest Gaming Phone In The Market!
+ Metal build feels premium
+ AR lens is 'kawaii'!
+ Display is gorgeous
+ 3.5mm audio jack is always a plus
+ Face and fingerprint unlock is fast
+ Game Suite's 'Uninterrupted gaming' does its job
- Notch somewhat feels bigger compared to other phones with it
- Quite a number of bloatware
- Battery left wanting on normal daily usage
- Overall camera performance could be better
The honor Play was introduced as their new gaming device in the smartphone market. So what makes it to be considered a ‘gaming’ phone? For one thing, the phone features the new GPU Turbo technology, which is supposed to give users a new 4D gaming experience with 3D Audio Effect and also AI Vibration.
Well for our review unit, we’ve got our hands on the Blue edition. Starting on the front, you’ve got the single selfie shooter on top that’s accompanied by the phone’s notch. The brand’s logo being shown down at the chin of the device.
Down at the bottom, you’ll get a USB Type-C port, a 3.5mm jack for your earphones, microphone for the device and also the loudspeaker grill.
On the top of the device, you have the NFC sensor. There’s also the secondary microphone hole of the phone.
On the right hand side of the device is where you’ll find the volume rockers, as well as the power button of the device. Also visible is the antenna lines covering the top and bottom edges of the honor Play.Only the SIM tray is visible (besides the already mentioned antenna lines). It offers a Hybrid Dual SIM slot
|CPU/Chipset:||Kirin 970 Octa-core (4×2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A53)|
|Display:||6.3″, 19:9 FHD+ (1080p) IPS LCD display|
|Storage:||64GB UFS 2.1 (expandable up to 256GB)|
|Camera:||Main Camera(s) 16MP f/2.2 + 2MP f/2.4 PDAF, depth sensor, LED flash, HDR, panorama, AI photography, AR lens Front Camera 16MP f/2.0 Beauty, HDR, portrait mode, filters|
|OS:||EMUI 8.2 based on Android 8.2 Oreo|
|Connectivity:||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2|
|SIM:||Hybrid Dual SIM|
|Battery:||Li-Po 3750 mAh (non-removable), Fast charging|
Packed with HUAWEI’s latest chipset, Kirin 970, we expect highly of it. Well here’s how the phone performed in our benchmark tests.
As we can see from the graph, the honor Play’s Kirin 970 falls behind of the ASUS ZenFone 5z’s Snapdragon 845 rating. It has a slight advantage over the performance of the Mi Mix 2, which runs on a Snapdragon 835 SoC.
Compared to the Mate 10 which uses the same chipset, it does slightly better on its single core. That said, put it up against the Nokia 8 and Mi Mix 2 which uses Snapdragon 835 respectively, it loses out on the single core testing.
Surprisingly, the device got pretty bad scores on PC Mark’s Work 2.0 Performance test, where it failed to beat the ZenFone 5 and even the ZenFone 4 Selfie Pro which uses a Snapdragon 625.
Disappointingly, the honor Play manages to squeeze only 7 hours and 42 minutes only. Quite a number of devices on the list with smaller battery capacities beat the device, though they are using different chipsets all-together.
As for my own personal usage of the battery, you can see the battery drop rather fast from 80% to 41% (in . Usage includes Facebook scrolling, Facebook Messenger, a couple rounds of Mobile Legends and two rounds of PUBG.
To kick things off, we’ll be talking about the charging performance of the device. In 30 minutes, it manages to charge 28% of its battery. So the next time you are in a hurry to take a shower and what not WHILE wanting to charge the device, that’s what you are going to get.
Do note that when this review was written, the GPU Turbo’s update (along with the 4D Gaming experience) wasn’t out yet, so all of this information is prior to it. That put aside, the notch of the phone is slightly bigger compared to other smartphones for me personally. It feels smaller when I was gaming on the device. So onto the gaming part, visuals were great when it comes to gaming. No issues with frame rates, even when settings were put on max for both Mobile Legends and PUBG.
When I played Mobile Legends, I found out that a round (ran on normal settings) that lasted 9 minutes would eat up 2% of the battery life. If max settings was chosen, a drop of 4% was noticed which the round ran for 10 minutes.
The most draining session was on PUBG. On max settings, a round which ran for 27 minutes managed to burn 14% of the phones battery life. In addition to that, after 10 minutes into the game, I could feel the warmth coming from the device. Despite that, it is not surprising considering that it was running on ultra-settings.
Now when you game, of course you want an uninterrupted gaming session. That’s where the phone’s Game Suite comes in. With it, you can turn on its Uninterrupted gaming icon, where it will block every notification that you receive while it is turned on.
So while it will block notifications coming in, it will still notify you through a small pop up like the picture above. Needless to say, it’s still good that they don’t block everything. Who knows, you might have some emergency going on and you were too busy playing hours on PUBG.
Here are some photo samples that I’ve shot with the honor Play. For me, the main camera gives not-so-consistent shots with some of the are overly done and doesn’t look natural, where some looks better with the adjustments made with the AI. Personally, I find that the AR Lens feature is quite fun and offers something for you to play around with (don’t judge me!).
As for the front camera, the portrait mode does it job well. You have the option to turn on or off its bokeh mode, which is nice since you can have the option to have a more natural background.
At first, it was hard to justify on whether the honor Play is a worthwhile device for you to get, since we didn’t knew the official price of it here in Malaysia. Well now that it is official that it will cost RM1,249, we can say that it’s a decent gaming device to get. Probably the cheapest gaming phone on the market right now. It does have it’s flaws (I’m mainly distracted by its battery performance), despite that, with it not coming in yet with the GPU Turbo, that could all change. At the price, it is worthy if you want to make it your gaming device. You’ll get great displays and a smooth performance.