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FOR

  • Solid performance
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Good surround sound with headphones
  • Best finish in this price range

AGAINST

  • Camera
  • Bloatware

One of the most interesting battles in the mobile phone market is waged in the quality/price ratio of mid-range smartphones. The Honor Play () is one of the strongest contenders and adds a “gaming” arrow in its already full quiver.

Honor Play – Features

Honor Play – Features

The Honor Play offers a good quality big screen and the high-end Kirin 970 processor. All of this for just . And since power is never enough it also sports Huawei’s GPU Turbo technology in order to overclock the GPU and squeeze out even more frames in optimized games. The partnership with PUBG Mobile has done the rest.

Honor Play – Distinguished design

Honor Play – Distinguished design

For some time now, mid-range phones around $300 are characterized by a design and finish very close to the high range.

The Honor Play follows this rule and is meticulously built with a well-finished metal body of the highest quality. By watching it, if someone told me that it had a price tag of over $500 i would have believed him.

The metal body is very pleasant to the touch and gives a sense of robustness and durability. It also seems somewhat, but it isn’t since it weighs just 170 grams. Don’t forget that this is a 6.3-inch device with a 90% screen to body ratio!

It sports reduced side frames, a more prominent one at the bottom where we find the logo, as well as a generous notch on top.

The fingerprint reader is relegated in the back and works just fine. It is fast, reliable and well-positioned for most users.

Connectivity-wise we find a USB-C port on the bottom, together with the hybrid dual SIM/microSD tray and a headphone jack.

Honor Play – Big screen

Honor Play – Big screen

The big 6.3-inch display has a good Full HD+ resolution. However, the LCD panel has a standard brightness of sub 500 nits. Indoors it is more than OK, but outdoors the contrast, black levels, and reflections are an issue. An IPS panel, like the one Sony uses, would have helped a lot. You can choose between three color modes; the most balanced one is the Normal one.

Honor Play – A high-end processor at an affordable price

Honor Play – A high-end processor at an affordable price

The Honor Play bets everything on its high-end Kirin 970 processor. As such has been his behavior. Paired with 4GB of RAM, it offers unparalleled performance for the price. In benchmarks, it wipes the floor with its direct rival the Xiaomi Pocophone F1 ().

In everyday use, the phone is very responsive and runs buttery smooth. The same is true for games but we will talk about this later.

It does warm up a bit, especially during charging or intensive use (gaming) for long periods of time, but nothing alarming

Honor Play – Surround sound

Honor Play – Surround sound

A section that Honor has given importance with this Play model is the sound, which is really enveloping (Histen 7.1) with headphones on.

We tested this feature with PUBG Mobile and it is true that it gave us the feeling of being inside the game helping a lot with the immersion factor.

The only downside is that when using headphones we are not able to grip the phone in our usual way since the headphone jack and cable mess with our fingers positioning.

The speakers have a good volume but the soundstage loses definition as soon as we turn it up past halfway, at which point it sounds too artificial.

Honor Play – Dual camera

Honor Play – Dual camera

The Honor Play is equipped with a dual rear camera consisting of two sensors, a main 16MP one and a secondary one of just 2MP. The secondary sensor is for depth detection and helps apply the background blur (bokeh effect) in portrait mode.

In good lighting conditions, the results aren’t too shabby and portrait mode is nice although with some edge problems. In low light, the excessive image processing leaves a lot of information on the table and makes a mess of all the rest.

The selfie camera is OK for social sharing although it presents the same problems as the rear one in portrait mode.

Solid autonomy

The Honor Play boasts a big battery and fast charging, with an 18W charger included in the box.

It sports a 3750mAh unit that will last you a full day even with some gaming. In our in house test, we measured an average screen time of 8 hours. Not bad, not bad at all.

Even if you manage to run out of juice the Honor Play can recharge from 3% to 25% in 20 minutes, to 50% in 45 minutes and to 100% in 112 minutes.

Verdict

Being pushed out of the mid-range by Xiaomi, Huawei’s response was the Honor sub-brand. The Honor Play () is a great phone, that offers a truly high-end processor for a more than honest price. Add to that the inclusion of Turbo GPU and you have a solid gaming smartphone for pennies on the dollar.


Also read: BEST CELL PHONES

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REVIEW OVERVIEW
Camera
7.5
Design
8.5
Screen
8.5
Software
8.5
Autonomy
9
Performance
9
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