With the Honor 10 being pitched as a flagship smartphone, the company’s latest Honor Play is offered as an affordable option with high-end specifications. Sure, you will not find any headline-grabbing features here, but the Honor Play will appease to a lot of (male) users with its macho looks and fantastic performance. Honor Play will outclass the Nokia 7 Plus and Vivo V9 in the mid-end segment, a territory where there’s hardly any clear winner. We went hands-on with the Honor Play ahead of the launch in India, and here’s what we think about the smartphone.
Honor Play price: Rs 19,999 for the 4GB RAM+64GB version, Rs 23,999 for the 6GB RAM + 64GB
Honor Play first impressions: Design, display
From the design perspective, Honor Play appears to be slightly different from the company’s lineup. Unlike the Honor 10 which has a glass back, the Honor Play sticks to a metal back with a matte finish. The phone closely resembles the Honor View 10, barring a few cosmetic changes. We got the Honor Play in Navy Blue, but the phone will be made available in Midnight Black as well. The fingerprint sensor is on the back, aside from a pair of dual cameras arranged vertically.
Read more: Honor Play Launch in India HIGHLIGHTS
Honor Play is comfortable to hold in the hand and feels lightweight. I do feel that the Honor 10 looks way more premium than the Honor Play. But, keep in mind that you are paying more for the Honor 10, and the price does matter at the end of the day.
What I like about the Honor Play is the display and yes, it is massive in size. When most smartphones in this price segment are limited to 5.9-inches, Honor has upped the screen size to 6.3-inches. It’s a FHD+ display with a resolution of 1080 x 2340 and an aspect ratio of 19:9. Oh yes, you will also find a cut-out or a “notch” above the screen.
In my brief time spent with the Honor Play, I liked the display quality of the 6.3-inch panel. The screen is sharp, bright, and colourful. The display is apt for watching movies or playing games. I can already imagine myself playing PUBG for hours on the Honor Play.
Honor Play first impression: Performance, software, and battery
The Honor Play is the first smartphone in the mid-end segment to feature a Kirin 970 processor. So, expect the same level of performance you would otherwise get on a high-end smartphone. For comparison sake, both the Honor 10 and Huawei P20 Pro are also powered a Kirin 970 processor.
I Honor Play review unit we have comes with 6GB RAM and 64GB of internal memory. A cheaper variant of the Honor Play is also available, featuring 4GB RAM and 36GB of internal memory. In case you are a pro user like myself or someone who likes to play games a lot, I would recommend you to pick up the top-end variant of Honor Play.
Gaming on the Honor Play is a great experience, making it one of the most powerful smartphones in mid-end segment. Graphically, games look fantastic with smooth gameplay in my brief testing.
Also, Honor Play takes advantage of GPU Turbo, a new technology that claims to increase performance by up to 60 per cent, while decreasing battery power drain by up to 30 per cent. Honor says GPU Turbo technology is limited to gaming at the moment.
Honor Play is running EMUI 8.2 based on Android 8.1 Oreo. EMUI isn’t the prettiest overlay on top of Android, but it is fast and smooth. Apps are spread across the home screen, but an app drawer can be added through the Settings menu in case you want to.
Honor has kept the headphone jack on the latest smartphone and it’s a big relief. Honor Play doesn’t offer the best audio, so be prepared for a major disappointment. I wish the company had installed dual speakers which would have taken the gaming experience to a whole new level.
Honor Play is fitted with a 3,750mAh battery. We’re still testing, but so far the Honor Play gives a full day of use with a single charge.
Honor Play first impressions: Cameras
On the rear of the Honor Play has a dual-camera setup, a 16MP primary snapper with an f/2.2 aperture lens, and a 2MP secondary camera with an f/2.4 aperture. On the front, there’s a 16MP camera for taking selfies.
The dual-lens setup is capable enough to take good shots, but don’t expect the picture quality to be as good as the one seen on the Honor 10. Since I have just started using the Honor Play, I am keeping my final verdict reserved for the full review which will be out in the coming weeks.
Honor Play first impressions: Early Conclusion
The idea behind the Honor Play is to offer the best possible hardware on a mid-end smartphone. And frankly, Honor Play appears to be an all-round device that offers everything you would expect in a phone that costs less than Rs 25,000. Do check our full review of Honor Play later this week.