Honor Play – Ready to Rumble6. October 2018
Honor is advertising the Honor Play as a Gaming Smartphone – as the name suggests – but what can you expect from a smartphone that just costs 329 €?
The build quality is really good when it comes to the Honor Play. The aluminium unibody feels nice in the hand and the buttons have a good clicky feeling to it.
The design with it’s antenna lines might remind you of the iPhone 7 and its predecessors.
Having a aluminium unibody also means there is no wireless charging.
To top off the 3750 mAh battery fast, there is quick charge available. With light gaming and a lot of YouTube and Twitter the Honor Play got my through a day with about 15 to 20 percent left.
Unfortunately there is no IP-Rating for the Honor Play. So you shouldn’t take the Honor Play to the pool.
Looking at the front of the device, the logo on the chin jumps right at me. I know the chin is needed to make room for the display drivers, but why do we need the logo there. I would prefer a clean look. I know which phone I am holding, so I don’t need that reminder.
The 6.3 Inch LCD Looks pretty nice with its minimal bezels. Only the chin and big notch bother me a little.
The 1080p resolution in it’s 18:9 aspect ratio results in 410 PPI.
But I’ve got a major issue with the automatic brightness. I have to crank it up it almost all situations. No matter if I am inside or outside the display it to dark almost all the time. I guess that is to save battery, but for me it just annoying.
The viewing angle are not that great either. As soon as you twist the phone a little the screen darkens.
Unfortunately there is only a single down firing speaker, that sounds alright. But it doesn’t get very loud and can easily be covered when holding the phone in landscape, while playing games or watching videos.
For everyone who likes to use headphones there is a 3.5 mm headphone jack , so you can enjoy your games and videos with classic headphone. Honor is including InEar headphone in the box.
On the back there is a fingerprint sensor that works fast and reliable.
You can also use FaceUnlock to quickly unlock your phone, but that isn’t very secure.
NFC ist build in so that you can use mobile payments. NFC is not that common with mid-range smartphones because that is one thing where costs are cut.
If the 64 GB internal storage are not enough you can expand it with a SD-card or you could use the second card slot for another SIM card.
No low light cameras
The dual camera setup on the back persists of a 16 and a 2 MP camera.
The 2 MP camera is only used for portrait / bokeh effect. So that the foreground can be separated from the background.
In good lighting the camera takes nice pictures, although I wouldn’t use the AI mode because these pictures look very artificial and over processed.
Unfortunately the camera does not hold up well in low light situations. The images become muddy, grainy and the colors shift.
The selfie camera is a 16 MP camera too and as pretty much the same properties. The images in good light come out nice but you should take pictures in low light.
There is also a portrait mode for the front camera but that is only software based, so you should expect some issues with the edge detection.
The rear camera can record video in 4K at 30 FPS but stabilization is missing. You can record up to 60 fps in 1080p.
If you are recording hand held you should better use 1080p Al the time. The stabilization is quick much better. The front camera can only record in 1080p.
The issues with the Honor Play
If the Honor Play is laying on the table and you are using the phone it will rock on the table because of the protruding camera.
The Honor Play should Performance pretty good with the Kirin 970 and 4 GB of RAM, but unfortunately it has proven differently.
The phone works fine when playing games even if it is a graphic intensive game.
But from time to time the whole phone freezes. Not only in games but throughout the whole system.
That can be nerve-racking. It doesn’t happen all the time but usually more than once a day. Honor is also promising a 4D experience when playing supported games. The vibration motor are supposed to give haptic feedback, but that never worked for me.
The Honor Play is running on Android 8.1 with EMUI 8.2 on top and I liked it. Which came as a surprise to me. I am a big fan of stock Android and usually I don’t like skins at all. EMUI reminded me of an older stock Android. There is the Google feed to the left and there is an app draw. Although EMUI is much more colorful, I didn’t feel the need to install a custom launcher.
My take on the Honor Play
I wouldn’t call the Honor Play a gaming smartphone, This little freezes are just too annoying, but it is a good mid range smartphone.
The build quality is nice and so is the hardware. The camera takes good pictures in good light and if you don’t need a low light camera you would be complaining.