Review: Honor Play

At many trade shows this year, we saw PC gaming vendors getting onto the mobile gaming bandwagon, by launching their own take on gaming smartphones. Not be outdone by the gaming companies, smartphone vendors have started upping their game, when it comes to smartphones that can offer outstanding gaming experience on the go. Honor is one of the first to launch their new Honor Play which comes with GPU Turbo technology.

GPU Turbo is a hardware-software integration that attempts to deliver an acceleration in graphics processing, fundamentally boosting the operating system and extending battery usage, thereby optimizing the overall mobile gaming experience. We got out hands on the Honor Play, and this our take on how the device performs.

The Honor Play accompanies a 6.3-inches fullview screen with a 19.5:9 screen-to-body ratio. The phone features a 2.5D curved glass display and a unibody metal design. Under the hood, the phone is powered by a Huawei Kirin 970 10nm octa-core processor that offers four Cortex A73 2.36 GHz + four Cortex A53 1.8 GHz chips. In addition, the phone comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage space, which can be further expanded to up to 256GB using the microSD card slot.

The overall build quality of the Honor Play is impressive and the matte finish provides a luxurious feel. The phone is available in three colours: Midnight Black, Navy Blue, and Ultra Violet. The antenna lines on the edges and the vertically-stacked dual camera setup make for a cleaner look at the rear. On the bottom edge of the device, you will find a USB-C port and a 3.5mm headphone jack – a feature that most flagships on the market have forgone these days.

In terms of operating system, Honor Play is powered by Android 8.1 Oreo OS. You also get the EMUI OS on top of it. Performance-wise, the Honor Play does not disappoint at all. Overall, the phone is fast and fluid. The Play was able to handle almost all sorts of performance-intensive tasks with ease. It came out unscathed even when multiple apps and a game or two were running in the background.  The GPU Turbo feature that accompanies the device is outstanding.

GPU Turbo is a hardware-software arrangement that claims gains of up to 60 percent in performance while consuming 30 percent lesser power. In essence, the GPU Turbo feature makes the Mali-G72 MP12 GPU keep most of the rendered frames within the cache. When the game has to show a previously rendered set again and isn’t requiring any new elements on the screen, the GPU can reuse the previously rendered frames from the cache memory, resulting in higher and more stable frame rates, along with less strain on the CPU and battery.

We played a wide range of games as part of our review process, including Asphalt 9, Mobile Legends, and PUBG. We noticed tremendous improvements in gameplay compared to other Honor/Huawei phones equipped with the same Kirin 970 SoC. The GPU Turbo feature though is only optimised for PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends currently, and the company has promised support for more games moving forward. The phone will also be able to provide haptic feedback when you, for instance, fire a gun, punch someone, or crash your car.

The dual camera setup, which includes a 16-megapixel sensor, along with a 2-megapixel depth sensor at the back, offers some very good shots. Whether it is portrait shots, low light images, or even videos, the Honor Play offers very good footage. The 16MP front camera with f/2.0 aperture also lets you take some good selfies. The front camera also comes with features such as AI beautification and 3D portrait lighting. The battery life of the phone is quite brilliant – I averaged around two days of battery life on a single charge.

At a price of AED 1299, Honor has crafted one of the best overall value phones on the market right now. You get powerful performance, good design and build quality and good photos and videos at a very affordable price tag.

Price: AED 1299

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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