[Smartphones] | Honor Play | The Best gaming phone to buy right now!


Back when Huawei released the Honor Play at a very aggressive price tag, it was covered to oblivion by just about every single tech publication out there. So naturally, I thought I'll sit this one out. But in light of recent Amazon offers, this smartphone has ridiculously dropped its price.

Since it has only been 3 months since its launch and with this new attractive price tag, I thought we might as well be taking a second look at the Huawei Honor Play smartphone. So, let's just do it.


My first impressions when I held the phone were 'damn, this thing is compact'! It could be because I, being a Galaxy Note user, am used to a huge display. But the Honor Play has pretty much the same display size (6.3") as my Galaxy Note 8. Yet, it feels more comfortable hold in the hand. This once again proves my point that not all displays are made the same.


That display is a bright, vibrant FHD+ (2360x1080) IPS LCD panel. It's the standard tall aspect ratio which we have all come to know and love.


Frankly, the contrast ratio of the display surprised me, considering it is an LCD panel. Being an AMOLED lover, I was impressed by how black the borders got when I chose to hide the notch in the settings.

The phone is very sturdy and feels premium in the hand. Even though the anodized metal back is kind of boring to look at, it doesn't disappoint in any way.


The buttons have good tactile feedback, and the notch is not as big as to be bothersome in everyday usage.

The rear camera protrusion is something to take note of because you cannot keep the phone flat on a table. But that's something to expect with most of the modern day phones anyway, so it probably wouldn't matter to a lot of you. Always use a soft tpu case or any other protective case with this to keep the camera glass safe from scratches and drops.


There is a case included in the box, so in terms of basic protection, you're covered; phun intended!

There are two storage variants available one's with a 4 + 64 configuration and another one with 6 + 64 configuration. I pretty sure you know what those numbers mean (RAM + Storage).


Let's talk usability. One of the key factors that contribute to a smartphone's usability is its user interface. The honor Play runs on Huawei's EMUI on top of Android 8.0 Oreo. Like most other EMUI based devices, it's very fast and responsive to the touch.


The powerful Kirin 970 processor ensures that this smartphone can chew through anything you throw at it. We already know this by now. The Kirin 970 is a very capable, flagship-grade performer in the Silicon department.

The software is very well polished in my opinion. EMUI is well optimized for general usage and feels fluid on every interaction. Some people don't like custom interfaces on phones. I tend to enjoy them. To me, the fun and features that these custom UIs bring far outweighs the 'elegance' that near-stock android offers.

A smartphone needs to be useful and reliable. If a UI on top of android can improve usability while maintaining snappy performance, that's a win in my book. Anyway, let's get back to the Honor Play.


The phone houses a hybrid sim card slot where you put a sim and SD card, or use it with dual sims.


It's always nice to see a USB type C port on a smartphone like this where some companies, like Oppo and Xiaomi, still stick with micro USB on their budget offerings. There are a few exceptions of course, but you get the idea.

I'm a fan of this Matte black color variant, which is actually called as midnight black. It does a better job of hiding those iPhone-inspired antenna bands on the top and bottom of the phone's back. There is one other colour called as ultraviolet, which I think is pretty sweet too.


On a side note, I do appreciate the symmetry of this phone on the bottom. All the ports and cutouts seem to have been aligned very well in a nearly perfect straight line. It's fascinating to me because I have OCD, I'm sorry.

The 3750 mAh battery lasts a long time on moderate to heavy usage. This is a phone meant to be gamed on after all. The battery does drain quite a bit during gaming though.

Security wise, the phone comes with a blazing fast fingerprint sensor and 2D face unlock.


The face unlock works really well. It was easily able to recognize me with or without my huge spectacles.

You can set it to either unlock directly or with a swipe up gesture, like on the iPhones. Even though it does not use any IR based or 3D sensors like the Poco F1, I would still approve it in terms of reliability.


It was able to recognize me even with my hand across my mouth. It only needs your face area up to your nose from your forehead. Pretty cool for something that only uses the selfie camera, right?

Speaking of cameras, let's talk more about them. "AI Cameras". The rear AI enabled camera takes some really crisp photos. The dual sensor system is made up of a 16 mp + 2 mp sensor combo. The front also has a large 16 mp selfie shooter.


Front camera has some oversharpening issues, especially in artificial lighting. It sharpens the image to make it look crispy, like most other phones. Can't say I'm a fan, but I guess it's fine for a few casual shots. I've been spoiled by the pixel's camera, mind you.


The camera software has a bunch of different features built into it. Stuff like portrait lighting have been included, and they sort of.... work. They're not very good, but they work, in a way.

I did sort of like the 'soft lighting' look. I'd tell you to use it for better indoor selfies.

(Soft portrait lighting) 'Sup!
(Front camera portrait mode)
(Rear camera portrait mode)
Let me know what you think of the unedited camera samples from the Honor Play's camera(s).

There's an AI mode in the camera which detects the scene and adjusts the camera settings accordingly. Or at least, that's what it's supposed to be doing.


I found that the AI mode simply bumps up the saturation of whichever color is most visible on the photo. But it does detect objects well enough, like plant, food, etc.

Personally, I will always keep this AI mode disabled because I'm not a fan of those insane color-bombed photos. But it can definitely produce some eye pleasing every now and then.
AI Mode disabled

AI Mode enabled

Normal Full-Auto mode shot (1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

(5)

I did notice a tiny problem with the 120 FPS slo-mo video mode. It records fine, but the preview gets weird when you play it back. It starts off well, but right before the slow motion effect starts, you see some major frame drops. The footage will be choppy for some solid seconds and then suddenly, the high frame rates smoothness kicks in.

This happens every time you play the slo-mo clip. I'm sure it's a software issue and can be easily fixed with a future update.

Overall, the Honor Play has some of the best cameras you can find in this price segment, and you'll be satisfied with the results, should you get one for yourself.

Make sure you buy it with the exchange offer on Amazon and pay with supported banks for even better discounts.

I suggest you spring for the higher end version and get the 6GB RAM option. It's a better purchase in my opinion, if you consider buying this.


There we go. These were my belated thoughts on the Honor play smartphone. If I had to give a final verdict on the purchase, I'd label it as the best phone to buy right now. Yes, I would recommend it over the Poco F1 too! The Poco phone might be more powerful with the Qualcomm chip, but the build quality of the Play alone makes it a better purchase in my book.

Let me know what your thoughts are on the Honor Play down on the comments. Tell me about all the other impressive features/issues that I might've missed.

Hang out with me over at Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram handles. I'll see you soon after I post another late night article.

Cheers!

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