Honor Play first impressions: New gaming phone under 20,000

Honor’s upcoming smartphone, Honor Play ditches the glass back for a more subtle look. The smartphone will also launch with GPU Turbo which is said to improve graphic performance by 60%.
| Updated on Aug 06 2018, 05:57 PM IST
Honor Play launched in India on August 6 with price starting at Rs 19,999.
Honor Play launched in India on August 6 with price starting at Rs 19,999. (Honor)

Huawei's online-only brand Honor launched a new phone in India on August 6. Called Honor Play, the new smartphone focuses on delivering a premium design along with top-end specifications and features. The phone is available in two variants - 4GB RAM + 64GB storage and 6GB RAM + 64GB storage, priced at 19,999 and 23,999 respectively.

Ahead of the official launch in India, we spent some time with the new Honor Play. Here are our first impressions of the phone.

Honor Play stands out from the current portfolio of Honor phones as it abandons the glass back panel. Instead, it has a metal body with a matte finish on the rear. Despite a subtle look and feel, Honor Play doesn't compromise on the design quality. It's quite slim and light for a metal phone and does have a premium feel to it.

There are two visible rear antenna lines which are placed at the top and bottom. The pattern was made famous by Apple with its iPhone 7 series. The rear panel also houses the fingerprint sensor at the centre, and dual camera lens at the top left corner. Although the phone has a large display, the compact factor fits pretty well into one's hand.

The smartphone houses the volume keys and power button on the left side, while the SIM tray sits on the left panel. At the bottom you'll find the 3.5mm audio jack, a USB Type-C port and a speaker grille.

Coming to the display, you have the familiar notch cut-out at the top housing the selfie camera lens and sensor, and earpiece. The smartphone features a 6.2-inch Full HD+ display with 19:9 aspect ratio.

On the software front, Honor Play runs Android 8.1 Oreo with custom EMUI 8.2 layered on top. As with every custom UI, EMUI also comes with many features users can play around with. Some of these that were noticeable during my brief usage was suggestions for users in the settings menu. The phone is infused with AI as the company likes to say, and this is one which caters to user experience.

Honor Play features a dual-camera setup at the rear comprising of 16-megapixel and 2-megapixel sensors.
Honor Play features a dual-camera setup at the rear comprising of 16-megapixel and 2-megapixel sensors. (HT Photo)

AI on Honor Play is however more noticeable in the camera app of the phone. There's a dedicated 'AI Photography' feature for the rear camera. It detects different objects and scenes when you point the camera towards them. I tried it out with a cup filled with coffee and the phone recognised it as 'food' within seconds.

As seen in the recently launched Honor 9N, the Honor Play also comes with AR lens which are essentially AR objects and effects. Another cool feature available on the Honor Play's camera is a QR code scanner and a shopping tool. These can be found under the eye icon on the camera app. Honor has partnered with Amazon India for its shopping tool. Users will have to install Amazon Assistant for this feature which delivers listings and information on the pointed object directly through the camera app.

Performance is something that can only be fully tested and talked about in our detailed review. Honor Play is powered by the same Kirin 970 processor available in the Honor 10. The Honor Play will launch with the much talked about GPU Turbo out-of-the-box. Honor says that GPU Turbo will improve graphic performance by 60% and save battery by 30%.

This feature is concentrated for gaming with optimisation for the popular PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds (PUBG). Honor promises lower drops in frame rates while gaming in comparison to other flagship smartphones. Honor says that unlike China, the company will not be pushing this phone as a gaming smartphone. The GPU Turbo is at present optimised for gaming only. 

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First Published Date: 02 Aug, 07:51 AM IST
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