Honor Play Review: the Best Value for Money Smartphone to Date?

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Couple of months back, OnePlus was the only smartphone maker to offer high-end specifications in an upper mid-range smartphone. Then, Asus came forward with Zenfone 5Z which offers better features compared to OnePlus 6 for a lesser price tag. While everyone was commending Asus’s work, Honor decided to do something crazier. The company launched Honor Play – a smartphone with Huawei’s top of the line flagship processor and GPU Turbo.

As the name suggests, the Honor Play is targeted at gamers. The company has tried its best to offer nearly every flagship-feature for a very competitive price. The price of this handset starts at ₹19,999 and is available through flash sales. The demand for this is so high that we couldn’t order the phone during first 3 flash sales. It was going out of stock in merely a second. But thankfully, we got luck last week.

Honor Play Specifications and Features

Display 6.3-inch IPS LCD Full HD+, 19.5:9 Ratio, ~409ppi Density
SoC & GPU Octa-Core HiSilicon Kirin 970 | Mali-G72 MP12
OS & RAM Android 8.1 with EMUI 8.1 | 4GB or 6GB RAM
Storage 64GB | Expandable up to 256GB (Hybrid Slot)
Rear Camera Dual 16MP (f/2.2, PDAF)+2MP (f/2.4, Depth Sensor), LED flash
Front Camera 16MP (f/2.0)
Battery Li-Po 3750 mAh with 18W Fast Charging

Design & Build Quality

Unlike other flagships, the Honor Play comes with a full unibody design which I personally prefer as I often drop my phone accidentally. Rest design of the handset is nearly similar to all other Honor-branded smartphones. You can see vertical placement of the camera setup. The fingerprint sensor is placed right in the center.

It feels solid and easily fits in the hand. The power button and volume rockers are placed together on the right edge of the handset whereas the SIM tray sits on the left edge. The handset does have a 3.5mm audio jack and USB type-c connector for fast charging. Overall, I am happy with the design.

Display, OS and UI

The Honor Play is built around a 6.3-inch display which is big enough to satisfy the needs of those people who love to watch videos or play games on their phone. It carries a notch and has minimal bezels around the display but yes, it does have a thin chin. The display is clear, crisp and vibrant. The display is also bright enough to be operated under direct sunlight.

Talking about the OS and UI, the handset runs on Android 8.1-based EMUI 8.1 operating system. The EMUI is a highly customized skin and might be confusing for normal users. Anyway, it has lots of features and settings that you can tweak to have a better UI experience.

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Performance and Gaming

The Honor Play is powered by Huawei’s proprietary HiSilicon Kirin 970 flagship processor. The company claims that this processor is as powerful as Snapdragon 845 which is somewhat true too. I didn’t find any lag or stutter while playing heavy games. The smartphone is able to handle heavy graphics with an ease.

The smartphone also comes with GPU Turbo feature. By turning on this feature, you can maximize the performance of this handset. Games like PUBG Mobile, Modern Combat and Asphalt 8 can be played without encountering any issue. So if you’re a gamer, you would love the performance.


The Honor Play comes with AI-powered camera setup but if you love to go with the natural-looking photos, I would suggest you not to use the AI mode as it does over sharpening; giving the image an artificial look.

Without AI, the smartphone captures natural-looking and vivid photos with very good details during daylight or normal lighting condition. But if you are clicking lowlight photos, you will need to use AI for better images. The rear set of cameras also has Night Mode, Alow-Mo Video Mode, Pro Mode, AR Lens, and Aperture Mode.

Talking about the front camera, it has done a decent job. The handset clicks good-looking selfies. It comes with AI beauty and AI portrait mode however, the AI beautification is really extreme. The AI portrait, on the other hand, works fine.


In this particular segment, the Honor Play is exceptionally good. The handset lasted more than a day on a single charge during mixed usage. It also supports 18W fast charging and takes approx. 90 minutes to fully charge the battery from 3%. We will also do the intense gaming to test the battery, so stay tuned for our detailed review.

Our Verdict

The Honor Play is definitely a value for money smartphone. It offers good set of cameras, very good performance and exceptional battery backup. Oh, one more thing. Xiaomi has also launched Poco F1 (Review) which also comes with nearly similar price tag. So, we are going to put these two phones against each other to check which one is actually a better choice for you. So, stay tuned to Gadget2Buy.

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