Recently, under the brands, Huawei and Honor come to a lot of similarities to each other smartphones with slight differences. Against this background stands the smartphone Honor Play, released with an eye for fans to play and not ready to pay for the flagship model. First of all, Play is distinguished by the Kirin 970 processor, which previously was only in the flagships, as well as the GPU Turbo technology, designed to improve performance in games. At the same time, the declared cost of the smartphone at the time of review is USD $ 444.42. This combination immediately leads to the idea that the developers somewhere had to compromise. Let’s try to figure out what is behind the flagship stuffing and relatively low cost.
|Preset OS||Android 8.1.0 Oreo|
|Operative memory, GB||4|
|Built-in memory, GB||64|
|Expansion Slot||microSD (up to 256 GB)|
|SIM card type||Nano-SIM|
|Number of SIM cards||2 (or 1 SIM card + memory card)|
|CPU||Huawei HiSilicon KIRIN 970 + GPU ARM Mali-G72 MP12|
|Number of Cores||8|
|Accumulator battery||3750 mAh (non-removable)|
|Operating time (manufacturer data)||1.5 days in the active mode of use|
|Type of matrix||IPS|
|Brightness control sensor||+|
|Other||protective glass 2.5D|
|Main camera, Mp||16 + 2 (f / 2.2 + f / 2.4)|
|Videography||2160p / 30fps, 1080p / 30fps|
|Front camera, Mp||16 (f / 2.0)|
|High speed data transfer||GPRS / EDGE / 3G / LTE|
|Wi-Fi||802.11 a / b / g / n / n / ac, 5GHz|
|GPS||+ (A-GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou)|
|Audio Connector||3,5 mm|
|Interface Connector||USB 2.0 (Type C)|
|Protection from dust and moisture||–|
|Type of shell||monoblock (non-separable)|
|Keyboard type||screen input|
|Yet||fingerprint scanner, face recognition, fast charging (Huawei Super Charge 3.0), proximity sensor, Hall sensor, accelerometer, compass, gyro, barometer|
Those who follow the new smartphone industry and, in particular, the latest models of Huawei / Honor will not see anything new and original in Play. Our smartphone is a twin brother of Huawei P Smart +, with whom we recently met. The most noticeable difference lies in the body materials and colours. If in P Smart + the back was made of glass, then the Play case is monolithic, made of aluminium. Similarity also produces a cutout of the screen, which can be hidden programmatically in the EMUI shell.
In terms of design, Honor Play does not bring anything new, although it looks pretty. The only thing that really does not like it – it’s a serving camera module, because of which the smartphone is lying on the back rolls, but it’s easy to fix the case, especially since it is included in the delivery.
In the very “bangs” hidden talking speaker, sensor missed events, front camera and proximity sensor.
The case is pleasant to the touch, thin (7.5 mm) and not very slippery, but the complete cover still does not hurt. There are no complaints about the assembly, no other gaps, and everything is fine. The sale will be 5 colour solutions, three standards: black, blue and purple. Also, there will be two individual complete sets named “Player’s Edition”. Their colours: black with red stripes and red with black.
Ease of use
The Honor Play display surrounds a relatively thin frame. Moreover, it occupies almost the entire front panel except for the bottom part, where the brand logo is located. In my opinion, it was worth doing less or not putting it at all, as there is a feeling that there is not enough room for it. However, as for tactile sensations, everything is in order here.
A set of standard connectors: USB Type-C and 3.5 mm mini-jack, both bottom. The bottom panel also houses a microphone and a multimedia speaker. He is one, his quality is good, but only within the average volume level. When you increase it, the sound becomes less clear, but the volume is large enough.
Despite the subtle framework to use Honor Play conveniently, extra pressing almost does not happen. In hand the device is comfortable, all controls remain within reach for the medium-sized hand. This applies to both the fingerprint scanner on the rear panel and the side keys. The form factor as a whole was very successful, I recall that the screen of the smartphone is 6.3 inches, but in hand, it feels much more compact. Yes, to access the upper interface panels you will have to use the second hand, but very rarely. The smartphone is well suited for one hand.
Honor Play is equipped with a decent quality display that gives a nice eye picture. This is a 6.3-inch IPS matrix with rounded corners and a resolution of 2340×1080 pixels.
There is no air gap, and the viewing angles are maximal. In the sun, the display fades almost entirely, but some information can be considered. The maximum brightness level for the measurements was 390 cd / m2, and the minimum level was 1.2 cd / m2.
The contrast ratio was 1: 532. There is no outstanding care for any shades in the measurements, but the display shows a warm rather than a cold picture and, in general, made a good impression.
The smartphone is equipped with the flagship (before the Kirin 980 presentation ) HiSilicon Kirin 970 processor, which was previously used only in the flagships of Huawei and Honor. In its configuration, this processor consists of two clusters of 4 cores Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A73. The maximum frequency of the first is 1.8 GHz, and the second – 2.4 GHz. The processing of graphics is answered by the accelerator Mali-G72MP12. A feature of the Kirin 970 is also a dedicated NPU unit responsible for the operation of machine learning.
The processor is supplemented with 4 GB of operative and 64 GB of permanent memory, which can be expanded with memory cards, but a hybrid slot: or two SIM cards, or 1 + a memory card. From the wireless interfaces in the presence of Bluetooth 4.2 with support for Apt-X, Wi-Fi 802.11ac (2.4 + 5 GHz) and NFC.
As expected, a powerful processor demonstrates rapid rates in both synthetic tests, and in games, as well as in the interface.
Another feature of the smartphone is the support for GPU Turbo technology, designed (according to Honor) to increase game performance by 60% and reduce power consumption by 30%. As a matter of fact, it is a question of program optimizations, and a number of smartphones will receive this option together with the firmware update in the near future.
This mode can activates in a specialised utility Game Suite. I checked the work of GPU Turbo in PUBG Mobile (support for this game is officially announces), in Real Racing 3 and Asphalt 9. To test FPS, the GameBench utility is take into use (in fact, the only way to measure the frame rate without gaining root access).
In practice, the difference between the use of this technology was almost imperceptible. At best, the framI rate did not sag, and at worst the difference was not even noticeable in all three games. The impact on autonomy was also not very noticeable. Both with and without GPU Turbo smartphone consumed in PUBG 18-20% per hour with a display brightness of about 40%. Perhaps it’s the programmatic optimisation of the function itself or the matter of supporting games, but so far there is almost no difference from using this technology.
In the rest, in the same games and the interface work, no problems notices. The shell works as smoothly and responsively as possible.In PUBG you can get 30-35 fps at high settings and an average of 50 fps in Real Racing 3. The smartphone’s heating in games is moderate, there is no discomfort, but the casing noticeably warms up, the processor throttling is present.
The Honor Play was running Android 8.1 and the EMUI shell. To the speed and stability of the work, I did not have any claims for all the time of use.
In the very shell of exciting options, you can highlight the activation of the display when lifting the smartphone, reducing the volume when you turn it, as well as “improved” sound for wired headphones, which are really good at coping with their work. Of the security functions, except for the fingerprint scanner, there is an unlock on the face. It works quickly and correctly, even in low light.
In everyday life
Honor Play proved to be a reliable assistant not only in entertainment. In terms of convenience and comfort when using all is well. The smartphone demonstrated good quality of speech reception and transmission. The speaker is loud enough; its stock is enough even in a noisy place. The search for satellites occurs quickly, even in conditions of dense urban development and under the crowns of trees. To work NFC, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth claims did not arise, especially in the first two. However, when you connect a wireless headset, the smartphone does not always from the first time determine it as a means of outputting music, but it’s probably the case with a specific firmware version.
The main Honor Play camera is represents by two modules – 16 (f / 2.2) + 2 MP. Front – 16 MP (f / 2.0). The maximum resolution of video recording is 4K at 30 fps. There is a function of recording FullHD at 60 fps. The front camera can record at a maximum resolution of 1920 × 1080 at 30 fps. The quality of the images of both cameras can be characterise as good, especially during the day.
When the illumination level decreases, the detail decreases predictably, but the camera tries to maintain sharpness by increasing the sensitivity and saturation in the resulting frame. It turns out quite well, but we must remember that the camera in Honor Play, unlike the processor, is not a flagship, but instead of an average level, so you do not have to demand more from it.
There are various additional options, like augmented reality, manual and portrait mode, in which the background blurs.
The camera interface offers a whole range of options, among which I would like to single out the “artificial intelligence” mode. When activated, the smartphone can automatically detect sunrises, sunsets, water and accordingly increase the contrast even more than just the HDR mode.
The final result very often looks unnatural, since AI very much likes to increase the saturation of the photo. In my opinion, the useful moment in this mode is the prompts when the horizon get flood. In other respects, AI, in this case, introduces diversity rather than the practical benefit.
The smartphone comes equip with a non-removable battery with a capacity of 3750 mAh. In combination with a very powerful processor, it allows Honor Play to work for one and a half days at an average level of use, which will include several dozens of photos, half an hour of games and several hours of listening to music with a wireless headset connected. Without games, you can count on a full two days of battery life. If you play PUBG at a brightness of 50%, then a full charge will last about 4-odd hours.