We have seen Huawei's sub-brand Honor bringing out some dependable smartphones such as Honor View 10. And now, the company is betting big on its gaming phone Honor Play to make its mark in the sub-Rs 25,000 segment in India.
The device houses the proprietary flagship Kirin 970 chipset with "Neural Processing Unit" (NPU) which specialises in the acceleration of Machine Learning (ML) algorithms.
The smartphone maker, however, has marketed Honor Play as a performance-centric device in India, which comes with a flagship processor and powerful internals at a relatively lower price than its rivals.
We reviewed the 4GB RAM+64GB internal storage variant (that costs Rs 19,000) and here is what we think of it.
Vertically-stacked dual cameras at the back, metal unibody design with subtle antenna bands running on the top and bottom and a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, the smartphone is nothing different from other devices from Honor when it comes to design.
At 7.5-mm, the smartphone is sleek and thanks to the metal design, the device could handle a few bumps and falls.
The volume rockers and power keys are housed at the right side of the device.
At the bottom, you will find the 3.5-mm standard headphone jack, a USB-Type C charging port and a single speaker grill.
The overall build quality of the smartphone was solid and reassuring. The front is dominated by a 6.3-inch IPS display with a resolution of 2340x1080 flanked by metal edges.
The screen has an aspect ratio of 19.5:9 with enough brightness to view under direct sunlight. Those who dislike the notch can simply turn it off via the display settings.
Once the feature is turned off, you will be able to see a black band across the notched area that houses the notification icons.
The display is adequately bright for using it outdoors but we found it being prone to reflections owing to the reflective nature of the panel. This is where Honor Play really showed its muscles.
Huawei's home-grown Kirin 970 chipset essentially competes with the last year's flagship processors but thanks to its dedicated NPU feature, the smartphone delivered fluid performance and gaming as well.
In terms of camera performance, the Honor Play is a mid-range device with a dual rear camera set-up of 16MP+2MP. The rear shooter churned out decent images in daylight with adequate details.
Another high point of the Honor Play is the massive 3750mAh battery which, on moderate usage, lasted over a day.
What does not work?
The camera performance in low-light conditions and at night was not impressive. We found noise and loss of detail in photos.
Images shot with the Artificial Intelligence (AI) feature enabled also looked over-saturated in comparison to the images which were taken when AI was turned off.
Conclusion: The experience of gaming, after all, is settling in smaller devices so we would recommend the smartphone to those who are looking for a serious gaming phone on a budget.
(Krishna SinhaChaudhury can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org )