At IFA 2018, Honor has launched the Honor Play, a gaming-oriented Android cellphone, created to deal with “younger players’ calls for for “lightning quick” graphics processing functionality and prolonged battery life”. This may be advertising and marketing converse for an reasonably priced gaming, cellphone, however it’s a fairly good thought. The query is: how does it carry out? The solutions lie beneath.
The Honor Play (official web page) was launched on 2018-08-31 and was initially constructed for the Excessive Mid-Vary market ($350-$450). At publishing time, the Honor Play was priced at ~$380 USD.
With widespread demand, but in addition worth as selectors, we’ve lined-up a number of cellphones which can be alternate options to evaluate how the Honor Honor Play matches in its fast smartphone panorama. Honor 10 (~$453), Honor View 10 (~$429), Huawei nova 3i (~$360), Huawei P20 Lite (~$295), Razer Cellphone (~$600), Asus ROG Cellphone (~$1200).
Key technical specs
6.three” IPS LCD Show (2340×1080), 470 NITs16 MP Rear digital camera, f/2.2 aperture + 2 Megapixel (bokeh sensor)HiSilicon Huawei HiSilicon Kirin 970 platform four, 6 RAM, 64 GB of Storage + MicroSDXC3750 mAh battery capacityAndroid eight.1
The Honor Play resembles the Huawei P20 Lite from the entrance, with the same, however not equivalent, show and total entrance facade. Honor Play has a barely higher display-to-body ratio (+three%) than the P20 Lite, and a 6.three” show (vs. 5.84”).
Regardless of the numerous distinction in show measurement between the Honor View 10 (5.99”) and the Honor Play (6.three”), the Honor Play has the identical normal form-factor and is 6% smaller in quantity. In comparison with the Honor Play, the Asus ROG cellphone is 19% greater, and the Razer Cellphone is 12.three% bigger.
Honor Play has an aluminum unibody building that makes it very inflexible and durable. It has discrete antenna slits on the high and backside the place the antennas are positioned since metallic would block radio-waves.
“A BEAUTIFUL DESIGN THAT BLENDS ELEGANCE AND AGGRESSIVENESS. GAMERS LOVE THAT”
The unit we’ve has a metallic crimson colour, with small and delicate markings within the again. It’s a stunning design that blends magnificence and aggressiveness due to the laser-carved strains. Players love that, simply take a look at the variety of “Stealth Fighter” designs which are best-sellers. As of late, many individuals have a tendency to love having a glass again, however these telephones are usually dearer and fragile.
This smartphone feels comfy in hand as a result of it has a width of 74.3mm, for a thickness of about (7.48mm / zero.29 inches). For reference, that is primarily based on a medium measurement hand (US M gloves). You possibly can strive extrapolating from right here. The burden of 176 grams (6.21 oz) makes it barely extra substantial than the common smartphone, however it’s cheap for a 6.three” handset.
This handset design options excellent efficiency in relation to its measurement. From one other standpoint, how a lot battery capability the shopper has obtainable could be very spectacular for a cellphone of this measurement. The display display-to-body ratio of 83.1% can be wonderful total.
For the reason that again cowl is fabricated from metallic, the smartphone feels stable and needs to be much less vulnerable to breakage when dropped. It doesn’t imply that inside parts can not break after a shock. However metallic chassis merely don’t break the identical manner glass may. Steel feels stable and substantial, however it is usually heavier and may scratch extra simply than particular glass.
Analyzing how the smartphone was constructed, we estimate that the danger of breaking throughout a fall on a tough floor to be comparatively low. You possibly can check with our normal article about how telephones could possibly be designed to keep away from breakage upon drops: How the LG V20 Was Designed To Survive Drops
The Honor Play has not obtained a U.S Navy MIL-STD 810G ranking, nor does it have an IP ranking for water and dirt safety. That is fairly widespread on this worth vary, so we will’t maintain this in opposition to its design.
Total, the show has an excellent picture high quality -at this worth range- and share many similarities with the Honor View 10, together with brightness, black ranges, and total colour efficiency. In absolute phrases, the black ranges could possibly be higher – that is typically probably the most noticeable distinction while you go to/from a dearer LCD show.
For instance, the Sony Xperia XZ2 has noticeably higher black ranges than each Honor View 10 and Honor Play — however at $710, we might count on nothing much less. Black ranges are a metric for the way really “black,” pixels are on LCD screens. Extra beneath.
The Honor Play beats each the Honor View 10 and the Xperia XZ2 in the case of show measurement. Inside a comparable chassis form-factor because the Honor View 10, it delivers 5% extra diagonal measurement and display floor. The screen-to-body ratio of the Honor Play is 7% larger than the Sony Xperia XZ2 and is it apparent at first sight.
Show technical evaluation
The show reaches 470 NITs is nice for a ~$350 cellphone and gives a lot better picture brightness than the Razer Cellphone which maxes out round 300 NITs, which is weak for such an costly handset.
Basically, a brighter show is nice to learn the display content material on a sunny day (or vibrant atmosphere). Greater brightness is chargeable for higher picture high quality in widespread conditions.
The decision of 2340×1080 could be thought-about to be comparatively excessive in absolute phrases, and wonderful in its class. The 409 PPI sharpness is good however doesn’t evaluate with the 500-550 PPI that rather more costly telephones have. To study extra, learn Excessive PPI shows: do you really want them?
“MUCH HIGHER DISPLAY BRIGHTNESS THAN THE RAZER PHONE”
The Honor Play is constructed with an IPS LCD show. IPS/PLS LCD expertise made LCD shows attain the following stage, first on cell, then all over the place else. IPS/PLS can render extra colours than normal LCD, with higher colour saturation and broader view angles.
Throughout the swath of IPS LCD shows there are nonetheless some variations, however basically IPS/PLS are past primary LCD shows. Nonetheless, LCD an IPS/PLS LCD shows as a gaggle should not as technologically superior as OLED panels which have even higher distinction ratio and colour saturation.
Whereas it’s possible to construct wonderful LCD shows that carry out at the same stage to some OLED, these LCD shows needs to be seen because the exceptions, and so they could not have any of the same old advantages related to LCD (vs. OLED). You possibly can learn our full LCD vs. OLED article to study extra.
Most individuals need to evaluate the Honor Play with different Huawei/Honor handsets, and Honor 10 got here up typically. It has a really comparable rear digital camera system to the Honor View 10, besides that Honor 10 has a extra superior AI. We’ll go in depth with the AI ingredient in a separate article as a result of it’s a posh subject. To grasp how we take a look at cell digital camera, learn What’s a Nice Cellular Digicam Expertise?
Fundamental digital camera picture high quality
The digital camera of the Honor Play is superb for this section of the market. We took pictures with out utilizing AI to make issues extra predictable and take away among the software program processing uncertainties from the take a look at. AI introduces numerous parameters which are primarily based on private preferences. Though we advocate that customers strive it, we need to take a look at the digital camera efficiency with out an excessive amount of interference for now.
Vibrant gentle Pictures: superb
When evaluating Honor Play vs. Honor 10, our conclusion is that the hardware distinction don’t present in a major manner as a result of good lighting situations don’t stress the digital camera sufficient. Though there are small color-balance variations in favor of Honor 10, most individuals received’t be capable of inform, with out a aspect by aspect comparability.
Low gentle pictures: weaker than Honor 10
In dim lighting situations, the distinction between Honor 10 and Honor Play grow to be extra apparent. The Honor Play photographs will are usually noisier and fewer sharp. It’s utterly defined by our hardware evaluation beneath. The Honor 10 merely has extra gentle coming into the digital camera, so the noise-to-signal ratio is solely higher. Each cameras have sensors of roughly equal measurement (maybe equivalent sensors), so the distinction lies within the optics.
It looks like a smart trade-off to maneuver some assets away from the digital camera and attempting to protect as a lot high quality as attainable, to extend the gaming enchantment of this cellphone, inside the allotted invoice of fabric (price of parts). In brief, among the digital camera price range was redirected in the direction of gaming options.
“SOME OF THE CAMERA BUDGET WAS REDIRECTED TOWARDS GAMING FEATURES”
Bokeh / Portrait pictures (Aperture Mode as Honor says)
Bokeh, or the out-of-focus blur which is a popular impact in object and portrait pictures could be very first rate within the Honor Play. The in-focus side can be pretty much as good because the digital camera can do it in bright-light which we described earlier. The Bokeh half has two parts: edge artifacts and blur high quality.
The sting artifacts could be very a lot in step with what Premium and Excessive-Finish telephones expertise. We discovered the blur high quality to even be fairly first rate, however not so good as among the high-end telephones like iPhone X.
Fundamental digital camera technical evaluation
Within the Honor Play, the digital camera aperture of f/2.2 is just not nice however the sensor measurement of ~20.three mm2 could be thought-about comparatively massive (for a smartphone). Regardless of having 16 Megapixel, the Honor Play has a distinct digital camera configuration because the Honor 10.
The Honor Play’s aperture is way smaller than the Honor 10’s (f/1.eight) and due to this, we estimate that there could possibly be as a lot as 60% much less incoming gentle into the digital camera. Certainly, this has an influence on the result, regardless that the remainder of the software program picture pipeline might be equivalent. This can be a nice case research.
The 16 Megapixel could possibly be an excellent proxy for photographic element and sharpness if evaluating with a vastly decrease Megapixel cellphone. For instance, on a sunny day, a “nature scene” picture with the next megapixel rely might present finer particulars. Between 12 MP, 16 MP and 21 MP variations in small particulars might be fairly noticeable, if printed or considered on a big and/or high-PPI show.
In dim lighting conditions, the excessive Megapixel rely (>12) doesn’t matter as a lot. With larger megapixel counts, sensing pixels (sensels) could need to be smaller to suit on the sensor’s floor. Every obtains much less gentle data, and in darkish conditions, it’s higher for the general picture high quality to sense extra gentle with fewer (however greater) sensels.
It’s a steadiness that must be struck. As we speak, 12 Megapixel appear to be the most effective sensor compromise between sharpness, low-light and autofocus efficiency. Alternatively, it’s attainable to make use of excessive Megapixel counts and use Pixel Binning in low gentle. This method improve sensitivity, however sometimes cuts the decision by 4X.
The Honor Play’s digital camera does not have Optical Picture Stabilization (OIS) on the first digital camera module. The shortage of OIS assist will cut back the probabilities to seize nice pictures, particularly in dim state of affairs. EIS (Digital Picture Stabilization) is just not obtainable on this handset both. Due to this, the video recordings could also be shakier than opponents which have this function, in the event that they assist EIS. The utmost video decision is 4K/30FPS.
The autofocus of the Honor Play digital camera relies on Section Detection expertise. Section-detection AF that began in discrete AF sensor chips within the DSLR days. Then it acquired built-in into the digital camera main sensor. It really works by including specialised AF pixels sensors that will inform if particular factors within the picture have been in-focus.
This methodology could be very quick and the AF capabilities work effectively generally. AF efficiency is considerably proportional to the variety of hardware AF sensels. Sometimes this quantity can go from dozens to tons of of Section-Detection AF factors. Section detection AF is a wonderful system, which is just inferior to Twin-Pixel AF.
Selfie digital camera picture high quality
The distinction within the selfie digital camera is far more radical once I evaluate Honor Play and Honor 10. The Honor 10 produces a way more agreeable picture with pure colours, whereas the Honor Play’s picture has barely colder colours, and extra abrupt contrasts, chance because of over-processing.
A better inspection of the Honor Play picture reveals that it closely makes use of processing and acquire (amplification) to make up for a much less performing digital camera hardware. Our technical entrance digital camera evaluation reveals that the Honor Play selfie digital camera is a little bit of a downgrade from the Honor 10: it has a 16 Megapixel sensor (vs. 24 MP) and a smaller picture sensor, because the Honor 10’s sensor is ~46% bigger, and it reveals.
In any case, I believe that Honor 10 simply wins this spherical, however as you’ll be able to see on the pictures, the Honor Play nonetheless outputs very first rate selfies, except you’re an Instagram influencer. Remember that I disabled the sweetness mode, because it interferes an excessive amount of with our exams.
The battery capability of Honor Play is 3750 mAh, which is superb basically, and dominating in its personal worth class.
Battery life is likely one of the most important options of a smartphone. A key indicator is clearly the battery capability — particularly inside the identical ecosystem (Android, iOS or different). Battery life might be affected by an important many elements, however the principle ones are the principle processor aka SoC, show and wi-fi radios (LTE broadband, WiFi, the cell towers location and extra).
It’s unattainable to exactly estimate by way of artificial exams how a lot power drain YOUR distinctive life-style will create. Nonetheless, two issues are surly at all times good:
A higher battery capacityFaster charging
The charging velocity of 46 mAh/mn utilizing the charger within the field is sort of good, however the Honor 10 can cost a lot quicker at 66 mAh/mn (+43% quicker). But, 46% is just not a horrible velocity, and plenty of high-end telephones such because the Galaxy S9 collection does cost at a comparable velocity.
It’s usually not attainable to realistically predict battery life by working artificial exams. Elements comparable to show brightness, (LTE/WiFi) radio utilization and distance to entry factors will fluctuate an excessive amount of. Additionally, what number of apps on-board and their utilization can’t be estimated. Battery capability is an important battery-life indicator for YOUR utilization.
This product does NOT have a removable battery, which is widespread for handsets these days. Mounted batteries can’t be swapped or simply exchanged, however they do allow for smaller designs and barely bigger battery capability inside the identical product design.
Since this cellphone has a very massive display, remember that bigger screens are likely to make the most of extra energy to accommodate the larger floor space to light up. It relies on the brightness ranges shows are being considered at, however the potential for larger power is there, so a bigger battery capability is healthier.
This handset has a comparatively delicate display decision. Though this can be much less aggressive from a picture high quality perspective, having fewer pixels to compute is a bit higher for battery life. Lastly, there’s no built-in wi-fi charging however on this worth vary, it’s comparatively regular.
The Honor Play additionally brings wonderful battery “capability for the worth”, simply take a look at how excessive it ranks amongst our chosen group and key reference telephones:
System efficiency and wi-fi velocity
This handset predominant processor is a HiSilicon KIRIN 970 (eight Cores, 2.36 GHz) which has entry to four or 6 GB of reminiscence (RAM). The quantity of RAM is paramount for heavy utilization, or for having many apps/companies on the system. When the reminiscence is tight, the handset could grow to be sluggish if the OS has to learn/write from the slower Flash storage as a substitute.
This has been one of many differentiation between high and low tiers of telephones, however this line is blurry now and this cellphone is a superb instance of it.
“THE PERFORMANCE OF THE HONOR PLAY IS VERY MUCH COMPARABLE TO THE RAZER PHONE”
Earlier than you concentrate on the charts, it is very important perceive that the majority exams are solely unfastened indicators, often for system or graphics efficiency. It’s attainable to understand sharp efficiency deltas amongst totally different tiers of merchandise (entry-level, mid-range vs. high-end), however it’s a lot more durable to take action inside telephones of the identical class. Benchmarks alone ought to NOT drive a smartphone buy determination. To study extra, learn Are Benchmarks Vital?.
In graphics benchmarks, the efficiency of the Honor Play could be very a lot corresponding to the Razer Cellphone (Snapdragon 835), which reveals that it’s utterly appropriate for an important gaming expertise. Clearly, telephones geared up with the newer Snapdragon 845 will outperform each of those. Maybe you must take a look at the $300 Xiaomi sub-branded Pocophone F1 which is a 6.18” cellphone with Snapdragon 845. We haven’t checked out it in particulars but, however it sounds attention-grabbing.
A Be aware about Huawei/Honor’s GPU Turbo function
The graphics efficiency of the Honor Play depends on Honor’s “GPU Turbo” works (official web site). It’s a software program replace that has significantly elevated the rendering and energy effectivity, based on Huawei, Honor’s dad or mum firm.
GPU Turbo lets builders talk with the Huawei System to raised handle assets. Impartial exams present that GPU Turbo can result in some FPS positive aspects, and extra steady FPS thus avoiding stuttering.
For this to work, builders should do some work, and which means that all video games won’t profit equally from GPU Turbo. In the event you really feel strongly in regards to the efficiency of a selected recreation, I like to recommend that you simply do further analysis to see if it helps GPU Turbo.
Wi-fi Broadband Efficiency
The Honor Play has a CAT 18 (1200 Mbps ⇣ / 150 Mbps ⇡ ) LTE modem. This stage of efficiency is wonderful in its class and almost the most effective you will get at this time, no matter worth.
Wi-fi networks (3G/4G) efficiency is usually thought as peak obtain/add speeds, however it’s the common velocity that counts. As of late 4G/LTE is the first community of curiosity, however 5G is coming. The upper the theoretical LTE efficiency and the higher the common true expertise. Be aware that, wi-fi carriers have higher and extra environment friendly wi-fi networks to decrease their very own prices.
What is a superb Gaming Cellphone? If we needed to sum it up, we might say that it’s a handset that brings an important gaming expertise. To try this, it wants an excellent/massive display, quick graphics efficiency and sufficient battery capability to play for as lengthy you need to.
Absolute efficiency comparable to touted by the ASUS RoG cellphone is at all times what individuals dream of. However of us additionally need the most effective worth for his or her cash, and that’s the place the Honor Play shines.
“FOR A COMPARABLE GRAPHICS PERFORMANCE, THE HONOR PLAY TROUNCES THE RAZER PHONE IN VALUE”
The info reveals that the Honor Play is the most effective value-oriented gaming handset among the many frequent choices that folks seek for. The cellphone’s design retains probably the most perceptible points of cell gaming for an satisfying expertise. Would you pay 215% extra for the RoG cellphone to realize ~35%-45% efficiency in FPS? That’s the query.
Then again, knowledge reveals that for a comparable graphics efficiency, the Honor Play trounces the Razer Cellphone in worth. It brings an excellent cell gaming expertise at a a lot lower cost ($380 vs. $600). For certain, the Razer Cellphone has a 120Hz display refresh and a greater digital camera. However we’re undecided that 120Hz is a precedence for potential consumers. Asus’ ROG gaming cellphone’s show is 90Hz.
No matter your preferences, the factor is: at beneath $400, the Honor Play has almost no competitors as a cellphone that may drive demanding video games on an excellent 6.three” show. That may be a nice product positioning.
Recommended reads: Honor 10 Overview, Huawei P20 Professional Overview.
Total product ranking: eight.eight/10
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