Notebookcheck

Honor Play Smartphone Review

Florian Wimmer, 👁 Florian Schmitt, Tanja Hinum-Balaz (translated by Katherine Bodner), 09/17/2018

Play with honor. The first gaming smartphone from Huawei is coming to the western hemisphere: While the Honor Play does not particularly look like a gaming device, it is supposed to impress gamers with its low price. We will take a look at whether this is an advantage or disadvantage and whether the phone offers sufficient power for current games.

Honor Play

The launch of the Honor Play was overshadowed by complaints about cheating on benchmarks: As OnePlus has done before, Huawei is supposed to have set the phone to remove temperature and performance limits as soon as a benchmark is recognized. The manufacturer is now responding to this by introducing a new "performance mode". This is supposed to offer users the possibility of removing these limits during normal use in order for the benchmark results to match real-life performance.

This questionable method aside, the Honor Play seems to be an interesting device for gamers with a slightly different approach: it is a lot more restrained than most other gaming phones with its rather discreet, iPhone-style design and its affordable price from $350. Particularly the Xiaomi Black Shark does not seem to be holding back with its flashy green case. The current high-end SoC (produced in-house) and the GPU turbo should cater for the device's gaming needs while vibration effects make the experience even more realistic for gamers. Honor has also spent some time on its speakers and has included 3D sound to make gaming even more immersive.

Apart from the gaming smartphones Razer Phone 2017 and Xiaomi Black Shark, the Honor Play also has to compete with normal mid-range smartphones of its price range and prove its advantages towards users interested in gaming. We have chosen the Motorola Moto Z3 Play and the Nokia 7 Plus to represent this category.

Honor Play
Graphics adapter
Memory
4096 MB 
Display
6.3 inch 19.5:9, 2340 x 1080 pixel 409 PPI, capacitive touchscreen, IPS, glossy: yes
Storage
64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash, 64 GB 
, 54 GB free
Connections
1 USB 2.0, Audio Connections: 3.5 mm audio jack, Card Reader: microSD up to 256GB, 1 Fingerprint Reader, NFC, Brightness Sensor, Sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, compass, USB-C
Networking
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (a/b/g/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.2, GSM (850/​900/​1800/​1900), UMTS (850/900/2100), LTE (1/3/5/7/8/20/38/39/40/41), Dual SIM, LTE, GPS
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7.5 x 157.9 x 74.3 ( = 0.3 x 6.22 x 2.93 in)
Battery
3750 mAh Lithium-Polymer
Operating System
Android 4.2
Camera
Primary Camera: 16 MPix dual: f/​2.2, phase detection Auto Focus (AF), LED flash, videos @2160p/​30fps (main camera); 2.0MP, f/​2.4, depth of field (secondary camera)
Secondary Camera: 16 MPix f/​2.0, videos @1080p
Additional features
Speakers: single speaker along bottom edge, Keyboard: virtual keyboard, AC adapter, USB cable, SIM tool, Silicon case, 24 Months Warranty, LTE Cat. 18 (1.2 GBit/s download, 250 MBit/s upload); SAR value: 1.10 W/kg (body)
Weight
176 g ( = 6.21 oz / 0.39 pounds), Power Supply: 68 g ( = 2.4 oz / 0.15 pounds)
Price
350 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

Case – a subtle metal case

The case is not in line with current trends in the world of gaming - it uses neither stealth design nor industrial design. Instead, the Honor's case is almost unspectacular with its classic iPhone-style design. While this will not interest hardcore gamers, it means that the Honor Play can also safely be taken into business meetings. 

There is a notch (the often-criticized inlet into the screen that contains a speaker, the proximity sensor and the front camera) on the front of the device. This can be hidden with the help of software by dimming the top area of the screen. However, this also means that you have less screen space available.

The stability of the case is OK for this price range: There is some quiet creaking and the LCD screen shows pressure on the front of the screen. The Huawei Honor smartphone is very light at 176 grams (6.2 oz). 

Honor offers quite a wide range of colors compared to normal smartphones - which fits to the idea of a gamer. Apart from a normal black case, there is also a blue and a light purple version. A small additional fee gets you the "Player Edition" with laser engravings that imitate the conductive tracks on a computer circuit board on the back. Here you can choose between black and red accents. 

Honor Play Player Edition in black and red
Honor Play Player Edition in black and red
Honor Play
Honor Play
Honor Play
Honor Play
Honor Play
Honor Play

Size Comparison

Connectivity – mid-range storage options

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The most widely available storage configuration has 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. Some countries also offer a version with 6 GB of RAM, which sounds good for a gaming smartphone. Storage can be expanded via a microSD card. The card is configured as external storage and you can store apps on it as well.

The USB-C port transfers data at USB 2.0 speeds only. There is no NFC.

Right: volume rocker, standby button
Right: volume rocker, standby button
Left: SIM drawer
Left: SIM drawer
Bottom: speakers, microphone, USB C port, 3.5 mm audio jack
Bottom: speakers, microphone, USB C port, 3.5 mm audio jack
Top: microphone
Top: microphone

Software – a little bloatware and a gaming suite

If you were hoping for exceptional gaming software on a gaming smartphone, you will be disappointed by the Honor Play: Apart from some pre-installed games and the Game Suite, which is included in every Huawei smartphone, the Honor Play runs on the usual EMUI 8.0 based on Android 8.1. The Game Suite does offer some functions that might be interesting for gamers: You can turn off all notifications while gaming and even optimize the phone's performance for games. The security patches on our phone are dated 1 July 2018 at the time of writing - we expect to see an update soon.

However, you will have to accept a certain amount of bloatware: There are several pre-installed advertising links and the pre-installed games might not be to everybody's taste either. The phone also has a link to the Honor shop in the shape of an app, plus several tools from Huawei, some of which are actually quite useful. Overall, there is quite a lot of stuff pre-installed on this smartphone and fans of pure operating systems might not be particularly happy with this.

Software Honor Play
Software Honor Play
Software Honor Play
Software Honor Play
Software Honor Play
Software Honor Play

Communication and GPS – rather slow Wi-Fi, fast LTE

The Honor Play supports fast Wi-Fi with the standards 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac. However, the Wi-Fi connection on the Honor smartphone is significantly slower than on the Razer Phone 2017 or the Motorola Moto Z3 Play, for example, even though both smartphones have 802.11ac connectivity. The Xiaomi Black Shark is a lot slower in our standardized Wi-Fi test with the reference router Linksys EA8500. Pages load very quickly close to the router, and the phone also displays full reception. At a distance of 10 meters (~33 feet) to the router and through three walls, the Honor still has half the reception and pages take slightly longer to load.

The Honor Play offers 10 LTE frequencies. Unfortunately, these do not cover the US frequencies very well. You should have no issues using the phone in Europe. Reception was quite good in our test using the German D2 network in a city. We usually had half the signal strength and 4G+ indoors.

Networking
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Razer Phone 2017
Adreno 540, 835, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
665 MBit/s ∼100% +254%
Nokia 7 Plus
Adreno 512, 660, 64 GB eMMC Flash
247 MBit/s ∼37% +31%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Adreno 509, 636, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
232 MBit/s ∼35% +23%
Average of class Smartphone
  (5.9 - 939, n=311)
212 MBit/s ∼32% +13%
Honor Play
Mali-G72 MP12, Kirin 970, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
188 MBit/s ∼28%
Xiaomi Black Shark
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
116 MBit/s ∼17% -38%
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Razer Phone 2017
Adreno 540, 835, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
661 MBit/s ∼100% +248%
Nokia 7 Plus
Adreno 512, 660, 64 GB eMMC Flash
307 MBit/s ∼46% +62%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
Adreno 509, 636, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
237 MBit/s ∼36% +25%
Average of class Smartphone
  (9.4 - 703, n=311)
206 MBit/s ∼31% +8%
Honor Play
Mali-G72 MP12, Kirin 970, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
190 MBit/s ∼29%
Xiaomi Black Shark
Adreno 630, 845, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
117 MBit/s ∼18% -38%
GPS test indoors
GPS test indoors
GPS test at the window
GPS test at the window
GPS test outdoors
GPS test outdoors

Indoors (with an armored concrete ceiling), the Honor Play can only locate us when standing near a window. Outdoors, however, positioning is very fast and accurate within 5 meters (~16.4 feet). Google Maps also shows our location correctly on the map and the compass works well, too.  

Our practical test - a bike tour together with the professional navigation system Garmin Edge 520 - uncovers the mediocre functions of the Honor Play: It seems to have difficulties following our path, simply ignoring winding sections such as around the bridge and the zig-zag path in the woods and drawing a more-or-less straight line across instead. This is a shame and means we cannot really recommend the Honor Play for everyday navigation.

GPS Garmin Edge 520 – overview
GPS Garmin Edge 520 – overview
GPS Garmin Edge 520 – woods
GPS Garmin Edge 520 – woods
GPS Garmin Edge 520 – bridge
GPS Garmin Edge 520 – bridge
GPS Honor Play – overview
GPS Honor Play – overview
GPS Honor Play – woods
GPS Honor Play – woods
GPS Honor Play – bridge
GPS Honor Play – bridge

Telephone and Call Quality – noisy telephone calls with the Honor Play

The telephone app is adapted to Huawei's design language, but its functions and operation are basically very similar to those of the standard Android app. Telephoning itself is accompanied by a noticeable drone. While the maximum volume of our call partner is sufficient to hear them in louder surroundings, the sound is never completely noise-free, always sounding slightly muffled with a noticeable drone at higher volumes. The microphone also transmits our voice with significant droning as soon as we raise our voice slightly. Quiet talking is transmitted very nicely. The sound profile is similar when using the speakerphone.

Cameras – exaggerated colors and good image sharpness

photo with front camera
photo with front camera
photo with main camera using AI
photo with main camera using AI
photo with main camera without AI
photo with main camera without AI

There is a dual camera on the back of the Honor Play. Its main lens has a resolution of 16 megapixels while the second one only has 2 MP, which means that it can only be used to improve depth of field but not to take separate pictures. The camera is supported by artificial intelligence that analyses the image content even before the picture is taken in order to choose the correct settings in a number of categories. This caused colors to be strongly enhanced in our test photos - a little too much for our taste, as the photos almost looked like they came out of a comic book. A photograph of our surroundings displayed the blue sky very nicely, however, as the mode "blue sky" was automatically set before the picture was taken. The whole picture was very crisp. The automatic brightening up of pictures taken in dark surroundings works quite well, although there is noticeable image noise and some details are missing.

The main camera can record videos in UHD with a maximum of 30 fps. These videos are a little on the dark side, although the phone reacts very quickly to changing ambient light and color reproduction is decent.

The front camera also has a resolution of 16 megapixels and you can again let the AI mode choose the perfect settings for a portrait. Colors are reproduced quite well, and the sharpness is good within the fixed focus area.

Image Comparison

Choose a scene and navigate within the first image. One click changes the position on touchscreens. One click on the zoomed-in image opens the original in a new window. The first image shows the scaled photograph of the test device.

Scene 1Scene 2Scene 3
click to load images

We took another close look at the main camera in our lab with set artificial lighting. Again, colors appear slightly exaggerated. We also noticed that the camera has very good sharpness of detail. There were no problems with displaying text on a colorful background. Individual items are generally clearly distinguished from one another. Our photo of the ColorChecker test chart shows how strongly colors are distorted by the camera and that some color patches appear a little muddy.

test chart
test chart
detail of test chart
detail of test chart
Photograph of ColorChecker colors. The target color is in the bottom half of each box.
Photograph of ColorChecker colors. The target color is in the bottom half of each box.

Accessories and Warranty – two years of security

The box of the Honor Play also contains a quick charger plus USB cable as well as a SIM tool and a silicon case. The Honor shop does not currently offer any other accessories that are made specifically for the Honor Play.

The warranty lasts 24 months.

Input Devices & Handling – precise touchscreen, insecure Face Unlock

The pre-installed keyboard app is called SwiftKey. It is comfortable to use but does not look as clean as Google's GBoard using the standard settings. Of course, you can customize SwiftKey with numerous designs and other setting options and if you prefer using a different keyboard app, you are always free to download and install that.

The touchscreen has a good surface that responds well even at the edges. It also supports a glove mode as well as motion control and one-hand operation.

The fingerprint reader is located on the back of the device. It wakes and unlocks the smartphone from standby with only a short delay. If the device is already awake, it takes less time. The Huawei smartphone also offers face recognition. However, this is only software-based and we were able to trick it using a picture on a smartphone display.

Navigation works via onscreen keys or via the Navidot that can be placed anywhere on the screen. The only hardware buttons are positioned on the right side of the case. They are easy to find by touch and have a good pressure point.

keyboard portrait mode
keyboard portrait mode
keyboard landscape mode
keyboard landscape mode

Display – the Honor smartphone offers good color accuracy

Subpixel array
Subpixel array

Since smartphone displays are expected to be as borderless as possible, manufacturers are turning their backs on the traditional 16:9 display format more and more. Accordingly, the Honor Play's screen has an aspect ratio of 19.5:9 - although the notch at the top of the screen should actually also be subtracted from this. The screen can display a maximum of 2340 x 1080 pixels (the width being slightly above Full-HD resolution). 16:9 content, such as most videos, are displayed with black bars on either side.

The screen brightness is average - other smartphones, such as the Xiaomi Black Shark, have significantly brighter screens. The Razer Phone, however, is even darker than our test unit. The brightness distribution on the Honor Play is not as even as on its competitors and large color areas might show slight differences in brightness.

396
cd/m²
429
cd/m²
445
cd/m²
403
cd/m²
435
cd/m²
444
cd/m²
396
cd/m²
442
cd/m²
440
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 445 cd/m² Average: 425.6 cd/m² Minimum: 1.12 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 89 %
Center on Battery: 435 cd/m²
Contrast: 1115:1 (Black: 0.39 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.89 | 0.4-29.43 Ø6.2
ΔE Greyscale 4.1 | 0.64-98 Ø6.5
96.7% sRGB (Calman 2D)
Gamma: 2.251
Honor Play
IPS, 2340x1080, 6.3
Razer Phone 2017
IGZO LCD, 120 Hz, Wide Color Gamut, 1440x2560, 5.72
Xiaomi Black Shark
IPS, 2160x1080, 5.99
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
AMOLED, 2160x1080, 6
Nokia 7 Plus
IPS, 2160x1080, 6
Screen
12%
-22%
-34%
9%
Brightness middle
435
436
0%
549
26%
446
3%
458
5%
Brightness
426
417
-2%
541
27%
451
6%
463
9%
Brightness Distribution
89
92
3%
95
7%
93
4%
92
3%
Black Level *
0.39
0.16
59%
0.42
-8%
0.22
44%
Contrast
1115
2725
144%
1307
17%
2082
87%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.89
3.88
-34%
6.08
-110%
6.58
-128%
4
-38%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
6.03
7.96
-32%
10.69
-77%
11.94
-98%
7.4
-23%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
4.1
5.8
-41%
6.6
-61%
3.6
12%
4.7
-15%
Gamma
2.251 98%
2.45 90%
2.305 95%
2.199 100%
2.19 100%
CCT
7408 88%
7657 85%
8399 77%
7116 91%
7425 88%

* ... smaller is better

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 83.3 Hz ≤ 15 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 83.3 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 15 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 83.3 Hz is very low, so the flickering may cause eyestrain and headaches after extended use.

In comparison: 53 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 8929 (minimum: 43 - maximum: 142900) Hz was measured.

The black value is average at 0.39 cd/m² and the contrast ratio, while still being decent enough, is the worst of the entire comparison field.

We were pleased with the comparatively low color deviation in our test with the spectrophotometer and CalMAN software. There are different settings for white balance, although we actually thought the standard settings were already very good. Grayscales, however, show a slight blue cast in this mode. 

Users might be bothered by the screen flickering that occurs at the lowest brightness level: The frequency of 83.3 Hz can lead to headaches for sensitive users, so we would recommend you test the display before purchase.

CalMAN grayscales – standard: normal
CalMAN grayscales – standard: normal
CalMAN color accuracy – standard: normal
CalMAN color accuracy – standard: normal
CalMAN saturation – standard: normal
CalMAN saturation – standard: normal
CalMAN color space – standard: normal
CalMAN color space – standard: normal
CalMAN grayscales – standard: warm
CalMAN grayscales – standard: warm
CalMAN color accuracy – standard: warm
CalMAN color accuracy – standard: warm
CalMAN saturation – standard: warm
CalMAN saturation – standard: warm
CalMAN color space – standard: warm
CalMAN color space – standard: warm
CalMAN grayscales – vivid: normal
CalMAN grayscales – vivid: normal
CalMAN color accuracy – vivid: normal
CalMAN color accuracy – vivid: normal
CalMAN saturation – vivid: normal
CalMAN saturation – vivid: normal
CalMAN color space – vivid: normal
CalMAN color space – vivid: normal

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
24 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 13 ms rise
↘ 11 ms fall
The screen shows good response rates in our tests, but may be too slow for competitive gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 32 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (25.6 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
38 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 19 ms rise
↘ 19 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.9 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 35 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is similar to the average of all tested devices (41 ms).

The Honor Play can be used outdoors, although you can expect strong reflections in direct sunlight. It is easier using it in shade.

The viewing angles are good; there are hardly any differences in brightness even from a very wide angle.

outdoor use – brightness sensor
outdoor use – brightness sensor
outdoor use – maximum brightness
outdoor use – maximum brightness
outdoor use – medium brightness
outdoor use – medium brightness
outdoor use – minimum brightness
outdoor use – minimum brightness
viewing angles
viewing angles

Performance – cheating

The Kirin 970 is currently the fastest SoC available from Huawei's own chip producer. However, it is already a year old and should soon be replaced by a new version. Thanks to eight cores and 2400 GHz, the Honor Play scores decent results in the benchmarks. However, we would like to remind you again that Huawei is clearly giving its phone a hand by letting it recognize when a benchmark is running.

But even when cheating the Play cannot really compete with other gaming smartphones: The Razer Phone and the Xiaomi Black Shark often offer up to 10 - 20% more power. The only exception is the GFXBench - here, the Honor Play is the winner.

AnTuTu v6 - Total Score (sort by value)
Honor Play
178745 Points ∼77%
Xiaomi Black Shark
230642 Points ∼100% +29%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
93813 Points ∼41% -48%
Nokia 7 Plus
117165 Points ∼51% -34%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (173653 - 181973, n=8)
177915 Points ∼77% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (23275 - 254229, n=394)
76519 Points ∼33% -57%
AnTuTu v7 - Total Score (sort by value)
Honor Play
152773 Points ∼53%
Razer Phone 2017
208972 Points ∼72% +37%
Xiaomi Black Shark
290397 Points ∼100% +90%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
115656 Points ∼40% -24%
Nokia 7 Plus
141701 Points ∼49% -7%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (152773 - 212278, n=6)
197811 Points ∼68% +29%
Average of class Smartphone (17073 - 348178, n=171)
117893 Points ∼41% -23%
PCMark for Android
Work 2.0 performance score (sort by value)
Honor Play
6293 Points ∼76%
Razer Phone 2017
7046 Points ∼85% +12%
Xiaomi Black Shark
8309 Points ∼100% +32%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
5640 Points ∼68% -10%
Nokia 7 Plus
6077 Points ∼73% -3%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (6293 - 7046, n=8)
6860 Points ∼83% +9%
Average of class Smartphone (3146 - 9868, n=256)
4551 Points ∼55% -28%
Work performance score (sort by value)
Honor Play
9326 Points ∼100%
Razer Phone 2017
7968 Points ∼85% -15%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
6457 Points ∼69% -31%
Nokia 7 Plus
6825 Points ∼73% -27%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (8115 - 9326, n=8)
8537 Points ∼92% -8%
Average of class Smartphone (4058 - 13531, n=424)
4956 Points ∼53% -47%
BaseMark OS II
Web (sort by value)
Honor Play
1091 Points ∼88%
Razer Phone 2017
1225 Points ∼98% +12%
Xiaomi Black Shark
1243 Points ∼100% +14%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
1052 Points ∼84% -4%
Nokia 7 Plus
1101 Points ∼88% +1%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (1091 - 1316, n=8)
1245 Points ∼100% +14%
Average of class Smartphone (7 - 1731, n=500)
697 Points ∼56% -36%
Graphics (sort by value)
Honor Play
2231 Points ∼36%
Razer Phone 2017
6273 Points ∼100% +181%
Xiaomi Black Shark
5846 Points ∼93% +162%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
1625 Points ∼26% -27%
Nokia 7 Plus
2298 Points ∼37% +3%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (2231 - 4397, n=8)
3638 Points ∼58% +63%
Average of class Smartphone (18 - 15969, n=500)
1735 Points ∼28% -22%
Memory (sort by value)
Honor Play
2417 Points ∼59%
Razer Phone 2017
4085 Points ∼100% +69%
Xiaomi Black Shark
2871 Points ∼70% +19%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
2208 Points ∼54% -9%
Nokia 7 Plus
2503 Points ∼61% +4%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (2417 - 4578, n=8)
3946 Points ∼97% +63%
Average of class Smartphone (21 - 6283, n=500)
1243 Points ∼30% -49%
System (sort by value)
Honor Play
3795 Points ∼53%
Razer Phone 2017
5660 Points ∼80% +49%
Xiaomi Black Shark
7105 Points ∼100% +87%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
4628 Points ∼65% +22%
Nokia 7 Plus
4976 Points ∼70% +31%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (3795 - 5987, n=8)
5387 Points ∼76% +42%
Average of class Smartphone (369 - 12202, n=500)
2509 Points ∼35% -34%
Overall (sort by value)
Honor Play
2174 Points ∼60%
Razer Phone 2017
3651 Points ∼100% +68%
Xiaomi Black Shark
3489 Points ∼96% +60%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
2044 Points ∼56% -6%
Nokia 7 Plus
2369 Points ∼65% +9%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (2174 - 3374, n=8)
3125 Points ∼86% +44%
Average of class Smartphone (150 - 6097, n=504)
1253 Points ∼34% -42%
Geekbench 4.1/4.2
Compute RenderScript Score (sort by value)
Honor Play
8454 Points ∼62%
Razer Phone 2017
7931 Points ∼58% -6%
Xiaomi Black Shark
13620 Points ∼100% +61%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
4501 Points ∼33% -47%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (5779 - 9015, n=6)
8080 Points ∼59% -4%
Average of class Smartphone (836 - 21070, n=198)
4508 Points ∼33% -47%
64 Bit Multi-Core Score (sort by value)
Honor Play
6673 Points ∼79%
Razer Phone 2017
6742 Points ∼80% +1%
Xiaomi Black Shark
8453 Points ∼100% +27%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
4941 Points ∼58% -26%
Nokia 7 Plus
5867 Points ∼69% -12%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (6557 - 6792, n=8)
6697 Points ∼79% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (883 - 11598, n=248)
4298 Points ∼51% -36%
64 Bit Single-Core Score (sort by value)
Honor Play
1904 Points ∼78%
Razer Phone 2017
1942 Points ∼80% +2%
Xiaomi Black Shark
2437 Points ∼100% +28%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
1330 Points ∼55% -30%
Nokia 7 Plus
1646 Points ∼68% -14%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (1883 - 1922, n=8)
1901 Points ∼78% 0%
Average of class Smartphone (394 - 4824, n=249)
1267 Points ∼52% -33%
3DMark
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Physics (sort by value)
Honor Play
2827 Points ∼83%
Razer Phone 2017
3157 Points ∼93% +12%
Xiaomi Black Shark
3408 Points ∼100% +21%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
2327 Points ∼68% -18%
Nokia 7 Plus
2749 Points ∼81% -3%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (2582 - 2931, n=8)
2842 Points ∼83% +1%
Average of class Smartphone (2281 - 4216, n=352)
1642 Points ∼48% -42%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) Graphics (sort by value)
Honor Play
3018 Points ∼58%
Razer Phone 2017
4049 Points ∼78% +34%
Xiaomi Black Shark
5220 Points ∼100% +73%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
815 Points ∼16% -73%
Nokia 7 Plus
1161 Points ∼22% -62%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (2844 - 3040, n=8)
2994 Points ∼57% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (815 - 5241, n=352)
1186 Points ∼23% -61%
2560x1440 Sling Shot Extreme (ES 3.1) (sort by value)
Honor Play
2973 Points ∼64%
Razer Phone 2017
3810 Points ∼82% +28%
Xiaomi Black Shark
4668 Points ∼100% +57%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
953 Points ∼20% -68%
Nokia 7 Plus
1332 Points ∼29% -55%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (2850 - 2999, n=8)
2958 Points ∼63% -1%
Average of class Smartphone (951 - 4734, n=360)
1134 Points ∼24% -62%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Physics (sort by value)
Honor Play
2832 Points ∼82%
Razer Phone 2017
3092 Points ∼90% +9%
Xiaomi Black Shark
3443 Points ∼100% +22%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
2337 Points ∼68% -17%
Nokia 7 Plus
2734 Points ∼79% -3%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (1906 - 2902, n=8)
2732 Points ∼79% -4%
Average of class Smartphone (532 - 4215, n=385)
1538 Points ∼45% -46%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 Graphics (sort by value)
Honor Play
3734 Points ∼45%
Razer Phone 2017
6127 Points ∼74% +64%
Xiaomi Black Shark
8312 Points ∼100% +123%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
1333 Points ∼16% -64%
Nokia 7 Plus
1895 Points ∼23% -49%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (1954 - 3734, n=8)
3305 Points ∼40% -11%
Average of class Smartphone (46 - 8312, n=385)
1627 Points ∼20% -56%
2560x1440 Sling Shot OpenGL ES 3.0 (sort by value)
Honor Play
3487 Points ∼55%
Razer Phone 2017
5030 Points ∼80% +44%
Xiaomi Black Shark
6324 Points ∼100% +81%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
1474 Points ∼23% -58%
Nokia 7 Plus
2035 Points ∼32% -42%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (1943 - 3487, n=8)
3155 Points ∼50% -10%
Average of class Smartphone (58 - 6454, n=393)
1384 Points ∼22% -60%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Physics (sort by value)
Honor Play
20035 Points ∼64%
Razer Phone 2017
21521 Points ∼69% +7%
Xiaomi Black Shark
31384 Points ∼100% +57%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
16939 Points ∼54% -15%
Nokia 7 Plus
20085 Points ∼64% 0%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (14556 - 23046, n=8)
21027 Points ∼67% +5%
Average of class Smartphone (3958 - 37475, n=540)
12875 Points ∼41% -36%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Graphics Score (sort by value)
Honor Play
34836 Points ∼42%
Razer Phone 2017
58360 Points ∼71% +68%
Xiaomi Black Shark
82423 Points ∼100% +137%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
20908 Points ∼25% -40%
Nokia 7 Plus
29333 Points ∼36% -16%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (22429 - 36231, n=8)
32596 Points ∼40% -6%
Average of class Smartphone (2465 - 162695, n=540)
17971 Points ∼22% -48%
1280x720 offscreen Ice Storm Unlimited Score (sort by value)
Honor Play
29924 Points ∼49%
Razer Phone 2017
42278 Points ∼70% +41%
Xiaomi Black Shark
60543 Points ∼100% +102%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
19873 Points ∼33% -34%
Nokia 7 Plus
26610 Points ∼44% -11%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (20022 - 31605, n=8)
29035 Points ∼48% -3%
Average of class Smartphone (2915 - 77599, n=541)
15098 Points ∼25% -50%
GFXBench (DX / GLBenchmark) 2.7
1920x1080 T-Rex HD Offscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Honor Play
115 fps ∼76%
Razer Phone 2017
117 fps ∼77% +2%
Xiaomi Black Shark
151 fps ∼100% +31%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
36 fps ∼24% -69%
Nokia 7 Plus
50 fps ∼33% -57%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (45 - 125, n=8)
108 fps ∼72% -6%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 251, n=565)
31.3 fps ∼21% -73%
T-Rex HD Onscreen C24Z16 (sort by value)
Honor Play
60 fps ∼76%
Razer Phone 2017
79 fps ∼100% +32%
Xiaomi Black Shark
60 fps ∼76% 0%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
35 fps ∼44% -42%
Nokia 7 Plus
48 fps ∼61% -20%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (42 - 60, n=8)
57.4 fps ∼73% -4%
Average of class Smartphone (6.9 - 120, n=568)
24.9 fps ∼32% -58%
GFXBench 3.0
off screen Manhattan Offscreen OGL (sort by value)
Honor Play
62 fps ∼76%
Razer Phone 2017
43 fps ∼52% -31%
Xiaomi Black Shark
82 fps ∼100% +32%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
16 fps ∼20% -74%
Nokia 7 Plus
23 fps ∼28% -63%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (23 - 66, n=8)
54.6 fps ∼67% -12%
Average of class Smartphone (2.2 - 132, n=487)
16.8 fps ∼20% -73%
on screen Manhattan Onscreen OGL (sort by value)
Honor Play
55 fps ∼93%
Razer Phone 2017
40 fps ∼68% -27%
Xiaomi Black Shark
59 fps ∼100% +7%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
15 fps ∼25% -73%
Nokia 7 Plus
22 fps ∼37% -60%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (26 - 56, n=8)
50.4 fps ∼85% -8%
Average of class Smartphone (4.1 - 115, n=490)
16 fps ∼27% -71%
GFXBench 3.1
off screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Offscreen (sort by value)
Honor Play
39 fps ∼65%
Razer Phone 2017
21 fps ∼35% -46%
Xiaomi Black Shark
60 fps ∼100% +54%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
10 fps ∼17% -74%
Nokia 7 Plus
14 fps ∼23% -64%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (19 - 39, n=8)
33.9 fps ∼57% -13%
Average of class Smartphone (10 - 88, n=349)
14.3 fps ∼24% -63%
on screen Manhattan ES 3.1 Onscreen (sort by value)
Honor Play
31 fps ∼58%
Razer Phone 2017
22 fps ∼42% -29%
Xiaomi Black Shark
53 fps ∼100% +71%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
9.8 fps ∼18% -68%
Nokia 7 Plus
15 fps ∼28% -52%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (18 - 39, n=8)
33.6 fps ∼63% +8%
Average of class Smartphone (9.8 - 110, n=352)
13.9 fps ∼26% -55%
GFXBench
off screen Car Chase Offscreen (sort by value)
Honor Play
20 fps ∼57%
Razer Phone 2017
25 fps ∼71% +25%
Xiaomi Black Shark
35 fps ∼100% +75%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
6.3 fps ∼18% -68%
Nokia 7 Plus
8.3 fps ∼24% -58%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (11 - 23, n=8)
20.4 fps ∼58% +2%
Average of class Smartphone (6.3 - 54, n=280)
9.86 fps ∼28% -51%
on screen Car Chase Onscreen (sort by value)
Honor Play
19 fps ∼61%
Razer Phone 2017
15 fps ∼48% -21%
Xiaomi Black Shark
31 fps ∼100% +63%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
6 fps ∼19% -68%
Nokia 7 Plus
9.1 fps ∼29% -52%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (10 - 23, n=8)
19.8 fps ∼64% +4%
Average of class Smartphone (6 - 58, n=283)
8.89 fps ∼29% -53%

Legend

 
Honor Play HiSilicon Kirin 970, ARM Mali-G72 MP12, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Razer Phone 2017 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (8998), Qualcomm Adreno 540, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Xiaomi Black Shark Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm Adreno 630, 64 GB UFS 2.1 Flash
 
Motorola Moto Z3 Play Qualcomm Snapdragon 636, Qualcomm Adreno 509, 64 GB UFS 2.0 Flash
 
Nokia 7 Plus Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Qualcomm Adreno 512, 64 GB eMMC Flash

The Honor Play also has to accept being last place in the browser benchmarks. While pages seem to load quickly subjectively, they are slower than on other smartphones of this price range and top-range gaming phones.

JetStream 1.1 - 1.1 Total Score
Razer Phone 2017 (Chrome 65)
63.3 Points ∼100% +91%
Nokia 7 Plus (Chrome 60)
53.89 Points ∼85% +63%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (33.1 - 58.6, n=8)
51.4 Points ∼81% +55%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play (Chrome 67)
44.587 Points ∼70% +35%
Average of class Smartphone (10.8 - 273, n=423)
36.7 Points ∼58% +11%
Honor Play (Chrome 68)
33.094 Points ∼52%
Xiaomi Black Shark
Points ∼0% -100%
Octane V2 - Total Score
Xiaomi Black Shark (Firefox 61)
13663 Points ∼100% +104%
Razer Phone 2017 (Chrome 65)
12600 Points ∼92% +88%
Nokia 7 Plus (Chrome 60)
10945 Points ∼80% +64%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (6692 - 11838, n=8)
10111 Points ∼74% +51%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play (Chrome 67)
8519 Points ∼62% +27%
Honor Play (Chrome 68)
6692 Points ∼49%
Average of class Smartphone (1506 - 43280, n=559)
5558 Points ∼41% -17%
Mozilla Kraken 1.1 - Total Score
Average of class Smartphone (603 - 59466, n=579)
11477 ms * ∼100% -84%
Honor Play (Chrome 68)
6220.7 ms * ∼54%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play (Chrome 67)
4820 ms * ∼42% +23%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (3591 - 6221, n=8)
4378 ms * ∼38% +30%
Nokia 7 Plus (Chrome 60)
3937.3 ms * ∼34% +37%
Razer Phone 2017 (Chrome 65)
3476 ms * ∼30% +44%
Xiaomi Black Shark (Firefox 61)
2287 ms * ∼20% +63%
WebXPRT 2015 - Overall Score
Xiaomi Black Shark (Firefox 61)
246 Points ∼100% +107%
Nokia 7 Plus (Chrome 60)
168 Points ∼68% +41%
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970 (119 - 187, n=8)
165 Points ∼67% +39%
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
154 Points ∼63% +29%
Honor Play (Chrome 68)
119 Points ∼48%
Average of class Smartphone (91 - 362, n=284)
111 Points ∼45% -7%

* ... smaller is better

Accessing our reference SD card Toshiba Exceria Pro M501 goes quite quickly and the internal UFS 2.1 storage can also be accessed quickly. The Honor Play is faster than all of its competitors here.

Honor PlayRazer Phone 2017Xiaomi Black SharkMotorola Moto Z3 PlayNokia 7 PlusAverage 64 GB UFS 2.1 FlashAverage of class Smartphone
AndroBench 3-5
-22%
-12%
-31%
-37%
-24%
-59%
Sequential Write 256KB SDCard
71.86 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
52.5
-27%
62.7
-13%
62.31
-13%
50.2 (17.1 - 71.9, n=25)
-30%
45.8 (3.4 - 87.1, n=323)
-36%
Sequential Read 256KB SDCard
82.8 (Toshiba Exceria Pro M501)
79.4
-4%
83.7
1%
82.21
-1%
66.4 (18 - 86.6, n=25)
-20%
64 (8.2 - 96.5, n=323)
-23%
Random Write 4KB
155.5
14.3
-91%
114.1
-27%
84.1
-46%
19.62
-87%
50.5 (8.77 - 156, n=34)
-68%
16.1 (0.14 - 164, n=608)
-90%
Random Read 4KB
142.4
142.5
0%
127.2
-11%
60.6
-57%
54.65
-62%
134 (78.2 - 173, n=34)
-6%
38.3 (1.59 - 173, n=608)
-73%
Sequential Write 256KB
188.3
202.5
8%
199.6
6%
182.5
-3%
211.6
12%
193 (133 - 229, n=34)
2%
79.8 (2.99 - 246, n=608)
-58%
Sequential Read 256KB
894.5
732.3
-18%
741.5
-17%
271.7
-70%
283.12
-68%
727 (529 - 895, n=34)
-19%
230 (12.1 - 895, n=608)
-74%

Games – good, but not perfect

In order to make their smartphone more attractive to gamers, Honor has announced a partnership with the PUGB mobile publisher Tencent at the IFA. It is not surprising, therefore, that PUBG has several special features: Pulling the trigger activates the 4D Smart Shock feature and makes the phone vibrate. The vibration is different depending on which weapon you use, whether you use a muffler or if a grenade explodes next to you. However, it is annoying that the corners of the display are rounded, as this cuts off a part of the mini map. The iPhone X avoids this issue by placing the mini map slightly further towards the middle.  

The game was displayed quite smoothly during our test, but we did regularly register drops of the frame rate to below 30 fps when the graphics were set to HD. As there are rumors that details might also be reduced on the Honor Play, we took screenshots and compared them with other smartphones, to find out whether there really was a difference in the amount of detail visible. The texture of the runway does appear significantly more detailed on the OnePlus 5T and the iPhone X with the same settings. 

The smartphone cannot manage a constant 60 fps in Arena of Valor and settles down at 55 fps, which still is quite smooth. The control via touchscreen and gyroscope works well in all games.

Overall, the Honor Play is definitely not the absolute high-end gaming smartphone - this place has already been taken by the Razer Phone 2017: Its 120-Hz mode and more stable frame rates are clearly made for hard-core gaming enthusiasts. The Honor Play on the other hand is directed at gamers who do not have quite as many expectations - and is considerably cheaper. It can still display most current games smoothly and the vibration feature is a nice gimmick for gamers.

Arena of Valor
Arena of Valor
PUBG Mobile – Smooth
PUBG Mobile – Smooth
PUBG Mobile – HD
PUBG Mobile – HD
comparison image PUBG – Honor Play
comparison image PUBG – Honor Play
comparison image PUBG – OnePlus 5T
comparison image PUBG – OnePlus 5T
comparison image PUBG – iPhone X
comparison image PUBG – iPhone X
PUBG Mobile
 SettingsValue
 Smooth32 fps
 HD32 fps
  Your browser does not support the canvas element!
Arena of Valor
 SettingsValue
 min55 fps
 high HD54 fps
  Your browser does not support the canvas element!

Emissions – overheating is possible

Temperature

warning of overheating
warning of overheating

If the Honor Play is under no or very low load, there are no issues with temperature development: The surface temperatures of the Huawei smartphone do not even reach 30 °C (~86 °F). Under load, they increase to up to 41.5 °C (~107 °F), which is clearly noticeable but not yet critical.

Things do not look quite as good on the inside of the case: We noticed that several benchmarks were aborted when they ran several times in a row. The GFXBench battery test confirmed our suspicions: The Honor Play could not get through Manhatten 3.1 nor the simpler T-Rex test successfully - each time, the device aborted the test with a warning saying the temperatures were too high. This is not to be ignored in a gaming smartphone, as there are hardly any applications that are as demanding as intensive gaming. While most games are not as demanding as the benchmarks, Huawei and Honor had still better take another look at the Play's temperature management - provided that it is possible to make any changes via a patch.

Max. Load
 41.3 °C
106 F
38.3 °C
101 F
39.6 °C
103 F
 
 41.5 °C
107 F
38.6 °C
101 F
40.2 °C
104 F
 
 40.2 °C
104 F
38.4 °C
101 F
39.5 °C
103 F
 
Maximum: 41.5 °C = 107 F
Average: 39.7 °C = 103 F
36.1 °C
97 F
37.8 °C
100 F
39 °C
102 F
36.6 °C
98 F
38.3 °C
101 F
39.2 °C
103 F
37.1 °C
99 F
38.8 °C
102 F
39.7 °C
103 F
Maximum: 39.7 °C = 103 F
Average: 38.1 °C = 101 F
Power Supply (max.)  45.2 °C = 113 F | Room Temperature 21.7 °C = 71 F | Voltcraft IR-260
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 39.7 °C / 103 F, compared to the average of 33.2 °C / 92 F for the devices in the class Smartphone.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 41.5 °C / 107 F, compared to the average of 35.7 °C / 96 F, ranging from 22.4 to 51.7 °C for the class Smartphone.
(+) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 39.7 °C / 103 F, compared to the average of 34.2 °C / 94 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 27.6 °C / 82 F, compared to the device average of 33.2 °C / 92 F.
heat map front
heat map front
heat map back
heat map back

Speaker

speaker test Pink Noise
speaker test Pink Noise

The single speaker is placed at the bottom edge of the Honor smartphone. It sounds quite nice and balanced and also reproduces low mids decently. The sound is warm, and highs are not overrepresented. Overall, the speaker can easily be used to get an idea of a song or watch a YouTube video.

The Histen sound effect is only available when using headphones. You can then also activate the 3D sound effect that Honor is actively promoting. The settings are limited to four presets and the choice of the type of headset you are using. The different effects on the sound are clearly noticeable, so most people should be able to find a setting that suits them.

As there is a 3.5 mm audio jack available, you cannot use the USB C port for audio output. This is a shame, as otherwise two users could have listened to music simultaneously. There are no issues when connecting the device to external Bluetooth speakers and sound is transmitted clearly and without any delays.

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2031.728.42533.934.53147.648.94031.236.7503837.76327.130.78027.130.310024.624.512520.620.516018.829.920018.544.925017.749.93151750.840016.555.850016.955.563014.454.28001460.4100013.562.1125013.766.7160013.969.5200012.770.1250012.771.7315012.771.7400012.569.9500011.968.2630011.465800011.562.81000011.662.81250011.561.71600011.449.4SPL67.725.780.2N21.20.742.6median 13.7median 61.7Delta2.5929.525.929.526.427.726.426.526.526.526.628.326.625.525.225.523.922.723.926.523.626.533.623.333.640.230.540.245.821.145.852.420.652.455.322.955.357.921.157.960.921.560.964.822.364.869.117.569.171.520.171.569.719.969.77018.27069.51669.570.715.770.771.614.871.669.614.569.666.914.266.968146867.813.867.868.913.968.966.51466.562.71462.758.613.858.681.229.381.251.51.251.5median 66.9median 17.5median 66.97.13.57.1hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseHonor PlayRazer Phone 2017
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Honor Play audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (80.2 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 24.9% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (13.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.3% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (5.9% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5.8% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (3.1% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (22.2% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 27% of all tested devices in this class were better, 10% similar, 63% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 56% of all tested devices were better, 7% similar, 37% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Razer Phone 2017 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (81.2 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(-) | nearly no bass - on average 19.3% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 3.4% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4.4% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 1.7% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (14.8% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 1% of all tested devices in this class were better, 2% similar, 98% worse
» The best had a delta of 13%, average was 25%, worst was 44%
Compared to all devices tested
» 15% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 81% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 53%

Battery Runtime – decent duration

Power Consumption

The Honor Play does relatively badly in terms of power consumption: Although its consumption under maximum load is acceptable, the values while idling are very high compared to other devices in this price range. The phone does offer an energy-saving mode and even an ultra-energy-saving mode. These limit consumption noticeably when needed.

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.2 / 0.6 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 1.4 / 2.6 / 4.3 Watt
Load midlight 6.5 / 8.2 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Honor Play
3750 mAh
Razer Phone 2017
4000 mAh
Xiaomi Black Shark
4000 mAh
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
3000 mAh
Nokia 7 Plus
3800 mAh
Average HiSilicon Kirin 970
 
Average of class Smartphone
 
Power Consumption
24%
27%
30%
33%
23%
39%
Idle Minimum *
1.4
0.83
41%
0.8
43%
1.3
7%
0.65
54%
0.978 (0.67 - 1.4, n=8)
30%
0.879 (0.2 - 3.4, n=642)
37%
Idle Average *
2.6
2.11
19%
1.5
42%
2
23%
1.76
32%
2.12 (1.15 - 2.7, n=8)
18%
1.721 (0.6 - 6.2, n=641)
34%
Idle Maximum *
4.3
2.24
48%
2.3
47%
2.7
37%
1.78
59%
2.51 (1.23 - 4.3, n=8)
42%
1.998 (0.74 - 6.6, n=642)
54%
Load Average *
6.5
4.94
24%
4.8
26%
3.7
43%
4.47
31%
5.01 (2.47 - 6.5, n=8)
23%
4.04 (0.8 - 10.8, n=636)
38%
Load Maximum *
8.2
9.08
-11%
10.1
-23%
5.1
38%
9.13
-11%
8.1 (2.49 - 11.5, n=8)
1%
5.76 (1.2 - 14.2, n=636)
30%

* ... smaller is better

Battery Runtime

Although the power consumption rates measured in our test are not ideal, the Honor Play still manages to offer decent battery runtimes with its 3750 mAh battery: 11:50 hours in our Wi-Fi test is a good result. The runtimes under load are more interesting for gamers and the Honor Play manages 3:24 hours here, which is still quite decent. The Xiaomi Black Shark and the Razer Phone both offer slightly longer runtimes, but the differences are minimal.

The included quick charger recharges the Honor smartphone completely within 2 hours.

Battery Runtime
Idle (without WLAN, min brightness)
28h 43min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
11h 50min
Big Buck Bunny H.264 1080p
12h 39min
Load (maximum brightness)
3h 24min
Honor Play
3750 mAh
Razer Phone 2017
4000 mAh
Xiaomi Black Shark
4000 mAh
Motorola Moto Z3 Play
3000 mAh
Nokia 7 Plus
3800 mAh
Battery Runtime
7%
6%
-15%
-9%
Reader / Idle
1723
1753
2%
1245
-28%
1703
-1%
H.264
759
747
-2%
648
-15%
706
-7%
WiFi v1.3
710
762
7%
711
0%
595
-16%
672
-5%
Load
204
253
24%
199
-2%
158
-23%

Pros

+ good price-to-performance ratio
+ discrete case
+ camera produces sharp photos
+ good color reproduction on screen
+ precise touchscreen
+ fast storage
+ good battery runtimes

Cons

- phone overheats under strong load
- cheating at benchmarks
- exaggerated colors in the camera's AI-mode
- pre-installed bloatware
- slow Wi-Fi

Verdict – a smartphone for casual gamers

In review: Honor Play. Test unit provided by Honor Germany.
In review: Honor Play. Test unit provided by Honor Germany.

The Honor Play is not made for hardcore gamers that are looking to get the most frames possible out of their smartphone. It is directed at the larger group of mobile phone gamers who want a good-looking device that will also let them play more demanding games reliably. The Honor Play has managed to fulfill these requirements: Its performance is fully sufficient, its screen has accurate colors, there are no delays when reacting to inputs and it has a long battery runtime.

However, do not expect too much from the features that reek of marketing: The 3D sound effect for headphones is quite fun, as is the rumble feature in PUBG. The latter, however, is still limited to individual games for the moment. Time will tell if more games will support it in future. The software does not give off a particularly strong gaming vibe either - Xiaomi and Razer make it a lot clearer when we are dealing with a dedicated gaming smartphone.

The Honor Play is a discreet gaming smartphone with a good price-to-performance ratio for average needs. 

Overall, this leaves us with a very good mid-range smartphone available for a good price, as one would expect from an Honor. All gamers with normal requirements who occasionally want to play a more demanding game but are not too bothered with graphics should be very happy with this device. If you are looking for a 120-Hz mode or a flashier gaming design, you will have to look a little further. On the other hand, the Honor Play is more inconspicuous. If you want to play games during a boring meeting, the Honor Play might be a good choice.

Honor Play - 09/14/2018 v6
Florian Wimmer

Chassis
79%
Keyboard
65 / 75 → 87%
Pointing Device
91%
Connectivity
42 / 60 → 70%
Weight
90%
Battery
94%
Display
87%
Games Performance
63 / 63 → 100%
Application Performance
65 / 70 → 93%
Temperature
80%
Noise
100%
Camera
76%
Average
78%
86%
Smartphone - Weighted Average

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Honor Play Smartphone Review
Florian Wimmer, 2018-09-17 (Update: 2018-09-18)