Honor Play Review – (Camera, Gaming and Experience) Better than Poco F1?

Huawei’s Challenge in India and Honor Play Launch

Update – 18-October-2018 – Huawei Honor play has got a new update which brings several improvements. The new update has a COR-ALOO version and has 722 MB size.

The update brings GPU Turbo Fix to improve the performance in gaming and may help in reducing the frame drops in the latest games.

Also, there is AIS (Artificial Image Stabilization) enabled in this update which improves the video as well as image quality, especially in the low light conditions. Also, Huawei mentions the update brings support for Airtel User-agent.

Huawei Honor Play Update


Huawei is also planning to update the Honor Play with the latest Android Pie 9.0 along with the EMUI 9. However, in India, the roll-out is yet not started or at least I have not received the update on my Honor Play till 18th October.

Huawei Honor Play is one of the most aggressively priced mobiles that the brand has launched in the Indian market.

Despite having some very good phones in the past like the Honor 6X or Honor 7X the company has failed to gain a major market share in India.

Also, as you may be aware that Huawei has recently overtaken Apple to become the second largest smartphone seller brand in the world. Moreover, it is the largest mobile seller in the Chinese market.

Honor Play Review
Honor Play Review

But in India Huawei is not even in the top 5 brands which is a bit shameful for the company.

Huawei is getting aggressive in India to challenge rivals such as Xiaomi, Oppo and Vivo which are far ahead in terms of sales volume. Huawei has recently launched several new phones in India such as Honor Play, Nova 3i, Honor 7C, 7A, and 7S.

Honor Play image

The Honor Play is one of the most aggressive offerings by Huawei as it comes with the flagship processor for a very affordable price of Rs. 19,990.

The Honor Play is available in 2 variants in the Indian market:

  • 4 GB Ram and 64 GB Storage – Price Rs. 19,990
  • 6 GB Ram and 64 GB Storage – Price Rs. 23,990

Top Features  Huawei Honor Play

  • Flagship Kirin 970 Processor
  • Good Looking Mobile With Metallic Design
  • Full View Bezel-less FHD+ Display.
  • Latest Android Oreo 8.1 OS.
Specs-smartphones Specs Honor 9
Specifications Huawei Honor Play
Processor / GPU Kirin 970 Octa-Core Clock Speed 2.4 Ghz, Mali-G72 MP12 GPU
Ram 4 GB
Storage 64 GB
Expandable Storage Yes, up to 256 GB, Hybrid Slot
OS Android Oreo 8.1, EMUI 8.2
Rear Camera 16 MP (f/2.2 Aperture) + 2 MP Dual
Front Camera 16 MP Camera f/2.0 aperture
Design Metallic Unibody
Display 2340*1080 pixels, FHD+, 19.5:9 ratio (~409 ppi density)
Thickness 7.5 mm
Weight 176 grams
Battery 3750 mAH, With Fast Charging
Connectivity USB Type C, Dual 4G VolTE, Dual Sim
Price (Value for Money) Rs. 19,999
Launch Date Mid August
Candytech Rating 8.8/10
Availability Online on Amazon India

unboxing iconUnboxing

The Huawei Honor Play comes in a white box and we also get a transparent case along with the Honor Play. There are usual manuals and the sim ejector tool. What’s more, is the Huawei Fast Charger rated at 18 Watts and a USB Type C cable which looks sturdy.

Honor Play image

I have unboxed both the blue color and the black color Huawei Honor Play. Unfortunately, the first phone I bought from Amazon had a display ghosting issue right out of the box due to which I have to return it back to Amazon on the same day of purchase.

Next, I got the black colored version in the flash sale and that unit is working fine so far without any issues. Yes, I was a bit disappointed the first time when the unit was faulty. Nevertheless, now the new unit is working as intended for the last 10 days, so no worries.


mobile iconDesign and Build Quality

The Honor Play comes with a sleek metal unibody design and looks far more premium in comparison to the crowd favorite POCO F1. Despite having a large battery it just measures 7.5 mm in thickness which is a commendable job.

Also, Huawei has not cut corners as far as the design and overall build quality of the phone is concerned. It looks rock solid and a phone that you can think of using for at least 2 years.

Honor Play image

The fingerprint scanner is easy to reach and the Dual camera at the back has a little bump. However, the camera bump is much smaller in comparison to the MI A2 that I reviewed a couple of days back.

The bottom side houses a speaker, USB Type C port and a 3.5 mm headphone jack.

smartphone iconUser Experience & Features

The Honor Play comes with the latest software from Huawei and has the EMUI 8.2 skin along with the Android Oreo 8.1 OS. The color scheme is blueish grey and at first, it looks a bit different to me as I mostly use the Samsung Experience software or the Stock Android.

But it is bearable and after some days you can get used to the Huawei software if you plan to switch from any other phone. The phone comes with the Swiftkey keyboard and has many pre-installed Apps such as Honor Club, Gallary, Health, Party Mode, Honor Care, Music, Videos and a Phone manager.

The overall user experience and multi-tasking is lag free on this phone thanks to the highly capable processor and sufficient 4 GB ram.

Also, in the settings you can dig some more settings and customizations, thankfully these are not too many to confuse the regular users.

rocket-launch-iconPerformance, Gaming and Benchmarks

The Honor play is made for performance and Gaming and playing the latest titles on this mobile is a pleasant experience.

I played the 2 most popular games on the phone for almost an hour at stretch to see how is the thermal design and sustained performance of the device.

Antutu Benchmark

Playing Asphalt 9 was a piece of cake and the games run without many frame drops or freezes but occasionally I experienced some frame freezing but it is most likely due to the connectivity glitch than the processor throttling due to thermal inefficiency.

Honor Play image

Also, for PUBG I played mostly in the High and HD setting, moreover, the phone offers you to play in the ULTRA and HDR settings which are greyed out in phones running Snapdragon 660 or the SD 636.

Read – (5 Best Gaming Smartphones Worth Buying)

The Kirin 970 and the Mali G72 M12 definitely offers a much superior gaming performance in comparison to most other phones running anything other than the SD 845 or other very high processors from Apple or Samsung.

There is no heating issues the external temperature on the mobile stays below 38-degree Celsius which is acceptable.

Benchmark Scores – Huawei Honor Play
  • Antutu – 202,644
  • GeekBench Single Core – 1884
  • GeekBench Multi-Core – 6673

idea iconFaceUnlock and Fingerprint

The Honor Play comes with one of the fastest fingerprint scanners at the back and the face unlocking is also fast in the daylight conditions. At night the phone uses the screen light compensation (makes the screen bright) to detect the face, which is also okay but not as fast as the IR sensing on the POCO F1.

camera iconCamera Quality

Coming to the camera quality, I like the cameras on the Honor Play and had a lot of fun using the AI feature which tends to make the colors really saturated at times. But if you want some punchy saturated pictures to share on social media without a need for re-touching those images in the applications such as Snapseed.

Personally, I think for a lot of regular users AI is a shortcut way to click some color-rich images for social media. Yes, I may get the ire from professional photographers but then mobile cameras are for lesser mortals not for those guys.

Honor Play image

So, the Honor Play comes with a 16 MP primary lens and a 2 MP secondary lens at the back that helps to capture bokeh images. The camera UI is really feature rich on the Honor Play and has more features and options that I have seen on any other camera Application.

There are several options such as slow-mo, panorama, spotlighting, different presets, stickers, AR, HDR, Portrait Mode, PRO Mode, Time Lapse and a lot more. The phone can capture 4k videos at 30 FPS and can record slow-motion videos with 120 FPS at FHD resolutions.

Camera App Honor Play

I don’t like the Video quality from the Honor Play and there was some light flickering in videos which makes them look bad. Otherwise, the overall camera experience is good and it can click some great pictures in sufficient light conditions.

You may not want to use the AI option in the low light scenarios as it tends to add more grain in the low light conditions.

Check the Detailed Camera Samples – Double Click on the Image to See High Resolution

Honor Play

battery-iconBattery Life

The Battery life is superb on the Honor Play and the 3750 mAH battery capacity easily allows you to use the phone for a full day without the need for a charge. Also, the fast charger that comes with the phone can charge it 0 to 74% in 1 hour and 30 minutes and up to 100% in just over 2 hours.

Growth IconConnectivity

Aforementioned, the mobile comes with Dual Sim Support and there is even Dual Volte. I have used it with the Reliance JIO sim which is my secondary sim card and didn’t find any issues with the call or data connectivity on this device.

Also, the WIFI signals are as good on the Honor Play as my other handset I am using currently.

headphones iconSound and Audio Quality

To be frank, the speaker volume on the Honor Play is low and we can rate it as below average. It is not that you can’t hear it but it is not very loud as some other phones. It is almost the same as my Samsung S7 which probably has poor speaker volume.

You can use the Good Dev Volume Booster from play store to increase the speaker volume and it helps a little bit.

On the other hand, the sound quality from the headphones is superb and I like the more natural sound from Huawei in comparison to most other Android phones which come some sort of artificial presets to make the sound more unnatural.

The volume on the headphones is also decent so no complaints here.

Key Competitors

Honor Plays biggest nemesis is the POCO F1 which stole its thunder just a couple of days after launch. I wrote a review of the POCO F1 recently where I have also at the end given some comparison between both the mobiles and which one you should buy – you can read that here.

It is easily a better choice in comparison to the Oppo F9 Pro(read review) (though that waterdrop display is tempting) and the ill-fated Xiaomi Mi A2.

Pro & Cons for Huawei Honor Play

Like Good

  • Good Display With Vibrant colors and Clarity.
  • Superb Performance – Kirin 970 is super fast.
  • Latest Android Oreo 8.1 and EMUI 8.2.
  • Great Battery Life and Design.



  • Huawei’s Software Experience.
  • Low Light Camera Performance
  • Video Quality is not good.
  • Speaker Sound is poor.
  • No L1 Support for HD Streaming.

man icon thoughtsConcluding Thoughts – Should You Buy?

Despite the launch of POCO F1, there is a merit in buying the Honor Play. The biggest one is a far superior build quality and displays on the Honor Play in comparison to the POCO F1.

Also, the bezels at the front side are much smaller and the phone is way less bulky than the POCO F1. In-hand feel is great and overall using the Honor Play for day to day tasks is a great experience.

On the other hand, our darling POCO has some really solid advantages like the better camera, more battery life, and an even faster processor. Both are great phones and you are not losing much picking one over the other.

Which Version Should You Buy 4 GB Ram or the 6 GB Ram?

The 6 GB Ram version is available for Rs. 23,990 while the 4 GB Ram version costs Rs. 19,999. I strongly suggest to get the 4 GB ram version as the cost of the 6 GB ram version is too high and it even doesn’t come with 128 GB storage.

Thanks for reading the review guys, share with me in the comments if you can any queries or thoughts.

Watch Full Review for the Huawei Honor Play in Hindi

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Kanuj Sharma
Full-Time Blogger & Entrepreneur, Tech Enthusiast. A decade of experience in Telecom (Engineer & MBA) Read My Story,  Connect On Twitter, Linked-In, Youtube
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