Home Tech Editorials Honor Play Review: A Quality Gaming PHP 15k+ Phone

Honor Play Review: A Quality Gaming PHP 15k+ Phone


The Honor Play officially launched in the country this August 11, 2018. Although it’s part of the midrange smartphone category based on its price, the smartphone contains high-end specs that are usually found in flagship devices. In our previous article, we addressed the Honor Play‘s gaming performance. This time, we will be reviewing its overall performance.

Will the Honor Play be able to prove that it’s not only good for playing mobile games? Let’s find out here.

SPECS Honor Play
Display 6.3″ FHD+ display, 2340 x 1080, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 409 PPI
Chipset HiSilicon Kirin 970
GPU Mali-G72 MP12
Memory 4GB RAM + 64GB storage (expandable via a microSD card)
Rear Camera Dual 16MP + 2MP camera with PDAF and LED Flash
Front Camera 16MP
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth 4.2, A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, USB 2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
Battery Non-removable Li-Po 3750 mAh battery, Fast battery charging 18W
OS Android 8.1 (Oreo), EMUI 8.1
Price PHP 15,990


The Honor Play sports a glass front along with a plastic frame. It measures 157.9 x 74.3 x 7.5 mm and weighs 176 grams. As expected, the smartphone has a notch as well as thin bezels at the sides.

Moving on to the rear part of the device, the vertically aligned dual rear cameras are positioned at the top-left with the fingerprint scanner located at the middle. The company brand logo is then found on the bottom-left part. As for the camera’s LED Flash, it’s located underneath the camera.

The usual power button is seen at the right with volume rockers. As for the left side, you’ll spot the SIM and microSD tray. The bottom houses the 3.5mm audio jack, mic, speaker grille, and a Type-C port.

Overall, the design of the Honor Play is really simple and modern looking. Another thing to take note of, although it has a matte back, this doesn’t mean that it can’t easily be smudged by fingerprints.


The Honor device features a 6.3″ FHD+ notched display with a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels and an aspect ratio of 19.5:9. Its screen was relatively bright and in terms of colors, it looked vibrant and accurate. When we tried watching movies and playing games, we noticed that the colors didn’t change as we viewed the device from different angles.

Even though the notch has become the norm, a lot of people are still against it. If you’re one of these people, you won’t have to worry since Honor included an option to hide the notch in the device. Furthermore, you can also choose which mobile apps you want the full-screen display to be in.


The Honor Play features a dual 16 MP + 2 MP rear camera and a 16 MP front camera which isn’t bad for a midrange phone. In addition, the smartphone features AI, which aids in detecting what kind of subject you’re shooting. This, in turn, adjusts the camera automatically in order to take a professional-looking photo.

Here are some sample shots:

The first sample shots were taken on the rooftop. As mentioned earlier, the Honor Play contains an AI that automatically adjusts the photo’s color and brightness depending on the scenery or object. This can clearly be seen in these pictures. The shot taken with AI is a lot more vibrant compared to the picture without AI. The AI was able to detect that the scenery was an overcast sky and then gave it a yellow-ish tone.

In terms of the picture without AI, it still managed to produce a good output since the details are clear; color-wise, it was accurate. Unfortunately, the details on the back became blurry.

One of the objects that the phone’s AI can detect is plants or greenery. What the AI does in this photo is add some vibrancy as well as some contrast to further emphasize it.

Here is another sample photo of some greenery. As you can see, the green color of the leaves became lighter but it didn’t sacrifice the subject’s details. The details on both photos remained sharp and the two are pleasing to the eyes.

The phone’s AI camera is able to transform dull-looking photos into vibrant images. Take this image for example. This was taken during the afternoon when the sun was close to setting. Due to this, the lighting became dim and the subject lost some color. Fortunately, the AI was able to adjust the tree’s color and made it look like the photo was taken on broad daylight

One of the features included in the Honor Play is Portrait mode where you can manually add a bokeh effect on your images to emphasize the subject. The Portrait mode was able to further brighten up the subject as well as give a natural-looking bokeh effect. Unfortunately, it also ended up making the sky overly bright causing it to look over-exposed.

We also tried taking some pictures indoors. The colors look close to real-life representation and there were no issues on the details. Our only problem on this shot is the spot where the sunlight directly hit it. It made that spot slightly over-exposed. This might mean that the phone’s AI camera doesn’t do too well on shots taken during broad daylight.


As for how the device captures lights in photos, it did well. The lights aren’t that scattered nor did it have that much noise. Moreover, the other details around the lights are still clear and distinguishable.

This shot was taken in a dim-lit hallway. The details are still clear although the shot’s sharpness decreased. Some parts ended up being fuzzy and once again, the part where there was some sunlight looked over-exposed.

This was taken without AI or Portrait mode. Although this was the case, the output still looked good. The details are sharp and clear and the colors are accurate and balanced. The only problem on this shot was the sky which looked too bright.

We took the same shot again but this time with Portrait mode and the AI feature. The Portrait mode was not able to capture just the subject so the bokeh effect was not that noticeable. As for the one taken with AI, the colors looked more vibrant.

Let’s move on to selfies. The image on the right was taken with Beauty mode. It looked natural although if you compare it with the photo on the left, you’ll see that the mode made the subject’s skin smoother. It also got rid of the bags under her eyes. There weren’t any big changes in the color although the one with the beauty mode looked brighter.

The Portrait mode can also be used on the front camera. The Bokeh effect is more apparent in this shot. It was able to capture the subject fully and the details also remained clear here.

Of course, we also tried taking a selfie in dim lighting. The phone’s front camera flash is subtle compared to other smartphones. What it does is make the whole screen white when you take a picture making it look softer than other pictures taken with flash.

The Honor Play also contains some AR lens which includes 3D objects, effects, and some backgrounds. Here are some samples.

Not only did Honor use AI in the smartphone’s camera, but they included it in the device’s gallery as well. It helps in organizing your photos by creating specific tags according to the photo’s characters and scenes. In addition, you may also edit your pictures and add some AR gestures, make-up, backgrounds, etc. to it.

Features and User Experience

The Honor Play is powered by the HiSilicon Kirin 970 with a Mali-G72 MP12 GPU. It contains 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage which is expandable via a microSD card. In addition, the smartphone runs on Android 8.1 Oreo.

In regards to security, the smartphone sports a fingerprint scanner and a face-unlock feature. The two security features were easy to set up and both work fast enough. It’s good to note that the face-unlock feature doesn’t work if the user’s eyes are closed, so you don’t have to worry about your phone getting unlocked when you’re asleep. The face unlock can also recognize the user even when he/she is wearing glasses or has a little bit of hair blocking the face. In dimly lit situations, the feature still works.

The Honor Play is equipped with Honor’s new GPU Turbo along with these features – AI 4D Smart Shock, AI 3D Surround Sound, and Game Suite. These truly aids in making your gaming experience more immersive. As for the graphics, it was clear and vibrant and we experienced no lag during gameplay. For a more in-depth review of its gaming performance, you can check out our previous Honor Play article.

Similar to other recent Honor smartphones, the System Navigation can also be changed in the Honor Play. You may either choose Sinle-key navigation, Three-key navigation, or a Navigation dock.


Once again, we tested the Honor Play using the following benchmarking tools and here are the results:

Benchmarks Honor Play
Antutu 206651
Geekbench (single-core) 1884
Geekbench (multi-core) 6545
PCMark Work 7464


The handset is fueled by a 3,750mAh battery. It lasted about a whole day with light usage and around 4 hours with continuous gaming. It also took around 2 hours to charge the device fully from 0%.

Battery Honor Play
Battery 3750mAh
Battery Life 1 day – light usage

4 hours – continuous gaming

Charging Time (0-100%) approx. 2 hours


When you look at the smartphone’s specs, the device’s audio is quite impressive. It contains a 3D sound field in three modes – near, front, and wide. This was made possible through the smartphone’s AI 3D surround sound and its Histen 3D audio technology.

When we tried playing some music, we noticed that the sound was clear even on maximum volume. In terms of loudness, it did well although the sound was not loud enough on medium volume.


The Honor Play has a price tag of PHP 15,990 and is currently available in online stores like Lazada and Shopee, as well as in official stores all around the country.

In terms of its camera, the Honor Play’s AI feature was able to detect different types of scenes as well as adjust it to make it look like it was taken by a professional. Furthermore, the color and exposure of the shots were fixed by the AI. Another thing to note of is the handset’s AI image gallery feature which automatically sorts the pictures depending on its category.

In conclusion, the smartphone was able to prove that it has other good features other than gaming. Moreover, the fact that it sports the Kirin 970 chipset yet costs PHP 15,990, makes the smartphone a great choice for mobile gamers. The Honor Play is truly a quality gaming phone at a very affordable price.

What do you think about the Honor Play? Share with us your thoughts in the comments section below.

For more information on the product, you may visit Honor’s official website, www.hihonor.com, or their official Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/honorphilippines/.

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