Made-for-gaming honor Play is coming on 7 August

First smartphone to feature GPU Turbo
honor Play
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Mobile gaming smartphones seem to be growing trend at the moment. We’ve seen the likes of the Black Shark from Xiaomi, Razer Phone and the most over-the-top to date – the ASUS ROG Phone. The good news is, the trend is not going away any time soon. Honor is the next smartphone maker diving into this growing sub-segment. Called honor Play, it looks like any other smartphone in the honor and Huawei stable but hides some flagship hardware underneath.

From the get go, you’ll probably think, “This isn’t anything special, it looks like the nova 3.” And I’d agree with you. It’s unabashedly from the same mould. In place of the fingerprint magnet glass back of the nova series though, the honor Play features a full metal unibody, much like the honor 8 Pro.

It gets a 6.3-inch Full HD+ display (with a notch) with a resolution of 2340×1080 pixels. Not a bad display at all, with punchy colour and brightness.

Underneath, it surprisingly runs the top-of-the-line Kirin 970 processor that’s found on the flagship honor 10 and Huawei P20 series. This is mated to a Mali-G72 GPU. It gets 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage, expandable further via microSD.

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Honor has been talking about its GPU Turbo technology the past couple of months. The proprietary technology is a hardware-software integration solution that increases graphics performance. According to honor, GPU Turbo increases graphics processing efficiency by 60 percent, while reducing energy consumption on the SoC by 30 percent. The advantages are obvious – silky smooth gameplay and cool temperatures throughout.

GPU Turbo also enables outstanding graphics quality, even if the mobile game doesn’t support HDR. The technology debuts first on the honor Play and will be made available to the honor 10, honor View10, honor 9 Lite and honor 7X at a later date.

Graphics intensive games like Mobile Legends and PUBG Mobile benefit from the performance enhancement from GPU Turbo. Performance gains aside, there’s an AI-enabled Smart Shock 4D experience that adds “dual-shock” vibrating effects to gameplay. It’s based on image and sound recognition and thus enhances immersion.

Based on internal benchmarks, the honor Play delivers 30 minutes more gameplay than the iPhone X, and 15 minutes more than a Snapdragon 845-based smartphone.

It will also deliver 5.6fps more than the Black Shark, or up to 10fps more than a Snapdragon 845-powered smartphone.

In other areas, the device features a 16MP f/2.2 + 2MP f/2.4 dual-camera system with AI enhancements. The front gets a 16MP f/2.0 selfie shooter with depth of field and 3D lighting effects. Nothing to shout about but decent optics nonetheless.

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The device has a 3,750mAh battery built-in that supports fast charging via USB Type-C.

Unlike phones like the Black Shark or ROG Phone, there’s no edgy design elements nor gaming accessories that come with the honor Play.

Pricing and availability

The gaming-focused smartphone will officially launch in Malaysia on 7 August at Sunway Pyramid. No pricing details as yet. As a comparison, the honor Play with 4GB RAM + 64GB storage goes for CNY1,999 (MYR1,195), which is incredibly competitive for the specs it offers. This could very well be the cheapest Kirin 970-based smartphone yet.

Stay tuned for details at the launch.

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