It’s undeniable that gaming is a growth segment. Mobile gaming, in particular, has experienced a boom, with the proliferation of mobile devices and the growth of mobile games. It’s no surprise that smartphone makers have jumped in to capture the rapidly growing segment. After the likes of the Xiaomi Black Shark, Razer Phone and ASUS ROG Phone, here comes a new challenger – the honor Play.

Teased for several weeks and just launched in India, the gaming-focused honor Play is officially launched in Malaysia today.

After a pre-book or registration of interest the past week, the device is ready for pre-order today, 7 August until 9 August 2018.

Before we get into the pre-order and availability details, let’s look at what the honor Play has to offer.

First up, design. If you’re expecting something more purposeful ala the ROG Phone, then you’re going to be disappointed. The honor Play looks unabashedly like the nova 3 and honor 8 Pro. There’s no shiny glass back but instead a more understated full metal unibody. Which isn’t exactly a bad thing.

It sports a 6.3-inch Full HD+ display, with a notch, pushing resolution of 2340×1080. It’s a punchy display with good colour reproduction, brightness and contrast. Certainly great for media consumption and gaming.

Under the hood, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find an octa-core Kirin 970, the top-of-the-line SoC from Huawei’s Hisilicon family. The chip, of course, features a built-in NPU (neural processing unit) that gives it AI and machine learning capabilities. It’s mated to a powerful Mali-G72 GPU as well as 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage.

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Storage is expandable via microSD.

honor Play

In the optics department, the honor Play features a 16MP f/2.2 + 2MP f/2.4 dual-camera setup with AI on the rear. The front, meanwhile gets a 16MP f/2.0 selfie shooter. Nothing ground-breaking here and surely nothing you’ve not seen on honor’s stable of devices.

But hang on, we’re talking about a gaming phone. So, what makes the honor Play special.

honor Play

For now, it’s GPU Turbo. Something honor has been touting since June. GPU Turbo is a hardware-software integration solution that increases graphics performance.

With GPU Turbo enabled, graphics processing improves by 60 percent, while reducing energy consumption by 30 percent. Not only that, it improved graphics quality even if the game doesn’t support HDR.

honor Play
Let’s do this!

The result? Silky smooth gameplay and a cool device throughout.

It all sounds good one paper and in theory means it can squeeze more out of less powerful hardware and older devices.

Based on internal tests, the honor Play can deliver 30 minutes more gameplay than the iPhone X, and about 15 minutes more than a Snapdragon 845-powered smartphone.

honor Play
It’s pretty obvious I’m crap at this. No chicken dinner, fool.

In terms of gameplay, the honor Play will deliver 5.6fps more than the Black Shark, and up to 10fps more than a Snapdragon 845-powered smartphone.

That’s mighty impressive, seeing that the Snapdragon 845 is top-of-the-line.

honor Play

Performance games aside, there’s an AI-enabled Smart Shock 4D experience that adds more immersive “dual-shock” vibrating effects to gameplay. This is game-specific of course, but a neat party trick.

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With first-hand experience playing PUBG Mobile and Real Racing 3 on the honor Play with GPU Turbo enabled, I’d say performance is pretty impressive. It isn’t completely lag-free as there’s still dropped frames in certain scenes and conditions, but overall a satisfying gaming experience.

GPU Turbo debuts on the honor Play first, and will be made available to the honor 10, honor view10, honor 9 Lite and honor 7X as a software update at a later date.

honor Play
It’s my life goal to run around killing people in my underpants.

In terms of battery, the device gets its juice from a 3,750mAh cell that supports fast charging via USB Type-C.

The honor Play runs EMUI 8.2 based on Android 8.1 Oreo.

Pricing and availability

The honor Play retails for MYR1,249 and is available in Navy Blue and Ultraviolet. You can pre-order starting today until 9 August 2018 at all hihonor and Shopee, honor’s exclusive online partner.

First sale of the honor Play will happen from 10 August, 9.00AM until 12 August, 11.59PM.

Honor Play Pre-order special

If you pre-order, you stand a chance to win a trip to Gamescom in Cologne. Winners announcement will be done on 10 August 2018.

That’s not all. Every pre-order comes with one free PUBG voucher worth MYR60, one free screen protector worth MYR39, a free anti-skid protective cover worth MYR49 and a free Hihonor voucher worth MYR100.

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