Honor Play First Impressions: Affordable Huawei Nova 3

Honor Play is set to launch on August 6, 2018, in India in the mid-range price segment

Honor Play First Impressions

After announcing the budget Honor 9N smartphone in India last week, Honor is now gearing up for another launch event on August 6, 2018, in New Delhi, India. This time around, the company is set to unveil a new mid-range smartphone with top-of-the-line specifications and features. The Chinese smartphone maker will unveil Honor Play, a mid-range smartphone with a handful of tricks under its sleeve to please tech-savvy Indian audience.

Honor Play First Impressions: Affordable Huawei Nova 3


Honor Play sports a big 6.3-inch Full HD+ display, AI backed dual-lens camera setup and company's flagship AI enabled chipset- Kirin 970. Besides, the handset is said to offer improved gaming performance by utilizing Honor's GPU Turbo technology. Honor Play runs Android 8.1 Oreo-based EMUI 8.2 out of the box. The specs and features remind us of the recently launched Huawei Nova 3, which offers exactly the same set of hardware and software. Huawei Nova 3 is priced at Rs. 34,999 and takes a fight with the highly popular OnePlus 6.

Having said that, we spent some time with Honor Play to know better about its highlight features. Here's what we have to say for the upcoming Honor mid-range device.

Design and Display

Honor Play is basically a Huawei Nova 3 with a matte finish back panel. There's no change in the placement of dual-lens camera module and fingerprint scanner. However, Honor has opted for rounded corners and edges on Honor Play for slightly better in-hand feel. Resultant, Honor Play is slightly comfortable to hold in one hand than the Nova 3.

Honor Play sports a large 6.3-inch Full HD+ display with 19.5:9 aspect ratio to offer a respectable 84% screen-to-body ratio. There's a notch at the top that houses a 16MP front camera sensor, earpiece, and the light sensor. The IPS LCD screen offers a pixel density of 409 PPI and is bright and colorful. The screen delivers immersive video playback and gameplay experience.

AI backed Dual-Lens camera at rear and 16MP selfie sensor

AI backed Dual-Lens camera at rear and 16MP selfie sensor

Honor Play features a 16MP+2MP rear camera setup. The 16MP sensor comes with f/2.2 aperture and the 2MP secondary sensor works on slightly darker f/2.4 aperture. Like previous Honor devices, Honor Play also uses machine learning algorithms to step up the camera performance. With AI mode enabled, the camera can recognize various shooting scenes and modify the basic settings for better image output.

The AI mode can be pretty harsh on colors; however, its ability to quickly understand the shooting scene can come really handy in everyday situations. For instance, the camera can instantly switch to portrait or macro mode by analyzing the light, distance from the subject and other critical photography elements. Besides, if you don't prefer oversaturated colors, you can switch it off anytime for neutral image output. Honor's camera app also allows you to change the aperture value to customize the bokeh effect.

For selfies, Honor Play sports a 16MP selfie camera that works on f/2.0 aperture value and 2.0µm pixels. Like Nova 3, Honor Play's front camera also offers Phone X like studio lighting effects, animations, and interactive emojis.

Huawei's 2017 flagship Kirin 970 chipset and 4GB/6GB RAM variants

Honor Play is backed by the Huawei's 2017 flagship chipset- Kirin 970. It was first introduced in Honor View 10 and is Huawei's first mobile AI computing platform featuring a dedicated Neural Processing Unit (NPU). Built on the 10nm manufacturing process, Kirin 970 integrates 5.5 billion transistors in a single square centimeter. You can read my review of Honor 10 here to know more about Kirin 970 AI chipset. Honor informed us that Honor Play will also get full support of a dedicated NPU unit for better overall performance. Besides, the new handset also employs GPU Turbo technology for better gaming performance. We are yet to test the gaming and battery efficiency on Honor Play.

Android Oreo based EMUI 8.1

Honor Play runs on Android 8.1 based EMUI 8.2 UI. Huawei's UI is feature rich and comes loaded with a number of useful software features. It also allows you to choose between standard app drawer UI and iOS-like user interface. If you prefer stock Android, you will take some time to get used to EMUI. The smartphone will be available in 4GB and 6GB RAM variants and will be backed by a 3,750 mAh battery unit. As far as connectivity is concerned, Honor Play comes with hybrid SIM card tray, Type-C USB port, Wi-Fi Bridge, Bluetooth and FM radio.


Honor Play is set to launch on August 6, 2018, in the Indian market. The smartphone offers top-notch specs and comes equipped with some interesting camera and game-centric features that can please masses. We are expecting the handset to cost within the price range of Rs. 21,000 to Rs. 25,000 for 4GB and 6GB RAM variants. Stay tuned for the day of launch and our comprehensive review of Honor Play.

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