Honor Play review: the best smartphone for 10 000 hryvnia


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In appearance, Honor Play very much resembles the hit of this season: Huawei P Smart + smartphone. The same chassis: the same dimensions and

screen characteristics (in fact, Honor Playthe display is calibrated better, but more on that later), the same placement of all elements. At the same time, there are not all those factors that have annoyed me all the time I used Huawei P Smart +: there is NFC (hello, addictive to contactless payments via Google Pay), there is a reversible USB-C connector, which is no less addictive. And there is support for a range of 5 GHz in Wi-Fi. But this is not just a copy of the same smartphone under a different brand. Because Honor Play is the flagship processor last year, Kirin 970, used in the models Mate 10 and P20. All this makes Honor Play the best mid-range smartphone in terms of price and features. And now you will see for yourself.


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Comparison of Huawei P Smart + and Huawei Honor Play

Despite the very similar appearance, these are twocompletely different smartphone. That, however, does not mean at all that Huawei P Smart + is worse. It is simply created for a different target audience, and is in a different price category. I am sure that the corporate gradient color together with the price overlaps with all the flaws of this model (and they are flaws only in the eyes of geeks), and P Smart + buyers are quite happy with their purchase (and even more so with the price). At the same time, there is one thing in which P Smart + is technologically ahead of Honor Play. And it also fits perfectly into its target audience (Honor Play buyers, on the contrary, will remain indifferent to it) - this is a selfie shot with a front camera. Firstly, the P Smart + has a dual one (and the main module is 24 megapixel), and secondly, it supports HDR.

Honor Play offers in our market two colorhousing options: black and purple. Both are metal (because of this, Honor is a bit heavier than its twin, but these 7 grams of difference are hardly easy to determine "by eye") and dull, for which Honor marketing specialists are particularly grateful.


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What you need to know about the appearance of Honor Play

The main dual camera is placed in a verticalorientation (hello, you know what). The second 2-megapixel module in this case is used only to create bokeh, and works, if not delightful, then perfectly, using all these wonders of neural techno-magic. About this very magic reminiscent of AI Camera next to the LED flash. The front-facing camera is placed in the traditional neckline (everyone who is angry with him traditionally reminds you that you can turn it off in the settings and forget about its existence).


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Metal case saved specifically myinstance of multiple falls on the floor, including the tile. For a couple of months of use, the phone from my awkward hands fell, probably a couple of dozen times. As evidenced by the characteristic scratches on the corners of the body and my annihilated nerve cells.


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The design of the smartphone can probably be called“Frameless”, but it is worth understanding that in the modern world this concept is interpreted by all manufacturers rather frivolously. However, to the credit of the manufacturer, Honor Play is not positioned anywhere as frameless. The widest part of the frame is located at the bottom of the screen, and it is sufficient to accommodate the Honor logo.


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Probably the only thing that can beat outThe experienced boom in this smartphone is a hybrid tray for SIM cards: either the second SIM card or the memory card. I personally do not remember at all when I last inserted a memory card into my smartphone, but there is a separate type of people for whom this is important. I can not blame them for this, although he himself is indifferent to this issue.


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What is the Honor Play screen

If you have not mastered the skills of reading theseingenious diagrams, we have a wonderful article on our website about how we measure the quality of screens and what all these graphs mean. In short, the color gamut at the Honor Play screen looks better than that of its twin - it almost coincides with the ideal sRGB, dropping very little in the green and red parts of the spectrum. The color temperature is close to the reference value of 6500K, but it still goes to cold, blue tones. And the darkest color goes into the cold more. The third graph of color components is beautiful at all: green is almost perfect, and blue slightly prevails over red (remember, ideally, all three graphs should coincide and be on the same level with the gray dotted line). Note the low color error values ​​(purple graph). The screen brightness ranges from 0.481 cd / m2 (this is a bit too much, there is no deep black color) for a black field to 343.62 cd / m2 for a white field. The contrast is 714: 1. In general, the screen is not very bright, but it has a good color rendition - for which we all appreciate the IPS-matrix, receiving at the same time all the accompanying drawbacks in the form of low contrast and overexposed black (especially in comparison with AMOLED).


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What is the performance of the Honor Play

Every time I, in the process of working onAnother review of the smartphone, “moving” to a mid-level model, I feel discomfort due to the fact that the performance of the phone is getting lower than what I'm used to. Sometimes it manifests itself strongly, sometimes weakly. It should be said that in the last couple of years, the difference between the flagship smartphone and the device of the average price range has become less than before. In the case of Honor Play (it’s impossible to say that it’s a surprise if the Kirin 970’s flagship processor last year is inside, which isn’t outdated - the first model on the next processor hasn’t even gone on sale at the time of this review) I didn’t feel what is a decrease in performance or a slowdown compared with the top-end smartphones. Of course, after a year of use (this happens from year to year, with all the flagships) of the smartphone, after installing dozens of applications, thousands of photos in memory and other pleasures of operation, this performance will no longer please the buyer as in the first month. But the result is obvious: AnTuTu Honor Play shows 204,312 points, which is comparable to the flagships of last year: Huawei Mate 10, Samsung Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S8 and Huawei P20. Once again I will draw a parallel with the Huawei P Smart +, which scored 131,431 points: with all the external similarities (on the chassis are clones), these are two completely different smartphones, with a fundamental difference in performance. Tests in benchmarks PC Mark and 3D Mark show similarly good results. This, in fact, is the advantage of the Honor brand, which has always been characterized by an excellent price-performance ratio. Although it usually concerned one model in the year - with the X index, which since Honor 4X received editorial awards gg. Today, the Honor lineup is much wider,than 3-4 years ago and Honor Play surpasses the newest Honor 8X in both performance and price. Just because the model 8X plays on another field - where there is a massive sale. In the end, not everyone needs a smartphone for 10,000 hryvnia (and not everyone can afford it).


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How long does Honor Play work?

Regular readers gg remember that I find the strangest question“How much the battery holds” the smartphone, simply because all people are different, with different usage scenarios and a different set of installed (and simultaneously running, as well as running in the background) applications. And even with the same set of applications, these figures will be different, because someone reads 200 people on Twitter, and someone 2000s. I’m not talking about facebook at all - this is one of the main enemies of modern times for smartphone batteries. Just give a graph of the discharge of the battery in one of normal working days. The smartphone on the chart worked for almost 24 hours, but it was charging less than an hour when the charge decreased below 50%. If you translate these graphs into a simple language, the smartphone on a typical day is discharged by the evening, but under heavy load during the working day fully mobile mode) may not live to 6 pm. This figure is worse than that of the same Mate 10, but the battery capacity of 3750 mAh against 4000 doesn’t have much effect on the situation, but it certainly does not make it worse.


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How does the camera Honor Play

It should be said that since the release of the processorKirin 970, which was named by Huawei as “the world's first processor with artificial intelligence”, is extremely interesting to me how much all these AI games in smartphones (with support from the operating system) make sense for the end user. Therefore, the main shooting mode I have is AI. And I must say that I “with a feeling of deep satisfaction” note the serious progress in image processing, even with the example of this particular processor. The new gallery interface has a separate AI button, which allows you to see how the snapshot looks like before processing by trained neural networks and after. It should be said that if you copy pictures directly from the phone's memory, then they are stored there, oddly enough, in a processed form. But the original can be pulled out if you share this picture directly from the Gallery application (for example, by sending the source to Dropbox). How does the treatment can be seen in the picture below. Here you can see the comparison, expanded to full screen. As you can see, the bokeh effect works, if not ideally (the brush on the right ear of the Maine Coon is not precisely processed), then very well. But the beauty of processing is not only in blurring the background, but also in color correction.

On these histograms you can see what exactly the smart, specially trained, algorithms of the AI ​​mode draw.


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Shooting on the street

For a better understanding of the camera, I sharedall the interesting pictures in several sections. All these pictures in the original resolution (including pictures before and after processing by automation) can be seen in a special gallery on the Torba. This is how, for example, shooting on the street looks like - the easiest type of shooting, since in the bright sun today even the camera of a completely budget phone shoots well. Pay attention to the bokeh effect in frames with a dog - he is there everywhere.


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Indoor shooting

I remember the times when the camera phones are goodcoping with shooting in sunlight, could not take an unbroken indoor picture at all. Today, these times are long past. And the camera phone can be taken under any lighting conditions. By the way, an interesting report about how the new terminal of New Mail works was filmed with the Honor Play camera. And there almost all the pictures were taken indoors.


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Night shooting

Shooting in low light conditions is the mostthe main criterion in which now there is a struggle among manufacturers of mobile cameras. In fairness, the war there is not only at the level of matrices (they need less and less light), but also at the level of processing algorithms that reduce digital noise (graininess) and increase the dynamic range of images. Here is an example of shooting at dusk on the street with and without flash. Just to remind you that the phone’s camera flash performance is limited to 2-3 meters to the object. Of course, you will not be able to illuminate, say, the stadium.


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Starting from the camera Huawei P20, manufactureruses a special night mode. In practice, the camera takes several pictures with different exposures. Something like the process of shooting in HDR mode in its first guises: the shooting takes a few seconds, not the share, as it removes HDR today. But the beauty of the situation for the consumer is that the camera no longer needs to be fixed on a tripod - can be removed from the hands. The first shot is shot in normal mode. The second is in Night mode. That is, if you shoot Honor Play at night, do not forget to turn on this mode.


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Here are some more shots taken in night mode. The lights are especially beautiful (I repeat, everything was filmed without a tripod):


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But even in the usual (more precisely in AI) mode, you can get interesting pictures:


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Video shooting

Shooting a camera phone in 4K is no onesurprising, but just to remind you that Honor Play can shoot FullHD video at 60 frames per second, and can shoot in 4K (3840x2160). As an example of video filming, I chose a video from a club concert - this is the usual FullHD mode:

Another camera Honor Play can shoot video in SlowMotion. Videos are short, but funny. Below is a small playlist with examples. Of course, the most effective way is to shoot all sorts of extreme sports with jumps, and this is all for everyone - there is a place to experiment. The SloMo mode works in two versions: manual timing and automatic - a square appears in the camera interface, and shooting with a high frame rate is activated when an object appears in this square. An example of the work is in the review of Huawei P Smart +. I would also add that the video can be recorded with the new H.265 codec (but the usual H.264 is also supported)

Selfie camera

The popularity of selfie cameras can be compared topopular karaoke. At first it seems to us that no one uses them, and then we observe how everyone (on the sly and not very much) begins to use absolutely everything. Therefore, I decided to highlight the pictures taken by the front camera in a separate block.


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What else can the camera Honor Play? In Pro mode, the camera can also include a snapshot in RAW, if suddenly you love it. In additional shooting modes hides all the most interesting:

  • Panorama - which has already become the standard shooting mode,you need to smoothly guide the camera along the indicated arrows in the interface. Not suitable for shooting 360-degree panoramas (in such cases, I take pictures with Google Street View application, there is such an opportunity)
  • The length of time (what is called TimeLapse) - slow mode, allows you to effectively take, for example, sunsets or the movement of clouds across the sky
  • Watermark - just adds water to the framea sign (there is an interesting library of stickers, there is where to experiment, I once talked in detail about it in the Huawei P9 detailed review, little has changed there)
  • Artist (filters like the one that made Prisma popular are not so cool, but show real-time previews before shooting)
  • Download is not a shooting mode, but a separate menu where you can load additional shooting modes, now there are three of them: Delicious Food, Watermark and Scanner (I have already installed all three)
  • Night is the magic night mode for handheld shooting.
  • HDR - everything is clear, this is a shooting mode with an extended dynamic range, but with the advent of AI mode, it already loses its meaning
  • 3D panorama - technically, this is just an animation (using the Fyuse engine, you can install the application on Google Play), there is also where to experiment
  • 3D models - face digitization and transformation modehim in a 3d model. The first such experiments began to make Sony. So far this is all self-indulgence, but perhaps in the future there will be some interesting "breakthroughs", however, the regime is still niche, for fans
  • Slowdown is the very slo motion
  • Pros - shooting mode for those who understand photos: you can manually adjust the exposure, focus and exposure compensation, in this mode you can record RAW
  • Light is another mode for experimenters who allows to draw pictures in a dark room with a light source. My hands never got to remove something decent, and there’s no point in showing obscene
  • Filter - the usual filters used in the cameras after the appearance of Instagram in our life
  • Scanner - the mode of shooting texts for recognition
  • Delicious food - theoretically should improve the appearance of food, but there is nothing more to say about this, it was not useful


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I can also say that if you suddenly impressedHuawei P Smart + camera self-mode, then Honor Play has all this nyatnaya nonsense too. With the exception of HDR in the front camera (this is a proprietary chip specifically P Smart +).

In the dry residue

Honor Play - exceptionally successful modelsmartphone, which I find today the best in the price range up to 10 000 hryvnia. This model is definitely made for geeks and everyone who understands what technical characteristics are needed for what (and plans to use them). It has everything we love: NFC and contactless payments, USB-C connector, dual-band Wi-Fi, metal case and well-calibrated IPS-display. It is worth knowing that this smartphone is equipped with the flagship processor Kirin 970, installed in the flagships of Huawei last year (they are now twice as expensive as Honor Play, which makes it a bargain). What impressed me most was the progress of the camera, or rather the work of AI, which even managed to become more interesting than that of Huawei Mate 10. And now you yourself can appreciate it. The logical outcome of all this is the editorial reward. gg "We recommend."

3 reasons to buy Honor Play:

  • the best offer on the market with a price tag of 10,000 hryvnia;
  • everything we love: NFC, USB-C, dual-band Wi-Fi;
  • magic camera that can compete with the flagships.

2 reasons not to buy Honor Play:

  • your budget does not reach 10,000;
  • You already have a smartphone with the same features.

Honor play

best smartphone for 10,000 hryvnia

The best smartphone in its price category: metal case, flagship processor, large 6.3-inch IPS-screen with high resolution, support for contactless payments via NFC, reversible USB-C connector and dual-band Wi-Fi. One of the best cameras on the market, able to compete with the flagship models of this year. Ability to evaluate the functions of AI when shooting: object recognition, automatic color calibration and background blur. Well-deserved reward "we recommend."

we recommend

Technical characteristics of Honor Play

Dimensions
158x75x8mm

Weight
176 g

CPU
Hisilicon Kirin 970: 4 Cortex-A73 2.4 GHz cores 4 Cortex-A53 1.8 GHz cores with Mali-G72 MP12 graphics

Display
IPS, 6.3 ″, 2340x1080 pixels, aspect ratio 19.5: 9, density 409 ppi

Memory
64 GB + microSD up to 256 GB, 4 GB RAM

Main camera
double: 16 MP aperture f / 2.2 + 2 MP aperture f / 2.4

Front-camera
d16 MP aperture f / 2.0 + 2 MP

Wireless technology
Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n 2.4 GHz + 5 GHz, Wi-Fi Direct, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, A2DP, LE, EDR, aptX HD, GPS

Battery
lithium-ion, 3750 mAh, non-removable

operating system
Android 8.1 Oreo + EMUI 8.2

SIM card
2 x nanoSIM (second hybrid slot for microSD)