Honor Play review

A brand new mid-range phone for Honor

TechRadar Verdict

There isn't much that makes the Honor Play excel as a gaming phone apart from its powerful internals, but with a huge screen and a premium look it makes for an all-round impressive device. That's especially true when you consider the price.


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    Slim, attractive design

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    Top-end power

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    Big display


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    One storage option

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    No wireless charging

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    Singular speaker

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Update: After Google suspended Huawei's future access to Android Play Store and security updates, there are serious question marks over the future of Huawei and Honor phones.

While Google and Huawei have promised to support phones currently on the market, it's not clear how long they'll receive Android updates or access to the Google Play Store, which would severely curtail their usefulness compared to the competition.

Honor is well known for making mobile phones that use top-end tech at a more affordable price than a lot of the flagship phone manufacturers, and the new Honor Play is no exception.

The phone has already been announced and released in China and the Middle East, but now the device is coming to the UK, and we've got our hands on the phone to test it out

We've yet to score this full review as we don't currently know the pricing (plus there's no clear release date yet) so be sure to check back soon for our full verdict on whether the Honor Play should be your next phone.

Honor Play price and release date

  • In the UK the Honor Play will cost £279 (about $360, AU$500)
  • Unconfirmed whether it's coming to the US or Australia
  • In the UK and Middle East you can buy it now

You can buy the Honor Play in the UK and Middle East now – it went on sale on August 30 after the company's IFA 2018 press conference. We’ve yet to have confirmation from Honor on whether the phone will be available to buy in the US or Australia.

The price of the Honor Play isn't much more than the Honor 7X, the brand's no-frills budget handset, which costs $199 / £199 (about AU$475), considering how much extra spec you're getting. It's £279 (about $360, AU$500, AED1,299) in the UK, but you'll have to spend a bit more to get the Special Edition versions of the phone.

Design and display

The Honor Play has a full-metal unibody, and a look that's heavily influenced by the design language of the Honor 10. This phone feels even easier to hold in your hand though, as unlike the 10 it doesn’t have a glass back, although it is a touch heavier than the Honor 10 at 176g.

In fact, this isn’t a particularly large phone considering it has a 6.3-inch screen in its center. That’s because it has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio display with thin bezels around the edges – and that means there’s a notch at the top of the phone to house the front camera and more.

The dimensions of the Honor Play are 157.9 x 74.3 x 7.5mm, but it’s remarkably comfortable to hold in your hand.

If you’re not a fan of a notch at the top of your display, you can cover it up so the phone makes the whole section a black bar, but that does feel like a waste of the extra screen real estate. The Honor logo is cheekily snuck into a thin bezel along the bottom of the screen.

The notch here is particularly big when you compare it to other phones on the market at the moment, but if you're not fussed about that it shouldn't cause any issues.

The display itself is just a Full HD+ panel, but we’ve found the viewing experience to be quite impressive. Colors are good and the screen is clear, with a resolution of 409 pixels per inch. This isn't going to be as good a display as those on the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 or S9 family, but it looks great considering the market this phone sits in.

The rear of the Honor Play feels premium to the touch, and you may prefer the grip here to that on some glass-backed devices you can buy right now.

The edges of the phone are nicely rounded on the rear, although there are some visible antenna bands to allow for the connection to get into the metal body.

Along the bottom edge there's a USB-C port in the middle, with a 3.5mm headphone jack – yes, there is one on this phone – to the left of it and a single speaker to the right. That’s the only speaker on this device, so it won’t sound great if you cover it up.

The fingerprint scanner is on the back of this phone, and while it may not look particularly attractive we found the position made it easy to reach and tap.

James Peckham

James is the Editor-in-Chief at Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.