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Hands-on with the Honor Play at Gamescom 2018

At Gamescom 2018, there was a definite push toward mobile gaming, with several new titles looking to launch on smartphones first and foremost. As part of that, Honor was showing off its new Play smartphone, designed specifically for mobile gamers.

Watch the embedded YouTube video below, or directly on YouTube HERE

Despite sharing many of the same core components as the Honor 10 – including the Kirin 970 CPU and 4GB of RAM – the Honor Play is aimed squarely at the mobile gamer. This is thanks to the larger, 6.3in display which should offer a better gaming experience compared to the 5.8in screen on the Honor 10. For those interested, the screen’s resolution is 2340×1080 (a 19.5:9 aspect ratio) and it uses an IPS panel.

Another improvement over the Honor 10 is the Play’s larger battery – at 3750mAh we would expect it to last longer than the 3400mAh cell found in the Honor 10, meaning you should be able to squeeze in a few extra PUBG matches.

The most significant ‘upgrade’, however, is actually called ‘GPU Turbo’. This is a software update that Huawei/Honor has been able to push to devices sporting its own Kirin processors. Essentially, it seems the update allows for the CPU to better manage background resources and can thus optimise gaming performance accordingly.

In the real world, we will have to wait and see what – if any – effect this has. In our discussion with Honor, which you can see in the video above, they seemed to suggest GPU Turbo shouldn’t be considered as a way to get more FPS, but rather it should offer more stable frame rates in games by minimising any FPS dips.

Honor did point out that it is continuing partnerships with PUBG and Asphalt 9, however, so we would expect both of those games to run well on the Honor Play.

Elsewhere, the camera is also worth touching on. While the hardware consists of one 16MP primary camera, with an f/2.2 aperture, and one 2MP secondary camera purely for depth-sensing, Honor is again focusing more on the software side of things. This is thanks to the AI scene recognition baked into the Kirin 970 processor – it can recognise 22 different objects or environments, and optimise image parameters accordingly. Honor claims that while it still recognises the same 22 scenes, the phone is now able to correctly identify more scenarios within those 22 subjects areas. We will again have to test this for ourselves and see how it compares to the Honor 10.

Lastly, we are still unsure of UK pricing, but the Honor Play is going to be officially announced at IFA on August 30th, so we should expect pricing details soon. We will update this story when we have more information.

KitGuru says: The Honor Play is an interesting device – it isn’t massively different from the Honor 10, yet it is very much marketed as a gaming phone. We will have to see if this GPU Turbo technology can really make much of a difference.

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