Solid hardware for a budget ‘gaming’ phone

Chinese hardware brand Honor is entering the gaming phone arena with its  new Play model, which launched yesterday in India and today in Malaysia. The company is hoping to win over mobile gamers on a budget with a low-key device that, on the surface, is indistinguishable from most other Android handsets with a notched display.

I got a chance to try out the new phone in Kuala Lumpur, and from my brief time with the Honor Play, it seems like a good deal. You’re essentially getting a Huawei P20 Pro – minus the Leica camera systems and 2GB less RAM – for a third of the price (the 4GB/64GB version costs INR 19,999 ($291) and 1,249 MYR in Malaysia).

We don’t shill.

Check out TNW’s Hard Fork.

With Android 8.1 and Huawei’s EMUI version 8.2 skin on top, it’s fairly snappy and easy to navigate – though OnePlus’ OxygenOS feels a bit faster and is certainly more flexible.

There’s a fair bit of bloatware taking up space on the Malaysian edition, including a bunch of games I don’t care to play at all. Incidentally, Honor teamed up with Tencent Games to optimize the device for the popular Battle Royale-style game, Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG), but that didn’t come pre-installed.

I had trouble installing the title from Google Play on my hotel Wi-Fi, so I’ll only be able to fully test Honor’s claims of a 60 percent performance boost along with a 30 percent reduction in power consumption in my full review later on.

That said, other recent graphics-intensive releases like Darkness Rises ran smoothly enough, with high frame rates and minimal jitter. So far, so good.

Darkness Rises works great on the Honor Play