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Honor Play review

A brand new mid-range phone for Honor

The design and features on the Honor Play make for an impressive device, but not a groundbreaking one. The big selling point is how much you get here considering the price.

Sitting between the Honor 7X and Honor 10, it's not packing all of the latest features that the company packs into its top-end devices.

Instead this is a slight repackaging of many of those features with a much lower price, which will make the Honor Play a more palatable choice for those searching for a gaming phone on a budget.

Who's it for?

Honor is marketing this as a phone for gamers, but the Honor Play is a compelling handset whether you're looking for a gaming phone, or just a phone with a high-end feel, but without a high-end price tag.

At £279, it's a great buy for anyone who wants a phone with a large screen and powerful internals, rather than the mid-range processing tech you'd normally find on a phone around this price point.

Should you buy it?

Although the Honor Play isn't blowing us away in terms of revolutionary new features, it looks to fill a gap for those looking for an affordable alternative to the top-end devices on the market.

Gaming phones are typically expensive, so the pricing of the Honor Play certainly makes it competitive in that area. 

And if gaming isn't a priority but you want a device with a huge screen, a slightly premium feel and a lot of other top-end features at a lower price than an Honor 10, this may be the perfect phone for you.

If you're after an all-out gaming phone, though, the Honor Play won't be the best that money can buy. Devices like the Razer Phone and Samsung Galaxy S9 will be slightly more capable with better display tech than the Honor Play.

First reviewed: August 2018

Competition

Below we've rounded up some phones you may want to consider if you're not convinced by the Honor Play.

Honor 10

Honor's top-end product from mid-way through 2018 still stands up as a suitable alternative to the Honor Play. It's not as affordable as the Play, but it offers the same features plus a bit more, with an even more impressive dual-camera and a beautiful glass rear.

Razer Phone

The phone built by the top-end gaming brand to take mobile gaming to the next level hasn't set the world alight, but if you want one of the best products for playing Fortnite or PUBG on the go then you'll love the Razer Phone.

The highlight is its 5.7-inch 120hz screen, which means blisteringly fast refresh rates when you're gaming, and it's something we haven't seen on any other phone before.

Samsung Galaxy S9

It's one of the best phones on the market right now, and it's a powerhouse when it comes to gaming. If you want a better camera and the curved display of the Samsung Galaxy S9 you'll have to pay for the privilege, but it'll be able to game as well as the Honor Play.

James Peckham

James is Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He has also worked on other leading tech brands, such as T3 and Gizmodo UK, as well as appearing as an expert on TV and radio for the BBC and other publications. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all the latest smartphone news.


James is currently most excited about the Samsung Galaxy S22, God of War: Ragnarok and the rumored foldable iPhone