Huawei sub-brand Honor has announced its first gaming phone, the Honor Play. It has a 6.3-inch notched 19.5:9 1080p display, a 3,750mAh battery, and a Kirin 970 processor alongside 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.
Those aren’t super high-end specs — in fact, they’re very similar to the mid-range Honor View 10 that came to the US early this year. But Honor says the major innovation with the Play is “GPU Turbo,” a hardware-software integration that supposedly boosts GPU performance by 60 percent while reducing energy consumption by 30 percent.
The Kirin 970’s AI capabilities are also leveraged to provide a “4D gaming experience,” analyzing images and audio in real time and giving vibration feedback accordingly. AI is apparently used to help simulate 3D surround sound, too. We haven’t had a chance to try any of this, but Honor says the features will work in games like PUBG, Asphalt 9, and more.
The View 10 was a solid phone, and the Play should be much the same even without the gaming features. It keeps the headphone jack and USB-C port, while the fingerprint sensor has been moved to the back to allow for a larger screen-to-body ratio. The rear camera is still 16 megapixels with a f/2.2 aperture, though the 20-megapixel monochrome secondary sensor has been replaced with a more pedestrian 2-megapixel component.
We’ll have to see whether Honor’s claims about performance pan out, especially because the Kirin 970 is almost a year old at this point and likely to be succeeded soon. Pricing will also be important, but Honor isn’t sharing that information just yet.