Honor Play 3 Review: The Ghost King

Sep 09, 2019

It has been more than a year since the launch of the previous generation of Honor Play smartphone. So this series seems to have gradually faded out of people's horizons. On September 4, Honor officially released the new generation Honor Play 3. It uses a 6.39-inch screen with punch-hole design, the Kirin 710 quasi-flagship processor, 4000mAh battery, built-in CORE Turbo optimization program, and many more. All these features ensured the strong return of Honor’s Play line.

As the first smartphone equipped with GPU Turbo technology, the Honor Play has a groundbreaking advantage in comparison to the successor products. Today, the just-released Honor Play 3 also comes with its own unique features. Say, it’s the first phone in the thousand yuan niche that sports Kirin 710F chip. Also, our protagonist sports an enginr of full-scene acceleration, super file system, and Ark compiler. As you can see, there is a number of high-end features inherited from the top-notch models. So it is just required to take a closer look at this handset.

First, the design

We are reviewing the Huawei Honor Play 3 6 + 64GB variant in rose red color option. In terms of design, compared to the Honor Play, this smartphone has a completely new look.

Its screen is 6.39 inches. The front has no bangs. The resolution is FHD. According to the official statement, the screen accounts for 90%. Compared with the previous generation of notch screen design, the Honor Play 3’s screen is more integrated. And the cancellation of the brand logo at the bottom of the screen provides a broader viewing experience.

The Honor Play 3 is also the first smartphone to hide the front camera under the screen in the thousand yuan niche. Under the smallest aperture of the industry of 4.5mm, an 8-megapixel front camera is placed with a focal length of 17mm. It supports the new AI beauty function with 10 option.

The Huawei smartphone features a screen ratio of 19.5:9, and the thickness of the body is 8.1mm. The overall length is slender, which brings a good grip experience for the user.

This phone uses a star-light rhythm texture body, lithography UV texture, glass plate transparent texture, and can achieve a visual 3D glare effect. At the same time, the 2.5D back cover is integrated with the middle frame and is seamlessly designed with a metal sandblasted medium frame and the same color of the body paint. This makes the phone look thin. In addition to the rose red, the Honor Play 3 also has black, blue, and green gradient colors.

On the back, the phone carries a triple rear camera. The corresponding lens is a 48MP primary sensor, an 8MP 120 ° ultra-wide angle shooter, and a 2MP depth sensor. The flash is placed below the camera. Plus, there is a white Honor brand logo. Nothing else you can find on the back. So the whole look is simple and natural.

The bottom carries the familiar 3.5mm headphone jack and the micro-USB interface. The volume rocker is on the right. The power button is located on the same side as well. The left side carries the SIM card slot, which uses 2 + 1 independent three-card slot design, at the same time supporting up to 256GB micro-SD expansion.

Second, the system

The Honor Play 3 is powered by EMUI9.1 based on Android 9. EMUI 9.1 is deeply optimized based on EMUI 9.0, which improves system response performance and fluency. So it brings a better user experience.

EMUI9.1 brings the new Party mode and Histen sound. In Party mode, Huawei Music app supports up to 7 smartphones to play music together and supports 7-channel audio source with 7 smartphones.

EMUI9.1 also added a harassment interception function to update the database through the cloud to intelligently display harassing calls and intercept harassing text messages. The large font mode supports text size 6 files adjustable, as well as a simple mode with large icons and large fonts.

EMUI9.1 also has a smart assistant. In the passive screen mode, apart from common functions and message notifications, there are displayed Alipay payment codes, parking assistants, courier assistants, flight information and hotel information.

In addition to the common functions of EMUI9.1, the Honor Play 3 also has some features, including dual VoLTE, face recognition 2.0 and smart privacy protection.

• Dual VoLTE

The Honor Play 3 with dual card option supports the VoLTE function, but the local operator needs to open the VoLTE service.

• Face Recognition 2.0

On the basis of the previous Honor 7C, the Honor Play 3's face recognition 2.0 adds a screen fill function. Through the LCD fill light technology, it can realize a face recognition in the dark environment.

• Smart privacy protection

When the Honor Play 3 receives a message, only the user who entered the face information can see the message details. For people other than the owner, the phone hides information.

Third, the gaming

As a product with a flagship configuration within a thousand yuan, the Honor Play 3 is equipped with the Kirin 710 processor. It is based on TSMC's 12nm process technology and uses an 8-core design with four A73 cores and four A53 cores. It uses a Big.Little hybrid architecture with a maximum frequency of 2.2GHz. The Kirin 710 processor is equipped with an ISP image processing engine and a separate DSP chip dedicated to image processing.

Following the characteristics of the previous generation of the Honor Play, the Honor Play 3 is equipped with a GPU Turbo 3.0 system optimization solution. GPU Turbo is a software/hardware graphics acceleration technology, which greatly improves the graphics processing efficiency. In addition, GPU Turbo technology can reduce the power consumption of mobile GPUs while improving GPU processing performance.

The Honor Play 3's third-generation graphics acceleration technology GPU Turbo 3.0 brings a 60tter graphics processing, reduce chip energy consumption by 30%. At the same time, it can increase the average frame rate of the game, and reduce the frame rate jitter of the game.

It is worth mentioning that the smartphone comes with Link Turbo, an engine of full-scene acceleration , super file system, Ark compiler, and other sharp technologies. Plus, there is a game assistant, which can minimize information prompts and can record the game with a single button.

In terms of game testing, we played the Honor of Kings. The game is turned on the default quality. In the four-minute test, we measured an average frame rate of 57 FPS with a standard deviation of 2.06 frames. The whole game experience is very smooth.

Fourth, the camera

As said, on the front, in a special hole made on the screen, the phone carries an 8MP front-facing camera supporting Beauty function. At the same time, on the opposite side, we can see an AI triple-camera. The main lens has an F/1.8 aperture with a 1/2-inch photosensitive unit and a 48MP resolution. The amount of light that enters is increased by nearly 50%. It supports four-in-one pixel aggregation and handheld night scenes of up to 6 seconds. This is the first smartphone in the thousand yuan niche to come with a 48MP lens.

In addition to the 48MP main camera, the Honor Play 3 also sports an 8-megapixel 120° super wide-angle lens and a 2-megapixel DoF lens. Due to the intelligent HDR, it makes the subject clearer and sharper, and the background blurs naturally. At the same time, electronic image stabilization can reduce the night scene noise, making the dark light shooting clearer.

This phone also supports AI scene recognition, which can intelligently identify 22 independent scenes, more than 500 scene combinations, and perform exclusive optimization for different scenes.

In the case of better daylight conditions, the Honor Play 3’s white balance is accurate. After turning on AI mode, the picture is gorgeous, and the saturation is slightly higher.

Macro mode

Ordinary sample

Super wide-angle mode

In terms of video, the Honor Play 3 supports 1080P HD recording, 480 frames of slow-motion recording and 16 times slow playback.

Wrap Up

As the first smartphone with a built-in CORE Turbo optimization solution, the Honor Play 3 is 1,000 yuan($140), which  is also equipped with the Kirin 710 processor, a 48-megapixel AI three-camera, super file system, and Ark compiler. As Zhao Ming, the president of Huawei's Honor business department said it is a ‘ghost king.’


  • Picture quality is incredible

    • 20w
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  • really excellent phone my friend is gonna love this

    • 23w
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  • It comes with expensive lenses, any discount for this phone? Bit pricey for me.

    • 23w
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  • cannot afford it! overall features are cool

    • 23w
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  • A complete techno kind thing

    • 23w
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  • Design,functions all are excellent

    • 23w
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  • The specs are great. But how much would this be.

    • 24w
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