Honor Play: Android 9 Pie update with EMUI 9 beta now available in India

Like its parent company Huawei, Honor’s continued popularity across the globe heavily relies on the volumes of phones it pumps into the market and to keep this going, the company has a new phone in India, the Huawei Honor Play. This is the third Honor phone in as many months but unlike other releases – Honor 10 and Honor 9N – it appears that Huawei has a target market with the Honor Play.

The major highlight of the Honor Play is the inclusion of the flagship HiSilicon Kirin 970 chipset, the best the company has so far, but as the cloud settles, it is the addition of GPU Turbo technology out of the box that will begin gaining more attention. With this tech, Honor is presenting the Honor Play as a budget gaming device that promises peak performance all the time.

To add more weight to this, the company has also confirmed an AI-assisted gaming feature is rolling out to offer custom haptics for various weapons and there’s also what it calls 4D Gaming Experience with Smart Shock as well as a 3D sound effect for the best gaming experience. With all these, the Honor Play is easily the best budget gaming-focused smartphone you can buy right now, but that’s not all it offers.

Related: The best Honor phones to buy in 2018

Honor Play specs

  • 6.3-inch 19.5:9 FHD+ LCD display
  • Kirin 970 chipset
  • 4GB or 6GB RAM
  • 64GB expandable storage
  • Dual 16MP + 2MP main camera
  • 16MP front camera
  • 3750mAh battery
  • Android 8.1 Oreo with EMUI 8.2
  • Extras: Bluetooth 4.2, USB-C, 3.5mm audio jack, Fast charging, LTE, rear-mounted scanner, etc.

Like most phones released in 2018, there’s a lot of AI in the Honor Play. Whether it’s photography, gaming, battery management, authentication, or even shopping, Huawei has its own AI doing the tricks. The underlying software is Google’s Android 8.1 Oreo with Huawei’s EMUI 8.2 running on top.

While it’s obvious that the Honor Play packs some punch, it doesn’t bring along the best cameras. But then again, this is clearly a device that Honor wants gamers who can’t afford the Razer Phones of this world to buy, which means some sacrifices were to be made.

Related: Download Android stock wallpapers for any device

Outside of gaming, the Honor Play is still a great device at its price tag. You are looking at a smartphone with flagship performance hardware, a big battery, a huge display screen, and keeps the basics like the 3.5mm audio jack, USB-C, and fast charging; yet it can be had for a significantly lower amount than the likes of Honor 10 or Honor View 10.

Honor Play price and availability

Update [August 30, 2018]: Pricing for the UK and Europe is now available.

Country Price Buy from
UK £279.99 HiHonor UK
India INR 19,999 Amazon.in
Europe € 329.90 HiHonor Germany
Global HiHonor Global

Speaking of prices, the Honor Play can be yours for INR 19,999 in India. This gives you the base model, but to get the high-end 6/64GB variant, you’ll need INR 23,999. The phone begins selling today (August 6, 2018) on Amazon India and will be sold in Midnight Black and Navy Blue color variants.

In comparison, the Huawei P20 Lite, which is basically a smaller Honor Play (the two resemble each other in terms of design, but the P20 Lite has a smaller 5.84-inch notched display), has the same price tag but with a Kirin 659 chipset on board. Other devices the Honor Play shares a similar price tag with are the Nokia 7 Plus, Oppo F7 and Xiaomi Mi A2, none of which has a flagship-level chipset that can outgun the Kirin 970.

Related: Android Pie 9 update release roadmap for all devices

If anything, you’ll be paying about $300 for a smartphone that offers similar performance levels as the Huawei P20 Pro, Mate 10 Pro or even others powered by the 2017 Snapdragon 835 processor, which is the chipset that matches the Kirin 970 in terms of performance.

Honor Play Android 9 Pie update

Update [October 28]: Honor India has now started rolling out the beta version of Android 9 Pie to Honor Play users in the country. The update is arriving as version and is quite heavy weighing in at just above 3GB.

Update [September 14]: The Android 9 Pie update for the Honor Play is now available in Poland. The software version of the update is and is weighed about 4.05GB.

Huawei has promised a quick update to Android Pie for the Honor Play. In fact, the beta program for the Android 9 update is already live in China, soon to be expanded to other countries including India, the UK, and the rest of Europe.

Android 9 Pie download

The Android Pie update is not available for download at the moment.

With all these, what do you make of the Honor Play? Let us know down in the comments.

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