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Honor Play Smartphone Review : Performance

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Honor Play Performance

Honor Play

The performance section is where we look at the image quality performance of the camera. Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.


Huawei Honor Play Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Honor smartphones have a very clever AI function built in that recognises scenes in front of it and optimises the camera settings to what, it thinks, will produce the best results. It sounds good but it has a habit of over saturating colours, particularly green, and it can also oversharpen as well as make some textures look too warm. We've put images of the same scene side-by-side in the above examples so you can see how they differ with the AI on/off. Complaints aside, the AI does recognise scenes almost instantly and the dynamic range in the shots is a little better than in those where we didn't use the AI feature. 

The problem with not using the AI is that, sometimes, images can lack punch and everything just looks a little too plain. However, when light levels are good, so are image results. 

There is a Night Mode built in but unlike more expensive smartphones, you can't use it handheld as the mode requires an exposure of up to 30-seconds and if you do try and hold the smartphone, it just ruins the image with camera shake. The mode works by building light up through the exposure (you can actually see it working on screen which is rather cool). Images aren't all that sharp but contrast levels aren't bad. The AI can also spot when it's nighttime and will tell you to 'hold steady' while it performs some sharpening but the results aren't that great with images appearing soft and almost oil-painting-like. Colour accuracy is good, though. 

Aperture mode is an easy way to give your images a bit of bokeh and so long as you're the right distance from your subject and your subject is the right distance from the background, you won't have too many clipping issues. It's not perfect but still impressive when you consider how much the smartphone costs. 


Bokeh Selfie Beauty | 1/189 sec | f/2.0 | 3.6 mm | ISO 50
Selfie with Bokeh & Beauty Mode | 1/189 sec | f/2.0 | 3.6 mm | ISO 50


Portrait mode offers similar results but when you get everything lined up right, results are good. You can create bokeh effects (with clever tech, not a depth sensor) in selfies, too, and also apply the same beautification effects you have access to when shooting portraits with the rear camera. As with all beauty modes, we cautious with it and you'll be OK but push the slider up towards ten and you'll end up with plastic looking people. There is a slight bokeh bleed onto the hat in the image and on the edge of the hood but nothing major. You can turn the bokeh levels right down but we're not sure why you would (unless you're in a beautiful landscape, of course) as they really do improve the overall look of portraits/selfies. There's no autofocus when shooting selfies but get the distance right and you're onto a winner. 

Lens Performance - As the 2MP sensor is just there to help with depth sensing there's no optical zoom built in so you're going to have to use your feet to get close to subjects as digital zoom is terrible. 


Huawei Honor Play ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - You can go from ISO50 to ISO3200 with the help of Pro Mode on the Honor Play but, as always, we recommend sticking to lower ISOs to ensure you capture the best image quality possible. ISO400 and up is where you start to see a loss in detail.


Huawei Honor Play White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) does a pretty good job under all lighting scenarios but it is a little dark in the middle of the image captured with AWB under fluorescent lighting. The fluorescent preset has a yellow/green colour cast but Tungsten is pretty accurate. 


Huawei Honor Play Digital filters

Digital Filters - Several digital filters are built into the native camera app and they can be found under the 'More' tab. These include Sentimental, Impact, ND, Valencia, Blue, Halo, Nostalgia and Dawn.



Panorama mode -  As you'd expect, the panorama mode auto stitches the images together once you've panned to capture the scene in front of you. Colours are accurate and there doesn't appear to be any stitching issues. 


Video - 4K video is built in (a nice touch for the price point) or you can shoot 1080p (30 or 60fps) if you want to save on space. Electronic Image Stabilisation can only be used when shooting in 1080p at 30fps. 



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