China gets Honor Play with GPU Turbo mode, ultra-affordable Honor 9i

Huawei already had more than enough own-brand and Honor smartphones with “FullView”, extra-wide displays, dual and even triple rear-facing cameras enhanced by AI technology, and gorgeous color options, but two additional models can’t hurt, going up for pre-order in China today ahead of June 7 and 11 rollouts.

The Honor Play and Honor 9i are not full-fledged flagship devices, although the former packs the same ultra-high-end Kirin 970 SoC with a built-in NPU (Neural Network Processing Unit) as the Huawei P20, P20 Pro and Honor 10.

Priced at CNY 1,999 ($310 or so) and up, the 6.3-inch Honor Play features a number of gaming enhancements, including a so-called 4D trick for realistic sound effects and vibrations, and a GPU Turbo mode intelligently capable of boosting graphics performance when you need it most.

That being said, this is clearly not a direct threat for the likes of the Razer Phone or the hot new Asus Republic of Gamers Phone. It is however quite the impressive upper mid-ranger, with a lot of premium stuff in tow, from a robust metal construction to 4 and 6GB RAM options paired with 64 and 128GB internal storage respectively, dual 16 + 2MP rear-facing cameras, a single 16MP selfie shooter, large 3750mAh battery, and even Android 8.1 Oreo software.

Meanwhile, the Honor 9i starts at only 1,399 yuan ($220), which predictably means standout 4D and GPU Turbo features are out of the equation. A glossy, vibrant and eye-catching glass back is in, along with a humbler Kirin 659 processor, and dual 13 + 2MP rear shooters lacking AI optimizations.

Interestingly, both the screen and notch on the Honor 9i are smaller than on the Honor Play, although the resolution largely stays the same, at around 2300 x 1080 pixels. The 5.84-inch 9i runs Android 8.0 out the box, sticking with 4 gigs of memory in both 64 and 128GB storage configurations. That’s not bad at all for that price.

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About The Author
Adrian Diaconescu
Adrian has had an insatiable passion for writing since he was in school and found himself writing philosophical essays about the meaning of life and the differences between light and dark beer. Later, he realized this was pretty much his only marketable skill, so he first created a personal blog (in Romanian) and then discovered his true calling, which is writing about all things tech (in English).