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Huawei's Honor Play could be the perfect PUBG phone

The Chinese phone features GPU tweaks and AI enhancements to make your PUBG Mobile and Mobile Legends experience awesome.

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I tried playing PUBG Mobile on the phone, the game run great. Winner winner chicken dinner!

Aloysius Low/CNET

Huawei's Honor Play wants you to well, play, and it comes with just the right tools for that.

For one, it comes packing GPU Turbo, a new tweak that the Honor sub-brand folks claim will give you more frame rates compared to the competition, especially for games like PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Mobile and multiplayer online battle arena Mobile Legends.

GPU Turbo apparently delivers 60 percent more efficiency while using 30 percent less power, an impressive claim, no doubt, if true. The Honor Play packs high-end performance, thanks to its Huawei Kirin 970 processor.

When it comes to looks, the Play shares plenty of similarities with the Huawei Nova 3i, though the 3i has a prettier rear with its glass back. The Play ditches the slippery glass for a matte metal back for a better grip while gaming.

Other gaming friendly features include 3D surround sound, a "4D smart shock" that will deliver realistic haptic feedback -- the phone rumbles realistically when you fire a gun, for example.

Currently, only PUBG and Mobile Legends are optimized to take advantage of GPU Turbo, but Honor (and Huawei) are working on getting more games to benefit from its tech. 

If you're wondering if it works, well, unfortunately, the version of the Honor Play I got to try doesn't have GPU Turbo ready, so I can't tell you if it works as claimed. I did try out a session of PUBG Mobile, and found that my hands blocked the speaker most of the time, so I couldn't quite tell if there was 3D surround sound (without headphones). An OTA update will arrive soon, and I'll update this hands-on when that happens.

Rear dual 16-megapixel and 2-megapixel cameras powered by AI complete the package, and a hefty 3,750mAh battery should keep you gaming for a while.

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The phone has a rear fingerprint sensor and dual 16-megapixel and 2-megapixel camera, with the 2-megapixel camera used as a depth sensor.

Aloysius Low/CNET

The Honor Play will launch in Asia on August 7, and it appears the phone will also be launching at the IFA trade show in Berlin at the end of August -- Honor's invite for its event features the same tagline and image used for its Asia launch.

Retailing at S$429, or about $315, £240 and AU$425, the Play seems to have found a very sweet spot despite its almost flagship specs. The bad news is that the phone will likely not be available in the US or Australia, but you can get it in the UK for £279, where it will be available at online and physical retailers on Aug. 30.

Quick specs

  • Processor: Huawei Kirin 970 octa-core
  • Display: 6.3-inch full HD+ (2,340 x 1,080 pixels)
  • Memory: 4GB RAM, 64GB onboard storage
  • Rear fingerprint sensor
  • Dual nano-SIM and microSD card slot (replaces one slot)

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