Honor Magic 4 Pro is the flagship phone Huawei would like to make

Honor’s phones tend to be budget-oriented and offer plenty of specs for modest prices. But not so with the Magic 4 Pro; it has all the top technology you can expect one of today’s flagship phonesincluding multiple powerful rear cameras, 5G, a blazing fast processor and a gloriously vibrant display.

So why the change in strategy? Well, Honor was a subsidiary of Huawei and produced affordable phones while Huawei produced the exciting flagship models. But with Huawei can’t use Google services or 5G due to continued restrictions imposed by the US, flagship phones – such as the P50 Pro — just can’t compete with people like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra or iPhone 13 Pro

Like

  • Powerful processor
  • Fast Charging
  • Solid rear cameras
  • Vivid and sharp screen

Not fun

  • Images may look oversaturated
  • Battery life is good, but not great

Back in 2020 Honor was spun off from Huawei to become its own company and is currently not subject to the same restrictions, meaning it is free to use Google services and 5G like all other Android phones today. As a result, the new strategy seems to be picking up the “flagship” baton where Huawei dropped it, making the top phones no longer able to support the once-parent company.

And at £950, the Honor Magic 4 Pro is undoubtedly priced among elite flagship rivals. At the moment the phone is not available in the US and it is unknown if that will change. However, for reference, that price in the UK converts to $1,160 or AU$1,670. Thankfully, there’s a lot to like about the phone that largely justifies the high price tag.

The design is attractive, with the cameras clustered in a circular unit in the center at the back, rather than being pushed to the side. The body is made of metal and glass, while the screen curves gently at the edge, making it feel like a premium phone when you hold it in your hand.

A vibrant screen, a powerful processor

The screen measures a generous 6.81 inches and is bright, vibrant and razor sharp thanks to the maximum resolution of 2,848 x 1,312 pixels. This can be set to automatically reduce to 2,136×984 pixels on some tasks to save battery life, but even at the lowest resolution I could barely tell the difference, at least not on basic tasks like emailing or general web browsing.

Inside the phone is the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor backed by 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage. It achieved some blistering scores on our benchmark tests, easily rivaling the performance of the impressively fast Galaxy S22 Ultra, and comfortably outperforming the Pixel 6 Propowered by Google’s own Tensor chip.

Honor Magic 4 Pro performance comparison

Legend:

Geekbench 5 (Single Core)

Geekbench 5 (Multi-Core)

3DMark Slingshot Unlimited

Remark:

Longer bars provide better performance

It’s snappy in everyday use, with no annoying lag when navigating the Android 12 interface. Demanding games like Asphalt 9: Legends and PUBG played without noticeable lag even on the highest graphics settings.

The Honor Magic 4 Pro's round camera bump on the back

The Honor has three cameras on the back.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

A decent reversing camera

The large circle on the back houses three main cameras; a 50-megapixel main camera, a 50-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens and a 64-megapixel telephoto lens with 3.5x optical zoom.

Sample image of people eating at tables outside

Good lighting and vibrant colors. Delicious stuff.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Camera test image of a house in a park

Taken with the standard lens, this shop is well exposed with rich colors.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Camera test image of a house in a park

Using the ultra-wide angle lens, the camera maintains the good exposure, but the colors become so vibrant that they look a bit unnatural.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Shoots from the main camera are clear, well exposed and packed with detail. Colors are vibrant and punchy, just bordering on a bit oversaturated for my taste at times. Dynamic range is generally excellent, with clear skies under control and shady foregrounds still clearly visible.

Camera test image of a cruise ship at sea

This image, taken at 10x hybrid zoom, is noticeably degraded, with fuzzy details on the ship.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Example image showing buildings next to a river

This 10x hybrid zoom shot is good enough for Instagram or sending to friends via WhatsApp, but the fine details are rather mushy.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

The ultra-wide angle camera maintains the same vibrant color balance and ensures even exposure even in high-contrast scenes. The telephoto lens, meanwhile, delivers beautifully sharp and clear images at 3.5x zoom, although at 10x hybrid zoom (optical and digital zoom combined) shooting is noticeably worse.

Overall, it’s a solid camera system that will suit most everyday photographers, especially those of you who want to capture vibrant, colorful images straight from your phone without having to apply any sort of filters to your shots. However, if zoom is important to you, you’ll still be better served by the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, whose 10x zoom is still the best on a phone. Like the S22 Ultra, the Magic 4 Pro features zoom levels of up to 100x, but the resulting shots are so poor quality that it’s a largely redundant feature.

The home screen of the Honor Magic 4 Pro

The Magic 4 Pro runs on Android 12.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Battery that lasts all day with fast charging

The phone is powered by a 4,600 mAh battery, which is ample for a full day’s use, as long as you’re reasonably careful when using your phone. In my own testing, I found that after an hour of streaming a YouTube video, the battery dropped from full to 96%, and to 89% after a second hour. That’s similar to what I’ve seen from the Pixel 6 Pro, although both the iPhone 13 Pro and OnePlus 10 Pro fared better here.

If you run out of juice later in the day, you shouldn’t have a problem getting the power back in. The battery supports 100 watts of fast charging, which takes it from empty to full in just 30 minutes. You must use a compatible charger, but it is included in the box.

The settings and specifications of the Honor Magic 4 Pro

The Honor is packed with some of the best 2022 Android specs and features.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Should you buy the Honor Magic 4 Pro?

The Magic 4 Pro is not a revolution in mobile technology and does not offer specific “must-have” features that set it apart from its rivals. But it doesn’t really have to. It’s a high performance flagship Android handset that ticks all the boxes of a top phone thanks to its great performance, solid camera, fast charging and 5G connectivity. The price is high, but it undercuts the S22 Ultra while costing almost exactly the same as the Pixel 6 Pro and OnePlus 10 Pro (with 256GB of storage).

While I think the Pixel, with its stock Android 12 interface, has a smoother user experience on a daily basis, the Honor has a more powerful processor and offers significantly faster charging speeds, the latter being especially useful if you often forget to charge your phone. to fully charge overnight.


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