December 16, 2016
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Huawei has been releasing teasers for its upcoming “concept” phone, the Honor Magic, for a little while now, but today, the teasing is over. The new phone is now official and it does indeed have a number of interesting features that make it stand out from the crowd.

See also:

1.5 million Honor 8 handsets sold in just two months

September 12, 2016

First the bad news: this phone is only slated to be sold in Huawei’s home country of China. It will be available from several retailers, including Vmall.com, JD, Tmall and Suning, starting today. Pricing is also unknown as of this writing, but we will update this post when we learn more. It’s possible that Honor will bring the Magic to other markets, but there was no official statement on the matter.

Honor Magic specifications and software

 Honor Magic
Display5.09-inch AMOLED display
2560 x 1440 resolution
577ppi
Processor2.3GHz octa-core Huawei Kirin 950
RAM4GB
Storage64GB
CamerasRear: 12MP dual lens sensor with an f/2.2 aperture
Front: 8MP sensor with an f/2.0 aperture
Battery2,900mAh
Non-removable
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2
MicroUSB (USB 2.0)
GPS/AGPS/Glonass/BeiDou Navigation Satellite System
SensorsHall effect sensor
Fingerprint sensor
Proximity sensor
Ambient light sensor
Compass
Accelerometer
Phone status indicator
Gyroscope
SoftwareAndroid 6.0 Marshmallow
Honor Magic Live
ColorsGolden Black, Porcelain White
Dimensions and weight146.1 x 69.9 x 7.8mm
145g

At first glance, many of the specs here are pretty standard fare, with the Honor Magic sharing the same Kirin 950 as found in the Honor 8. However, things really get interesting when you look at some of the unique extras onboard.

Honor Magic standout features

With the core specs out of the way, we can get to the good stuff. The Honor Magic is supposed to have several interesting additions, many of which are supposed to showcase AI driven features. One of these standout features is the WiseScreen sensor, which combines a sensor in its frame and an infrared sensor in the front-facing camera. What exactly does this do? When the owner of the Honor Magic picks up the phone, the frame sensor and the camera are supposed to recognize the owner’s hand and eyes, which then turns on the screen. When the phone is put down by the owner, or put away in a pocket, the screen is supposed to turn off in one second.

Another new feature is called FaceCode Intelligent Recognition. Any message notifications on the phone will only reveal themselves for pre-registered faces. That means you shouldn’t have to worry about anyone picking up the phone and seeing messages that they are not suppose to see.

AI-driven features will be offered as part of the phone, via Honor Magic Live. The company released some examples of how this AI technology will work with the phone:

  • Imagine when you are chatting about movies with your friends on Wechat, Honor Magic will then be able to recommend the latest blockbusters for you.
  • Imagine when you are on the road, Honor Magic automatically recognizes that you are driving and will prompt a reminder for you to switch the device to driving mode.
  • DeepThink – Press and hold the home button and Honor Magic will offer multi-facet information based on the current webpage you visit.
  • Once you use Honor Magic to order a cab, the driver’s license plate information will be shown on the display under locked screen mode.
  • Once you arrive at the theatre, Honor Magic will automatically display the ticket booking number.
  • When you approach the parcel collection counter, Honor Magic will automatically display the tracking number.

The Honor Magic is also supposed to activate certain features as needed. For example, when you enter a dark room at night, the phone’s auto lock screen will launch the flashlight feature to brighten things up. Finally, the phone is supposed to have what’s being called a My Pocket feature, which will allow owners to swipe up from the bottom of the screen to activate the save and share button. This will allow them to access articles, videos and music and share them with others.

Honor Magic design

While the phone’s special AI features and sensors are obviously the showcase features here, it’s also worth talking about the phone’s design. For starters, the Honor Magic has a 5.06-inch 2K AMOLED screen with a curved design. The double 3D glass covers are supposed to reflect bright, shining lights. The phone’s home button has been designed to also replace the standard “back” and “overview” smartphone buttons. Users will be able to touch, double tap or swipe on the same home key for all those functions. This is supposed to make the phone’s overall screen bigger than normal. The home button also has a fingerprint sensor.

The phone’s battery is supposed to be made of a “special graphite molecular structure”. Combined with a new charging circuit design, the Honor Magic is only supposed to take 10 minutes to get up to 40 percent of its battery charge, and 20 minutes to charge up to 70 percent of its battery charge. Finally, the phone has a 12MP dual lens rear camera.  One of its lenses is supposed to take black and white image while the other lens takes color photos. This is supposed to offer more detail and more colorful photos compared to the normal smartphone camera set up.

Wrap up

Huawei clearly wants the Honor brand to be a leader in offering innovative smartphone design and features. On paper, the Honor Magic seems to fulfill that goal, but it’s too bad that it will only be available in China. We look forward to seeing some or all of these features making their way to more widely available phones from the company in the future.

What is your opinion on the Honor Magic? Let us know what you think in the comments!

John Callaham
John was a newspaper reporter before becoming a technology and video/PC gaming writer in 2000. He lives in Greer, SC with his wife and five cats.
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