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HONOR Magic 4 Pro: We go hands-on with the specs beast
In late 2020, HUAWEI sold off its HONOR subsidiary brand (for obvious reasons). It would be over half a year before HONOR would release its first phone as an independent company, the HONOR V40. Then it launched the HONOR Magic 3 series, but not globally. However, at Mobile World Congress 2022, the company is finally launching its very first global premium flagship: the HONOR Magic 4 Pro.
With this phone, HONOR is coming out the gate guns blazing. A lot of brands might elect to slowly build up momentum in the premium flagship space to test the waters, but not HONOR. The Magic 4 Pro is a beast of a device that exists as a statement of intent — and it’s a bold statement.
But beyond the marketing jargon and posturing, what is the phone really like? In this early HONOR Magic 4 Pro preview from MWC, we’ll tell you how we feel about the phone thus far.
HONOR Magic 4 Pro: All the specs, please
If you only looked at the specs of the Magic 4 Pro, you would know the companies HONOR is gearing up to fight. On paper, the Magic 4 Pro could easily go head-to-head with something like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, Google Pixel 6 Pro, or iPhone 13 Pro Max.
The display is a first-of-its-kind third-generation LTPO OLED. This makes it more battery-efficient and faster when switching refresh rates. It also introduces PWM dimming, which should cause less eye strain when using the phone in low-light environments. The display has a resolution of 2,848 x 1,312 across a 6.81-inch screen. Its 120Hz refresh rate ensures smooth scrolling and it has a healthy pixel density of 460ppi.
The Magic 4 Pro can compete with any other phone on the market when it comes to raw specs.
The phone comes with up to 12GB of RAM, up to 512GB of internal storage, and has the mighty Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Bluetooth 5.2, Wi-Fi 6, and NFC support are all on hand. It has a second-gen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor just like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, too.
The Magic 4 Pro charges its 4,600mAh battery at an astonishing 100W either wired or wirelessly. It also has a beast of a camera on the back, but we’ll get to that later.
The bottom line here is that the HONOR Magic 4 Pro packs a mighty punch when it comes to raw specs. As we say all the time here at Android Authority, specs alone don’t make a great smartphone. However, one can’t ignore the pedigree of this particular device.
Check out: HONOR Magic V hands-on impressions
Design and feel
Upon first picking up the Magic 4 Pro, the first thing I noticed is its heft. It’s not as heavy as a Galaxy S22 Ultra or iPhone 13 Pro Max, but it’s certainly thicker. The giant camera module on the rear makes the weight distribution uneven, but only the most scrutinizing users would likely notice.
The HONOR Magic 4 Pro is also very curvy. Buyers who detest waterfall-style displays won’t much like this phone, as it curves on all four sides. Admittedly, this does make it more comfortable to hold and makes the display pretty immersive, but folks who love flat screens will still wish it were less rounded at the edges.
Regardless, the phone feels like a premium flagship. This is not a mid-ranger or pseudo-flagship product with some corners cut to keep the price down. This is the real deal.
HONOR is also giving users plenty of choices when it comes to colorways. The Magic 4 Pro comes in black, white, gold, and cyan, the latter of which we have pictured here. There’s also a vegan leather version that comes in only one color: orange. Unfortunately, we don’t know which launch regions will see which colorways.
HONOR Magic 4 Pro software impressions
The HONOR Magic 4 Pro comes with Android 12 out-of-the-box. It’s skinned over with HONOR’s own Magic UI 6. This is very much a China-focused skin with the usual tropes: app drawer off by default, splashes of color all throughout, and gimmicky features like beauty filters and collage creators.
However, the Magic 6 Pro also has the full suite of Google apps. It has the Play Store, Messages, and Chrome set as defaults, as well as Google Assistant support.
Magic UI 6 won't be everyone's cup of tea, but at least this phone has all the Google apps.
If you think about it, this is a huge deal. HONOR’s former parent company HUAWEI still doesn’t have Google support, and the Magic 4 Pro has a lot of HUAWEI DNA — despite any of HONOR’s claims to the contrary. In many respects, the phone is a dead-ringer for the HUAWEI Mate 40 Pro. In other words, this phone is as close to a Google-powered HUAWEI phone as HUAWEI fans can get in 2022.
We’ll need to test Magic UI 6 a little more before we can really give a clear verdict, but based on our early impressions it has a ton of customization features, plenty of camera tweaks, and feels smooth and fast.
Camera: ‘Eye of Muse’ seems promising
It’s impossible to ignore the enormous camera module on the back of the HONOR Magic 4 Pro. The company legitimately refers to it as the “Eye of Muse,” which is pretty pretentious. Regardless, the penta-sensor system includes the following:
- 50MP wide
- 50MP ultrawide
- 64MP periscope telephoto
- Laser autofocus
- Flicker sensor
All in all, the system on the back of the Galaxy S22 Ultra is better than what we see here. However, the Magic 4 Pro setup is certainly premium flagship material and should allow people to get amazing results for photography and video.
You can see some quick shots below, but be sure to check out our HONOR Magic 4 Pro camera early impressions for more samples and analysis.
We found the camera to be fast, accurate, and easy to use. There are some confusing settings throughout, though. For example, it has both “Video” and “Movie” modes, which would seem to be the same but aren’t. The Movie mode has a max capture of 4K/30fps while the Video mode can get up to 4K/60fps. We’ll need to thoroughly test the differences between these two modes.
See also: The best camera phones you can get
The telephoto lens has a 3.5x optical zoom and the ability to go all the way up to 100x digital zoom. We found zoom up to 10X was terrific, 30x was good, and anything beyond was mush. To be fair, we saw the same thing on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, so the HONOR Magic 6 Pro is still competitive.
HONOR Magic 4 Pro preview: Bring it on
When people think of premium flagships, they likely don’t think of HONOR. For years, the brand has been all about delivering decent specs at reasonable prices while leaving the premium territory to HUAWEI.
With HONOR no longer beholden to HUAWEI, though, the company can finally spread its wings. The HONOR Magic 4 Pro might not be perfect, but it seems like a terrific addition to this sector. Of course, this only matters if HONOR actually delivers the product to a global audience. With the Magic 3 and Magic V devices never making it outside of China, we are slightly skeptical.
HONOR Magic 4 Pro: Hot or not?
If HONOR doesn’t keep its commitment to delivering this to global customers, it will be a shame. Even with all the specs pedigree on board here, HONOR is still keeping things relatively reasonable as far as pricing goes. The base HONOR Magic 4 Pro starts at €1,099 (~$1,229), which is significantly cheaper than the entry-level Galaxy S22 Ultra, which is €1,259 (~$1,408). Time will tell if the camera and software experience of the Magic 4 Pro measures up to the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Hopefully, HONOR will announce availability details for the Magic 4 series soon. In the meantime, stay tuned for our full review of this upcoming smartphone.