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HONOR Magic 6 Pro hands-on: A zoom master with a bold design

As far as slate phones go, this is likely HONOR's best for 2024. What does it have to offer?
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Published onFebruary 25, 2024

HONOR announced the Magic 6 Pro (along with a few other Magic 6 phones) in China at the beginning of January. The phone looked awesome, and we couldn’t wait to try it out and see how it ranks amongst the best Android phones. Now, at Mobile World Congress 2024, the company has officially launched the Magic 6 Pro globally. Do note that the other Magic 6 phones will probably stay in China, so the Pro is the only global model.

As expected, everything about the Magic 6 Pro is premium, from the specs to the camera to the overall build. Let’s break down our first impressions of the device!

Straying from the norm with design

Honor Magic 6 Pro Epi Green
Paul Jones / Android Authority

HONOR’s flagship phones are always lookers, and the Magic 6 Pro is no exception. It still feels like a natural progression from last year’s Magic 5 Pro, but with some new flair that I appreciate.

First, you’ll notice that the Magic 6 Pro has moved the pill-shaped display cutout to the center of the screen. Last year, the Magic 5 Pro had this in the left corner. Shifting it to the center was the right move.

The faux leather back and enormous camera module are bold design decisions that I think work well.

One of the best things about that pill cutout is that it actually has an accurate 3D face unlock built into it. This makes it one of the few Android phones with secure face unlock. The Pixel 8 series, for example, offers face unlock as a biometric security option, but even those phones use software rather than true 3D-scanning hardware like we see on iPhones and, of course, HONOR’s latest. The Galaxy S24 series does not have secure face unlock.

If you opt for the Epi Green model you see in our photos here, you’ll find a faux leather finish on the back, which felt great in my hand. I don’t know about you, but I am so over slippery glass backs. The pleather material gives the phone an excellent grip. If you don’t want pleather (or don’t like the green), there’s a traditional glass-backed version that comes in black. There isn’t a black leather model, unfortunately.

You’ll also find the love-it-or-hate-it “star wheel” camera module on the back. We’ll go over camera specs in a bit, but the enormous and thick camera module is a bold design choice — even more so than the already bold design of last year’s Magic 5 Pro. I like it, though. It certainly makes the Magic 6 Pro stand out from the crowd.

HONOR Magic 6 Pro display: Curvy and bright

6 Pro (3)
Paul Jones / Android Authority

Over the past six months, we’ve seen a massive shift in flagship Android phones, specifically regarding curved edges. The Pixel 8 Pro was the first Pro-level Pixel with a flat display, and the Galaxy S24 Ultra joined in the fun by being the first Ultra with no curves.

However, HONOR is not jumping on this bandwagon, with the Magic 6 Pro sticking with a quite curvy display. I can’t say that I’m a fan of curved displays, but the aluminum rails that surround this phone are pretty flat, which makes it a little bit easier to hold.

This is a beautiful display and it's perfect for watching videos.

Regardless of your feelings on curves, the display here is terrific. It’s a 6.8-inch, 120Hz LTPO OLED with an interesting resolution of 2,800 x 1,280, making it better than 1080p but also not quite the 1440p resolution we see on something like the Galaxy S24 Ultra or Pixel 8 Pro.

The display also supports Dolby Vision, so it’s bright, accurate, and lovely. Having that full Dolby Vision support certainly makes this one of the best displays for consuming content. The colors are really vibrant and pop right out, so it feels like any content you’re watching is almost cinema-like.

HONOR Magic 6 Pro hands-on: Cameras

Honor Magic 6 Pro Camera
Paul Jones / Android Authority

When you take a closer look at the cameras inside that enormous module, they are seriously impressive. First, there’s a 50MP “Falcon” primary camera lens, which is a bold name. On that primary lens, you also get a variable aperture with a physical shutter that will open and close. The widest this aperture goes is f/1.4, and it can close up to f/2 if needed. This configuration is making HONOR confident enough to promote this as a “DSLR-level” system, which is a bit of a stretch.

Paired with this are a 50MP ultrawide camera and a 180MP periscope lens with a 1/1.4-inch sensor, which also has 2.5x optical zoom.

The periscope lens on the Magic 6 Pro is simply phenomenal, even giving the Galaxy S24 Ultra a run for its money.

Setting aside the “Falcon DSLR-level” marketing jargon, the periscope lens is the real star of the show. It has more pixels to play with than even the Galaxy S24 Ultra. The details that this lens can capture are simply phenomenal. The pictures are crisp, the colors are accurate, and the contrast between highlights and lowlights is terrific. We came away seriously impressed with what this periscope camera can do.

6 Pro
Paul Jones / Android Authority

Outside of the periscope lens, the primary lens can take some really nice photos, too. The best thing about it is that they don’t seem over-processed, which has been a problem for HONOR in the past. They’re sharp without too much sharpness, and they capture a ton of detail.

Of course, we need to spend a little bit more time with the camera to see what it can actually do and stack it up against some of the best camera phones available. But you know what? As far as first impressions go, we’re impressed.

Finally, when it comes to video, there’s no 8K support here for some reason. However, getting up to 4K at 60fps is probably fine for most people’s needs. The autofocus is also quick and snappy, and the stabilization is surprisingly good.

HONOR Magic 6 Pro: Software and specs

6 pro (2)
Paul Jones / Android Authority

Powering the Magic 6 Pro is the mighty Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, so anything you throw at this phone should be handled easily. There’s only one configuration available, which is 12GB of RAM and 512GB of internal, non-expandable storage.

The battery here is also impressive. It has a ridiculously big 5,600mAh battery, which should last you all day and more. And if you ever think you might run out of juice, don’t worry: it also has 80W wired charging with 66W wireless charging.

It wouldn’t be a true flagship without an IP rating, and the Magic 6 Pro has the full IP68 certification, making it both water- and dust-resistant.

The Magic 6 Pro has all the specs, but it also has Magic OS, which is not universally loved.

As for software, it’s running Magic OS 8.0 based on Android 14. Magic OS does take some getting used to and isn’t as simple or intuitive as stock Android or Samsung’s One UI, for example. This is probably the most significant learning curve of the entire phone.

I’m not saying Magic OS is bad — it just has a lot going on and will take some time to go through and learn. Depending on how you feel about Android skins that wildly revamp the OS, you’ll probably either love or hate Magic OS. This should be one of the top things to consider before picking up the HONOR Magic 6 Pro.

To its credit, Magic OS 8.0 does introduce some cool new AI features (this is 2024, after all, so everything has to have AI). One example is an on-device video generator that pulls in your photos to create a video on the fly, no internet required. There are also eye-tracking features, allowing you to open a notification just by staring at it for a few seconds, for example.

Also, if you’re worried at all about the Google Play Store, there’s no need, because the Magic 6 Pro has full support. You’ll have access to all your favorite apps and services.

Should you buy the HONOR Magic 6 Pro?

Honor Magic 6 Pro Rear
Paul Jones / Android Authority

A phone like the HONOR Magic 6 Pro is up against some serious competition. The previously mentioned Galaxy S24 Ultra ($1419.99 at Amazon) is a major contender, as is the Pixel 8 Pro ($999 at Amazon).

Thankfully, in Europe, the Magic 6 Pro undercuts the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s list price by quite a bit. At €1,299 (~$1,408), it is now a decent alternative to the Ultra. However, that’s still more than the Pixel 8 Pro, which lands at €1,099 (~$1,191).

HONOR Magic 6 ProHONOR Magic 6 Pro
AA Recommended
HONOR Magic 6 Pro
Excellent battery life • Flexible camera package • Top performance
MSRP: $1,389.00
A sparkle of magic.
The HONOR Magic 6 Pro is a direct follow-up to 2023's impressive Magic 5 Pro and the brand's third flagship smartphone under its own stewardship, post-HUAWEI. With a powerhouse camera setup and top-tier hardware, HONOR positions the Magic 6 Pro as a contender for one of the best Android phones.

Even so, the periscope zoom on this thing is outrageous, so if that’s a big part of your smartphone needs, this might be worth grabbing for that alone.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned for our full review of the Magic 6 Pro, coming soon!