Monday, November 28, 2022
Home Mobile Honor Magic4 Pro and Magic V hands-on review

Honor Magic4 Pro and Magic V hands-on review

Introduction

Since splitting from Huawei, the Honor brand is on the rise. As of last week, the brand has over 11,000 employees, and 55% of those employees focus on R&D. Honor currently caters to over 100 markets and has 180 million active users.

The Honor Magic4 series launched in China last week, and we got to check out the top-tier Magic4 Pro during MWC over the weekend. Plus, we finally got a close look at the brand’s first foldable: the Honor Magic V – announced back in January.

Both devices represent Honor’s premium lineups of smartphones, ones that will compete with more expensive devices on the smartphone market.

Honor Magic4 Pro

The “Eye of Muse” is what Honor is calling its symmetrical camera setup on the back – an appropriate name considering how pleasing it can look. Now, enough about looks, let’s see what makes this thing tick under all that pretty glass.

On the front is a unique LTPO OLED that supports high-frequency PWM dimming. Honor also stepped up the charging system this generation, hitting 100W both wired and wireless.

Honor Magic4 Pro specs at a glance:

  • Body: IP68 water resistance
  • Display: 6.81-inch LTPO OLED; quad-curve glass; 120Hz adaptive refresh rate; HDR10+; 1000 nits (peak); 1312 x 2848 px; 19.5:9 ratio; ~460 ppi
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SM8450 Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (4 nm); Octa-core (1×3.00 GHz Cortex-X2 & 3×2.40 GHz Cortex-A710 & 4×1.70 GHz Cortex-A510); Adreno 730
  • Memory: (non-expandable) 256GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 12GB RAM, 512GB 12GB RAM
  • OS/Software: Android 12, Magic UI 6, Google Play Services (market/region dependent)
  • Rear cameras: Main (wide): 50 MP, f/1.8, 23mm, 1/1.56″, 1.0µm, multi-directional PDAF, Laser AF; Ultrawide:50 MP, f/2.2, 122˚,
    1/2.5″ Telephoto: 64 MP, f/3.5, 90mm (periscope telephoto), 1/2.0″, 0.7µm, PDAF, OIS, 3.5x optical zoom
  • 8×8 dToF (depth and low-light AF); flicker sensor
  • Front cameras: 12 MP, f/2.4, 100˚ (ultrawide), 1.22µm; TOF 3D, (depth/biometrics sensor)
  • Video capture: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60fps, gyro-EIS, HDR10, 10-bit video
  • Battery: 4,600 mAh; Fast-charging 100W, 100% in 30 minutes (advertised); 100W Wireless SuperCharge, 90% in 30 minutes (advertised); reverse wireless charging 5W
  • Misc: In-display Qualcomm Ultrasonic 3D fingerprint scanner; A-GPS. Up to tri-band: GLONASS (1), BDS (3), GALILEO (2); Bluetooth 5.2, A2DP, LE, aptX HD; NFC

Honor Magic V

The Honor Magic V is Honor’s new foldable offering, and it’s the first foldable device running the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset. It touts the folding device’s no-gap design, thanks to its “Waterdrop Hinge”.

The inward-folding display opens to a 7.9-inch OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate and a 1984 x 2272 px resolution. Meanwhile, the external cover display is a 6.45-inch OLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate.

Honor Magic V specs at a glance:

  • Body: Glass front; glass/eco leather back; aluminum frame; Unfolded: 160.4 x 141.1 x 6.7 mm; Folded: 160.4 x 72.7 x 14.3 mm
  • Display: Internal display: 7.90-inch Foldable OLED; 90Hz, HDR10+, 1894 x 2272 px; Cover screen: 6.45-inch OLED, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1080 x 2560 px; 431 ppi
  • Chipset: Qualcomm SM8450 Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (4 nm); Octa-core (1×3.00 GHz Cortex-X2 & 3×2.40 GHz Cortex-A710 & 4×1.70 GHz Cortex-A510); Adreno 730
  • Memory: (non-expandable) 256GB 12GB RAM, 512GB 12GB RAM
  • OS/Software: Android 12, Magic UI 6, Google Play Services (market/region dependent)
  • Rear cameras: 50 MP, f/1.9, 23mm (wide), PDAF, Laser AF + 50 MP, f/2.0, 20mm (wide), PDAF + 50 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 122˚, (ultrawide)
  • Selfie camera: (Cover display) 42 MP, f/2.4, (wide)
  • Video capture: 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60fps, gyro-EIS, HDR10+
  • Battery: Li-Po 4750 mAh; Fast-charging 66W, 50% in 15 min (advertised); reverse wireless charging 5W
  • Misc: Side-mounted fingerprint scanner; A-GPS. Up to tri-band: GLONASS (1), BDS (3), GALILEO (2), QZSS (2); Bluetooth 5.2, A2DP, LE, aptX HD; NFC

Honor Magic4 Pro

Even though Honor has been independent of Huawei for a year now, the Honor Magic4 Pro still has that Huawei feel.

The phone’s razor-thin bezels mean that it has a very slim frame – which can make it difficult to hold. The overall design feels very curvy, from the rounded corners to the 3D rear glass panel, down to the super curvy quad-curve display and the round camera cluster on the back – no right angles here.

Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review

The pill-shaped cutout houses a 12MP selfie camera with 100-degree FoV, and a ToF depth sensor helps with portrait selfies while also enabling 3D face biometric unlock. Meanwhile, the lower half of the display houses Qualcomm’s Ultrasonic 3D in-display fingerprint scanner, the same one used on the Galaxy S22 series. Honor says this fingerprint reader is 40% faster than the Magic3 Pro’s optical reader.

Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review

The display is also marketed as the first LTPO panel in the industry to offer 1,920 Hz PWM dimming (for reference, the iPhone 13 Pro does PWM dimming at 480 Hz). LTPO also means that it offers an adaptive refresh rate in the 1-120 Hz range, while the touch sampling rate is 360 Hz. This sizable 6.81″ OLED display has 1,224 x 2,664 px resolution and renders HDR10+ imagery with 100% DCI-P3 coverage.

Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review

The phone is running the latest Magic UI 6 (based on Android 12) and includes the Google Play Store, of course. It is powered by a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 coupled with 8-12 GB of RAM and 256 GB or 512 GB storage (no expansion slot). The new Honor Share feature simplifies file transfer between the phone, a tablet and a laptop.

The Magic4 Pro features an independent security chip, which securely stores passwords, biometric authentication data (face ID and fingerprints) and helps other services like electronic payments.

Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review

The battery capacity is the same as on last year’s model, 4,600 mAh, however, wired and wireless charging speeds both went up to 100W (from 66W). Using the wired charger, you can get up to 100% in 30 minutes, a quick 15 minute top-up on a wireless charger takes the battery from zero to 50%. Wireless charging isn’t as efficient as wired (even at the same power rating), so getting to 100% is a slightly slower – but only slightly, it takes 5 minutes longer.

Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review

The back of the Magic4 Pro bears a resemblance to the Magic3 Pro. There are also slightly thinner bezels – just 0.94mm, compared to the Magic3 Pro’s 1.89mm. Even the front-facing pill-shaped cutout for the dual front cameras is also smaller. Honor managed to shave off about a millimeter in length and height of this opening.

Triple camera “Eye of Muse”

Although there are five sensors on the back of the Magic4 Pro, Honor considers this a triple camera system. The main camera is a 50MP wide shooter (1/1.56″ sensor), there’s a 50MP ultra-wide snapper (122°, 1/2.5″), and a 64MP periscope telephoto camera (1/2″) in the center. The lower-left sensor is an 8×8 dToF sensor used to aid in focusing accuracy in low light situations, and the last sensor on the lower-right is a flicker sensor.

Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review

Honor mentions that the cameras are capable of ‘Multi-camera Fusion Computational Photography’. This means when setting the zoom level between 0.6X and 1X, it will take information from the wide and ultra-wide cameras to compile an image. Likewise, when shooting between 2X and 3.5X levels, frames are compiled from the telephoto and main cameras. Outside of these ranges, between 1X and 2X zoom and above 3.5X zoom, the system reverts to Multi-frame Fusion using a single camera.

We’ve taken some sample photos so you can judge the cameras for yourself. We’ll save commentary on the shots until we are able to shoot across our usual sample photo locations.

Honor Magic4 Pro camera samples: main camera - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/3300s - Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review
Honor Magic4 Pro camera samples: main camera - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/1027s - Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review
Honor Magic4 Pro camera samples: main camera - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/3065s - Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review

Honor Magic4 Pro camera samples: main camera - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/940s - Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review
Honor Magic4 Pro camera samples: main camera - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2455s - Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review
Honor Magic4 Pro camera samples: main camera - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/100s - Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review

Honor Magic4 Pro camera samples: main camera

The ultra wide camera covers 122° field of view and captures images at the same 50 MP resolution as the main module (the sensor is smaller, though, 1/2.5″ vs. 1/1.56″). The UW camera also has autofocus and is able to get close enough to shoot macro photos.

Magic4 Pro camera samples: main - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2214s - Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review
Magic4 Pro camera samples: ultra-wide - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/1107s - Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review

Magic4 Pro camera samples: main • ultra-wide

The camera trio also includes a periscope lens with a 90 mm focal length. This is relatively short for a periscope, but the high resolution 64 MP sensor and Multi-camera Fusion tech allow for a lot of flexibility when zooming in.

Zoom samples: 90 mm - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/2214s - Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review
Zoom samples: 90 mm - f/2.2, ISO 50, 1/1107s - Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review
Zoom samples: over 10x zoom - f/3.5, ISO 50, 1/188s - Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review

Zoom samples: 90 mm • 90 mm • over 10x zoom

We also tested out the portrait mode using the main camera. The managed to separate the subject from the background quite accurately, with only stray hairs getting blurred not quite right.

Magic4 Pro: portrait mode - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/279s - Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review
Magic4 Pro: portrait mode - f/4.0, ISO 50, 1/277s - Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review
Magic4 Pro: portrait mode - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/156s - Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review
Magic4 Pro: portrait mode - f/1.8, ISO 50, 1/150s - Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review

Magic4 Pro: portrait mode

The Magic4 Pro is equipped with a 12 MP front-facing camera. It has an ultra-wide lens (100° field of view), so you don’t need to stretch your hand out too far to snap a selfie. This is great for group shots as well.

Honor Magic4 Pro selfies - f/2.4, ISO 74, 1/100s - Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review
Honor Magic4 Pro selfies - f/2.4, ISO 50, 1/1139s - Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review

Honor Magic4 Pro selfies

We only had a chance to get sample photos with the Magic4 Pro, no time for videos. We will definitely test the video capabilities of the phone for the full review. It can record 4K video at 60 fps in an “IMAX Enhanced” 10-bit Log format.

Honor improved the feature that snaps a photo during video recording. Typically, a phone would just grab the latest frame and save it as a JPG. Not the Magic4 Pro, it runs the full Multi-frame Fusion process for the still image without interrupting the video recording. This should make a massive difference in image quality.

Honor Magic V

The Honor Magic V is a bit intimidating. When closed, the phone measures 72.7 mm, and the cover display has a 6.45″ diagonal with a 21:9 aspect ratio. Those numbers are not out of line with a typical rigid phone these days, except you have two of those attached.

Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review

For comparison, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 has a narrow and tall 25:9 cover display, which has considerably smaller footprint. The Oppo Find N has even shorter aspect ratio on the cover display, 18:9, but is small at 5.49″.

Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review

The Magic V display is impressive. It offers 120Hz refresh rate and HDR10+ support. But enough about the cover display, the real star of the show is on the inside.

We’re talking about the 7.9″ internal display – a foldable OLED panel with 90Hz refresh rate, 1,984 x 2,272 px resolution and HDR10+ support. This is the first foldable with an IMAX Enhanced certification. It’s also the first with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, but we’ll get to that.

Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review

The hinge of a foldable display is the main area of innovation right now. Honor designed a hinge that allows the phone to close completely (without a gap). To reduce the strain on the folded OLED panel, the fold is done in a teardrop shape. This has the added benefit of making the crease shallower.

The Magic V body is made of high-strength titanium alloy, zirconium liquid metals and high-strength carbon fibers. This makes for a very rigid frame, and it is fairly thin – 14.3 mm (that’s thin for a foldable). It is quite heavy, though, at 288g (a bit more for some colorways), it is one of the heaviest foldables we’ve handled. And you can really feel the weight in your hand and in your pocket.

Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review

On the plus side, there is a fairly large battery inside with 4,750 mAh capacity. And it is fast to charge too, at 66W it can reach 50% in 15 minutes.

The triple 50 MP camera setup is interesting too; the cameras are the Achilles’ heel of a typical foldable. We didn’t have time to shoot camera samples at the MWC, so a deeper look into the camera quality will have to wait for the full review.

Going back to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 for a moment, it is paired with 12 GB of RAM – foldables have a great screen for multitasking, but they need enough RAM to do it as well. Also, storage starts at 256 GB, and there is a 512 GB option as well. Either way, it can fit a lot of apps, games and videos.

Conclusion

Despite not having a major camera brand name to work with, Honor has created an impressive camera setup for the Magic4 Pro. The company’s work in image processing in particular stands out, but the hardware looks quite capable too.

And it looks quite well, arranging all those sensors in an attractive fashion isn’t easy. The 6.81″ display on the front may be too large for some, but if you are prepared to live with those dimensions, this is one of the most capable OLED panels around.

Honor Magic4 Pro Magic V hands-on review

At €1100, the Honor Magic4 Pro is priced to compete with flagships from Apple and the best Android makers. That sets expectations to “high”, but Honor has put together a compelling package with no obvious weak spots. Aside from one, perhaps, we need to clear up how many OS updates the phone will receive and for how long it will continue to get security patches.

As for the Honor Magic V, it is one of the best foldables we’ve handled to date. It’s priced out of the mainstream market, but well-heeled early adopters will love it. Unfortunately, we still don’t know of any concrete plans to make it available outside of China, so even if the price is no concern, it may still be unattainable.

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