Honor Magic 4 Pro Is The Flagship Phone Huawei Wishes It Could Make With a powerful processor, good camera and fast charging, the Honor Magic 4 Pro has a lot to offer.

Honor’s phones have typically been budget oriented, offering decent specs at modest prices. But not so with the Magic 4 Pro; it has all the cutting edge technology you would expect one of today’s flagship phonesincluding multiple powerful cameras on the back, 5G, a blazing-fast processor, and a gorgeous, vibrant display.

So why the change of strategy? Well, Honor used to be a subsidiary of Huawei and produced affordable phones while Huawei churned out the exciting flagship models. But with Huawei cannot use Google services or 5G due to ongoing restrictions being imposed by the US, their flagship phones – like the P50 Pro — just can’t compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra or iPhone 13 pro.

Back in 2020 Honor was spun off from Huawei to become its own company and is currently not bound by the same restrictions, meaning it’s free to use Google services and 5G like any other Android phone today. As a result, its new strategy appears to be picking up the “flagship” baton where Huawei dropped it, making the top-end phones that its one-time parent company is no longer capable of.

And at £950 the Honor Magic 4 Pro is undoubtedly among the elite flagship contenders. At the moment the phone isn’t available in the US and there’s no word on if that will change. However, for reference, this UK price converts to $1,160 or AU$1,670. Thankfully, there’s a lot to like about the phone, which justifies the steep price tag.

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

A vivid display, a powerful processor

The display measures a generous 6.81 inches and, thanks to its maximum resolution of 2,848 x 1,312 pixels, is bright, lively and razor-sharp. This can be set to automatically drop to 2136×984 for some tasks to save battery, but even at the lowest resolution I could hardly tell a difference, at least not for basic tasks like email or general Surf the Internet.

Inside the phone is the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, supported by 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. It scored some excellent results on our benchmark tests, easily rivaling the impressively fast Galaxy S22 Ultra in performance and comfortably outperforming 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

Note:

Longer bars mean better performance

It’s nimble in day-to-day use, with no annoying lag when navigating the Android 12 interface. Demanding games like Asphalt 9: Legends and PUBG played without any noticeable slowdown, even on the highest graphics settings available.

The circular rear camera of the Honor Magic 4 Pro

The Honor has three rear cameras.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

A decent rear camera

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

Sample image showing people eating at outdoor tables

Good exposure and strong colors. nice stuff

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Camera test image showing a house in a park

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

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Camera test image showing a house in a park

With the ultrawide lens, the camera maintains good exposure, but the colors come out so vividly that they look a little unnatural.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

The main camera’s images are bright, well exposed and full of details. Colors are vibrant and punchy, only sometimes bordering on a bit oversaturated for my taste. Dynamic range is generally excellent, with bright skies being kept under control and shadowy foregrounds still clearly visible.

Camera test image showing a cruise ship at sea

This image was taken at 10x hybrid zoom and has degraded noticeably, showing fuzzy detail on the ship.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Sample 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 pretty muddy.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

The ultrawide camera maintains the same vibrant color balance and does a good job of providing even exposure even in high-contrast scenes. The telephoto lens, meanwhile, delivers beautifully sharp and clear shots at 3.5x zoom, although at 10x hybrid zoom (optical and digital zoom combined) the shots deteriorate noticeably.

It’s an overall solid camera system that’s well-suited to most everyday photographers, especially those of you who want to achieve vibrant, colorful images straight from your phone without having to apply any filters to your shots. However, if zoom is important to you, you’re still better off with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, whose 10x zoom is still the best on a phone. Like the S22 Ultra, the Magic 4 Pro has zoom levels of up to 100x, but the resulting shots are of such poor quality that it’s a largely redundant feature.

The home screen of the Honor Magic 4 Pro

The Magic 4 Pro runs Android 12.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

All-day battery with quick charge

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

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

The settings and specifications of the Honor Magic 4 Pro

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

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Should you buy the Honor Magic 4 Pro?

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

While I think the Pixel offers a smoother everyday user experience with its stock Android 12 interface, the Honor has a more powerful processor and offers significantly faster loading speeds, the latter being of particular use if you tend to forget your phone around fully charge overnight.

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