Honor, the Chinese tech brand once known as Huawei’s budget brand, is determined to shed that moniker and position itself as one of the great tech brands in South Africa. To that end, the company has finally brought a flagship phone, the Honor Magic4 Pro, to the country.
Here are some of my thoughts about it after having used it as my primary device for two weeks.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Magic4 Pro isn’t the gently curved sides of the display, it’s the huge circular camera bump (Honor calls it the Eye of Muse) that dominates the back.
When showing the phone to various friends and colleagues, the comments uttered ranged from calling it “the eye of Sauron” to “Mike Wazowski”. While I think that those are a little on the extreme side, there’s no denying that the design will elicit some sort of response from anyone who sees it and is very much a case of beauty being subjective.
The only other thing you’ll find on the back of the handset is the Honor logo.
Flipping it over to the front you’ll find a quad-curved display (the top and bottom of the display have a gentle curve unlike the more noticeable curve of the left and right sides of the device) with a double hole-punch cutout in the top left-hand corner of the display.
Eye of Muse aside, the design of the Magic4 Pro is rather standard for a modern flagship, but there are a few things I don’t love:
Curved display – I personally don’t love a curved display as it makes the device less grippy and serves no real benefit.
Thin side rails – as a result of the curved sides, the side rails are thinner which leads to thinner buttons that are not as satisfying or clicky as those on devices with flat sides.
One of the big selling points of the Magic4 Pro is the camera.
The unique camera array resulted in images that were not as saturated as those produced by Samsung but at times also felt flatter and not quite accurate to real-life despite usually producing more detailed images. Low-light photography and 100x zoom suffered more than I’d like to admit and need some software refinement to truly make it competitive. Having said that, the camera produced good images in decent light and is a solid starting point for the brand.
When it comes to video capturing capability, the Magic4 Pro offers some unique features – log capture as well as the inclusion of LUTS – which could make it an ideal companion for anyone needing a portable video camera on the go.
Images taken using the Honor Magic4 Pro
This is an area where the Magic4 Pro completely outshone the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the iPhone 13 Pro.
I was comfortably able to use the Magic4 Pro for a solid day of average use which included watching Disney+, YouTube, and TikTok on the go, listening to music on Tidal, podcasts, Whatsapp, emails, Twitter, and some light gaming, and still have around 20% battery by 8 pm.
The real power move is the fact that the Magic4 Pro comes with 100W wired charging (the charging brick and cable are both included in the box) which means that you can go from 0 – 100% charged in just over 30 minutes.
Honor’s Magic4 Pro is a solid performer that should be a no-brainer for anyone who loves Huawei’s flagships but needs GMS (Google Mobile Services – something that Huawei handsets no longer offer).
It feels like a premium device in hand (you’ll need the case because the back is a fingerprint magnet), has a competent camera array, impressive battery capabilities, and a wonderful display.
Where it falls short is on the software front.
Honor’s MagicUI feels like a copy and paste replica of Huawei’s EMUI, it lacks features including a digital payment system (Samsung has Samsung Pay and iPhone has Apple Pay) and overall lacks the refinement found in other flagship smartphones in the same price range.
If you’re looking for a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 powered phone with incredibly fast charging, a great display, standout design, and unique video recording capabilities, then this is the phone for you.
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