I’ve long followed Honor phones and former parent company Huawei, so I was excited to try out the first flagship phone Honor has made since it was spun off. The key point is that Honor is not under onerous and rather boring trade restrictions (unlike Huawei), so the Magic 4 Pro is widely available in the UK and comes packing a full selection of Google apps.
This phone is no groundbreaker on paper or in the flesh – most of the specs are pretty standard for 2022 flagships, with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 hardware and a sub-7in display that butts it up against the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra in terms of size.
The display is wonderfully bright, even if we’ve seen some that are slightly crisper, and a 120Hz variable refresh rate only adds to the experience.
While it’s a fine-looking device with slim bezels, it unsurprisingly shares some design language with recent Huawei flagships, notably the Mate 40 Pro with its circular rear camera setup.
That Huawei also has a similar wide cut-out for the selfie-cam and face-unlock, so seeing the Magic4 Pro up close doesn’t feel very ‘new’. It’s big in the hand, but not too weighty compared to some big-screen rivals at a shade over 200g.
Android 12 is top-layered with Honor’s Magic UI 6, which bears more than a passing resemblance to Huawei’s EMUI and as such feels – again – familiar. It’s a more customised interface than we’re getting on many flagships now, but fine in use.
The rear camera setup offers the wide/ultrawide combo that we’ve seen on many recent high-end phones, augmented by a 64MP telephoto plus a ToF depth sensor. The telephoto appears to be much better in theory than what you’ll get on a rival like the OnePlus 10 Pro, for example.
There’s no optical image stabilisation on the primary lens, which is odd (you only get that on the telephoto), and that’s a disadvantage compared to other Android flagships such as the Google Pixel 6 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22. The ultrawide has a 100° field of view.
The main camera can take some terrific shots – I’ve brought the phone on holiday and enjoyed using it on the beach, in sunshine and in murky Cornish conditions alike. There’s more noise and less detail in very low-light shots then I’d expected for a phone in this class, but it’s more impressive at dealing with such scenes than the OnePlus 10 Pro.
The telephoto is great up to its 3.5x optical zoom, but beyond that the images get progressively less clear (especially beyond 10-20x), though it goes up to an incredible 100x. You’ll need a really steady hand (or some kind of tripod) to shoot anything worthwhile at this kind of magnification, but we did get some OK shots of the far end of the beach and that’s all you can realistically expect. Video capture (up to 4K at 60fps) is excellent.
Coincidentally, the beach is also where I rapidly found it was IP68 resistant to water and dust.
With this year’s default flagship Android hardware – the mighty Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 – performance is not a problem. There’s no lag whatsoever. Battery life is decent, though the 4600mAh capacity isn’t as good as some we’re now seeing. It gets us through the entire day, though, and you’ll probably have a little power left for the evening.
The 100W SuperCharge wireless charging has to be seen to be believed – it’s so fast! There’s one problem: you need a 100W SuperCharge wireless charger, which is sold separately for £85 (one arrived as part of our review gear). That’s a fair whack for a charger; realistically you should save the cash and just plug it in, where it again charges at 100W and gives you 50% in 15 minutes. You’re looking at a bit over half an hour to juice the Magic4 Pro to full, which is seriously impressive.
Honor Magic 4 Pro verdict
Overall, I’m a big fan of what Honor has done here – OK, so our cyan review model attracts fingerprints a lot and shares design elements with its former owner, and there are better camera options; but the Honor Magic 4 Pro has a hybrid optical/digital zoom that works brilliantly, and I love the fast charging and the speedy phone experience. I’d probably dial down Magic UI a little bit, but these are really rather small issues.
A stunning flagship at a great price point, though there are better camera phones
Super speedy Snapdragon
Great cameras, though only zoom has OIS
Wireless charging phenomenally quick
Bigger battery would be desirable
Magic UI can be a bit much
Attracts fingerprints easily
Honor Magic 4 Pro technical specifications
|6.81in 2848×1312 120Hz OLED
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
|Android 12 with Magic UI 6.0
|50+50+64MP rear, 12MP front
|4600mAh (USB-C, Qi)