The HONOR Magic4 Pro is the company’s latest flagship. HONOR has been making strides in the smartphone market ever since Google Play Services returned to the company’s phones. The HONOR Magic4 Pro is HONOR’s attempt to lure in people who are looking for the best of the best. This phone is big, bold, and somewhat unique-looking. Unlike basically every competitor, HONOR opted for a pill-shaped camera hole here, and it also utilizes a huge circular camera island on the back.
HONOR’s mid-range offerings are selling really well for the company, and it remains to be seen if the HONOR Magic4 Pro will be able to attract consumers. This device has a lot going for it, to say the least, and we’ll break all that down below, of course. Some of the standout features are its huge, gorgeous display, its 100W wired and wireless charging, and the camera setup and features the device offers. Having said that, let’s get into the review itself.
The HONOR Magic4 Pro is big, bold & not for everyone
The HONOR Magic4 Pro is a huge device, there’s no denying it. It is over 160mm tall, while it’s almost 75mm wide, while being 9.1-9.2mm thick. It weighs 215 grams, in the metal + glass variant globally. A Vegan Leather model is available in China, and that one is slightly lighter. Most people these days prefer large phones, and this one certainly is large. HONOR managed to stuff a huge display in it, and we’ll talk about it soon.
It does feel premium in the hand
The Magic4 Pro does feel premium in the hand, that’s for sure. It feels really well-built, and like a statement. The weight distribution is good, but not perfect, and that camera on the back really does stand out. Truth be said, I’d prefer if the pill-shaped camera hole is not here at all, let alone placed in the top-left corner. It moves all the notification icons towards the middle, and it all looks very weird, to be quite honest. I really wasn’t a fan of that. Those two holes are there for a reason, though, more on that later.
The bezels are thin, and the fingerprint scanner is great
You’ll be glad to hear that the bezels are quite thin on this phone. The display is curved, quite a bit, and HONOR utilizes an in-display fingerprint scanner here. It is an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, and it works great. Do note that the phone is quite slippery, though, and it’s also really difficult to use with one hand. It’s simply too large and too slippery to use with one hand, without the case. Luckily, you do get a case.
A soft silicone case is included in the box
HONOR includes a regular, soft silicone case in the box. That case is nice, though, one of the nicer generic soft silicone cases, with precise cutouts. It’s a see-through case, and it does add quite a bit of grip to the phone. It’s not too thick, so it doesn’t add much bulk either. We’d definitely recommend you to use this case until you find something else, or simply use it in general if you like it. Considering how slippery the phone is, and large as well, using it without the case is definitely not the best idea. You do you, though, of course.
A great LTPO OLED display is a part of the package
The HONOR Magic4 Pro features a 6.81-inch 2848 x 1312 main display. This is an LTPO OLED display, and it supports up to 1 billion colors. It offers a 120Hz refresh rate, and that refresh rate is adaptive. This display does get quite bright at up to 1,000 nits of brightness. It’s not as bright as the latest panels on Samsung’s smartphones, but it’s bright enough. Now, this panel is also curved, quite a bit.
This panel is curved, quite a bit
HONOR opted for a more aggressive curvature, probably to keep the phone less wide, despite its display size. This does look really nice, but it’s not that practical. Utilizing navigation gestures with such displays can be a pain. Going back requires you to swipe from the side, and that includes part of the curve. The entire process is just not as smooth as it is on flat display phones, and phones with less curvature on the sides.
The display is bright and vivid, and it offers great touch response
That aside, this is an excellent display. It is big, bright, and vivid. The colors are excellent, punchy, and the display offers great viewing angles. Touch response is outstanding, and using the display is a joy, to say the least. As long as you don’t mind its size, and curvature, you won’t find much to complain about here. It was bright enough outdoors, at least for me, though as I said, there are brighter displays out there. That pill-shaped hole did affect the usage a bit, as already mentioned in the design section, but it’s something you get used to.
The performance is great… most of the time
The HONOR Magic4 Pro comes with truly powerful specs. The phone is fueled by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC, the best Qualcomm has to offer at the moment. In addition to that, the global variant of the phone is equipped with 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of internal storage. You cannot expand the storage here, though, so keep that in mind. Is the performance any good, though? Well, yes, it is, but it’s not outstanding.
I occurred odd lagging here and there
The Magic4 Pro has been immensely smooth during my usage, for the most part. I did experience odd lagging here and there. It’s more frequent than I’d like. Also, the phone tends to skip a beat way too frequently, it should be smoother than that. It just feels like an extra update or two are needed to optimize things to the fullest, as the hardware is more than powerful enough.
Gaming is a joy on this phone
When it comes to gaming, well, I didn’t really stumble upon any issues. This phone is actually really great for gaming. It has that gorgeous display with a really good touch response, and the hardware can certainly handle it. It was a pure joy to game on this thing, that’s for sure.
The HONOR Magic4 Pro offers excellent battery life, to say the least
You’ll be glad to hear that the battery life on the HONOR Magic4 Pro is great. I have to admit I was a bit worried when I noticed a 4,600mAh battery here, and not a 5,000mAh unit. That was not a problem at all for this device. Even with heavy use, this phone managed to pull over 6 hours of screen-on-time without a problem. Do note that by heavy use I don’t mean playing games, though, at least not intensively. The vast majority of people are not heavy gamers, and that includes me, so I test review devices that way. Though some lighter gaming was involved.
100W wired & wireless charging is supported
I do, however, do a lot of browsing, multimedia consumption, image, and video processing, taking pictures and videos, streaming, etc. This device handled all that with ease, and still managed to leave me with plenty of battery juice. When you do need a top-up, however, you’ll be glad to know that both 100W wired and wireless charging is supported. Yes, you can get this phone to charge wireless that fast. You will need HONOR’s wireless charging stand that is not included in the package (pictured below), though, unless you grab a deal of some sort. You will also need a 125W charger for it to get to 100W, if you use a 100W charger that is included in the HONOR Magic4 Pro box, that wireless charger will charge the phone at 80W. That is unbelievably fast as well, so it’s not an issue either way.
The phone doesn’t even get hot while charging wirelessly
The best of all? The phone didn’t even get hot while charging wirelessly. I tried charging it both at 80W and 100W, and it managed to stay mildly warm. HONOR’s 100W charging stand does have a fan built-in, and it kicks up the moment you place the phone on it. It apparently does a great job of keeping both the charging stand and the phone cool. It actually didn’t feel odd using this wireless charger, unlike most others I’ve used. You can quickly top it off in the morning while you’re getting ready for work, and you’ll be good to go. You can get a 100-percent charge in only 30 minutes with wired charging. That is what Huawei advertises, and it’s quite accurate. I managed to get to 50-percent with 100W wireless charging in only 15 minutes, while it took a bit over half an hour to get to 100-percent. If you can’t tell, I really enjoyed using wireless charging here.
The camera experience wasn’t exactly what I expected, but it’s close
The HONOR Magic4 Pro packs a lot of great camera hardware. It has a 50-megapixel main camera on the back, in addition to a 50-megapixel ultrawide one (with 122-degree FoV), and a 64-megapixel periscope telephoto unit. A ToF 3D depth sensor is also located on the back. On the front, you’ll find a 12-megapixel main camera with an ultrawide lens, and a ToF 3D sensor for both depth and biometrics. The Magic4 Pro does offer advanced facial scanning which works well, even though I didn’t use it much. I tested it, and that’s about it. I much prefer a fingerprint scanner, and the ultrasonic one works great on this phone. In any case, I digress.
The camera performance is really good, but not great
What’s the camera performance like? Well, good, but not as good as I expected. I had really, really high hopes for the Magic4 Pro, as the company really did hype up what it can do. Let’s start with the performance during the day, in good lighting. Outdoors, the phone does a great, great job. The pictures don’t look too realistic, but that’s a good thing in my opinion. The phone does boost up the colors a bit, but that only makes the shot more punchy, and great-looking. There’s also plenty of detail in those shots. Most people will love the results. It does a good job indoors as well, but the images are a bit softer than I’d like them to be. It also tended to blur up parts of some images where I didn’t expect it to. For the most part, though, it did a really good job indoors as well.
Nighttime pictures need to be optimized
Nighttime is where the camera didn’t really perform the way I had hoped. Let’s start with outdoor shots. You can shoot in regular mode or switch to night mode. Regular mode shots proved to be better balanced, in my opinion, while night mode shots looked completely unnatural, and way too bright. The thing is, the phone doesn’t really balance things up all that well in low light. Parts of images do end up being a bit too bright, especially if street lights, or any lights for that matter, are in the frame. That will be the case most of the time. Noise also creeps in here, and sometimes images do end up looking a bit too soft for my taste.
You’ll want to use night mode while shooting pics indoors… at night
Indoor low light shots, on the flip side, well, that’s a different story. You’ll want to use regular mode only if there’s enough light available, if there’s not, switch to night mode at all costs. Why? Well, because your shots will end up looking horrible if you don’t, like watercolor paintings, as shown below. In most cases, you’ll want to use the night mode while taking pictures indoors at night, that’s for sure.
What about the ultrawide and periscope telephoto cameras? Well, the good news is that they provide similar results to the main camera. HONOR managed to align them so that images from ultrawide and telephoto cameras don’t look too different when it comes to the overall style. They also do a good job.
Periscope shots are good, but could be better
What about periscope shots? Well, the first thing I’ll say is that the results are not to the level Huawei can produce, as Huawei’s periscope camera is still my favorite to this day. The HONOR Magic4 Pro does a really good job though. Even at 50x zoom, I found that pictures are usable, though only in the daytime, of course. Things go downhill from there, but the camera does a really good job overall, and with some extra tweaking, it has the potential of being even better.
I have a feeling like HONOR could improve this camera setup further with software updates, and I hope that it will happen. As the camera does a stellar job in some instances, in others, not so much. Video recording, though, I have to say, is outstanding. The stabilization is great, and the phone does a great job in low light as well… when it comes to video. In the gallery below, you’ll find quite a few camera samples taken with all rear-facing cameras (wide, ultrawide, telephoto, periscope), including low light shots in auto and night mode settings. Macro shots are also included.
It has truly great speakers
The HONOR Magic4 Pro does have stereo speakers, of course. You’ll be glad to know that they’re actually really good as well. The main speaker sits at the bottom of the device, while the earpiece doubles as a secondary unit. The moment I’ve seen the earpiece, I thought the sound will be muffled due to the fact how thin it is. That’s not the case, though. The HONOR Magic4 Pro speakers offer great sound. The device has one of the best audio outputs out there.
The speakers are really well balanced, some of the best
The sound coming from the earpiece is actually really similar to the one coming from the main speaker. Needless to say, that equals to a really balanced setup. The speakers, in general, are actually quite loud, but that doesn’t really affect the sound quality. There’s even some bass thrown into the mix, while the lows, mids, and highs are well-balanced. The distortion is very minimal at the very highest of volumes, it’s almost negligible.
Android 12-based Magic UI 6.0 needs further tweaks
The HONOR Magic4 Pro ships with Android 12, and on top of it is HONOR’s Magic UI 6.0 skin. That skin does look different than stock Android, and it offers different sets of features as well. It actually reminds us a lot of iOS with semi-see-through elements and whatnot. There’s quite a lot of customization thrown into the mix, though. You have a ton of themes to choose from, different AOD styles, icons, and so on. You can also run apps in form of free-floating windows, and pin them to the side when you’re not using them. A rather interesting sidebar feature is also available.
You’ll get most of Android 12 features here
Despite the fact Magic UI 6.0 looks different from stock Android, you’ll get most of Android 12 features here. Including safety features, such as the Privacy Dashboard and granular app permissions. Some features are missing, though. For example, notification history is not here. That has been included in Android for quite some time now, but for some reason, HONOR left it out of Magic UI 6.0.
You can uninstall unwanted, pre-installed bloat
Do note that Magic UI 6.0 does come with some bloat, but luckily you can uninstall them. Apps such as TrainPal, Trip.com, and WPS Office. The app drawer is disabled by default, but you can change that in the settings. I did not spot any obvious bugs along the way, but I did get some stuttering on the performance side of things, as mentioned in the performance section. I did also get a couple of app crashes. HONOR needs to polish things out a bit more. Magic UI 6.0 is also quite aggressive when it comes to killing background apps, which enables such great battery life.
Don’t plan on using third-party launchers (with navigation gestures)
Another thing worth noting is that you won’t be able to use third-party app launches normally, if you use navigation gestures (that’s the case with many other third-party launchers, though). You won’t be able to use the quick app switch option in that case, and the home gesture also doesn’t work all the time. So, you’re stuck with the stock launcher. Magic UI 6.0 needs to be improved even further.
The HONOR Magic4 Pro is a really good phone, but it has the potential to be great
So, is the HONOR Magic4 Pro for you? That’s a question only you can answer. The Magic4 Pro is not perfect, but not a single phone is. This phone does feel really premium in the hand, and it’s quite large. The pill-shaped camera hole is not the most fortunate solution, but it likely won’t bother many of you. The performance is quite solid, the camera setup is good, and the sound quality is excellent. The software needs to be further polished, and so does the overall performance. I also have a feeling that HONOR can further improve the camera experience, as the included hardware is excellent. This is already quite a compelling smartphone, but with a couple of updates, it can become truly great. As things stand at the moment, I do believe there are better offerings out there in this price range. Things could change after a couple of software updates, though.