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Honor Magic 4 Pro – Review

Honor Magic 4 Pro   Review

Honor Magic 4 Pro

I was a great fan of the previous generation flagships that came out of the great behemoth that was Huawei of old when it still had a smaller scale sibling of Honor under its wing. Those days are gone and the likes of the Huawei P30 Pro got left behind in the wake of the Huawei/Google Mobile Services ban instigated by the Luminous president of yore. Well, thankfully we have moved on from those days and we now have Honor as a fully independent brand from Huawei, which brings a new spark to the company and the ability to use GMS again. we had an inkling of what Honor can do as a standalone brand in the form of the Honor 50 5G which I reviewed recently here for Coolsmartphone.

What we have here is what they can do when they are not restricted by the limitations of trying to build a mid-range phone. We have the Honor Magic 4 Pro and it harks back to the previous pro series device that I had soft spot for from my day using Huawei devices like the P30 Pro. I loved that phone and it brought some true flagship specs to the table and an awesome camera. Can the Honor Magic 4 Pro give the same feel as a flagship or is it just a fluster with its oversized camera module and fancy colour. Well, I hope to find that out over the course of this review.

So as is customary in a review let’s start by having a tour of the device.

Design

We will start at the top edge of the phone which has a Speaker grill for one of the two loudspeakers. This is tucked up in between two of the numerous Antenna break lines as the signal needs to get in and out of the device somehow! to the right of the top section are a microphone hole and a feature that is not often included in phones the IR transmitter. This is predominantly used for the Smart Remote app that is bundled with the phone, not something I played with if i am being honest as it is not a feature I need.

Honor Magic 4 Pro   Review

Honor Magic 4 Pro top

Moving around to the right-hand side of the phone is where we will find the volume rocker and just below is the power key. These are again in between more antenna lines. The power key can be set up to either have a long press bring up a Google assistant should you want with a longer press still allowing you to turn the phone off or restart the device. the buttons have positive feedback but feel that Honor missed a trick by not including any texturing on the buttons.

Honor Magic 4 Pro   Review

Honor Magic 4 Pro right hand side

Moving down to the bottom edge. is where we will find the second loudspeaker, another microphone and the dual sim tray. Hiding amongst these components is the new SuperCharge 100W charging port that is also capable of supporting display output. It takes the form of USB type C and when plugged into a display gives you the option to use a desktop-style interface along with a keyboard and mouse if you wish to. It is not as good as the offering from Samsung’s DEX offering but it is a nice feature to have on board.

Honor Magic 4 Pro   Review

Honor Magic 4 Pro base

As we move around to the left-hand side we have nothing really to speak of apart from more of the ever-prominent antenna lines. As a right-handed user, this is fine for me but left-handed users may find it a bit annoying at first.

Honor Magic 4 Pro   Review

Honor Magic 4 Pro left hand side

Next up we will take a trip to the front and the display. Which is a glorious panel measuring in at 6.81″ with a variable refresh rate of between 1Hz to 120Hz LTPO Display. It also features 1920Hz PWM Dimming for those who are sensitive to this. It makes viewing the 2848 x 1312 resolution display very enjoyable and it is a joy to interact with no noticeable lag or false inputs being found in my usage so far.

Honor Magic 4 Pro   Review

Honor Magic 4 Pro Display Locked

Up in the top left-hand corner is a camera cut-out that is not the smallest in the world, it does however need to be this size in order to allow for the 2 cameras that reside in it to have enough space. Under the screen, we have got a 12MP camera with f/2.4 aperture and a 100° smart wide-angle selfie. It is capable of capturing some great stills thanks to its Portrait mode and AI anti-distortion. In addition to these features, the camera will also be able to record up to 4K video. So that is the camera but there is also another sensor here which is the 3D Depth Camera which is used primarily for facial recognition with its 3D depth face unlock technology. This is nice to see after coming from a Pixel 6 Pro which has no face unlock something that I missed more than I thought I would.

While we are talking about unlocking the front of the phone also hides the fingerprint reader which is of the Ultrasonic under-display variety and I am very happy to say works like a charm as id plenty fast for quick access to your home screen from unlocked. it features Qualcomm’s 3D Sonic Sensor which is one of the many ways in which the Qualcomm chipset has raised the game with this phone.

I suppose i cannot avoid it any longer but it is time to talk about that rear. the rear is dominated by the “Eye of Muse” camera module which houses a massive 5 camera sensors of various varieties shapes and sizes.

Honor Magic 4 Pro   Review

“Eye of Muse” camera module

  • 50MP Wide Camera (f/1.8)
  • 50MP Ultra Wide Camera (f/2.2)
  • 64MP Periscope Telephoto Camera (f/3.5, 3.5x Optical Zoom, 100x Digital Zoom, OIS)
  • Flicker sensor
  • 8×8 dTOF Laser Focusing System

The 64MP Periscope Telephoto Camera is capable of a massive 100x zoom which promises to provide some very interesting shooting options.. Especially when you combine them with the other two 50MP cameras one of which will allow for a Wide Angle and the other a more Normal shooting mode. The camera will use Optical Zoom for up to 3.5x magnification and then it lets the Ultra Fusion engine take care of the rest. I will go into the camera features and how it performs later on in the review.

Apart from that massive camera array that nearly takes up the top third of the phone we have not got anything else particularly notable back here.

That culminates the design tour and now it is time to talk about some of the hardware of this flagship monster!

Hardware

The Honor Magic 4 Pro is a hardware nerds wet dream when it comes to flagships at the moment. I have to admit that even I got a bit excited by the prospect of this specilicous treat. There is so much goodness in this phone that it is hard to know where to start so I am just going to do a list of the specs and take it from there.

Specs

NAMEHonor Magic 4 Pro
COLORCyan, Black
DIMENSIONSHeight 163.6mm
Width 74.7mm
Depth 9.15mm
Weight 215 grams
DISPLAY PARAMETERSSize: 6.81 inches
Resolution: 1312 x 2848 PPI 460
Aspect Ratio: 20:9
Refresh Rate: Variable between 1Hz to 120Hz
Type: OLED Curved Display
PERFORMANCEOperating System: Magic UI 6.0 based on Android 12

CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen1
GPU: Adreno 730

RAM: 8GB
Storage: 256GB
Battery: 4500 mAh (non-removable)
Charging: Fast charging 100W, 100% in 30 min (advertised),Fast wireless charging 100W, 50% in 15 min (advertised),
Reverse wireless charging, Reverse charging 5W

MAIN CAMERA – REAR50 MP, f/1.8, 23mm (wide), 1/1.56″, 1.0µm, multi-directional PDAF, Laser AF
ULTRA WIDE CAMERA -REAR50 MP, f/2.2, 122˚ (ultrawide), 1/2.5″, AF
PERISCOPE TELEPHOTO CAMERA -REAR64 MP, f/3.5, 90mm (periscope telephoto), 1/2.0″, 0.7µm, PDAF, OIS, 3.5x optical zoom
FLICKER CAMERA – REAR2 MP
DEPTH OF FIELD – REAR8×8 dTOF Laser
FLASHSingle LED Flash
ZOOMWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
VIDEO4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60fps, gyro-EIS, HDR10, 10-bit video
FEATURESAI photography, Super Wide Angle, Aperture, Multi-Video, Night shot, Portrait mode, Photo, Pro mode, Video, Panorama, Filter, Watermark,
Documents, HIGH-RES, Super Macro, Capture smiles, Time-lapse, Timer, Movie, Slow-MO, Story
FRONT CAMERA12MP Front Camera + 3D Depth Camera
VIDEO4K@30fps, 1080p@30fps
FEATURES3D face unlock, Portrait, Filter, Watermark, Capture smiles, Mirror reflection, Timer, Night, Gesture control
CONNECTIVITY BAND2G Bands
GSM: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
CDMA: 800
3G Bands
HSDPA 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100 CDMA2000 1xEV-DO
4G Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41 – China5G Bands 1, 3, 5, 8, 28, 38, 41, 77, 78, 79 SA/NSA – China
Speed HSPA 42.2/5.76 Mbps, LTE-A, 5G
WLANWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
BLUETOOTHA-GPS. Up to tri-band: GLONASS (1), BDS (3), GALILEO (2)
NFCNFC enabled
SENSORSFingerprint (under display, ultrasonic), Face ID, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, color spectrum
PORTSUSB 2.0, Type-C, USB On the Go
Dual nano-SIM slot
BUTTONSGestures and on-screen navigation support
Volume key
Power key
AUDIODual stereo speaker
Noise cancellation support

So as you can see from the impressive specs list above the phone has got a lot to take in but I want to focus on a few of what I think are the key selling point for this phone. Processor and GPU, Battery life and charging speed and niceties (it will become clear later).

So first up the Processor and GPU.Honor Magic 4 Pro   Review

The Honor Magic 4 Pro is powered by the very power-dense 4NM Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor with the support of MEMC chip that helps to generate the best viewing experience that the phone can. That is not all though as the phone also supports GPU Turbo X which promises to increase the speed across the entire UI with an extra boost for Gaming needs. So do the high-end headline-grabbing components actually make a difference. For the most part yes they do I did not find the phone was slow in any task. There was barely a stutter in normal use and even when I put the phone under significant pressure. I even tried to run the built-in Desktop UI when plugged into my USB Dock that was hooked up to my monitor, which was using two displays at 1080p and being controlled by a Bluetooth keyboard and a mouse running on a 2.4ghz dongle. This was me trying to push the phone to its limits and I couldn’t get it to glitch.

The only time the phone was showing any stress was when using the Camera to record 4K Video as the phone did get a bit warm but this is more than normal for flagships at the moment as we are asking for so much in terms of computational assisted photography these days.

The other area that really did impress me was the Graphics processing on the phone as it was great and watching the video, streaming content and playing games were all pulled if really well. I was able to easily play my staple games of Grand Mountain and Alto’s Oddest with no dropped frames and very good quality images. All this without the battery being nuked and draining in mere seconds. I have watched many hours of YouTube on the phone and it always remains comfortable to hold when binging on the latest Radio Controlled trucks videos (yeah it’s an issue I know).

I mentioned the MEMC assistant chip earlier and this is on board to allow the phone to dynamically adjust the frame rate when using the phone for video playback. This converts Standard Definition video to High Definition video on the fly during the playback of the aforementioned content. The MEMC will work on YouTube Netflix and Prime Video. . That is not all that the MEMC will do as it also has a Frame rate booster that will work on the video’s Frame rate in the same way as the video enhancer function. I can report that it does make a small but noticeable difference

The only area that did let me down in terms of performance was when using Android Auto, but I feel this may be more a software-based issue, however. The only reason I mention it in this section is that there may be a hardware element involved as I have had the same Android Auto version on lower specced phones and not had any issue. Oddly enough I seem to recall this being an issue on Honor 50 as well so maybe some legs to this theory.

That about concludes the Performance and GPU area, next up the battery and charging.Honor Magic 4 Pro   Review

I actually want to mix this one up a bit and talk about the charging first as Honor has brought out the big guns to get the Honor Magic 4 Pro powered up fast and safely. The battery will charge at extremely fast speeds depending on which method of charging you go for. If you use the. Wired Supercharger that comes in the box with the phone you will get up to 100W of charging speed. This will allow a full 0 to 100% charge in under 30 mins. If you choose to use the Wireless 100W Supercharger then you will allow you to charge at 80W when using the in-box charger and will allow you to recharge 0 to 100% in just under an hour. If you wish to obtain the full 100W capability then you can use the optional 135W charger from the Honor Laptop range as this will give the higher amount of juice required, for the quicker charge.

One thing that is important to note is that I mentioned that you can recharge quickly and safely. When you are talking about rapidly charging batteries then there are a few areas of concern that can become relevant. The enemies of super-fast charging are heat build-up and battery health over time. This is something that Honor is aware of and they have put in various procedures to avoid these potential pitfalls. So how do they counter these issues, well they use two different methods. the charger in the box utilises Honor’s in-house developed Supercharging Technology to allow the heat build-up to be largely concentrated in the charging brick without passing it down the cable to the phone. The second is in the way that the charger and phone monitor charging rates to provide the optimum power usage minimising wasted energy that would normally be kicked out in terms of heat. The last thing that Honor has also realised is that you don’t need your phone to always charge at super fast speeds. So you can set it up to allow the phone to the only fast charge in certain scenarios as you dictate.

Honor Magic 4 Pro   ReviewA brilliant example of this is when using the Wireless Supercharger. I tended to put my phone in this when I went to bed at night to ensure I had a fully charged phone by the morning. Now when I normally did this during the day the phone charged rapidly causing there to be some heat build up which normally occurs during Wireless charging. This in turn caused the fan on the charger to spin up which was pretty noisy.

However when it was charging it overnight I didn’t hear any noise from the fan on the charger and my phone would charge a bit slower, which isn’t a problem as I am going to sleep. now as far as I am aware I didn’t actually configure anything specific to do this apart from setting a “bedtime mode” within Digital Wellbeing. I am not sure if this influenced the charging behaviour or not but if it did then brilliant. It is also possible that this is set up from the stock software config in which case kudos to Honor for doing so as it is one less thing you the user need to worry about configuring.

Here is a sound bite from the Wireless Supercharger during a charging session. It is not the best quality as it was recorded from my phone but it will give you an idea of how loud it is,

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