Once, Honor was the budget arm of Huawei, but there's nothing budget about the Honor brand of 2022, and specifically its new flagship, the Magic 4 Pro. The first premium Honor handset to launch outside China since the company parted ways with Huawei, the Magic 4 Pro is crammed with top-tier specs, boasts a capable camera, and sports a big, bold, punchy screen.
While we've seen an Honor midrange phone in the UK and Europe – the Honor 50, which launched towards the end of 2021– nothing headline-grabbing has come out of the brand for a while. But that's all about to change. The Honor Magic 4 Pro is the first smartphone to launch with 100W wireless charging, and it also undercuts much of the flagship competition.
Far from cheap, the Magic 4 Pro lives in the swelling mid-point between upper-mid-range phones and top-end flagships, sharing the space with the likes of the Google Pixel 6 Pro, OnePlus 10 Pro, and Xiaomi 12 Pro. It also costs the same as a 128GB iPhone 13 Pro – perhaps its toughest competition.
So has Honor lost its magic, or can it win us over with a choice mix of specs, world-first tech, and camera smarts?
While its mirror finish glass design isn't as fingerprint repellent as many of today's finer flagships, the Magic 4 Pro still looks premium. The value adds are also abundant. It ships with a screen pre-fitted protector, a case, a 100W fast charger, and it's IP68 dust and water-resistant for extra peace of mind.
With an LTPO OLED screen that clocks in at 6.8 inches, watching content on the Magic 4 Pro is a delight. The screen is expansive, bright, deep, inky, and bold, and thanks to the phone's tiny bezels feels seriously immersive.
Every camera on the Honor Magic 4 Pro pleases, from the impressive ultra-wide to the high-resolution periscope telephoto camera, outperforming the iPhone 13 Pro when it comes to zoom, and only falling behind the best competition in the darkest environments.
Loaded up with the top-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, the Magic 4 Pro is fast, making light work of most apps and games. And with 256GB storage, even though there's no SD card slot (so you won't be able to expand the onboard storage), you should still have space for all your files and photos.
The Magic 4 Pro's battery could be bigger. At 4,500mAh, its capacity falls behind most of the elite Android competition. That said, it delivers ridiculously fast wired and wireless charging at 100W, so a ten-minute top-up will significantly boost its longevity – and even without this, our review unit still lasted us a full day.
While the 100W wired charger ships with the phone, you'll have to pick up a pricey wireless charging system to get 100W wireless speeds. This costs roughly £150 ($185 / AUS $270) – a huge amount. Thankfully, even without this wireless convenience, the Magic 4 Pro is still a great mix of highlights, and a worthy first Western flagship for a newly emboldened Honor.
Honor Magic 4 Pro price and availability
The Magic 4 Pro doesn't look like it's launching in the US, but it is coming to Europe and the UK, with UK pre-orders starting from May 13, 2022.
Available to buy from May 27, the Magic 4 Pro will cost £949.99 (roughly $1,160 / AUS $1,700). You can pick it up both with a contract at Three UK and Carphone Warehouse, and off-contract at Amazon, Argos, Curry's and Honor's own hihonor.com.
Two versions of the phone were announced, one which we tested with 256GB storage and 8GB RAM, and a higher-spec configuration with 512GB storage and 12GB RAM, however the latter isn't widely available. In the UK, Black and Cyan color options will be on sale.
Honor Magic 4 Pro design
If you've seen a Huawei Mate 40 Pro, then you'll very loosely know what to expect from the Honor Magic 4 Pro's design. It's a premium bit of kit with a curved-edge display on the front and a curved glass back, sandwiching polished metal.
While a lot of smartphone makers are switching it up and adding frosted finishes to their flagships, Honor has opted for high-gloss glass with a shiny back that bounces light off it with grace and beauty (until it gets grubbed up by greasy fingers).
While the phone is on the chunkier side at 9.1mm, it nevertheless feels elegant with the curved back and front tapering into the sides. The Magic 4 Pro is also solid at 215g, though still weighs less than the beefy iPhone 13 Pro Max, which clocks in at 240g.
Around the back of the phone, the styling is a pretty clear evolution of Honor's Magic 3 flagship series and Huawei's Mate 20 series. That means a circular camera surround that cascades the cameras around a ring. What's striking is how the Magic 4 positions the eye-catching periscope camera right in the center of the circle.
The phone is also IP68 water and dust resistant and sports a pre-fitted screen protector, as well as a case in the box. All this means that despite its glass and polished metal design, it's still relatively life-proof for a modern-day flagship phone.
Honor Magic 4 Pro display
One of the Honor Magic 4 Pro's highlights is its screen. Rich in zing and vibrancy, and bright too, it's an LTPO OLED panel – the same tech used in the OnePlus 10 Pro and Oppo Find X5 Pro – two phones with exceptional displays.
The Magic 4 Pro gets as bright as 1000 nits, which should make seeing what's going on easy in all but the brightest climes.
Measuring 6.8 inches, the screen matches the Galaxy S22 Ultra size-wise, and with a resolution of 1312 x 2848, it sports a nice and sharp 460ppi pixel density, as well as a relatively widescreen 19.5:9 aspect ratio.
Honor has also done some cool stuff with the screen's flicker rate, cranking it up to 1,920Hz. This reduces back eye strain according to Honor, and there's also an eBook Mode accessible through the settings, as well as customizable blue light filter settings.
Whether watching movies, reading on the Kindle app, or simply emailing and messaging, the Honor Magic 4 Pro's screen was a total treat. Color shifting does creep in off-angle, though no more than on other curved OLED screens.
Within the settings, the Magic 4 Pro offers a host of video options to upscale content, both from standard definition to high definition, and standard dynamic range to high dynamic range.
In addition to being visually striking, the Honor Magic 4 Pro's screen is smooth, with a silky 120Hz refresh rate that scrolls fluidly, and adapts based on what's on-screen, between 1Hz and 120Hz – just like the Realme GT 2 Pro and Find X5 Pro.
Honor Magic 4 Pro cameras
On the back of the phone, housed in that attention-grabbing ring are four cameras. The telephoto periscope camera sits in the center with its 64MP resolution, f/3.5 aperture and 90mm focal length, taking its zoom range to around 3.5 times that of the primary camera's focal length. Thanks to the high-resolution sensor, it uses a combination of optical and digital zoom to great effect – more on that later.
Both the Magic 4 Pro's wide and ultra-wide cameras are 50MP, though the primary camera sports a superior sensor with a larger size. Nevertheless, the ultra-wide camera still impresses, given the fact it features autofocus, so doubles up as a macro camera for close-up objects as near as 4cm.
The fourth camera around the back of the Magic 4 Pro is a time of flight depth sensor, while on the front are two selfie cameras, a 12MP ultra-wide with a 100-degree field of view, and 3D depth sensor.
Performance from all the cameras on the Honor Magic 4 Pro impressed us. We had curtailed our expectations after being disappointed by the Honor 50, whose camera was wholly underwhelming, but thanks to far superior photo processing, Honor has clawed back some camera kudos.
The primary camera captures an abundance of detail, and its photos are balanced, with respectable contrast, and natural saturation. It misses out on the more dramatic contrast that phones like the Samsung Galaxy S22 series capture, but many will appreciate its subtler image characteristics.
The phone is quick to focus, though locking onto small, close-up objects can be clumsy when you aren't in macro mode (or haven't fired up the ultra-wide camera). The main camera's still our go-to most of the time. It captures photos with pleasing background blur, and its performance in most lighting conditions is exemplary.
The lack of OIS does hold back the Magic 4 Pro in extremely dark conditions, specifically when it comes to detail. That said, the overall color balance still excels, even when detail wanes.
As for the periscope camera, it's a joy to use when taking outdoor portrait photos. While it doesn't hold up as well in dark scenes, it still outperforms the telephoto camera on the iPhone 13 Pro and Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus across lighting conditions. Its hybrid optical + digital zoom is seriously impressive – not much worse than the zoom champ, the S22 Ultra.
Another practical highlight is the Magic 4 Pro's selfie camera, which benefits from a nice and wide 100º lens, so gets loads in each shot.
Filmmakers will also enjoy movie mode, an addition to Honor's camera UI. This adds log capture and a series of LUTS to the phone's Pro Video mode, and also offers a 21:9 aspect ratio video capture at up to 4K resolution.
Honor Magic 4 Pro performance and specs
With a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset and either 8GB or 12GB of RAM, the Honor Magic 4 Pro goes toe to toe with the latest from Oppo, Realme, Samsung, and Xiaomi. We tested the 8GB RAM model with 256GB storage, and it performed smoothly in our week with the phone.
Watching and gaming on the Magic 4 Pro is a great experience – the speakers are loud and its internals can power through 3D games with ease. The phone does get warm after around half an hour of playback, but no more than other flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 phones. For serious gamers, we'd suggest the ROG Phone 5 and 5s, which supports a clip-on fan for constant cooling.
We also found the face recognition and under display fingerprint scanner to be nice and responsive, and the UI – Magic UI 6, reliable for the most part.
There were a couple of areas we wish Honor had made different decisions. The full-screen notch handling is one, for example. And there's occasional flickering that looks a tad glitchy when video enhancements are active and you get a notification or change the volume. That said, we didn't experience any significant bugs that impeded our ability to use the phone to full effect.
Honor Magic 4 Pro battery life
There's a modest 4,500mAh cell in the Magic 4 Pro, which is smaller than the 5,000mAh power we're used to seeing in flagships like the Find X5, Galaxy S22 Ultra, and Xiaomi 12 Pro.
Despite this, the phone makes it through a day – but without too much wiggle room. We found a 90-minute clip drained the battery by about 15 percent at full brightness, and most days we called it a day with between 10 and 20 percent left in the tank.
More impressive than the battery capacity is the charging speed. A wired charge with the supplied 100W power brick takes the phone to 50 percent in just 10 minutes, and charges it fully in little over half an hour. A wireless charge at 100W (with the pricey charger – sold separately), charges the phone fully in just over 45 minutes and gets you a 50 percent boost in around 17 minutes.
Should I buy the Honor Magic 4 Pro?
Buy it if...
You love watching content
The Honor Magic 4 Pro has a cracking screen that's expansive, rich, deep and inky. If you're like the idea of a OnePlus 10 Pro or Oppo Find X5 Pro-grade display, but are put off by their camera's limited zoom range, this could be a smart alternative.
You love photography
When we first heard that the Magic 4 Pro wouldn't feature OIS on its main camera, we weren't convinced it would hold up across lighting conditions. Despite this, its cameras perform well in all but the darkest scenes, and the phone's ultra-wide and periscope camera both outperform most rivals.
You like apps
This is one of the first Honor phones to launch with full Google Play services in a long time. That means loads of apps, and none of the limitations frequently experienced when using new Huawei phones.
Don't buy it if...
You hate smudges
Unless you put the phone's case on the second you unbox the Honor Magic 4 Pro, the mirror glass back will get smudgy very quickly. If you hate the idea of needing a case to keep smudges at bay, opt for a frosted finish smartphone like the iPhone 13 Pro or one of the Samsung Galaxy S22 series.
You hate selfie camera cutouts
The Magic 4 Pro's pill-shape cutout in the top left of the screen is much more noticable than that of most punch hole cutouts, which are small dots. Cutout haters should look to Sony's flagship line, which takes the oldschool approach of bedding its selfie camera in its top bezel.
You're on a tight budget
There's no getting around it, the Honor Magic 4 Pro is a pricey phone. If you don't mind sacrificing on zoom and curved screen, but still want a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, consider the Realme GT 2 Pro.
- First reviewed May 2022