HONOR has unveiled its latest flagship smartphone lineup, the Magic5 series. The main focus of the lineup is of course the Magic5 Pro, which features several new hardware and software that refine its predecessor’s camera capabilities. I’ve gotten my hands on the device and spent a few days with it before its global unveiling at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona; here are my initial impressions of what the brand has to offer.
The HONOR Magic5 Pro sports a design that is quite familiar up front if you’re aware of last year’s model, the Magic4 Pro, but the company differentiated its new flagship with a new camera island design. It has a very large 6.81-inch 2848×1312 LTPO OLED display with a variable refresh rate of up to 120Hz. Just like its predecessor, both the backplate and the display are curved to make the hefty device easier to hold in the hand.
Its biggest claim for the screen is that it can get up to 1,800 nits of peak brightness for HDR content and while I didn’t scientifically test that claim, I can say it has reasonably good outdoor visibility. At the bottom part of the device, you’ll find the SIM card slot, speaker, and USB-C port while at the top is where you’ll find another speaker and interestingly, an IR blaster.
For unlocking, the phone offers two methods. Firstly, it has an optical fingerprint sensor, a change from the Magic4 Pro’s Qualcomm 3D Sonic sensor but so far, the new device’s reader seems to perform just as well as the ultrasonic one for me. It also has a 3D depth sensor in the pill-shaped cutout on the display, which provides a more secure face-unlocking feature similar to Apple’s Face ID.
To no one’s surprise, the Magic5 Pro runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, along with a single configuration of 12GB of RAM and a whopping 512GB of storage. For connectivity, it is equipped with 5G, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, dual-SIM with eSIM support, and even Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be), making it relatively future-proof.
The pièce de résistance of the shiny new flagship is unquestionably the camera module, which has gotten a subtle but noticeable design refresh. Built upon the foundation provided by last year’s “Eye Of Muse”, the Magic5 Pro now has a design called “Star Wheel”, which is apparently inspired by the first-ever picture of a black hole at the centre of the Milky Way galaxy.
While still a giant circular island in the middle of the phone’s back, the colour now matches the backplate instead of the previous contrasting black design. The bump now blends into the body of the phone with a subtle slope — this, along with the colour matching, makes the camera module seem more like a part of the phone instead of a separate piece.
The three-camera setup is comprised of three 50MP cameras: a primary sensor, an ultra-wide, and a periscope telephoto lens. The main camera gets a significantly larger 1/1.12 sensor with an f/1.6 aperture, which should improve its light-gathering ability. It also gains optical image stabilisation (OIS), which was notably lacking in its predecessor.
Meanwhile, the telephoto camera seemingly got downgraded from 64MP to 50MP, but it still offers 3.5x optical zoom and up to 100x digital zoom at a brighter f/3.0 aperture. Other sensors included in the camera array to improve its photography capabilities include a 3D Time-of-Flight (ToF) laser for focusing, a multi-spectrum sensor for colour temperature, and a flicker sensor.
The camera system of the Magic5 Pro has what HONOR calls the Falcon algorithm and AI motion sensing capture, which is claimed to be able to capture fast-moving action in high definition without any blurriness. Disappointingly, the ultra-wide is still missing OIS as the feature is only present in the main camera and periscope lens.
As for video recording, the device is capable of shooting up to 4K at 60fps with support for HDR10+ and LOG format recording. Up front, the selfie shooter remains unchanged with a 12MP sensor next to the 3D depth sensor.
Battery specs for the Magic5 Pro are a mixed bag. While it got a sizeable capacity bump from 4,600mAh to 5,100mAh, the supported wired and wireless charging speeds have been reduced to just 66W and 50W respectively, whereas last year’s model supported 100W charging. Thankfully, it still retains reverse wireless charging.
HONOR has confirmed that the Magic5 series is definitely coming to Malaysia, but the company has not yet announced the date of availability here. Stay tuned for local pricing and look forward to our full review of the Magic5 Pro coming your way in the near future.
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