Honor is today announcing its latest flagship smartphone, the Magic4, which refines the general template laid down by its predecessor, the Magic 3. Not that you could actually buy the Magic 3, because despite the promise of a global rollout, the handset never officially left China. This, the company says, was down to the growing pains associated with escaping Huawei’s shadow after their sanctions-mandated divorce. This year, however, we’re told that things are going to be better and we might actually see these handsets here in the West.
The Magic 4 and the Magic 4 Pro are being positioned as equivalent handsets to Samsung’s Galaxy S22. Honor is hoping that you’ll appreciate the shopping cart’s-worth of features that the company has piled onto these devices in the hope of making you switch. And the Pro model has the sort of spec list that, on paper at least, would make you think twice about where you put your cash.
Both devices come with a 6.81-inch LTPO (Gen 3) display with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, although the Magic4’s 1,224 x 2,664 (430 ppi) screen looks inadequate compared to the Pro’s 1,312 x 2,848 (460 ppi) equivalent. Both are offering a backlit brightness of 1,000 nits, with 1,920Hz Pulse-Width Modulation dimming, HDR10+ and 100 percent DCI-P3 color. The company says that the benefits of LTPO over OLED include more efficient power usage, better refresh rate control and a reduction in eye strain.
Honor is also dumping a bucket-load of sensors into its “Eye of Muse”-branded camera setup, with both handsets getting two 50-megapixel cameras. An f/1.8 wide lens is sat across from a f/2.2 ultra-wide lens with a 122-degree field of vision. But while the vanilla edition gets an 8-megapixel periscope telephoto lens, the Pro is packing a 64-megapixel beast with a 3.5x optical zoom and 100x digital zoom. The more expensive unit also gets an 8x8 Direct Time of Flight (dTOF) sensor to help with focusing and improving image quality.
But, in all honesty, the company would much rather talk about its work harnessing “Multi-Camera Fusion” computational photography to blend together snaps from each of these lenses for sharper, better pictures. For instance, a shot taken between 0.6x and 1x zoom will likely be a composite of shots taken with those 50MP wide and ultra-wide lenses. Between 1x and 2x zoom will be the wide camera on its own, while anything after that will use the telephoto as well. Once you get to 3.5x and beyond, you’ll get “Multi-Frame Fusion,” mashing all of the lens inputs for, it’s hoped, far better zoomed images.
In terms of video, please forgive me for not wanting to repeat a chunk of what I wrote last year about the Magic3. Last year, Honor made a capital-B big deal about that model’s ability to shoot cinema-quality video in a custom, mobile-friendly version of (pro film standard) Log: MagicLog. This year, Honor says that MagicLog will crank out 10-bit 4K video running at 60 fps, which if accurate, would make this phone one hell of a tool for hobbyist filmmakers. The company adds that stills taken while recording video will be of far better quality than previous generations of handsets.
Both handsets are toting Snapdragon’s 8 Gen 1 SoC, the same 4nm 5G chip that you’ll find inside the Galaxy S22. Both come with an Adreno 730 GPU and the option of either 8GB or 12GB RAM, while storage options include 128GB, 256GB or 512GB on the Magic 4 and 256GB or 512GB storage on the Pro. There’s also a custom “dedicated security chip” designed to hold biometrics, passwords and payment data, although it’s not clear what security this offers over what Qualcomm already promises.
Rounding out the important news is at least one quality-of-life tweak for the Magic 4 Pro called AI Privacy Call. This, as the name doesn’t entirely suggest, is designed to dynamically adjust the volume of a call depending on the ambient noise. If you’re in a busy, noisy environment, it’ll boost the volume of the loudspeaker to help you hear what’s going on. If you’re in a pin-drop quiet elevator and would rather your fellow passengers not hear your most intimate conversations, it’ll dial it down.
Another feature reserved for the 4 Pro exclusively is 100W SuperCharging which, if you have the right charger, will rejuice that 4,600mAh battery up to 90 percent in just half an hour using wired or wireless charging. The Magic4’s 4,800mAh battery, meanwhile, will accept up to 66W charging through the correct Honor SuperCharge equipment.
As part of its split from Huawei, Honor pledged to produce its own range of hardware products to mirror its former parent’s strategy. This time around, the company is releasing a new pair of earbuds and a new watch, but promises that we can expect routers, displays and smart TVs to pop up at points further down the line.
The Honor Earbuds 3 Pro come with quick charging and a total playback time of 24 hours. They are also equipped with active noise cancellation and body temperature monitoring to help you keep an eye on your overall health. The Watch GS3, meanwhile, looks like Honor went all-in on making it look a little less agricultural than its predecessor. An eight-channel “Heart Rate AI Engine” is the headline feature, which the company promises will offer far more in-depth analysis of your ticker.
Sadly, we don't know yet when the Magic 4 series, earbuds and watch will be available, but the company has released initial European prices for all of them. The Magic 4 Pro, with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage will cost €1,099 ($1,230) on that side of the pond. Similarly, the Magic 4 with 8GB/256GB will cost €899 ($1,006), while the Watch GS3 will start at €229 ($256) in midnight black and €249 ($278) in blue or gold. Finally, the earbuds will be priced at €199 ($222).
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