Honor Magic4 Professional overview: {hardware} highs, software program stumbles

As soon as a sub-brand of Chinese language telephone large Huawei, Honor has been going it alone since being spun out in late 2020. Thus far, it’s launched the midrange Honor 50 globally, however varied difficulties have prevented the corporate from popping out with a real flagship smartphone within the west since changing into an unbiased firm. It even went so far as to announce international pricing for the Magic3 final August, however the telephone ended up solely being obtainable in China.

That adjustments with this yr’s Magic4 Professional, which shall be obtainable to preorder within the UK from Could thirteenth and can ship on Could twenty seventh from £949.99. (Honor says it presently has no plans to launch the telephone within the US.) It’s a worth level that sees Honor’s telephone compete straight with Samsung’s glorious Galaxy S22 Plus, the 256GB storage variant of Google’s achieved Pixel 6 Professional, and Apple’s ever-reliable iPhone 13 Professional. These are three glorious selections for potential telephone consumers and signify robust competitors for Honor’s newest.

On paper, the Magic4 Professional is aggressive. It’s acquired a trio of high-resolution rear cameras, super-fast 100W wired charging, and help for 100W wi-fi charging, in addition to an enormous vibrant, colourful display with a quick refresh charge. However whereas I appreciated quite a lot of these options individually, Honor’s software program struggles to carry up its finish of the discount.

From the entrance, the Honor Magic4 Professional appears like most different Android flagships in 2022. It’s acquired a big 6.81-inch OLED show with a decision of 1312 x 2848, a peak brightness of 1000 nits, and a most refresh charge of 120Hz. It will get lots vibrant, and it’s pretty and colourful. There’s a pill-shaped hole-punch cutout on the highest left for a 12-megapixel selfie digital camera and 3D face unlock {hardware}, and there’s an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor round two-thirds down the show.

Honer is looking this a “quad-curved” display, but it surely solely actually curves across the left and proper sides of the telephone, and I want it wasn’t curved in any respect. Positive, the curves arguably give the telephone a extra premium really feel, and I didn’t have any issues with by accident touching its sides like with some curved display telephones. However in the end, I simply ended up shedding the edges of apps and the highest and backside of movies across the curved edges, with little or no profit. The telephone has an IP68 score for mud and water resistance, which implies you shouldn’t have any points utilizing it within the rain.

Out of the field, the Magic4 Professional runs Android 12, however Honor is simply committing to 2 years of Android updates and two years of safety updates. In distinction, Samsung now affords as much as 4 years of Android updates, Google affords three (or 5 if you happen to embody safety updates), and Apple continues to be releasing new iOS updates for 2015’s iPhone 6S.

The show curves around the left and proper sides of the telephone.

I don’t usually spend a lot time speaking concerning the biometric safety choices constructed into telephones lately, however the completely horrible time I had organising fingerprint unlock on the Magic4 Professional is price mentioning. Throughout preliminary setup, I encountered a software program bug that led to my makes an attempt to register my proper thumbprint failing over a dozen occasions. Curiously, after I manually added three extra fingerprints in settings after preliminary setup, I didn’t encounter any such points, so I think the issue is software-based reasonably than with the Qualcomm 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 that Honor’s utilizing on this telephone.

The Magic4 Professional’s 3D face unlock characteristic is extra seamless and, in a side-by-side check with an iPhone 12 Professional, was solely a fraction of a second slower in supreme situations. However when situations had been more difficult, equivalent to when unlocking in a darkish room, when wanting from an angle, or when sporting a hat, Honor’s face unlock would typically stumble, and general, its implementation didn’t really feel as dependable as Apple’s.

Battery life with the 4,600mAh cell is dependable, and the telephone’s 100W quick charging is much more so. I averaged a little bit over 5 hours of display on day out of the Honor Magic4 Professional and would typically finish the day with over 40 p.c of cost left. It took a day of heavy utilization, together with a half-hour video name and an hour and a half of utilizing the telephone for biking instructions, for me to see the telephone attain zero at round 11PM. Once I did a charging check, the 100W charger that Honor offers within the field did an amazing job. It hit the 46 p.c mark simply quarter-hour after I put it on cost at 0 p.c (aka simply sufficient time to take a bathe) and reached one hundred pc simply after the half-hour mark.

The Honor Magic4 Professional additionally does 100W wi-fi quick charging, which in my check charged the telephone to 54 p.c in simply quarter-hour of charging and to one hundred pc on the 31-minute mark. However I’d be shocked if many individuals truly make use of this characteristic as a result of truly getting these speeds includes shopping for each Honor’s 100W wi-fi charging stand and its 100W-capable energy brick individually (the facility brick that comes within the field for the wi-fi charging stand can solely deal with 80W quick charging). Honor didn’t reply to questions concerning the pricing of those two equipment, however I’d wager they’re unlikely to come back low-cost.

It’s a comparatively giant telephone within the hand.

USB-C, no headphone jack.

Honor’s Magic UI 6 software program provides a few attention-grabbing options to Android 12, however for essentially the most half, I acquired pissed off on the bloat. For starters, the telephone comes pre-installed with round half a dozen third-party apps of questionable utility, equivalent to Reserving.com, TrainPal, Journey.com, and WPS Workplace, alongside first-party Honor apps like Honor Retailer and Honor Membership. Elsewhere, I persistently stumbled into supposedly useful shortcuts after I wasn’t searching for them. For instance, the telephone asks you to slip your finger up on the show to entry the house display as soon as it’s unlocked. However if you happen to begin your swipe too far down, you’ll as an alternative open a shortcut menu with hyperlinks to a voice recorder app and calculator, and I by accident activated this shortcut an annoying quantity.

One other characteristic is a telephone calling know-how it calls “Simply Say to Me,” which goals to regulate the sound popping out of the telephone’s earpiece throughout calls to make it inaudible to these round you. Honor says the characteristic works utilizing “AI Directional Sound” know-how, utilizing the display itself to transmit low and medium-frequency sounds, leaving the earpiece to deal with excessive frequencies, allegedly leading to much less sound leakage. To my ear, it sounds prefer it’s adjusting the EQ of the incoming voice, decreasing the quantity of decrease frequencies which may carry additional. The catch is that it solely works when you have got the telephone’s name quantity set to 60 p.c or beneath. I recorded myself utilizing it, and it was definitely more durable to listen to the particular person on the opposite finish of the decision with the characteristic turned on, but it surely’s arduous to know precisely how a lot of this was simply all the way down to the truth that I needed to flip the quantity all the way down to get the characteristic to activate.

In some circumstances, it was potential to tweak away a few of my annoyances with Honor’s software program. There’s a easy toggle to reintroduce the usual Android app drawer (disabled by default), and SwiftKey is straightforward sufficient to exchange with Gboard. Honor’s software program additionally aggressively shuts down apps operating within the background if it doesn’t assume you’re utilizing them, which tripped up a jogging app I used to be utilizing to maintain time — however fortunately, you’re capable of manually exclude all or simply some apps from this conduct.

Its digital camera bump is a love-it-or-hate-it affair.

However even after I tweaked its software program to my liking, utilizing Honor’s Magic UI typically didn’t really feel like I used to be utilizing a smartphone costing nearly £950 geared up with Qualcomm’s newest flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. Its app drawer stuttered barely after I flipped it open, and apps would typically get confused and should reload their contents after I switched to them shortly. They’re small hiccups, however given how good midrange telephones have gotten, it’s not nice seeing these crop up in a premium flagship. Internally, the Magic4 Professional has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, which places it on par with the Pixel 6 Professional.

This neatly brings us to the Honor Magic4 Professional’s digital camera system, which is housed inside a big round digital camera bump on the rear of the telephone. Individuals who I confirmed the telephone to had been break up on the design, however I like the best way it makes a press release out of its rear digital camera bump reasonably than making an attempt to attenuate it. You get three rear cameras on the Magic4 Professional: a 50-megapixel fundamental; a 50-megapixel ultrawide with a 122-degree area of view; and a 64-megapixel telephoto with a 3.5x optical zoom. It’s good to see Honor buck the pattern of producers pairing a high-resolution fundamental sensor with a lot decrease decision secondary cameras.

In follow, daylight images is nice, which is the place most smartphone producers are at in 2022. Honor’s tuning tends to prioritize punchy colours and sharp edges, however with its well-specced sensor, it’s acquired sufficient element to work with that I believe the impact works. It even does a superb job with faces, leaving my pores and skin tone wanting pure reasonably than overly brightened. The hi-res sensors behind the ultrawide and telephoto lenses imply this efficiency continues with the secondary cameras. The place different telephone cameras may get grainy or low-detail, Honor’s pictures keep the identical high quality stage.

I used to be much less impressed with efficiency in low mild, the place I struggled to get the identical quantity of element out of the Honor Magic4 Professional. It did a superb job with coloration accuracy, and at first look, I used to be impressed by the shortage of seen noise. However look nearer, and it appears like Honor’s software program is making an attempt to easy out as a lot movie grain as it may possibly, and it may possibly make photos appear like smooth watercolors once you look intently. Change to the ultrawide or telephoto cameras, and efficiency is roughly the identical as the principle digital camera’s, which is definitely fairly good going contemplating the degraded efficiency you typically get from the secondary cameras in different telephones.

It took some tweaking earlier than I had the telephone set as much as my liking.

Honor guarantees simply two years of updates.

Honor has carried out a superb job at speccing out the {hardware} of the Magic4 Professional. Its cameras are excessive decision, it expenses extremely quick, its display is gorgeous (curved edges however), and general, the machine’s {hardware} succeeds at having that premium flagship really feel. In order for you a telephone that may wirelessly cost quicker than many different telephones can do over a wired connection, then the Honor Magic4 Professional could be very comfortable to oblige.

However I used to be by no means received over by the expertise of really utilizing the Honor Magic4 Professional. Whether or not it was the occasional software program hiccups, the aggressive background app administration, or the lock display shortcut that acquired in the best way too typically, it typically felt like sporting a pair of sneakers that had been simply half a measurement too huge. When a telephone prices as a lot as a Samsung or Apple flagship, you may discover a higher match elsewhere.

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