In a week that has seen big new models from Samsung Galaxy, Xiaomi and a tease from OnePlus, Honor has also pulled out the stops with a new smartphone. The Honor Magic 3 is the company’s first big global release since the company officially split from Huawei.
Huawei’s selling of Honor to a consortium led by the Shenzhen local government has allowed Honor to secure new deals with a range of chip manufacturers, including Qualcomm, Sony and Samsung – as well as bringing back the Google Play Store. It also paves the way for the phone to have a full global release, including in the US, where Huawei has been noticeably absent.
Despite the new start, the new Honor phones do look oddly familiar. The curved-edged screen, circular camera bump and impressive camera array all look and sound a lot like recent Huawei models. Perhaps more due to the fact that the Honor designers were until recently working for Huawei than any recent collaboration.
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The launch included three variations of the Magic series: a standard model, pro and pro plus. All feature an always-on 6.67-inch screen with a 120Hz refresh rate and HDR 10+ support, twin front cameras and a prominent circular camera bump on the rear. All three also feature 66W wired and 50W wireless charging to charge the phone in under an hour.
The Magic 3 features the SnapDragon 888 processor while both the Pro and Pro+ use the flagship SnapDragon 888 Plus. Weatherproofing is to IP68 (submersion to 1.5m for 30mins) on the Pro and Pro+ but only to IP54 on the Magic 3 (splashes only). The camera array also varies on the different models. While all three feature a 50MP main camera and a 64MP monochrome camera that sits in the centre, the Magic 3 and Magic 3 Pro feature a 13MP ultra-wide camera, while the Pro+ has a 64MP version.
The Pro and Pro+ also include a 64MP telephoto lens with 3.5x optical zoom or 100x digital zoom and use a digital Time-of-Flight sensor rather than the laser autofocus system on the Magic 3. The Pro+ also adds a multi-spectrum color temperature sensor to increase color accuracy.
For pro video shooters, the Magic 3 series features a new Magic Log video format that is designed to be professionally graded. There’s also a range of post-process filter effects for more casual shooters. There’s also a focus on the phone’s sound recording capabilities, with a three-microphone setup designed to pin point and better record directional sound at a distance.
The Magic 3, which comes in a choice of four colors (black, white gold and blue) will cost 899 Euro (£760/$1060/AU$1430). The Magic 3 Pro is available in just three colors (black white and gold) and will be priced 1,090 Euro (£930/$1290/AU$1750). The Magic Pro+, which comes in black or white, is priced 1499 Euro (£1270/$1760/AU$2390). The exact release dates and country availability is yet to be confirmed.