The Honor Magic 4 Pro has a lot to prove. Honor used to be part of Huawei, and since the two brands parted ways, it hasn't launched a flagship phone in the west – until now.
Honor's Magic 4 Pro packs top-tier specs, with a very fast processor, a big, bold, curvy screen, premium glass and metal design, and world-first charging tech. Unlike any other phone on the market at the time of writing, you can wirelessly charge Honor's flagship at 100W. That's ridiculously quick – almost seven times faster than the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Despite its clearly impressive spec roster, Honor still has its work cut out if it wants you to buy its new phone. After all, it's been years since we saw a high-end Honor phone, plus there are a lot of amazing smartphones out now – the Realme GT 2 Pro, OPPO Find X5 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra to name but a few.
So is the Magic 4 Pro worth it and can Honor earn your trust back?
Honor Magic Pro 4: Price and availability
You can pre-order the Honor Magic 4 Pro from 13th May 2022, with UK availability including both on and off-contract options.
With a contract, you can pick it up Three UK and Carphone Warehouse. If you want to buy the phone offline, it costs £949.99 in the UK, and goes on sale on 27th May 2022 at Amazon, Argos, Currys and hihonor.com.
In Europe, the Honor Magic 4 Pro costs €1,099, with availability across countries yet to be confirmed. Currently, no US release date has been set.
Honor Magic Pro 4: Design
In a modern world of matte, frosted glass flagship phones, the shiny mirror finish of the Honor Magic Pro 4 feels like a blast from the past. While there's no doubt the phone is made of quality materials and feels premium and looks great, its fingerprint-loving, glass back does scream '2020' when set aside the frosted Samsung Galaxy S22, iPhone 13 Pro, and Xiaomi 12.
Thankfully for anyone who hates smudgy fingerprint stains as much as us, it's easy to cover up the phone's back, given the Honor Magic 4 Pro ships with a case. This does a great job of keeping grubby smudges at bay and protecting the phone, while still showcasing its handsome reflective back panel.
There's also a screen protector pre-fitted, and IP68 water and dust resistance, so as far as flagship phones go, they don't come much more life-proof than the Honor Magic 4 Pro.
Weighing 215g, you'll feel the Honor Magic 4 Pro in your pocket. Its big screen is matched with a weight that sits somewhere between an iPhone 13 Pro and a 13 Pro Max. The phone's glass front and back taper in at the sides, so in the hand that actually makes the Magic Pro 4 feel thinner than it is – and relatively elegant too.
The polished metal frame is peppered with highlights: a USB-C port at the base alongside a dual-SIM slot; buttons on the right side; an infrared blaster at the top; speakers bookend the device and deliver stereo sound.
While the front of the phone is all screen, interrupted by a pill-shaped selfie camera, the Magic 4 Pro's curved back features a bold black circle which houses three cameras, some sensors and a flash.
Honor Magic Pro 4: Display
With a 6.81-inch curved display and tiny bezels surrounding it, the Honor Magic 4 Pro's front is virtually all screen, with the exception of a cutout for the selfie cameras. In addition to being big, the screen is also sharp, with a resolution of 1312 x 2848 pixels. While it isn't the crispest smartphone on the block, with around 460 pixels per inch (460ppi), it is still excellent.
As with most top-end smartphones, Honor opts for an OLED display for the Magic 4 Pro, which comes complete with HDR10 certification, colour accuracy credentials aplenty (DCI-P3 coverage, a sub 0.5 DeltaE, and 10-bit colour), as well as a silky smooth 120Hz refresh rate.
Thanks to the OLED panel being a new LTPO screen, similar to that used on the OnePlus 10 Pro, the phone can dial up and down its refresh rate between 1Hz and 120Hz, so should save power overall.
Desperate to differentiate, Honor is shouting about an independent display chipset that lives in the Magic 4 Pro. This does stuff we've seen before: boosts standard dynamic range video to appear more like HDR video; upscales SD and HD footage to take advantage of the specced-out screen; and generally upgrades video performance.
With an ample brightness of 1000 nits, the Honor Magic 4 Pro's display does look great in the flesh. Its colours are punchy and full of life in addition to being accurate, while its blacks are inky. The phone doesn't get quite as bright as an iPhone 13 Pro and the new Galaxy S22 line, but it's still clearly visible in all but the brightest environments – and it's easy to see from moderate angles, despite displaying some colour shift when taking an extreme side or top view (not uncommon for a curved display).
Honor Magic Pro 4: Cameras
The back of the Magic 4 Pro might look like it sports five cameras – four dotted around the circumference of the circular ring and one in the centre – but, in fact, it only has three rear cameras.
The main camera is a wide 50-megapixel sensor matched with an f/1.8 aperture lens, the ultra-wide camera is a 50MP sensor matched with an f/2.2 lens, and finally there's a periscope telephoto camera, which offers a roughly 3.5x optical zoom.
The other two sensors are a time of flight (TOF) sensor, which detects depth, helping with focus and background defocus effects, and there's also a flicker sensor to reduce flicker when shooting in artificially lit scenes.
Most main cameras on flagship phones have stabilised lenses. This feature – OIS for short – helps keep the lens steady, reducing blur from hand shake. It's particularly useful in low light, so we were surprised it was missing from the Magic 4 Pro, and equally surprised to get such good results from the phone's main camera anyway.
Honor's flagship captures rich, vibrant photos that are still generally realistic across colour balance, contrast and saturation. While it dials back contrast compared to iPhone results – reds, in particular, aren't always as vibrant and nuanced as we'd like them to be – it delivers better dynamic range in a host of scenes than most flagships, including when capturing backlit subjects.
The phone focuses quickly, though can get confusing when automatically switching between the 'macro' and regular cameras. Macro camera? Yep – the ultra-wide doubles up as both a GoPro-style expansive shooter, and a close-up camera, so is able to take photos of objects just 4cm away from the lens. When the Magic 4 Pro detects a close-up object, it can activate the ultra-wide camera automatically. Sometimes this automation works to great effect, other times it's just jarring.
We were seriously impressed with the Magic 4 Pro's zoom range. Despite only clocking in with a 3.5x optical zoom, when phones like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra pack a 10x zoom, the Magic 4 Pro holds its own. Thanks to its high-resolution 64MP sensor, when the light is right, it delivers detail that wipes the floor with phones like the iPhone 13 Pro Max, OnePlus 9 Pro, and OPPO Find X5 Pro.
Low light performance from the Magic 4 Pro is impressive, thanks to auto night mode kicking in. While photos taken in the dark look more balanced than those shot on a zingy Samsung or a contrasty iPhone, they pack weaker detail. This is where optical image stabilisation (OIS) would have likely helped the main camera.
The Magic 4 Pro features a mighty dual selfie camera, which comprises of one 12-megapixel 100-degree-wide camera, plus a 3D depth camera for more accurate portraits. It's great for capturing group shots, keeps skin tones looking natural, and delivers generally accurate background defocus effects.
What's also novel is the phone's Log video capture mode. If you don't know what Log video is, it's very flat-looking footage that gives editors loads of wiggle room when tweaking their videos. Captured at up to 4K resolution, 60fps, it's a welcome addition to an already competent smartphone video camera, and one video enthusiasts will appreciate.
Honor Magic Pro 4: Performance
With a spec list that's on the money, the Honor Magic 4 Pro's Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, 256GB storage and 8GB RAM, are all ample for the needs of most modern smartphone users.
We gamed on the phone for around a quarter of an hour before it started warming up slightly, and it started to get noticeably warm at around half an hour, though not uncomfortable. This is no worse than other Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 phones, though if you plan on long bouts of gaming, dedicated gaming phones like the Asus ROG Phone 5 are more fit for purpose.
Biometric security comes in the form of a responsive under-display fingerprint scanner on the Magic 4 Pro, and advanced face recognition that takes advantage of the front camera's 3D sensor.
With speakers on either side of the screen, the Magic 4 Pro is loud, and delivers relatively impressive sound separation for a phone, though fails to out-perform the iPhone 13 Pro Max when it comes to depth.
Honor's added some software flourishes when compared to Huawei's UI, namely in the form of screen-tuning optimisations.
We also encountered a couple of rough edges within the UI: the phone's screen flickered occasionally when we highered or lowered the volume during video playpback; the handling of the selfie camera cutout/full-screen mode isn't particularly intuitive; and we had a spot of VPN trouble that a soft reset fixed.
Despite these quibbles that cropped up infrequently, overall, the Magic 4 Pro delivers an all-around stable, smooth, and enjoyable software experience. And, of course, you've got access to Google Play Store, so no quibbles there.
Honor Magic Pro 4: Battery and charging
With its 4500mAh battery, Honor's 2022 flagship packs a more 2021-grade battery capacity. Its main competitors – Realme, OPPO, OnePlus and Xiaomi – are cramming 5000mAh of battery into their flagships.
What Honor takes away in battery capacity though, it gives with nippy charging – the Magic 4 Pro supports up to 100W wired and wireless charging – delivering faster wireless speeds than any other flagship out at the time of writing.
On days we stress-tested it, the Magic 4 Pro died by the early evening, so power users might struggle to get a very full day out of the Honor Magic 4 Pro. That said, most shouldn't run into battery issues.
An hour of streaming video playback on full brightness with a VPN active shaved around 12 percent off a full battery, so the phone will be more than up to handling a long-haul flight on a single charge. On a typical day with some photo taking, music listening and a bit of watching, we were able to make it a full day with around 15-25 percent remaining.
Honor ships a 100W wired charger with the phone, and you can pick up a 100W wireless charger too for £84.99. If you think this will charge your Magic 4 Pro at 100W wirelessly, think again – it caps out at 80W with the supplied charger.
To hit the max speeds of 100W wireless speeds, you need an additional 135W wired charger, which costs £69.99. That means the 100W wireless charging kit costs around £155 – which is pretty nuts. For anyone who does pick up the pricey package, you can expect to fill the battery by 30 per cent charge in just 10 minutes, and a full charge in about 45 minutes.
Despite this very pricey way of maxing out your wireless charging speeds, even without splashing out, the phone charges quickly from nil to 100 in half an hour using the supplied wired charger – bested only by Xiaomi's 12 Pro.
Honor Magic 4 Pro review: Verdict
Honor's toeing a fine line with the Magic 4 Pro. It needs to be a seriously competitive flagship that doesn't compromise too much in any key area, while still undercutting the priciest phones on the market. For the most part, however, it succeeds – so welcome back to the fold, Honor.
The Magic 4 Pro costs as much as a 128GB iPhone 13 Pro, but undercuts the Pro Max, Galaxy S22 Plus and Ultra, Oppo Find X5 Pro and Xiaomi 12 Pro. That's a pretty balanced place to be.
Given how good the Magic 4 Pro's screen looks and how well the main rear camera performs, it's arguably one of the best camera phones available for this price. The phone goes toe-to-toe with the Pixel 6 Pro, and outperforms it in some key areas –such as screen quality, charging speed, processing power, camera versatility and storage capacity.
While we don't love Honor's fingerprint-magnet finish and still think it could do without a couple of rough edges in the UI, the Magic 4 Pro is nevertheless packed full of promise and is one of the best phones of 2022 for under four-figures.
Honor Magic Pro 4: Also consider
Not sure the Honor quite hits the mark for what you're looking for? From a software point of view we find the Google Pixel 6 Pro more refined, while its cameras in low light conditions are pretty much unrivalled. Alternatively, look to the Xiaomi 12 Pro for yet another flagship with superb screen – that'll cost you a little less again.
If you're wondering how we test our phones here at T3 – or indeed any gadgets, and believe us, we do cover an awful lot – then head over to our How We Test page for the full lowdown on our process and ethics.