HONOR Magic4 Pro Unboxing and First Impressions

HONOR Magic4 Pro (143)

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HONOR is officially back in the Philippines, and for its return, the brand seems to want to make a statement by bringing out the big guns from the start. Apart from its very capable X series devices, it also introduced a flagship device – the HONOR Magic4 Pro.

Announced earlier this year, HONOR Magic4 Pro is the brand’s current flagship, with skyrocketing numbers across all departments. It’s got a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 at the helm, a large 6.81-inch screen, a triple camera system with up to 100X zoom, and 100W fast-charging.

So, it’s pretty much locked-on hardware-wise. But what about the actual user experience? How is this phone as a daily driver? While our timeline with the device was short, it was enough for a first impression.

What’s in the Box?

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In terms of design, this phone is about the curves – from the display to the rear panel, though I’m not a fan of the former. It has a glossy back complimented by HONOR branding, along with a contrasting black color for its cameras. The device has an IP68 rating too, so, you can take it to your adventures with less worry.

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Unlike a very familiar device that shares a mostly similar design, the HONOR Magic4 Pro’s buttons are all physical, which makes it less of a hassle when adjusting volume. There is no headphone jack, but you do get a dongle in the box.

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Display wise, it has a 6.81-inch LTPO 1 OLED panel with FHD+ resolution and adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. Colors are very punchy, and details are great. As you’d expect, it’s an excellent screen for media consumption and gaming, especially when you have a flagship SoC at the helm.

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HONOR Magic4 Pro packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, which, at the time of its release in February, was the top-notcher of the batch. Now though, there’s already the Snapdragon 8+ Gen1 and rumors of the upcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen2 have been floating around. 

Now, that’s not to say this phone is a slouch, because it’s not. Genshin Impact will still run at its highest settings and the experience will still be pretty much what you’d expect from a flagship. On the contrary, it can’t run Diablo Immortal maxed out, but almost. You also get 8GB of RAM, which I’d say isn’t the most we’ve seen for a flagship, and 256GB of storage with no provisions for a microSD card. 

We all know this chip can run hot, so HONOR made sure to equip the phone with Superconductive hexagonal graphene, which works with a VC liquid cooling system plus AI heat dissipation to ensure that the device can sustain its performance. It did get very warm during my gaming test, but not enough to cause issues. 

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While we didn’t have enough to play with all of its camera modes and features, I will say that the triple camera system on this phone is one of the best I’ve used in terms of quality and flexibility.

You get a 50MP wide-angle main camera, a 50MP ultra-wide unit, and a 64MP periscope telephoto unit which can do 3.5x optical zoom, 100x digital zoom, and has OIS. Our sample shots show plenty of detail in most instances, though color accuracy can be off at times, leaning towards a cooler tone.

I also noticed that when shooting a direct light source, such as a bulb, the device isn’t able to capture the full details of the lamp itself. Then there’s the shutter lag on the front camera, which can be a hassle when trying to take quick portraits or selfies.

The night mode in this device is also impressive, being able to illuminate almost totally dark scenes, as shown in the samples.

For videos, HONOR Magic4 Pro doesn’t have an Ultra Stabilization toggle or the like, but as you can see in the sample, it does a good job of reducing shake. It’s just that my hands aren’t really stable. 

Features. Well, I do like that you can shoot in 4K HDR10+, and there are even LUTs available. There’s even a story mode which basically creates a short movie for you based on a certain theme. All you have to do is capture the video on queue.

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HONOR Magic4 Pro runs on MagicUI 6 on top of Android 12. While I think that news about the separation from its former parent brand is widely known, it can’t be helped that a lot of people still worry about the GMS issue. 

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The good news is that this has GMS and the full suite of Google Apps. All working without issues. You’ll be able to access the playstore and install apps normally. So don’t worry.

HONOR Magic4 Pro has a 4,600mAh battery, which lasted around a day of light to moderate use. That’s my usual use case – media consumption, web browsing, social media, a bit of photography, and a bit of gaming on the side.

While it’s not the best battery life I’ve seen, the device compensates with 100W SuperCharge technology (I know, sounds familiar), which in my test, managed to get the battery from zero to full in about an hour. It also boasts 100W wireless charging, which HONOR claims can recharge the battery from zero to 50% in 15 minutes.

Do note that the review unit HONOR sent us had a three-pronged power brick, but local retail units may come with a different one.

Initial Verdict

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Now, the HONOR Magic4 Pro is priced at PHP 52,990, which puts it up there with some devices that offer a better processing package. That makes it less appealing from a performance perspective, if that’s a priority for you. I’m not saying it’s slow, but if you’re going to spend this much, you might as well go for the device that’s got the better hardware.

If, however, you are gunning for a phone that’s good in imaging, this is an excellent choice. The details and Night capabilities alone make it a very compelling option. Add video features, and 100W fast charging plus premium looks, and the deal becomes even better.

On the flip side, I’m not a fan of the curved display, and shutter lag on the front camera can be annoying if you’re taking quick selfies. As for that 100X zoom, well, the quality is decent, but I feel like they could’ve put in something more useful, like better stabilization.

What we like so far

  • Good performance
  • Good camera performance especially in low light
  • Nifty video features
  • Quick to recharge
  • Premium design

What we don’t like so far

  • Shutter lag on front camera
  • Not a fan of curved displays
  • 100X zoom feels a bit gimmicky
  • Not the best processing package for its price

Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.

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