Honor’s Magic 5 Professional presents a elegant different for Android connoisseurs

After breaking from Huawei, Honor has made the case that, in Europe no less than, it’s Samsung’s true rival within the Android area. Within the final three years, it has supplied flagship telephones which can be spec-for-spec the equal of no matter that 12 months’s S-series is packing. Sadly, it’s additionally doing this at a time when the spec arms race is all however finished, and it’s tougher than ever to really stand out amongst the gang. The Magic 5 Professional doesn’t deviate from the template laid down by its two predecessors, so Honor can’t play in your neophilia as a cause to purchase it. However there is perhaps one thing within the sheer muscularity of its providing that would tempt you into making the change.

The Magic 5 Professional is making its debut at MWC in Barcelona, and will probably be bought in each Europe and China. Design-wise, it’s near its predecessor, however Honor says the brand new handset apes the sweeping, natural curves favored by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. The place the Magic 4 Professional had a reasonably arduous line round its digicam hump – sorry, Eye of Muse – right here the again cowl pours itself into the bump fairly seamlessly. It’s snug sufficient in your hand and light-weight sufficient to carry, however you’ll want the case to maintain issues pristine. It’s obtainable in fingerprint-magnet piano Black and Meadow Inexperienced, which seems to be nicer in individual than it does in images.

Honor

A way of evolution, reasonably than revolution, continues alongside the remainder of the spec listing, with little main distinction between the Magic 4 and its substitute. The “Quad Curved Floating Display screen” is, just like the Magic 4, a 6.81-inch, 120Hz, LTPO OLED show with a 2,848 x 1,312 decision that curves into the body. Honor says that the enhancements are largely behind the scenes, with a brand new discrete show chipset for higher video high quality and higher brightness. Whereas the Magic 4 might muster up 1,000 nits, its successor can crank out 1,300 nits, or 1,800 nits at peak.

Nestled inside is a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, up from the Gen 1 discovered on the Magic 4, matching the silicon contained in the S23, which is paired with 12GB RAM and 512GB storage. Though Honor can’t name upon the identical overclocking magic present in Samsung’s handset, it does say its AI-infused efficiency software program will do an identical job. Sadly, I had all of ten minutes to spend with the handset and so there wasn’t the possibility to do any critical stress testing. However historical past tells us {that a} handset this chock-full of drugs is hardly going to be a slouch.

A 5,100mAh battery is powering the present right here, a considerably greater battery than the 4,500 discovered on the 4. This, I believe, is the explanation this handset is 4 grams heavier than the final one, however what’s a few grams between pals, eh? That cell will settle for 66W wired or 50W wi-fi charging, in case you have the mandatory Honor SuperCharge stand in your house. As I stated above, this is kind of what you’d anticipate with any Android flagship nowadays.

The key promoting level for a handset like that is the digicam, and Honor is doing its traditional job right here. Magic 5 Professional comes with a “Star Wheel” model of its “Eye of Muse” digicam ring, filled with three beefy lenses jutting out from the again. First is a 50-megapixel, f/1.6 lens with a customized 1/1.12-inch sensor, the producer of which I don’t but know. That’s paired with a 50-megapixel, f/2.0 ultra-wide digicam with a 122-degree area of view and a 50-megapixel, f/3.0 periscope telephoto with a 3.5x optical zoom and 100x digital zoom related to Sony’s IMX858 picture sensor. Much less consideration is given to the ahead going through digicam, which might be the identical 12-megapixel, f/2.4 unit paired with a 3D depth digicam as discovered within the Magic 4 Professional.

(These with lengthy reminiscences, or entry to Google, will recall that the Magic 4 Professional’s telephoto lens had a quoted decision of 64-megapixels. An Honor spokesperson stated that the change is right down to an enchancment in sensor measurement, and the brand new picture engine will supply “much better gentle sensing.”)

Image of both colorways of Honor's Magic 5 Pro side-by side, including the fingerprint-smeared piano gloss black (which I'd wiped seconds before) and the green version, which looks more petrol in the images.

Daniel Cooper

Supporting the headline trio is, once more, an 8×8 Direct Time of Flight Sensor for laser focusing, a multi-spectrum coloration temperature and flicker sensor. These will all add muscle to the handset’s upgraded picture engine, promising sooner seize, higher HDR and better high quality computational images. The corporate hinted about additional enhancements to the stills taking pictures, and whereas the video-shooting talents garnered nary a point out, it’ll nonetheless output (compressed) “Log” footage utilizing Honor’s proprietary Magic-Log format.

As for what you are able to do with these lenses, Honor is making the identical noises it’s all the time made about its class-leading imaging. In addition to a Dxomark rating of 152, the corporate — earlier than the handset was even introduced – bragged that the Magic 5 Professional’s digicam was ok to seize a Guinness World Document within the making. And that its AI smarts have been able to plucking a single, excellent body of a basketballer mid-dunk that was worthy of sharing.

Now, we should all the time deal with these pledges as they’re supposed, understanding that they imply nothing till we’ve tried to duplicate these outcomes ourselves. As we discovered final 12 months once we actually examined the Magic 4 Pro’s promise of 4K video shooting, promises are cheaper than delivering.

One factor that’s clear about so many handsets nowadays is that firms are in search of marginal positive aspects everywhere in the bundle. For example, Honor says the Magic 5 Professional has discrete Bluetooth and WiFi antennas which ought to enhance obtain speeds and enhance the reliability of your Bluetooth connection. It’s arduous to see if these are present gripes with a large variety of customers, nevertheless it’s good to see some thought put to enhancing issues.

And Honor has additionally revived a much-ballyhooed, rarely-loved gimmick characteristic within the type of air gestures. Now, you’ll be able to management parts of your telephone’s UI from a foot excessive of the entrance going through digicam, while you’re attempting to browse recipes with messy fingers. Honor says that their return is because of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2’s extra energy, which is able to watching your hand actions with out placing an excessive amount of stress on the system-on-chip.

Now, I solely had about ten minutes of time with the handset, and there wasn’t an entire lot of stuff I might do to place it by its paces. I’ll say that I’m anticipating the imaging efficiency to be so much snappier than what was obtainable on the demo unit, which felt a little bit sluggish. And that whereas no one’s anticipating any smartphone maker to reinvent the wheel, there’s fewer marks on supply for polish. As I stated on the high, my preliminary impression of Honor’s Magic 5 Professional is of a handset that doesn’t deviate from the template laid down by its two rapid predecessors, however one which’s been polished to a really excessive shine.

Sadly, Honor was preserving particulars of the Magic 5 Professional’s worth a secret till the conclusion of its press convention. And so, this part will probably be fleshed out as quickly as we now have the details about how a lot this factor will price, and while you get it. However I believe that Honor might want to trim its asking worth if it needs to tempt away of us who, proper now, have sworn their model allegiance to Samsung.

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