Honor Magic 4 Pro review: high-end camera, outdated design
The Magic4 Pro is Honor’s first global flagship release since emerging as a new “separate” entity from parent company Huawei. Although it gave its launch the “global” moniker, it is not a device available for purchase in the United States. However, for those in Europe, the prospect of a Huawei-like phone returning to the market should be an exciting proposition – Huawei was a solid alternative to the top Android picks in the region before it lost Google services.
Those familiar with the appearance of Huawei devices, and in particular the Mate 40 Pro, will immediately recognize the features of the Honor Magic 4 Pro: a sharp, curved screen, a metal rail separating the front and back, a large rear camera and a dual front-facing camera cutout.
In 2022, it’s a design that looks rather dated, with a trend towards flatter sides and matte glass across the industry. The rear, in the cyan color option (the other available choice being black) quickly gets covered in fingerprints after little use. Still, on the plus side, an absence of a contemporary look doesn’t stop this device from feeling high-quality and ruggedly built.
However, good first impressions aren’t the Magic 4 Pro’s forte. Once you get past the dull stares, it’s onto the software. It’s not the clean, seamless version of Android you’ll find on the likes of the Google Pixel 6 line. Instead, you’ll see a mix of Honor-specific apps and third-party bloatware like Booking.com, MyTrainPal and more. You can cut that fat, but the initial hassle is an annoyance.
The software issues extend to this phone’s largely excellent camera. There was a lot of shaking when opening the Camera app, and it continued intermittently when tinkering with various options. It’s not a deal breaker, but it does hamper one of this camera’s best features, which is particularly disappointing as the images the Magic 4 Pro produces are excellent, with simple point-and-shoot shots grabbing a lot of details and eye-catching. Color. Being picky results can err on the side of over-saturation and some over-sharpening, especially in a setting with lots of light, but that’s not enough to be distracting.
Up to 10x zoom results are also impressive, especially in its 3.5x optical zoom range, all achieved thanks to this handset’s 64MP periscope telephoto lens. This phone, like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, can go up to 100x, but you won’t show the snaps on Instagram.
Portrait mode is a mixed bag, with strong blurring around the bright edges, but it often struggles to surround the focal point as precisely as you’d like. There’s also Night Mode, which does a decent job of boosting brightness late in the day, but leads to a lot of excessive sharpness.
You can shoot video at up to 4K 60fps on the Magic 4 Pro, and you definitely want it. The results are stunning, with vibrant colors and luxurious details. A lack of first-class stabilization prevents it from being among the best, however.
What helps with the irritation of bulky camera software and cluttered bundled apps is the gorgeous display. It’s a 6.81-inch 120Hz OLED panel that benefits from the bezel-less sides afforded by steep curved glass, though that leads to some content falling off the screen. Images and videos are presented flawlessly while the 120Hz display, combined with the fast flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, means navigating and switching between apps is a breeze.