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Honor Magic 6 Pro review: bold, bright and beautiful
2:31 pm | May 1, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Honor Phones Phones | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

Honor Magic 6 Pro review: Two-minute review

Honor was once a brand whose name adorned the shelves of the budget mobile aisle, but with the launch of the Honor Magic 5 Pro in 2023, the former Huawei subsidiary proved itself capable of competing with the likes of Apple and Samsung in the premium hardware department. 

Honor has since rocked the boat with a truly unique foldable phone (see the Honor Magic V2), while maintaining a strong presence in the mid-range category (see the Honor 90), but it’s clear that the Chinese company has its sights set firmly on the luxury electronics market.

The Honor Magic 6 Pro is the latest feature-packed flagship to emerge from Honor’s R&D labs, and it marks another leap forward for this fast-growing mobile manufacturer. In essence, the Magic 6 Pro is the Magic 5 Pro with an even more adventurous rear design, a slightly better camera system and all-new AI smarts, which seems to be the usual upgrade recipe for today’s best phones.

That camera upgrade comes by way of an almighty 180MP periscope telephoto lens, which sits alongside a 50MP wide lens and a 50MP ultra-wide lens in Honor’s ‘Star Wheel’ camera notch. The internal hardware is powered by Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset.

Honor Magic 6 Pro review

(Image credit: Future / Axel Metz)

The Magic 6 Pro’s battery is a large 5,600mAh cell, which is necessary due to the increased processing power required by those aforementioned AI features. That said, the Magic 6 Pro still boasts endurance to match or exceed the latest handsets from Apple, Samsung and Google – it charges faster than all of them, too.

The Magic 6 Pro’s battery is 10% larger than that of its predecessor – 5,600mAh versus 5,100mAh – but the increased processing power required by those aforementioned AI features means that you won’t see much, if any, improvements in overall battery life. That said, the Magic 6 Pro still boasts endurance to match or exceed the latest handsets from Apple, Samsung and Google – it charges faster than all of them, too.

Honor’s Magic OS software still doesn’t hold a candle to Apple’s iOS software or Samsung’s One UI interface, and despite the seamless integration of Magic Portal and the future-facing potential of Magic Capsule (more on both of these features later), you don’t get any generative photo editing features with the Magic 6 Pro.

Its price isn’t exactly attractive, either – at £1,099.99, it's £150 more expensive than the Magic 5 Pro. However, accounting for the phone’s singular storage configuration (512GB with 12GB RAM), the Magic 6 Pro costs the same as the equivalent Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus model (£1,099), and it’s actually slightly cheaper than the iPhone 15 Plus (£1,199) and Google Pixel 8 Pro (£1,179) models with the same storage capacity. As with most Honor phones, the Magic 6 Pro isn’t available to buy in the US.

All told, then, the Honor Magic 6 Pro is indisputably one of the best Android phones of 2024, and the best Honor phone that the brand has released thus far. But if you’re already well-accustomed to the simplicity of rival operating systems, you should think carefully about forking out the £1,099.99 needed to buy one.

Honor Magic 6 Pro review: Price and availability

  • Costs £1,099.99 / €1299.90
  • Available in the UK and Europe, but not the US or Australia

Honor’s latest flagship was announced in China on February 25, 2024, and went on sale in the UK and Europe on March 8, 2024. In the latter two regions, the Magic 6 Pro is available in a single storage configuration – 512GB with 12GB RAM – for £1,099.99 / €1299.90.

For reference, the Honor Magic 5 Pro launched for £949.99 / €1,199 in 2023, so Honor has hiked the price of its successor by a not-insubstantial £150 in the UK, and €100 in Europe. However, as mentioned above, that £949.99 price puts the Magic 6 Pro on a par with the equivalent storage variant of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus – in the UK, at least – and also makes the phone slightly cheaper than equivalent variants of the iPhone 15 Plus (£1,199) and Google Pixel 8 Pro (£1,179). 

At the time of writing, the Magic 6 Pro is not available to purchase in the US or Australia. 

  • Value score: 3 / 5

Honor Magic 6 Pro review: Specs

Here's a look at the Honor Magic 6 Pro's key specs:

Honor Magic 6 Pro review: Design

Honor Magic 6 Pro

(Image credit: Future / Axel Metz)
  • Luxury watch-inspired camera module
  • IP68 water and dust resistance

The Magic 6 Pro measures 162.5 x 75.8 x 8.9mm and has a 6.8-inch display, so this isn’t a handset for those who prefer smaller phones. But despite its enormous screen – which is actually a touch bigger than the iPhone 15 Pro Max – Honor’s latest flagship isn’t especially heavy. In fact, at 221g, it’s a whole 11g lighter than the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (232g), which also has a 6.8-inch display.

From a design standpoint, the phone innovates upon the Magic 5 Pro, which introduced Honor’s ‘Star Wheel’ camera module. The design of the Magic 6 Pro’s Star Wheel is a nod to “cushion-shaped watches, jade congs, and baroque diamonds,” according to Honor, and given that the former were popularized by luxury watchmaker Panerai in the 1940s, it’s easy to see why the company has embraced this unique ‘squircle’ shape on the Magic 6 Pro

What’s more, this year’s Star Wheel module is more practical. I liked the look of the Magic 5 Pro’s rear camera module but didn’t love the way it felt in the hand (I found that my index finger rubbed against its edge). Due to its wider shape, the Magic 6 Pro’s Star Wheel is more comfortable to the touch, and even more eye-catching than its predecessor, so kudos to Honor’s design team for this small-but-important change.

There’s no titanium in sight on the Magic 6 Pro, but since this is a cheaper phone than the 512GB variants of the iPhone 15 Pro Max (£1,399) and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (£1,349) – two phones that do boast titanium designs – I think Honor was right to make the compromise. You still get IP68 water and dust resistance with the Magic 6 Pro, which brings Honor’s latest flagship in line with those competitors.

In the UK and Europe, the Magic 6 Pro is available in Black or Epi Green. The black features “velvet matte glass”, while the green features “ripple classic leather”, and both design touches make the Magic 6 Pro feel undeniably premium. The ripples on the Epi Green variant are pleasantly grippy, so I recommend that option.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

Honor Magic 6 Pro review: Display

Honor Magic 6 Pro

(Image credit: Future / Axel Metz)
  • 6.8-inch OLED display
  • Eye-friendly screen technology 
  • 5,000-nit peak HDR brightness

The Magic 6 Pro has a 6.8-inch OLED display with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. That’s the standard for the best Android phones these days (take note, Apple), but the screen on Honor’s latest flagship stands out from the crowd for two reasons. 

First is how it sits on the phone itself. The Magic 6 Pro’s 6.8-inch display is curved – or rather, its edges ‘spill over’ the side of the device. Most of today’s best phones use flat-edged displays, and while I have no particular preference for one approach or the other, Honor’s decision to go with a curved display on the Magic 6 Pro will inevitably appeal to some, and deter others. It's unique, at least.

The second distinguishing feature of the Magic 6 Pro’s display is the technology behind it. As with the Magic 5 Pro (and indeed the Magic V2 and Honor 90), the Magic 6 Pro boasts Honor’s proprietary Circadian Night Display technology, which filters blue light to improve the quality of your sleep. This particular phone is also aided by an impressive 4,320Hz PWM dimming cycle rate that works to minimize strain on the eyes, so if you’re someone who regularly scrolls through social media in the small hours (and let’s face it, who isn’t these days?), the Magic 6 Pro will at least try to reduce the physical impact of that behavior.

The Magic 6 Pro boasts an almighty peak HDR brightness of 5,000 nits (in very specialized situations) though you’re likely to experience around 1,600 nits in day-to-day use (which is more than respectable). 

On the durability front, the phone’s display is protected by Honor’s NanoCrystal Shield, which is supposedly 10 times stronger than regular glass. Naturally, I wasn’t able to put that claim to the test, but I can say that my Magic 6 Pro review unit regularly emerged from my key-filled pocket unscathed.

  • Display score: 5 / 5

Honor Magic 6 Pro review: Cameras

Honor Magic 6 Pro review

(Image credit: Future / Axel Metz)
  • 50MP wide lens (f/1.4-2.0)
  • 50MP ultra-wide lens (f/2.0)
  • 180MP periscope telephoto lens (f/2.6)

As with most premium Android phones, the Honor Magic 6 Pro goes big on mobile photography, but this particular device has a few distinguishing tricks up its sleeve.

For starters, the Magic 6 Pro’s 50MP wide lens uses an adjustable aperture (f/1.4-2.0), a feature we haven’t seen on a smartphone for years. When taking shots in normal lightning conditions, the phone uses a standard f/2.0 aperture, but it’ll automatically switch to the wider f/1.4 aperture when shooting in low-light environments. Neat! 

Also unique is the Magic 6 Pro’s astounding 180MP periscope telephoto lens (f/2.6), which is the largest sensor on a zoom lens I’ve ever seen on a smartphone. This supersized lens is only capable of 2.5x optical zoom, mind – which is a downgrade from the 3.5x-capable Magic 5 Pro – but the phone can still achieve 5x lossless zoom by cropping shots from the 180MP lens.

An unchanged 50MP ultra-wide lens (f/2.0) rounds out the Magic 6 Pro’s rear camera array, and you get an impressively large 50MP front-facing camera, too.

Let’s start with the performance of the telephoto lens, which is the headline feature of the Magic 6 Pro. On a sunny day in London, shots taken with this lens were rich in detail and exceptionally vivid. At 1x, 2.5x and 5x magnification, colors were realistic and the subject(s) kept in focus, though I’d advise against zooming any further than 10x, where things take a turn for the Dali-esque (the Magic 6 Pro will technically let you zoom digitally up to 100x, but don’t bother). 

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Honor Magic 6 Pro review

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Honor Magic 6 Pro review

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Honor Magic 6 Pro review

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Honor Magic 6 Pro review

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The performance of the variable wide lens was similarly consistent. Shots taken with this lens were crisp, and the depth of field impressive, with shadows appearing particularly life-like. 

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Honor Magic 6 Pro review

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Honor Magic 6 Pro review

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My main gripe with Honor’s assistive camera software continues to be its overcompensation of certain colors – specifically lighter shades of green and blue. As with the Magic V2, the Magic 6 Pro occasionally over-eggs the appearance of the sky or the trees, while at night, artificial blue light presents a particular challenge.

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Honor Magic 6 Pro review

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Honor Magic 6 Pro review

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Honor Magic 6 Pro review

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Honor Magic 6 Pro review

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Honor Magic 6 Pro review

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This isn’t a deal-breaker, by any means, but the Magic 6 Pro doesn’t balance colors perfectly every time. I suspect this has something to do with the way the phone uses AI to identify certain environmental features and adjust the composition of the shot accordingly (see the image in below).

Honor Magic 6 Pro

(Image credit: Future / Axel Metz)

I found the Magic 6 Pro’s portrait mode performance to be better than most, while the phone’s 50MP front-facing camera is also solid, if nothing groundbreaking. On the video front, you can record video in 4K at up to 60 frames per second with any of the three rear camera lenses, while the 4K-compatible selfie camera tops out at 30 fps.

All this adds up to an indisputably strong camera phone that ranks alongside best camera phones for versatility, but not necessarily consistency. There’s also no AI-powered photo editing, the likes of which you will find on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and Google Pixel 8 Pro. 

  • Cameras score: 4 / 5

Honor Magic 6 Pro review: Performance and software

Honor Magic 6 Pro review

(Image credit: Future / Axel Metz)
  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset
  • 12GB RAM and 512GB storage
  • Neat Magic Capsule and Magic Portal features

Under the hood, the Magic 6 Pro is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset – that’s the same chipset you’ll find inside the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, OnePlus 12 and Xiaomi 14.

Working in tandem with the Magic 6 Pro’s 12GB RAM and 512GB storage, Qualcomm’s latest chipset delivers consistently brilliant performance, regardless of the task. Web browsing, messaging, mobile gaming and high-quality video streaming are child’s play for this phone, and while we’ve come to expect as much from devices in this price range – you’d be hard-pressed to find a flagship phone in 2024 that isn’t lightning fast – you needn’t worry about the Magic 6 Pro’s heavy lifting ability.

The phone sets itself apart, for better or worse, through its software. The Magic 6 Pro runs Honor’s Magic OS 8 skin atop Android 14, which differs from the stock version of Android in several interesting – if not always successful – ways.

The first distinguishing feature is Magic Capsule, which is an unashamed copy of Apple’s Dynamic Island in both functionality and appearance. 

Personally, I don’t have a problem with the similarity – both Magic Capsule and the Dynamic Island are useful tools for quickly controlling music, timers, notifications and incoming calls – but it’s hard to give kudos to Honor for adding this feature given the obvious lack of originality. 

One interesting – and undeniably unique – feature of Magic Capsule is its ability to let you control parts of the Magic 6 Pro’s UI using nothing but your eyes. Or rather, this feature would be interesting if it was actually available to use. At the time of writing, Honor’s eye-tracking tech – which is currently compatible with Magic Capsule apps like Timer, Alarm and Call – is limited to the Chinese market, though the company has assured TechRadar that the feature will be added to international versions of the device in the near future. 

The headline feature of the Magic 6 Pro’s AI offering is Magic Portal, which forms a key part of what Honor describes as the “world’s first intent-based UI.” What does that mean, exactly? Well, instead of acting upon request, Magic OS 8 uses Magic Portal to render services according to user intentions. 

In essence, it’s a shortcut feature that lets you switch between apps and services with a single swipe. For instance, if you’re sent some location information by a friend and want to get to that location in a hurry, Magic Portal will let you drag those details – in one fell swoop – from the messages app across into a compatible ride-hailing or navigation app, saving you clicks in the process.

Honor Magic 6 Pro review

Magic Portal in action on the Honor Magic 6 Pro (Image credit: Future)

In my experience, Magic Portal delivered accurate results and worked pretty seamlessly. I particularly like the way text lifts off the page without creating another white box behind it. I also liked the strong haptic feedback when tapping images, and the way the page 'tilts' in order to share the screen with other apps. 

One big miss with the Magic 6 Pro is its lack of generative AI tools. I’m no particular fan of artificially recomposing images, but given that the latest flagships from Samsung and Google boast a veritable smorgasbord of AI-powered editing features, it’s an omission that I suspect will become more noticeable as the quality and quantity of AI features becomes the standard by which new flagship phones are measured. 

On the longevity front, Honor is committing to four years of Android updates and five years of security updates for the Magic 6 Pro. That’s less than the seven-year commitments made by Samsung and Google, but equal to OnePlus’ commitment to the OnePlus 12.

  • Performance score: 5 / 5
  • Software score: 3 / 5

Honor Magic 6 Pro review: Battery

Honor Magic 6 Pro review

(Image credit: Future / Axel Metz)
  • 4,900mAh battery is a slight upgrade
  • 45W wired charging, 15W wireless charging 

The Magic 6 Pro boasts a rival-beating 5,600mAh silicon-carbon battery, which should give you around a day and a half of charge when using the phone casually. For reference, we managed to squeeze two days of charge out of the iPhone 15 Plus, but if we’re talking about the most expensive flagships exclusively, the Magic 6 Pro is the best of the current bunch in the endurance department.

Honor’s latest flagship supports up to 80W wired and 66W wireless charging, but annoyingly, you won’t get any type of charger in the box. The brand claims that a full charge takes 40 minutes, and that turned out to be pretty accurate in a test I conducted using the 100W charger that is provided with the Porsche Design version of this phone (I guess that’s what an extra £1,000 buys you these days).

After 15 minutes from a completely dead state, my Magic 6 Pro device had reached 36% charge, and 70% after 30 minutes. A full charge took 46 minutes, which is faster than every iPhone 15 model and every Samsung Galaxy S24 model we’ve tested, but a tad slower than the Xiaomi 14 and OnePlus 12R. However, if you’re using a lower-wattage charger with the Magic 6 Pro, charging speeds will be slower.

  • Battery score: 4 / 5

Should you buy the Honor Magic 6 Pro?

Buy it if...

You want a best-in-class display
This phone's 6.8-inch curved OLED screen is big, bright and kind to your eyes. You won't find a better display anywhere elsewhere in 2024.

You're a fan of big phones
If you're after a big-screened Android phone that won't weigh down your pocket, the Magic 6 Pro s is as portable as 6.8-inch phones come.

You need long-lasting battery life
The Magic 6 Pro's supersized 5,600mAh silicon-carbon battery offers around a day and a half of charge, which is supremely impressive given the amount of power at your disposal. 

Don't buy it if...

You're already embedded into a simpler OS
Honor's Magic OS is better than ever, but it's still not at the level of iOS or cleaner versions of Android. Think twice if you're not ready to jump into something new.

You want generative AI editing tools
If you're someone who's excited by the prospect of recomposing images after taking them, you may be dissapointed by the Magic 6 Pro's lack of generative AI editing tools.

Honor Magic 6 Pro review: Also consider

As you'll have read by now, the Honor Magic 6 Pro is a well-designed, highly capable and thoroughly unique device, but there are, of course, alternative phones to consider.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
If you're keen to stick with Android and have a little extra cash to spend, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is indisputably the best Android phone money can buy right now.

Apple iPhone 15 Plus
If you're not fussed about AI features and prefer Apple's more accessible iOS software, the iPhone 15 Plus is a great option. It's almost the same size as the Magic 6 Pro, just as powerful and offers even better battery life. The screen isn't anywhere near as good, mind.

How I tested the Honor Magic 6 Pro

  • Review test period: four weeks
  • Testing included: everyday use including web browsing, social media, photography, video calling, gaming, streaming video, music playback
  • Tools used: Geekbench 6, Geekbench ML, GFXBench, native Android stats, Honor 100W charger

I received – and subsequently lived for four weeks with – a review-ready version of the Honor Magic 6 Pro at MWC in March 2024, using it for productivity purposes during my working day and for social media browsing and gaming in the evenings.

I compared the experience of playing power-hungry games like EA Sports FC 24 and Asphalt 9: Legends on the Magic 6 Pro to the experience of playing the same games on the iPhone 15 Pro, which helped me to quantify just how well the device’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset stacks up against Apple's A17 Pro. I also used the phone to stream color-rich documentaries via YouTube, and also logged into Twitter and Instagram to assess the social media browsing experience.

I used Geekbench 6 for CPU testing and Geekbench ML for machine learning and AI benchmarking, while battery life was assessed based on real-world usage. I measured charge time in 15-minute intervals using 100W Honor SuperCharge charger.

Read more about how we test

First tested April 2024