The Honor Magic 5 Pro’s 50MP triple camera looks mighty on paper. The main sensor is not far off at 1 inch, so it should deliver comparable results to camera superphones like the Xiaomi 12S Ultra (opens in a new tab)And Vivo X90 Pro (opens in a new tab). Unlike those two phones, however, it launches with a western release imminent on the charts, and not one, but two DXOMARK accolades – best camera and smartphone screen.
Now, this isn’t Honor’s first foray into high-end smartphone territory. Last years Honor Magic 4 Pro (opens in a new tab) seriously impressed us with its own triple camera system, so it’s not without reason to think that its successor could land the top spot in our best camera phones (opens in a new tab) list, or at least be one of best android phones (opens in a new tab) on stage.
Factor in its other specs – a latest-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip for class-leading gaming power, tons of storage, high-capacity battery, fast charging, and premium design, and after a short time with the phone, we’re already looking forward to getting it reviewed and putting it through its paces.
Rear cameras: 50MP main, 50MP ultrawide, 50MP telephoto
Front camera: 12MP + 3D depth camera
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Memory: 512 GB of storage + 12 GB of RAM
Screen size: 6.8 inch 2848×1312
Size: 162.9 x 76.7 x 8.77mm
Colors: Black, Meadow Green
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Design and screen
We got our hands on the black Honor Magic 5 Pro, and soon after cooing at its new circular curved glass design and rich finish, we had to wipe it down. Yes, the black is polished so it likes to cling to fingerprints. The green, however, is matte, so keeps them at bay. If you don’t plan on having a case with your Magic, then our instinct would be to recommend it in green.
We also noticed how bulky the phone is. Although it weighs no more than the 240g iPhone 14 Pro Max (opens in a new tab), at 219g, it’s still one of the heaviest smartphones on the market. Its cool, austere metal frame and glass back are premium, and the smoothly rising camera bump rests comfortably on an index finger. But while its size doesn’t make it unattractive, it’s far from a compact option.
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The front of the Honor Magic 5 Pro is all screen, not to mention that pill-shaped cutout that houses the 12MP selfie camera and 3D depth sensor. There’s a small bezel framing it, and the display glass curves around the sides to elegantly meet the metal frame.
The right side houses the power button and volume rocker, while the base is where you’ll access the SIM card slot, USB-C port, and speakerphone. Along with that raised camera ring on the back, the Honor badge grabs attention.
Most confusing is that there is a “100x 1:1.6-3 ASPH” around the back. While we understand what that largely means – the 100x refers to digital zoom, and the 1.6-3 refers to aperture, with its maximum optical zoom of 3.5x it seems cheeky to suggest that the phone has a usable 100x zoom.
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As for the screen, it is a large 6.81-inch OLED panel with an aspect ratio of 20:9. The phone’s 2848 x 1312 resolution means it’s about as sharp as a iPhone 14 Pro (opens in a new tab). With HDR credentials and a peak brightness of 1800 nits, whether you’re watching content indoors or using the phone outdoors on a sunny day, optimized videos should look rich, and we expect it will be easy to make out what’s on the screen.
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The Honor Magic 5 Pro’s triple camera system includes different sensors. Most impressive is the 1/1.12-inch main camera sensor, especially as it’s paired with an f/1.6 aperture, so it should deliver extremely smooth bokeh. With its 23mm wide angle, the main camera should also be versatile enough for group portraits and matched with its 50MP resolution and OIS, a crop of around 35mm would also produce a usable shot with a reduced distortion.
When you want to shoot hard, the 50mm ultra-wide camera combines a wide f/2 aperture with an extended 13mm focal length (122˚ field of view) and 1/2.5-inch sensor . While significantly smaller than that of the main camera, it’s not small for an ultra-wide sensor size, and the camera is also loaded with autofocus.
Finally, for the rear camera trinity, there’s this periscope camera, which features an open f/3 aperture. What’s interesting this year is that Honor has dropped both resolution and sensor size compared to the Honor Magic 4 Pro, which featured a slightly larger 64MP sensor.
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Flipping the phone over, the front camera isn’t just a photography tool. Similar to iPhones, the Magic 5 Pro embeds 3D face scanning through a secondary depth sensor. Unlike iPhones, however, Honor’s face scan doesn’t replace the fingerprint scanner, which sits below the display.
When you need to take pictures on it, you can rely on a 12MP selfie camera with an f.2.4 aperture and a wide 100º field of view.
Launched with the block’s newest flagship Android chip, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the Magic 5 Pro doesn’t skimp on power, and with 12GB of RAM whether multitasking or gaming it should be capable of ripping tasks, apps and games. .
Honor is also packed in a whopping 512GB of storage, which should get smartphone users through years of file storage without even coming close to a low storage warning.
It’s great to see Honor’s new flagship running Android 13, the latest version of Google’s mobile operating system. MagicOS, however, the phone’s interface is an evolution of Huawei’s EMUI. Since the split of the two brands, Honor has struggled to differentiate its interface, so we’re looking forward to seeing meaningful updates to the latest version of MagicOS.
Our main issue with the Honor Magic 4 Pro was its modest battery. This year Honor has increased the capacity to 5100mAh – slightly larger than most competitors. It also slows charging to 66W wired, 50W wireless, compared to 100W wired and wireless on the 4 Pro. The odd move is because Honor prioritizes size over speed, which makes sense from an end-user perspective.
When we first saw the Magic 5 Pro on the run, we were curious. Then it launched and we had some time with it, and we were excited to try it out. Now, with DXOMARK’s bold claim that this is the camera phone to beat, it’s our responsibility to put it to the test against our camera phone of the moment, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (opens in a new tab)with its zoom and suite of advanced photography tools.
Check back for the full review in the coming weeks, and to see how three of the Honor Magic 5’s biggest competitors stack up, read our Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro vs Google Pixel 7 Pro camera test.