Honor Magic 2: A slider phone with 6 cameras

Can Honor cast its magic on its second attempt?

Honor’s Magic 2 is a phone very different from currently exists in the UAE market. It features a true bezel-less 6.39-inch display, six cameras and an in-screen fingerprint scanner. While not available in the local market, it is a high-end phone worth checking out.

Design and screen

Rather unconventional for flagship smartphones, the Magic 2 brings back the nostalgic slider. Constantly sliding up and down is addicting but that will not affect the phone’s build. It feels rather solid in the hand with a heft of 206g.

Figure 1: Looking at just the screen, this phone is as futuristic as it gets

Much of the phone seems inspired from Huawei’s previous flagship, the P20 Pro. This is especially true when it comes to the phone’s size or camera layout. You even find an IR blaster but no support for a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Figure 2: The slider reveals the three front facing cameras

Unfortunately, the 1080p display on the phone is a let-down. Pixels are easily seen and in-spite of the true bezel-less design, media looks lackluster with no support for HDR10 content. Combined with only a single bottom firing speaker, the phone falls a step below what we expected from an all-screen beauty like this.

Performance and features

The internals of the Honor Magic 2 include the relatively new Kirin 980 octa-core processor clocked at 2.6GHz and up to 8GB of RAM depending on the variant you pick up. Much of the user interface is also draped in EMUI 9.0. This is their skin running atop Android 9.0 Pie but comes with a fair share of Chinese bloatware being the Chinese version of the phone. But the bloatware is very easy to uninstall and you can have your favorite Google applications loaded on the phone in no time.

Figure 3: The pre-loaded Chinese bloatware can be uninstalled and Google’s applications can easily be side loaded

The combination of both software and hardware makes the Magic 2 a good package. Performance is very snappy and you will see some high-end features too. An in-screen fingerprint scanner and face unlock are all aboard and work well.

Camera

We think the most exciting aspect about the Magic 2 are its six cameras. The triple 16MP+16MP+24MP primary setup at the back is quite good. The set includes a wide-angle lens as well as a black/white lens for better night time photos. It can take good pictures indoors and using night mode but has a few problems with dynamic range.

The Honor Magic 2’s AI is not polished enough yet. On the video front too, while the phone can capture 1080p and 4K video, footage is not very good both in terms of detail and stabilization.

Figure 4: Triple cameras but not as good as expected

For selfies too, the photos come out over-processed. Skin tones do not seem natural and are artificially brightened. While the 16, 2 and 2MP setup sounds good on paper, it does not perform as well for portrait mode either. Edge detection is good but aside this, selfies lack detail and dynamic range is poor.

Conclusion

On paper, the Honor Magic 2 is very impressive. It is a phone that reflects our interests for future smartphones. And as far as user experience goes, it can be a good choice. But for someone looking for value from features, it falls a bit short on a number of fronts.