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Editor's Choice

Editor’s choice:
Magic6 Pro enchants

The device offers an attractive alternative to more expensive flagship phones without compromising on quality or performance, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

This week’s Editor’s Choice was our Gadget of the Week last week. The additional accolade is given to products that represent a significant advance in technology, or a remarkable approach to innovation or user needs. The Honor Magic6 Pro leaps out in both its camera capabilities and its AI advances, making for an enchanting package. It is Editor’s Choice for the week starting 14 June 2024.

What is it?

The Honor Magic6 Pro is this year’s flagship smartphone from Honor, taking a brand known for its innovation and competitive pricing into the realms of the market-leading high-end devices. It aims to offer top-tier performance, cutting-edge features, and a premium design to rival the likes of Samsung, Apple and Huawei.

And it succeeds on multiple levels. Most significantly, it enters the arena of a new generation of AI-enabled phones, ushered in by the Samsung S24 range in January. Here. it poses a robust challenge, especially with an AI-driven camera system on that includes real-time scene recognition, AI-powered portrait mode that makes the most of lighting and shadows​, and adjustable aperture with AI processing to perform in low light.

It includes the more show-off AI features that gave Samsung early bragging rights, such as more accurate voice recognition and real-time language translation.

AI also optimises battery usage by learning user behaviour, and improves overall device performance by intelligently managing resources, although this has been a feature of smartphones since before Noah sailed his ark out of Covid waters.

The Magic6 Pro competes feature for feature in its sleek design with a curved display and running on the latest Android OS customised with Honor Magic UI, giving it a unique aesthetic.

Significantly, the Magic6 Pro’s release comes at a time when consumers are increasingly looking for value in tech purchases. With its competitive pricing, the device offers an attractive alternative to more expensive flagship phones without compromising on quality or performance. This could help Honor expand its market share in South Africa, where these two elements, along with affordability, are key to market share.

That doesn’t make it perfect, of course. While the Magic UI offers a unique experience, it might not appeal to everyone, especially those who have come to expect stock Android or other custom skins. 

Although the device packs a substantial 5600 mAh battery, real-world usage may reveal that it does not last as long as some of its competitors. In particular, the 6.8-inch OLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision, HDR, and 5000 nits of brightness is extremely power-hungry when used for gaming or video. Its high-refresh-rate, especially, can drain the battery quickly, demanding frequent recharges. Some would say it is well worth it for the vivid experience it delivers.

Fortunately, it supports 80W wired and 66W wireless charging, along with offering reverse wireless and reverse wired charging of other devices. It even worked with a Samsung S24 we connected to it.

The device’s camera setup is one of its standout features. The rear array is made up of a 50 MP, f/1.4-wide-angle lens) with laser autofocus, a 180 MP, f/2.6, periscope telephoto lens with 2.5x optical zoom, and a 50 MP, f/2.0, ultrawide lens.

Coupled with a 50 MP, f/2.0, wide-angle selfie camera featuring a depth/biometrics sensor, one can see why the benchmarking leaders DXOmark named it the number one smartphone camera in the world.

Powered by a high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 (4 nm) chip and offering up to 1Tb of storage and 16GB of RAM memory, it is right up there with the best. This means it handles multitasking, gaming, and intensive applications with aplomb.

The Honor Magic6 Pro is a compelling flagship smartphone that combines high-end features, robust performance, and a premium design at a competitive price. While it has some drawbacks, such as potential software ecosystem limitations and battery life concerns, its positives make it not only a strong challenger in the high-end smartphone market, but also an enchanting package.

What does it cost in South Africa?

The retail price is approximately R17,999. 

Why does it matter?

This price positions it as a direct competitor to other premium devices from brands like Samsung, Apple, and Huawei. The pricing strategy aims to offer high-end specifications and features at a relatively accessible price point for South African consumers, potentially attracting both tech enthusiasts and mainstream users looking for a premium smartphone experience.

More broadly, the Honor Magic6 Pro represents Honor’s continued push into the premium smartphone market, showcasing the brand’s ability to innovate and compete with established players. The device is equipped with cutting-edge technology, including AI-powered features and the latest smartphone chipset, and an advanced camera system that has been ranked the best in the world.

What are the biggest negatives?

  • Substantial battery, but real-world usage may reveal that it does not take kindly to intensive screen use.
  • The device looks premium, but the build quality falters against other flagship devices. 
  • The software ecosystem could do with a little less customisation.

What are the biggest positives?

  • Stunning OLED display with a high refresh rate delivers vibrant colours and smooth visuals.
  • Multiple lenses, including wide-angle, telephoto, and macro-options, come into their own with advanced AI capabilities.
  • A high-end processor and ample RAM means it strolls through multitasking, gaming, and intensive applications. 

Arthur Goldstuck is CEO of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Follow him on social media on @art2gee.

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