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Honor launches first post-Huawei flagship smartphone

Former Huawei sub-brand Honor has released the Magic 3 series handsets, which feature Huawei-like flagship design and support Google Mobile Services.

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The former Huawei spin-off brand, Honor, has now completely cut ties with Huawei, which had weighed down its prospects due to the US trade embargo on the parent brand.

The result is two major benefits: Qualcomm chipsets and Google Mobile Services, both integrated into Honor handsets.

The software stack has been redesigned from scratch, stripping most of the Huawei elements to create a distinctive brand, completely separated from its former parent company. It still keeps some design elements, like a circular camera set-up and a dual front camera cut out on the left, so that Huawei users who are wanting a Google platform experience can make the switch comfortably.

In the past, the Magic series was more of a concept showcase, but has now become the company’s mainstream flagship, with more accessible hardware. The Magic 3 series offers three devices: the Magic 3, Magic 3 Pro, and Magic 3 Pro+. The former houses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, while the latter two feature a slightly beefier Snapdragon 888+. All Magic 3 series chipsets support 5G connectivity.

All Magic 3 devices look the same from the front, with the same panel and front camera technology. The displays come in at 6.76”, slightly larger than the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s 6.7” display. The resolution of the displays is 2772 x 1344, and feature OLED technology and a refresh rate of 120Hz. It also supports HDR10+ for better colour replication, compared to regular OLED panels.

Some Huawei-esque designs persist, like the extreme 89° curvature along the sides of the panel. A similar emphasis was placed on this feature when the Huawei Mate 30 was launched in 2019. While the curvature looks great, the ergonomics of this design will be tested at a later stage. There is a long camera cut out on the left-side of the device, as we’ve seen in Huawei devices, which features a 13MP camera with a DToF sensor for secure facial scanning.

The rear camera set changes between devices in the range, but the common sensor set in the Magic 3 and 3 Pro are the Sony IMX766 50MP cameras, which have featured in other flagships, like the Oppo Reno 5 Pro+ and the OnePlus Nord 2. The Magic 3 Pro+, however, uses the Sony IMX700 50MP camera, which is found almost exclusively in Huawei devices like the Mate 40. All devices also feature monochrome sensors and ultrawide lenses.

The halo design on the back of the Magic 3 feels very familiar to the halo design of the Huawei Mate 40 series devices. It still holds up as premium today, but it would have been preferable to have a new design.

For a full breakdown of device specs, view the table below:

 Magic 3Magic 3 ProMagic 3 Pro+
SoCQualcomm Snapdragon 888 

Adreno 660 @ 840MHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+ 

Adreno 660 @ 840MHz
Qualcomm Snapdragon 888+ 

Adreno 660 @ 840MHz
DRAM8GB
LPDDR5-6400
8/12GB
LPDDR5-6400
12GB
LPDDR5-6400
Primary Display  6.76″ AMOLED
2772 x 1344

120Hz Refresh Rate
HDR10+    
6.76″ AMOLED
2772 x 1344

120Hz Refresh Rate
HDR10+
6.76″ AMOLED
2772 x 1344

120Hz Refresh Rate
HDR10+
Height162.8mm162.8mm162.8mm
Width74.9mm74.9mm74.9mm
Depth8.9mm8.9mm9.94mm
Weight203g213g236g
Battery Capacity4600mAh (Typical)

66W
4600mAh (Typical)

66W  
4600mAh (Typical)

66W    
Wireless Charging50W50W
Main Rear Camera50MP 1.0µm
IMX766
2×2 OCL PDAF

f/1.9

23mm eq.
50MP 1.0µm
IMX766
2×2 OCL PDAF

f/1.9

23mm eq.
50MP 1.22µm
IMX700
Octa PD

f/1.9
OIS

23mm eq.
Extra
Main Rear Camera
64MP Monochrome

f/1.8  
64MP Monochrome

f/1.8
64MP Monochrome

f/1.8
Telephoto Lens64MP 0.7µm

f/3.5
OIS

3.5x / 90mm eq.
64MP 0.7µm

f/3.5
OIS

3.5x / 90mm eq.
Ultra-Wide13MP 1µm

f/2.2
120° FoV / 13mm eq.
13MP 1µm

f/2.2
120° FoV / 13mm eq.
64MP 0.7µm

f/2.2
126° FoV / 11mm eq.
Additional Rear SensorsLaser Focus8×8 dToF8×8 dToF
Front Camera13MP
f/2.4
13MP
f/2.4
+dToF  
13MP
f/2.4
+dToF
Storage128 / 256GB
UFS 3.1
256 / 512GB
UFS 3.1
512GB
UFS 3.1
Wireless802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6)802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6)802.11ax (Wi-Fi 6)
Cellular4G + 5G NR NSA+SA Sub-6GHz4G + 5G NR NSA+SA Sub-6GHz4G + 5G NR NSA+SA Sub-6GHz
Special FeaturesUnder-screen fingerprint sensor
Stereo speakers
Under-screen fingerprint sensor
Stereo speakers
Under-screen fingerprint sensor
Stereo speakers
Splash, Water, Dust ResistanceIP54IP68IP68
Dual-SIMnano-SIM + eSIM2x nano-SIM + eSIM2x nano-SIM + eSIM

Honor has not yet confirmed if the devices will be coming to South Africa. Pricing and availability have also not yet been announced, and will be confirmed on this article as soon as we get them. For more information on the Honor Magic 3 series, visit https://www.hihonor.com/za/

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