We were able to take the Honor Magic 5 Pro in hand. If it meets most of the criteria to be a worthy opponent of Samsung’s S23 Ultra, it takes a small lead to perhaps make a difference.
The Honor Magic 5 Pro became official at MWC 2023. We had the opportunity to take control of this high-end smartphone in preview so we could share our first impressions with you now.
Revelation : promises to be excellent in many aspects. Thus, beyond the product itself, this handling of the Honor Magic 5 Pro will also allow us to see how a very good smartphone of more than 1,000 euros stands out from another very good smartphone of more than 1,000 euros.
Design and screen: Honor does it right
Obviously, the brand will never mention its name, but the opponent to defeat clearly seems to be the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. In fact, the Honor Magic 5 Pro shares almost the same dimensions. To put it another way, this is a great smartphone that aims above all to fit the bulge where it can, but it doesn’t aim to be fit for the smallest hands and trouser pockets. It has impressive dimensions of 162.9 x 76.7 x 8.77 mm and a weight of 219 grams (10 less than the Samsung champion).
Although it may seem heavy to some, the Honor Magic 5 Pro manages to be well balanced, although it does feel heavier towards its rear camera. It is quite normal given its appearance. Because yes, it is the big star on the design side for the Honor Magic 5 Pro. This takes up the signature of its predecessor, the Magic 4 Pro with a round, centered and, above all, very wide photoblock. The integration has been worked even better. The wide circle blends better with the rest of the back, less abruptly.
Falsely inspired by the architecture of Barcelona, the brand evokes a ” gaudi curve “. I’d rather warn you: I didn’t feel like I was in the Sagrada Familia or Parc Güell. To keep our feet on the ground, let’s say that the effect is very successful.
This comment applies to all the clean finishes done on this smartphone. Perfectly rounded edges, slightly curved screen, pleasant grip. Only two shadows on the board come to disturb this feeling:
- a slightly wide tablet in the upper left corner of the slab;
- the back very untidy of the black color.
The pill can be explained by the fact that the Honor Magic 5 Pro prides itself on having 3D facial recognition, and therefore more secure than conventional solutions, but that it also requires more equipment. The second defect underlined is due to the finish.glossyof the black version of the smartphone. In green, you will benefit from a matte coating that does not catch fingerprints.
The 6.8-inch screen -Amoled, HDR10+, with a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz and a definition of 1312 x 2848 pixels- is also reminiscent of the S23 Ultra. However, it tries to go a little further with its own technologies designed to minimize eye fatigue with even an option that involves adapting the brightness to the user’s circadian rhythm.
During the few tens of minutes I spent with the phone, I found the screen quality to be on top with good brightness, up to 1800 nits depending on the brand, and colors that vibrated well. We will wait for the full test to have a more informed opinion, although its excellent DXOMARK score -151, which earned it the first place in the ranking- augurs very well for the future.
In addition, we have an IP68 certification that guarantees resistance to water.
A high-end smartphone that ticks all the boxes
Powered by a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the Honor Magic 5 Pro will have no problem delivering full power for even the most complex tasks. We’ve already seen this chip in action, so don’t worry.
The same story for the three photo sensors on the back, all with a definition of 50 Mpx. The Honor Magic 5 Pro already boasts the highest rating in DXOMARK – indeed it does, with an unprecedented score of 152. We’ll see if we’re as enthusiastic in a full test, but that bodes well and sure enough, the phone shows that it is placed on top of the basket. It also offers a 100x digital zoom.
Finally, for the battery, there is nothing to worry about. With a capacity of 5100 mAh and a supplied 66W charger, the whole thing should be very durable. Let’s also not forget that it runs natively on Android 13 with MagicOS 7.1. If this is interesting on paper, I could see some applications pre-installed by Honor and that overlap with the more classic Google ones.
Nothing really bad, but in the face of the competition’s very manicured interfaces, MagicOS has some testing to do. Note in passing that the brand promises three years of major updates and five years of security patches. Also note the absence of Wi-Fi 6E, but Wi-Fi 6 is there.
The seduction by details
Thus, the Honor Magic 5 Pro has everything to be an excellent smartphone. But faced with a very convincing Galaxy S23 Ultra, what can you propose? Its attention to eye fatigue, its faster charging or even its large main photosensor (1/1.12 inches) already acclaimed by DXOMARK. Some may pay special attention to these details that may seem trivial to some. But at more than 1000 euros, we have the right to picky eaters.
Here, speaking of the price, there is finally above all a detail in which the Magic 5 Pro has a great card to play. A card for a few hundred euros.
Honor Magic 5 Pro price and release date
The Honor Magic 5 Pro arrives in Europe (and France of course) at the recommended price of 1,199 euros. For this price, you will have access to the only available configuration of 12 GB RAM and 512 GB. This is where it all happens! Opposite, the Galaxy S23 Ultra with the same storage capacity sells for 1,599 euros, or 400 euros more.
Even in the premium segment, where price differences have less impact on consumer choice than in the entry-level or mid-range, a difference of €400 could cause the most die-hard Samsung fan to procrastinate.
To go fighting in the big leagues against Samsung -and to a lesser extent Apple-, Honor may have found an interesting argument on this side. The battle is promising.
N.B. Our journalist Omar Belkaab is in Barcelona to cover MWC 2023 in its entirety, but he is there as part of a press trip organized by Honor.