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Honor Magic 2 Review: enchanting but mildly disappointing

Honor Magic 2 Review: enchanting but mildly disappointing

The search for “edge to edge” bezel-less screens have pressured smartphone makers to seek for options to an issue of their very own making. Until you utterly ignore it the best way Samsung does (at the very least for now), there isn’t any escaping the notch, a.okay.a. the cutout, in its numerous sizes and shapes. Some, like Vivo and OPPO, have briefly toyed with and shortly deserted the thought motorized elevating entrance cameras. Others, like Meizu and ZTE’s nubia, ditched the entrance digital camera completely but put a second display on the again as an alternative. One other path, which can nonetheless achieve some traction, is the one taken by Honor within the Honor Magic 2. But regardless of how the Huawei sub-brand spins the narrative in the direction of AI and cameras, there might be little doubt in individuals’s minds: the slider takes middle stage.

Specs, Efficiency, and Battery

But let’s be truthful. Even with out that “special feature”, the Honor Magic 2 is already magical in its hardware. The Honor Play earlier this yr was positioned as the corporate’s monster flagship but the Magic 2 trumps it in each approach potential, besides within the battery). Whereas they do share the identical 2340×1080 display decision, the Honor Magic 2’s bigger 6.39-inch panel devotes all the floor to it, no notches to mar your view. Extra on that later.

In uncooked specs, the Honor Magic 2 rivals the Huawei Mate 20 and even the Huawei Mate 20 Professional. All three are powered by Huawei’s boasted Kirin 980, one of many first 7 nm cellular processor and the primary to sport twin Neural Processing Models (NPUs). The Mali-G76 GPU goes hand in hand with Huawei’s GPU Turbo mode. The Magic 2 is available in 6 or eight GB RAM and 128 or 256 GB storage configurations.

All of those work collectively to create a clean and virtually flawless efficiency. Though it might not beat the Apple A12 in benchmark scores, they aren’t dangerous in any respect. Even higher, the precise daily efficiency, for each common use and gaming, is greater than satisfactory. It might maybe be smoother than butter but Honor Magic, the rebranded Huawei EMUI, takes many liberties so far as eye sweet goes. Extra on that a bit later.




The one space the place the Magic 2 seemingly falls brief is in battery life, it’s three,500 mAh falling behind the Huawei Mate 20’s four,000 mAh and even the Honor Play’s three,750 mAh. In apply, nevertheless, the Magic 2 is ready to maintain itself properly, even higher than some terribly costlier flagships. At most, combined use of Wi-Fi and 4G LTE, shopping, gaming, and plenty of thumb typing can take the smartphone past 24 hours, even as much as a day and a half. At worst, it should nonetheless get you thru a workday earlier than you must depend on Honor’s new 40W Supercharge to take it from zero to 50% in simply fifteen minutes.

Design and Show

With the arduous information out of the best way, we will dig into the issues that make the Honor Magic 2 a very mesmerizing telephone. There isn’t a mistaking that the Honor Magic 2 is a premium telephone, from the second you decide it up all the best way to booting up and seeing its really all-screen face. A powerful accomplishment for a corporation whose model was, till just lately, regarded as “low cost Huawei’s’ solely. There’s undoubtedly some heft to the telephone, a trait that’s typically attributed to premium telephones. That’s each a boon and a bane because it each gives the look of a solidly constructed gadget but additionally makes it extra precarious to function with one hand.

The glass again doesn’t actually assist alleviate worries of slipping but it’s undoubtedly a sight to behold, a minimum of till fingerprint smudges cowl it up. The curved edge glass again employs the identical gradient shade scheme that appears to be en vogue amongst Chinese language corporations lately although its results are subtler. The black “mystical magic”, for instance, actually solely reveals its nature beneath vibrant, white mild. In virtually all different lighting circumstances, it’d as properly be shiny black. A curious aspect observe, Honor ships a tough plastic case with the Magic 2 that, sadly, hides these gradients beneath a matte black coating.

Each design determination made for the Honor Magic 2 has actually been within the identify of offering a very all-screen expertise with out compromising the general expertise. A minimum of not an excessive amount of. It undoubtedly exhibits as a result of the Magic 2 has probably the most beautiful display you’ll lay your eyes upon, unbroken by any notch and barely surrounded by any border. Nicely, virtually. When you’ve got a display like this, even slightly border goes to face out much more. Fortuitously, they’re not too attention-grabbing, even the chin that solely barely thicker than the opposite sides.

The show itself is shiny and vibrant, particularly at max settings. Being AMOLED, distinction is superb and blacks actually pop. That stated, you won’t truly need to use darkish colours and themes that a lot, even when these can be extra power environment friendly. The Magic 2’s display magic is admittedly extra noticeable with extra colourful backgrounds and themes since darker colours might simply be mistaken for telephone bezels.

The Honor Magic 2 does fail to verify a couple of bins on the listing relating to design and options. There’s no wi-fi charging, for one, although that could be a bit extra forgivable than the shortage of a headphone jack. Honor does ship with a USB C to three.5 mm jack adapter within the field, although it doesn’t embrace earphones, naturally. Maybe including insult to damage, the Magic 2 has no water or mud resistance to talk of, which is unsurprising contemplating its second key function.

The Slider

The Honor Magic 2’s sliding mechanism and bezel-less show are two sides of the identical coin. Each are probably the most eye-catching options of the smartphone and every exists due to the opposite. The slider is Honor’s reply to the query of the way to greatest cover and reveal front-facing sensors on an all-screen telephone. Admittedly, it does a greater job in comparison with motorized implementations as there’s nearly no delay in sliding the again (or the display) up or down.

It’s additionally arguably extra strong, as there are not any motors that would ultimately put on down and render the mechanism ineffective. Honor boasts of a “sophisticated butterfly track sliding mechanism” that makes use of 4 tracks, two on both sides, and a further supporting monitor to maintain the sliding motion clean, secure, and, hopefully, longer lasting. On the flip aspect, it additionally runs the danger of truly sporting down quicker. As a result of whereas watching elevating cameras turns into tiring after a short time, a slider can simply develop into an oft-used fidget toy.

Nevertheless, sliding the display down isn’t precisely straightforward, because it requires your thumb to press more durable on the glass to get a greater grip. In any other case, you’ll frustrate your self having your thumb, not the display, slide on the graceful glass. It’s additionally problematic when the display is already turned on, because the gesture can typically set off a scroll or a faucet once you by no means meant it to.

The Magic 2 isn’t immune from the identical risks that the Vivo NEX S and OPPO Discover X face when it comes to mud and filth. Relying in your surroundings, it’s virtually too straightforward to build up such particles between the sliding elements, which can finally make their means someplace you’ll be able to’t simply clear. Solely time and longer use will inform if that may pose a danger to the smartphone itself.


The Honor Magic 2 boasts of getting six cameras. A number of months in the past, that assertion would have had a much bigger influence. Nowadays, nevertheless, it has turn into a race to have probably the most variety of cameras in complete. “In total” is the important thing phrase right here, as a result of Honor has, fortunately, not gone overboard. There are solely three cameras on the again and three cameras in entrance, and never all of them are even immediately usable when taking a daily photograph or a selfie.

For instance, the sensor with the very best megapixel rely on the again is supposed to help that most important digital camera. That’s the 24 megapixel monochrome CMOS that works in tandem with the 16 megapixel f/1.eight digital camera. The third wheel, so to talk, is yet one more 16 megapixel CMOS sensor, but one with an f/2.2 117-degree ultra-wide angle lens.

Spec-speak apart, the Magic 2’s cameras are fairly spectacular left on automated settings. They produce vibrant pictures with wealthy particulars, although Auto HDR does are likely to overdo issues a bit. Autofocus can also be a bit fairly aggressive and jumpy, which is most evident when making an attempt to take a bokeh shot (“Aperture mode” within the digital camera app), the place the topic all of the sudden turns into blurry for typically no cause in any respect.

An enormous a part of the Magic 2’s digital camera magic is, in fact, the AI help. This principally means scene recognition and automated adjustment of settings to suit the case. More often than not it does work, particularly when recognizing meals or landscapes or overcast skies. It could possibly even acknowledge rooms, which appears to be its fallback scene when making an attempt to take selfies inside a room.

The entrance cameras on the Magic 2 aren’t an afterthought but that boasted three sensors is a little bit of a advertising sleight of hand as properly. There’s actually just one fundamental digital camera, a 16 megapixel one. The opposite two are each 2 megapixel infrared cameras that exist for selfies, 3D emojis, and, extra importantly, face recognition. The entrance digital camera additionally advantages from AI help, each in scene recognition and the infamous “beauty mode”. The latter is, fortunately, much less aggressive than the Honor 8X’s model, producing enhanced selfies which are truly nearer to actuality.


Biometrics is the one function that units the Honor Magic 2 aside from its nearest rivals, together with the Xiaomi Mi Combine three that carried out an identical slider type issue. The Vivo NEX S has an in-screen fingerprint scanner but no face recognition whereas the OPPO Discover X has 3D face recognition but no fingerprint scanner. The Xiaomi Mi Combine three, then again, does have a standard rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and face recognition but doesn’t take the additional step to make use of structured mild know-how ala Apple’s Face ID. Honor, in fact, claims to have all of it.

But whereas it does have a bigger Fingerprint on Show (FoD) and two infrared sensors to assist in mapping out faces, it may well truly a irritating expertise in follow. Dirty fingers and odd angles can throw off the fingerprint scanner whereas darker lighting appears to render face recognition a bit blind. Thankfully, the display helps shine a light-weight in your face within the latter case and neither biometric authentication failed utterly on the similar time. In different phrases, you a minimum of have choices.

They’re not that quick both, which is just about a given for the FoD. The mixture of getting to slip down the display first plus the slight delay in face recognition additionally makes that choice lower than immediate. On the upside, it’s undoubtedly handy having the fingerprint scanner on the entrance once more so that you gained’t have to select up the telephone or stare at it simply to see what’s on the display and even use it whereas it lies flat in your desk.

Software program

I’m not going to mince phrases right here. Huawei’s EMUI, now Honor’s Magic, is a bloated mess. Out of the field, the Honor Magic 2 had 36 icons on its display, three of that are folders that add 30 extra. Those that chide Samsung for its heavy customization and bloatware ought to take a peek at what’s occurring on this aspect of the world. To be truthful, Huawei’s and Honor’s customers in all probability adore it. It’s undoubtedly a consumer expertise designed for a special market.

Nevertheless, the system itself is overloaded with features and options, maybe greater than you possibly can comfortably digest in a single sitting. The Magic 2 is likely one of the very first new smartphones to launch with Android Pie out of the field but you wouldn’t have the ability to inform until you dig deep into the Settings app.

Regardless of having so many choices, the Magic 2 mockingly barely has something for the slider motion. You possibly can solely set it to do nothing or to launch Honor’s new YOYO sensible assistant. You’ll be able to’t even launch the digital camera app immediately to leap into selfie mode simply by sliding the display down. It’s like Honor’s model of the notorious Bixby button. Sadly, YOYO can solely perceive and converse Chinese language in the meanwhile, so there was no alternative to check how sensible it truly is.


The Honor Magic 2 undoubtedly has the “Wow!” issue of the Vivo NEX S and the great thing about the OPPO Discover X. However it additionally does rather a lot higher than both of these, offering aggressive efficiency, a extra strong mechanism, and an overload of decisions. It undoubtedly has the makings of being top-of-the-line Android telephones of the yr.

A number of elements, nevertheless, wreck the pot. Small nitpicks that stand out like warts on an in any other case clean face. From the not sudden lack of water resistance to the shortage of a headphone jack to the shortage of an choice to make use of the sliding motion for anything, the Honor Magic 2 is basically just some steps away from being a fantasy made actual.