Honor Magic 6 Pro review: Honor’s best phone yet

The Honor Magic 6 Pro excels in most areas (Image: Honor)

If you want a premium design Android phone that offers cutting edge cameras and performs well whatever you throw at it, this is a great choice

What we love

  • Lovely curved edge design
  • Superb cameras
  • Flawless performance
  • Astonishingly good battery life

What we don’t

  • Software needs work
  • AI features are half baked
  • No fast charger included

The Honor Magic 6 Pro has its quirks in design and software, but added together with incredible performance, great build and top drawer cameras, it makes for one of the most refreshingly different premium smartphones of recent years.

Where other phones have flat sides and flat screens the Magic 6 Pro is unashamedly curved at every angle, which makes it slippery but lovely to hold. The triple cameras are very good, with a variable aperture main sensor and 2.5x telephoto capable of sharp, arty shots.

It has flawless performance, four years of Android updates, and adds in a few AI features that are more useful than some of Samsung’s. The software could do with some refinement, but Honor is on to a winner here – it should have priced the phone more competitively, though.

Honor Magic 6 Pro full review

Honor used to be the sub-brand of Huawei, but since the latter company took a battering at the hands of the US government that resulted in popular apps not being available on its phones, Honor has split off and is forging a new path on its own. The Chinese firm has taken a little while to steady the ship, but the Honor Magic 6 Pro is proof that it knows what it’s doing – it’s the best Honor phone ever, complete with the Google Play Store and everything you’d get on a rival Samsung Galaxy device.

This £1,099 Android handset can do it all – it has amazingly fast performance, a very good display, incredibly capable cameras, astounding battery life, and a unique design. It’s let down by its software, which at times feel like you have to fight it to get the most out of the phone. If you can look past that, then this is one of the best phones you can buy.

Design

  • Curves, everywhere
  • Green vegan leather or black glass
  • Heavy

The Honor Magic 6 Pro has a very distinctive design, especially if you go for the vegan leather model with pale green textured back and shiny gold sides. We reviewed the much subtler black on black version, though its shiny glass coupled with the hefty weight of the phone (229g) make it one of the slipperiest phones ever. You’ll want a case.

The Honor Magic 6 Pro has a very distinctive design, especially if you go for the vegan leather model

Honor Magic 6 Pro

The Honor Magic 6 Pro comes in a green vegan leather (or plainer black glass) (Image: Honor)

Where the iPhone 15 and Samsung Galaxy S24 have influenced other phones to all go back to flat screens and flat edges, the Magic 6 Pro is the polar opposite. Every possible angle here is rounded, including the display, which is curved at every edge. We like it, as it makes the phone easier to hold and complements the swipe gestures of Android 14 so you can smoothly swipe in or up without a sharp edge under your thumbs.

The camera bump is huge and makes the device a little top heavy, and you might not like the bold look, but at least the cameras are excellent (more on that down below). The phone also has a well-tuned vibration motor that happily pips along when you type on the on-screen keyboard.

Display

  • 6.8-inch 120Hz OLED
  • Incredibly bright and sharp
  • Ebook mode is handy

The curved 6.8-inch screen is very good here, with excellent sharpness, detail, and colour. We enjoyed it being curved too, and all apps look great with the smooth 120Hz refresh rate, as does video on all the usual streaming services. Honor says the screen can hit up to 5,000 nits, which is one of the brightest on the market – there’s no issue using this phone in direct sunlight.

Honor has coated the screen in its NanoCrystal Shield tech that it claims is very scratch- and drop-resistant. We removed the pre-installed screen protector as it felt cheap, but after more than two weeks the display was impressively unscathed.

Honor Magic 6 Pro

The Magic 6 Pro’s curved display is one of the very best (Image: Honor)

Also worth mentioning is the eBook mode that you can toggle on in Android’s quick settings. It turns the screen grayscale and removes a lot of blue light and makes eReader apps such as Kindle and Kobo far more comfortable to read for long periods. It makes the Magic 6 Pro one of the best phones to read eBooks on – more phones should have this mode.

Cameras

  • Excellent 50MP main camera
  • Versatile, fun 180MP telephoto
  • 50MP ultra-wide

The Magic 6 Pro’s giant camera bump, thankfully, contains three pretty great lenses. We spent some time taking photos in London and Barcelona and have been mightily impressed with what the phone can do, challenging the Galaxy S24 Ultra, Google Pixel 8 and iPhone 15 Pro for photo quality and in some cases beating them.

Honor Magic 6 Pro

Honor Magic 6 Pro’s camera module on the black version (Image: Honor)

The 50MP main camera has a variable aperture lens that you can manually adjust. This isn’t as advanced as a DSLR camera, but mirrors its function – you can change the level of background blur, and the camera also has a software mode called AI Motion Sensing Capture that is designed to shoot crisp shots of moving people marketed around sports. It works!

The Magic 6 Pro’s giant camera bump, thankfully, contains three pretty great lenses

Photos are generally very sharp with good detail, and you can turn off the default setting that oversaturates colours to get some superbly natural-looking shots. Snaps rival the Galaxy S24 Ultra for detail, and with all the weird settings turned off give a very natural representation. We love that you don’t need to use portrait mode to get a software blur effect of a close up of an object or person because the sensor is large enough to show it naturally.

Honor Magic 6 Pro camera sample

Honor Magic 6 Pro camera sample (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Honor Magic 6 Pro camera sample

Honor Magic 6 Pro camera sample (Image: Honor)

Honor Magic 6 Pro camera sample

Honor Magic 6 Pro camera sample (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Honor Magic 6 Pro camera sample

Honor Magic 6 Pro camera sample (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Most fun to shoot with is the zoom lens, which has 2.5x optical zoom. Honor uses clever pixel packed tech to produce detail-rich images even when zooming digitally. Up to 5x looks decent, but you can tell it’s a bit blurred and lacking detail when you hit 10x. But at 2.5x you get some great looking perspectives. It helps that colours are more realistic than the equivalent shots on the Galaxy S24 Ultra in our testing.

Honor Magic 6 Pro camera sample

Honor Magic 6 Pro camera sample (zoom) (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

A 50MP ultra-wide camera makes up the third lens on the back and while it’s the one we used the least, it’s handy when you want to shoot more in a scene, and quality is solid. Selfies and video calls are also sharp on the 50MP front camera, which sits with a 3D sensor in a pill-shaped cut out for secure biometric unlocking of the phone and apps, akin to Face ID on the iPhone and very rare to find on Android.

Honor Magic 6 Pro camera sample

Honor Magic 6 Pro camera sample (ultra-wide) (Image: EXPRESS NEWSPAPERS)

Performance and battery life

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
  • 512GB storage
  • Superb performance all round

Even if Honor’s software is a bit crowded, the performance of the Magic 6 Pro is near flawless. With the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 as the Galaxy S24 and OnePlus 12, the phone handled everything we threw at it, from multitasking to high end games such as Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9.

In day to day use over a few weeks, the phone never crashed, stuttered or lagged, with credit to the 12GB RAM. The phone also has 512GB storage as standard, which is more generous than any other phone company at this price.

One of the best things about this phone is its mammoth battery life. Honor is using a silicon-carbon battery instead of the usual lithium-ion, which allows for a higher capacity in a smaller form – so there’s a whopping 5,600mAh battery inside the svelte phone, and it goes for ages. We could not kill the battery in a day – the Magic 6 Pro is a true two-day on a single charge phone.

Though there is annoyingly no charger in the box, the phone supports 80W wired charging with a charger Honor sells for £50. It can wirelessly charge at up to 66W with an £85 Honor accessory. We couldn’t test either as Honor didn’t provide us the chargers, but it topped up fine with other USB-C bricks.

Software

  • Works but with quirks
  • Four years of Android updates
  • Simple AI features

It’s quite obvious that Honor’s Android skin, MagicOS 8, takes a lot of inspiration from Apple’s iOS. From the blocky app icons to the split swipes for notifications and Android controls, to the new always-on lockscreen (that Samsung also copied, to be fair), everything feels a little iPhone-esque. Notifications aren’t as fluid and nice to interact with as they are on most other Android phones, either. It is particularly annoying that you can’t access quick settings from the lockscreen, even if you’ve unlocked the phone.

Honor MagicOS 8

Honor MagicOS 8 has its quirks but performs well on the Magic 6 Pro (Image: Honor)

But overall using the Magic 6 Pro day to day is enjoyable. Honor has added a few AI features for the first time under the name MagicPortal – they’re not that intrusive, and could provide useful over time. In any messaging app, you can tap and hold on a message or picture then drag it to the edge of the screen, and AI will suggest apps you might want to open the information in. For example, an address might suggest Google Maps, and a photo might suggest Instagram.

It’s quite obvious that Honor’s Android skin, MagicOS 8, takes a lot of inspiration from Apple’s iOS

It doesn’t work in every app and it’s a bit buggy, but this could be a glimpse of how phones will help us save a few extra taps. Honor says there are other AI smarts coming down the line.

The Magic 6 Pro will get four years of Android updates to Android 18 and five years of security updates till 2029. That’s quite good, but lags behind Google and Samsung’s seven years for phones in this price bracket.

Price and availability

The Honor Magic 6 Pro costs £1,099. This puts it at the top end of the UK phone market, competing with the £999 iPhone 15 Pro, £999 Google Pixel 8 Pro, and £1,249 Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. For the first time it feels as though Honor can go toe to toe with those companies because the Magic 6 Pro really is that good. The other firms are better known, but in 2024 you will be just as satisfied with the Honor phone, even at this price point.

You can buy The Magic 6 Pro direct from Honor, who is offering £250 off and added ectras if you buy it before 27 March.

You can also get the phone from Currys or Amazon.

Verdict

Honor has its work cut out to challenge the dominance of Apple and Samsung in the UK but we are glad it’s up for the fight. The Magic 6 Pro is its best phone yet, and goes toe to toe with Android rivals the Galaxy S24 Ultra and Google Pixel 8 Pro in terms of features and camera prowess.

Samsung and Google have more polished software and better AI features but we prefer Honor’s bold design, daring to do something a little different. The performance is excellent, and the battery life is unbelievably good – but it’s annoying there’s no charger in the box for the amazing 88W promised speeds.

The phone is also let down by the sometimes-clunky software skin and Honor’s new AI features seem half-baked, but they’re easy enough to ignore. If you want a premium design Android phone that offers cutting edge cameras and performs well whatever you throw at it, this is a great choice.


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