In this article, we will be reviewing the Honor Magic 5 Pro, a top-tier smartphone that can go head-to-head with Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra. With its night vision camera, Snapdragon gaming prowess, and best-in-class battery life, the Honor Magic 5 Pro is a force to be reckoned with. As I am using the Honor Magic 5 Pro as my full-time phone, I’ll be sharing my verdict on whether this smartphone lives up to the hype. So, read on to find out if the Honor Magic 5 Pro is the right choice for you.
Let’s begin with the design of the Honor Magic 5 Pro. It’s huge, which is pretty much the norm for phones these days. The curves on the edge of the display are more subtle compared to last year’s flagship phone, and similar to what Samsung did with the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
However, there are still some responsiveness issues when using the phone in a reclined position or when swiping from the bottom of the screen to minimize an app or bring up the recent apps menu.
On a more positive note, the metal green color and smooth contours give the phone an attractive finish. The camera bump does stick out, but it’s mostly masked by the contours, which were apparently inspired by Spanish architect Gaudi.
The phone sits comfortably on a table and doesn’t wobble, and it’s still scratch-free even after a week of rough handling. The Honor Magic 5 Pro comes with a pre-installed screen protector and is water and dust-resistant with an IP68 rating, making it a good flagship phone.
Magic OS & features
The software on this device is the Magic OS 7 launcher, which is based on Android 13. It provides three years of Android OS updates and five years of security updates, making it better than most budget-friendly Honor smartphones and on par with most Android flagship rivals.
However, Magic OS is a typical Chinese launcher with some quirky shenanigans. There have been instances where an app completely freezes up, requiring a reboot to get the phone back in full working order. Also, not being able to swipe down the notifications bar from anywhere on the desktops is quite annoying and can cause serious thumb strain. Notifications don’t always pop up in a timely manner, and some apps tend to snooze in the background.
The Yo-yo assistant that comes with this launcher is not very helpful, so don’t bother using it. The in-display fingerprint sensor works just fine, and the Honor Magic 5 Pro also provides a 3D face scan that works well even in low light conditions.
Overall, the device has some minor complaints, but the features and performance are decent.
Honor Magic 5 Pro Display
Thankfully, this only blocks a small portion of the 6.8 inch AMOLED screen, which stretches almost the entire front end of the Honor Magic 5 Pro. The display is right up there with the very best smartphone flagship panels. It’s powerfully bright, punchy, and has the latest LDP or Tech to scale the refresh rate from one Hertz to 120 Hertz.
Honor has also chucked in features like motion blur cancellation as well as SDR to HDR upscaling. However, it is not HDR10 Plus compliant, and there’s no Dolby Vision action just like with Samsung’s blowers. Unlike most other flagships, you’ve got a whole bunch of tools chucked on here to reduce eye fatigue as well, like some dynamic dimming and all kinds of smarty pants stuff.
On the audio front, the stereo speakers are powerful enough to make the Honor Magic 5 Pro heard even in rather noisy circumstances. The subtle headphone jack is on here as usual, but there are absolutely no issues with Bluetooth streaming to headphones or other devices. You even have dtsx Ultra support, which is good news for gamers with a cracking set of supported headphones.
Performance & gaming
It’s not surprising to find Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset inside the Honor Magic 5 Pro, as it is the chosen platform for most 2023 flagship phones. As a result, the phone offers creamy smooth performance, just like other Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 smartphones that have been reviewed recently. The device can handle gaming and memory-intensive games like Gentian Impact with ease, without any troublesome heat buildup. The Honor Magic 5 Pro also has a decent game and toolbar with the choice of two performance modes and other useful features like notification blocking.
Honor Magic 5 Pro Battery life
The Honor Magic 5 Pro boasts a massive 5100MhA capacity battery, which is not surprising given its size. Battery life is a definite highlight of this device, and even with heavy usage, such as six to seven hours of screen-on time per day, with lots of camera play and other activities, the phone can still last for most of the day with at least 33% left in the tank. For moderate users, the Honor Magic 5 Pro can easily survive a couple of days between charges. The device also supports 66 watt wide charging, which allows for a quick boost, making it better than competitors like Apple, Samsung, and Google. Additionally, wireless charging support is also available.
Honor 5 Magic Pro Cameras
Of course, one of the biggest features of the Honor Magic 5 Pro, both metaphorically and literally, is that flipping massive camera which dominates the ass end. All of Honor’s marketing shenanigans are pretty much entirely focused on that “eye of muse” camera tech, to the point where they’ve even partnered up with the Guinness Book of World Records, where they showed off an impressively sharp photo of a sporty man doing jumpy stuff.
But anyway, what you have here is a 50-megapixel primary sensor, the Sony IMX878, which is a mine bigger than Samsung’s S23 Ultra sensor, although not quite as big as the Xiaomi 13 Pro’s. I’ve had no issues at all using the camera. That shutter speed is crazy quick, and the phone does a blinding job with live and breathing subjects who refuse to keep still for more than three milliseconds. I was particularly impressed with the portrait mode, which captures faces and objects cleanly, keeping them nice and crispy while smudging out the background with some sexy bulky style blur.
Textures and tones give a natural vibe to your picks, and this is true no matter what you’re shooting, be it food, feel lines, huge off buildings, or whatever you fancy. The Honor Magic 5 Pro can handle strong contrast, dodgy lighten, and other testing conditions just as well as other popular flagship blowers. In more ambient environments, those detail levels stay strong, and colors are still accurately captured.
And then for low-light snaps, that sizable sensor is supported with some tasty optical image stabilization, so you’ll get bright, crisp snaps to rival the S23 Ultra. And as well as the IMX878, the Magic 5 Pro also sets up two additional lenses: a 50-megapixel ultra-wide-angle shooter and a 50-megapixel telephoto option. That ultrawide is one of the better efforts that I’ve tested lately, as not only do you get shop finely detailed picks, but those tons don’t take much of a hit, while strong and crappy lighting is again handled well.
And if you’d rather get closer to the action instead, the telephoto snapper serves up a 3.5 times optical zoom that rivals Samsung’s S23 Ultra and the Pixel 7 Pro. This once again maxes out at 100 times total zoom, just like zombies space zoom shenanigans, although yeah, once you zoom in too much, things do get a wee bit abstract. It is still mightily impressive, however, with image stabilization to help prevent blurry snaps. And as always, you’ve got plenty of other camera modes to peddle about with as well, the likes of a pro mode, your obligatory macro stuff.
As for video, that can be captured at up to 4K resolution. There’s no 8K option here, unlike many other flagships these days, but Ultra HD does a great job for your whole movies most of the time, at least. Those visuals can be a little bit poppy, occasionally dipping a tour into oversaturated in quite bright conditions. And in softer light, I did find that the primary lens occasionally struggled to figure out what it was supposed to be focusing on. It’s not quite a Samsung or an Apple beta, then, but it’s still respectable, with strong audio capture. And if you fancy yourself as a bit of a Spielberg, there is a movie mode with various filters to play around with, just to change up the mood a bit.
Finally, up front, the Magic 5 Pro serves up a 12-megapixel selfie shooter with a company in-depth sensor, and as long as you stay reasonably still, you will get a good-looking shot nine times.
My full final review of the Honor Magic 5 Pro, which is hitting the UK imminently, is that as far as hardware goes, it’s right up there with the very best flagships right now. However, on the software side of things, it starts to fall apart a little bit, not quite as stable and not quite as premium as a lot of the other options out there. That said, unless you’re going full-on stock Android with the likes of the Pixel phones, there does tend to be a little bit of chunk involved with pretty much every launcher out there. At least you’ve got the guaranteed years and years of OS and security updates, which is highly commendable and to be fair, expected these days. So, that’s what I think of the Honor Magic 5 Pro. Anyway, it would be great to hear your own thoughts down in the comments below.