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Honor Magic5 Pro review: Celebrating the return of a dragon

By Cheryl Tan - 15 Dec 2023
Launch SRP: S$1249

Overview, Design, UI

Honor Magic5 Pro.

Enter the dragon

The Honor Magic5 Pro, on paper, is incredible.

With a 6.81-inch 120Hz refresh rate LTPO OLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, a triple 50MP rear camera array, 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM, UFS 4.0 storage, and 66W fast charging, it seems like an absolute steal starting at just S$1,249 for 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage.

If you go back in time, you'd also recall Huawei selling off Honor to ensure the sub-brand’s survival back in 2020 due to the U.S. trade bans.

It seemed like a logical move as Huawei’s own phone business seemed to be in a highly precarious situation, with phone sales dipping due to the loss of the Android operating system and services, along with the mobile chipset purchasing ban from the U.S.

TL;DR: The Honor Magic5 Pro has great hardware, and its value proposition is made even better by having Google Mobile Services and that low price point.

While there are claims that Huawei might soon be returning to global markets, it’s unlikely their phones will sport any Android OS due to the license suspension. It’s a shame because Huawei was consistently producing some of the best hardware in the smartphone market at incredible value before the ban came into effect. 

Now, it's down to Honor to take on the mantle, replete with the full suite of Android OS, GMS compatibility, and an official Singapore presence to bring back a dragon of a smartphone. 

This review will see if it can live up to those expectations. 

  Honor Magic5 Pro
  Honor Magic5 Pro
Launch SRP
  • From S$1249
Network:
  • Up to 5G NR
Operating system
  • Android 13 (MagicOS 7.1)
Processor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Built-in Memory
  • 12GB RAM
  • LPDDR5X
Display
  • 6.81-inch, LTPO OLED, 2,848 x 1,312 pixels, 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, HDR10+, 1,800-nits peak brightness
Camera
  • Rear:
  • 50 MP, f/1.6, 23mm wide-angle, 1.4µm, multi-directional PDAF, Laser AF, OIS
  • 50 MP, f/3.0, 90mm periscope telephoto, PDAF, OIS, 3.5x optical zoom
  • 50 MP, f/2.0, 13mm ultra-wide, 122˚ FOV, AF
  • Front:
  • 12 MP, f/2.4, 1.22µm
Video Support
  • Up to 4K60FPS
Connectivity
  • LTE / 5G NR
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax/be, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot, Bluetooth 5.2, A2DP, LE
  • GPS, AGPS GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO
  • NFC
Storage Type
  • 512GB
  • No microSD card slot
Battery
  • 5,100mAh
  • 66W Super Fast Charging
  • 50W Wireless Fast Charging
Dimensions
  • 162.9 x 76.7 x 8.77mm
Weight
  • 219g

Beautiful design, eye-catching bump

Honor Magic5 Pro in Meadow Green.

The Honor Magic5 Pro looks stunningly gorgeous. Coming in either Meadow Green or Black with a glass back, the phone feels fantastic in hand.

The frosted glass provides some nice texture and fingerprint resistance while blending seamlessly into the glossy, colour-matched aluminium rails. 

The camera bump is rather large.

The massive circular camera bump on the rear houses the triple camera array, and it’s eye-catching. Thankfully, it doesn’t compete with other rear elements and the circle is relatively clean with just a 100X branding for the phone’s digital zoom functionality.

While the bump juts out, the phone doesn’t rock on a surface because it's big enough to offer some stability.

Left and right edges of the screen are more curved.

On the front, the large 6.81-inch display supports a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, although it only goes down to 60Hz instead of 1Hz like some other smartphones do to save battery. It’s uses a Quad-Curved Floating Screen with curved edges on all sides, although the left and right edges are steeper. There’s an optical under-display fingerprint reader which is placed a little low, but it’s quick and accurate. 

Honor Magic5 Pro display.

The panel is bright and vibrant and legible under bright sunlight thanks to a peak brightness of 1,800 nits for HDR content. Watching content on it is great, with a nice colour accuracy and a slight saturation boost.

Colour-matched buttons and sides are always nice.

The power and volume buttons are on the right side of the phone, so there’s no need to stretch to reach the buttons on the other side if you’re operating the phone with just one hand. The speaker grilles are located on the top and bottom, and the lower rung is also where you’ll find the SIM card tray and the USB-C 3.1 port for charging and data transfer.

Honor Magic5 Pro

For connectivity, we feel obliged to point out that the Honor Magic5 Pro even supports Wi-Fi 7, which is great for futureproofing a device. You will, of course, require a Wi-Fi 7 router to make use of it. The phone also has IP68 dust and water resistance rating, which is excellent and expected on a flagship phone. Taking its design into account, the Honor Magic5 Pro is certainly shaping up to be a premium offering, even if the price isn't at that point.

Full Android and Google Mobile Services support

This is an often asked question for Android phones that hail from China, and as such, we felt it was necessary to point it out again in a proper sub-section.

The Honor Magic5 Pro is running on the company’s MagicOS 7.1 skin of Android 13.

As mentioned earlier, the phone supports the full suite of Google apps, which means you’ll have access to standard Google apps like YouTube, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Photos, and more. 

The MagicOS reskin resembles Huawei’s EMUI interface quite closely, with the same feel to the Settings menu, task switcher and other minor areas. There’s also plenty of customisation here, and I enjoy having large folders that can contain up to 9 apps which can be opened with a single tap, rather than having to tap into a folder and then the app itself. 

The software is fluid and responsive, and I didn’t encounter any lag or glitches during my testing, which is great. There's no doubt the Magic5 Pro owes its day-to-day fluidity to the hardware.

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9.0
  • Design 7.5
  • Features 8
  • User-Friendliness 9
  • Performance 9
  • Value 9.5
The Good
Exceptional value for money (512GB)
Great images out of cameras
Excellent performance
Good all-day battery life
The Bad
Could do with slightly faster wired charging speeds
Big camera bump can sometimes snag on clothes and other fabric
Dated design
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