The Honor Magic 5 Pro's triple 50MP camera looks mighty on paper. The primary sensor isn't far off 1-inch, so should deliver results comparable to camera superphones like the Xiaomi 12S Ultra (opens in new tab), and Vivo X90 Pro (opens in new tab). Unlike those two phones, though, it launches with an imminent Western release on the cards, and not one, but two accolades from DxOMark – best smartphone camera and screen.
Now, this isn't Honor's first foray into premium smartphone territory. Last year's Honor Magic 4 Pro (opens in new tab) seriously impressed us with its own triple camera system, so it isn't beyond reason to think its successor might clinch the top spot in our best camera phones (opens in new tab) list, or at least be one of the best Android phones (opens in new tab) on the scene.
Factor in its other specs – a latest-generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip for top-tier gaming power, tons of storage, a high-capacity battery, fast charging and premium design, and after a short time with the phone, we're already keen to get it in for review and put it through its paces.
Rear cameras: 50MP main, 50MP ultrawide, 50MP telephoto
Front camera: 12MP + 3D Depth Camera
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Memory: 512GB storage + 12GB RAM
Screen Size: 6.8-inch 2848 × 1312
Size: 162.9 x 76.7 x 8.77mm
Colors: Black, Meadow Green
Design and Screen
We got our hands on the black Honor Magic 5 Pro, and shortly after cooing at its novel, circular, curved glass design and rich finish, we had to wipe it. Yep – the black one is polished so loves to cling onto fingerprints. The green one, however, is matte, so keeps them at bay. If you don't plan on getting a case with your Magic, our instinct would, therefore, be to recommend it in green.
We also noticed how chunky the phone is. While it doesn't out-weigh the 240g iPhone 14 Pro Max (opens in new tab), at 219g, it's still one of the heavier smartphones around. Its cool, stark metal frame and glass back feel premium, and the camera bump which smoothly rises, sits comfortably atop an index finger. But while its size doesn't make it unattractive, this is far from a compact option.(opens in new tab)
The Honor Magic 5 Pro's front is all screen, not counting that pill-shaped cutout which houses the 12MP selfie camera and 3D depth sensor. There's a small bezel framing it, and the display glass curves into the sides to meet the metal frame elegantly.
The right side houses the power button and volume rocker, while the base is where you'll access the SIM card slot, USB-C port and loudspeaker. In addition to that raised camera ring on the back, the Honor insignia pulls focus.
Most confusingly, there's a "100x 1:1.6-3 ASPH" around the back. While we understand what most of this means – the 100x speaks to the digital zoom, and the 1.6-3 refers to the aperture, with its maximum optical zoom of 3.5x, it seems brazen to suggest the phone has a usable 100x zoom.(opens in new tab)
As for the screen, it's a large, 6.81-inch OLED panel with a 20:9 aspect ratio. The phone's 2848 x 1312 resolution means it's roughly as sharp as an iPhone 14 Pro (opens in new tab). With HDR credentials and a peak brightness of 1800 nits, whether watching content indoors or using the phone outside on a sunny day, optimized videos should look rich, and we'd anticipate it'll be easy to make out what's on-screen.(opens in new tab)
The triple camera system on the Honor Magic 5 Pro features different sensors. The most impressive is the 1/1.12-inch primary camera sensor, especially given the fact it's matched with an f/1.6 aperture, so should deliver supremely soft bokeh. With its 23mm wide angle, the main camera should also be versatile enough for group portraits and matched with its 50MP resolution and OIS, cropping into around 35mm would also produce a usable shot with reduced distortion.
When you want to pull all the way out, the ultra-wide camera combines a wide f/2 aperture with an expansive 13mm focal length (122˚ field of view), and a 1/2.5-inch sensor. While significantly smaller than that of the main camera, this isn't small for an ultra-wide sensor size, and the camera's loaded up with autofocus too.
Finally, for the rear camera trinity, there's that periscope camera, which features an open f/3 aperture. What's interesting this year is that Honor's dropped both the resolution and sensor size compared to the Honor Magic 4 Pro, which featured a 64MP slightly larger sensor.
Flipping the phone around, and the front camera isn’t just a photography tool. Similar to iPhones, the Magic 5 Pro packs in 3D face scanning thanks to a secondary depth sensor. Unlike iPhones, though, Honor’s face scanning doesn’t replace the fingerprint scanner, which lives under the display.
When you do need to take photos on it, you can bank on a 12MP selfie camera with an f.2.4 aperture and a wide 100º field of view.
Launching with the freshest flagship Android chip on the block, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the Magic 5 Pro doesn't skimp on power, and with 12GB RAM, whether multitasking or gaming, it should be able to tear through tasks, apps and games.
Honor's also packed in a huge 512GB storage, which should see smartphone users through years of file hoarding without even coming close to a low-storage warning.
It's great to see Honor’s new flagship running Android 13, the freshest version of Google's mobile operating system. MagicOS, though, the phone’s interface is an evolution of Huawei’s EMUI. Since the two brands split, Honor has struggled to differentiate its interface, so we look forward to seeing meaningful updates to the latest version of MagicOS.
Our main issue with the Honor Magic 4 Pro was its modest battery. This year, Honor's beefed up the capacity to 5100mAh – slightly larger than much of the competition. It’s also slowed down charging to 66W wired, 50W wireless, versus 100W wired and wireless on the 4 Pro. The strange move is down to Honor prioritizing size over speed, which makes sense from an end-user point of view.
When we first saw the Magic 5 Pro in leaks, we were curious. Then it launched and we had some time with it, and we were excited to try it out. Now, with the bold claim from DxOMark that it's the camera phone to beat, it's our responsibility to put it through its paces against our camera phone of the moment, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (opens in new tab), with its best-in-class zoom and suite of photography tools.
Check back for the full review in the coming weeks, and to see how three of the Honor Magic 5's biggest competitors stack up against one another, read our Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro vs Google Pixel 7 Pro camera showdown.