Honor has announced a tantalizing sequel to the Honor Magic: The Honor Magic 2. First shown during Honor’s presentation at IFA 2018, where it launched the Honor Play, all the details on the exciting device have been revealed at an event in Beijing on October 31.
We’ll start with the bad news. The Honor Magic 2 will only be released in China, just like the original Honor Magic. The reason is likely the same as the first phone, that it’s costly and time-consuming to further localize the Magic’s in-depth artificial intelligence features and forge new partnerships with apps and services outside China.
There are three different versions for sale, a 6GB/128GB mode, an 8GB/128GB version, and an 8GB/256GB version. They will all go on sale on November 6, and cost the local equivalent of $545, $615, and $690 respectively.
Design and display
The original Honor Magic was a design triumph at the time, so what about the Magic 2? Interestingly, the back of the Magic 2 looks almost exactly like the Huawei P20 Pro, complete with three camera lenses. Both a blue and a red version have been made, complete with beautiful color-changing gradients, along with a more traditional black model. Honor says the back of the phone has a gentle curve, much like the original phone, and a special nano-coating makes the color transitions possible.
The Magic 2’s big design feature, however, is a pop-up camera, which closely resembles the Oppo Find X and the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3. It’s not clear which company got to this design first, although Oppo is first to get its version on sale. Unlike the Find X, the Honor Magic 2 will only show the front-facing camera when it pops up from the frame. Using five different tracks, the butterfly mechanism manually “clicks” into place to show the camera lens, and makes the lack of a notch possible. The AMOLED screen measures 6.39-inches and has a 2340 x 1080-pixel resolution.
Cameras and security
There are six camera lenses in total on the Honor Magic 2. The front camera array is made up of a 16-megapixel main sensor, and then two 2-megapixel sensors, while the rear camera has a 16-megapixel RGB sensor, a 16-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 24-megapixel monochrome lens. The rear camera uses artificial intelligence for scene recognition, and includes the artificial image stabilization (AIS) technology we’ve seen on Huawei phones including the P20 Pro.
The front camera also uses AI for improved portrait shots, plus portrait lighting effects. The camera array also adds 3D depth sensing and infrared sensors for a secure face unlock feature, even in low light. That’s not the only security feature, as the Honor Magic 2 has an in-display fingerprint sensor too, with what Honor says is a large 30mm sensing area, making it easier to unlock the phone with one touch.
Honor hasn’t said much about the software on the Magic 2. While Android is a safe bet, Honor usually uses Huawei’s EMUI user interface on its phones, but because the Magic 2 is destined only for China, and has Honor’s own virtual assistant called Yoyo onboard, it may run a unique version made especially for the phone. Honor’s not giving much away about what Yoyo does either, saying it’s a “pocket butler,” and is also in some way tied to the slider mechanism. The first Honor Magic wowed us at CES 2017 with its amazing range of A.I.-powered skills, including smart facial recognition and recommendations based on your usage.
The Honor Magic 2 uses the Kirin 980 and its dual-NPU AI processor, which is the successor to the exceptionally powerful A.I.-driven Kirin 970, and is also found inside the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. An option of either 6GB or 8GB of RAM is offered, along with storage space of either 128GB or 256GB.
It’s a heavy phone at 206 grams, and relatively thick at 8.3mm — surprising given the battery has a capacity of 3,400mAh. It does come with Honor’s 40w Magic Charge technology, where 15 minutes plugged in will take the battery to 50 percent capacity, and 85 percent in 30 minutes. This is the same as we’ve seen in the Mate 20 Pro. There is no headphone jack.
Updated on October 31: Added official details following the phone’s announcement in China.