Honor Magic5 Pro wants to take on the top Android phones — here's how it can

The Honor Magic5 Pro held in hand
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Android flagship buyers are already spoiled for choice when it comes to the best Android phones, but now the Honor Magic5 Pro's appeared to tempt you with its own unique blend of premium features.

Announced today (February 27) at MWC 2023, this new Honor handset aims to impress with top-quality parts and design, but also puts a lot of focus on making it an easy device to use for long period of time without straining your eyes or disturbing your sleep. A phone isn't going to cure your insomnia of course, but it's encouraging to see Honor work on a new avenue for reducing the negative effects of smartphone use.

Be sure to check back soon if you're curious how this holds up against the best phones around, as we've only just got hold of a test device following Honor's announcement. But for now, here's the rundown of the key features of the Honor Magic5 Pro, plus some details on the incoming Magic Vs foldable phone along with the Magic5 and Magic5 Lite variants.

Honor Magic5 Pro: Price and availability

Honor's Magic5 Pro is coming to Europe, including the U.K., but not the U.S. The only pricing we have so far is that it'll cost €1,199 , which is a bit cheaper than the €1,299 Xiaomi 13 Pro and the €1,419 Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Still, the €100 to €300 price gap probably won't be enough on its own to convince people to buy the Magic5 Pro.

Honor Magic5 Pro: Cameras

Honor has encased the Magic5 Pro's optics inside a "Magic Ring" design, containing the "Star Wheel" camera system. If we look past the fantasy novel-style terminology, what we get is a triple camera system arranged in a circle. 

Those cameras use a trio of 50MP sensors, much like the Xiaomi 13 Pro, except the Honor's telephoto camera offers 3.5x optical zoom instead of the Xiaomi's 3.2x. While the Magic 5 Pro's main sensor size is a little smaller than Xiaomi's monstrous 1-inch main sensor, it still is larger than the main cameras on the iPhone 14 Pro or Galaxy S23 Ultra, and with a larger aperture to boot. 

There's also a 12MP main camera on the front of the Honor Magic5 Pro that features a 3D depth sensor alongside it in a double-width notch for more accurate portrait effects. 

The Honor Magic5 Pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

If you're an action fan, then you'll be interested in Honor's Falcon Capture motion mode for snapping clear footage of fast-moving subjects. Honor's demos of capturing clear still images of things like a leaping basketball player look impressive, so it's a feature we'll definitely be putting through its paces when it's time to test the phone.

Honor also used the front 3D sensing camera to implement hand motion gesture controls to scroll and take screenshots. That capability seems to have limited uses, and if it's anything like similar features on phones like the older Pixel 4. But hand gestures could be potentially useful for certain users.

Honor Magic5 Pro: Design

Aside from the Magic Ring of cameras, Honor has kept things simple with the rest of the Magic5 Pro. One of the rare features you'll find on this phone is its curved side and top/bottom edges. That means the ergonomic benefits of a curved display can be felt whether you're holding the phone vertically or horizontally.

Honor also didn't forget to get the phone IP68 rated against intrusion from water and dust. Some phone makers are content to just test for splash-proofing, but you can't beat the safety of getting a proper IP rating like the Magic5 Pro has.

You get a choice of Orange, Glacier Blue, Coral Purple, Meadow Green or Black, but we believe we're only getting the last two options in the U.K. Excluding the all-black model, this is a fun bunch of colorways to pick from that are sure to turn heads.

Honor Magic5 Pro: Display

The Magic5 Pro offers a 6.81-inch QHD OLED display and an LTPO-powered adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. With a 1,300 nits typical brightness, 1,800-nit peak HDR brightness, and a Delta-E (color accuracy) figure of 0.27, your videos and games should pop off the screen while still looking close to what the creators intended. The Magic5 Pro should, in theory, beat the Galaxy S23 Ultra too, according to Honor's numbers. (Samsung's phone peaks at 1,750 nits.)

The Honor Magic5 Pro

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Honor's emphasis on human-centric design in its products can be see in the tech it's using to make its display comfortable to use for long periods of time. It's added 2,160Hz pulse width modulation (PWM) dimming, a frequency which Honor claims to be a world-first for smartphones. The point of PWM is that it reduces the flickering of the display that isn't perceivable to the naked eye but still tires it out; in theory, an even higher rate of modulation reduces this effect still further.

On top of that, the Magic5 Pro offers a Dynamic Dimming feature that slowly reduces the display's brightness through the day in line with natural light, and a Circadian Night Display capability adjusts the color temperature of the display throughout the day to reduce blue light when it's dark. This is meant to avoid your phone intefering with your sleep, with Honor promising up to half-an-hour more dozing per night with the help of these display features.

Honor Magic5 Pro: Performance

To drive its new flagship, Honor has selected the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset — the same silicon that powers the OnePlus 11 — and paired it with 12GB RAM and 512GB storage by default, plus support for the latest Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.3 connection standards. While we don't know just how powerful the Magic5 Pro will be, it has all the ingredients it needs for top-class performance.

Honor Magic5 Pro: Battery and charging

A larger-than-average 5,100 mAh battery sits inside the Magic5 Pro, and you can fill it up with either 66W wired or 50W wireless charging. Those speeds should mean it's faster to charge than equivalent Samsung Galaxys or iPhones, though probably not the extra-fast Xiaomi or OnePlus competitors. The extra battery capacity hopefully translates to excellent battery life, too.

Honor Magic5 and Magic5 Lite

Joining the Honor Magic5Pro are two more Magic series models, the Magic5 and Magic5 Lite. While these don't come with all the same impressive features, they share a surprising amount for their prices.

The Honor Magic5

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The non-Pro Magic5, priced at €899, still comes with a 5,100 mAh battery and 66W charging, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, the same quad-curve display shape with all the same eye comfort features, and a still-impressive rear camera array of 54MP wide, 50MP ultrawide and 32MP zoom sensors.

The Honor Magic5 Lite

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Then there's the Honor Magic5 Lite to fill out the bottom end of the range at €369. It's got a left/right curved 120Hz OLED display (a first for a phone of its price) 1920Hz PWM dimming, a 5,100 mAh battery and a 7.9mm thickness, plus a battery life that can apparently last up to three days of average use. 

Honor Magic Vs

Honor's other big announcement was the global launch of the Magic Vs foldable, which has been priced at €1,599. That's more expensive than a Galaxy Z Fold 4 (€1,499), but after going hands-on with a pre-release version of the foldable at the end of last year, we can't wait to try out this final version.

The Honor Magic Vs partly open

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Vs foldable is a full-sized Galaxy Z Fold 4-style device, but Honor's managed to make it slimmer and lighter than Samsung's well-established foldable while still fitting in a full 5,000 mAh battery (large for a foldable phone) and a hinge that lets the phone close fully without a gap in the frame.

The hinge, which Honor boasts is made with only four pieces for a simple and durable build, is  guaranteed for at least 400,000 folds according to independent testing.

The outer 6.45-inch display is a bit narrower than a regular smartphone, but it's still wide enough to be usable without unfolding the device. The 7.9-inch inner display aims for usability with a special anti-reflect coating, plus both panels use many of the same eye health features like high-frequency PWM dimming and Circadian Night Display, as we talked about for the Magic5 Pro. 

For photos, the Magic Vs provides a 54MP main camera, 50MP ultrawide camera and a 8MP 3x optical zoom camera, plus 16MP selfie cameras inside and out.


Both the Magic Vs and the Magic5 series run on Android 13 with Magic OS 7.1 on top. This has been upgraded to enhance cross-device collaboration between Honor's phones, laptops and tablets, such as using a mouse and keyboard to control multiple Honor devices, or extend your display with your tablet. 

There's also an upgrade to the Notes app that lets you bookmark articles and web pages in the app with a single three-finger swipe, and send it on to a different device.

Honor Magic5 Pro outlook

We're particularly interested in getting our hands on the Magic5 Pro, of all the devices Honor is showing off at MWC 2023. Stay tuned for more hands-on impressions, plus our eventual review of this would-be Galaxy S23 Ultra challenger.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.