After a long time using the Honor Magic 5 Pro, I think it's clear Honor's produced another flagship worthy of people's attention. Unless you're living in the U.S., Honor's phone could be a new option for users wanting to buy a premium Android device with different priorities to those from other brands.
Rather than focusing on balance of features like a Galaxy S23 Plus, speed and performance like the OnePlus 11 or value and software with the Pixel 7 Pro, the Magic 5 Pro stakes its claim on user comfort and convenience and camera hardware. With triple 50MP rear cameras, a curved design that's easy to hold, above-average charging speeds and a display with unique eye health technology, there are some strong reasons to pick Honor's flagship over the competition.
Some limitations come in when you see how much Honor wants for it. Sitting at a price between entry-level and Ultra-grade phones, some users may find it perfectly positioned, but others may feel they'd get more benefit by paying more for extra features than what the Honor Magic 5 Pro offers. Also, you may find it frustrating not to have the very best in charging speed, photos from specific cameras or chip performance.
Read our full Honor Magic 5 Pro review below, and see for yourself if this sounds like the right collection of features for you and your budget, or if Honor's making this phone for somebody that's not you.
Honor Magic 5 Pro review: Price and availability
Honor is selling the Magic 5 Pro for £949 in the U.K., £100 less than you'd pay for a Galaxy S23 Plus, £150 less than a Xiaomi 13 Pro and £300 less than a Galaxy S23 Ultra. However with the £729 OnePlus 11 and £849 Google Pixel 7 Pro also on sale, it could still be hard for the Honor to stand out from a value perspective.
Honor's not part of Huawei these days, which is why the phone maker theoretically could sell its products in the U.S. That's not happened with the Magic 5 Pro sadly.
Honor Magic 5 Pro review: Design and display
The curved IP68-rated body of the Magic 5 Pro looks great in both its Black and Meadow Green guises. In black, the round, sloping camera block looks most like the black hole that allegedly inspired the design, but having handled both phones, I like the green with its matte finish more — particularly given how many fingerprints the glossy black back picks up over a normal day's use.
The display is a 6.81-inch AMOLED panel with an adaptive refresh rate that ranges between 1Hz and 120Hz; the display also boasts a max brightness of 1,800 nits. That's pretty much par for the course as flagship-grade displays go, but the Honor Magic 5 Pro adds some unique twists.
First is the fact the display is "quad-curved display," an unusual style of screen that provides the benefit of a rounded screen (comfort and attractiveness) on all sides. I like the way this looks, but I can't honestly notice a difference when holding the phone horizontally to watch a video. I also have to wonder about how users who prefer flat displays would get on with a phone that curves on all sides. I suspect not too well.
Honor also puts a lot of emphasis on its eye comfort features like a high PWM dimming rate, which reduces the screen's imperceptible flickering, and auto-adjusting color and brightness that adapt to the time of day. Honor even recruited researchers at University College London to back up their findings.
I avoid using smartphones too close to bedtime personally (even phone reviewers have their limits), and therefore can't really attest if this feature works for me. But if you're someone whose sleep is badly affected by blue light, this could be worth investigating further
Honor Magic 5 Pro review: Cameras
The trio of 50MP cameras in the Honor Magic 5 Pro, covering main, ultrawide and 3.5x telephoto duties, don't quite match up to best camera phones like the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but they're still worthy of the Pro title. There's also a front 12MP selfie camera, which is paired with a 3D depth sensor. This is another unusual feature that I'm grateful the phone has. Not only does it enable secure face unlocking, it also helps with portrait mode shots.
To test out the cameras, I took the Honor Magic5 Pro, along with my usual iPhone 14 Pro Max, to Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire, England.
In this first shot of some of the inner walls of the castle, it's interesting to see that the Magic5 Pro picks up details in the darker areas in the arches, windows and brickwork of the wall. I think I still like the iPhone's coloration of the scene better though, since it's a bit brighter overall and resembles the scene as I remember it on the day more accurately.
Like other new flagship phones, you can set the Honor's main camera to shoot at its full resolution, rather than pixel-binning your images for smaller and better-lit shots. However when presented with an old-intricately carved door, I knew I wanted to try and capture as much detail as possible.
The iPhone 14 Pro only lets you capture at the phone's maximum 48MP in ProRAW mode, an image format that's better for editing while still using a spot of post-processing, but one that takes up even more space than a normal 48MP image does. It has allowed the iPhone to produce a much brighter image than the Honor though, giving Apple the win.
At the phones' respective default zoom levels (3.5x for the Honor, 3x for the iPhone, you get a much better sense of the green hills and blue sky view from the Bolsover Castle walls. Both photos are still pretty sharp though, so maybe you prefer the more pastel quality of the iPhone image in a way that I don't.
In the 15x shot (the maximum zoom the iPhone will let you do), the colors are again richer through the Honor's lens, although now to an extent where the Magic 5's photo is easy to call the better of the two.
If you don't care about fidelity, you can crank the Honor up to a full 100x zoom, which makes the tiny wind turbine in the above images fill the whole frame. Digital zoom up to this level is very gimmicky, and unlikely to result in a good shot. That said, I still think Apple capping the iPhone's zoom at 15x is excessive in the opposite way.
In this ultrawide shot of a defunct fountain, the iPhone's image has the bluer sky and starker contrast, but loses detail in the stonework as a result. It's something, the Honor Magic 5 Pro picks up more easily.
Ending with a portrait mode selfie shot from the two phones' front cameras, we can see how the Honor dials up the saturation while the iPhone keeps things more level while also warming the colors up a little.
Both phones do well with the portrait cutout effect, too, except the Honor mucks up around the edge of my glasses. In fairness to the Magic 5 Pro, this wasn't consistently the case, but I wanted to show what happens when the portrait effect goes wrong.
Honor Magic 5 Pro review: Performance
Honor has made sure the Magic 5 Pro stacks up well to its rivals, at least on paper, with its chipset. The phone runs off a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, with up to 12GB RAM and 256GB storage.
|Row 0 - Cell 0||Honor Magic5 Pro||Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus||OnePlus 11||Pixel 7 Pro||iPhone 14 Pro|
|CPU||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2||Tensor G2||A16 Bionic|
|Geekbench 5 (single-core / multicore)||1,306 / 4,523||1,524 / 4,642||1,166 / 4,962||1,060 / 3,046||1891 / 5469|
|3DMark Wild Life Unlimited (FPS)||83||87||84||40||74|
|3DMark Wild Life Extreme Unlimited (FPS)||18||22||22||11||19|
|Adobe Premiere Rush (Mins:Secs)||0:42||0:39||1:11||0:47||0:26|
As the results above demonstrate, the 12GB Magic 5 Pro we tested performs well in the Geekbench 5 single-core tests, and is about on-par with other Android phones. However, it can't beat the top-performing Galaxy S23 Plus or iPhone 14 Pro in Geekbench. The results are a bit better for the Magic 5 Pro in graphics testing, as it produces a better result than the iPhone — a pretty consistent result for Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered phones.
There's still plenty of GPU power for gaming needs though, and the Magic 5 Pro's Adobe Premiere Rush transcoding time is pretty zippy too.
Honor Magic 5 Pro review: Battery and charging
Battery and charging is an area where Honor has managed to carve out a specs advantage. It's fitted a 5,100 mAh battery with 66W wired charging and 50W wireless charging into the Magic 5 Pro, whereas most rival phones are content with 5,000 mAh cells.
In our testing, the Magic 5 Pro got to 43% full after 15 minutes plugged in, then to 78% after 30 minutes, finally reaching 100% after 47 minutes. That's not as fast as the 100W charging on the OnePlus 11 or the 120W charging on the Xiaomi 13 Pro, which will fill batteries in under half an hour, but it still beats anything Google, Samsung or Apple can offer.
The 5,100 mAh battery, a little larger than the typical 5,000 mAh Android flagship battery, was drained by 15% after three hours playing a 1080p YouTube video at half brightness and half volume. The best performer on this unofficial test, the Sony Xperia 10 IV, drains at around the same rate, which is a great result for the Honor.
Honor Magic 5 Pro review: Software
The latest Android 13 version comes installed on the Honor Magic 5 Pro, with MagicOS 7.1 on top. Honor promises to provide with three years of updates and five years of security updates.
The total security update period matches up with other Android phone builders, but three years of full updates are behind the four years that Samsung provides for its flagship and midrange models.
MagicOS itself is an Android skin that reworks a lot of the standard Android details. One particular addition I like is the "large folder" which lets you squeeze nine apps into the space of four regular icons, while still letting you tap on any one of them to open it. It's a nice way to make more use of your home screen, as is the MagicOS ability to swipe down on certain apps to open a temporary widget without placing it permanently on your home screen.
Honor Magic 5 Pro review: Verdict
Honor's not going to upset the position of companies like Samsung, Google or OnePlus in the highest echelons of the flagship Android phone space. But it keeps showing with phones like the Magic 5 Pro that it belongs in the same league as those devices.
U.S. users are going to have to turn to a Galaxy S23 Plus, or perhaps a cheaper Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro or OnePlus 11 unless they want to fuss around with international imports. U.K. users, who can get a Magic 5 Pro easily, should shortlist for the Honor phone over the others if they're interested in its unusual mix of features, the particularly strong display or ultrawide and telephoto camera, or if the price fits perfectly with your budget.