The Honor Magic just might be the most magical smartphone of CES 2017


Earlier this week, we talked about the Honor 6X - the latest smartphone from Honor that was announced at the company's press event here in Las Vegas. The 6X certainly is a great-looking handset, and for a price tag of just $230, it's packing a pretty mean punch. The all metal build and dual camera setup are both great touches to have, but with the CES show floor now officially open, we were able to swing by Honor's booth to check out another smartphone of theirs that launched in China a few months back - the Honor Magic.

The Honor Magic is somewhat of a concept phone with some pretty unique AI technology baked inside of it. The model of the phone that we got to play around with has no current planes to launch anywhere outside of China, but Honor has confirmed that a global version will be coming at some point in the near future. The Honor Magic doesn't look or feel like anything else the company has launched so far, and with that being the case, we simply couldn't pass up a chance to go hands on with it.


Without a doubt, the Magic is the best designed phone that Honor has made to date. The back of the phone is made entirely out of glass, and while this does make the Honor Magic a bit of a fingerprint magnet, the look here is absolutely stunning. The dual-camera system is housed underneath this glass panel, and the aluminum frame around the phone makes it easy to hold on to. The Honor Magic isn't thick by any means with a measurement of just 7.8-millimeters wide, but because of the way that the glass on both the front and back flow over the edges, an illusion is created to make the phone appear even thinner than it already is.

Below the display is where you'll find the Honor Magic's physical home button that doubles as a fingerprint scanner, and the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack, nanoSIM tray, USB Type-C port are all present on the bottom of the phone.


In regards to the display that's being used here, Honor decided to keep things nice and compact with a screen size of just 5.09-inches. While the screen may be small though, the resolution is not. The Magic comes equipped with a 2560 x 1440 Super AMOLED panel, resulting in a display that looks absolutely gorgeous. Colors are tremendously bright, text is razor crisp, and during my time with the phone, viewing angles and overall brightness looked to be quite solid as well. That curved nature of the glass also adds a lot to the display situation here, as home screens and menus appear to flow off and on of the sides of the screen. It's a truly stunning effect, and it's the little details like this that go so far to create for a much more enjoyable experience when using a phone.

User interface and processor

As if the Honor Magic already wasn't creating a good case for itself, here's where things get even more interesting. Before we get into the software side of things, it's worth mentioning that the Honor Magic is powered by the Kirin 950 processor and 4GB of RAM. This horsepower combination means that the Honor Magic flows like butter when navigating through the UI and various apps, and while this is great on its own, things really start to get interesting and exciting when you take a look at the software that the Honor Magic is bringing to the table.

The software that the Honor Magic based off of is Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but the skin that's layered atop of it is unlike anything we've seen yet. Honor is calling it the Magic Live UI, and although it's a great departure from stock Android, everything moves along at an incredibly smooth pace, and the aesthetic that Honor is going for with Magic Live UI is consistent throughout the entire phone.

This isn't even the coolest part about it though. Honor has baked some sort of artificial intelligence throughout the phone, and the AI that's present here is aimed at making your experience with the phone more personalized as you continue to use it. This is a feature that's rather hard to demonstrate and capture after just playing around with the phone for a few minutes, but essentially the AI in the Honor Magic will be able to do things such as only display the content of text messages if it recognizes your eyes viewing the screen, automatically turn on the LED flash to act as a flashlight when you walk into a dark room, and automatically turn the screen on and off when you pick the phone up or set it down.


Just like the Honor 6X and Honor 8, the Honor Magic is utilizing a dual-camera setup. The system here consists of two 12MP sensors, along with a dual LED flash system. The great part about all of this is that it's housed entirely under the glass back, meaning that there's no sort of camera hump to be found here at all.


A 2,900 mAh battery keeps the Honor Magic alive and kicking, and while it does seem a bit on the small side, the AI in the Magic is also supposedly able to identify your use habits with the phone to then adapt things to create for better battery life the more you use the phone. It's an interesting concept for sure, but just like with the rest of the AI features that are present here, it's something we can't really demo unless we're able to get more use-time with the phone.

Pricing and availability

For the time being, the Honor Magic is only available in China. The cost that it's selling for there comes out to the equivalent of around $530 USD, and after getting up close and personal with the Magic, we think it's pretty safe to say that it's worth the asking price. There's no word as to whether or not the global version of the phone will remain entirely the same of if some changes will be made, but then again, this isn't all that surprising considering that this still considered to be a form of concept phone from the company. 

The Honor Magic is a truly beautiful piece of tech with a lot of interesting software tricks under the hood, and even in its current form, it's still one of the best phones we've seen from the company yet.

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