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It might be time to change the way we choose smartphone cameras. Traditionally, powerful camera hardware was enough. With the advent of AI though, it is important that your smartphone’s camera is well optimised with its software. And that is where HONOR’s latest Magic6 Pro comes into the picture. It offers an AI-powered camera experience, complemented by immaculate hardware and a design that is sure to turn heads. This is, no doubt, its best smartphone, not only going toe to toe with other flagships but beyond.

No moment is too quick

The Magic6 Pro’s Falcon Camera System sits on a luxury timepiece-inspired island at the back. Each of the three cameras serves a purpose, starting with the 50MP 1/1.3-inch main sensor responsible for improved HDR in photos. It also has a self-adjustable aperture, going from f/1.4 to f/2.0 but what does that mean? Think of this aperture as a pupil, which can adjust based on surrounding light. In the dark, it widens to take in more light thereby capturing better detail while during the day, it helps to precisely adjust exposure and depth of field. The latter comes in handy for blurry backgrounds in portraits or crisp landscape shots. More expansive views of landscapes can be captured by the 50MP ultra-wide camera, which also doubles as an impressive macro sensor.

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Lastly, you find a 180MP periscope telephoto lens, which is incredible for zoom photography. It features a large 1/1.49-inch sensor with 2.5x optical zoom and 100x digital zoom, which is surprisingly usable given its optical image stabilisation (OIS) support. More than the hardware, HONOR’s software support on its cameras is impressive. For example, its AI Motion Sensing Capture 2.0 is fantastic for high-speed sports without skipping a beat. Its shutter is so quick that it is almost 3x faster than other flagships in its bracket. Moreover, the fact that this performance is available across all the Magic6 Pro’s lenses makes it a complete experience.

Slick as a whistle

Alongside its camera software, HONOR has done remarkably well to optimise its user interface for smooth day-to-day operation. For example, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 octa-core processor onboard pairs with MagicOS 8.0 based on Android 14 for several useful tweaks. The display now has a Magic Capsule that allows you to interact with your notifications without having to leave where you are. Or the fact that you get a heap of new personalisation options. But one of our favourite features on the Magic6 Pro is called Magic Portal, which shows up on the edge. This helps to maintain fluidity when using the smartphone by allowing you to drag elements between applications. So, if you receive a message on WhatsApp about a location, you can simply drag it to the edge of the display into Google Maps to directly open navigation instructions. The same can be used for dragging pictures from WhatsApp to Snapchat or Ebay, or from Google into HONOR Notes. The way it works is quite intuitive, and you don’t even realise how quickly it integrates into your daily workflow.

Built like a tank

HONOR Magic6 Pro’s design has an elegance about it that no other flagship matches. Up front, you find a gorgeous 120Hz Quad-curved 6.8-inch AMOLED display, which makes for stellar content. But more than that, its 4,320Hz ultra-high frequency PWM Dimming is industry leading, which means a flicker-free experience that is easier on the eye. The display is also protected by HONOR’s NanoCrystal Shield improving both its glass toughness and drop resistance and enhances its shock absorption capabilities by up to 10 times.

The toughness carries over even when it comes to the Magic6 Pro’s silicon-carbon battery. It is impressive enough that the 8.9mm chassis of the smartphone houses a huge 5,600mAh cell, but there is a feature that is even more unique. Thanks to a special E1 chip, the battery can withstand extremely cold temperatures up to -20 degrees Celsius, with performance in these conditions far exceeding other flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. While this is not directly useful to us, it could come in handy for colder places. What is indeed useful to everyone is its 80W wired and 66W wireless charging support. Going from 0-100 per cent just shy of half an hour for a battery that easily gives you a day’s worth of usage is nothing short of impressive.

Our verdict

It feels like HONOR has made the perfect smartphone, blending top-of-the-range hardware with meaningful software. For someone wanting high-end on all fronts, the Magic6 Pro strongly delivers, and could be a tempting option over other flagships. Pre-order starts from March 22.