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The Honor Magic3 flagship smartphone series: novel camera features in slightly familiar packages

The new Magic3 Pro+. (Source: Honor)
The new Magic3 Pro+. (Source: Honor)
Honor has launched its new Magic3, 3 Pro and 3 Pro+ top-end smartphones today (August 12, 2021). Their large central ring-style camera humps contain up to 5 lenses each, which also contain new 50MP sensors in some cases. The OEM claims they are capable of delivering cinema-grade videography as well as Snapdragon 888+ performance.

Samsung may have captured the tech world's attention yesterday (August 11, 2021) by making the new Galaxy Z Fold3 official; however, Honor asserts that today is its day. This brand may have officially parted ways with Huawei, but you'd hardly know it from the esthetics of the new Magic3 series.

It has, as implied in several teasers prior to launch, debuted with circular camera humps that dominate their rear panels. On that note, the promised Magic Hour-inspired colorways are here, although only the vanilla 3 model gets both of these (Blue Hour and Golden Hour), which are finished in vegan leather as opposed to the glass of the black and white alternatives.

This base variant's ring-cam could easily house 5 cameras; however, it only gets 3 active lenses, 1 of which is for a 50MP main sensor with an f-stop of 1.9 and a 1.0 micron (µm) pixel size. Its secondary lens is a monochrome lens, which goes even bigger than that of the Huawei P50 series in that it is all of 64MP in resolution. They are rounded off with a 13MP, 13mm and f/2.2 ultra-wide angle shooter.

All 3 are also found in the Magic3 Pro, and contribute to a penta-cam array in this variant, even if 1 of these lenses is actually an "8x8" dToF sensor for enhanced depth-perception. Then again, the 5th one is a telephoto lens that is, again, 64MP in size, with OIS and the 100x digital zoom hinted at in an earlier leak.

The OEM has also imbued the Magic3 line with advanced camera prowess on the software side as well. It has prepared the "Honor Imagine Engine" suite of AI enhancements, not to mention an impressive-sounding "Full Pixel Octa PD Auto Focus" for rapid shots, not to mention alleged "3D look-up-table (LUT)" functions that works right on these new smartphones and support for the LOG format.

On the opposite side of these devices, Honor continues the authentically cinematographic buzz-words by introducing the Magic3s as the world's first officially IMAX Enhanced mobile devices. This feature involves 8 "Hollywood-grade" 3D LUT color profiles for content consumption, and will act on 6.76-inch FHD+ 10-bit OLED displays that have 120Hz refresh rates and 89° curvature. 

The Magic3 line also retain punch-hole selfie cameras for these displays - dual punch-holes, in fact, which support ultra-wide angle selfies and 3D ToF Face Unlock. On that note, the series will run the latest Magic UI 5 based on Android 11 with Google Mobile Services for the international market.

This skin is apparently inherently privacy-focused, and also contains tweaks such as nature-inspired always-on displays and user eye-tracking-dependent behaviors such as ringtones that drop in volume should the user look at the phone.

The Magic3 series also have 4,600mAh batteries that support Honor's premium 66W charging rates, as well as up to 50W Qi wireless charging. The most extreme end of this feature spectrum ends with the Pro+ variant, introduced toward the end of Honor's show with looks that will frankly be familiar to RS Design enthusiasts. 

These rear panels are finished in black or white Nano Crystal Ceramic, and also have displays reinforced with the same Nano Crystal Glass as in the iPhone 12 series, albeit with a more pronounced curve compared to Apple's efforts.

It also steps up to triple 64MP sensors: the same monochrome and ultra-wide angle sensors as the Pro, as well as one for telephoto (90mm with a periscope lens) functions. Furthermore, its 50MP module is a Sony IMX700, as opposed to the 766 of the other 2 variants.

This new CMOS is larger, at 1/1.28 inch as opposed to 1/1.56in in the IMX766. The Pro+ also packs the dToF sensor and a dedicated color-temperature sensor into its even larger, vaguely octagonal hump. This top-end model has just 1 12GB/512GB configuration, priced at €1,499 (or ~US$1,759: still slightly less than a new Galaxy Z Fold3).

The Pro+ and Pro also have just 1 8/256GB SKU apiece, and come in at €1,099 (~$1,289) or €899 (~$1,055). Then again, Honor never mentioned a release date for the Magic3 series in the course of its launch, or how one might shop for it outside of China as yet.

The new Magic3 line of flagship phones. (Source: Honor)
The new Magic3 line of flagship phones. (Source: Honor)


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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 08 > The Honor Magic3 flagship smartphone series: novel camera features in slightly familiar packages
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2021-08-12 (Update: 2021-08-12)