Honor has announced three new flagship handsets, confidently announcing its arrival as an independent smartphone manufacturer.
For those familiar with Honors previous handsets, the move to a flagship level product line may be a curious one, but these handsets are setting down the marker for Honor’s ambition. The Magic3, Magic3 Pro, and Magic3 Pro Plus are very much ‘we are here to play, and we’re going to play hard.’
Honor will be leaning into three key areas to help the handsets stand out.
The first is design. On the front of the handset you have a display with the curved glass edges turning to 89 degrees compared to the surface, and by extension the bezels are much reduced. In terms of protection all the handsets have IP68 dust protection and waterproofing.
For the specifications, the choice of the SnapDragon 888 in the Magic3 immediately marks it out as a top tier handset, while the Pro and Pro Plus models feature the uprated SnapDragon 888+. Again, Honor is playing for keeps here.
There are a number of software optimisations in the handset to reduce the latency as far as possible when using regular apps, graphics acceleration for gaming, and an ‘anti-aging engine’ that looks to preserve as much of the ‘out of the box’ performance of the handset over a three-year lifespan.
Finally there’s the camera. I suspect that the circular design of the camera island and its concentric rings will become the design touch that helps Honor handsets stand out in the market – I’m curious to see if the mid-range handsets use the same physical language. As with every flagship phone presentation, much has been made of the capabilities of the camera system, with the Magic3 Pro Plus sporting a quad camera setup including a monochrome camera, wide angle main camera, ultrawide camera, and a folded ‘periscope’ telephoto camera.
Honor is also supporting the log file format for video with recording in Magic-Log that promises more detail and color grading options in post production for professionals, while the talented amateurs have a number of AI powered film effects to explore.
How this all works outside of a keynote will have to wait until review units are available.
But there’s one big win already visible. As with previous Honor handsets, the Magic3 family will be available first of all in China, before moving to international markets. Which is where it gets interesting, as Honor will be shipping – once more – with Google Mobile Services and full access to the Google Play store. Recent Honor handsets were limited to the Huawei Mobile Services store because of the parent company’s inclusion on the US Entities list.
Honor, as a standalone company, is not featured on that list, and can return fully to the Android family. And its return is making a serious statement of intent.