Honor Magic

Honor launched the sleek new Honor Magic in China just a few weeks ago, and though there are no plans for it to arrive in North America we had an opportunity to look at this really interesting phone at CES 2017.

The Magic is a completely separate device than the rest of the range of recent Honor releases, and that's immediately clear when you see it. The super-thin sculpted metal body with curved glass on both sides seems decidedly futuristic compared to its other designs. It initially gives the impression of a Galaxy S7 edge, but it's even more impressively thin and compact.

The metal along the sides of the phone is so thin it just barely gives room for the thin power and volume buttons, relegating the SIM slot to the bottom of the phone. But despite its compact size the Magic still has a headphone jack on the bottom as well. And unlike the just-released budget Honor 6X the Magic has a proper USB-C port for charging.

Perhaps more interesting is the new software design.

Just as interesting as the hardware, perhaps, is that the Honor Magic is running a different branch of software from the EMUI you find on standard Huawei and Honor phones. It's ostensibly focused on being an "artificial intelligence" software experience in that it takes in information on how you use it to customize the experience, but that doesn't really translate well in a short demo period.

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The idea is that the home screen can change dynamically in places, not unlike what other companies are already doing. The Magic also responds to sensors more intelligently, waking up and reacting when you lift up or put down the phone. Not necessarily entirely new ideas, but new for Huawei for sure.

But the real change you'll notice is that this software is much cleaner than the likes of EMUI 4.1 and even 5.0. It has a new theme to the various icons and interface elements, and is extra sleek and particularly muted compared to what we usually expect out of Huawei. The software seems very tailored to match the Magic's hardware, meaning it may not feel as integrated on any other Honor phone, but it's actually quite nice to see some new software ideas. Match that up with this really neat hardware, and Honor has a great example of what it's capable of today.