Honor Magic

At an event in China, Huawei's sub-brand Honor unveiled its latest phone, the Honor Magic. The phone is set to go on sale in China later this week, and while it isn't slated to make its way to other markets, it comes with an all-new Honor Magic Live OS that sees the introduction of an AI service.

Before we get to the AI features, let's take a look at the hardware on offer: the Honor Magic is curved on all sides, and offers a dual-curved display up front with a 5.09-inch QHD panel. The phone is powered by Huawei's 16nm octa-core Kirin 950 SoC, 4GB of RAM, 64GB storage, 12MP dual cameras (same as the Honor 8), 8MP front shooter, Wi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 4.2, LTE, and a 2900mAh battery. Honor is introducing a new Huawei Magic Power fast charging technology that allows the phone to be charged up to 70% in just 40 minutes, or up to 40% in 10 minutes.

Honor Magic

Normally, the hardware is the most interesting part of a new phone launch, but that's ancillary on the Honor Magic. The main attraction is the company's new Honor Magic Live OS, which runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. The OS relies on several AI-driven features that enable "human-like interactions," including a recommendation service that's similar in functionality to Google Now:

  • Imagine when you are chatting about movies with your friends on Wechat, Honor Magic will then be able to recommend the latest blockbusters for you.
  • Imagine when you are on the road, Honor Magic automatically recognizes that you are driving and will prompt a reminder for you to switch the device to driving mode.
  • DeepThink – Press and hold the home button and Honor Magic will offer multi-facet information based on the current webpage you visit.
  • Once you use Honor Magic to order a cab, the driver's license plate information will be shown on the display under locked screen mode.
  • Once you arrive at the theatre, Honor Magic will automatically display the ticket booking number.
  • When you approach the parcel collection counter, Honor Magic will automatically show the tracking number.

Then there's the WiseScreen Sensor Magic sensor, which automatically switches on the screen when you pick up the phone, and turns it off when you put the phone in your pocket. FaceCode Intelligent Recognition protects your privacy by revealing message notifications only after authenticating your face.

Honor Magic

The home button doubles up as an all-in-one navigation button, allowing you to go back or access the recents pane by simply double tapping or swiping. We've seen similar functionality on Lenovo's mid-range Z2 Plus (the ZUK Z2 globally) earlier this year, and once you get the hang of it, it's a delight to use.

The Honor Magic launch comes on the heels of the rand's third-year anniversary. The phone will go on sale in China from December 16 for ¥3,699 ($535).