We have seen many interesting smartphones released as of late. From the surge in popularity of dual-camera sensors to a bezel-less smartphone, there’s no shortage of unique devices in the market. One such smartphone is the honor Magic, which has some neat AI-driven features to set it apart from its competition.
At CES 2017, we managed to spend some time with honor’s latest – and arguably smartest – device to date. Although the Magic remains exclusive to China, it’s definitely a smartphone to look out for.
First, specifications: the Magic packs a 5.09-inch 1440p AMOLED display, a Kirin 950 processor paired with 4GB of RAM, 64GB of non-expandable storage, a 2,900mAh battery, as well as a 12MP dual-camera system with phase detection autofocus. Interestingly, the Magic also comes with its own Magic Live UI, which differs quite a bit from honor and Huawei’s EMUI.
In many ways, Magic Live UI feels and looks a lot like iOS. The notification panel is similar to the one found on iPhones, and swiping up from the bottom of the screen reveals iOS-like shortcuts. The honor Magic also foregoes Android’s signature navigation buttons: this phone relies only on the fingerprint sensor for navigation.
A single press of the home button brings up the home screen, while swiping to the left or right on the fingerprint sensor goes back to the previous screen. Double tapping on the sensor, on the other hand, summons the recent apps page. It does take some time to get used to these gestures – and it occasionally doesn’t recognise a swiping motion – but it’s an interesting navigation method nonetheless.
Aside from that, it is the honor Magic’s AI-driven features that are the highlights of this device. One of these features is “FaceCode Intelligent Recognition,” which only shows the owner of the device – or pre-registered faces – any incoming notifications. If someone else is looking at the device, the Magic won’t show these notifications.
Of course, that’s not the only smart feature of the honor Magic; honor gave us several scenarios where the Magic can show off its AI features. For example, if the Magic detects that you’re in your car, it will automatically notify you to switch on Driving Mode. The Magic can also detect if you’re in a cinema for a movie: it’ll display the booking number for that particular screening.
All of these AI-driven features really focuses on the “magic” aspect of the honor Magic: it’s as if relevant information will magically appear as and when you need them. If these AI features do work as honor envisions it to, the honor Magic is definitely one of the most interesting devices to hit the market.
Other aspects of the honor Magic are what one would expect from a flagship smartphone. Its 1440p AMOLED display is bright and vibrant, and its 12MP dual-camera setup seems pretty capable too. The Magic’s unique curved chassis also makes for a comfortable – and unique – device to hold; I personally like how the display and back panel tapers to the metal frame.
honor has really made a name for itself in the past few years, and the honor Magic is a testament to that. While the Magic isn’t expected to be made available anywhere outside of China for now, a honor representative mentioned that the second iteration of the Magic may just be a global device. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before this happens.