Honor has a history of delivering affordable phones, largely thanks to its supply line from parent company Huawei. In the Magic 2, however, Honor is peacocking; showing-off its high-end prowess in a slider phone form that, in many respects, makes it a flagship phone with no compare.
Component wise a lot will sound familiar: there's the 6.39-inch AMOLED screen, in-screen fingerprint scanner and EMUI 9 software, as found in the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. But in the Magic 2 there's no notch: instead the slider phone design makes for an almost bezel-free display, while its trio of front-facing cameras is revealed by sliding the screen section apart from the rear.
As we pointed out at the launch of the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, it seems to be the year of the slider phone, with the scene set for 2019 and the backlash against the sometimes maligned notch. With the Honor Magic 2's display uninterrupted, it has wider appeal beyond its Huawei Mate 20 Pro cousin and stands-out against the popular Pixel 3 XL and iPhone XS Max devices of today.
The Magic 2 doesn't stop there either, with a full roster of flagship features. From the top-end Kirin 980 chipset, its artificial intelligence engine and dual neural processing units, to 40W fast-charging. However, the 3400mAh battery and lack of Qi wireless charging see it a step behind some of its competition.
A big part of the slider phone design setup is to make the most of cameras without compromising the flow of the display. And Honor has gone to town with those cameras: there are two 16MP and one 24MP units on the front which can be used for applying bokeh background blur and 3D lighting effects - something uncommon in selfie cameras of the moment.
The rear camera trio isn't quite as feature-packed as the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, but Honor's selection of a 16MP ultra-wide lens, along with 16MP wide-angle and 24MP monochrome does combine some of the best elements we've seen in Huawei's camera setup in recent years. There's no mention of Leica here, however, with Honor not pulling on such niceties for the sake of cost.
Which is where the Honor really wins: with the China launch revealing its ¥3799 asking price – the equivalent of around £425 / €480 / $550 – this is one flagship with a foot in the future that proves you don't have to pay through the nose for forward-thinking ideas. That's for the 6GB RAM and 128GB storage mode (the 8GB+128GB is ¥4299, the 8GB+256GB is ¥4799, the 8GB+512GB is ¥5799).
Now we'll just have to wait and see if Honor will be brave enough to bring the Magic 2 to the UK at an equally appealing price point…
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