Honor announced its tantalizing sequel to the Honor Magic, the Honor Magic 2, at the end of October 2018. Now, the company has launched a revised version of the phone with a selection of specification updates. The Honor Magic 2 was first shown during Honor’s presentation at IFA 2018, where it launched the Honor Play.
Here’s what you need to know about the Honor Magic 2
Honor Magic 2 3D launched
Honor has taken the unusual step of releasing a slightly updated version of the Honor Magic 2, just a few months into the device’s life. Called the Magic 2 3D, the main new feature is a 3D sensor set alongside the 16-megapixel and dual 2-megapixel front cameras, which are hidden away in the slider section. The 3D sensor views 10,000 structural points and will be used for secure face unlocking for use with payment systems, which Honor says will even work in the dark. Honor uses a 3D sensor on the View 20, but on the back of the phone. Huawei has secure face unlocking on the Mate 20 Pro.
The Magic 2 3D will only be available with one configuration — a new version with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage space. The other specifications are the same as the Magic 2 currently on sale, meaning a 6.4-inch screen, the Kirin 980 processor, triple-lens rear camera, and an in-display fingerprint sensor. The Magic 2 3D is only sold in China where it costs the equivalent of around $860.
We’ll start with the bad news. The Honor Magic 2 will only be released in China, just like the original Honor Magic. The reason is likely the same as the first phone, that it’s costly and time-consuming to further localize the Magic’s in-depth artificial intelligence features and forge new partnerships with apps and services outside China.
There are three different Magic 2 versions for sale, a 6GB/128GB mode, an 8GB/128GB version, and an 8GB/256GB version. They cost the local equivalent of $545, $615, and $690 respectively. The Magic 2 3D costs around $860 and was made available in March 2019.
Design and display
The original Honor Magic was a design triumph at the time, so what about the Magic 2? Interestingly, the back of the Magic 2 looks almost exactly like the Huawei P20 Pro, complete with three camera lenses. Both a blue and a red version have been made, complete with beautiful color-changing gradients, along with a more traditional black model. The back of the phone has a gentle curve, much like the original phone, and a special nano-coating makes the color transitions possible.
The Magic 2’s big design feature, however, is a pop-up camera, which closely resembles the Oppo Find X and the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3. It’s not clear which company got to this design first, although Oppo is first to get its version on sale. Unlike the Find X, the Honor Magic 2 will only show the front-facing camera when it pops up from the frame. Using five different tracks, the butterfly mechanism manually “clicks” into place to show the camera lens, and avoids the use of a notch on the 6.4-inch, 2340 x 1080-pixel AMOLED screen.
Cameras and security
There are six camera lenses in total on the Honor Magic 2. The front camera array is made up of a 16-megapixel main sensor, and then two 2-megapixel sensors, while the rear camera has a 16-megapixel RGB sensor, a 16-megapixel wide-angle lens, and a 24-megapixel monochrome lens. The rear camera uses artificial intelligence for scene recognition, and includes the artificial image stabilization (AIS) technology we’ve seen on Huawei phones including the P20 Pro.
The front camera also uses AI for improved portrait shots, plus portrait lighting effects. The camera array also adds 3D depth sensing and infrared sensors for a secure face unlock feature, even in low light. The Magic 2 3D swaps this for a 3D structured light sensor that securely unlocks the phone, even in the dark. That’s not the only security feature, as the Honor Magic 2 has an in-display fingerprint sensor too, with what Honor says is a large 30mm sensing area, making it easier to unlock the phone with one touch.
Honor has installed Android 9.0 Pie with its own Magic UI 2.0 over the top. This is almost identical to Huawei’s EMUI 9.0. Because the Magic 2 is destined only for China, it has Honor’s own virtual assistant called Yoyo onboard. The first Honor Magic wowed us at CES 2017 with its amazing range of A.I.-powered skills, including smart facial recognition and recommendations based on your usage.
The Honor Magic 2 uses the Kirin 980 and its dual-NPU A.I. processor, which is the successor to the exceptionally powerful A.I.-driven Kirin 970, and is also found inside the Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro. An option of either 6GB or 8GB of RAM is offered, along with storage space of either 128GB or 256GB. The Magic 2 3D comes with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage space.
It’s a heavy phone at 206 grams, and relatively thick at 8.3mm — surprising given the battery has a capacity of 3,400mAh. It does come with Honor’s 40w Magic Charge technology, where 15 minutes plugged in will take the battery to 50 percent capacity, and 85 percent in 30 minutes. This is the same as we’ve seen in the Mate 20 Pro. There is no headphone jack.
Updated on March 7, 2019: Added news of the Magic 2 3D phone.