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Honor Magic 6 Pro Review: Reigniting My Passion for Smartphone Tech

8.5/ 10

Honor Magic 6 Pro


  • Standout design
  • Impressive cameras
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • Novelty of eye-tracking feature


  • Software updates lag behind peers
  • Display gathers dust and micro scratches
  • Not officially sold in the US

Honor may not be a global household brand like Apple or Samsung, but the Chinese company is determined to make a name for itself, and its new phone — the Magic 6 Pro — appears to be designed squarely with this in mind.

The Honor Magic 6 Pro, which made its debut at Mobile World Congress, is the world’s first phone sold outside China that carries a silicon-carbon battery, which researchers say has a lower environmental impact and risk from overheating than the lithium-ion batteries that are used in the majority of phones today.

Read more: Best Phone to Buy for 2024

What’s more, the Magic 6 Pro offers a novel way to interact with it, using an AI eye-tracking feature that allows you to open and interact with apps using your eyes. While international versions of the Honor Magic 6 Pro don’t have eye-tracking, the feature is expected to roll out in the future. In a demo video, Honor shows off the possibilities of its eye-tracking technology by remote controlling an actual car with an app on the phone using nothing but eye movements.

Apart from those innovative features, the Magic 6 Pro has many of the specs and features you’d expect from a 2024 flagship phone. I spent two weeks testing the Magic 6 Pro, and it delivers a solid Android experience packaged in a luxurious hardware design. Thanks to its sharp display, slow-draining batteries, excellent cameras, zippy processor and innovative AI-based tools, the Magic 6 Pro is already one of the most compelling Android phones of 2024

The Honor Magic 6 Pro The Honor Magic 6 Pro

Here’s the rear of the Magic 6 Pro in black.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Despite its advantages, the Magic 6 Pro isn’t perfect. Perhaps its biggest drawback is Honor’s software upgrade policy, which lags behind rivals such as Google’s Pixel 8 lineup and Samsung’s Galaxy S24 series, each offering seven years of major OS upgrades and security updates. Instead, Honor promises four years of Android updates and security patches, which is still respectable, although it’s shorter than its rivals. I also found its display collected dust, debris and even tiny scratches (remember, I’ve only used it for 14 days).

For those practical reasons, I find it hard to recommend the Magic 6 Pro over Samsung’s competing Galaxy S24 Plus or the Galaxy S24 Ultra phones. Besides if you were interested in buying this phone, the process would be less than straightforward if you live in the US. That’s because Honor currently has no plans to sell the Magic 6 Pro stateside. The company says it’ll receive a release in the UK, among other regions and countries, where the Magic 6 Pro will cost £1,100 (roughly $1,390 and AU$2,120) for the variant with 12GB RAM and 512GB of internal storage.

Read more: Life After Huawei: Honor Bids to Become ‘Iconic’ Global Phone Brand

Magic 6 Pro eye-tracking

A woman using here eyes to navigate a phone A woman using here eyes to navigate a phone

One of the Magic 6 Pro’s more exciting features uses eye-tracking to let yu control and navigate the phone.


The Magic 6 Pro runs MagicOS 8.0, which is based on Android 14. Honor is billing its latest operating system as one “that really knows you” in a nod to the availability of AI-based features. The most notable AI feature, which involves eye-tracking, is not yet available globally. The main way you can use eye-tracking is to open notifications.

CNET’s Katie Collins, who tested out the Magic 6 Pro’s eye-tracking tech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, described navigating the phone as easy, fast and responsive. Collins was even able to answer a phone call using only her eyes.

When the demo phone rang, “a direction appeared on the screen telling me to look at a specific spot at the top left corner of the screen if I wanted to answer,” Collins said in an article detailing her experience using Honor’s eye-tracking technology. “I also was able to turn off an alarm and open messages the same way — simply by directing my gaze to a specific point on the screen.”

As mind-boggling as that feature is, it wouldn’t personally factor much into my decision about whether to buy a phone or not. Kudos to Honor for serving up new ways for people to interact with their phones.

Luxury-inspired design… mostly

magic-6-pro-2-2 magic-6-pro-2-2

The Honor Magic 6 Pro comes in Epi Green or black.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

As soon as I took the Magic 6 Pro out of the box, I could tell that Honor wanted its newest phone to stand out. The model I received comes in a calming sage green color, which I think pairs well with the gold-colored finish around the camera bump and body. It has a textured rear finish as well as a cushion-shaped camera bump. Honor says it drew inspiration from jewelry and classical timepieces. The camera bump is bulky so the phone doesn’t lie completely flat on surfaces; a common issue with most smartphones nowadays. the Magic 6 Pro’s screen has subtle, curved edges.

On the front, there’s a 6.78-inch display with subtle, curved edges and 1,600 nits peak brightness, that I found was easily visible outdoors, even when sunny. Its 120Hz refresh rate makes software animations look smooth, even when switching between apps and scrolling on social media. I was surprised to see that the screen suffered visible wear and tear during my limited time with it. I popped the phone into a tote bag for a few days without a case and discovered that it easily collected dust and debris on the screen. I also found several small scratches on the phone. Honor says its Magic 6 Pro’s screen uses a nanocrystal glass.

Wonderful cameras

magic-6-pro-3056-camera-bump magic-6-pro-3056-camera-bump

The Magic 6 Pro’s cushion-shaped camera bump.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

The Magic 6 Pro’s so-called Falcon camera system has a total of four cameras. The rear camera module is headlined by a 2.5x telephoto lens with an f/2.6 aperture to let in more light. Apertures under f/2.8 are considered fast, which means the lens can let in a bunch of light for bright, crisp photos with little to no image noise.

The telephoto lens sits in front of a 108-megapixel sensor. All that resolution makes even digital zoomed-in photos look good. The Magic 6 Pro has a 2.5x optical zoom and can digitally zoom up to 100x, but after about 30x images start to look more processed.

The telephoto camera is accompanied by a 50-megapixel wide-angle camera and a 50-megapixel ultrawide camera. On the front, there’s a 50-megapixel camera. Take a look below to see the cameras in action.

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Hong Kong skyscrapers by day. Taken with the Magic 6 Pro’s main camera.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

I love how the image above turned out. You can even see the reflection of the opposite building in the glass, but it appears artificially sharpened in the image.

The image below was taken on default settings on a bright and sunny day in Hong Kong. The Magic 6 Pro amps up the blueness of the skies and seas. I personally like it.

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A photo of Hong Kong’s harbor from the main camera.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

Below are a series of photos I took to show off the Magic 6 Pro’s zoom range. The first image was taken with the 0.5x ultrawide camera and the second with the telephoto camera at 5x digital zoom.

ocean view in hong kong western district ocean view in hong kong western district

This was taken with the ultrawide camera. I’ll be zooming into the ship to show you the Magic 6 Pro’s zoom capabilities.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

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Standing in the same spot, I took this photo with 5x digital zoom.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

Let’s take things to the extreme. Below is a photo I shot at 100x digital zoom. I’m amazed you can see a semblance of the ship’s front. I couldn’t see much with my naked eye except for a tiny silhouette of the ship. As you can expect, the image is blurry, but it gives you a rough idea of the subject.

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And here’s a photo taken at 100x zoom, the Magic 6 Pro’s max magnification.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

Now let’s zoom in on something that’s physically nearby (and more adorable). The photo below of my dog Rocky shows off the Magic 6 Pro’s telephoto capabilities. This is a sharp image taken in a well-lit room. Notice the strands of fur and detail captured.

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I took this image of Rocky with the Magic 6 Pro 2.5x telephoto camera.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

Portrait mode was one of my favorite features to use on the Magic 6 Pro. It’s easy to take beautiful portrait phones. I love the natural-looking bokeh in the background and the sharp foreground. 

mixed breed dog relaxing on carpet mixed breed dog relaxing on carpet

Here’s another photo of Rocky taken in portrait mode. 

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

In my time using the Magic 6 Pro, it sometimes struggled with edge detection. Take a look at the images below of the heart-shaped balloon to see what I mean. The first was taken in portrait mode. Notice how it separates the balloon from the background. You can tell that the Magic 6 Pro struggles with “cutting out” the balloon and its string. 

Love you balloon Love you balloon

Here’s another portrait mode snap, but notice the way it “cuts out” the balloon from the background.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

Below is another photo of the same balloon taken with portrait mode disabled. You can clearly see the balloon’s string and the background in this image, which was taken on default settings. The camera took a true-to-life shot of the balloon despite light pouring into the window.

love you balloon in another angle love you balloon in another angle

The same balloon image taken without portrait mode.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

hong kong by night hong kong by night

This photo was taken with the ultrawide camera in night mode.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

hong kong by night hong kong by night

Here’s the same scene captured with the ultrawide camera but without night mode.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

close up of buildings at night close up of buildings at night

And here’s the same evening scene captured at 5x digital zoom.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

The Magic 6 Pro cameras are solid. Images in most lighting situations look color-accurate, crisp and visually appealing. Since the portrait lens has 108 megapixels to play with, the zoom was also another stellar feature on this phone. I could take all sorts of images, digitally zoom into them and the photos still look sharp. I can’t wait to take this phone to a tennis match and try to take some action shots.  

If I had to nitpick, the camera tends to make skies and water look bluer than they actually were in real life. The selfie camera also tended to lighten my skin, making my complexion appear fairer than I am in real life. I prefer a camera that captures true-to-life images of myself as well as the people in my life, but this was by no means a dealbreaker.

Sometimes portrait mode struggled with edge detection too, but again it was a nonissue for me since it was usually an easy fix of just moving the camera slightly. Overall, it was a breeze to take beautiful portrait shots with a natural bokeh effect in the background yet retain a crisp foreground. The Magic 6 Pro probably has one of my favorite portrait cameras.

Silicon carbon battery

This year’s Magic 6 Pro has a large 5,600-mAh silicon-carbon battery. In my experience, the battery lasted throughout the day after moderate use. That includes quick phone calls, social media scrolling, reading emails, watching YouTube videos and listening to music. 

I also ran a 45-minute battery drain test, in which I hopped on a Zoom call, scrolled through social media and played a graphic-intensive mobile game. In that time, the battery dropped by 8%. This result keeps up with gaming phones such as the Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro, which also dropped 8% in the same test, and falls just shy of the Google Pixel 8 Pro which dropped 7%. Both of those phones use a lithium-ion battery.

The use of silicon-carbon batteries in mobile phones is an emerging trend that’s drawn attention due to its potential advantages over lithium-ion batteries. Those benefits include a lower environmental impact and reduced risk of overheating. The long-term reliability of silicon carbon batteries is still being researched, and adoption in the smartphone industry is still in its early stages.

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A welcome screen greets you the first time you open the camera app.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

Impressive performance

The Magic 6 Pro runs on Qualcomm’s top-of-the-line Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, which in my experience, could handle virtually everything I threw at it. As an example, I played graphic-intensive games such as Genshin Impact, ran Zoom video calls and switched screens between a Zoom call and my email without any stutters or freezes.

In benchmark testing, the Magic 6 Pro lagged behind its rivals in the Geekbench 6 processor tests, but did better than the competition (even the ROG Phone 8 Pro) in the 3D Mark, a test that measures graphic and gaming performance.

Geekbench v.6.0

Honor Magic 6 Pro 1,365 5,382Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra 2,202 6,721Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro 2,252 6,946Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus 2,247 6,815

Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Wild Life Extreme

Phone Score Frames per second
Honor Magic 6 Pro 5,234 31.34 fps
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra 4,415 26.4 fps
Asus ROG Phone 8 Pro 5,195 31.09 fps
Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus 4,808 28.79 fps

Apart from offering improved performance, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip allows Magic 6 owners to tap into generative AI features wherever they are, even offline. 

Watch this: Best of MWC 2024: Bendable Screens, AI Wearables and More

Overall thoughts

The Magic 6 Pro is among the most compelling Android flagships available this year. It has excellent cameras, a sharp display, and great battery life coupled with fast charging. On the other hand, it’s held back by the software upgrade policy, and I am concerned about wear and tear on the display. That said, the Magic 6 Pro has helped reinvigorate my enthusiasm around phones through its futuristic features such as eye-tracking. 

Honor Magic 6 Pro specs vs. OnePlus 12, Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Honor Magic 6 Pro OnePlus 12 Samsung Galaxy S24 Plus Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Display size, tech, resolution, refresh rate 6.8-inch LTPO; 2,800×1,280 pixels 6.82-inch AMOLED; 3,168×1,440 pixels; 1-120Hz adaptive refresh rate 6.7-inch AMOLED; 3,120×1,440 pixels; 1-120Hz adaptive refresh rate 6.8-inch AMOLED; 3,120×1,440 pixels; 1-120Hz adaptive refresh rate
Pixel density 453 ppi 510 ppi 509 ppi 501 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 6.4 in x 2.98 x 0.35 in 6.5 x 3 x 0.36 in. 6.24 x 3 x 0.3 in. 6.40 x 3.11 x 0.34 in.
Dimensions (millimeters) 162.5 x 75.8 x 8.9 mm 164.3 x 76 x 9.2 mm 158 x 76 x 7.6 mm 163 x 79 x 8.6 mm
Weight (grams, ounces) 225 g (7.94 oz.) 220 g (7.8 oz.) 197 g (6.95 oz.) 233 g (8.22 oz.)
Mobile software Android 14 Android 14 Android 14 Android 14
Camera 50-megapixel (wide), 50-megapixel (ultrawide), 108-megapixel (telephoto) 50-megapixel (wide), 48-megapixel (ultrawide), 64-megapixel (3x telephoto) 50-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 10-megapixel (telephoto) 200-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 10-megapixel (3x telephoto), 50-megapixel (5x telephoto)
Front-facing camera 50-megapixel 32-megapixel 12-megapixel 12-megapixel
Video capture 4K 8K 8K 8K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
RAM/storage 12GB + 512GB 12GB RAM + 256GB; 16GB RAM + 512GB 12GB RAM + 256GB, 512GB 12GB RAM + 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Expandable storage None None None None
Battery 5,600 mAh 5,400 mAh (dual 2,700 mAh) 4,900 mAh 5,000 mAh
Fingerprint sensor Under display Under display Under display Under display
Headphone jack None None None None
Special features Eye tracking controls, 5,000-nit peak HDR brightness, IP68 rating, 4 years of Android OS updates, LTPO screen, 80W wired charging support, 66W wireless charging support, 2.x optical zoom, 100x digital zoom 4,500-nit peak brightness; 4 years of software and 5 years of security updates; 80W wired charging (100W wired charging outside US); IP65 water and dust resistance; 50W wireless charging with fan dock; Wi-Fi 7; Gorilla Glass Victus 2 cover glass; Gorilla Glass 5 back glass 2,600-nit peak brightness; 7 years of OS and security updates; 5G (mmWave); IP68 water and dust resistance; wireless PowerShare to charge other devices; 45W wired charging (charger not included); Galaxy AI; Wi-Fi 6E Titanium frame, 2,600-nit peak brightness; 7 years of OS and security updates; 5G (mmWave); IP68 water and dust resistance; wireless PowerShare to charge other devices; integrated S Pen; UWB for finding other devices; 45W wired charging (charger not included); Galaxy AI; Wi-Fi 7; Gorilla Glass Armor cover glass
US price starts at Converts to $1,390 (512GB) $800 (256GB) $1,000 (256GB) $1,300 (256GB)
UK price starts at £1,100 (512GB) £849 (256GB) £999 (256GB) £1,249 (256GB)
Australia price starts at Converts to AU$2,120 (512GB) Converts to AU$1,640 (256GB) AU$1,699 (256GB) AU$2,199 (256GB)

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