HONOR Magic4 Pro HONOR Magic4 Pro

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Bringing back HONOR with Magic

Part review, part musings on the HONOR Magic4 Pro

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In a recent media briefing, HONOR told GadgetMatch that it’s only been about a year and a half since they split with Huawei. This was in response to our question asking why, despite the split, the Huawei DNA is still all over HONOR’s. 

It’s a fair answer to a fair question. 

It doesn’t take a genius to see the traces. After all, they used to be firmly tied together. They first came back with a solid but middling offering with the Honor 50. 

A few months ago, they came out with a set of devices headlined by the HONOR Magic4 Pro. Which, if nothing else, looks like a Huawei Mate deadringer. 

But as HONOR mentioned, it does take a while to completely develop a new, separate identity. Which, to their credit, they may slowly be on their way to. 

But before we look forward, let’s look at where they are at. Specifically, their current flagship – the HONOR Magic4 Pro.

HONOR Magic4 Pro 

I have lived with the device for a few months now. It’s taken the place of my primary Android phone for a better part of the year, taking turns with the OPPO Find X3 Pro and whatever other phone I need to produce content on. 

Dated look?

The variant I have comes in this silver-bluish colorway. It’s glossy, slippery, and a bit of a fingerprint and smudge magnet. It would have benefitted from a really nice case. Instead, you get a negligible jelly case that comes in the box. I really think brands can do better than jelly cases. But that’s a topic for another day. 

HONOR Magic4 Pro

IM NAYEON, do you wanna be my lover?

It has a beautiful display that curves to the edges. It had palm rejection problems early on. But it was immediately addressed via a software update. It works perfectly with my chubby hands now. 

HONOR Magic4 Pro

All the relevant buttons (power, volume) are on the right side.

HONOR Magic4 Pro

And at the bottom, there’s the SIM card tray (Dual NANO SIM), USB-C port, and speaker grille.

At the back you see the circular camera module which is the most HUAWEI Mate thing ever. 

Overall, it’s… an okay design. It looks good but definitely has some drawbacks that have since been addressed by other phone makers. 

Beautiful photos

HONOR Magic4 Pro

Going back to that camera module. Here’s what’s on it: 

  • 50MP f/1.8 wide camera
  • 50MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera 
  • 64MP f/3.5 periscope telephoto lens 

Up front, you have a wide camera with 100-degree FOV and a 3D Depth Camera. 

I didn’t really have that many interesting things to take photos of during my time with the HONOR Magic4 Pro. Just a brief trip to New York and some outtakes of shooting a video with the team. 

I personally think the photos are fantastic. It’s easily the best thing about this smartphone. Here’s a quick look at the samples. 

New York trip 

The Vessel

The Vessel in ultra wide

Rockefeller Center

New York steak 😋

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Shooting outtakes

HONOR Magic4 Pro HONOR Magic4 Pro

HONOR Magic4 Pro

HONOR Magic4 Pro

Food

Magic UI needs more magic

HONOR Magic4 Pro

I have little qualms about the performance. It is, after all, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. And it’s accompanied by 8GB of RAM with 256GB of internal storage. 

But I really like that hardware was held back by a less than stellar Android skin. Currently running Magic UI 6, it just feels like EMUI with a different name. 

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but EMUI has always felt like an Android skin that exists in an alternate universe. Like something about just feels a little off. And I feel the same way about Magic UI. 

It just doesn’t feel as smooth and snappy as the Samsung Galaxy S22+ I used months ago. I also encountered a few Wi-FI issues when it goes on standby mode for an extended period of time. Although, like the palm rejection issue, this has been addressed after some software updates. 

Thankfully, HONOR said it is making improvements to Magic UI. If they really want to set themselves apart from Huawei, the UI is a good place to start. 

HONOR Ecosystem 

HONOR Magic4 Pro

Along with the HONOR Magic4 Pro, the company also launched a few accessories to go along with it. These are the HONOR SuperCharge Wireless Stand (Max 100W), the HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro, and the HONOR Watch GS 3. 

That last one we haven’t gotten around to using as much, but we’ll get there… eventually. But quickly shifting back to the other two, they are great accessories to have. 

Honor SuperCharge Wireless Stand

My personal favorite is the HONOR SuperCharge Wireless Stand. Wireless charging is great and is a feature I now look for in any smartphone that dares to attach the word ‘flagship’ to itself. 

It’s actually the fastest charger I have in my collection of devices – wired charging included. It’s so fast that it takes longer for me to prepare lunch than for it to fully charge phones that support wireless charging. 

Thankfully it’s the type that doesn’t overcharge your phone. Because more often than not, what happens is I leave the phone docked and get lost either in my work in a YouTube blackhole completely forgetting that I’m charging the phone. 

HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro

HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro

HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro

The HONOR Earbuds 3 Pro reminds me of the Airpods Pro and the HUAWEI Freebuds Pro. One for the looks, the other for the performance. 

Really, the only thing I didn’t like about this is that it’s too much of a deadringer of the Airpods Pro. That gives off a cheap knockoff vibe. 

But there’s nothing cheap about its performance. The sound produced is clean and crisp, the noise cancellation is superb, and the voice pickup for calls is fantastic for its size. 

HONOR also sent us the Watch GS 3 but I didn’t really get to use it as much so here’s a photo instead. 

HONOR Watch GS 3

HONOR Watch GS 3

Overall, that’s a nice portfolio of devices as they try to regain relevance in the incredibly competitive consumer tech market. 

IFA 2022 

The company is also set to unveil a new set of devices during IFA 2022. They need a strong showing on a tentpole event to continue occupying space in the general public’s consciousness. 

Can HONOR have your GadgetMatch?

The answer is ‘never say never.’ HONOR is facing a tough uphill battle. But if they continue to hit the market with quality hardware and develop software to set them apart from HUAWEI, they are well on their way. 

The HONOR Magic4 Pro and its accompanying devices are just tiny steps forward in what is an early phase to complete independence. As they are now, these are devices worthy of your attention. Do they have traces of Huawei? Yes. But HONOR is on the rebounds following an untimely split. And we’re looking forward to what the future holds for the company. 

Unboxing

Hermès Apple Watch Series 8: Unboxing and Full Set-Up

What makes it different from the regular Apple Watch though?

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If you’ve been fond of GadgetMatch for quite a while now, you would know that Michael Josh is a big Apple Watch user.

From having to experience several Watch Series up until the Watch Ultra, to having various bands, he now has the most expensive Apple Watch in the Series 8 lineup in his hands.

In this video, he unboxes the most expensive Apple Watch ever — the Hermès Apple Watch Series 8.

To give you the full experience, he’ll also dive into the nitty-gritty of what makes it different and more special than the regular Watch Series 8.

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Camera Shootouts

vivo V25 vs V23 5G: Camera Shootout

Are there even significant improvements?

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vivo V25

It hasn’t even been a year but vivo has already revealed the successor to the V23 5G that was launched earlier this 2022. But is it actually worth upgrading to the new vivo V25? Or should you save yourself some money and buy the older V23 5G instead?

vivo V25

Don’t let that new camera bump with bigger circular cutouts on the vivo V25 fool you. On paper, the cameras are close to one another but the V25 has the advantage of having a slightly wider aperture and OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) that the V23 5G doesn’t have.

vivo V25 vivo V23 5G
Wide 64MP f/1.79
PDAF, OIS + EIS
64MP f/1.89
PDAF, EIS
Ultra-WIde 8MP 120º f/2.2
Macro 2MP f/2.4
Selfie 50MP f/2.0 wide

 

50MP f/2.0 wide
8MP f/2.28 ultra-wide
+ Dual-tone Spotlight

The sad news though is that, vivo has decided to remove the extra ultra-wide selfie camera and dual flash system on the new V25.

vivo V23 with the Dual-tone Spotlight Flash feature

But how do these phones perform side-by-side knowing the new V25 also has a slightly less-powerful MediaTek Dimensity 900 chipset over V23 5G’s Dimensity 920? Are there enough convincing differences or is the older model actually better? Feed yourself some photo sample comparisons below.

Daylight

In any given circumstance, a valuable Android midranger should take at least a decent photo with natural light around — thus me taking lesser photos to compare.
Still, your judgment matters.

#1A (Ultra-wide)

vivo V25

#1B (Wide)

vivo V25

#2

#3A (Wide)

#3B (Zoom)

Food

Taking food shots (mostly with indoor lighting) is a better way to test which phone camera is capable of producing the better image output with the right amount of highlights, shadows, contrast, sharpness, temperature, as well as Dynamic Range.

#4

#5

#6

#7

#8

#9

#10

#11

*Left photo was taken multiple times with the focus tapped on the baked roll. Lens coating was also cleaned several times but still resulted to the same output.

#12

Night Mode

Low-light photos can either make or break the capabilities of a smartphone’s camera.
While it’s a mixed bag of outputs, it still depends on the user if Night Mode photos are important in a midranger or not.

#13A (Wide)

#13B (Ultra-wide)

#14

#15

#16

#17

#18

vivo V25

#19

vivo V25

#20

vivo V25

BONUS: Low-Light Selfie

For users who love taking selfies even in the dark, both phones can take fill-in flash (using the display) to brighten up your faces.

Without Flash

vivo V25

However, the ultra-wide selfie and Dual-tone Spotlight feature were removed completely from the vivo V25. You just have to guess and pick which is which.

With Flash (Aura Fill, Dual-Tone Dual Spotlight Flash)

vivo V25

Results

No more confusions, the results are consistent all throughout the board:

Photo A — vivo V23 5G

Photo B — vivo V25

Conclusion

vivo V25

While it’s barely a big camera quality improvement, the vivo V25 has rendered some of the scenes quite well such as in Photos 1A, 11, and 12 which the V23 5G failed to display at least an acceptable output. Other times, the vivo V23 5G delivered better results like in Photos 1B, 2, 3A, 4, and 13A. Those images delivered overall better photos with a sufficient amount of HDR (High Dynamic Range) and AWB (Auto White Balance).

Overall, the V25 produced better images with decent amount of highlights, shadows, contrast, sharpness. The newer model also has some slight edge on focusing and making shots brighter and more stable at night.

vivo V25

While only two selfies were provided, the V23 5G obviously has the edge — especially with its extra selfie lens and dual-flash feature.

vivo V25

If you’re coming from the V23 5G, you don’t need to upgrade to the vivo V25. Period. But, if you’re looking for a phone to replace your old vivo smartphone (or pretty much any old budget phone or midranger for that matter), buying the V25 won’t hurt.

vivo V25

Unless you’re looking for a used unit, a brand new vivo V23 5G is being sold at PhP 27,999. Whereas, a brand new V25 retails at a cheaper PhP 23,999 price tag.

vivo V25

Imho, choosing the V23 5G over the V25 is advantageous for some reasons: a more premium-looking design with metallic sides, slightly faster chipset, and the extra selfie camera.

vivo V25

But realizing how more capable the cameras of the V25 are, you can also choose it for its bigger battery and brighter display. Also, the OIS feature is very handy if you love taking photos in action or at night or just record stable-free videos without worrying about warping and jitters. At the end of the day, you should know what you value the most in buying a new smartphone.

SEE ALSO:

vivo V25 is a Night Portrait Master

Taking photos to the next level with the vivo V23 5G

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Camera Shootouts

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs 13 Pro Max vs S22 Ultra: Camera Shootout

A Very Different Camera Test

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The iPhone 14 Pro Max finally has an upgraded camera system — highlighted by its 48MP main camera sensor.

But does it really take better photos vs the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra?

Find out in our photo-walk style camera shootout with the pro-photographer and Apple’s #ShotoniPhone Macro Challenge Global Winner Tom Reeves.

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