The Honor Magic 4 Pro sees the former budget sub-brand emerge from second-tier status and present a true flagship competitor.
What better way to gauge its likely success than by comparing it to the current big daddy of the scene, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra?
Here’s how the device compares to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, which we called “a big expensive and generally excellent Android phone” in our 9 out of 10 review.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra price and availability vs. Honor Magic 4 Pro
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra hit stores on February 25, 2022. Pricing starts from $1,199.99 / £1,149 / AU$1,849 for the 8GB RAM / 128GB model, rising to 1,299 $.99 / £1,249 / AU$1,999 for 12GB / 256GB, then $1,399.99 / £1,329 / AU$2,149 for 12GB / 512GB, and capping out at $1,599.99 / £1,499 / AU$2,449 for the 12GB / 1TB top dog.
The Honor Magic 4 Pro will be announced globally on May 12, 2022. We’re not sure when we’ll be able to buy the phone, but we do know that prices will start from $899, which equates to around £1,200. / AU$1,650.
Design of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra against the Honor Magic 4 Pro
Our reviewer called the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra “an undeniably gorgeous device”, and it’s not hard to see why. With a solid Armor aluminum frame, this is a much more industrial (and pleasing) device than other recent Galaxy S phones.
It’s quite square, with flat top and bottom edges and slightly curved sides. That’s quite a contrast to the Honor Magic 4 Pro, which adopts a much more curved design language. It felt decidedly premium in our own hands, especially with its curved screen and similarly curved glass rear sandwiching a polished metal frame.
Both of these phones are quite large, the Samsung is 163 x 77.9 x 8.9mm and the Honor is 163.6 x 74.7 x 9.1mm. They’re also heavy, with the Samsung considering the scales at 229g and the Honor weighing in at 215g.
In terms of color options, the Galaxy S22 Ultra offers a choice of Phantom Black, Phantom White, Burgundy, Green, Graphite, Sky Blue, and Red. The Honor Magic 4 Pro will be available in black, cyan or white and orange.
There’s also a pronounced difference in the rear design of these two handsets. The Galaxy S22 Ultra has a relatively flat, no-frills rear, with barely a bulge for the camera system. Honor goes for a much more extravagant approach, with an exaggerated circular camera module holding back its various sensors.
The difference is similar on the front, with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra having a compact notch and the Honor Magic 4 Pro having an elongated diamond.
That’s because Honor has implemented a secure facial recognition system, while Samsung relies entirely on its ultrasonic fingerprint sensor.
Incidentally, Honor also offers an ultrasonic fingerprint option, giving it more biometric flexibility.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra screen against Honor Magic 4 Pro
These appear to be two fairly equal screens, although we might say the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has the slight edge.
Both screens are 6.8-inch AMOLEDs with 120Hz refresh rates. Thanks to LTPO panel technology, both can go down to 1Hz when needed, making them nice and efficient.
The Samsung scores a quick win here, with a higher resolution of 3200 x 1440 (QHD+). The Honor screen “only” reaches 2848 x 1312, although we suspect (judging from our experience with the similar iPhone 13 Pro Max) that you won’t notice the difference in most scenarios.
There is a larger possible difference when it comes to maximum brightness. While the Honor can reach 1,000 nits, Samsung’s phone can reach 1,750 nits.
On the other hand, Honor has increased the flicker rate of its display to 1,920Hz, which should make it much smoother and more attractive in those low-light scenarios.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra camera vs. Honor Magic 4 Pro
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra packs an extremely impressive quad-camera setup, led by a huge 108-megapixel wide sensor and backed by a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera and a pair of 10-megapixel cameras. It also has a dedicated Laser Auto Focus sensor.
In the opposite corner, the Honor Magic 4 Pro offers a triple camera system with a 50-megapixel wide sensor, a 50-megapixel ultra-wide and a 64-megapixel periscope telephoto lens. There’s also a 3D Time of Flight (ToF) depth sensor.
Samsung has been the zoom king for the past few years, but Huawei used to give it its money’s worth in the periscope lens stakes. Now it looks like Honor will take on that role.
Still, with one of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 10-megapixel telephoto lenses extending to an impressive 10x zoom, it would seem to have the edge. The honor telephoto only reaches 3.5x.
Indeed, our reviewer said the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s magnified shots “simply blast everything we’ve never seen before from a cell phone camera.” Good luck with that, Honor.
With the wide sensor, Samsung uses a non-binning technique that takes nine pixels of information and combines them for better color and contrast. The result: “Virtually every image we took looked great, although we detected a hint of oversaturation.”
Honor might get bragging rights if he can create more balanced and natural shots, then. To that end, Honor is focusing on its phone’s enhanced AI algorithms, with the claim of enhanced HDR shots.
Also honor some video advancements with the Magic 4 Pro. It features the industry’s first Log 4K 10-bit video recording at 60 fps and a Magic-Log Pro mode that also retains original detail and dynamic range information.
However, it can’t hit 8K footage like the Samsung – although who watches it or really needs it?
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra performance and specs vs Honor Magic 4 Pro
These appear to be equally powerful phones, although the Honor Magic 4 Pro seems to have a slight advantage.
Both feature the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip; however, Samsung only equips some of its phones with it. If you’re in the US, you allow the Snapdragon, while customers in Europe and Australia allow the Exynos 2200.
This latest in-house chip isn’t a million miles from the Snapdragon, but tests show it’s not nearly as powerful. Not that you probably notice during regular use.
We reviewed the Snapdragon model, but we also spent a lot of time with the UK Exynos 2200 model. Sure enough, the latter doesn’t quite match its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 rivals in terms of benchmarks, although it feels always nice and quick.
Both phones offer 8GB or 12GB of RAM, but the Samsung offers more storage options. You get four in total: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB or 1TB. Honor, on the other hand, only offers two choices: 256 or 512GB.
Another hardware spec worth noting is the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s S Pen. It comes with the phone for the first time (it’s basically a Galaxy Note), housed in a special slot on the underside. Note that everyone will want to use it, but if you’ve forced yourself to physically scribble notes or sketch, it’s the best system of its kind on a phone.
Both companies give you pretty hefty custom UIs based on Android 12. With Samsung it’s One UI 4.1, while Honor uses Magic UI 6. We described One UI 4.1 as “pretty good” in our review, while let the jury rest on Magic UI. 6.
A chosen one is sure: both companies love their additional applications, and neither hesitates to duplicate what is offered by Google. The key word here is “busy” – but we’ll hold our final judgment on the Honor software offering for now.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra battery life vs Honor Magic 4 Pro
Samsung has equipped its latest flagship phone with a 5000mAh battery, which is much larger than the 4600mAh cell in the Honor Magic 4 Pro.
In our tests, the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s battery was good for a full day of varied activities, which was rather disappointing.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Honor fares with its smaller battery; but, remember, there is also less sharp display to be done.
In terms of recharge, honor seems to have a clear advantage. It packs an impressive 100W charger in the box, which is good for 0-50% in just 15 minutes.
Samsung supports slower 45W charging in the Galaxy S22 Ultra, and that doesn’t even give you the brick.
Honor also supports 100W wireless charging over Samsung’s 15W. It’s not a particularly impressive sight, all things considered.
The Honor Magic 4 Pro has it all to revamp the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, which we rated as one of the best phones of 2022 so far.
However, the Honor flagship has a lot going for it. It’ll be a bit cheaper than the Samsung, more than competitive in terms of power and design, and we’ll also deliver a solid camera experience.
The Samsung being a known (and excellent) quantity, it should be given the advantage. But there’s a big Huawei-shaped hole in the market that Honor seems well equipped to walk around in.