Huawei Honor Magic – Another Smartphone with an AI Assistant Built In

Huawei Honor Magic launched in China today

Google made waves with the Google Pixel featuring its artificial-intelligence-based Google Assistant, but Apple had already done that with Siri on iPhone, so it was nothing new. Yet, the concept still seems fresh as another smartphone joins their ranks today.

The Honor Magic, the end result of deep R&D by Chinese electronics major Huawei, comes with a virtual assistant that uses artificial intelligence to anticipate your needs even before you do. No voice interaction here, but it’s as smart as they get.

On the surface, the Honor Magic has nothing magical about it. It’s a high-end candy bar smartphone with a nice-looking form factor and all the typical things you might see on a premium phone. It’s a striking phone for sure, with an aluminium unibody, sloping edges and a classic minimalistic design.

Huawei Honor Magic launched in China today

Functionally speaking, the home button does more than act as a fingerprint sensor and take you back to the home page. You can use its multi-gesture functionality to go back a page within apps, touch, swipe, tap and do much more than you can with the home button on a premium Samsung smartphone or an iPhone.

The 5-inch Quad HD AMOLED touchscreen is what you’d expect from a premium phone, and the f/2.0 aperture on the 8 MP front camera is nothing to raise your eyebrows over. The 12-megapixel dual-lens sensor with a f/2.2 aperture on the rear camera is a little better, and it starts to increase your level of expectations from the phone.

But the real power and “magic” of the Huawei Honor Magic lies under the hood. The proprietary operating system called Honor Magic Live is what beats at the core of the Honor Magic. Featuring “human-like interactions”, the software is at the heart of the Magic experience.

Supporting that is another proprietary element, this time in the form of hardware represented by Kirin 950, arguably the fastest processor yet. The octa-core processor has four cores for light processing work and four more for the really intense app usages – such as AI.

The real magic of the Magic is in the way it interacts with the user through predictive behavior. Most of us know predictive behavior from simple features like auto-suggest, but the Huawei Honor Magic takes it several steps further.

It can suggest the latest blockbusters when you’re chatting about movies on an app like Hangouts, for example. If it senses that you’re in your car and moving, it’ll turn on drive mode. Long-press the home button and information about the page you’re browsing will pop up. It even shows you things like your booked Uber’s license plate number, booking codes of movie tickets, package tracking information and so on using the Smart Display even on the locked screen.

That’s not all, either. How about serving you up a flashlight shortcut button when you’re in the dark? Or turning the screen off when it knows you’re pocketing it? Or the FaceCode function that only shows you text notifications when it knows it’s you looking at the screen? And the My Pocket feature that lets you bookmark a bunch of stuff and access it later with an upward swipe from the bottom of the screen?

The specs alone may not convince you to take a serious look at this smartphone, but the capabilities far outstrip what most premium smartphones can do today. And it comes at a time when Huawei is bucking the smartphone trend by posting 40% sales growth in the first half of this year – the same period when majors like Apple saw a dip in iPhone sales growth for the first time ever.

The Huawei Honor Magic officially launches today but, unfortunately, only in China. The company is yet to announce a North America or Europe launch.

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