Two minute review
The Honor Magic 4 Lite looks impressive. With a large 6.81-inch screen, it borders on a (roughly) pocket-sized tablet. The sleek black exterior may be plastic-like, but it feels good in your hands, giving the impression that it’s a premium-priced device for less money.
That’s almost the trend for the Honor Magic 4 Lite. It offers a lot to love and ticks many of the key boxes, while costing a reasonable £319 (around $390 / AU$565).
However, it also misses the mark a few times, meaning this isn’t a hidden gem of a bargain. As with most phones at this kind of price, you have to make compromises and focus on what matters most to you.
Still, the Honor Magic 4 Lite looks good. The black exterior of our test unit exudes class, and once you set it up you’ll appreciate its speedy performance – courtesy of the Snapdragon 695 5G chipset.
The 6.81in screen looks hugely promising with 1080 x 2388 resolution and 120Hz refresh rate, but it’s an LCD and it shows, with poor viewing angles at times, especially outdoors.
Continuing that trend of looking good but not fully delivering, the camera setup is equally impressive yet disappointing in performance. On the back, the three lenses are arranged in a circle and offer a 48MP main sensor, a 2MP depth camera and a 2MP macro snapper. On the front is a 16MP selfie camera that occupies a small cutout at the top of the screen.
In all cases, photos are reasonably clear, but colors are not always accurate. You will have to make the necessary adjustments here and there to get the best out of the Honor Magic 4 Lite. Also, don’t count on seeing anything spectacular from the macro lens or depth lens, which isn’t surprising at this price.
Where things get better for the Honor Magic 4 Lite is battery life. A 4,800 mAh battery means this is a phone that will easily last you all day – and a little further, too, depending on usage. The phone also comes with a 66W charger, so charging is fast, which is extra handy.
The Honor Magic 4 Lite comes out of the box with Android 11 and Honor promises Android 12 soon. But even Android 12 won’t be the latest Android version for much longer, meaning this won’t be anyone’s phone after the latest technology.
At this price point, however, the Magic 4 Lite still offers some useful goods. While it’s far from a must-have compared to competitors like the Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC, a large screen, decent performance and excellent battery life may be enough to win over some users.
Honor Magic 4 Lite: price and availability
- Now available in UK and Europe
- Sells for £319 (about $390 / AU$565)
- Three color choices
The Honor Magic 4 Lite is on sale in the UK and Europe. It’s available direct from Honor and third-party retailers and usually retails for £319 / around €360 – which works out to around $390 / AU$565, but at the time of writing it’s already discounted if bought directly from Honor.
That price is roughly between the Samsung Galaxy A53 and the Xiaomi Poco X3 NFC – two phones that are likely to be big competitors.
The Honor Magic 4 Lite is available in three different color choices: Midnight Black, Titanium Silver and Ocean Blue.
The standard version of the phone offers 128 GB of storage and 6 GB of RAM; there is also an 8GB RAM version.
Honor Magic 4 Lite: design
- Plastic housing
- No IP rating
- Big but quite thin
The Honor Magic 4 Lite looks like big. Its 6.81-inch screen makes it look like it should be bulkier than it actually is. Instead, dimensions of 166 x 75.8 x 8mm mean that this is quite a slim device for a phone. Weighing in at 189g, it’s not too heavy either.
We had the Midnight Black model to review, and while it’s not exciting to look at, it does exude some class. That’s despite the plastic-feeling finish that’s rather hard to grip. For this reason, we recommend a case to prevent it from slipping out of your fingers.
On the back of the phone is the triple-lens camera system arranged in a circular layout. It looks a bit smarter than the array of lenses on the side. The rest of the back remains understated with a simple Honor logo.
On the front, the selfie camera lens is a small, subtle perforation at the top and center of the screen. The right side of the phone has the volume rocker and power button, while the bottom has the SIM card slot and USB-C port.
Simplicity is the name of the game here with the Honor Magic 4 Lite. The company isn’t going overboard here, keeping the phone small and fairly simple. This may be the reason why the phone feels quite tight in the hand. However, those with smaller hands may find that they have to stretch to use it with one hand.
Finally, don’t count on taking the Honor Magic 4 Lite anywhere near water as it has no IP rating. There is also no wireless charging or microSD support.
Honor Magic 4 Lite: Display
- 6.81 inch LCD screen
- 1080 x 2388 resolution
- 120Hz refresh rate
The Honor Magic 4 Lite gives and takes away in equal measure. It has a large screen with a decent resolution. Best of all is the fast refresh rate, which is great if you’re browsing content quickly.
However, it does have an LCD screen, which means it could look better. Colors and blacks aren’t as vibrant as we’d like and worst of all, the viewing angles are pretty bad.
When we used the Honor Magic 4 Lite outdoors in direct sunlight, we struggled to see anything clearly on the screen. The screen looked quite faded and we couldn’t make out the images on the screen.
It’s not the worst screen to look at when you’re outside, but it feels like the Honor Magic 4 Lite could have been better than it is.
Honor Magic 4 Lite: Cameras
- 48MP + 2MP + 2MP rear camera
- 16 MP selfie camera
- Reasonable pictures after some tweaking
The Honor Magic 4 Lite offers a lot of different features for photographers, but none of them work particularly well. It has three lenses on the back, including the 48MP main camera, a 2MP depth lens and a 2MP macro lens. You should not expect anything from the macro lens, but that is fairly standard for phones in this price range.
It is the main camera that disappoints us the most. While the 48MP lens takes fairly detailed photos, the color gamut is everywhere. We took pictures of a bush that produced images that were horribly overexposed.
Then we switched to shooting a nearby lighthouse, but those photos ended up showing a lighthouse with near-apocalyptic weather conditions — when it was just cloudy.
It’s possible to make some manual adjustments and work through the modes on the Honor Magic 4 Lite to find something that works better, but it still means this is far from an easy camera to shoot with.
Night mode does a little better in certain scenarios, but it takes time to get the shot right, which may not always be practical.
The selfie camera works fine, but requires a fairly steady hand to avoid blurry shots. In any case, the bokeh and beauty modes help to brighten up the images a bit.
Honor Magic 4 Lite: camera samples
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Honor Magic 4 Lite: performance and specifications
- Powered by Snapdragon 695 5G
- 128 GB storage
- Fast performance
The Honor Magic 4 Lite is a fairly fast phone to use. In our Geekbench 5 tests, it achieved a single-core score of 669 with a multi-core score of 1,875. Elsewhere, the math score came in at 1,373.
In everyday use, the Honor Magic 4 Lite performs quite well. It responds quickly to your touches, whether you unlock it via facial recognition or the fingerprint reader built into the power button. Playing games such as Call of Duty Mobile also turned out to be fairly fast. Coupled with 5G connectivity, you’ll appreciate getting more done faster.
The disadvantage? The Honor Magic 4 Lite comes with Android 11 instead of Android 12. It has Honor’s Magic UI on top of Android 11, but it doesn’t matter because you’ll wonder where Android 12 has gone. The phone also comes with a handful of Honor apps pre-installed that you’ll probably never open.
Android 11 runs smoothly here, but who wants an old OS on their new phone when there’s a new one?
Honor Magic 4 Lite: battery life
- 4,800mAh battery
- Fast Charging
- No wireless charging
The Honor Magic 4 Lite lasts all day; for many users, the battery will likely last longer. On a busy day, count on a recharge at the end of the day. On lighter days, you’ll be free for a few days.
Refreshingly, the Honor Magic 4 Lite comes with a 66W Honor SuperCharge adapter so it charges quickly. Expect nearly 80% of battery life in about half an hour, with a full charge easily taking less than an hour.
There’s no support for wireless charging here, but with the super-fast wired charging speed, you’ll probably prefer to plug it in anyway.
Should you buy the Honor Magic 4 Lite?
Buy it if…
Don’t buy it if…
If our Honor Magic 4 Lite review has left you wondering about other options, here are some alternative phones you might want to consider.
First assessment: July 2022