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Honor Magic 2: designed for revolutionary photography

Building on the success of the first Honor Magic, launched in 2016, the Honor Magic 2 aims to take smartphones to a whole new level, due to its vast array of futuristic technology features… and AI.

Honor Magic 2: designed for revolutionary photography

Equipped with an AI-empowered six-lens camera, a world’s first, the new Honor Magic 2 smartphone is empowered by the AI-dedicated Kirin 980 processor, which is the world’s first dual-core NPU processor.

Everywhere you look, AI or Artificial Intelligence is present these days. It doesn’t matter if you use the fancy term marketing prefers – AI – or go for the classic “algorithm”, which is “a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer”, or another way to say the same, AI is prevalent.

We see AI being present in photography software, with new uses appearing almost every day, we see it in video, we see it everywhere, including as an essential part of smartphones. In the case of Huawei’s Honor, the new smartphone is an example of continued development of AI. In fact, the Honor Magic 2 builds, says the company, on the success of  “the world’s first and real AI-powered smartphone Honor Magic, launched in 2016”.

According to Huawey, the Honor Magic 2 is destined to take smartphones to a whole new level due to its vast array of futuristic technology features – the world’s first Magic Slide full-view display achieves a nearly 100% screen-to-body ratio; the next-generation AI-dedicated Kirin 980 processor delivers greater intelligence and AI-processing power; YOYO, a powerful virtual assistant, provides an all-in-one smart-living enabler possessed with mind-reading and machine-learning capabilities; and the AI-empowered six-lens camera setup delivers a revolutionary photography experience.

Honor Magic 2: designed for revolutionary photography

AI camera trained as a photographer

The designers of the Honor range of smartphones have invested heavily in the photo department, and this new model follows the same logic. At the most basic level, the camera in mobile phones is able to automatically recognize what is in a scene and differentiate between foreground subjects and backgrounds. Honor phones can do more than this and the company says that “in mobile, the AI camera has been trained to understand a thing or two about camera setting and image processing that’s easy for professional photographers. In other words, the AI camera can help amateur photographer choose the most applicable exposure and color adjustments for the perfect shots.”

The “magic” behind the AI camera in the Honor Magic 2 has a name: Kirin 980. It’s the world’s first 7nm process mobile phone SoC chipset, but it goes beyond that, as it also is the world’s first cortex-A76 architecture chipset, the world’s first dual NPU design, and the world’s first chipset to support LTE Cat.21. The Kirin 980 combines multiple technological innovations and, says the company, “leads the AI trend to provide users with impressive mobile performance and to create a more convenient and intelligent life.”

Honor Magic 2: designed for revolutionary photography

A dedicated video pipeline

Photographically speaking, Kirin 980 can quickly adapt to AI scenes such as face recognition, object recognition, object detection, image segmentation and intelligent translation with the power of a dual-core NPU achieving 4500 images per minute which is an improved 120% recognition speed. So whether it’s dancing to a fast song or quickly running in front of the camera, the Kirin 980 can focus on the joints and lines of the human body in real time. The powerful object detection capabilities can also accurately identify a variety of objects. In comparison to the Kirin 970, the Kirin 980 is an impressive leap from image recognition to object detection. According to Honor, the Kirin 980 sets the foundation for future AI capabilities by providing complete framework support and rich tool keys for App developers.

The Kirin 980 integrates 6.9 billion transistors in an area of less than 1 square centimeter which is a 1.6x fold increase in density to empower better performance. This chipset is the first Cortex-A76 based in the world and has a 75% improvement in single core performance, says Huawey. The Kirin 980 also includes the world’s first commercial use Mali-G76 GPU performance is improved by 46%. The LPDDR4X memory operates at speeds up to 2133 MHz. The fourth-generation ISP utilises a multi-pass noise reduction to capture quality images and preserve important details. This ISP also has a dedicated video pipeline to effectively improve video clarity and reduce shooting delays by 33%.

Honor Magic 2: designed for revolutionary photography

AI-empowered six-lens camera

Despite all this power, the Honor Magic 2 is a humble video machine, offering a maximum of 1080p at 30fps. It’s as if 4K UHD video is not an important feature any longer, despite the fact that the pure power under the hood suggests the smartphone could offer much more than FullHD. In terms of photography, the Honor Magic2 is competing in an area where the number of multi-camera models is growing, with models like the recently launched Samsung Galaxy A9, with four rear cameras, or Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, with has four cameras, two on the front and two more on back.

The Honor Magic 2 has six cameras in all, with a 24Mp (mono) + 16Mp (RGB) + 16Mp (17mm ultra-wide) configuration at the rear and 16Mp + 2Mp + 2Mp at the front. Huawey believes that the one factor that is most likely to determine the quality of the photo you just took is the software and the artificial intelligence applied to it, so the AI present intelligently recognises the scene and applies the settings that will give you the best photos. It can identify more than 60 object categories and hundreds of scenarios in real time.

Honor Magic 2: designed for revolutionary photography

The Chinese get it first

Huawey says that Honor Magic2 offers a revolutionary photography experience. In addition to conducting image segmentation to automatically execute photo retouching by fine-tuning parameters with the ground-breaking AI-powered rear camera, the retractable front camera will also utilize high-level 3D facial recognition and portrait lighting features, creating artistic selfies with excellent beautification and bokeh effects. That’s why they promise “photos like never before by AI-empowered six-lens camera.”

Featuring an AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors, with 6.39 inches, a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels, and a 19.5:9 ratio (~403 ppi density), the Honor Magic2  has internal memory up to 256 GB on the 8GB RAM model and 128 GB on the 6GB RAM model. The phone accepts microSD cards up to 256GB. A non-removable Li-Po 3500 mAh battery and Android 9 as the OS are part of a long list of specifications that includes all the features available usually present in smartphones.

The Honor Magic 2 will go on sale in China on November 5.  The 8GB RAM model with 256GB internal memory costs 4,799 yuan, about $700 converted. It is not clear if the phone will be available elsewhere, but it most certainly will, as that’s the usual path for brands that want to conquer the world. Huawey has already declared Honor’s goal: to be among the top three mobile brands globally within 5 years.


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Journalist, writer and photographer since 1979, both print and online, with a vast experience in the fields of photography, software, hardware, web, aviation, History, video games, technology, having published content in almost all Portuguese newspapers…

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