Huawei's former sub-brand, Honor, is back with a carefully honed offering in the Honor Magic 5 Lite. This mid-range smartphone boasts even more impressive battery life in a smaller body and benefits from an AMOLED display. However, the phone has received mixed reviews, with some claiming it to be a good mid-range device, while others claiming that it falls short when compared to competitors.
Before reading the full review, you can familiarize yourself with the detailed Huawei Honor Magic5 Lite specs or watch the video below the article.
- Release date: 2023, February 15
- Colors: Midnight Black, Emerald Green, Titanium Silver
- Dimensions: 161.6 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm.
- Weight: 175 g.
- Screen: 6.67" inc, 1080 x 2400, AMOLED
- Camera : Triple, 64MP
- Chipset: Qualcomm SM6375 Snapdragon 695 5G (6 nm)
- CPU: Octa-core (2x2.2 GHz Kryo 660 Gold & 6x1.7 GHz Kryo 660 Silver)
- Memory: 128GB 6GB RAM
- Battery: 5100, Li-Po, non-removable
- Network: GSM / HSPA / LTE / 5G
- Operating system: Android 12, Magic UI 6.1
- Sensors: Fingerprint (under display, optical), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
Design and build quality
Honor has a reputation for producing cheaper phones that deliver performance beyond their price. The Honor Magic 5 Lite is no exception. Despite being a sub-£350 phone, it boasts a premium look and feel.
The slim body, dual curved display and smart glass back all contribute to this premium design. The back of the phone is available in three colours - silver, green and black. The Titanium Silver variant has a matte finish that gives it a pearlescent effect and hides fingerprints well.
Magic 5 Lite is a smaller phone than its predecessor Magic 4 Lite. It has a smaller 6.67-inch display and is significantly lighter, weighing only 175 g. Despite its smaller size, it has a bigger battery built in.
The side bezel is thin, with slim and clickable volume and power keys at the right end. However, the top and bottom edges are flattened.
The back of the phone houses the Magic 4 Lite's ring-shaped camera motif. The "Matrix Star Ring" design is even more pronounced on the Magic 5 Lite, with a larger "hole" that now matches the color of the rest of the back panel.
The central bezel is made of polycarbonate rather than metal, but feels sturdy enough and helps to reduce weight.
Comparison with the Magic 4 Pro shows that the Magic 5 Lite's design is almost identical with that of the curved edge display, super thin bezels and tempered glass back panel.
Despite its similarities to the Magic 4 Pro, the Magic 5 Lite is much cheaper, with three times the price. However, the lack of IP certification is a notable drawback, meaning the phone isn't waterproof or dustproof.
Performance and display quality
The Honor Magic 5 Lite features a significant improvement over its predecessor - a 6.67-inch FHD+ (2400 x 1080) OLED display that offers a 120Hz refresh rate. Unlike the Magic 4 Lite's LCD display, the OLED screen delivers rich colors, deep blacks and exceptional color accuracy.
In terms of brightness, the Magic 5 Lite's normal display mode delivers a respectable 510 nits with auto brightness turned off.
The default Vivid mode provides slightly higher brightness, but colors appear more saturated. Additionally, the Dynamic Switch mode alternates between 60Hz and 120Hz to save power, but some apps don't trigger the switch, so users can opt for a consistently smooth experience with a 120Hz refresh rate by turning it on permanently.
Users can customize the display's color profile through the settings menus, adjust bright hues, and adjust color temperature using a comprehensive color wheel.
Magic 5 Lite's single speaker, located at the bottom of the phone, provides clear, albeit limited, sound.
Sound quality is on par with mid-range devices, with enough volume for listening to podcasts or following YouTube cooking tutorials in the kitchen.
Most music genres, however, lack low-frequency presence, making them sound a bit hollow. Although there is a tweeter, it is heavily loaded with the main speaker pointing down. Headphones are recommended for listening to music.
The Honor Magic 5 Lite has a trio of rear cameras, but only the 64MP main sensor delivers outstanding results. The second ultra-wide lens is just 5MP, and the 2MP macro lens is buried deep in the shooting modes menu, so it's unlikely to see much action.
The 64MP main sensor produces decent, sharp and reasonably well-exposed photos in good lighting. Colours look natural with little of the oversaturation that many cheap phones tend to exhibit.
It also performs quite well in HDR scenarios, balancing light and shadow well. Low-light shooting is somewhat unsuccessful, however. You'll need to use the night mode and take the time to line up the shot, holding steady to get clear shots. Also missing is OIS.
The 5MP ultra-wide angle lens isn't as capable as the main sensor, resulting in a significant drop in detail and a much more muted palette. While this is expected in a cheaper phone, it struggles with fine detail and can't capture as much dynamic range as the main sensor. Color processing is largely the same, but there is a lot of visible noise on the display.
So-called super macro shots using a 2MP macro camera are pretty much a waste of time. It's hard to get a properly focused photo, and even when you do, the photos are usually extremely blurry. It's better to use the main camera for close-up shots.
The 16MP front camera is capable of taking decent selfies, but the selfie portrait mode blurs both edges and skin tones.
The Honor Magic 5 Lite comes with a Snapdragon 695 5G chip, which is the same processor as its predecessor the Magic 4 Lite. Although last year's model performed well in benchmark tests, it's disappointing that Honor didn't switch to a better chipset, especially since similarly priced phones like the Poco X5 Pro switched to the more powerful Snapdragon 778G, which resulted in a significant performance jump.
However, Android is responsive on the Magic 5 Lite, with no stuttering or lag when switching between home screens. Honor has borrowed some of the 128 GB of built-in storage to use as additional memory, complementing the 6 GB of RAM, allowing the phone to keep many apps open without having to reload every time you switch apps.
Most of the games we tried out played smoothly enough, albeit with lower detail than on more expensive hardware. Less 2D-intensive games played fine, but competitive players might want to up their budget a bit.
The Magic 5 Lite has a refresh rate of 120 Hz, but due to the Snapdragon 695's limitations, it'll have a hard time taking full advantage of it.
In terms of software, the Magic 5 Lite comes with MagicUI 6.1 running under Android 12. While this is good as it is one of the latest Honor phones to come with this version out of the box, it lags behind some of its competitors that have already adopted Android 13. The phone has some pre-installed bloatware and several Honor apps duplicate Google's own apps. However, the interface is easy to navigate, with navigation shortcuts and settings in their usual places.
Honor promises three years of software updates and security patches, with the update to Android 13 expected by July. That's reasonable for a mid-range phone, but still lags behind some of its rivals.
The Honor Magic 5 Lite has one standout feature - its 5100 mAh battery. This represents a rare jump above average and a respectable increase over its predecessor, the Magic 4 Lite, which has a 4800mAh cell.
With this larger battery, the phone is capable of a true two-day battery life, making it a great choice for users who need to stay connected throughout the day.
In practice, the Magic 5 Lite can last a full day of moderate to heavy use with about 4 hours of screen time and still have more than half a tank left.
Once you queue up a YouTube playlist, the phone can last almost 20 hours of video playback. In more typical use, users will have no trouble lasting a full day, despite a combination of social networking scrolling, music streaming, making calls and regular camera use. If you stick to basic activities, the phone will last a weekend before needing a charge.
Price: good value for money?
The Honor Magic 5 Lite is a mid-range smartphone that offers great value for its price. It's available to buy on Honor's official website as well as on Amazon for 329 GBP/369 EUR. This price may be a little higher compared to some of its competitors, but it's still affordable for a phone with its specs.
The Honor Magic 5 Lite is a solid lower mid-range smartphone that offers good value for its price. It features an aesthetically pleasing design, a much better OLED display than its predecessor, and a larger battery that provides impressive endurance that can easily last two days with regular use. It is disappointing, however, that the device comes with a slower charging speed and no included charger.
Despite its good looks and gorgeous screen, the performance of Honor Magic 5 Lite hasn't advanced much and now you can get faster phones at similar prices. Its secondary cameras don't add much value, and the phone can't match the five years of updates and security patches offered by the Pixel 6a.
- Strong battery life
- Sophisticated design
- Accurate OLED display
- Decent main camera performance
- Outdated chipset
- No charger included
- Monodynamic speaker
- Secondary cameras aren't as good
Huawei Honor Magic5 Lite video review
Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is based on our team's personal experience with the Huawei Honor Magic5 Lite and third-party sources. While every effort has been made to provide accurate and reliable information, readers should keep in mind that this is a subjective assessment. The writing of this article was not paid for or sponsored by Huawei.