The Honor Magic 6 RSR is my new favorite Android phone of 2024

Someone holding the Honor Magic 6 RSR outside.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

There’s no doubt that 2024 has already been an exciting year for Android phones. Samsung wowed us with the Galaxy S24 series at the beginning of the year, the OnePlus 12 and 12R are two of the best phones available right now, and Google is expected to impress later this month with the Google Pixel 8a.

But for the last few weeks, I haven’t been thinking about any of those phones. Why? Because I’ve been using the Honor Magic 6 RSR. After launching in China this past March, the Magic 6 RSR is now available in the EU, and that’s allowed more folks than ever to get their hands on the phone. And that’s great, because the Honor Magic 6 RSR has quickly become my new favorite Android phone of 2024.

It has some of 2024’s best smartphone hardware

The Honor Magic 6 RSR lying face-down on a wood railing.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Declaring that the phone has some of 2024’s best hardware is a bold claim to make, I know. But it’s true — and it all starts with the Magic 6 RSR’s hardware. The Honor Magic 6 RSR is essentially the same phone as the Honor Magic 6 Pro, with one of the biggest differences being its design. The Magic 6 RSR was created in collaboration with Porsche Design, which is evident in a couple of areas.

Not only does the titanium body look and feel incredible, but the small line down the middle mimics design elements found in Porsche cars — and it also just feels nice to run your finger over. The camera bump is equally striking, with the hexagonal design looking unlike anything else on the market. It’s big and makes a statement, and I honestly love it. It’s also perfectly positioned so that the bottom edge rests on my index finger when I’m holding the phone, adding some extra stability that I really appreciate. And, of course, there’s the Porsche Design logo right below the camera.

I could personally care less about the Porsche collaboration, but what I love so much about the Honor Magic 6 RSR is how different it looks from all of the other smartphones I’ve used over the last year. There’s no mistaking the Magic 6 RSR for a Galaxy S24 Ultra or an iPhone 15 Pro Max. It very much has its own unique identity, and that’s something I really appreciate.

Combine the standout design with the incredible fit and finish throughout the phone’s construction — from the excellent in-hand feel to the wonderfully clicky buttons — and this is everything I want in a 2024 flagship.

A jaw-dropping camera

Someone using the camera app on the Honor Magic 6 RSR.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Even more than the hardware, the Magic 6 RSR’s camera is what has really stood out to me. The hexagonal bump on the back of the phone is home to three sensors: a 50-megapixel main camera, a 180MP telephoto camera, and a 50MP ultrawide camera. Yes, you read that correctly — a 180MP telephoto camera. It’s technically a 2.5x optical zoom, which doesn’t sound all that impressive, but the abundance of megapixels means you can zoom in much further than that and still get great results.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve used the Magic 6 RSR’s cameras to capture all sorts of scenes — including casual pictures of my pets at home, a nearby nature trail, the first blooming plants of spring, and a quick trip to downtown Detroit. No matter what I’ve been photographing, I’ve been overwhelmingly thrilled with the photos I snap with this phone.

Like any flagship phone today, the Magic 6 RSR captures sharp, detailed, and pleasing-looking images. But what has really been impressive to me is the versatility of the camera. The 50MP main camera presents a strong foundation. It delivers wonderful colors and excellent detail, and it handles motion exceptionally well. Honor includes a feature called “Motion Sensing Capture,” which essentially uses AI to automatically take a photo of a moving subject for you. It sounds gimmicky, but it’s actually proven quite handy when trying to take a photo of my fidgety cats.

My favorite part, though, has been the 180MP telephoto camera. Honor provides two zoom shortcuts in the camera app: 2.5x and 5x. You can go up to 100x zoom if you want, but I’ve primarily stayed with the two default options.

Like the main camera, the telephoto sensor handles moving subjects unbelievably well. Combine that with the gorgeous bokeh effect and the same lovely colors as the main camera, and this has quickly become one of my favorite telephoto cameras I’ve ever used. From leaves on a windy spring day to active butterflies and more, the Magic 6 RSR has captured images I don’t think I would have been able to take with any of my other smartphones.

Is the camera perfect? It is not. The Magic 6 RSR isn’t the strongest performer in terms of lowlight photography, and its colors can sometimes be a bit too much (especially when using any of the included filters in the camera app). But those things don’t really bother me. The Magic 6 RSR doesn’t always take an amazing photo, but when it does, it’s genuinely jaw-dropping at times. I’ll stop there and let the photos speak for themselves.

Flagship specs across the board

Someone holding the Honor Magic 6 RSR with its screen on, showing a home screen.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

So far we have a great design and a gem of a camera. What more could you ask for? Quite a lot, actually — including a stunning display, great performance, and excellent battery life.

On the front of the Magic 6 RSR is a 6.8-inch OLED panel. It has a 2800 x 1280 resolution, 453 pixels per inch, up to a 120Hz refresh rate, and 5,000 nits of peak brightness. It’s essentially everything you could want in a modern smartphone display, and it looks phenomenal.

Colors are bright and vibrant, everything is razor-sharp, and there are endless settings to tweak the screen to your exact liking — including eye comfort options, a Circadian Night Display mode, and even an eBook mode that turns the entire display monochrome. The phone also has an always-on display, and just like the iPhone 15 Pro, it can show a dimmed version of your wallpaper if you want.

The Honor Magic 6 RSR laying face-down outside.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

The Honor Magic 6 RSR is also fast. A Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 powers the phone, which is the same chip you’ll find in other 2024 flagships like the Galaxy S24 Ultra. Combined with 24GB (!!) of RAM and 1TB of storage, there’s virtually nothing that can stop it. Apps open instantly, navigating the user interface is as smooth as can be, and games run beautifully. Marvel Snap has crashed a handful of times, but otherwise, the Magic 6 RSR’s performance has been flawless.

Also great is the battery life. There’s a 5,600 mAh battery inside the Magic 6 RSR, and in my testing, it’s more than capable of getting through two days of solid use per charge. It’s also incredibly quick to recharge, supporting 80-watt wired charging and 66W wireless charging.

There are a bunch of little things, too. The stereo speakers sound great, the IR blaster on the top frame is a nice treat, and the in-screen fingerprint sensor works very well. There’s even a Face ID-like facial recognition system that you can use anywhere you’d use the fingerprint sensor.

The Magic 6 RSR’s one big caveat

The apps drawer on the Honor Magic 6 RSR.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Like any smartphone, the Honor Magic 6 RSR isn’t perfect. Honor’s MagicOS 8.0 software is heavily influenced by iOS. I eventually got used to its quirks (like swiping on the left side of my screen to view notifications and swiping on the right to see my quick settings), but it takes time to adjust. You also can’t double-press the power button to open the camera app. Double-pressing the volume down button does this, but only when the screen is off. There are a lot of little things like this, but again, nothing deal-breaking.

If the Honor Magic 6 RSR is so great, why aren’t I recommending you rush out and buy it right now? There’s just one small problem with the phone, and that’s its availability.

If you’re reading this, chances are you can’t buy the Magic 6 RSR. The phone was exclusively available in China earlier this year, and while it’s since expanded to the EU and U.K., there are zero plans for a U.S. release. And even if you do live in an area where the Magic 6 RSR is available for purchase, it’s obnoxiously expensive. In the U.K., the phone will set you back 1,500 British pounds — or a little over $1,800.

My new go-to Android phone

The Honor Magic 6 RSR laying face-down on the grass.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Objectively speaking, the Honor Magic 6 RSR probably shouldn’t be your next smartphone purchase. The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra — arguably one of the most technically impressive Android phones available today — looks like a bargain next to the Magic 6 RSR at only $1,300. The OnePlus 12 costs less than half of the Magic 6 RSR’s sticker price and checks virtually every box. Not to mention, the Honor Magic 6 Pro is virtually the same phone as the Magic 6 RSR, just with some slightly tweaked camera/display specs and a different design — and it costs hundreds less.

The Honor Magic 6 RSR is not a sensible smartphone. Even if you live in a market where it’s sold, you should realistically admire it from afar. But taking logic out of the equation for a moment and just looking at the Magic 6 RSR on its own — not thinking about how much it costs or where it’s sold — this is an exceptional piece of tech. I’ve had an absolute blast living with the Magic 6 RSR over the last few weeks, and until I need to put my SIM in another phone for review, it’s going to happily stay in this one.

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