Image Sensor Blog

Honor Magic4 Ultimate Smartphone Cameras

The best zoom performance in the industry? A look at camera hardware.


John Scott-Thomas

February 22, 2023

Honor Magic4 Ultimate Smartphone Cameras

Increasingly, image quality is the key differentiator in the Ultra-premium (>$800 USD) class of smartphones and for much of 2022 the best camera system was inside the Honor Magic4 Ultimate device. The Magic4 held the top rating as evaluated by DXOMark until Fall 2022, only recently surpassed by the Huawei Mate 50 Pro (the camera comparisons combine five sub-scores based on Photo/Bokeh/Preview/Zoom/Video, with the Magic4 still having top score in the Zoom category and the Mate 50 Pro having a higher Video score.

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Honor Magic4 Ultimate Smartphone Cameras

TechInsights analyzed the Main Camera and the Periscope camera, assuming these two devices perform the core hardware functions for Zoom imaging.

Camera cluster on the backside of the Magic4 Ultimate

Figure 1: Camera cluster on the backside of the Magic4 Ultimate. Unopened phone.

Camera cluster on the backside of the Magic4 Ultimate

Figure 2: Camera cluster on the backside of the Magic4 Ultimate. Opened phone with cameras indicated.

Figures 1 and 2 show the camera cluster of the smartphone, both unopened and opened. Note the branding on the smartphone emphasises camera specifications as the optics hardware is valued by the consumer. The periscope camera is at the center of the circular cluster surrounded by the main, ultrawide, and spectrum-enhanced cameras.

The large 1/1.12” sensor in the main camera is a major update and the entire cluster uses a custom designed Image Signal Processor (ISP) featuring 20-bits per channel processing and enough speed to record 4K video at 60 fps. The ISP supports “Magic-Log2” video format claiming a 15% increase in dynamic range. More details are summarized by GSMArena.

Periscope telephoto camera cross-section

Figure 3: Periscope telephoto camera cross-section, key optical components indicated.

A cross-section of the periscope telephoto camera (see Figure 3) reveals a relatively conventional five lens barrel and prism to fold the light path. An Optical Image Stabilization coil actuator under the prism adjusts the tilt of the prism. The CMOS Image Sensor is the well know OmniVision OV64B, a 64 MP device in a 1/2” optical format and 0.7 micron pixel pitch. The OmniVision 64B has been seen in numerous devices analyzed at TechInsights including the Huawei P50 Pro Periscope Camera (see Package report PKG-2108-805) and the Redmi K40 Gaming Edition (Package report PKG-2106-804, this device uses an unusual Wafer Level Glass lens in the camera). There are many more technical details on the Honor Magic4 Ultimate periscope camera in TechInsights’ Package report PKG-2206-802.

Main camera optical cross-section

Figure 4: Main camera optical cross-section, lenses and optical sensor components indicated.

TechInsights performed an Exploratory cross-section on the main camera as well. Exploratory cross-sections are performed on a case-by-case basis on devices of interest to the Package channel. Figure 4 shows the optical cross-section of the 1/1.12” optical format main camera. Eight lenses are required to distribute the light across the sensor in the reduced optical track length required by a smartphone. The pixel pitch is a forgiving 1.4 microns. This is one of the largest optical formats analyzed at TechInsights. To date, only the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, Sharp Aquos R6 and upcoming Xiaomi 12S Ultra are larger, using 1” optical format sensors. Honor claims the image quality is competitive with these larger sensors and third party comparisons (DXOMark) appear to confirm this. The Honor Magic4 Ultimate camera is a direct response to the considerable improvement in the Huawei Mate products. No doubt, 2023 will see continued improvement in all major manufacturer’s camera ecosystems and TechInsights will continue to monitor this space closely.


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