Honor 200 Pro Review: The first dedicated Portrait phone

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Honor 200 Pro Intro

We’ve all heard of camera phones. In fact, the first one dates way back to the year 2000 (it was the Sharp J-SH04), almost a quarter of a century in the past. Of course, modern camera phones are different and much more sophisticated, borrowing tips and tricks from professional cameras.

What we haven’t heard of, at least up until now, is a dedicated Portrait phone, and that’s exactly what Honor is giving us with the Honor 200 Pro.

“The Portrait Master” offers a neat collaboration with one of the most famous art photography studios in Paris, Studio Harcourt, renowned for its black-and-white portraits of stars such as Alain Delon, Brigitte Bardot, Marlene Dietrich, Salvador Dali, Marion Cotillard, Jean Dujardin, Zinedine Zidane, and many more.

According to Wikipedia, a single portrait at Studio Harcourt back in 2010 cost 1,900 euros (that’s around $2000). Can a phone pull this off without the need to pay a mortgage on your portrait shot and without going to Paris? Today, we’re going to find out!

Table of Contents:

Honor 200 Pro Specs

Touching flagship

Let’s start with an overview of the Honor 200 Pro specs:

Honor 200 Pro Design and Display

Naturalism in action
Phones are far from unique nowadays, there’s so much you can do with an all-display front and a glass-metal design. Honor has done a great job at giving some character to the 200 Pro, mainly in the camera isle department.

The symmetrical design of the camera is inspired by Gaudi and one of his iconic architectural masterpieces – Casa Mila. According to Honor, the “rear camera design pays homage to the patio windows of Casa Milà, demonstrating a harmonious fusion of organic geometric outlines with naturalism.”

I don’t know much about Gaudi and naturalism, but I can say the design looks fresh and elegant. The back has two distinct design parts: a slightly frosted one reminiscent of a mother-of-pearl and a glossy one. These two are separated by a stylish S-curve. Overall, the design of the Honor 200 Pro is very elegant, visually pleasing, and quite ergonomic as well.

There are three colorways available: Ocean Cyan, Moonlight White, and Black. I find Ocean Cyan to be the most attractive, it’s a fresh lagoon-like blue-green shade, very summery.

Even though the industry is fast moving toward removing everything but the phone from retail boxes, Honor has stubbornly kept the package solid. In the box, there’s a 100-watt fast charger, a cable, and a silicon case. Furthermore, there’s also a screen protector pre-applied, so you don’t have to buy anything extra to be able to use the Honor 200 right away. Good job.

The Honor 200 Pro comes with a quad-curved, 6.78-inch AMOLED display. The resolution is 2700 by 1224 pixels, resulting in a respectable 437 PPI pixel density. As the smartphone world is slowly moving away from curved screens, the quad-curved display may be a disadvantage for some people, but the curvature isn’t too aggressive.The quality of the screen is great, and it can be seen at first glance. Even on a bright and sunny day (88F here for the past couple of days), I could read the display no problem. Colors are good, and there are several modes to choose from, alongside bells and whistles such as 3840Hz PWM Dimming, TUV-certified Flicker Free and Low Blue-light, plus, of course, an Always on mode.
The display tests only confirmed my initial impressions. The maximum brightness we were able to measure was almost 1,200 nits, and we’re talking real-life brightness across the whole display. The color accuracy, color temperature, and minimum brightness were all excellent.

In terms of biometrics, the Honor 200 Pro offers two options: a fingerprint scanner (under the display) and facial recognition. Both work fast and accurately, although I’m not sure how secure the facial recognition really is, as it appears to be just a regular snapshot and not a 3D scan (there’s no moving your head in a circle to complete a scan when setting this option up).

Honor 200 Pro Camera

Draw me like one of your French girls!
Yep. That’s a Titanic quote right there, and given we’re talking about a phone trying to emulate a famous French art studio, I find it somewhat relevant. Now, after we’ve ruined that allegory by explaining it, let’s talk about the Honor 200 Pro camera.

The main camera uses a 50MP, 1/1.3″ sensor under a lens with an F1.9 aperture. It’s similar (if not exactly the same) as the one used in the Magic 6 Pro and RSR phones, but the lens and algorithms are different.

There’s an ultrawide camera with a 50MP sensor and a 112-degree field of view, and a telephoto camera that uses a Sony IMX 856 sensor and is capable of 2.5x optical zoom. But these are just numbers, and we all know that samples speak louder than any specs. So, time for some samples.

Photos from the main camera look pretty decent, with a good level of detail, adequate exposure, and a wide dynamic range. Sometimes there’s oversharpening here and there, and objects in the corners can be hazy, but overall, good results. The Ultrawide shots are also nice, retaining the natural color tones and most of the detail. The Honor 200 Pro can do 2x crops from the main sensor, but using the 2.5x dedicated zoom camera yields better results. Selfies are good, there’s also an option to widen the view and get more people in the frame.

Portraits

When you go to Portrait mode on the phone, there’s a little Harcourt logo in cursive on the top of the screen. Selecting it opens three additional portrait presets: Harcourt Vibrant, Harcourt Colour, and Harcourt Classic. I don’t think there’s a night and day difference to other portrait modes, but for a photography layman like myself, these are perfect. You can snap some decent portraits, you only need to find a model, of course.

Video Quality

Video Thumbnail

The Honor 200 Pro can record video with up to 4K resolution at 60 frames per second. I thought the 4K@30fps sample I recorded looked decent, with good natural colors, nice detail, and smooth and consistent focus. The image stabilization works well, too, and you can pause your video and resume it and switch between the cameras as well.

Honor 200 Pro Performance & Benchmarks

Upper midrange
The Honor 200 Pro utilizes the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 chipset. It’s easy to miss the little “s” and mistake this chip for the flagship 8 Gen 3, but it’s not. The 8s Gen 3 has different core configuration, clock speeds, and a smaller cash size.

The phone comes with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of onboard storage, which is more than enough for an upper midranger. I even would classify this phone as a CE flagship, CE standing for Core Edition, as many of the flagship features are present.

Performance Benchmarks:

Any doubts about the midrange status of the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 are evaporated by the synthetic benchmark results. You can think of this chip as a last year 8 Gen 2, performance-wise, with some improved efficiency. That being said, the phone performs more than admirably in everyday tasks, and there’s no perceivable lag in the UI.

Honor 200 Pro Software

The Honor 200 Pro comes with Android 14 out of the box, layered with MagicOS 8.0 on top. There are some clever bits in Honor’s UI, and even though I wouldn’t call them AI-abundant, they’re more useful than you might think.Magic Capsule is the front camera cutout functionality, very similar to Dynamic Island. You can get contextual information about things like songs playing, timers, alarms, screen casting, and more. It can be useful, depending on your habits, but nothing groundbreaking.

Magic Portal is a composite feature that enables you to extract text and imagery and drag-and-drop it into different apps. You can quickly drop addresses in Google Maps, send photos to Facebook (or TikTok if you’re not a millennial like myself), plug text into emails, etc.

This is still far from other large language model-equipped AI systems, such as Galaxy AI, which can transcribe and translate in real time but is still relatively useful.

Speaking of LLC, if you long-press the power button, Google’s new AI kid pops up. Gemini is on duty on the Honor 200 Pro, and to me, it comes as a surprise. It’s a strange AI mashup at the moment – there are AI algorithms working in the background when it comes to photography, AI-based features such as Magic Portal, and a third-party LLC in the form of Gemini on a hot key. You can also enable Microsoft Copilot from the Swift keyboard! How about that!

The Honor 200 Pro comes with three years of major OS updates and four years of security patches.

Honor 200 Pro Battery

Silicon-carbon for everyone
The Honor 200 Pro features a 5,200mAh silicon-carbon battery—an impressive feat given the slim profile of the phone and its weight (199g). We did a piece on silicon-carbon batteries not long ago, so if you need more info, follow the link.
If we put aside benchmarks, the Honor 200 Pro is a solid one-and-a-half day phone. You can push it to two days if you’re not particularly fidgety with the phone, and even the most demanding users will struggle to drain the battery in one day.

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:

Now, synthetic benchmarks paint a different picture. I wouldn’t call this battery life weak or something, but I expected more from a 5,200mAh cell and an efficient chipset. We might have to run those again, as Honor phones have a peculiar way of dealing with constant screen brightness. But even with these results taken at face value, the Honor 200 Pro is on par with flagships such as the vanilla iPhone 15, the Galaxy S24, and the Pixel 8.

PhoneArena Charging Test Results:

When it comes to charging, Honor is among the champions in the industry, and the Honor 200 Pro is no exception. The phone supports 100W fast wired charging, 66W wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging for all your small QI-equipped gadgets.

It takes just 45 minutes to fill the 5,200 mAh from zero to full using the bundled charger, which is an impressive result.

Honor 200 Pro Audio Quality and Haptics

I was genuinely impressed with the speakers of the Magic 6 Pro and RSR, and the Honor 200 Pro delivers on that front as well. The phone comes with the usual stereo setup, where the earpiece doubles as a second loudspeaker, but the sound is pretty detailed and bassy.

There’s a 200%, 80db mode for noisy situations, and granted, using that mode produces some distortion, but if you keep it at 100% volume, you’ll be very pleased with the soundscape this phone can dish out. There’s no 3.5 mm headphone jack on this phone.

As far as haptics are concerned, the Honor 200 Pro performs decently. Vibrations are tight and precise, but a bit weak.

Should you buy it?

The Honor 200 Pro offers a great package and shows how competent and feature-rich midrange phones can be. It looks good, works fast, and has some exclusive camera tricks to show off. In the opening paragraph, I wrote about this phone being the first Portrait phone out there, but it’s more than that.

The Honor 200 Pro is an excellent upper midranger with snappy performance, stylish design, a great screen, and super-fast charging. I can see this phone giving some true flagships a run for their money, and the only thing that somewhat spoils this Parisian party is the price.

At £699.99 (around $890), the Honor 200 Pro is more expensive than all your mainstream flagship phones, including the iPhone 15, Galaxy S24, and Pixel 8. Can this phone compete with those? It can, absolutely! But it would require a massive leap of faith for most people to reach and grab the Honor 200 Pro and skip the aforementioned “safe” choices. Which is a shame.


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