Honor Magic 5 Lite Review: Good Looking & Long Lasting

Honor Magic 5 Lite Review: Good Looking & Long Lasting

At a glanceExpert’s Rating
ProsStrong battery lifeRefined designAccurate OLED displayConsOutdated chipsetNo bundled chargerMono speakerOur Verdict

Honor’s affordable mid-ranger is one of the most attractive phones in its class, with a flagship-esque look and feel. Its OLED display and epic battery life are also praiseworthy. Performance and camera output is merely ordinary, however, and the lack of a bundled charging brick feels like a bit of an oversight. 

Price When Reviewed

Not available in the US

Never let it be said that former Huawei sub-brand Honor doesn’t learn its lessons. Last year’s Honor Magic 4 Lite offered a competent if deeply unremarkable mid-range smartphone package with outstanding battery life, but it was somewhat unwieldy, its display lacked pop, and its cameras weren’t much cop.

The Honor Magic 5 Lite returns with a thoughtfully refined offering even more impressive stamina in a smaller form factor, and with the benefits of an AMOLED display. Its camera syste,, too, has received a subtle overhaul.

Not everything speaks to progress, however, with an identical Snapdragon 695 chip to its predecessor ensuring similar performance to the Magic 4 Lite. The lack of a bundled-in charger and support for a slower charging standard is another notable backwards step. 

Meanwhile, Honor has been unable to escape the cost of living squeeze, with a £30 bump to the Magic 5 Lite’s asking price in the UK. The question is, does the Honor Magic 5 Lite feel like good value in a market full of mid-range marvels?

Design & build

Looks and feels a lot more expensive than it isDual-curved display and glass backNo IP certification

While it might have branched out into more premium phones of late, Honor built its brand on cheaper phones that punched above their weight. That expertise is on display here, as you wouldn’t know the Magic 5 Lite was a sub-£350 phone simply by handling it.

Jon Mundy / Foundry

The phone looks decidedly premium, with a slim 7.9mm body, a dual-curved display, and a smart glass rear. My model comes with a frosted, rainbow-shimmering white back, known as Titanium Silver, but you can also get the phone in the less glitzy Emerald Green or Midnight Black.

This is a smaller phone than the surfboard-proportioned Magic 4 Lite, thanks to a reduced 6.67-inch display. It’s also significantly lighter at 175g, despite packing in a larger battery.

The rear of the phone sees the return of the Magic 4 Lite’s ring-shaped camera motif. Indeed, Honor has really leaned into this so-called ‘Matrix Star Ring’ design here, producing an even more pronounced photographic donut with a larger ‘hole’ that now matches the colour – if not the premium material – of the rest of the rear panel.

Jon Mundy / Foundry

While the side frame is as skinny as you like, with thin and clicky volume and power keys on the right edge, Honor has flattened out the top and bottom edges. 

Another sign that this is indeed a cheaper phone comes from the complete lack of IP certification. Best keep this one away from bodies of water.

Screen & speakers

6.67in OLEDFull HD+120Hz refresh rateMono speaker

One of the biggest drags with the Magic 4 Lite was its use of an LCD rather than an OLED display. Honor hasn’t made the same mistake with the Magic 5 Lite, supplying a 6.67in FHD+ (2,400 x 1,080) OLED with a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s smaller than its predecessor, but that just makes it easier to wield.

Besides, the benefits are worth it. Colours pop, blacks are truly black, and all is right with the world – especially when it comes to colour accuracy. I recorded a gamut coverage of 96.5% sRGB and a gamut volume of 98.3% sRGB in the better-balanced Normal colour profile, and an average Delta E of 0.93. Those are excellent results.

Jon Mundy / Foundry

When it comes to brightness, the Magic 5 Lite gets to a respectably bright 510 nits with auto-brightness turned off in the aforementioned Normal display mode. You’ll get slightly brighter with the default Vivid mode, but the colours will be more garish.

Audio output is less impressive. The bottom edge of the phone houses its sole speaker, and the lack of true stereo sound is a bit of a shame. As it is, this solo speaker yields a clear if inherently limited sound profile.

Specs & performance

Ageing Snapdragon 695 5G chip6GB RAM128GB storage

Honor has equipped the Magic 5 Lite with the exact same Snapdragon 695 5G chip as the Magic 4 Lite, which is a bit of a disappointment. True, we said that last year’s model “punches above its weight” in performance terms, but a year is a long time in smartphones. 

We recently saw the similarly priced Poco X5 Pro switch up to the Snapdragon 778G, resulting in a significant bump in performance from the Poco X4 Pro and its Snapdragon 695. It’s a shame Honor didn’t follow suit.

Sure enough, our usual suite of benchmark tests reveals that the Magic 5 Lite performs very similarly to its predecessor in CPU and GPU terms, and a fair bit worse than some similarly priced rivals.

Away from such artificial tests the Honor Magic 5 Lite performs reasonably well in general, though the phone’s premium build plays a funny trick with your expectations. It’s like your brain expects flagship-level performance to go with that classy design and slick display, which makes every time an app takes an extra beat to load up or a scrolling animation hitches slightly stick out like a sore thumb.

It’s not that the Magic 5 Lite’s performance is bad, though, and it’s certainly competitive with other similarly priced rivals like the Moto Edge 30 Neo, which features the exact same chipset.

Elsewhere you get a reasonably 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. We’ve seen cheaper phones doubling that storage allowance, so it’s not quite as generous as it might once have seemed.


64Mp main sensor5Mp ultrawide2Mp macro16Mp selfie camera

Honor has gone with a more pixel-packed 64Mp main camera sensor for the Magic 5 Lite, and it’s also added a 5Mp ultrawide this time around. There’s still a pointless 2Mp macro sensor, though.

Jon Mundy / Foundry

That main sensor produces decent, sharp, reasonably well-exposed shots in good lighting. I particularly appreciated how natural colours look here, with little of the oversaturation that many cheap phones fall back on. It does pretty well in HDR scenarios too, balancing out light and shade nicely.

The 5Mp ultrawide isn’t anywhere near as accomplished as that main sensor, producing a huge drop off in detail and a much more muted palette. You expect that sort of thing in a cheaper phone, though.

So-called Super Macro shots using the 2Mp macro camera are pretty much a waste of time. It’s very hard to get a properly focused shot, and even when you do the shots tend to be extremely fuzzy and washed out. I got much better results capturing close-up shots using the main camera.

Shooting in low light using that main sensor is a somewhat hit and miss affair. Hit the Night mode button and take the time to line up your shot, keeping a steady hand, and you can grab some impressive crisp shots. However, it’s easy to lose definition if you don’t frame properly. The lack of OIS might have something to do with that.

The 16Mp front camera is capable of taking decent selfies, though the selfie portrait mode smudges edges and skin tones alike.

Battery life & charging

5100mAh battery40W charging supportNo adapter included

The standout spec with the Honor Magic 5 Lite is its 5100mAh battery. That represents a rare bump over the average, and a respectable increase over the Magic 4 Lite’s 4800mAh cell.

In practical terms, I found that this resulted in genuine two-day battery life for the Magic 5 Lite. You can expect to get through a full day of moderate-to-intensive usage, with around 4 hours of screen-on time, and still have more than half a tank left.

It’s not all good news, however. Curiously, the Honor Magic 5 Lite scored worse than the Magic 4 Lite in our PCMark Battery Work 3.0 test, which models constant everyday usage. At 12 hours and 58 minutes, it fell a good two hours short.

This is despite running on the exact same chip and having a larger battery. I can only assume that the Magic 5 Lite’s superior OLED display is behind this drop in stamina. 

Jon Mundy / Foundry

Another negative is the charging provision, and it’s a bit of a double whammy. Not only does the Magic 5 Lite only support 40W charging (down from the Magic 4 Lite’s 66W), but it doesn’t include a charger in the box either.

Of all the chargers I have in my possession (and that’s quite a lot), I didn’t have a 40W unit to hand. Using both a 60W and a 67W charger, however, the phone consistently hit around 13% in 15 minutes from empty, and 25% after 30 minutes. That’s not too speedy.


As with last year’s model, the Honor Magic 5 Lite runs on a technically outdated version of Android. In this case it’s Android 12, while a lot of decent phones have upgraded to Android 13.

That’s not all that consequential, however, because your main point of interaction comes through the custom Magic UI, which is on version 6.1 here. It’s another solid, if somewhat busy interface.

Jon Mundy / Foundry

Once again, there are a few too many custom apps clogging up the home screen, including Honor’s own app store, App Market, its own Themes store, and the My Honor system manager-meets-user manual app. If you’re anything like me, your first instinct is to clear all such apps into a folder, and there’s quite a lot to clear away.

In addition, you’ll be given a bunch of third party pre-installations, including Facebook, Netflix, TikTok, and Booking.com.

Price & availability

The Honor Magic 5 Lite is available now over on the official Honor website, but you can also pick it up from Amazon. It’s priced at £329/€369 for the sole model, which gives you 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage.

This price positions the Honor Magic 5 Lite up against the Poco X5 Pro, which costs a little more at £369 and doesn’t look or feel half as good. However, it does give you double the storage (256GB) and a superior processor.

The Motorola Edge 30 Neo, meanwhile, costs £350, which gets you the same processor as the Magic 5 Lite and faster charging.

Jon Mundy / Foundry

Check out our full ranking of the best mid-range phones for other options, or the best budget phones for something a little cheaper.


The Honor Magic 5 Lite is another solid lower-mid-range offering from the brand, supplying an unusual level of fit and finish for the money. It’s an altogether more aesthetically pleasing phone than the Magic 4 Lite, with a much better OLED display.

Just as impressive is the Magic 5 Lite’s larger battery, which produces a level of stamina that can easily stretch across two days of regular usage. It’s just a shame that Honor has cheaped out with slower charging and no bundled brick.

It’s also a bit of a shame that there’s been absolutely no advance on the performance of the Magic 5 Lite. It runs just fine, but you can now get faster for similar money.


Android 126.67in, FHD+, OLED, 120Hz, curved displayIn-display fingerprint sensorQualcomm Snapdragon 6956GB RAM128GB storageCamera:64Mp, f/1.8 main camera5Mp ultra-wide camera2Mp macro cameraUp to 1080p @ 30fps rear video16Mp front-facing cameraMono speakerDual-SIMWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/acBluetooth 5.15100mAh battery40W charging (no charger in box)161.6 x 73.9 x 7.9 mm175g Launch colours: Midnight Black, Emerald Green, Titanium Silver

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