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Honor Magic 6 Lite review: Still has a few tricks up its sleeves

Our Rating :
£269.99 from
Price when reviewed : £350
inc VAT

Despite middling performance and limited software support, the Magic 6 Lite is an enchanting mid-ranger with some serious stamina


  • Gorgeous design
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Bright and colour-accurate display


  • Stingy software support
  • Middling secondary cameras
  • There are faster rivals at this price

The Honor Magic 6 Lite kicked off the brand’s smartphone offerings for 2024, before being joined by the flagship Magic 6 Pro. Despite being the de facto affordable entry in Honor’s smartphone lineup, the Magic 6 Lite cuts an elegant silhouette, with a slim, curved body and a large, impressively bright display. 

Add in an impressively long-lasting battery life and the Honor Magic 6 Lite is ticking boxes for both razzle and dazzle. The middling chipset doesn’t quite match the performance of the best smartphones in the sub-£400 bracket, and software support leaves a lot to be desired, but overall the Magic 6 Lite conjures up enough class to project the illusion of a much pricier handset.

Honor Magic 6 Lite review: What you need to know

The Honor Magic 6 Lite is incrementally bigger than its predecessor in just about every way. The build has swollen slightly to 76 x 8 x 164mm, the better to accommodate the larger 6.78in AMOLED display, and it’s a little heavier at 185g. 

The triple camera array on the rear remains mostly the same, once again offering up a 5MP ultrawide and 2MP macro as the backup cameras, but the main lens has bumped its pixel count up from 64MP to 108MP.

Inside, the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 processor may have the same 2.2GHz clock speed as its counterpart from last year but it’s joined by 2GB more RAM (now 8GB) and twice the storage space at 256GB. That’s all you get, however, as there’s still no microSD card slot.

The Magic 5 Lite already had a relatively large 5,100mAh battery, but the Magic 6 Lite’s is an even bigger 5,300mAh. The only area in which the specs have shrunk slightly is the charging, with a max capacity of 35W coming in marginally lower than the 5 Lite’s 40W.

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Honor Magic 6 Lite review: Price and competition

At £350, the Magic 6 Lite is £20 more than its predecessor, but as mentioned above, it also squeezes in twice the on-board storage, so that just about comes out in the wash.

We’ve got a few strong contenders at this price range. Despite being a generation behind, the Google Pixel 6a still looms large, with excellent cameras and performance for the price. It originally retailed for £399 but can currently be picked up for £299.

Recently, I’ve also reviewed the Nothing Phone (2a), which costs £319 for the 128GB model or £347 for 256GB, and the Samsung Galaxy A35 5G (£338 for 128GB, £389 for 256GB). Both offer decent performance for the price and the Nothing in particular managed terrific battery life in testing, while the Samsung impressed with its main camera.

Honor Magic 6 Lite review: Design and key features 

I said it with the Magic 5 Lite and I’ll say it again: Honor knows how to dress up a mid-range phone with style. The slim build and curved display combo may be a little out of vogue, but I’m very much still a fan. It feels great in the hand, particularly the soft vegan leather coating on the Sunrise Orange model I was sent for review. If that doesn’t take your fancy, there’s also Emerald Green and Midnight Black, though these have frosted glass rears.

The circular rear camera module returns but this time it has a notched metal ring running around the edge, adding a splash of class to the proceedings. On the front, the selfie camera is set beneath the display and offers an efficient and generally accurate face-unlocking feature. There’s also an optical fingerprint sensor towards the bottom of the display.

The slim edge running around the phone is plastic but it’s got a mirror finish, imitating metal. The performance is believable enough from a distance, helping enhance the aesthetic quality of the phone, but you can clearly feel that it’s plastic when holding it. Along the right edge, we’ve got the power and volume keys, while the bottom is home to the USB-C port and a SIM-tray with space for two nano-SIMs. Unfortunately for wired listeners, there’s still no 3.5mm headphone jack.

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Honor Magic 6 Lite review: Display

As well as growing an inch or so, the 6.78in 120Hz AMOLED display has also squeezed in a few more pixels, now offering a 2,652 x 1,220 resolution. Particularly impressive here is the brightness; on manual mode, I measured a peak brightness of 580cd/m2 (a decent uptick from the Magic 5 Lite’s ceiling of 518cd/m2), while flicking on adaptive brightness and shining a torch on the ambient light sensor pushed it to an outstanding 949cd/m2.

Of the two colour profiles, the Vivid setting was my go-to when streaming, while the Natural mode offered more realistic-looking colours. On the latter profile, I measured an sRGB gamut coverage of 94.1%, with a volume of 94.2%, which is exceptionally accurate. The average Delta E colour variance score isn’t quite as good as the Magic 5 Lite’s (1.06, compared to 0.96) but it’s still low enough to be essentially perfect.

Honor Magic 6 Lite review: Performance and battery life

The octa-core 2.2GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 chipset puts in a middling performance, delivering a solid bump over its predecessor but failing to outstrip other rivals. It roughly keeps pace with the Nothing Phone (2a) but the Samsung Galaxy A35 5G pulls 20% ahead in the multi-core portion of the Geekbench 6 benchmark. And then there’s the Google Pixel 6a, putting the whippersnappers to shame with leads of 63% over the Magic 6 Lite in the single-core benchmarks and 35% in the multi-core. To be clear, the Magic 6 Lite still runs smoothly, jumping between apps without pause and scrolling swiftly, but if you want the most horsepower for your cash, there are better options.

Geekbench 6 table comparing CPU performance between the Honor Magic 6 Lite and similarly priced rivalsIt’s a similar story in the GPU benchmarks, except it’s the Nothing Phone 2(a) that slips into second place behind the Pixel. The Magic 6 Lite’s results are reasonable for the price but if your gaming aspirations extend beyond simple card games and Candy Crush, there are more suitable phones than this, not least of which is the Google Pixel 6a.

GFXBench table comparing GPU performance between the Honor Magic 6 Lite and similarly priced rivalsJust as the Pixel starts to show its age, the Honor proves its worth. The Magic 6 Lite’s beefier battery may not quite match its predecessor for stamina but considering that it has a larger, more pixel-dense display to illuminate, I’m still chalking this one up as a terrific result. A hair over 27 hours will easily see you into a second day of use and lands the Magic 6 Lite squarely on our best phone battery life ranking.

Battery life table comparing stamina performance between the Honor Magic 6 Lite and similarly priced rivalsThe 35W charging isn’t enough of a drop from the Magic 5 Lite’s 40W to be a deal breaker – either way you’re looking at over an hour to charge from empty. The Galaxy A35 5G and Pixel 6a are both slower than this, with only the Nothing Phone (2a) charging any faster (its 45W capacity gets the job done in about an hour). 

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Honor Magic 6 Lite review: Software

The Magic 6 Lite runs Android 13 out of the box, with the Magic OS 7.2 launcher plastered over the top. The icons are a little oversaturated for my taste and a few of my pet peeve preinstalled apps are present – it even has the nerve to put and WPS Office in a folder labelled ‘Top Apps’ – but it ran smoothly enough in testing and there are much more obnoxious software skins out there.

My biggest problem here is that Honor has only committed to two OS updates – one of which is Android 14, which is currently circulating – alongside three years of security patches. By comparison, both the Nothing Phone (2a) and Samsung Galaxy A35 5G launched with Android 14, and are confirmed to get three and four further OS updates, respectively, really putting this paltry offering into perspective.

Honor Magic 6 Lite review: Cameras 

The 108MP (f/1.8) main camera puts those extra pixels to good use, producing vibrant and detailed images in good lighting. Strong contrast makes each of the ripples in the water stand out, and the colours in the building and greenery are punchy without getting unnaturally oversaturated.

Photo of seagulls on a river, with buildings and greenery on the river banks

Those extra megapixels also make for a decent 3x digital zoom. It’s not the “lossless” quality that the marketing claims but there’s a good amount of detail retained, clearly showing each groove in the tree bark.

Zoomed-in photo of a tree showing details of bark on trunk and leaves on branches

The night-shooting capabilities are definitely a step up from the Magic 5 Lite, too, with far less blooming from the light sources and solid colour reproduction, but the level of noise in the sky still isn’t great.

Shot of boats moored in a harbour at night

Things start to turn sour with the 5MP (f/2.2) ultrawide camera. Colour and exposure are carried over from the main lens well enough but the detail is unimpressive, with the leaves smudging together and barely any definition in the tree trunks.

Ultrawide shot of two trees and a hedge in a country lane

The 2MP (f/2.4) macro camera is about as tacked on as it gets – Honor even buries the option for it in the shooting menu. Detail is reasonable enough, considering the weedy pixel-count, but the focal lines are fuzzy and the background blur is full of noise.

Blurry close-up photo of ivy leaves

Video gets a slight improvement, now allowing for 4K at 30fps, as well as adding a 60fps option in 1080p. The extra detail and added frames are appreciated but the lack of any kind of stabilisation still hurts the video offering overall, with footage feeling quite shaky, even by cheap phone standards.

Honor Magic 6 Lite review: Verdict

The wobbles in the camera department and mediocre performance take some of the shine off the Honor Magic 6 Lite but they aren’t drastic enough drawbacks to dull it completely. Even the limited software support, which is by far my strongest criticism, is ultimately overshadowed by the level of quality you’re getting for your money here.

Battery life is terrific, the display is big, bright and beautifully represented and the design has a style well above its pay grade. Even the main camera, which is admittedly weighed down by lacklustre backing dancers, delivers effective improvements over its predecessor. For an affordable mid-range handset with the looks and stamina of a pricier phone, the Honor Magic 6 Lite is a real charmer.

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