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Huawei's Honor Magic 2 gets slide-out screen and six cameras

It's only available in China (for now) but it will have face unlock and fast charging.

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The Honor Magic 2's screen slides downwards to reveal its front-facing cameras. 

Honor

Unveiled in Beijing on Wednesday, Huawei's Honor Magic 2 ($649 at Amazon) is an all-screen beauty with a 6.39-inch AMOLED notchless display and six cameras onboard.

The phone was teased back in August at the IFA trade show in Berlin, when Huawei caught wind of a competitor planning to release a similar phone -- which has now been revealed to be the Xiaomi's Mi Mix 3, announced last week.

The Magic 2 has the same screen size as the Mi Mix 3. Its slider mechanism moves the screen downwards with a click to reveal the 16-megapixel front-facing triple camera setup. This lets you use 3D facial unlock as well as take portrait mode selfies with lighting modes. 

On the back, the Magic 2 has two 24-megapixel cameras, as well as one 17mm ultra wide-angle camera. The rear material uses what Honor dubs Nano-scale Optical Coating for a beautiful two-hued gradient.

Besides hardware, the Magic 2 comes with a few nifty software tricks. While it runs on Android, it will have a user interface called Magic UI 2.0, which features a new AI assistant called Yoyo -- though it only understands Mandarin for now. Huawei says it hasn't yet decided on the final voice for its assistant, and it will let users decide over the next few months. 

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The Honor Magic 2 is pure, notchless screen, thanks to the popup cameras. 

Honor

Huawei's demo of the assistant seems to show that it's always listening, and can converse and understand natural language. It's impressive, if it works as shown. The company also demoed a Google Lens feature integrated into the camera app that would be able to identify products and recommend similar objects for shopping.

There's also a real-time translation feature that you can use to make calls -- and it supports Mandarin translated into English, German and Italian, plus seven other languages. While the features aren't exactly new to our world -- Google showed similar features at its developer conference earlier this year -- there's one cool thing that seems really new.

The Magic 2 can analyse your skin condition by taking a picture of your face with the rear cameras. It will tell you if there are wrinkles, how old it looks and whether you need to do more skin care. It's a feature targeted at women, but Huawei says men can try it out too.

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Yoyo can also control a drone using voice. The company demoed a drone taking a picture and landing using voice control.

Screenshot by Aloysius Low/CNET

Other interesting hardware features include dual-frequency GPS, fast charging and an underscreen fingerprint scanner. It's powered by Huawei's 7-nanometer Kirin 980 chip. But unlike the Mi Mix 3, we don't know whether there will be a 5G version.

The Honor Magic 2 will be available for preorder in China from today and will go on sale on Nov. 5. It will sell for 3,799 yuan (about $545, £425 or AU$765 converted) for the model with 6GB RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. A version with 8GB RAM and the same amount of storage will go for 4,299 yuan, while a 256GB model will be 4,799 yuan.

There's no word yet on whether the phone will be sold in other countries. 

The Honor brand also unveiled its first smartwatch, the Honor Watch Magic, which features a 1.2-inch AMOLED display, lasts seven days on a charge and has heart-rate monitoring. It will be sold globally in January 2019.

Huawei Honor Magic 2 specs

  • 2.6GHz octacore Kirin 980 processor
  • 6GB or 8GB RAM; 128GB or 256GB onboard storage
  • Dual 24-megapixel and 17mm ultra-wide rear cameras; triple 16-megapixel front camera
  • 6.39-inch AMOLED display; 2,340x1,080-pixel resolution
  • 3,400-mAh battery; fast charging can reach 50 percent in 15 minutes

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