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Home / News / An AI portrait mode has me excited for Honor’s upcoming smartphones

An AI portrait mode has me excited for Honor’s upcoming smartphones

AI-trained portrait mode bodes well for the Honor 200 series

Honor 200 series teaser Weibo

Forget Magic Editors and reflection-busting algorithms – according to Honor, the next step for AI smartphone photography will be generative portraits. The phone brand is teaming up with renowned French portrait specialist Studio Harcourt for the upcoming Honor 200 series, which will have a dedicated mode to replicate its iconic black-and-white portraits.

Honor CEO George Zhao spilled the beans during his keynote speech at France’s Vivatech start-up showcase, confirming the Honor 200 Series would launch globally on June 12.

Photography partnerships are nothing new in the phone world: Vivo works closely with Zeiss, Xiaomi with Leica, and Oppo/OnePlus with Hasselblad. But this is the first time I’ve heard AI being thrown into the mix to replicate one photography studio’s signature style. Honor trained its model with a huge dataset of Studio Harcourt portraits, teaching it to replicate their iconic lighting and shadow effects.

Apparently it breaks the portrait process into nine separate steps to replicate the Studio Harcourt method, for “flawless and studio-quality portraits”. I’ve yet to see it in action, but it sounds like a great way for point-and-shoot snappers to get a dramatically different effect with minimal effort.

Little else is known about the Honor 200 Series, other than that it’ll launch with MagicOS 8.0. The latest version of Honor’s Android UI is already available on the Honor Magic 6 Pro, which used AI for its Motion Sensing Capture action shot mode. It will be rolled out to the Magic V2 foldable and Honor 90 series later this month.

The Honor 200 is already up for pre-order on Honor’s Chinese web store It’s expected to arrive there on May 27, though specs are still a mystery. Rumours are pointing to a 50MP main camera, telephoto lens with 50x digital zoom, and a curved-edge OLED display. The higher-end Honor 200 Pro is likely to get a 5200mAh battery and 100W wired charging.

Currently the line-up consists of the Honor 200 Lite, a £280 value champ with 108MP rear snapper and 50MP selfie cam. There’s MediaTek Dimensity 6080 power underneath the sizeable 6.7in OLED screen, along with a 4500mAh battery. It’s packing 8GB of RAM and a generous 256GB of storage.

Honor 200 Lite press image green

Honor also used Vivatech to lay out its future plans for AI in general. The firm is taking a four-layer approach that’ll work across devices and operating systems, with Magic Portal being the key component in MagicOS 8.0. It can supply contextual info, prompting you to open Google Maps when you’re sent an address in a text message, or recognise onscreen objects. It’s a bit like Google’s Circle to Search.

Google Cloud is being tapped up for generative AI, rather than Honor going it alone with its own models – though neither company has announced what form this will take.

Profile image of Tom Morgan-Freelander Tom Morgan-Freelander Deputy Editor


A tech addict from about the age of three (seriously, he's got the VHS tapes to prove it), Tom's been writing about gadgets, games and everything in between for the past decade, with a slight diversion into the world of automotive in between. As Deputy Editor, Tom keeps the website ticking along, jam-packed with the hottest gadget news and reviews.  When he's not on the road attending launch events, you can usually find him scouring the web for the latest news, to feed Stuff readers' insatiable appetite for tech.

Areas of expertise

Smartphones/tablets/computing, cameras, home cinema, automotive, virtual reality, gaming

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