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Home / Reviews / Smartphones / Honor 200 Pro review: a great choice for portraits

Honor 200 Pro review: a great choice for portraits

Studio Harcourt collaboration should excite photography fans - but is it enough?

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Stuff Verdict

The 200 Pro sees Honor take a confident stride out of the mid-range and into ‘mainstream flagship’ territory. It’s a lot of phone for your cash, with clever camera features you won’t get anywhere else


  • Convincing cameras with clever portrait mode
  • Upper-tier chipset and large battery
  • Sharp styling and impactful screen


  • Low-light photography isn’t that hot
  • Has to compete with very strong rivals


With phone camera hardware maturing at an astonishing rate, mobile manufacturers have started turning to the experts to help their handsets stand out. Leica, Zeiss and Hasselblad logos are a regular sight on many of the best smartphones – and now Honor is hoping to add another name to the list. It has teamed up with French portrait outfit Studio Harcourt, to train an AI to replicate the studio’s signature style. The Honor 200 Pro is first in line to get it.

There’s more to shout about than a mode that mimics iconic black-and-white portraits, however. The 200 Pro is taking on mainstream rivals such as the Google Pixel 8 and Samsung Galaxy S24 with a powerful Qualcomm chipset, curved-edge AMOLED display and an oversized battery. Naturally, it doesn’t skimp on camera hardware, either.

As a result, the price has stepped up from the mid-range territory previous Honor efforts have occupied. Does the Honor 200 Pro make a case for itself – or would you be better off with the more affordable Honor 200 model (no Pro)? Let’s see how I’ve got on with it over the last couple of weeks.

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Design & build: bling ring

The Honor 200 Pro takes a welcome step up on the styling front from the outgoing Honor 90. It merges two rear camera bumps into one, with a shape apparently inspired by the Gaudí-designed Casa Milà building in Barcelona. It’s very nicely designed. Honor is coy about the materials used, but the polished metal frame and frosted glass rear panel felt like the real deal to me, rather than polycarbonate pastiches.

I thought the way the screen curves in slightly towards the frame on all four sides was subtle, keeping unwanted reflections to a minimum and made the phone very comfortable to hold. Google, Samsung and others might’ve returned to flat displays for their high-end heroes, but that just helps the Honor 200 Pro stand out more from its rivals – which is a really hard feat these days.

It’s only 8.2mm thin for the most part, and at 199g is hardly a heavyweight for such a large (6.78in) phone. The camera bump protrudes out a reasonable way, but not so much I was catching it on my jeans or jacket pockets when taking it out or putting it away. It isn’t the most stable placed on a table, however.

Officially this phone is IP65 rated, which means it’ll survive heavy rain showers but not full submersion. That puts it slightly on the back foot compared to some alternatives, especially at this price point.

The in-display fingerprint sensor was extremely quick, but as is now the norm you hardly need it with facial recognition.

My review unit was the Moonlight White variant, which had a faint pearl-like finish at the rear I thought was particularly easy on the eyes – but others I spoke to didn’t like it that much and thought it looked cheap. It does a fantastic job of hiding fingerprints, too. The Ocean Cyan version has a two-tone pattern – part glossy and reflective, part textured matte – that feels refreshingly unique in the phone world. Of course, there’s also a black version, which is nowhere near as distinctive, and will almost certainly be the biggest seller. Boo hiss boo.

Screen & sound: dim to win

With OLED now the norm everywhere apart from the entry-level, it was a given Honor would use the tech for its newest arrivals. The 200 Pro’s 6.78in panel ticks all the usual boxes, with a Full HD+ resolution, adaptive 120Hz refresh rate, and peak HDR brightness of 4000 nits – up there with some of the best flagships currently on sale.

I had no trouble reading the screen clearly while outdoors on various sunny days. Viewing angles are excellent, everything looked perfectly sharp at arms’ length, and colours were wonderfully vibrant. Dark images had the deep, inky blacks I’d expect of OLED, and there’s plenty of scope for adjustment in the Settings menu if you prefer a more natural tone.

Honor regularly prioritises eye comfort, and the 200 Pro is no exception. It has rapid 3840Hz PWM Dimming, which all but guarantees flicker-free viewing even when lowering the brightness to its lowest, and an adaptive mode kicks in automatically when the light gets low. Testing body TÜV Rheinland has given it two thumbs up for its Flicker Free Display and Full Care Display measurements. That’ll be bad news for late-night doomscrollers trying to kick the habit, but very handy all the same.

The Honor 200 Pro’s speakers are as good as it tends to get on a phone. They have a downfiring main driver/earpiece tweeter combo that’s practically universally used at this point, and the Quick Settings screen offers a very confident “200%” volume slider. We listened to the radio and some podcasts while around the house and didn’t immediately feel the need to reach for a Bluetooth speaker, though you’ll want to for music listening, of course.

Cameras: French fancy

The rear camera bump isn’t plastered in company logos and doesn’t scream too loudly about the sensors contained inside, but there’s no question photography is the Honor 200 Pro’s main event. It has two 50MP units – one main, one telephoto – plus a 12MP ultrawide at the rear. There’s also a 50MP selfie cam up front, so isn’t short when it comes to pixel count.

Both the lead lens and the telephoto have optical image stabilisation, with the latter being good for 2.5x optical zoom. 50x digital zoom is also on hand, but don’t expect it to perform miracles; anything beyond 10x is asking a lot of the upscaling algorithms, even in perfect light. I wasn’t that impressed by the results when we were taking long-range shots and they looked noisy and over-processed. The ultrawide camera can also macro focus from as close as 2.5cm. You can get some good results from it, but it can be difficult to get it focused.

A 2.5x optical zoom is less than some rivals, which usually opt for 3x lenses, but it produces a 68mm equivalent snap – an especially flattering focal length for portrait shots. That creates a great baseline for the Studio Harcourt-backed portrait mode, which uses an AI model based on 100,000 photos from the studio’s archive to replicate their lighting and shadow effects. You do need to select the Studio Harcourt option when in Portrait mode, so it is a constant opt-in rather than something you can set as a default.

Two of the rear camera sensors calculate the bokeh effects, which is why Honor won’t be back-porting it to pricier phones such as the Magic 6 Pro or Magic V2. I first got to try it out in the studio itself, with a photographer, lighting engineer and model replicating the actual process on a digital SLR first.

The monochrome mode boosts shadows and blurs the background in a way that gets impressively close to the real thing, while the two colour modes let you pick between more natural or vibrant hues. Our shots using the mode in wild found we needed to keep the subject absolutely still to avoid nasty blurring of their facial features.

While Roland Barthes might’ve said “you’re not an actor if you’ve not been photographed by Harcourt”, I’m not convinced much of the phone-buying public are aware of the studio. It’s a nice inclusion you’ll use on occasion, rather than a camera-wide function like Xiaomi’s Leica Vibrant and Leica Authentic modes.

Happily though, the rest of the camera setup looks to be very capable indeed. Based on testing in a mix of lighting conditions, Honor’s image processing is on point, with natural-looking colours, wide dynamic range, and plenty of detail across all three lenses. HDR produced convincing skies and areas of shadow in the same shot, and the telephoto held up well once hybrid zoom and algorithmic magnification was brought into play. Low-light performance was a more testing issue and the results were a little noisy at times – it could definitely be better and isn’t a patch on the Pixel’s Night Sight for example.

Software experience: that’s magic

The 200 Pro is the first mid-ranger to get Honor’s latest MagicOS 8.0 interface, which is based on Android 14. Existing Honor owners will feel right at home, with apps spread across multiple homescreen pages rather than hidden in a drawer, and an extensive selection of card-based widgets. I do wish the firm would give it a proper visual overhaul, though – it still feels an awful lot like a Huawei castoff in places.

Honor’s own-brand apps can feel a little overwhelming if you’re used to Google’s own, which also come preinstalled. I couldn’t spot any major bloatware offenders though, while the 200 Pro doesn’t foist anything on you during the initial setup. But it still feels like there’s too much to wade through to do what you want to do.

This is the first time Honor’s Magic Capsule has made it to a mid-range phone. The iOS-inspired notification drawer lives inside the pill-shaped camera cutout, putting things like alarms, music controls and call timers on display when you need them and minimising when you don’t. It has a long way to go to catching up to the usefulness of Apple’s Dynamic Island, but I’m happy to see the firm continuing to develop it and it’s very welcome.

Context-sensitive AI is a useful addition; Magic Portal lets you drag text or images onto a sidebar to get related info, and the phone can suggest Google Maps when it spots an address in an incoming message.

Performance & battery life: mighty mid-ranger

The Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 chipset is fast becoming a regular sight in the upper-midrange; Motorola used one for the Edge 50 Ultra, and now Honor is on board for the 200 Pro. The 8-core chip is almost as speedy as Qualcomm’s flagship silicon, and is paired with a healthy 12GB of RAM here.

As you’d expect, that translates to a wonderfully slick experience on the Android home screen, with apps loading quickly, animations looking flawlessly smooth, and pages scrolling with zero stutter. I was able to quickly dive between multiple apps without it needing to reload them, too. If you don’t care about synthetic benchmark scores, I expect you’ll be very happy with the performance on tap.

Gaming is coped with admirably and Call of Duty Mobile zipped along. Developers usually optimise their apps specifically for Qualcomm hardware, so it’s not really surprising. There’s a 10% larger vapor chamber cooling system than the outgoing Honor 90.

Honor has been generous with its storage for a while now, so it’s great to see the Honor 200 Pro continue that trend. It ships with a 512GB capacity, which keen photographers will find is easily enough room for thousands of photos and video clips. Rivals at this price hover between 128GB and 256GB, which fill up a lot faster than you think.

The Honor 200 Pro’s huge 5200mAh battery is very capacious and can go well into a second day before needing to be topped up – put it this way, you’ve been using it a lot if you need to charge by the end of the first day. You won’t have to hang around once it’s plugged in, either, with rapid 100W wired charging. That’s speedy enough for a complete refuel in under three quarters of an hour. Wireless charging is a welcome inclusion for a mid-ranger, especially as it can manage 66W if you have a compatible wireless pad.

Honor 200 Pro verdict

Honor 200 Pro hands-on review homescreen

Now that an Honor Magic 6 Pro flagship will set you back north of four figures, the Honor 200 Pro feels like a logical next step for the firm. It fills in the mainstream, upper-midrange gap in a way previous generations didn’t, with a top-end chipset, huge battery, and very capable cameras – even if the headline portrait feature will most likely be sparingly used.

I think there’s definitely still room for improvement on the software front, and there seems to be far fewer fans of curved-edge screens than there used to be. Near-identical pricing to the Google Pixel 8 and Samsung Galaxy S24 feels bold, too for a brand which doesn’t have the same recognition as those other names. But there’s no denying it feels every bit as premium in the hand as those phones.

So it’s a very tempting alternative that really holds its own among rivals.

Stuff Says…

Score: 4/5

The 200 Pro sees Honor take a confident stride out of the mid-range and into ‘mainstream flagship’ territory. It’s a lot of phone for your cash, with clever camera features you won’t get anywhere else – though the competition is fierce.


Convincing cameras with clever portrait mode

Upper-tier chipset and large battery

Sharp styling and impactful screen


Low-light photography isn’t that hot

Has to compete with very strong rivals

Honor 200 Pro technical specifications

Screen6.7in, 2700×1224, 120Hz AMOLED
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 8s Gen 3
Cameras50MP, f/1.9 main w/ OIS + 50MP, f/2.4 telephoto w/ OIS + 12MP, f/2.2 ultrawide w/ macro focus rear
50MP front
Operating systemAndroid 14
Battery5200mAh w/ 100W wired, 66W wireless charging
Dimensions163x75x8.2mm, 199g
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