As with their smartphones, Honor accessories always look the part and it’s not a case of style over substance either, thanks to the technological clout of parent company Huawei.
Honor accessories have the same great design and value for money you find on the brand’s smartphones.
The smooth white case also functions as a mobile charging dock. The case can be charged separately via its USB-C port. Once fully charged, it can top up the earbuds battery and provide over 13 additional hours of use.
As much as they resemble the Apple AirPods, the design of the Honor Magic Earbuds and their charging case follow a slightly different direction. The earbuds lie flat and fall into place as you drop them into the case thanks to a series of magnetic clasps.
The Earbuds come with a selection of ear tips of different sizes. Still, I found the standard pair perfectly suitable for regular on and off use and surprisingly comfortable after wearing them for a good two hours. Compared to the Apple AirPods, the earpiece has a less streamlined shape, but this was never a problem during testing.
Pairing the Honor Magic Earbuds is simple. Setting up the earphones can be even easier by using the "Huawei AI Life" App, which is available from both the Google Play Store and Huawei App Gallery. The app guides you through the pairing, and all you need to do is hold the button at the back of the case for three seconds while the earphones are inside, and the lid is open. The app detects the device and takes care of updating the Bluetooth connection on your phone.
*The Huawei device management app can be downloaded on any Android phone and makes connecting and managing the Honor earbuds an easy task. It provides information on the remaining charge of each earbud as well as the charging case, and it also includes customisation of control gestures.
The Honor Magic Earbuds support several touch controls activated by a slight tap to the back of each earpiece. They can be customised using the Huawei AI Life app so that a double-tap triggers Play/Pause, Next or Previous Track. Earbuds can be set up individually so you can find the best configuration for your tastes. Noise cancellation can also be toggled by touch.
Touch and hold either earbud if you need some extra insulation from the outside world. The touch-to-play is a very handy feature as the earbuds will pause the music automatically when removed. If that happens, like when you want to pause the music to talk to someone in person, for instance, you can just remove an earbud to pause, then place it back and double tap to start the music again.
Great for calling but not for audiophiles
Despite Honor's promises of high-quality audio, the Magic Earbuds are not going to win any prizes when it comes to music reproduction. I struggled to encounter the "Powerful Bass" promised by Honor and instead experienced some frustration because of the attempt at artificial enhancement. More notable in tracks that include a gap between high and low ends. Smooth Jazz, Pop and Classic sound well enough to satisfy most people, but if you're after an immersive experience, you should probably look elsewhere.
One important thing I found out while testing was that unless you're using a Huawei/Honor device to Play music, the earbuds Bluetooth connection will not enable AAC high quality audio. To enable it, find the Magic Earbuds in your Bluetooth settings and then toggle "High Quality Sound".
Enabling High-Quality Audio in the Bluetooth settings is a one-off fix that will improve the sound quality.
Noise cancellation, primarily when used for phone calls, is as good as it gets. If what you're looking for is crystal clears conversations undisturbed by background noise, crowds of traffic, the Magic Earbuds delivers great performance at half the cost of the likes of Apple.
Battery life can be limited if you choose high quality sound mode
Battery life looks good on paper, with Honor promising 3.5 hours of music listening, but in real life usage, mixing up media and calls, things can be quite different. High Quality Sound mode will affect charge considerably as it makes that charge time go down to just less than 3 hours. If you plan to use them frequently during the day, you’ll find yourself reaching for the charging case where the battery will be replenished from 0 to 100% in about an hour.
The charging case itself charges up quite quickly, topping a depleted battery in about 1.5 hours, and it will guarantee at least three full charges of the earbuds.
I was impressed by the Huawei AI Life App. It works flawlessly and it is a must have companion for the Honor earbuds.
You will not find a better pair of good quality wireless earbuds with active noise cancelling for less than £100.
Audiophiles may be disappointed but as multipurpose wireless earbuds go, there are not many alternatives at this price point.
Noise cancelling is excellent, and despite some reservation when it comes to battery life, they are a dependable pair of earphones at a reasonable price.
The Sony WF-1000XM3 have similar specs and represent a valid alternative, but you're unlikely to find them at less than £160. If you already own a Samsung device, the Samsung Galaxy Buds are also worth a look. Retailing at £160, they have superior audio quality and work best when paired with a Samsung phone.
Buy the Honor Magic Earbuds from the HiHonor website.
Check out our review of the new Honor 9X Pro