HONOR 200 Pro Review: Iconic Studio Harcourt Portrait Style In Your Smartphone

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Last week, HONOR launched its 200 series globally in Paris, with the HONOR 200 lite,  200, and 200 Pro in Europe and the UK. Preorders started yesterday for the 200 and the 200 Pro on HONOR.com/uk, at £499.99 RRP and £699.99 RRP, respectively.

On the HONOR French website, the HONOR 200 Pro costs 799,90 €, while the 200 model is offered at 649,90 €.

The most powerful model, the HONOR 200 Pro, is equipped with the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 (12GB/512GB), while the HONOR 200 has a Snapdragon 7 Gen 3. The camera module is mostly similar; the main shooter on the Pro version has better specs, a brighter lens, and a larger pixel size.

An Excellent Portrait Mode, With Studio Harcourt’s Style

What sets the Honor 200 Pro apart is its amazing portrait mode experience, designed in partnership with the iconic photo studio Harcourt. Harcourt became famous in the 1930s for its timeless portraits of celebrities such as Marlene Dietrich, Josephine Baker, Brigitte Bardot, , Edith Piaf, and Keanu Reeves, to name a few.

Named after its founder, Colette Harcourt, the Parisian Studio Harcourt collaborated with HONOR to enable the phone maker’s AI Portrait Engine to reproduce Harcourt’s unique use of light and shadows for black-and-white portraits.

The collaboration brought together more than 20 experts from Studio Harcourt and HONOR, who worked on the AI algorithm to deliver the iconic Harcourt photo style on a camera phone.

The phone maker reported that for over 400 days, the HONOR/Harcourt task force examined more than 1,000 lighting scenarios and trained the AI using over 10,000 photos from Studio Harcourt’s 91-year history.

The same portraits were shot at Studio Harcourt in Paris on the right with the Honor 200 Pro

For the first time in a while, I am excited by the portrait mode on a mobile device! HONOR’s AI Engine significantly enhances the aesthetics of my portrait shots and effortlessly makes my friends and family look their best. The Harcourt effects are designed for the telephoto and main (wide) cameras.

During our photoshoot session at Studio Harcourt, we directly compared a portrait that a professional photographer took with his high-end camera with the same shot captured by the HONOR 200 Pro. Surprisingly, the smartphone delivered nearly identical aesthetics. While there are slight differences—the smartphone photo is more contrasted, whereas the image shot with the professional camera exhibits softer lights and shadows—they are minimal. (See photo above for reference.)

Shot with the Harcourt option in portrait mode with the HONOR 200 Pro
Shot in regular photo mode with the HONOR 200 Pro

The Harcourt option in portrait mode performs well, even in regular lighting outside the studio. It adds depth and subtle shadows to photos, enhancing the resulting image (see teo photos above). When used to capture food and items (see two photos below), the shots were noticeably more appealing than those taken in standard photo mode. It is important to keep in mind that this custom mode is merely a real-time automated filtering feature that can be achieved through skilled use of Photoshop. It has nothing to do with the image quality captured by the sensor.

At the launch event in Paris HONOR announced a collaboration with portrait photographer Rankin, renowned for his shots of celebrities ranging from David Bowie to the late Queen Elizabeth II. Further details on the partnership will be revealed in the coming weeks.

Shot with the Harcourt option in portrait mode with the HONOR 200 Pro
Shot regular photo mode with the HONOR 200 Pro

Camera: A triple Shooter With Very Good Performance For The Price

  • Main (wide) 27 mm: 50 MP, f/1.9, 1/1.3″, 1.2µm, PDAF, OIS
  • Telephoto 70 mm: 50 MP, f/2.4, PDAF, OIS, 2.5x optical zoom
  • Ultrawide 16 mm: 12 MP, f/2.2, 112˚ (ultrawide), AF
  • Selfie: 50 MP and 2 MP depth sensor

The rear camera module is positioned to rival premium smartphones from top manufacturers, such as the Samsung Galaxy S24 or the Xiaomi 13T Pro. However, the device is not meant to compete with more expensive flagship phones such as the Galaxy S24 Ultra, the HONOR Magic 6 Pro, or the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

By comparison, The Galaxy S24 ($799.99 at launch), features only one 50 MP sensor for the main triple camera module, and the selfie sensor is only 12 MP.

The main camera gets the best technical specifications with a 50MP 1/1.3″sensor combined with a fast f/1.9 lens. The 70 mm telephoto with 2.5X optical zoom delivers good results even when shooting against the light and zooming on a small text in the shadow. In ultra-low light conditions, all lenses need a long exposure to deliver decent shots, while the more expensive HONOR Magic 6 Pro does not require that. The selfie camera gets a good 50 MP resolution and a sufficiently wide field of view to shoot a group of people.

On the video side, the 200 Pro features up to 4K at 60 fps for the telephoto and main cameras and up to 4K at 30 fps for the selfie and the ultrawide.

The camera tech specifications list is excellent for the price point, and the unique “Harcourt-style” portrait mode makes it even more attractive.

Excellent Display

One cannot focus on photography excellence without pairing it with a high-quality display, and HONOR does not disappoint in that department. The device features a stunning 6.78-inch four-edge curved OLED display that is incredibly bright, offering a theoretical peak brightness of 4000 nits for clear viewing even in direct sunlight. The OnePlus 12 beats it with 4500 nits, while Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S24 Ultra pushes 2600 nits. With a resolution of 1224×2700, the screen provides a high pixel density of 437 PPI. The 200 Pro supports a 120 Hz refresh rate; however, HONOR did not disclose any information on its variability.

Design

HONOR’s design language prominently features circular, protruding camera modules on its phones. For the 200 Pro, the company drew inspiration from Barcelona’s Casa Mila to create a large, thick, and elliptical-shaped camera bump, which makes the design truly stand out.

I suspect thicker camera housings improve optical performance while allowing the rest of the chassis to remain thin and light. HONOR cleverly turns a technical challenge into a marketing advantage by creating distinctive camera module designs with fancy names and citing masterpieces as inspiration.

The HONOR 200 Pro is available in Moonlight White, Black, and Ocean Cyan. I particularly love my white model, which features a subtle, wavy, and smooth texture on the back that resists fingerprints but is slightly slippery. The curved edges on both the front and back make it very comfortable to hold, and the smooth texture feels great.

Good Performance

To keep costs in check and offer a device with very good photography performance, HONOR opted for the 7-core Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 SoC, which has one less performance core (Cortex A720) than the 8 gen 3. All its seven cores run at a slightly slower clock speed than the 8 Gen 3’s eight cores. However, the Snapdragon 8s Gen 3 is still a powerful processor and can handle most heavy workloads, such as gaming and multitasking, with very good responsiveness.

Benchmark results on my unit: Wildlife Extreme 3070, Geekbench 6 Single core 1955, Geekbench 6 Multi-core 4736, Geekbench compute (Vulkan) 9744, GFXBench:

Massive Battery With Fast Charging

Launched in 2023 at MWC, the HONOR silicon-carbon battery technology boasts a 12.8% higher energy density and has been incorporated into the 200 series. This 5200 mAh battery offers up to 61 hours of continuous music streaming on a single charge, according to the manufacturer. The battery life is impressive, typically lasting a full day or more with standard use, though I did not test it under continuous heavy workloads.

The box includes the 100W wired HONOR charger featuring SuperCharge technology. It charged the battery from 1% to 45% in 15 minutes and to 81% in 30 minutes (on the U.S. grid), which is remarkably fast for such a large battery. A full charge takes just 45 minutes.

Conclusion: A Portrait Powerhouse With All The Specifications Needed In A Premium Smartphone

The HONOR 200 Pro is an excellent premium smartphone with unique photographic capabilities that are offered at a good price. It is an excellent alternative to the HONOR Magic 6 Pro for budget-conscious consumers.

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