There are two separate types of competitors to the Honor Magic 2, at least the way we see it. In the first group we have other handsets that sport some sort of mechanical solution to the most pressing design issue of the day - what to do with the selfie camera if we want to have nothing but display on the face of the phone?
The vivo NEX S was the pioneer in pop-up cameras and is due for a replacement in a number of days. Even so, the original NEX still packs current hardware, having come out six months ago in June. The NEX deals with the issue at hand through a small motorized assembly that only needs to carry a single selfie cam.
Then there's the Oppo Find X, the latest generation Find phone that a lot of people thought was never going to happen. It puts all three of its cams on a motorized tray that also has to pop up every time you unlock the handset for the face recognition to work. Of course, the top-class internals go without saying.
Narrowly beating the Magic 2 by less than a week, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 is the other high-end mechanical slider you may want to get. Physically very similar, the Mix has a telephoto camera on the back vs. the Magic's ultra wide and monochrome extras, while being one depth sensor short of the Honor's 2 on the front is hardly a differentiator.
The Lenovo Z5 Pro is the third slider to come out of China, a day after the Magic 2. Again, virtually the same design conceptually, identically sized AMOLED display, dual-cameras front and back, and all of it at a little over half the price of the Honor slider. The catch? The Z5 Pro is more of a midranger, powered by the Snapdragon 710.
With the sliders accounted for, we have to point our attention to the more sensible choices too. High on that list is the OnePlus 6T. Itself having a camera it can't strictly justify, the 6T does take much better pictures with the other one that does make sense, and its take on Android has much subtler customizations.
When it comes to cameras, it's probably the Xiaomi Mi 8 that'll give you the best image quality per dollar. It is, however, notably lacking in coolness factor - it's neither a slider, nor does it have an under-display fingerprint sensor.
Neither does the Galaxy S9+, but it's still the current Samsung flagship, the S-Pen-less one that is. All of its cameras are there for a reason, it's got a memory slot and a headphone jack, plus it's dust and water resistant. It's no slider though, clearly.
Another non-slider, and this one from Huawei's own lineup , the P20 Pro is still a very capable phone and even though its Kirin is a generation older than the Magic 2's we'd argue the P20's triple camera is much better than the Honor's triple camera.
Looking back on the time we spent with the Honor Magic 2, it's clearly not a bad phone. It's got a very good display, battery life is plenty, and... we may sound like a broken record here, but... it's a slider!
It has, however, failed us in an area we hold dear, and that's despite packing a ton of hardware - 6 cameras are fine and dandy, but the end results are merely passable. Alright, the monochrome photos are actually pretty nice, but that's 1 out of 6.
The thing is, you can never have it all. If you're after one of the coolest designs out on the market now, 5 out of 6 uninspiring cameras shouldn't stop you.