The Honor Magic V2 has the best design of any folding phoneon September 1, 2023 at 09:00 Tech Advisor


Almost two months after its initial launch, the Honor Magic V2 is coming to European markets, even though Honor still won’t confirm a price or release date.

We’ve known almost all the key specs since July, so there are no big surprises here. Honor’s third book-style foldable is a refined version of the Magic Vs, which itself only launched globally in February.

Like most flagship Android devices in 2023, it’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. A 6.43in cover screen opens to reveal a 7.92in inner display. Both are OLED, and have an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate.

Three rear cameras (50Mp main, 50Mp ultrawide, 20Mp telephoto) are joined by 16Mp selfie lenses at the top of both displays, while there’s a respectable 5000mAh battery. 66W wired charging is here, even if there’s no wireless charging.

So far, so unremarkable as far as foldables go. But what stands the Magic V2 above the competition is how it feels to use, something you can never judge from specs alone.

After spending time with the device, I can confidently say this is as good as foldable phone design gets right now. The slick hardware retains all the versatility of a phone-tablet hybrid, yet avoids some of its usual drawbacks.

The Magic V2 can be used as a phone, tablet or in the ‘hover mode’ shown above

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

Let’s start with the thickness, or lack thereof. At 9.9mm when closed, Honor says the Magic V2 is the world’s thinnest folding phone, and much closer to a regular handset than the 13.4mm Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5.

3.5mm might not sound like much, but it makes a big difference. Choosing this book-style foldable no longer means having to put up with such a bulky design, making me much more inclined to use one. Rather than being a marketing gimmick, a thinner foldable feels like a genuine step forward.

The Magic V2 also sets new standards when it comes to weight. At 231g, it’s lighter than not only all other book-style foldables, but also regular flagship phones such as the iPhone 14 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

As someone who’s using the S23 Ultra at the moment, picking up the Magic V2 was a real shock – in a good way. But it doesn’t feel like durability has been sacrificed to get there, with Honor claiming it can last for up to 400,000 folds.

The 7.93in inner display certainly looks the part, but the 6.43in cover screen is even more impressive. Not only is it an attractive 120Hz OLED, it stretches right to the edge of the front panel like a regular smartphone.

Rather than the awkwardly narrow cover display of some book-style foldables, the one on the Magic V2 feels very comfortable to use. The option to turn it into a small tablet (complete with barely-noticeable crease) is there, but you don’t always need it.

From the front, the Magic V2 looks like a regular smartphone

Anyron Copeman / Foundry

However, as good as the device feels to use, question marks remain. The Magic V2 runs a full version of Android (including all Google apps), but Honor is yet to prove that it can optimise the MagicOS skin for foldables. Samsung’s One UI still has it beat for pure utility. Software finesse was the main weakness of the Magic Vs, and I haven’t spent long enough with its successor to decide if it’s been fully addressed.

Then there are the cameras. Results from both the rear sensors and selfie lens were impressive in brief testing, but that was in a well-lit room in the middle of the day. It remains to be seen whether the Magic V2 can deliver a true flagship-level photography experience.

And then there’s the price, which could make or break the Magic V2. The Chinese starting price (¥8,999, around $1,250/£970) isn’t a reliable indicator, but it may be close to the Magic Vs (from £1,399/€1,599).

It’ll probably need to undercut both the Z Fold 5 (from $1,799.99/£1,749) and Pixel Fold (from $1,799/£1,749) to make an impression in the UK and Europe. A release date is also yet to be confirmed, but don’t expect the Magic V2 to ever come to North America.


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