Honor Magic V2 hands-on: the new thinner foldable changes the game

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  • First impressions of the Honor Magic V2

Chinese phone brands are notoriously competitive and very quick to outdo each other. And that has led to some exciting races (for phone nerds like me, anyway), like 2017’s battle to have the thinnest bezels or 2018’s race to hide the selfie camera in creative ways. Now, we have the race to have the thinnest and lightest book-like foldout.

Xiaomi kicked the ball last summer with the Mix Fold 2, which was shockingly thin compared to anything else on the market at the time at 11.2mm (the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, by comparison, is between 14- 15mm). The Huawei Mate X3 surpassed that earlier this year, matching the slimness of the Mix Fold 2 by dropping the weight down to 239g. Now we have a new champion – the Honor Magic V2, which measures 9.9mm when folded and weighs 231g.

I held the Magic V2 in my hand and it felt like I was holding a regular slab phone. When folded, the Magic V2 has essentially the same footprint as the iPhone 14 Pro Max, except it’s even lighter. And again, when compared side-by-side with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, the difference in thickness is jarring.

The Magic V2 is only on sale in China for now, but I have a strong hunch (not officially confirmed by Honor) that this phone will go on sale in Asia and Europe later this fall.

Honor Magic V2

Honor Magic V2

The Honor Magic V2 is the thinnest and lightest foldable phone at just 9.9mm thick when folded and weighs 231g. It also packs a triple camera array and runs on Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2


Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

6.4-inch 120Hz OLED (external); 7.9-inch 120Hz OLED (internal)

16 GB

256GB, 512GB, 1TB


You bring

Operating system
MagicOS based on Android 13

Front camera
16MB cameras (one on each screen)

Rear cameras
50MP Main, 50MP Ultra Wide, 20MP Telephoto

156.7 x 145.4 x 4.7 mm (open); 156.7 x 74.1mm x 9.9mm (folded)

Black, Silk Black, Silk Purple, Gold

231 g

66W wired

Design and hardware

Feels just like a slab phone when folded

Main screen inside Honor Magic V2.

The Honor Magic V2’s fundamentals shouldn’t be anything an XDA reader hasn’t already seen: It’s a small 7.9-inch tablet with mostly square aspect ratio that folds like a book. When closed, you have a slab with a 6.4-inch external screen and a general design language similar to the Honor Magic Vs that launched earlier this year.

Honor Magic V2 when folded.

There are two main differences that distinguish it from other leaflets. The first is the aforementioned scaling. The Magic V2 measures just 4.7mm open and 9.9mm closed and weighs just 231g. This essentially solves one of the most common complaints about foldable phones: that they’re too bulky and heavy. I’ve been using the Google Pixel Fold as my daily driver for the past couple of weeks without much trouble, but after handling the Magic V2 for an hour, the Pixel Fold felt like a brick.

Honor engineers told me that to make the phone so thin, new components had to be designed, including an ultra-thin titanium hinge and a silicon-carbon battery with a 12.8% higher energy density, which allows to cram more juice into a smaller cell. Just look at the photo below to see how thin the hinge and batteries are.

Honor Magic V2 hinge and battery

The titanium hinge and silicon-carbon battery of the Honor Magic V2 are both extremely thin.

The battery is especially mind blowing. The Magic V2 uses two cells to combine for 5,000mAh of power, and the batteries could fit in the credit card sleeves of my wallet.

Honor Magic V2, its titanium hinge and battery cells

Honor Magic V2, its titanium hinge and battery cells

The zipper, despite its sheen, felt sturdy. It’s not as stiff as Samsung’s, but it can stay in place at various angles, and Honor says it’s been tested to withstand 400,000 bends. There’s no official IP water resistance rating, but Hnor’s engineers said the phone has been tested to resist splashing water.

The second thing that sets Magic V2 apart from other foldables is that it has stylus support for Both screens. The stylus is included in the China retail package.

Both displays are LTPO OLED panels with refresh rates up to 120Hz and resolutions above 1080p but below WQHD+. The external screen has a maximum brightness of 2,600 nits, making it the brightest new screen of any smartphone (including slabs). I also like the 20:9 format, which is more in line with conventional phones. The maximum brightness of the internal panel is lower, at 1,600 nits.

Honor Magic V2

Unsurprisingly, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip is the silicon of choice for this flagship, paired with 16GB of RAM. For optics, the phone also looks quite good. The main system consists of a 50MP main camera with f/1.9 aperture, 50MP ultra wide-angle and 20MP telephoto zoom that can perform 2.5X telephoto zoom. There are two 16MP selfie cameras built into each screen.

Cameras Honor Magic V2

I’ve only had limited time with the phone and was told the software wasn’t final, so I haven’t been able to pull photo samples from the device, but from what I’ve seen, the cameras appear to be an upgrade from the already good Honor Magic Vs cameras. Zoom shots looked sharp up to 10X, and the main camera, despite the small 1/1.7-inch sensor, produces a nice software-assisted bokeh around subjects.


Too early to tell

Honor Magic V2

The Magic Vs runs Honor’s MagicOS based on Android 13. The software I tested was far from final, so I couldn’t do much about it, but it’s worth noting that the devices had Google Mobile Services running (as I said, I a strong idea a global rollout is on the way). I haven’t been the biggest fan of Honor’s MagicOS, as I dislike the giant app icons, the lack of a system tray, and the need to reach to the top of the screen to access the notification panel. All of these issues are still there, but I think Honor’s multitasking system, especially for foldable devices, is among the best in the business.

I’m happy to report that the camera app will actually take advantage of the foldable nature of the phone and move the viewfinder to the top half of the screen when folded in half in an L shape. The Honor Magic Vs camera app still doesn’t l I last checked two weeks ago.

First impressions of the Honor Magic V2

Honor Magic V2 in two colors

I am very, very impressed with the Honor Magic V2’s hardware and think it has reached a weight/thickness level that is already great, meaning any further reductions will just be icing on the cake. Functionally, the Magic V2 has already solved all the tradeoffs of using a foldable phone in recent years. This thing, when folded, feels just like a regular flagship phone in my hand.

Obviously, this phone doesn’t interest most Americans because even when Honor rolls it out “globally,” it will still shut out the North American market. This made covering the smartphone scene for an American-focused website a bit of an odd exercise. Either we have to pretend Chinese brands don’t exist — which is why some tech sites call the Pixel Fold the “thinnest foldable” when that isn’t true — or cover cutting-edge Chinese phones and recommend something else down the line.

In two weeks we will see the unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5. While I think Samsung’s software will be more refined, it will almost certainly be noticeably heavier and thicker than the Magic V2. And after keeping the Magic V2, I don’t know if I can go back to anything thicker.

#Honor #Magic #handson #thinner #foldable #game
Image Source : www.xda-developers.com

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