Foldables have been mainstream for a few years now, and while they now feature lighter hinges and more durable designs, they're still heavier and not as easy to use as traditional phones. Honor is aiming to change that narrative with the Magic V2. The foldable launched in China back in July, and made its debut in global markets at IFA.
There's a lot of excitement around the Magic V2, and it comes down to one thing: design. The foldable weighs just 231g — 22g less than the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and 3g less than the Galax S23 Ultra — but that's not its biggest achievement; where it truly excels is the svelte profile. Coming in at a thickness of 9.9mm when folded and an insane 4.6mm when unfolded, the Magic V2 is in a league of its own in this particular area.
To give you some context, the Magic V2 makes the Galaxy Z Fold 5 look outdated; Samsung's latest foldable feels too heavy and cumbersome to use next to it, and the hinge articulation isn't as smooth. The best part is that the Magic V2 has a larger 6.43-inch outer screen that mimics the feel of a traditional phone — unlike the too-narrow cover screen on the Z Fold 5 — and the 7.92-inch inner screen is one of the largest of any foldable.
Honor was able to do all this and still bring the overall weight down to 231g, and that's no small feat. More than any other foldable, the Magic V2 feels just right in-hand, and while the weight certainly has a lot to do with it, the thin profile also goes a long way in making the feel closer to a regular phone. Sure, it's a few millimeters thicker than the S23 Ultra, but that doesn't really affect usability.
In fact, I didn't feel the need to unfold the device most of the time. But that doesn't mean the inner screen isn't as good — far from it. Both the inner and outer screens feature OLED panels and go up to 120Hz, and they measure up to the Galaxy Z Fold 5 both in terms of color vibrancy and brightness levels.
Honor also made a lot of changes to the hinge, including adding more titanium and using fewer parts in its construction, and the result is immediately evident. The articulation is among the smoothest of any foldable I've used, and it offers a feature similar to Samsung's Flex Mode where the inner screen stays locked at various angles between 45 and 130 degrees — a big uptick over the Magic Vs.
The hinge system is touted to last 400,000 times, and in the little time I used the Magic V2, I didn't notice anything that would make me doubt its durability — the build quality is on par with the best foldable phones. The crease is also barely noticeable, and while it isn't quite as invisible as the Find N2 series, it is better than that of the Z Fold 5.
I also like the design changes that Honor made with this generation; the back features a vegan leather finish that feels great to hold in-hand — I prefer it to the glass back of the Magic Vs — and the sides don't have flat sides anymore. This makes unfolding the Magic V2 significantly easier, and at least in my usage, this is the biggest improvement.
While Honor introduced several design changes for the better, the one area where the Magic V2 lags behind the Z Fold 5 is ingress protection. It doesn't have any official IP rating, and this feature is still exclusive to Samsung's foldables. Rounding out the design, the camera housing at the back is nearly identical to the magic Vs, and the oblong design houses a trio of sensors — a 50MP main lens, 50MP wide-angle, and 20MP zoom lens with 2.5x optical zoom.
The Magic V2 isn't missing any features on the hardware side either, with the foldable outfitted with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and 16GB of RAM as standard. The base version has 256GB of storage, and there's 512GB and 1TB editions on sale — there's still no mention if the 1TB model will debut outside China. You get Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, dual-band GPS, and global 5G connectivity.
One area where the Magic V2 blazes ahead of its rivals is battery life. There's a large 5000mAh battery under the hood — 600mAh more than what you get on the Z Fold 5 — and it easily delivers the best battery life of any foldable device today. There's plenty to like on the charging front as well, with the phone offering 66W charging tech.
I can't talk about camera quality or software features my unit was running pre-production software, but the version that will go on sale globally has Magic OS 7.2 based on Android 13 out of the box. Honor guarantees three platform updates for the Magic V2, and while that's one less than what you get with the Z Fold 5, it is a good start.
To sum up, the Magic V2 feels like a technological breakthrough in foldable design, and I can't quite get past how light the foldable is — the svelte design and smooth hinge absolutely make a difference in daily use. Without getting too hyperbolic, the Magic V2 takes away one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to foldables: usability.
The device is just as light and easy to use as traditional phones, and that makes it much more alluring than what Samsung and Xiaomi have to offer at the moment. While Honor didn't officially reveal what the Magic V2 will cost globally, it is slated to be in line with last year's Magic Vs, and that means it will undercut the Galaxy Z Fold 5.
The only question left is when you can get your hands on the Magic V2. That's still some ways off, as Honor says the foldable will be available globally in Q1 2024 — at least three months away. That's a lengthy wait considering the phone had an official launch at IFA, but having used it for a week, I can say that it's worth it.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.
They're pulling a "Sony" by waiting several months after release to make available.Reply
Stupid move. Few will wait.