OPINION: Honor has been making a big splash at this year’s MWC in Barcelona. The company has three major phones to brag about at the show, but it was a statement made by Honor CEO George Zhao during a Q&A session that really got my attention.
When asked about any potential plans to release a phone in the same vein as the Galaxy Z Flip 4, Mr Zhao decried the form factor as being centred around “status” rather than functionality. As part of his response, Mr Zhao also admitted that he sees more potential in the centre-fold style that can be seen in the company’s new Honor Magic Vs smartphone. While such a statement might infuriate Galaxy Z Flip adopters, I find myself in agreement with Mr Zhao.
While touring the halls of MWC, I have been using the Honor Magic Vs as my main handset, and while you can expect to read our final verdict in due course, I’m quite surprised over just how much use I’ve gotten from the device’s main 7.9-inch display.
The typing experience on a larger screen is a great deal easier, which has helped immensely with the copious amounts of note-taking I’ve had to keep up with, and when I’ve needed to respond to a colleague via Slack or email, I’ve been able to have that secondary app hover above in a smaller window so that I never miss a chance to jot something down if some important information reaches my ears.
There’s also the far more obvious benefit to having a larger display in that documents, photos and articles are far more easier to read and look at. In fact, I’ve found myself reaching for the Honor Magic Vs more than my iPad over the course of this trip, for the sheer fact that the convenience of having that larger screen in my pocket continues to win out.
I’m not convinced that flip phones are entirely without merit – they still present an intriguing prospect for content creators, as their form factor and outer displays mean that you can set up a make-shift tripod at any time and even use the superior rear-facing cameras for selfies. The problem is that I could find a similar, or even superior, experience just from buying a dedicated tripod or smartphone gimbal, whereas there isn’t a way for me to add the benefits of a larger display to an existing smartphone – it’s either a case of opt for a folding phone or carry around a tablet.
The only major problem standing in the way of foldable phones is the cost, and I don’t see a remedy coming anytime soon. Honor has unveiled a €1599 price for the Magic Vs, which isn’t that far off the high-end Galaxy Z Fold 4. And so long as flip phones come at a more affordable rate, they’ll continue to be a tempting prospect to consumers. Honor is definitely on to something, but whether or not foldables get their day in the sun remains to be seen.