OPINION: Honor has finally revealed UK pricing and availability for the deliciously thin and light foldable Magic V2. In fact, the phone is already up for sale at Honor, and it’ll be available from other retailers from 2 February. The problem? It’s just a little bit too expensive, starting at £1699.
Foldables are, and always have been, expensive high-end tech, but as with most forms of technology, there should be some kindle of trickle-down effect that helps bring the price down over time. We’ve started to see that with flip-style foldables like the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5; while the original Z Flip came in at £1300, the latest model costs £1,049, and others can be found at the sub-£1000 mark.
The same can’t be said for book-style foldables though, with prices remaining at around the same £1600-£1900 point as the original Galaxy Z Fold cost back in 2019.
That’s why I was so hopeful for the Honor Magic V2. Honor has a bit of a reputation for offering high-end tech with all the bells and whistles at a cheaper price point than the competition. We’ve seen it multiple times, from the Honor Magic 5 Pro and its £949 price tag to the 2023 foldable, the £1399 Honor Magic Vs.
In fact, it’s specifically the latter that made me so excited about the Magic V2’s EU pricing reveal in Leipzig this week; with Honor making a significant effort to undercut the competition on its previous generation foldable, it made sense for that trend to continue with the Honor Magic V2 – especially when combined with the incredible design of the foldable, the thinnest and lightest of its kind to date.
That, however, wasn’t the case. Instead, Honor has increased the price of its foldable tech, going from £1399 with the Magic Vs to £1699 with the Magic V2. Granted, that’s still £50 cheaper than the competing Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Pixel Fold, but it’s a £300 jump nonetheless.
It’s also £100 more than the OnePlus Open, a phone that I praised extremely highly when I had it in for review, not just for its design but camera prowess and unique foldable software. That, in my mind, is still the ultimate all-round foldable in the market as it stands – but you’ll have to read my full review to see why.
When it comes to Honor’s latest foldable, the issue is essentially two-fold: brand recognition and timing.
Let’s tackle the latter first; timing. The Honor Magic V2 was initially announced in China way back in July 2023, before making its initial European debut at IFA 2023. At that point, I first got to use the phone and was told that it’d be available soon. Then October, November and December rolled by with nothing from Team Honor.
Finally, we’re here in late January, almost five months after its IFA 2023 debut, and the Honor Magic V2 is ready to be released. The problem is that it’s a smartphone with a 2023 spec. Granted, it’s a high-end 2023 spec with the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset as the OnePlus Open and Galaxy Z Fold 5, but the problem is that we’re now seeing smartphones with the newer Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset appear.
That means that Honor’s smartphone no longer has the latest and greatest tech, and sure, neither do options from OnePlus and Samsung, but those will likely see updates this year to bring them in line.
Whether Honor will do the same is unclear, but given the delayed release we’ve seen with the Honor Magic Vs and Honor Magic V2 compared to their China-focused reveals, I’m certainly not holding my breath. That essentially means that Honor’s 2024 foldable has 2023 tech. That’s not great when you’re asking for a lot of money for your foldable.
The bigger problem is brand recognition – in the Western market, anyway. Honor is a big name in China and while there are plenty of Honor fans in the UK and Europe, it doesn’t have the same recognition as other foldable makers like Google and Samsung.
That means tempting fans from phone makers they know and have likely used in the past is difficult, especially when you’re paying almost double the asking price of a regular premium smartphone.
It’s the same issue faced by OnePlus’ option, which is why I think that phone is priced so competitively despite the design and specs on offer. It makes sense; sure, it’s not a brand you recognise, but it’s offering the same (if not a better) experience than the established brands like Samsung and Google, but at a significantly lower price.
With no tempting price cut compared to the competition, I’m not sure Honor’s Magic V2 will stand out as much as it deserves to, and that’s a bit of a shame.