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Honor’s phone-purse hybrid is fashion backward

OPINION: If I said to you, “Honor has created a smartphone and purse hybrid concept”, what would you expect? I pictured something like the LG V60 ThinQ, with its case that provides an additional screen, but with a purse providing added features to a phone. The Honor Magic V Purse is not that.

So what is the Honor Magic V Purse? The skinny is that it’s a wraparound foldable, with the option to attach a bag strap. You didn’t picture that either did you?

By the time this post goes live, you’ll be able to read a glowing hands-on of the Honor Magic V2 from our Mobile Editor, Lewis Painter. I’ve seen the Magic V2 as well, and it’s an impressive bit of kit. A stunningly thin, book-style foldable. But Honor had more to offer in its IFA keynote in the form of the Magic V Purse concept.

Honor Magic V Purse
Image Credit (Honor)

I’ll disappoint you right away and say you can’t store your cash, ID cards, bus pass or, even, another phone within this device. It’s not really a purse. It’s just a foldable phone.

According to Honor, it’s a purse in the “phy-gital” (an amalgamation of physical and digital) sense. Basically, you can display images on its outer display to give it the appearance of a purse and attach a chain so you can carry it like a purse. But, again, it’s not a purse.

Honor aims to take the phy-gital-ness to the next level by having the visible portion of the display change based on factors like your calendar. For example, an image fit for a party look or an image fit for a business meeting.

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Honor is pushing this concept as showcasing a future where fashion is digital. But, in the luxury world, quality materials from high-end brands tend to rule the roost. Undoubtedly, if it comes to fruition, the phone itself will likely come in at a luxury price, with similarly designed phones closing in on the £2,000 mark. But, that’s not that luxury in a world of accessories that can skyrocket far beyond this price.

I’m unconvinced that this will be replaced with digital images, and the notion feels a bit NFT-y, which is a world largely dominated by snake oil salespeople. Honor isn’t that and, as far as we know, it won’t be selling you these digital purse looks.

Honor Magic V Purse
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Then, there’s the durability issue. Foldables are still a relatively new technology and, especially for new adopters, accidents can certainly happen. The Magic V Purse dons a display around almost the whole phone, so carrying it fully exposed outside your pocket or bag feels a bit like tempting fate.

But I think the framing here is way off. There’s enough innovation without this left-field focus. I’m excited for an eventual Honor Magic V Purse release, if it comes — and it may even don a different name by then, as it offers the same foldable style as the Huawei Mate XS range.

Honor Magic V Purse
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The wraparound foldable form factor is one I actually prefer to the more typical book style, as it gives you a much more traditional feeling phone when closed then offers a thin, large screen experience when opened. Since it’s just one screen that is divided when folded, the two screen modes feel more connected and seamless.

Given how stunningly thin and just stunning the Magic V2 is, I’m excited to get Honor’s take on this style. The Huawei Mate XS 2 was a gorgeous phone but the company’s woes make it a tough recommend in Europe. Honor can bring this form factor and Google service back to these shores once again.

The Honor Magic V Purse is more fashion-backward than fashion-forward, I’m afraid. But, there’s a potential for a hidden gem to emerge if it becomes a reality.

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