Though it’s far too early to give a definitive verdict, the Honor Magic V2 could be a very tempting option for foldable fans with a much thinner and lighter design than any other available right now, paired with great displays and a capable camera setup.
- Thinnest and lightest foldable aroundMeasuring in at 9.9mm thick when folded and just 231g, the Honor Magic V2 comes closer to standard smartphone territory than any other foldable released this year.
- Impressive camera setupThe trio of high-res cameras on the Magic V2 should deliver crisp imagery, further improved by Honor’s Falcon Capture AI tech.
- A bigger battery than the competitionAt 5,000mAh, the Magic V2 has the largest battery of any big-screen foldable right now, which should translate to strong everyday battery life.
The Honor Magic V2 has had its international debut at IFA 2023, bringing Honor’s latest foldable to the Western market – and it’s an incredible bit of foldable kit.
Boasting a folded thickness of just 9.9mm and weighing 231g, the Honor Magic V2 is a triumph of engineering that brings the foldable closer to its candybar smartphone brethren than any other foldable that has come before it. It’s a serious competitor to other popular big-screen foldables like the Google Pixel Fold and Samsung’s recent Galaxy Z Fold 5.
While I’m not yet ready to deliver my final verdict, I spent a couple of hours playing with the Honor Magic V2 at a pre-brief in London ahead of its IFA 2023 reveal, and here’s what I think so far.
Design and screens
- Thinnest and lightest foldable on the market
- Very shallow internal crease
- Premium display tech on both screens
Honor has managed to do the impossible: create a foldable smartphone that isn’t thick or overly heavy, bringing foldables closer to their candybar smartphone brethren than ever before.
Simply put, the Honor Magic V2 is a triumph of design and manufacturing, measuring in at an impressively thin 4.7mm thick when unfolded and 9.9mm thick when folded. For comparison, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 measures 13.4mm thick when unfolded. In fact, it’s much closer in width to standard smartphones than any other foldable around.
It’s a similar story when it comes to weight as, at 231g, the Honor Magic V2 actually weighs less than the iPhone 14 Pro Max or the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, let alone the likes of the 253g and 283g from Samsung and Google’s foldables respectively. This makes a huge difference not only in the pocket but in the hand, making for a much more comfortable experience whether you’re using the external or internal displays.
That’s thanks in part to Honor’s new hinge mechanism, which boasts a 91% titanium alloy construction for improved rigidity, and there’s 0 gap when in its folded position to help reduce the amount of dust and debris building up on the internal panel.
The new hinge also delivers a much shallower crease on the internal foldable display not only when compared to the Magic Vs, but the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Pixel Fold too. If you look at the screen off-centre, it’s still there, but the tactile feeling of running your finger over the crease is nearly non-existent. There’s still a ways to go before we reach the fabled creaseless foldable, but Honor’s implementation is among the best I’ve seen to date.
Elsewhere, the 7.92-inch internal display experience is very much a premium one, with a 2K resolution, a super-smooth adaptive 120Hz refresh rate, IMAX Enhanced display tech and a peak brightness of 1600nits that should make it easy to use, even in bright sunlight.
Importantly, the Magic V2 further develops the dimming tech present on recent models like the Magic 5 Pro and Honor 90 with a boosted 3840Hz dimming rate to help reduce eye fatigue, and it’s a feature available across both the external and internal displays.
The external display is another treat. Like the Google Pixel Fold, the external 6.43-inch display is much shorter and squatter than what you’ll find from the comically tall-and-thin 6.2-inch cover display on the Galaxy Z Fold 5, more closely resembling a standard smartphone display. This makes the cover display a great option for scrolling through TikTok, replying to messages and more without needing to unfurl the inner display.
It’s also just as tech-packed as the larger inner display, boasting a FHD+ resolution, adaptive 120Hz refresh rate and a peak brightness of 2500nits, making it more than capable enough for HDR playback and use in even the brightest of conditions.
There is one key area where the Magic V2 falls behind the competition though; water resistance. While the Galaxy Z Fold 5 boasts the same IPX8 water resistance as its predecessor, the Magic V2 doesn’t boast any kind of official IP rating at all, so don’t go dunking it in water.
However, the Honor representative I spoke to at my briefing assured me that the foldable is very much splash-resistant, so it should survive a short stint in the rain. There’s nothing in terms of protection on the dust front, though that’s a challenge the larger foldable market still has to face.
- 50MP main and 50MP ultrawide lenses
- 20MP 2.5x telephoto
- AI-infused Falcon Capture
Not content with just boasting the best design of any foldable to date, Honor has its sights set firmly on photography chops with the Magic V2. Flip the foldable around and you’ll find a rectangular camera housing with three high-res cameras ready for use. That includes a 50MP main, a 50MP ultrawide and a 20MP 2.5x telephoto with digital zoom up to 10x.
On paper, that seems like a capable selection, especially compared to the 50MP main, 12MP ultrawide and 10MP 3x telephoto from the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and 48MP main, 10.8MP ultrawide and 10.8MP 5x telephoto from the Google Pixel Fold.
Of course, the Pixel Fold has the advantage of Google’s camera processing tech to boost the quality of images captured on the foldable, so it’ll be interesting to see how the Magic V2 compares once I get a sample back to the office.
The Magic V2 also sports the same Falcon Shot camera tech from the flagship Honor Magic 5 Pro, using a combination of AI and fast lenses to capture much more detail from fast-moving subjects. It was a feature I really praised with the Magic 5 Pro, able to capture even my German Shepherd running at full speed, so it’s great to see it available here too.
It’s safe to say that I’m looking forward to putting the Magic V2’s camera offering to the test in the coming weeks.
Performance and software
- Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 power
- 16GB of RAM
- Android 13 with MagicOS 7.2
The Honor Magic Vs was a great big-screen foldable, but due to a hugely delayed international release, it meant that the phone’s Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 had already been replaced by the newer, more powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 by the time it hit the UK.
It seems Honor is keen to rectify things with the Magic V2, which has a much shorter turnaround compared to its predecessor, meaning its upgraded Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is still the very best mobile chipset around, found in most 2023 flagship smartphones.
That’s paired with a whopping 16 of RAM and either 256-, 512GB or 1TB of storage, though like its predecessor, there isn’t any way to expand storage post-purchase.
Performance during my limited time with the Magic V2 was rapid, with no obvious stuttering or lag no matter what I was doing, be it snapping photos of the skyline of London or running two apps side-by-side to test its multitasking chops.
I’ll be sure to run a bevvy of benchmark tests once I get a review sample back to the Trusted Reviews towers, and I’ll delve deeper into its performance chops for the full review, but I can confidently say that the Magic V2 is not a processing slouch.
Turning to software, the Honor Magic V2 comes running Android 13 and Honor’s MagicOS 7.2 on top. Like most Chinese manufacturers, Honor’s MagicOS is a bit like marmite – you’ll love it or hate it.
There are foldable-specific functions like a dedicated split-screen gaming mode that lets you play two games simultaneously. It seems like a bit of a gimmick – who wants to play two games at once – but it does at least show just how capable the chipset at the heart of the foldable is.
The software promise is yet to be confirmed, but given that Honor’s flagship Magic 5 Pro and Magic Vs both offer three OS upgrades and five years of security patches, I’m expecting something very similar here.
Battery & charge speeds
- Large 5,000mAh battery
- Rapid 66W wired charging
- Fast charger in the box
Despite the thinness of the Magic V2, Honor has managed to include two super-slim cells that total 5,000mAh. It may not be any different to the Magic Vs, but it remains the largest capacity of any foldable on the market right now, 600mAh more than Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 5.
I was actually able to see the batteries during my pre-briefing and was impressed by just how thin they are, measuring around 2.7mm thick and the size of a credit card.
Of course, it’s difficult to say how this will impact battery life, but considering we found Honor’s Magic Vs could comfortably last all day and potentially two days on a single charge with lighter use, I’d speculate that it’d be very similar from the updated V2, but I’ll put that to the test in my full review.
Not content with having the biggest battery capacity among foldables, Honor has equipped the Magic V2 with impressively fast 66W wired charging, with a fast charger in the box. Honor has yet to make claims about charge times, but given the Honor Magic Vs’ 66W charging would provide a full charge in under an hour, I’d expect something similar here.
Granted, it may not be any better than its predecessor, and there are plenty of candybar phones that charge faster, but compared to the 25W and 30W from Samsung and Google’s big-screen foldables respectively, it’s pretty rapid – on paper, anyway.
It’s too early to give my final thoughts, but the Magic V2 has all the hallmarks of a great high-end foldable.
Even from this early stage in my review process, it’s clear that the Honor Magic V2 is Honor’s foldable magnum opus, with a design and build so much more advanced than what’s on offer from big names like Google and Samsung.
It’s not just a looker either, with highly specced internal and external displays, a very capable camera system and some of the fastest charging you’ll find on a foldable.
Pricing, which is unknown at the time of writing, will likely have a big effect on how popular the Magic V2 is, but if Honor can strike the balance, it has the potential to be a hugely popular foldable.