Honor Magic Vs hands-on: This foldable has potential

Honor Magic Vs
(Image credit: Future)

"Foldable phones are here to stay" was the most prominent thought I had after leaving my catch-up with Honor last week. Its second flagship foldable phone, the Honor Magic Vs, left a lasting impression, which says a lot considering it doesn't look too far off the current king of premium foldables: the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4.

You don't need me to tell you foldable phones are on the upswing because Samsung smartphone boss TM Roh said it all. He boasted that nearly 10 million foldables shipped worldwide last year, which is an industry increase of more than 300% from 2020. Clearly, Honor wants in on that action, too, and already made its mark with the Honor Magic V. But this wasn't an international hit, seeing as it's impossible to find outside of China. 

(Image credit: Future)

With the Honor Magic Vs, however, the foldable market may see a new, exciting entry that will give Samsung's foldable lineup a run for its money. Not only because of its sleek-and-slim form factor and dazzling, near-bezeless (2272 x 1984 internal, 2560 x 1080 external) display, but also because of its eventual release outside of China and intriguing price tag.

Check out my first impressions on the Honor Magic Vs, and whether it has the potential to bring in a new wave of foldable smartphone owners. 

Honor Magic Vs: First impressions

While my time with the Honor Magic Vs was brief, and I couldn't check out all of its features, I held it, folded it, and took a few exclusive images of it (with a delightfully festive backdrop).

I have always been intrigued by the concept of a foldable phone, but never made the jump to own one. Perhaps I have been put off by the bulkiness of its form factor when closed (and whether I would fully utilize an unfolded display), but really, it's the price that's off-putting. Now, with the Honor Magic Vs, these offsets have been ironed out.

(Image credit: Future)

Not only was it light and comfortable to hold with one hand while folded, but I could also easily handle the Magic Vs when opened up in all its glory (with a smooth transition animation to go along with it).

Opening and closing the phone all felt natural, as the hinge, which is claimed to feature an innovative gearless hinge that reduces the number of components needed to unfold the phone from 92 to just four, didn't feel too flimsy nor too too resistant. 

(Image credit: Future)

Interestingly, one detail I didn't instantly notice was the usual crease that plagues foldables. It may have been the jolly festive lighting masking it, but I barely noticed the strip that shows where the display folds. When actually scoping around for it, yes, it was there, but as I navigated around the phone, it wasn't noticeable. Honor boasts a "creaseless display," and for the most part, it seems like they nailed it.

The Magic Vs' swish form factor is thanks to its 0.5-inch thin design and relatively lightweight 9.2 ounces. That's slightly smaller than the Galaxy Z Fold 4's 0.56-inch form factor, but keeps the same weight. However, considering the price the foldable is expected to come at, it shows that the Magic Vs is doing something special.

Currently, it's available to pre-order in China only for 7,499 RMB (opens in new tab). That's around $1,050/£900. That's quite the difference when compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, priced from $1,799/£1,649. Of course, while this is the set price in China, that doesn't mean it will stick to these favorable prices.

(Image credit: Future)

If there's one thing the Honor Magic Vs needs to get right, it's the price it will be set at when it comes to the international market. If it's even below $1,000/£1,000, then this foldable is gearing up to turn a lot of heads. Sure, its attractive, slim design is a standout, but it has a lot going for it under the hood, too.

As previously shown by Honor, the Magic Vs sports a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, up to 12GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage. For camera enthusiasts, there's a 54MP main camera and 50MP ultra-wide sensor paired with an 8MP telephoto. For power, the 5,000mAh battery (the largest of any foldable of its class) is expected to keep this powered for hours. 

(Image credit: Future)

With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 already making its way to 2023 smartphones, like the OnePlus 11, it would have been nicer to see the Honor Magic Vs make the jump to a next-gen chip. That said, the best smartphones on the market right now sport a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, so it's not like it will take a hit in performance. 

Outlook

There's a lot to like about the Honor Magic Vs, and even though its glass back cover is a bit of a fingerprint magnet (the Phoenix Feather Gold color option may fix that), it has a charming form factor that will appeal to those who haven't had much reason to pick up a foldable, like me.

While I wish I could take the phone away with me to tinker with it, I was told to put it back in its box and enjoy the festive theme instead. Fair enough, as we're likely to see the Honor Magic Vs launch in Europe, and possibly other markets, sometime in early 2023. I'll be looking out for it, and with the brief time I had with it, you should, too.

If you're looking for another foldable that won't completely drain your bank account, check out our Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.