Honor Magic V2 hands-on review: A fold above the rest

A reason not to hold on the fold

Honor Magic V2 foldable phone standing upright showing interior screen
(Image: © Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

Early Verdict

The Honor Magic V2 uses the world’s slimmest phone as its key selling point, but it’s so much more. It’s an across-the-board treat that just so happens to be thin. A great smartphone, with an impressive folding display and a surprising battery life to boot.


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    Ultra-thin, yet sturdy design

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    Bright, crisp, vivid displays

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    Excellent camera options

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    Solid gaming and overall performance

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    Surprising battery life


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    Slight clipping at higher volumes

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    10x and above zoom lets things down

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Dismiss them as a fad at your behest, but foldable phones are on the receiving end of some major backing from big-name manufacturers, and they aren’t likely to go away any time soon. The envelope is being pushed as these brands seek to replace your phone with these folding phablets, and Honor’s Magic V2 might be on the precipice of convincing you that it’s not a bad idea. Not a bad idea at all.

We’ve all heard the nightmare tales surrounding foldable devices, $1,799 Google Pixel Fold dies after four days, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold screen breaks after just one day, and dear God, Microsoft might be making a Surface Duo 3. The horror, the horror. These stories are enough to ward away even the most caring of smartphone owners, myself included. That’s why I’ve been hesitant to hop aboard the hype train for foldables, I was convinced my investment would soon turn into little more than a bendy paperweight.

However, clearly impressionable and easily influenced, it only took one YouTube video to change my mind (though, in my defense, it was a week-long) —- The Great Folding Test Vol. II by MrKeybrd. In this test, I saw both the Motorola Razr Plus and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 put through the wringer, facing so many forms of tech torture that even the animatronic puppet of Jigsaw would tumble from its tricycle in terror. While both phones would eventually flip their final fold, the levels of punishment that both stood up to stayed with me, I was suddenly a foldable follower.

Still, when Honor shipped the Magic V2, the world’s thinnest foldable phone, to my door, it was immediately apparent that the ghosts of long-fallen foldables still had their hooks in me. Just look at this thing, it’s so thin I wanted to feed it a hearty meal after unboxing it. I may have been more open to the feasibility of the foldable phone form, but I certainly still had one foot left on shore. Would the Honor Magic V2 be the phone that gets me fully onboard? Let’s find out.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

Honor Magic V2: Price and availability

The Honor Magic V2 is available in one configuration offering 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage in either Phantom Purple or Midnight Black. It’s now available in the UK for £1,699, giving it a healthy advantage over the currently £1,869 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5.

Like most foldables, the Magic V2’s price is potentially its greatest weakness. Costing £1.7K, you expect the latest and greatest tech to be sat in your pocket. Running off a modified version of Android 13 with the last generation’s top chipset isn’t exactly what many would see as cutting-edge.

Then again, there’s an argument still to be made, and the list of pros earned by the Honor V2 begins to outshine the cons the more time you spend with it.

Honor Magic V2: Design

Honor claims that the Magic V2 is the world’s thinnest foldable phone, and they’re not telling tall tales. At just 4.7mm in depth while open, and only 9.9mm thick while closed, the Magic V2 just surpasses Microsoft’s dual-screen offering of the similarly trim Surface Duo (4.8mm and 9.8mm) and the Huawei Mate X3’s true foldable form of 5.3 mm.

Even if the Magic V2 was a little chunkier, there’d still be plenty to praise when it comes to its design. From the bullnose-beveled frame, trim bezels, subtle branding, ergonomic button placements, and an easy-to-reach power button that doubles as a fingerprint reader, to the textured PU leather that encases its rear, the V2 exudes so much class that it would make a communist’s fist shake with rage. But did I mention that it’s scarily thin?

Every slight sensation of (what may or may not have been) a creak coming from its slender frame as I grimaced my way through opening or shutting it scared the ever-loving piss out of me —- and the soft clunk of the frame’s two magnetic edges colliding was enough to rocket my arterial pressure to heights that left my white blood cells popping like kernels of corn.

Honor Magic V2 foldable phone in stage mode with camera app open

(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

However, in a testament to how blasé we’ve all become about technology, and much to my surprise, by day two my clammy palms had vanished and I would catch myself ordering golf clubs on Amazon after I wondered how many of my household knickknacks I could “putt” through the Magic V2 while in tent mode.

I do not doubt that the Magic V2’s slender frame is more prone to damage than your traditional Gorilla Glass-encased monolithic mobile phone. But I do feel like we may have reached a stage of foldable engineering where overall fragility plays a much smaller part in failures than user error. Because, while only about as thick as three or four stacked credit cards, Honor’s Magic V2 is one sturdy boi.

It didn’t take long for the phone’s 8.1 ounces of heft and titanium hinge to put my mind at ease — if you don’t count a full day of precarious folding and unfolding at arm's length like it was as explosive as the rocket it shares a name with as ‘long,’ that is. But once settled, I was free to bask in that glorious expanded phablet form as I pried it open to reveal its 156.7 x 145.4 x 4.7-millimeter interior canvas.

Honor Magic V2: Display

While the Honor Magic V2’s 7.92-inch interior screen does bring with it a shallow crease that’s noticeable to the touch, it’s barely perceptible to the eye when in use and nothing to scoff at when it comes to enjoying all of that expanded on-screen real estate. It’s a porthole to possibility thanks to an almost 1:1 square of vibrant, foldable OLED panel that offers up a 2344 x 2156-pixel playground to enjoy more spacious screen time on the go.

Colors pop and leap from the panel in front of you, aided by a peak brightness Honor claims to reach 1,600 nits. It’s not just bright and colorful, it’s also pretty sharp and impressively smooth, with Honor’s measurements also touting a 402 Pixels Per Inch (PPI) density and a 120Hz refresh rate.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

Compared to my Pixel 7a daily driver, the Magic V2’s scrolling and animations are decidedly smoother to the naked eye, outpacing Google’s 90Hz refresh rate and making touches feel more fluid and responsive. The interior panel is also brighter than the Pixel 7a’s 1,024 nits peak, but that’s only half the story. Fold the Magic V2 shut and you’re left with another impressive panel to gawp at on the phone’s cover.

If the interior display outshines the main panel of the Pixel 7a, then the cover screen practically glows like phosphor. Honor measures its peak brightness at 2,500 nits, much more in line with current flagship offerings from the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S24 (2,500 nits) and Pixel 8 Pro (2,400 nits). It practically dazzles through its Nanocrystal glass 2.0 protective lens.

The 6.43-inch external display is no slouch when it comes to screen space or smoothness either, featuring the same HDR10+ contrasts, 120Hz refresh rate, and 402 PPI sharpness as the internal panel while showcasing a 2376 x 1060-pixel resolution.

Honor Magic V2: Audio

On the audio front, the Magic V2 gains tremendously from the positioning of its stereo speakers. Whether open or closed, if you’re playing media with the phone in a horizontal orientation, you get left and right-firing IMAX Enhanced audio that delivers decent soundscapes and some impressive clarity across ranges —- albeit a little lacking in the mids.

The V2’s speakers capture the quieter moments with the same clarity as more pronounced sounds. However, at higher volumes, this range suffers from artifacts and there's a definite presence of clipping, especially in busy music tracks. It’s not a deal breaker by any stretch, as those higher levels are quite loud, and trimming down the volume will still cut back on the artifacts while delivering a solid wall of sound.

Connect a pair of the best headphones to the V2 and you can make use of DTS:X Ultra for more vibrant soundscapes ideal for spatial content like games or XR media.

Honor Magic V2: Performance

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform SoC within the Magic V2 might not be the latest chipset on the block, but that doesn’t mean it’s suddenly lost all value when it comes to performance — especially when backed by a whopping 16GB of RAM. This is, after all, still the very same chip found in OnePlus’ Open, and the dreams of Motorola Razr (2023) owners the world over.

In my time with Honor’s foldable, I can’t say that performance was ever an issue. Smartphones are generally overpowered for what they need to do, so being a generation from the latest cutting edge isn’t all that much of an issue —- especially as developers tend to target the widest base possible with software releases.

It shows too, because even in demanding titles like “Call of Duty: Mobile,” “XCOM 2: Collection,” or “Player Unknown’s Battle Grounds” the Magic V2 remains completely unphased, even while making use of higher graphical settings and HD assets. That’s without even enabling the performance mode boost in the device’s battery settings, too.

EA Sports FC 24 on Honor Magic V2 foldable smartphone internal screen

(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

Look, here it is playing “EA Sports FC Mobile” flawlessly, a game about a sport that correctly delineates itself by name alone. Unlike the American version of football, which has less to do with the foot and more to do with human growth hormones and seeing how many traumatic brain injuries you can lay the foundations for while going human seal clubbing with your entire body as the cudgel of choice.

Not only do these demanding titles run flawlessly, but they also look incredible when engaged with the V2’s sizable internal display. The 7.92-inch screen allows games and apps more room the breathe and makes everything feel more comfortable. It also works great for the Play Store’s reintroduction of older titles through porting as “Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic” looked particularly cool and faithful in this near 1:1 aspect ratio.

After noticing a familiar chord progression in Sidewalks and Skeletons’ electronic bop “GOTH,” I could effortlessly use MixPad’s audio mixing and editing features to clip, chop, and arrange the vocals of Bloodhound Gang’s “Bad Touch” into proceedings.

That extra real estate helped me greatly in creating the audio mashup that no living soul ever asked for, and that no healthy mind would ever think up in the first place. It was a great win for tablet functionality in a smaller form factor, but potentially a great moment of shame for music as a whole.

Honor Magic V2: Battery life and charging

The Honor Magic V2 hasn’t gone through the Laptop Mag battery test, but I have been putting it to work over the last short while and seeing how well its battery life fares. Its combined 5,000mAh capacity is spread across two batteries housed in each half of the phone and provides some surprising longevity, even while making use of the larger inner display.

I don’t have exact figures to draw from here, but I have attempted to run the V2 down to complete depletion on several occasions to see how quickly it can work its way back up to a full charge again. In those cases, it almost became frustrating to get the V2 to flatline, as that final 5% of juice simply refused to give up the ghost at times.

My typical day-to-day with the Magic V2 would consist of browsing, gaming, and playing back music and podcasts while I work. Even at the end of longer days, the V2 had a considerable amount of charge left over, though if you make more liberal use of the phone’s internal display you may need to check in with your charging cable a little earlier than I had to.

Thankfully, with its 66W SuperCharge capabilities, you won’t be tethered to a power cable for too long. Charging from zero, the Magic V2 can restock its sizable battery in around 45-50 minutes — if you use Honor’s 66W SuperCharge Power Adapter. However, other adapters will vary depending on wattage.

Honor Magic V2: Cameras

The Honor Magic V2 has six cameras in total, comprising of a rear-facing camera array of a 50MP ultra-wide (f/2.0), 50MP wide (f/1.9, with optical image stabilization), and a 20MP telephoto lens (f/2.4, with optical image stabilization), and two 16MP wide angle, punch hole selfie cameras housed in either display. If you’re a bit of a shutterbug, there’s plenty to whet your appetite here, and there are some decent results to be had from each lens.

Ultra-wide shots look bright and vibrant and capture a decent amount of detail with accurate colors. Objects in the shade aren’t washed out, and there’s a nice level of contrast here that looks impressive both indoors and out.

Wide-angle shots once again offer crisp details and interesting contrasts, though the peaks of the whites are less intense. Colors pop nicely and retain the same lushness as the ultra-wide offering, making it another excellent choice for pictures.

The telephoto lens is a little more hit-and-miss, with its colors seeming ever-so-slightly less vibrant than the other lenses. Making use of the 2.5x optical zoom brings back those bold whites and deeper contrasts while maintaining a keen level of detail. It’s also fantastic for the phone’s super macro photography mode that lets you catch up-close details very nicely.

However, the 10x digital zoom can wildly vary in results from “Not bad at all” to “all bad.” Colors seem more washed out at this zoom, and the contrast can suffer greatly. There’s a 40x digital zoom here too but I’ve yet to find a good reason why as nothing I’ve snapped with it has been worth saving from my trash can.

10x zoom is somewhat saved by the camera app’s Pro Mode, which gives DSLR levels of control over each lens. The images below show the difference it can make when switching from the app’s basic photo mode.

Honor Magic V2 sample photos side by side showing 10x zoom in with auto and pro (manual) settings applied

(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

The V2’s impressive ability to capture action shots is also worth a mention, with the one below caught accidentally as a flock of pigeons quickly flew past. Note the clarity of the wings with barely a motion blur in sight, while the camera app has a dedicated action shot mode, it wasn’t even engaged. Instead, the AI camera assistant noticed something fast-moving and adjusted the shot before I was even able to hit the shutter button — none of which sacrificed the overall quality of the image I originally intended to capture.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Rael Hornby)

Honor Magic V2: Software

Running on MagicOS 7.2, the Honor Magic V2 exists in some sort of strange twilight zone between iOS and Android. While based on Android 13, and decidedly Android in feel, there’s an Apple-like uncanny valley quality to its menus, which adopt similar iconography and presentation to the iPhone — even down to the frosted glass backdrop effect of its drop-down notification bar.

While a little jarring to wrap your noggin around, the experience as a whole is as intuitive as any other OS you’ll come across, with a range of further interactions and shortcuts well signposted. In fact, the Magic V2 goes out of its way to tutorialize the experience in full, offering rundowns and walkthroughs of features with plenty of information at hand to familiarize newcomers and veterans alike with the foldable and MagicOS’ features both old and new.

Bottom line

If the durability of Samsung’s foldable opened my eyes to foldables, then the Honor Magic V2 won me over entirely. Not only is the phone stunning, but its looks align with equally impressive performance, a battery life that exceeded my expectations, and a build quality and durability that put to bed many of my foldable fears.

It’s not perfect, not many things are in life, but it is certainly one of the best smartphone experiences I’ve ever had. If you never once cracked open the Honor Magic V2 and enjoyed the roomy panel inside, you’d still be on the receiving end of a pretty great phone, which eliminates the case for its foldable form being a gimmick. It’s an addition. A solid feature that improves functionality, enhances software and games, elevates the user experience, and expands on this impressive device’s overall potential.

Inescapably, the V2’s price comes back to haunt it at this point. Yes, it has good performance, cameras, sound, and displays. But is any amount of that worth $1,800+ when it comes to a smartphone? That’s going to be a personal decision for you to make. But always keep in mind that no matter how sturdy or durable the V2 is, foldable phones do have a life expectancy.

This one, in particular, is claimed to be 400,000 folds or roughly 10 years if you open and close it around 100 times per day. However, as was the case with Motorola’s Razr+ in The Great Folding Test Vol. II I mentioned earlier, nothing is guaranteed.

Would I recommend picking up the Honor Magic V2? Yes, I would. If you take good care of your devices, they’ll typically take good care of you in return. I’ve gotten over my foldable fears, and maybe it's time more of us did the same.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve a moat to dig and a stick to sharpen to fend off Honor when they come to take it back from me.

Rael Hornby
Content Editor

Rael Hornby, potentially influenced by far too many LucasArts titles at an early age, once thought he’d grow up to be a mighty pirate. However, after several interventions with close friends and family members, you’re now much more likely to see his name attached to the bylines of tech articles. While not maintaining a double life as an aspiring writer by day and indie game dev by night, you’ll find him sat in a corner somewhere muttering to himself about microtransactions or hunting down promising indie games on Twitter.