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I’ve never used a folding phone like this one before

Honor Magic V2 back half folded.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

Honor took its sweet time to bring the Magic V2 out of China – six months, to be precise. Given the amazing hardware, it’s been a long wait.

I’ve had a test unit since July 2023, which didn’t have the software and cameras ready until earlier this month. After using it as my primary device for a few weeks, I can confidently say that the Honor Magic V2 is the most comfortable foldable phone I’ve used to date.

Perfectly bridging the gap between a regular and foldable phone

Galaxy S24 Ultra, Magic V2 and OnePlus Open top view.
Galaxy S24 Ultra (left), Honor Magic V2, and OnePlus Open Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

For a long time, my major issue with using foldable phones has been how they feel in the hand. It started with the Galaxy Z Fold (and still remains the same with the Galaxy Z Fold 5), which feels like holding two regular candy phones together. We got closer to a slab phone-like form factor on a foldable with the OnePlus Open, but it’s still thick. The Honor Magic V2 solves this problem with a thinner, lighter, and better form factor than ever.

Starting with thickness, at 10.1mm, the Magic V2 brings the foldable phone form factor closer to a slab phone experience than ever. The Ultimate variant with a vegan leather back is even thinner at 9.9mm.

For reference, mainstream foldable like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, Google Pixel Fold, and the OnePlus Open measure 13.46mm, 12.1mm, and 11.7mm in thickness, respectively. While slab phones like the new Galaxy S24 Ultra and Google Pixel 8 Pro are 8.7mm and 8.8mm in thickness, respectively. The Magic V2 lies in the middle of these.

Secondly, the Magic V2 weighs 237 grams, which is eight grams lighter than the current best foldable phone, the OnePlus Open. The Samsung and Google foldables weigh way more at 253 grams (Galaxy Z Fold 5) and 283 grams (Pixel Fold), while the Galaxy S24 Ultra weighs 233 grams. The thin and light design makes it comparable to slab phones, which is a big feat for the foldable segment.

Honor made this possible by working on the material, hinge, and battery. First, it uses proprietary steel that is said to be 25% thinner and 20% stronger than the Honor Magic Vs. Second, the hinge is made out of titanium, which is 42% lighter than before. Third, the company made a slimmer silicon-carbon battery and doesn’t use a lithium-ion cell like other folding phones.

Honor Magic V2 cover display.
Honor Magic V2 cover display Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

Another aspect that gives it a slab phone-like form factor is a 21:9 aspect ratio cover display. On flagship phones like the Galaxy S24 Ultra or iPhone 15 Pro Max, you get an aspect ratio that is closer to 20:9. But on foldables, this is all over the place — from the tall Galaxy Z Fold 5 to the wide Pixel Fold. The OnePlus Open is the only other foldable with a 21:9 aspect ratio on the cover screen. This is important because it prevents apps from misbehaving, and they load like they would on a regular smartphone.

All of these factors combine to offer an amazing day-to-day experience. Using the new Honor foldable in daily life doesn’t feel like I’m using two phones slapped into one. As a result, holding it to browse, doomscroll on social media, and read is a better experience than other foldables. Moreover, it doesn’t feel uncomfortable when carried in my pocket because it fits in my pants like a regular phone. The shaving off of millimeters and grams from the build does wonders.

Unlike other foldables, the Honor Magic V2 isn’t a big screen that folds to give you a slab phone-like experience. Instead, it feels like a regular phone that unfolds to give you a big screen. And that is an amazing feat to achieve.

What else should you know about the Honor Magic V2?

Honor Magic V2 in hand with OnePlus Open in the background.
Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

The Honor Magic V2 features a 6.43-inch cover display and a 7.92-inch foldable screen inside. Both of these are OLED panels that offer a dynamic 120Hz refresh rate and support for the Honor Magic Pen stylus. Both the screens are sharp and bright, with clear visibility in direct sunlight.

I enjoyed watching movies and videos on this phone, especially when I could fold it halfway in cramped flights. However, there’s no Dolby Vision support. I liked taking notes with the Honor stylus but didn’t carry it around because there’s no place in the phone or on its case to keep it. If you want to use the Magic Pen, you’ll have to carry it separately.

The hinge is solid and remains in the position you want it to. The crease situation is much better than the Galaxy Z Fold 5, but the OnePlus Open’s near non-existent crease is still the best implementation on a foldable screen. However, I enjoyed using the Honor Magic V2 because MagicOS 7.2 (based on Android 13) offers good multitasking capabilities.

You can run two apps side by side, and I’ve been using it to research stories on one side and take notes on the other. It works like a breeze – without any lag or stutter. There are plenty of gestures to make things easy and intuitive with swipes. I got used to them within a couple of days. That being said, OnePlus’s Open Canvas remains the multitasking benchmark in foldable software. Honor’s multitasking capabilities are on par with Galaxy Z Fold 5’s multitasking.

The Honor Magic V2 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, which might seem old on paper but is still capable. It is paired with 16GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of storage.

Talking about the processor, it was the flagship chip when the phone was released in China last year, but by the time the Magic V2 made its way to Europe, there had been plenty of phone launches with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. However, its main competitors, the OnePlus Open and Galaxy Z Fold 5, both carry the same chipset. You won’t feel like the Magic V2 is slow or last-gen by any means – it remains a top-notch device.

As for the cameras, the Honor Magic V2 sports three rear cameras that include a 50-megapixel primary sensor, a 50MP ultrawide-angle lens, and a 20MP telephoto camera with 2.5x optical zoom and 50x digital zoom. On the front, you get 16MP cameras – one on the cover display and the other on the big inner screen.

The Honor Magic V2 captures a lot of detail on all three cameras. I like the color tuning and portrait photos. Photos taken at 10x are social media sharing-worthy, too. You can go up to 40x, but those aren’t good quality. The nighttime photos come out pretty well, too.

When compared to the OnePlus Open, the Magic V2 loses in telephoto camera performance. The Open clicks better zoom photos, but the Magic V2 has a better ultrawide camera output. As for the Galaxy Z Fold 5 comparison, I’d pick the Magic V2 over the Samsung foldable for the overall camera performance.

The Honor Magic V2 packs a 5,000mAh battery that supports 66W fast charging. In my time using it as my primary phone, it lasted me throughout the working days. For reference, my regular usage includes jumping around X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, WhatsApp, Slack, and Teams throughout the day with hours of browsing, clicking some photos, and about 20 minutes of navigation.

Innovation comes at a steep price

Honor Magic V2 and Galaxy Z Fold 5 in hand.
Honor Magic V2 (left) and Galaxy Z Fold 5 (right) Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

The Honor Magic V2 is now available in Purple and Black color options for 1,700 British pounds/1,999 euros in Europe (without offers). It’s an expensive price tag when considering the Galaxy Z Fold 5 selling for 1,899 Euros and the OnePlus Open costing 1,799 Euros. However, I’d still recommend the Honor Magic V2 because it changes how you interact with foldable phones.

If you need the most value-for-money foldable phone, the OnePlus Open should be your go-to option. It offers the best camera setup on a foldable and near-crease-less inner display. But if you want a folding phone that doesn’t feel like you’re holding two phones when interacting with the cover display, the Honor Magic V2 should be your pick. It features an excellent design, great displays, smooth performance, an all-day battery life, and good cameras. It’s a remarkable package — and one that cements Honor as one of the top players in the foldable world.

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