I was immediately amazed by Honor’s Magic V2 when I pulled it out of the box. There’s a lot I appreciate about it, including its solid cameras, predictable battery life, lightweight, and large bright displays.
The Honor Magic Vs, which debuted early in 2023, is good but didn’t make the charts. The Honor Magic V2, Honor’s latest foldable, is the model that Honor has ultimately released worldwide. Like the Vs, the Magic V2 focuses on its physical characteristics, demonstrating how a foldable can be lighter and more compact than you might imagine while still having a sizable battery and cameras suitable for a flagship device.
In your pocket, the majority of foldable phones still feel like a phone and a half. However, Honor’s marketing pitch for the Magic V2 emphasizes that it is sufficiently light and thin to feel like a standard smartphone up until you choose to unfold it.
The portability of the Magic V2 is what I love most about it. Honor demonstrates how a foldable phone may be an effective tool for work without adding extra bulk or weight to your bag. The Magic V2 is quite portable, so unless I slip my thumb across the intersection of the displays, it doesn’t always seem like I’m holding a foldable phone.
Honor Magic V2
Honor Magic V2 Key Specs:
- Inner Display: 7.92-inch OLED
- Outer display: 6.43-inch OLED
- Refresh rates: 120Hz/120Hz
- Chipset: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
- RAM: 16GB
- Storage: 512GB
- Rear cameras: 50MP main (f/1.9), 50MP ultrawide (f/2.0), 20MP 2.5x telephoto (f/2.4)
- Selfie cameras: 16MP (f/2.2) inner, 16MP (f/2.2) outer
- Battery: 5,000 mAh
- Charging: 66W wired
- Size: 156.7 x 74.0 x 10 mm folded, 156.7 x 145.4 x 4.8 mm unfolded
- Weight: 237 g
Design and Build
When the Magic V2 is folded, using it feels much like any other smartphone. However, when you open it, things start to get interesting. Similar to last year, you can use apps on the whole inner display or split screen them. A third window can also be hovering over the display. This is when the Magic V2’s advantages truly show off.
The dimensions of the Honor Magic V2 are my absolute favorite feature. The glass-backed variant I’ve been using weighs 237 grams and folds to a narrow point of 10.1 mm. Compared to the Galaxy Z Fold 5 (13.4mm, 253g), Pixel Fold (12.1mm, 283g), and OnePlus Open (11.7-11.9mm, 239-245g), it is lighter and thinner. The Magic V2, which has a vegan leather backing, weighs 231 grams and is even smaller at just 9.9 mm thick. When folded, it’s still heavier and thicker than a normal large smartphone (the iPhone 15 Pro Max, for instance, weighs 221 grams and is 8.25 mm thick), but it’s getting close
The Honor V2’s incredibly light design is one of its best features. Honor states that the hinge is made of a titanium alloy, which keeps the phone light while also enhancing its durability. The phone can endure up to 400,000 folds, according to the company. Assuming 100 folds every day, that theoretically means the hinge will survive for 10 years; however, it is unclear if the flexible screen itself will endure that long. Samsung claims that the Galaxy Z Fold 5 can handle about 200,000 folds in contrast.
Nevertheless, despite its allure, the Magic V2 is not without flaws. For this price and quality, I would expect a book-style foldable to have some fancy finishing touches, but it doesn’t. It lacks a certified IP classification for dust and water resistance, to start. In contrast, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 has an IPX8 water resistance rating and can submerge in waters up to 1.5 meters for a maximum of 30 minutes. Except for the Motorola Razr Plus, which is rated IP52 and provides some resistance against dust and water splashes, almost all foldables—including the Magic V2—lack dust resistance.
Moreover, the Magic V2 is devoid of wireless charging capability, an attribute shared by the majority of its competitors. Finally, not every app is designed with the V2’s screens in mind. My colleagues had a similar problem when evaluating other foldables. For instance, certain apps are not yet optimized for the inner screen. However, as soon as you adjust the resolution in the Settings box, the black bars on the sides of the screen disappear.
With an aspect ratio of 21:9 (most phones are about 20:9), the outer display is 6.4 inches, making it comparable in size to a regular phone. The inner display, at 7.92 inches, is sizable even for a folding phone that resembles a book. Unlike the Magic Vs, which was limited to 90Hz on its outside screen, Honor Magic V2 delivers 120Hz on both displays and claims 1,600 nits of brightness on the inner screen and 2,500 nits on the outside. While testing the devie, I can say that I never experienced any issues while using the Magic V2 outside.
The Magic V2’s 7.92-inch inner display has a barely perceptible wrinkle. Amazingly, I had to move the phone at certain angles to even notice the crease. I read the news and watched videos without feeling bothered by the wrinkle. Compared to the earlier Magic VS, which was its predecessor and had an obvious line down the middle, this is a significant improvement.
Additionally, Honor has integrated its revolutionary 3,840Hz PWM dimming technology, which it claims lessens eye strain.
The Magic V2’s outer display, which it inherited from the Magic Vs, is unique in that it has a single curved edge on the side that faces away from the hinge. Compared to other foldables, it makes the phone more blatantly asymmetrical, though it is easier for a right-handed user to reach across the entire width of the other display. Critics of curved displays, I suppose, will still find it objectionable.
You can multitask more efficiently with the Magic V2’s huge internal display than with your typical bar-shaped phone because of all the extra screen real estate. While testing the phone, I could use three floating windows to accomplish things like watching a YouTube video in one, surfing Instagram in another, and writing an email in a third. Since I can superimpose a Zoom video on top of a document, I can also take notes during Zoom calls.
The Magic V2, which debuted in 2023, is powered by Qualcomm’s top-tier Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset from the previous year. Almost anything I threw at my test phone, including graphically demanding games like Genshin Impact and Zoom video calls while taking notes, it could manage. Unfortunately, Honor neglected to update the global version to the more recent Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, which will be powering leading smartphones in 2024.
Fortunately, the phone’s remaining specifications are more up to date, and during regular use, I didn’t have any performance issues. You get 16GB of RAM with 512GB of storage and a 5,000mAh battery that can be fast-charged at up to 66W. Unfortunately, the Honor 66W charging brick doesn’t come with the device, similar to what happened with Samsung’s Z Fold 5 and the Pixel Fold. It appears that the only way to receive the fastest charging speeds is to purchase Honor’s charging brick.
Although using the Honor Magic V2 for mobile gaming wasn’t all that fun, it still has good performance. I’m not a big fan of gaming on foldable phones because the majority of their displays are squarer than what most games are made for, which means you have to cope with an oddly zoomed-in perspective of the game world or waste display space to play in windowed mode.
The Magic V2 runs MagicOS 7.2, based on Android 13. Although it’s disappointing that Android 14 isn’t accessible right now, it will eventually make an appearance. Though it seems a little short of the seven years most manufacturers give, Honor’s update policy—four years of complete Android upgrades and five years of security updates—is still preferable to what was previously the norm in the Android community.
The Android version from Honor has some nice features, such as big folders for organizing lots of apps neatly and allowing quick access to them. Nevertheless, it lacks many features unique to foldables. You can use Hover mode on some apps, which gives the bottom part of the display specific controls when the phone is bent at a 90-degree angle, similar to a laptop, and split apps between the two sides of the inner display (but only vertically) with one floating window on top of that. But it’s a little restricted all around.
Five cameras make up the Magic V2. On the rear of the phone are three cameras: a 20-megapixel camera with a telephoto lens, a 50-megapixel ultrawide camera, and a 50-megapixel primary camera. Because the Magic V2 is foldable and its cover screen doubles as a viewfinder, you can use this trio to take selfies. A 16-megapixel camera resides on the cover screen, while another 16-megapixel camera is located beneath the inner screen’s display.
All things considered, the V2’s images are good but not the best you’ll get from a phone. Images captured indoors or in low light seemed gloomy, whereas shots taken in strong light were crisp and vibrant. However, if you aren’t an avid photographer, the V2’s cameras should work perfectly for casual photos.
Compared to comparably priced non-foldable phones, the cameras on foldable phones are typically a drawback. The phone’s flexible display is the primary feature that costs more than the top-tier cameras found on the Galaxy S24 Ultra, Pixel 8 Pro, or iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Although foldable phones don’t aim to be the best cameras on the market, photography is still a factor to take into account when making a phone purchase. Despite being an older smartphone at heart, the Honor Magic V2’s images largely match those of the top phone in its category, which is good news for those who are considering it.
The Honor Magic V2’s 5,000 mAh battery capacity has a significant advantage over the Galaxy Z Fold 5, OnePlus Open, and Google Pixel Fold by a few hundred milliamperes. Additionally, Honor claims that the battery is silicon-carbon based, which offers an efficiency boost over conventional lithium-ion cells.
After moderate use, which included brief phone conversations, browsing social media, reading emails, watching YouTube videos, and listening to music, I found that the battery lasted the entire day.
The Honor Magic V2 is foldable like its previous model, but it comes without a charger. The Magic V2 charged from 0% to 48% in 15 minutes, 80% in 30 minutes, and 100% in 46 minutes using a 66W brick from an earlier Honor phone.
With a lower battery overall, the OnePlus Open charges to 50% in 15 minutes and to 85% in 30 minutes with a 67W charger. This is a touch faster than average.
Honor is only one of many big smartphone manufacturers who are cashing in on the AI hype train. This year, it added a number of new AI-based features to the Magic V2, one of which is a special feature known as Privacy Call. This AI-driven “directional sound technology” is intended to stop sound leakage, which occurs when someone is on a call and their voice is audible to those around even when they are not speaking loudly. According to Honor, the incoming audio level is adjusted by the screen and the receiver in tandem to accommodate various settings.
The iPhone’s Live Text feature from iOS 15 in 2022, which recognizes text content in an image and turns it into editable text, is reminiscent to Honor’s Magic Text feature, which was also launched. Similar to Live Text, this tool could be useful if you have handwritten notes or recipes that you wish to digitize quickly—that is, provided the handwriting is clear and readable. It was easy to use, in my opinion, and is undoubtedly a useful feature. To get the text I wanted, all I had to do was tap and select an image in the Gallery app, select it, click Copy, and then paste it into an email or another location.
In wrapping up my journey with the Honor Magic V2 folding phone, I must say, I’m thoroughly impressed. This device represents a leap forward in foldable smartphone technology, boasting sleek hardware that sets it apart in the realm of book-style foldable phones. Size and weight have historically been pain points for this category, yet Honor’s Magic V2 deftly addresses these concerns, offering unparalleled portability without compromising on performance.
The device is a marvel of engineering, seamlessly integrating high-end specs, including a lightning-fast processor and a versatile camera module featuring a coveted telephoto lens. Moreover, the inner screen, with its near-imperceptible crease, delivers an immersive viewing experience that’s hard to come by in the foldable market.
However, it’s worth noting that despite its premium price tag, the Magic V2 falls short in certain areas. The absence of the latest Android version and a processor from the current year may deter some tech enthusiasts. Additionally, the lack of features like an official IP rating and wireless charging leaves room for improvement. Nonetheless, these minor shortcomings pale in comparison to the device’s overall brilliance, making the Honor Magic V2 a standout choice for those seeking innovation and portability in equal measure.