Honor's New Foldable Phone Is Nearly as Thin as the iPhone 14

I tested Honor's folding Magic V2 and I love how thin it is.

Sareena Dayaram Senior Editor
Sareena is a senior editor for CNET covering the mobile beat including device reviews. She is a seasoned multimedia journalist with more than a decade's worth of experience producing stories for television and digital publications across Asia's financial capitals including Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mumbai. Prior to CNET, Sareena worked at CNN as a news writer and Reuters as a producer.
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Sareena Dayaram
4 min read
stylus on magic v2

The Ultimate Edition of the Magic V2 come with a stylus inside the box.

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Honor's latest foldable phone, the Magic V2, boasts the title of lightest and thinnest foldable phone to hit the market. Weighing just 231 grams (8.15 ounces), it's lighter than some regular candybar phones, including the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The Magic V2 will only be released in China at launch, as it comes on the heels of the global arrival of its predecessor, the Magic VS. There it'll be available starting at 8,999 yuan, which converts to roughly $1,250, £970 or AU$1,850, and is expected to ship before the end of the month.

The arrival of Honor's latest foldable flagship also comes merely weeks ahead of the rumored launch of Samsung's next generation of foldable phones, the Galaxy Z Fold 5. I had a chance to test the Magic V2 hardware ahead of launch, although the software is still in development, so it's not the focus here. 

Apart from the svelte design, Honor has made a series of improvements its second-generation foldable. The Magic V2 is using an upgraded type of battery technology known as silicon carbon, which helps it keep a large battery capacity of 5,000 mAh despite the slim folding design, and the crease on the inner screen is less visible. The Magic V2 also offers incremental upgrades such as a faster processor (Snapdragon 8 Gen 2), a more advanced camera setup (on paper at least) and a higher refresh rate on the inner screen.

The rear of The Magic V2

The Magic V2 folds like a book.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

However, there's still no official IP rating for water- and dust-resistance. That feature isn't common in foldable phones yet, but both the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Huawei Mate X3 have an IPX8 rating for water-resistance, though not for dust. Wireless charging also isn't available, which is understandable given the slim design of the device.

Honor is a former Huawei sub-brand, but unlike phones from Huawei, Honor phones carry the full power of Google mobile services, which includes the Google Play Store, Google Maps and other critical parts of the Android ecosystem.

honor phones side by side

The Magic V2 (left) is visibly thinner than the Magic VS, its predecessor.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

The Honor Magic V2 is lighter and slimmer

As soon as I unboxed the Magic V2, I was struck by its lightweight design and ultraslim hardware. It's visibly thinner and shorter than its predecessor, the Magic VS. When folded, the V2 is just 9.9mm thick, which is just 1.3mm more than the standard iPhone 14. The Magic V2 is also lighter and thinner than the Galaxy Z Fold 4, although I expect Samsung to improved on this in future generations of the Z Fold series.

Apart from that, I was impressed by the device's slick hardware, which allowed the two halves of the phone to fold flat against each other without a gap. The Galaxy Z Fold 4, still has a wedge-shaped gap when closed. However, this design might not necessarily be better than Samsung's, as Google found out the hard way

The Pixel Fold's displays fold flat against each other, which could be one of the reasons why the screens on so many models have broken. Ron Amadeo on ArsTechnica suggested that when the screens fold flat with dirt or other things stuck between, it can cause pressure resulting in breakage, especially since the Pixel Fold's screen protector for the internal display doesn't cover the entire OLED display underneath. That said, the Magic V2's predecessor didn't have these issues, so whether or not it causes a problem with this phone remains to be seen.

For the first time, I find myself convinced that book-style foldable phones could have a place in my future -- provided a phone comes with the right price and user experience. (For full disclosure, I haven't spent meaningful time with Samsung's foldable offering or Google's Pixel Fold.) 

inner screen of magic v2

Watching Wimbledon outdoors on full brightness. Honor says the inner screen of the Magic V2 can hit a peak of 1,600 nits.

Sareena Dayaram/CNET

The Magic V2's two displays

The Magic V2 is easy to use when it's folded, as its 6.43-inch cover screen is similar to standard nonfolding phones. It was easy to just use the cover screen without even unfolding the device to use the internal screen. Its peak brightness of 2,500 nits made it easy to watch videos in sunny environments, although not under direct sunlight. 

Inside, you'll find a 7.92-inch inner display with a crease that's barely noticeable. I had to maneuver the phone to specific angles to even see it. Although it was discernible to the touch, the crease didn't interfere with my experience. I was able to watch videos and read the news seamlessly. This is a big improvement over the older Magic VS, which had a clearly visible crease. 

The company said the hinge is made with titanium alloy that helps make it lighter and potentially more durable. Honor says the hinge can withstand up to 400,000 folds. That theoretically means the hinge will provide 10 years of use (assuming 100 folds per day), although whether the flexible screen itself would last that long remains to be seen. CNET hasn't been able to independently verify that claim.  

My early sample unit had limited functionality, so I haven't been able to test the camera, battery, performance or evaluate the software. I'll update this article once I receive a final review unit.

lifestyle shot magic v2
Sareena Dayaram/CNET

Honor Magic V2 vs. Magic VS vs. Galaxy Z Fold 4

Honor Magic VS 2Honor Magic VSGalaxy Z Fold 4 5G
Display size, resolution, refresh rate Internal: 7.92-inch OLED (2,344×2,156 pixels),120Hz, 1,600 nits; external: 6.43-inch OLED (2,376×1,060 pixels), 120Hz, 2500 nitsInternal: 7.9 inches, 90Hz (2,272x1,984 pixels); external: 6.45 inches, 120Hz (2,560x1,080 pixels)Internal: 7.6 inches (2,176x1,812 pixels); external: 6.2 inches (2,316x904 pixels)
Pixel density Internal: 402 ppi External: 402ppiInternal: 381 ppi External: 431 ppiN/A
Dimensions (millimeters) Folded: 156.7x74.1x9.9mm; unfolded: 156.7x145.4x4.7mmFolded: 160.3x72.6x12. 9 mm; unfolded: 160.3x141.5x6.1 mmFolded: 67.1x155.1x15.8 mm (hinge) ~ 14.2mm (sagging); unfolded: 130.1x155.1x6.3 mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 8.15 oz, 231g9.23 oz, 261g (orange); 9.42 oz, 267g (black and cyan)9.27 oz; 263g
Mobile software Android 13Android 13Android 13
Camera 50-megapixel (main), 50-megapixel (ultrawide), 20-megapixel (telephoto)54-megapixel (main), 50-megapixel (ultrawide), 8-megapixel (telephoto with 3x optical zoom)50-megapixel (main), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 10-megapixel (telephoto)
Front-facing camera 16-megapixel (interior) 16-megapixel (cover)16-megapixel4-megapixel (under display), 10-megapixel (front cover)
Video capture 4K4K4K
Processor Snapdragon 8 Gen Plus 2Snapdragon 8 Gen Plus 1Snapdragon 8 Gen Plus 1
Storage/RAM 16GB + 256GB / 512GB / 1TB12GB + 512GB12GB + 256GB / 512GB / 1TB
Expandable storage noneNoneNone
Battery/Charger 5,000 mAh5,000 mAh4,400 mAh
Fingerprint sensor SideSideSide
Headphone jack NoneNoneNone
Special features Stylus inside box for all models, 66-watt bundled fast charger3x optical zoom, 66-watt bundled fast-chargerFoldable phone, 30x optical, 30x space zoom, IPX8, 25-watt fast-charging (no in-box charger)
Price 8,999 yuan, converts to $1,250, £970, AU$1,8501,599 euros (512GB), converts to $1,770, £1,370, AU$2,620$1,800 (256 GB); $2,000 (512GB), $2,160 (1TB)