Honor's New Folding Phone Doubles as a Purse. Sort Of
It's a purse! It's a phone! No, it's the Honor V Purse.
Sareena DayaramSenior 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.
Phone-makers have long attempted to appeal to the stylish set by churning out innovative phone designs complete with unique colors and funky cases. But Honor has a different take.
Enter the Honor V Purse, a concept folding phone that doubles as a purse. Sort of. You can't actually put anything inside it, the way you can with a real purse. It's essentially a phone that's designed to be worn like a handbag. But it also throws customisable wallpaper and detachable straps (so you can wear it over your shoulder or carry it) into the mix. Honor is hoping it will "herald the beginning of electronic devices being seen as an entirely new category of fashionable consumer goods."
Watch this: Honor Reveals Concept Phone Purse at IFA 2023
Unlike most book-style foldable phones, which open to reveal two screens that become one, the V Purse has a single screen that wraps around the outside of the phone's body. In effect, that gives it the appearance of two screens, one on either side of the device when it's folded close. Take note: That screen is always on.
Here's where the V Purse gets more fashionable. It lets you swap out the always-on-display wallpaper on both sides of the phone to match your outfit of the day. You can add chain-link straps and pearl handles, among other designs that attach to the phone. Some of those wallpapers are interactive, such as the furry one Honor showed off that responds to your touch by moving across the screen.
There's also another bracelet wallpaper with charms that are actually interactive elements. For example, if you touch the camera charm it will serve up the camera app, while the music note charm will direct you to the default music player. I have to give it up to the team at Honor for their creativity. These are definitely fun features, but I worry it could also drain your battery faster than you can say "phygital" since it has an always-on display, which you'd presumably leave on for most of the day to show off the wallpapers.
When I asked Honor about this battery life concern, as well as details on the battery size and camera, the company said the focus of the V Purse is in how it folds and that it's a wearable device, but not hardware. I'm also concerned about the durability of this device since its screen is exposed permanently.
V Purse as a phone
The V Purse looks uncannily similar to 2019's Mate X by Huawei, Honor's former parent. Like the V Purse, that phone stands out because it has a sleek and unusual wraparound design.
Like the Mate X, the Honor V Purse has a single-screen design, which is rare in a foldable phone space that's brimming with dual-screened foldables that open and shut like a book. The V Purse also diverges from the design of Honor's latest foldable phones, 2023's Magic V2 and the 2022's Magic VS. Both of those phones have an inward-folding design and an additional display on the front.
The Honor V Purse is a unique concept that shows how smartphone tech can be integrated with fashion in a fresh way. It's not clear if it will ever be made available to the public, but it's certainly an eye-catching device that offers a window into a possible future with foldables. It very well could appeal to people who want to stand out from the crowd if it comes at the right price along with respectable hardware and battery life.