HONOR Magic V2 Review: An Impressively Thin And Light Foldable Phone

HONOR Magic V2 Review: An Impressively Thin And Light Foldable Phone


At IFA last September, I encountered the Honor Magic V2 for the first time, which debuted in China in July 2023. The recipient of one of our Best of IFA 2023 Awards, the Magic V2 went global on Jan 26, 2024. Comparable to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and OnePlus Open in size and performance, this foldable phone features a thinner and lighter chassis. Honor also unveiled the Porsche Design version at the Leipzig, Germany, launch event, and we will publish the review soon.

Some people expressed reservations about last year’s Qualcomm flagship SoC, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC. However, the Magic V2 remains potent, with 16GB RAM and 256/512GB storage options. Its standout feature is being the thinnest and lightest large foldable on the market, coupled with good camera performance for such a slim body.

Competition, Price, and Availability

From a display quality and computing power point of view, the Honor Magic V2 is on par with the Galaxy Z Fold 5, except for its lack of a waterproofing IP rating (the Fold 5 is IP X8), its thinner chassis, and its significantly faster charging speed.

The Magic V2’s display and SoC are also similar to the thicker Oneplus Open, except for the camera performance.

Thinner and lighter than all its foldable counterparts, the Magic V2 looks like a standard 8-inch high-end smartphone, making it an appealing option for travel, doubling as a tablet for content consumption or work. At Ubergizmo, we are seriously considering ditching our phone and tablet combo for the Magic V2, due to our intense traveling schedule.

However, its multitasking feature lags behind the heavier Z Fold 5, which also offers additional functionalities with the optional new Z Fold 5 S Pen and the S Pen Pro (including air actions and remote control only for the latter).

Launching without Android 14, its update program remains similar to the competition. The HONOR Magic V2 is priced at £1,699.99 in the UK, and €1,999 in select E.U. countries (approximately $2,150). We recommend buying the Honor 66W fast charger with your order,in some countries like the UK, it is offered as a bundled gift (as of today).It costs only €1 in Germany (as of today), instead of the €29.90 price offered on the Honor France website (instead of the regular €49.90 price, as of today).

Design

honor magic v2 review 06

The Honor Magic V2 stands out for its key design elements, notably its thin chassis at 10.1 mm / 237 g (or 9.9 mm / 231g for the vegan leather version), surpassing the Galaxy Z Fold 5 (13.4mm, 253g), the Pixel Fold (12.1mm, 283g), and the OnePlus Open (11.7-11.9mm, 239-245g).

Unfolded, it measures only 4.7 mm or 4.8 mm (glass-finish version), which is only 1 mm thicker than regular smartphones such as the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which is 8.25mm and 221 grams.

The build quality is excellent, and we consider the Honor Magic V2 one of the best-designed foldable phones, featuring an elegant purple shade for the glass finish version (our review unit).

“THE BUILD QUALITY IS EXCELLENT, AND WE CONSIDER THE HONOR MAGIC V2 ONE OF THE BEST-DESIGNED FOLDABLE PHONES”

The folding experience is smoother than the Z Fold 5. However, unlike the Samsung’s large foldable, it lacks a 45-degree folding position, which is a minimal trade-off. The redesigned hinge eliminates gaps, making the phone ultra-thin while reducing crease depth.

The package includes a case with a built-in kickstand, usable in various orientations, maintaining the Magic V2’s thinner profile compared to the Z Fold 5, even with the case attached.

Displays

honor magic v2 review 15

The Honor Magic V2 features a 6.43-inch OLED display on the front with a resolution of 1060 x 2376,a 120Hz refresh rate, and a theoretical peak brightness of 2,500 nits.

Internally, it houses a nearly square gorgeous 7.92-inch display with a resolution of 2156 x 2344, a 120Hz refresh rate, and a claimed peak brightness of 1,600 nits. HONOR highlights its 3840Hz PWM dimming tech, potentially aiding users prone to eye strain during prolonged phone use.

The external screen mirrors the size of a regular smartphone with a curved right edge, while the internal crease is barely noticeable during media consumption or gaming. Tested for 400,000 folding cycles, equivalent to 10 years of folding 100 times daily.

honor magic v2 review 04

Camera

honor magic v2 review 12

The Magic V2 has a typical triple rear camera, including a 50-megapixel main, a 20-megapixel telephoto with a 2.5x optical zoom, and a 50-megapixel ultrawide. There is a 16 MP punch-hole selfie camera on each screen, capable of shooting 4K video at 30 fps. The rear camera can shoot 4K video at 60 fps.

Primary camera night:

HONOR Magic V2 Primary Night
Primary (wide) camera – 25 mm equivalent – night shot

The Magic V2 has a slightly less performing primary camera at night compared to the other large foldable phones. However, it does a good job overall, and the results are satisfactory for such a thin chassis.

The Magic V2 night picture quality is closest to the Pixel Fold, but the details are slightly more blurry, partially because of the strong filtering and sharpening algorithms, especially if you zoom in close or crop the photos. Besides that, the camera does a great job of capturing natural colors and preserving the mood of the night scene as you see it. The lighting remains natural and on-point and captures in a predictable way.

Overall, the camera has good performance both in low light and in bright daylight. We could not calculate Ubergizmo’s HW camera score due to a lack of specific metadata in the photos we shot, so we cannot compare the hardware camera system against the other foldable phones we tested. We will try to get the info and update the review accordingly.

HONOR Magic V2 primary day
Primary (wide) camera – 25 mm equivalent

Ultrawide camera:

Day: The sunset shot is really interesting because it challenges the camera to simultaneously capture details and high-dynamic range. The Magic V2 did well with the HDR and details capture (including texture) in our tests. However, it has a tendency to overshoot the exposure settings and other filters, making the final photo look a little unnatural (too bright/vivid) compared to what your eyes see.

HONOR Magic V2 Ultrawide

Night: At night, the Magic V2 Ultrawide camera does a good job of preserving the lighting, color, and mood of the scene. However, the ultrawide camera module is not as powerful as the primary (wide) camera, and the texture of certain materials can be difficult to preserve. In this scene, the Ultrawide shot is comparable to what we obtained with the OnePlus Open.

Zoom camera:

The 2.5X zoom of the Magic V2 is more suited to capture portrait photos than competing with telephoto cameras that feature 6X or 10X optical zooms. At long-range (10X), the camera will rely on digital zooming, making small details relatively blurry compared to the extreme zoom cameras. That aside, the general 2.5X zoom image quality is quite good, but like it is generally the case with this camera, the photos can sometimes look less natural due to how the exposure is set and how filters are being applied.

HONOR Magic V2 Zoom 2 5X day
Telephoto camera 2.5X optical zoom shot at sunset

Camera conclusion:

The Magic V2 rear camera system’s photo quality is impressive if you consider how thin the chassis is. Indeed, mobile cameras need as much depth (thickness) as possible to host the camera lenses, and HONOR seems to have successfully balanced phone design and camera quality.

SoC, memory, storage, performance& software updates

Software updates

Honor commits to providing five years of security patches and four years of Android updates for the Magic V2, aligning with Samsung and OnePlus’ assurances for the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and OnePlus Open, respectively. Google’s Pixel Fold guarantees three years of Android version updates and five years of security patches. While the Magic V2 ships with Android 13, one update is required to bring it up to date with Android 14. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5, the Magic V2 is yet to receive an Android 14 update.

It houses last year’s Qualcomm flagship SoC, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, with configurations of up to 16GB RAM and 512GB storage (expandable to 1TB in the Porsche Design variant).

Perceived Performance

Performance remains fluid in daily usage, including 3D gaming (I tried a few games).

Measured Performance

CPU performance

As you can see from the charts, the Honor Magic V2 has excellent performance in the context of foldable phones despite its amazing thinness. This is probably due to Honor’s efforts to produce an advanced cooling system called Ultra-thin Bionic Cooling System.
According to the company, the new cooling technology combines an ultra-thin vapor chamber, ultra-high thermal conductivity graphite, thermal conductivity gel, and copper foil.

It ranks among the highest CPU performance, which typically ensures that apps load fast and most tasks are completed faster.

honor magic v2 benchmarks 07 gb6 single
honor magic v2 benchmarks 06 gb6 multi

GPU performance

From a graphics standpoint, the scores are also very high, making it a high performer for general graphics (GPU performance) but also games. Keep in mind that with lengthy gaming sessions, the heat will eventually build up. That’s why all dedicated gaming systems are inherently thicker with extra cooling.

honor magic v2 benchmarks 05 gfxbench aztec
honor magic v2

Battery

Battery capacity

Despite its ultrathin chassis measuring 4.7 or 4.8 mm, the Magic V2 impressively integrates a 5000 mAh battery (the biggest for a foldable phone), thanks to its two-part silicon carbon battery technology.

honor magic v2 benchmarks 03 battery mah

Debuting as the thinnest dual Silicon-carbon Batteries, averaging only 2.72mm in thickness, the innovative battery system extends its cycle life by 40%, according to HONOR.

It incorporates an electrochemical system that enhances longevity and features HONOR’s low-voltage charge energy-gathering technology for enhanced power output at the same voltage as graphite-based batteries.

With regular use, connected to both 5G and Wi-Fi, the Magic V2 should last at least a full day on one charge. During my review, which was conducted solely on Wi-Fi (without 5G) with intermittent use, the battery lasted for three days. I cannot vouch for battery life as battery drainage highly varies depending on usage, with browsing and email having minimal impact compared to extreme workloads such as intense photo shoots, video streaming, or 3D gaming sessions. As usual, the battery’s capacity (in mAh) is your best indicator for potential battery life.

honor magic v2 benchmarks 02 battery mah CI

Charging speed

honor magic v2 benchmarks 01 battery charge speed

The Honor Magic V2 charges 71% of its 5000 mAh battery in 30 minutes with the optional €30 66W charger (free or 1 bundle in some markets). This is similar to the OnePlus Open charging time of 79% in 30 minutes for its 4805 mAh battery (with the included OnePlus 67W fast-charger). By comparison, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 charges 49% in 30 minutes with its optional 50W Samsung charger.

Conclusion

The Honor V2 delivers impressive build quality and display quality in the thinnest and lightest foldable form factor on the market.

This unique feature should convince people reluctant to carry thicker and heavier smartphones to try the folding smartphone experience. Travelers should consider switching to the Magic V2 as it can also be used as a tablet for productivity and entertainment during flights.

Although the camera performance is slightly below the one found in competitive devices, it is excellent for such a thin chassis.

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Highs

  • Super thin and light designed for a foldable
  • Large and bright displays for the lightweight
  • Good camera system for such a thin body
  • Support 66W SuperCharge fast charging (71% in 30 min with optional 66W charger)
  • 5000 mAh highest battery capacity for a large foldable phone

Lows

  • No waterproof IP rating
  • No wireless charging
  • Last year Android 13
  • Expensive (charger not included in all countries)
  • Not available in the U.S., you have to buy it overseas (UK, Germany, France…)

Rating + Price

  • Rating: 9.6/10
  • Price: ~ $2150

Filed in Cellphones. Read more about Foldable Smartphones, Honor, Smartphones and Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.



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