HONOR invited us to London to go hands-on with the newly unveiled HONOR Magic Vs foldable flagship. It’s the first foldable to be planned for release outside of China, and it makes us super excited to see a new foldable compete against the more popular Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. The HONOR Magic Vs has a 6.45-inch cover display and a 7.9-inch inner screen. We have already compared the Magic Vs against the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and the OPPO Find N, some of the best foldable smartphones on the market.
HONOR invited select media members to check out the company’s second foldable flagship, the HONOR Magic Vs. After playing around with it for more than an hour, here are my first impressions, and I must say, it looks really good and promising.
It’s worth noting that HONOR specifically asked us not to talk about the software side of things, since the device was running a pre-released version that didn’t contain all the features, and had some bugs in it, and to honor their request (pun intended), we’ll only talk about the hardware. We’ll dive deeper in our upcoming review and hands-on.
Price & Availability
HONOR didn’t unveil the global pricing, but the Chinese model has a very appealing price. The HONOR Magic Vs is available in China from November 23, 2022, retailing for CNY 7,499 (~$1,050) for the standard model, and CNY 10,888 (~$1,520) for the HONOR Magic Vs Ultimate, a special edition. Speaking of global pricing, HONOR also confirmed that it’s launching the Magic Vs globally early next year, sometime in Q1 2023.
HONOR has a chance to be a perfect alternative on the market
Since we don’t have global pricing, it’s hard to estimate how much the Magic Vs will cost outside of China, as OEMs don’t always do a one-to-one price conversion, and usually add shipping, local taxes, and other fees on top of their smartphones. With that in mind, I think HONOR has a chance to be a perfect alternative on the market, especially if it can price the device right, and well below the Galaxy Z Fold 4.
|Category||HONOR Magic Vs|
|Operating System||MagicOS 7.0 (Android 12)|
|Stylus Support||Yes (HONOR Magic Pen)|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 (4nm)|
|Front Camera||16 MP, ƒ/2.45|
|Connectivity||5G, LTE, Dual-band Wi-Fi. Bluetooth 5.2, NFC|
|Charging||66W Fast Wired Charging|
|Colors||Orange, Cyan, Black|
Design & Hinge
At first glance, the new HONOR Magic Vs looks like its predecessor, the HONOR Magic V, which was released in January 2022. That’s not a bad thing, given it has a modern take on the design, and I must admit, it looks a lot better in person than on photos. The device has everything that we’re used to seeing in other foldables. It has a speaker and microphones on the top and bottom, and the side-mounted power button also doubles as a fingerprint scanner.
The device is also compatible with the HONOR Magic Pen, supported on the internal display. Sadly, this wasn’t present at the event, and we couldn’t get a feel for it. It’s worth mentioning that the device doesn’t have a dedicated slot to store the pen, so you’ll likely have to carry it in a separate case or on the side.
When you pick up the Magic Vs, you’ll find that it’s slightly lighter than other foldables, and HONOR shaved off 27 grams, resulting in an impressive 261 grams. It’s still large by all means, but it feels lighter, and slimmer compared to other devices, and while it could still be considered a brick by most people, those who bought into the foldable smartphones will appreciate how thin and light it feels, both in a folded and unfolded state.
The HONOR Magic Vs has a solid hinge mechanism, and it’s the first from the company to feature the new gearless mechanism. It helps lighten the weight of the phone, providing more internal space and making the hinge last longer due to its increased durability. HONOR says it’s rated for 400,000 folds, which equals about 100 opens per day. That’s about 10 years of constant folding and unfolding. It’s impressive, but it’s yet to be tested in real-life conditions.
The hinge feels firm, but smooth. Unlike the Galaxy Z Fold 4, it doesn’t appear to allow the user to bend the display halfway in small steps, as it mostly focuses on two states, open and close.
The cover display packs a 6.45-inch OLED panel with 120Hz variable refresh rate. It has a comfortable 21:9 aspect ratio, making it easy to type on and use as a traditional smartphone. The internal display is a 7.9-inch OLED panel with 90Hz refresh rate that has up to 800 nits of brightness, and it also supports HDR10+ playback. The square-ish panel feels perfect when used in landscape orientation, and while we couldn’t check it out for videos and games, it seems like the perfect balance for power users to enjoy content and multitask.
Both displays feature a 1920Hz pulse with modulation (PWM) dimming to reduce screen flickering, and they look beautiful, sharp, and crisp.The cover display has a peak brightness of 1,200 nits, which will be very handy in direct sunlight and bright environments.
When the device is folded, it closes shut without a gap in the middle, eliminating objects getting through the middle and scratching the display. HONOR says the Magic Vs “folds without a gap, and delivers a creaseless display when unfolded.” While I can certainly back up the gapless design, the crease is still there, albeit, it’s much less noticeable visually and on physical contact compared to other competing devices on the market.
I compared the typing experience to the Galaxy Z Fold 4, and from the one hour I got the play around with the HONOR Magic Vs, I must admit, typing has never felt more comfortable and enjoyable than it was on the cover display. The 21:9 aspect ratio, and the slightly wider panel makes it feel like a traditional smartphone, which is good news for fast typers like myself, and those who are worried and anxious about narrow panels.
The HONOR Magic Vs has a total of five sensors. There’s a 16MP f/2.5 selfie camera on the cover screen, another selfie shooter placed in a punch-hole cutout on the cover screen, and three more sensors on the back. When you’re out and about, you’ll likely want to use the cover screen’s front camera to capture memories and take selfies, and the internal screen’s camera should do a decent job for video calls with friends, family, and work.
Flipping the phone on its back reveals the remaining three sensors. It consists of a 54MP f/1.9 primary camera (Sony IMX800), a 50MP f/2.0 ultrawide, and an 8MP f/2.4 telephoto sensor. All cameras have AI features, which HONOR calls the HONOR Image Engine. We’ll have to put them through their paces before forming an opinion about their performance, so stay tuned to our full review.
The HONOR Magic Vs packs a large 5,000 mAh battery with support for 66W fast wired charging. The company claims it can go from zero to 100% in just 46 minutes, making it one of the fastest-charging foldables on the market today. However, there’s no wireless charging, which, considering it’s a device that will likely cost more than $1,000, is a bit disappointing. That being said, the 66W fast charging method can easily change your habits, and a quick top-up could net you a day’s worth of charge in less than an hour.
For reference, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 supports 25W fast wired charging, and 15W wirelessly. It’s slow, by today’s standards, and we’re glad to see HONOR offer a faster option, even if it comes with some sacrifices.
The HONOR Magic Vs seems like a small refinement over its predecessor. However, there are some mighty changes internally. It packs a larger battery, a less visually intrusive crease, and a folding mechanism that feels smooth, and durable. HONOR managed to shave off a noticeable weight, making it feel comfortable and slim in the pocket – although it’s still a large device, compared to traditional smartphones.
The upgrades are there, and we’re yet to see how the software can cope with the larger screen estate and the folding mechanism, but one thing is clear. HONOR has a chance to be a perfect alternative on the market, especially if they can nail the pricing with an appealing price tag. I, for one, am rooting for HONOR, as we need more foldable devices on the market that challenge the likes of Samsung, which is currently the only company that widely sells foldable devices in the west.