Honor is back with a brand new foldable smartphone, the Honor Magic Vs. It’s the follow up to their first foldable, the Magic V, that came out back in January as a Galaxy Z Fold 3 rival. This time around, Honor seems to have given their foldable a number of incremental improvements that overall make it just a touch better than the sum of its parts—at least, upon first impressions.
At first glance, the Honor Magic Vs might not even look that different compared to the original Magic V, but when holding it in my hand, it’s noticeably a better experience. This is mostly down to how much lighter and thinner it is compared to its predecessor. The Magic Vs measures just 12.9mm now when folded, compared to the Magic V’s 14.3mm or even the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4’s 15.8mm. It also weighs in at 261g, less than the Magic V’s 293g or the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s 263g. Together, it makes it feel a lot better to hold and use.
Perhaps the best part of the Magic Vs so far when we took it for a spin though isn’t even technically a new feature. The Magic Vs has a 6.45-inch, FHD+ OLED outer display pushing a 120Hz refresh rate and a peak brightness of 1200nits, along with coverage of the DCI-P3 colour gamut. The inner display meanwhile is a 7.9-inch foldable OLED panel with a 2272 x 1984p resolution, a 90Hz refresh rate and a peak brightness of 800nits. These are pretty much the same displays as the Magic V, but as Honor probably figured out, why change what’s working?
See, that outer 6.45-inch display comes with a 21:9 aspect ratio, which is much more user-friendly compared to the taller and more awkward outer displays on the Galaxy Z Fold series of foldables. Combined with the lighter weight and thinner size, the Magic Vs really does feel like a smartphone first which can be folded out into a tablet when you need the extra screen real estate, rather than a tablet that folds into an unwieldy smartphone instead.
The actual folding experience though wasn’t as nice as the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Honor claims that they’ve improved the hinge by reducing the number of parts in the supporting structure from 92 to just 4 thanks to a gearless design, allowing for the overall reduction in weight. However, it just doesn’t feel as smooth to open and close compared to Samsung’s foldables, making it a fiddly affair. Nevertheless, Honor says it’ll still be able to withstand over 400,000 folds, which is something like 10 years of 100 folds per day. At the very least, when folded the Magic Vs does not have a gap between the two halves, something the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 still has.
Under the hood meanwhile, there’s a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor with up to 12GB of RAM and up to 512GB of storage. While I would’ve liked to have seen the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 here, considering that Qualcomm only launched their new chip last week I think that’s fine. The Magic Vs comes with Android 12 out of the box with the MagicOS 7.0 skin over it, and Honor are guaranteeing two years of software support. Incidentally, the Magic Vs we got to mess around with came with Google Mobile Services preloaded rather than their China-based software, which could imply a future international release of the Magic Vs.
In the camera department meanwhile, the Honor Magic Vs features a triple rear camera setup using a 54MP main camera with a Sony IMX800 sensor, a 50MP ultrawide camera and an 8MP telephoto shooter offering a 3x optical zoom. This does seem like a downgrade of sorts compared to the Magic V’s triple 50MP camera setup, but the Magic Vs does have a telephoto camera that should allow for more versatility when taking photos, something its predecessor doesn’t have. There’s also a 16MP camera on both displays for your selfies.
I did however notice some lag and stuttering when switching between the cameras during my hands-on with the Magic Vs. That being said, seeing as this was running pre-production software, I’m willing to give Honor the benefit of the doubt here that it’ll be patched out by the time it reaches customers’ hands.
Elsewhere, there’s a 5,000mAh battery with 66W fast wired charging, making it bigger than the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s 4,400mAh battery that only charges at 25W speeds. However, the Samsung foldable does have wireless charging and reverse wireless charging too, something the Magic Vs lacks. There’s stereo speakers too which sound fine, but still lack the fullness and loudness that I can get from the iPhone 13 Pro Max that I had with me. It also lacks a number of other features that the Galaxy Z Fold 4 does have, such as longer software support, an IPX8 rating for water resistance and better optimised software.
Overall though, the Honor Magic Vs seems to offer a pretty decent package for a foldable device, and with its reasonably light build and smartphone-first approach, it could be a fairly solid option for anyone seeking a foldable smartphone. Unfortunately, we don’t have any details yet on whether or not Honor plans to launch the Magic Vs in Malaysia, but we do have its pricing details for China:
- Honor Magic Vs, 8GB RAM, 256GB storage – CNY7,499 (~RM4,797.71)
- Honor Magic Vs, 12GB RAM, 256GB storage – CNY7,999 (~RM5,116.74)
- Honor Magic Vs, 12GB RAM, 512GB storage – CNY8,999 (~RM5,756.41)
- Honor Magic Vs, 16GB RAM, 512GB storage – CNY10,999 (~RM7,036.94)
As a quick comparison, in China, the Magic Vs starts at a lower price compared to the Vivo X Fold and the Huawei Mate Xs 2. It’s also much cheaper than the Galaxy Z Fold 4 in China which starts at CNY12,999, though it’s hard to judge it this way as the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is comparatively much higher in price in China than in Malaysia; Malaysia is the second cheapest place in the world to buy a Galaxy Z Fold 4, while China is only the 29th cheapest.
If—and this is a big if—Honor does launch the Magic Vs in Malaysia, it could be a hit if they keep their prices competitive enough against the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Right now, Malaysians who want a foldable smartphone of this class will have to choose between a Galaxy Z Fold 4 which starts at RM6,799, or the RM7,999 Huawei Mate Xs 2 which lacks GMS and 5G connectivity. The Magic Vs might not have all of the creature comforts the Galaxy Z Fold 4 offers, but if priced right in Malaysia could be a compelling alternative.