Honor Magic V2 Review: A Svelte Foldable

Where only one or two smartphone makers launched foldable phones in South Africa a few years ago, every major player in the country has now debuted a device locally. One of the last to do so is Honor, which outlined its intention to bring foldables to SA, starting with the Magic V2, which also happens to be one of the thinnest and lightest foldable phones on the market.

With several other options already available, is a thin and light design enough to help the Magic V2 stand out?

We spent the past couple of weeks reviewing the Magic V2 to find out.

Here’s what we learned about the first foldable that the company has officially launched in SA.

Thin and light as they come

The weight of a foldable phone may not be a selling factor for some, but hold the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5 in your hand, and then the Magic V2, and the difference is quite dramatic.

In fact, it feels like a feat of engineering that Honor has been able to ensure that this foldable only weighs 231g while also measuring 9.9mm high when folded. Those dimensions are thinner and lighter than some regular bar-shaped flagship phones, with the iPhone 15 Pro Max weighing 221g for comparison.

For the other elements of the design, Honor has gone to real lengths to ensure this looks and feels like a premium device. The Titanium Hinge for example, features a deep, dark grey matte finish to distinguish it from the black aluminium frame of the phone, along with the black vegan leather rear cover having a genuine leather-style grain to it.

All these different textures aid in creating a great mix to the aesthetics of the phone, where other manufacturers look to keep things a little more simple.

These aspects also assist in making the Magic V2 look particularly stealthy and even more svelte in this Black colourway (the only colour option in SA).

Looking elsewhere a generous and vibrant 6.43″ OLED display (2376×1060) is present up front, with a 7.92″ OLED screen (2344×2156) found when opening up the Magic V2. While the inner display boasts a slightly better resolution, the one on offer up front is also rich and nuanced in terms of its visual qualities.

Coupled with a generous amount of screen real estate, you don’t feel like you lose anything in terms of functionality and performance when folded compared to regular bar-shaped smartphones.

As for the unfolded version, there is still a crease. It is unavoidable, and any manufacturer saying they’ve removed altogether from their foldable phone is telling porky pies. What we will say, however, is that the crease is far less noticeable on the Magic V2 than it is on other foldables we have reviewed in recent years.

That said, we would have to see in time how the crease worsens or stays the same.

As for how Honor has worked to make the most of the larger screen real estate of the inner display, the usual bevvy of multitasking options are present here, such as being able to snap two applications together to make transferring information/data between the two easier.

We must admit that it would be great to have more to offer on this front, with the UI of the Home Screen simply looking like two pages of applications slapped together. It is fine to look at, but does little to spark creativity that a larger display should. This is not an issue that Honor is alone in not addressing though, with every other smartphone maker doing little to serve up a UI that switches from smartphone-esque for the outer display and tablet-esque for the inner one.

Hopefully, that is something that future iterations or an update to Honor’s MagicOS will tackle down the line.

Flagship all around

Now for the specifications, and the Magic V2 does not hold back in that department, even though it has launched in SA a few months later than other parts of the globe.

Here an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor is present, which is paired with 16GB RAM and 512GB storage. This is one generation behind the flagship phones launching in 2024, but is still quite capable from a processing perspective.

In our benchmarking, the Magic V2 registered 1 515 and 4 303 on GeekBench 6’s single-core and multi-score respectively. For reference, this is less than the Galaxy Z Fold5 mustered when we reviewed it last year, but more than the Flip5.

While we try not to place too much weight in benchmarking, the actual in-hand performance of the Magic V2 is solid, handling all the multitasking/switching between apps that we threw at it, as well as serving up great-looking media and gameplay.

Speaking of media, we were truly impressed by the onboard camera system at work here.

It is a trio of lenses on the rear – a 50MP wide-angle, 50MP ultra wide-angle, and 20MP telephoto – for the array on the rear, with a 16MP selfie one upfront. We weren’t really concerned with the latter, but the rear array helped in snapping some great outdoor photos, particularly dealing with light well, and getting the great bokeh effects we wanted when focusing in objects up close.

It’s more than a good all-rounder, and one of the better camera setups you’ll find on a foldable right now.

Lastly battery life and here the Magic V2 shines too. Honor has partitioned the battery system on this unit, with a smaller portion handling the front display and a larger one taking care of the unfolded aspect.

This combines for 5 000mAh of power that yields a day-and-a-half of battery life under heavy use, particularly when unfolded. If used primarily in its folded mode, the battery sips on power potentially going longer than two days before a visit to a charging port is required.

Final verdict

Now for price, and the Honor Magic V2 does not come cheap at R39 999 (RRP).

This isn’t really a surprise given the components that went into this foldable’s construction, not to mention just how much thinner and lighter it is compared to the competition, but even at R40k it is a tough sell.

That said, it is one of the better folio-style foldables you can get right now, and if you are indeed wanting to pick up a foldable phone, the Magic V2 comes highly recommended. Just be prepared to pay should you want to get one, as is the case with most flagship foldables at the moment.



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