The fast rising foldable smartphone sector is about to get a lot more interesting with the arrival of the Honor Magic Vs.
This slick new 5G mobile will launch in the UK sometime in 2023, but we’ve called in an early sample from the phone’s early China launch, to get a better look at the build quality and technology inside, and we think it’s one of most exciting new foldable entrants yet.
The first thing you notice when you pick one up is how relatively thin it is. The Magic Vs is 12.9mm when folded, slimmer than the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4; and at 261g, it’s one of the lightest foldable smartphones yet.
Despite this, it features a generous 5,000mAh battery, able to deliver just over nine hours screen time. You can fast-charge the phone in less than 50 minutes.
Design and finish impress. The case is nicely polished, and feels good in the hand. A novel hinge design allows the phone to fold flat without an obvious gap between the two halves.
Honor hopes that by keeping the Magic Vs thin and light, users will adopt it as their primary phone. Currently, in China at least, owners of foldables tend not to use them as their main mobile.
The hinge itself is a gearless design, the result of ‘single-piece casting processing technology’. Cleverly, Honor has managed to get the hinge assembly down to just four components, substantially less than its Magic V predecessor, which required 92 components. It has managed to do this by removing all the gears, a remarkable engineering feat.
We’re told the display can withstand over 400,000 folds, which equates to around ten years at 100 folds per day. The Magic Vs closes with a satisfying snap.
The first thing you notice when you pick one up is how relatively thin and light it is…
When closed, the Honor Magic Vs proffers a large 6.45-inch external screen with a 21:9 ratio, which seems ideal for watching movies on the go. Peak HDR brightness is quoted at 1200 nits, with 431 PPI and 120Hz refresh rate. The screen to body ratio is 90 per cent.
Unfolded, you get a tablet style 7.9-inch wide display – large enough to work comfortably on Google Docs – with a peak brightness of 800 nits. Honor quotes a 90Hz refresh rate for this inner screen. Resolution is 2271 x 1984, 381 PPI.
Intriguingly, this is the first smartphone we’ve seen to have a foldable display that’s achieved IMAX Enhanced certification. It delivers 100 per cent of the DCI-P3 colour gamut and even sports symmetrical dual stereo speakers with DTS X audio compatibility. Currently, Disney+ offers IMAX Enhanced streams of Marvel movies (which have an IMAX aspect ratio), but not DTS sound. Still, nice to know it’s there when we need it.
The unfolded panel has a slight crease, which is more noticeable when the screen is off than when it’s on. We found it didn’t overly distract, although you do feel a dip when you swipe around.
So what of the camera system? Well, there’s a 54MP IMX800 main camera, a 50MP ultra-wide and macro camera, plus an 8MP 3X optical telephoto. The proprietary AI-enabled Honor Image Engine is on hand to enhance imagery.
Not too shabby. The camera assembly does protrude from the back, so when you lay the unfolded phone down, it doesn’t rest flat.
As for the tech specs, they’re solid: beneath the hood is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage or 12GB RAM and 256/512GB storage.
It’s worth pointing out that Honor isn’t just a smartphone brand anymore. It’s shifted to a wider ecosystem, comprising mobiles, tablets, laptops and headphones.
Overall, we like what we see with the Honor Magic Vs. It’s stylish and innovative. If you’re after a smartphone / tablet replacement, it’ll be one to shortlist.
Honor hasn’t announced a price for the Magic Vs when it launches in the UK and Europe, but you can expect it to undercut the competition.
The Honor Magic Vs is definitely a foldable smartphone to watch out for.
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