World's thinnest foldable phone: Honor Magic V2 launches in UK and Europe

A photo of the Honor Magic V2
(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

The Honor Magic V2 is launching outside China and will arrive in Europe, with the news dropping at IFA 2023. The announcement was made alongside the reveal of Honor's latest concept device, a fashion-focused twist on the Huawei Mate Xs, the Honor Magic V Purse.

It's no secret that we didn't love the Honor Magic Vs when we tested it. Despite plenty of promise and value when it came to the phone's specs, the Vs's hardware fell short, its camera couldn't best the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, and the software didn't hit the mark either. The Honor Magic V2 promises to up the experience in every respect, but it's this phone's design that's taken our breath away.

The Magic V2 is one of the lightest foldables around, weighing just 231g in its vegan leather color option. That’s significantly lighter than an iPhone 14 Pro Max, which weighs a hefty 240g, and undercuts the Galaxy Z Fold 5(253g) and Google Pixel Fold (283g) by some margin.

(Image credit: Basil kronfli)

Available in Black, Silk Purple, and Gold, the phone’s profile is 9.9mm thin – currently the thinnest of any book-style foldable – and the V2 sports a titanium hinge, feeling both solid and svelte. The Purple option in particular won us over, glinting with a fine-looking magestic aubergine/mauve luster to it, making a great impression when matched with its fingerprint-resistant finish and impressive build quality.

Honor Magic V2 cameras

The Honor Magic V2’s triple rear camera setup has been specced-up compared to the Magic Vs we tested. The 50MP primary camera with an f/1.9 lens now benefits from OIS, and there's a 50MP ultra-wide camera with an f/2.0 lens and an f/2.4, 20MP telephoto camera, also with OIS and a three times zoom equivalent lens.

There are two punch-hole selfie cameras, one on the cover screen and the other on the large main display, and these sport 16MP resolution sensors and f/2.2 aperture lenses.

While we don’t know what sensor array Honor has opted for, the added OIS and resolution bump from 8MP to 20MP for the telephoto camera all bode well for its latest foldable. We ran some quick tests against the periscope camera-packing Xiaomi Mix Fold 3, and the Magic V2's more modest zoom fared well, falling only slightly behind on detail – impressive for such a thin phone.

(Image credit: Basil kronfli)

Honor's proven it can get cameras very right with the five-star Magic 5 Pro capturing fantastic quality photos despite undercutting much of the flagship competition. If it can replicate that kind of success with its foldables, Honor could be the underdog to watch as we go into 2024.

The Honor Magic V2 may be thin and light, but its screens are big. In the flesh, the lack of front bezel on the cover screen really stood out for us – it looks stunning – especially set against cramped cover screens like the Galaxy Z Fold 5's. Measuring 6.43 inches, it's comfortable to use, responsive, and, when you need a little more space, it unfolds to reveal a massive 7.92-inch main display.

(Image credit: Basil kronfli)

While the Honor Magic Vs had different specs across its screens, the V2 enjoys the same 120Hz refresh rate across both, as well as identical pixel densities – 402 pixels-per-inch (PPI). Both screens also shine brilliantly bright; 1600 nits from the main display, and 2500 nits from the cover screen.

In addition to 3840Hz PWM dimming for improved eye comfort at low brightness, the Honor Magic V2 has also passed the VICO visual comfort test with a rating of A+, and it’s TÜV Rheinland circadian-friendly certified.

Specced out on all fronts

Powered by the mighty Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset matched with a massive 16GB RAM, the Honor Magic V2 is a powerful phone, and with 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB, will offer plenty of storage options.

Honor's latest foldable misses out on wireless charging but does get the same 66W fast charging as the original Magic Vs, and despite its large 5000mAh battery, topping it up shouldn’t leave you waiting around. 

The only aspect of the Honor Magic V2 that leaves us lukewarm is our early impressions of its software. While the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Pixel Fold are optimized to flex advanced features in full-screen mode, with a handy taskbar giving it big screen tablet-style highlights, the Magic V2 we got hands-on time didn't. After probing Honor on its software plans, we've been assured that the interface will be souped up by the time the phone officially launches outside China.

In addition to the Magic V2 being announced globally, Honor also showed off a concept phone that was on display at IFA 2023, the Magic V Purse.  Taking Huawei Mate Xs styling – an outer folding screen – and marrying it with customized accessories and always-on display content, the novel, fashion-forward take on foldables could be a sneak peek into the future of consumable fashion. 

Before something like the V Purse launches for general release, though, flexible display durability would need to be seriously improved. We dinged our Mate Xs and ended up with a cluster of dead pixels, rendering the very expensive phone useless, so suggesting the phone can be used like a clutch bag is marvelously optimistic.

Honor Magic V Purse

(Image credit: Honor)

Irrespective of Magic V2's software, Honor's latest foldable is a stunning design and engineering showcase. We'd go so far as to say, on first impressions, its one of the best, if not the best folding phone we've used thanks to its incredibly thin, lightweight body, solid-feeling hinge, and premium build.

Looking set to launch in early 2024, check back for a full review when Honor launches the Magic V2 globally, comparing it against the best smartphones of 2023, and putting its camera through its paces to see whether it doesn't just claim the title of the best folding phone – but also best Android phone.

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Basil Kronfli

Basil Kronfli is a freelance technology journalist and content creator with a number of specialisms. He started his career at Canon Europe, before joining Phone Arena and Recombu as a tech writer and editor. From there, he headed up and runs Tech[edit], a technology YouTube channel, and has worked alongside this role at Future as a Senior Producer, sharpening his considerable video production skills. 

His technical expertise has been called on numerous times by mainstream media, with appearances and interviews on outlets like Sky News, and he provides Digital Camera World with insight and reviews on camera phones, video editing software and laptops, on-camera monitors, camera sliders, microphones and much more.