The Honor Magic V2 has finally been released in Europe and the UK. And if you’re wondering why everyone has been talking about it since the launch in China last year, there’s a very good reason.
If there’s one smartphone category that divides opinion more than any other, it’s foldables. Judging by what takes place in the comments sections of my YouTube videos whenever I review one of these devices, you either love them or simply cannot see the point of their existence.
However, regardless of which side of the fence you sit on when it comes to foldables when I tell you that the Honor Magic V2 is the thinnest on the market, yet still somehow manages to match the chunkier competition (almost) pound-for-pound, I challenge you not to be interested.
You should be, anyway, because the Magic V2 is an utterly fascinating device.
Honor Magic V2 UK pricing and specs
The Magic V2 comes in either black or purple, weighs just 231 grams and is only 9.9mm thick – when folded.
It’s powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, has 16GB of RAM, and 512GB of storage, all of which is running MagicOS 7.2 – Honor’s admirably conservative dusting of Android 13.
There’s a 5,000mAh battery powering everything, which is capable of 66w supercharging, but not wireless charging. I should also note at this juncture that there’s no official IP rating for water resistance, either – I’ll get to those two concessions later in this review.
The external display is 6.43 inches with an impressive 2,500 nits of peak brightness, and the internal display is 7.92 inches with a slightly reduced 1,600 nits of peak brightness. Both have a 120Hz variable refresh rate and a bunch of eye-saving Honor features built into them.
I’ll come onto the camera system in a moment, but the Honor Magic V2 price in the UK is £1,699 and if you’ve got the budget, you can order it today.
Foldables remain premium smartphones, and the Magic V2 does nothing to dispel that belief. There are some pre-order goodies on offer, though, including a free pair of Bang and Olufsen headphones worth £459, if you’re quick enough. Which is nice.
Magic V2 Camera performance
The Magic V2 features a triple camera system which includes a 50MP wide, a 50MP ultra-wide, and a 20MP telephoto. There are two identical front-facing cameras (one on the front display, the other on the internal display), both of which are 16MP units.
I’ll let you be the judge of the photo examples on this page, but I like the images the Magic V2 produces.
There’s no over-saturation to speak of, yet the images still ‘pop’ nicely.
The photos are nicely moody, too – these images have a lot of character, in my opinion – and that matters in a world of relatively similar smartphone camera performance.
The only thing I’m not a big fan of is the default focal length choices. We have 1x, 2.5x, and 10x. The 2.5x range is taken care of via that telephoto lens, whereas the 10x is a digital zoom, and that can be a bit hit-and-miss like most 10x digital zooms.
I’m getting used to 5x optical focal lengths on flagship smartphones now, and I’d love to see that on the next Honor foldable. The stretch between 2.5x and 10x just feels a bit too much.
That’s a small gripe, though. The images this phone produces are really impressive and make it look every bit the flagship snapper.
The wide apertures on all three lenses capture plenty of light and the Magic V2 never struggled with fast-moving subjects during my tests.
It’s also impressively sharp and deals with low light very nicely indeed.
At times, the Magic V2 images are a bit Pixel-like, which gets my vote.
There’s some interesting AI stuff built into this phone, including Auto Capture, which automatically snaps away when it detects running, smiling, and jumping – on behalf of both humans and animals. I tested its ability to capture smiles and, well, it works. I’m not one for automated camera features (I’m a bit old-fashioned like that) but the idea of never missing a moment thanks to AI will be reassuring for some users.
It’s also worth noting that there’s a Pro mode for anyone who wants to turn their Magic V2 into a DSLR.
Great use has been made of the foldable design when it comes to the camera capabilities. You can turn on the cover screen preview for the subject to review the composition, and just like most foldables, you gain the benefit of being able to use the main camera system as a selfie cam when the phone is unfolded.
Video is handled competently on the Magic V2, and the device can shoot up to 4K at 60fps. Although, I love the fact there is a ‘Movie’ mode which enables you to lower the frame rate to 24fps and even turn on LOG shooting. This completes a very impressive and feature-rich camera package.
Design and operation
As noted earlier, foldable smartphones are the Marmite of the tech world. People are never shy when it comes to telling me how pointless, expensive, and crippled they are, thanks to those folding displays. Others are deeply invested in them and will immediately leap to the defence of such devices when the aforementioned comments begin to surface. It’s great fun to watch.
Three things seem to bother the former crowd about foldable smartphones:
- The crease on that internal display.
- The front display is either too narrow or too good (I’ll explain what I mean by that in a moment).
- The size and weight of the device.
The Magic V2 does an incredible job at answering all three of those concerns.
The crease is still there – it has to be for the time being. But it is also one of the least noticeable creases I’ve come across in the land of foldable smartphones.
The front display is damn near perfect. I’m a big fan of the Google Pixel Fold’s display, but it’s one of the aforementioned ‘too good’ examples, which practically makes the presence of the big internal display a moot point. The Magic V2’s front display is wide enough to be usable (particularly for typing) but leaves just enough to make you want to dive into that big internal display, and, consequently, smashes the Samsung Fold series for that reason.
However, the crowning glory of this device is its size and weight. It is, frankly, unbelievable. There’s a reason everyone was talking about this phone when it launched last year. It doesn’t feel like a foldable placed against something like the Z Fold 5. The latter looks comically thick by comparison.
That thin frame has indeed resulted in a couple of concessions. As noted earlier, there’s no wireless charging and no official IP rating. Given the choice, I’d take the latter over the former, just for peace of mind, but I guess something has to give when the size and weight of a foldable smartphone have been reduced this much.
The good news is that nothing else appears to have been compromised. For instance, the displays are, like every Honor phone I’ve tested, absolutely beautiful. They’re large (obviously), and bright, and neither of them has big bezels (a common complaint about the Pixel Fold’s display). They both also feature Honor’s PWM dimming, Circadian Night Display, and dynamic dimming technology which is designed to ease the strain on your eyes. That’s hard to test, but nice to know it’s there.
One of the most satisfying things about the Magic V2, though, is the way it snaps open – and it is completely open. Unlike other foldables, the Magic V2 doesn’t leave that slightly unnerving still-open partial V-shape. It’s about as flat as it should be and, once again, ridiculously thin (just 4.7mm, fully open).
The Magic V2 doesn’t feel flimsy, though – the titanium hinge is assured and confidence-inspiring, and my review unit (which, I guess, will have been put through the wringer) doesn’t make a sound when opening or closing.
Performance and battery
I don’t do performance or benchmark tests, but what I can tell you is that, thanks to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the Magic V2 zips along as quickly as a very expensive phone should.
I’ve talked a lot in the past about MagicOS, but that operating system plays a big role in this. It’s one of the most considerate and light-footed adaptions of Android I’ve used and never feels bloated or sluggish.
Multitasking works well on the Magic V2, too, with window management being very easy to get your head around and not displaying any lag when you shift stuff around the screen. I also like how you can easily create a dual-app view and have MagicOS reveal which apps are compatible with the split view. It’s as intuitive as this should be.
Quick mention must go to the Parallel Space feature, which opens up MagicOS to reveal a secluded area in which you can store data, apps, and photos, away from the main space of the operating system. I’ve not seen anything like this before, but it could be extremely useful if you intend to use the Magic V2 as a work device.
You’re not going to feel short-changed, performance-wise with the Magic V2, and the same goes for the battery performance – I regularly got two days of use out of it, and the super-fast charging is genuinely handy.
Honor Magic V2: my conclusion
It’s hard not to like the Honor Magic V2. Like every foldable, it’s a very expensive phone, but it goes a long way to justify that big price tag.
It offers a great camera system with an impressively deep feature set. Performance is up there with every other flagship you’re likely to come across. It also has every right to stake the claim of having a ‘breakthrough’ foldable design – because that’s exactly what it has got.
This is why the Magic V2 hogged so many headlines last year. It’s the most impressive foldable smartphone I’ve held and used, and if you’re on the fence about this category (and have the budget), it might just tempt you.
Before you go
How much is the Honor Magic V2?
In the UK, the Honor Magic V2 costs £1699. In Europe, it costs €1999. The Honor Magic V2 is not being released in the USA.
When is Honor Magic V2 coming to UK?
The Honor Magic V2 is being released in the UK and Europe on 2nd February 2024.
Is the Honor Magic V2 waterproof?
The Honor Magic V2 has no official IP waterproof rating. This is odd as IP ratings often make up large parts of smartphone sales strategies. For example, the OnePlus Open is rated at IPX$ and the Samsung Z Fold 5 at IPX8. This means they have been tested for protection from water ingress but not things like dust.
Is Honor and Huawei same?
Honor used to be owned by Huawei, but the latter sold the Honor brand to another tech company in 2020.
Is Honor Magic V2 coming to the US?
There are no current plans to release the Honor Magic V2 in the USA.