Honor Magic V2 review: a milestone for foldable design

The Honor Magic V2 combines A+ hardware with C+ software and a AAA price

A photo of the Honor Magic V2
(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)
T3 Verdict

Alongside the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 or Google Pixel Fold, the Honor Magic V2 looks like it's plucked out of the future. It's thin, light, and has a comfortable-sized cover screen as well as best-in-class battery life. While the phone lacks wireless charging and an IP rating for weather-resistance, the software could do with refinement, and its cameras are good but not great. Overall, the Magic V2 is still a milestone for foldables thanks to its slim profile and excellent hardware.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Thinnest foldable hardware & premium design

  • +

    Comfortable front screen

  • +

    Long-lasting battery

  • +

    Pen support on both screens

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Underbaked unfolded interface

  • -

    Misses out on wireless charging

  • -

    No water-resistance rating

  • -

    Very expensive

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The Honor Magic V2 has finally reached UK shores, after it was first announced in China back in July 2023. Complete with a super-slim body and a punchy price tag, it enters foldable-infested waters with fresh competition from the OnePlus Open, and the established Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Pixel Fold also available. After a mediocre foldable debut from Honor in the Honor Magic Vs, what does the V2 bring to the table?

The Magic V2 is the thinnest foldable around, feeling more like a traditional phone when closed than the competition. It also supports pen input on both the front and inner screens – something not even Samsung's Z Fold 5 can do – and it has the biggest battery of the bunch despite its slender profile. 

It's not quite a clean sweep for Honor, though. The Magic V2 is on the back foot with no wireless charging or IPX8 water-resistance. Its cameras are also weaker on paper than some competition (there's no periscope zoom in sight), and Honor doesn't seem to have made the strides its competition has with its foldable interface either.

So can the Magic V2's highlights justify the high asking price, or do its shortcomings hold it back from being the best folding phone you'll find in 2024?

Honor Magic V2: price & release date

There's only one storage option for the vanilla Honor Magic V2 – 512GB with 16GB RAM – though if you pick up the Porsche Design edition, that doubles the storage to 1TB.

Only pricing for the non-Porsche Magic V2 is currently available: £1,699 / €1,999 / AU$2,599 (it's not available in the US), and pre-order offers include a free pair of Bang and Olufsen headphones and some money off (making the asking price much easier to stomach). 

For anyone more comfortable with monthly bills than a lump sum payment, the Magic V2 is also being ranged by Three UK on contract.

Honor Magic V2 review: design & displays

A photo of the Honor Magic V2

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

The Magic V2 is thin, light, and good-looking. Unfolded, it's super skinny, at 4.8mm, and folded it's just 10.1mm – not much thicker than an iPhone 15 Pro Max or Galaxy S24 Ultra. It's also slightly shorter and narrower than both phones, making it very manageable.

Weighing 231g with a vegan leather back, or 237g with a glass back, Honor has managed to make the V2 a traditional phone weight. This phone-like feel is its biggest draw and the main reason you should pick up the Magic V2 – it's a foldable that doesn't feel like a foldable.

The Magic V2 is available in purple with a satin glass back or black with a vegan leather back. Whichever option you choose, the phone feels high-end with its polished metal sides, curved glass camera and metal spine.

A photo of the Honor Magic V2

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

Honor puts the power button and volume rocker on opposite sides of the unfolded phone, so when folded they're on the same side – but on slightly different levels. This takes some getting used to; even tablets like the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra place the power and volume buttons in a strip on the same side. Other than that quirk, the Magic V2's ports and buttons are predictable and familiar.

The phone also ships with a case in the box that protects the back and has a nifty kickstand so you can easily prop it up when closed or open. While I found the satin glass Magic V2 to be slippery, the case is vegan leather for a much grippier hold.

As for the hinge, it feels secure and holds its position from about 60º to 150º, not as fixed-in-place as the Pixel Fold throughout its range of motion, but unlike the Google foldable it opens out fully flat and has a much less pronounced screen crease.

A photo of the Honor Magic V2

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

The front screen is a comfortable size at 6.43-inches, with a resolution of 1060 x 2376. The inner screen is 7.92-inches, clocking in at 2156 x 2344 pixels. They are both 120Hz refresh-rate smooth and share the same 402-pixel-per-inch sharpness.

The two OLED panels are deep and vibrant, showcasing impressively broad contrast with HDR10+ and 10-bit credentials. The front screen's peak brightness is slightly higher at 2500 nits versus the 1600-nit maxed-out inner display. Despite this, however, I found both were comfortable to use in bright environments.

With pen support across both the front and unfolded screen, it's impressive that Honor has managed to out-Samsung Samsung on this front, and while the pen won't ship with the standard Magic V2 if you splash out on the Porsche Design version then expect a pen and pen holder in-tow.

Complete with pressure sensitivity, the pen feels great, helped by a lack of a crease bump along the inner display. However, it won't be available as a separate purchase for Magic V2 customers, so don't pick up this phone for pen input unless you're prepared to import a pen or splash out on the Porsche Design edition. 

Honor Magic V2 review: camera

A photo of the Honor Magic V2

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

If you want the best camera phone, don't get a foldable. Great cameras are bulky, and foldables are also bulky by nature. Whether it's Samsung, Google, or Honor, all phone makers keep their phones as thin as possible by downgrading the camera hardware. In fact, the only folding phone with a top-tier camera is the OnePlus Open, and that has a huge camera bump.

When it comes to foldables, though, the Magic V2's camera is respectable. Its hardware is where it all begins: a 50-megapixel main camera with optical stabilisation (OIS) and an f/1.9 aperture lens; a 20MP 2.5x zoom camera with an f/2.4 lens; and a 50MP ultra-wide camera with an f/2 lens.

A photo of the Honor Magic V2

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

While the Magic V2's zoom is mediocre at best when you punch in beyond three times, it competes with the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and falls behind the OnePlus Open and Pixel Fold.

Honor demonstrated quality photo processing with the Magic 5 Pro, and this carries over to the V2, with photos looking relatively realistic. Colours are vibrant and punchy, occasionally overly so, especially when capturing reds (it tends to boost even washed out reds to a full-blown Coke-like red). Still, overall, the Magic V2's photos look good, balancing a boosted and natural finish nicely.

At night, the Magic V2 bumps up the exposure without totally turning night into day, and while low-light shots suffer from motion blur when capturing a moving subject, the V2 compensates for handshake well. If you want a super-steadied photo, part fold the phone and rest it on a surface for pin sharp long-exposure shots.

Able to record 4K resolution video at 60fps, it's great to see this works across both the wide and ultra-wide camera, and you can switch between cameras mid-recording too. 

The daytime video quality looks good, though nighttime video isn't great, and the zoom camera didn't engage for much of my low-light captures at 3x zoom and beyond. This is the case across photos and videos – zoom photos were taken by the main camera – suggesting the optical zoom only fires up in optimal lighting.

Honor Magic V2 review: performance

A photo of the Honor Magic V2

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

Powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset (with that 16GB RAM as mentioned), the Magic V2 is still a specced-out smartphone, even if its processor is a generation behind the freshest chip on the block – the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.

In day-to-day use, the Magic V2 plays back games well – even demanding titles like Genshin Impact – and while it runs at maximum graphics settings, if you don't mind paring things back slightly, you can get hours of cool, smooth gameplay out of this thing. 

More important than the chipset is the Magic V2's wider front display, making it much more comfortable to game on when closed than the Galaxy Z Fold 5. 

When I first got my hands on the Magic V2 around the time it launched in China, its software was woefully unoptimised. Thankfully, however, Honor has significantly refined the experience for wider markets, making better use of the phone's big screen.

A photo of the Honor Magic V2

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

Running Android 13 – it's still a generation behind what I'd hope for from a phone launching in 2024 – at least now there's better split-screen app access. The taskbar also displays more recent apps than it did on old Honor foldable software, and you can capture photos using the main camera and see a preview on the front display when open with all your camera controls on screen.

There are other handy highlights like Private Space for biometrically locked apps and files – accessible with a reverse pinch of your home screen – and Honor has increased the number of apps that work part-folded.

More impressive than the interface, though, is the battery. Despite the Magic V2 being the thinnest foldable on sale, it's also got the biggest battery of the lot, with a 5000mAh capacity and comfortable day-long performance.

With 66W fast charging, the V2 can power up in under 50 minutes, though there's no wireless charging available, making the Pixel Fold and Z Fold 5 the only current-gen book-style foldables to offer the feature.

Honor Magic V2 review: Verdict

A photo of the Honor Magic V2

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

Alongside the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 or Google Pixel Fold, the Honor Magic V2 looks like it's plucked out of the future. It's thin, light, and has a comfortable-sized cover screen as well as best-in-class battery life. 

However, the phone lacks wireless charging, there's no IP rating for weather-resistance, the software interface could do with refinement, and its cameras are good but not the greatest. 

Overall, however, the Honor Magic V2 remains a milestone for foldables thanks to its slim profile and excellent hardware. 

Honor Magic V2: Also consider

The Honor Magic V2's main competition comes from Google, OnePlus and Samsung.

Google's Pixel Fold is a clunky, pricey foldable that feels like a prototype next to the slick Magic V2. It has many redeeming features – wireless charging, IPX8 water resistance, stock Android for foldables, and a better camera system – but its shortcomings and higher price make the Magic V2 a much more polished option.

The OnePlus Open is the strongest foldable offering right now, combining two very usable screens – just like the Magic V2 – with a thicker design but a more optimised interface and a superior camera. It's also cheaper, so while it isn't as skinny, it offers better value for anyone who wants a great camera experience.

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 is a premium phone, but Samsung's stale design across its last four generations of Z Fold makes the Fold 5 feel especially dated. This particularly refers to the too-tall, too-thin front display, which is awkward to use, especially for anyone with larger hands. Despite this, Samsung delivers the most polished interface as well as IPX8 water resistance.

Basil Kronfli
Mobile phones expert

Basil has been writing about tech for over 12 years, with bylines in TechRadar, Metro, Wired, and Digital Camera World – to name but a few titles. He expertly covers everything from mobile phones to smart devices, cameras, audio-visual hardware, and kitchen tech. In addition to his extensive journalism experience, Basil is also skilled in video production, content strategy, and vegan baking, and runs Tech[edit], a technology-focused YouTube channel.