Honor Magic V2- Review – Coolsmartphone


We have waited for 6 months for this review some of us patiently, some of us not so patiently (me). It is time to put the Honor Magic V2 through its paces. This phone is Honor’s 3rd in the V series but it is the second one to grace our shores. I was very lucky to review the previous gen in the form of the Honor Magic Vs back in May of last year and I was for the most part very pleased with the hardware. That phone was a ice step up from the other foldable on the market at the time. However, things have changed in the market as we now have more choices here in the UK we now have four book-style high-folding phones that you buy without having to resort to imports from China. Here is my summary from the Honor Magic Vs review

This is an important phone for Honor as mentioned as it is them making a statement that they want to play in the Foldable market on the global stage (the previous Magic V was a Chinese-only release) and they have come out strong and also undercut their rivals in the space in doing so. However, I do feel that whilst the hardware is something for the most part I prefer, with the exception of the hinge mechanism which is too prone to unfolding when you don’t want it to, there is still work to be done on software.

 

The last time around I compared the Honor Magic Vs with the only real competition which was the Galaxy  Z Fold 4. Today I will be comparing the phone primarily with the Pixel Fold which has been primarily my daily driver since it was released last summer. I have also been lucky enough to have used the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and the OnePlus Open during this time. A lot of people will wonder why I am comparing it with the Pixel Fold as there are a lot of jaded opinions from reviewers out there of the folding pixel. I however have lived with that phone for going on 6 months and I honestly think of it as one of the best book-style folding phones for the average person, especially given that you can get one for nearly half the price of the RRP if you know where to look.

With the above being said the Honor Magic V2 needs to be bringing its A-game to compete, thankfully as you will see during this review it has done just that.

Design and Hardware.

I have gone through the hardware of the Magic V2 in the course of my unboxing post which you can find here. I was very impressed with it and now having spent a bit longer with the phone my feelings toward it have not changed. This is a beautifully designed piece of hardware and other manufacturers need to take note. the screen sizes on both inner and outer displays are great and the image those screens produce is crisp and clear as you would expect from any flagship phone. However, where Honor makes a big difference is in the crease or lack thereof.

Internal Front Camera

The crease is still there but it is very barely noticeable. Now I know that you will have read this all before in previous reviews but I do mean it. When viewing the phone straight ton you will not really see it in normal use and when you move your digits around the screen then you will barely notice the small rippl that is present. When I compare it with my Pixel Fold then it is like night and day one is a small ripple akin to a wide speed bump in a housing estate whereas the other is more like a sinkhole that has gouged the road out and will swallow you whole! Okay, that’s a bit dramatic but I think you see my point.

Before I leave the verdant expanse of the screens I want to touch on smoothing else that I have not been able to test and that is the fact that we have stylus support from the Honor stylus for both screens. Now unfortunately as I said this is not something I have been able to test as I don’t have an honor Stylus and they are currently not for sale here in good old Blighty. I have confirmed though that if you source one from the distant shore so fo China then it will work after you have turned on the setting on the phone. Oh, and I should probably add it works on both displays not just the internal one. Would have been nice to have it as an optional accessory at the time of the phone’s release here but the option is there if you want it and can afford it. When I checked the Honor Stylus is currently for sale for around £150 on eBay

The other aspect of the design that I am a huge fan of is the big headline for the Magic V2, at the time of writing this the Honor Magic V2 is the thinnest book-style folding phone available worldwide. This phone when unfolded is seriously thin at 4.7mm at its thinnest point ( the camera module is a bit thicker). Even when you fold the phone into its closed position then it is still under 10mm thick. This is especially impressive given that the phone still has the hardware onboard to pack the same punch as any other foldable on the market today (in the UK at least). For manufacturers that say they can’t pack in all the features that we want into a thin form factor then honor just upened the apple cart on that. They have done this because of two major components, the hinge and the battery. Firstly the hinge is made out of Titanium which is very on trend at the moment and they have reduced the hinge thickness by 75 percent in the process of changing from the previous aluminium design. The next key element is the dual battery design which we have again come to expect from foldable now but this is a little bit different the batteries are the thinnest batteries I have ever seen or heard of. They are not much thicker than a credit card but since they are made from silicone carbon over more traditional cell construction they still pack a 5000mah punch. This goes a very long way in reducing the overall thickness of the phone. As a comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is 13.4mm folded and 6.1mm unfolded and the Pixel Fold is 12.1mm folded and 5.8 unfolded. Admittedly these phones do both have wireless charging coils but these are not really that chunky so what Honor has done is still not to be sniffed at.

Those are the main selling points regarding the design of the phone but the phone also packs some very good albeit slightly out-of-date hardware on board. So let me first address that statement. This phone was first announced in China back in July around the same time the Pixel Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 5 were announced. At that time the ship of the moment was the Snapdragon 8  Gen 2, which is what powers the Honor Magic v2, the OnePlus Open and the Z Fold 5 (the odd one out is the Pixel Fold as it is Tensor G2). So in terms of folding phones, this is bang up to date.

However, the chipset world is an ever-moving treadmill and now as January has drawn to a close and we enter 2024 things have moved on. The chipset of the moment is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 and this is what people now expect in a flagship phone being released in 2024. Now whilst I do understand where these people are coming from for the consumer the chip in the phone is not all that important as long as it does your normal phone tasks quickly and without delay. It is for this reason that I don’t care that this does not have the newest Chip and I can forgive Honor for not using the newest 8th Gen 3 in this phone. The phone is fluid and fast and it will support all the normal use apps that most people will throw at it in its lifetime. What is more important is that the phones are fluid and fast and this is more down to the software implementation than the hardware. With that being said though there is a part of the hardware that helps to keep things moving quickly and that is RAM, fortunately, the Magic V2 has a boot full of this as it comes with 16GB of it alongside 512GB of storage space for all your digital goodies.

The Magic V2 is also a bit of a champ when it comes to receiving those all-important mobile network bands signals and wifi signals as they have designed the antennas to allow for an additional 10% more reception capability than the Magic VS by using some nifty design on the antennas and the use of the Honor C1 RF enhanced chipset. I have found that I am less likely to lose my mobile signal with this than I am with some other phones I have used but it is not a massive difference. When I have been on calls the other party can hear me clearly and has not complained of me breaking up to bad signal either. In terms of my Wi-Fi signal, I have found it to be pretty much on par with my Pixel Fold which also adopts a similar antenna design layout. I have tested the Wifi in a very unscientific test later on in the review.

As for the other bits of hardware, you have all the other bits you would be looking for in a flagship in terms of Bluetooth connections more sensors that you can throw a stick at USB 3.1 with OTG support and Dsiplay out for using Honor’s Desktop UI which is serviceable but nowhere near as user friendly as Samsungs DEX implementation. You also have one feature that is not often seen on phones designed primarily for the Western markets, an IR blaster which you can use with the Hoor Smart Remote control app to control the likes of your TV or Radio etc.

I have included a spec sheet below if you want to check all the specs out in further detail otherwise onto the cameras!

Name Honor Magic V2 5G
Dimensions Folded 156.7 x 72.6 x 14.3 mm
Unfolded 156.7 x 141.2 x 6.98 mm
Weight 261g
Back Material Glass (Purple) Vegan leather (Black)
Colors Black Purple
Operating System Magic OS 7.2  based on Android 13 (Upgrdable to Android 14)
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
RAM 16GB
Storage 512GB
Connectivty Wi-Fi: 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e/7, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct5.3,
Bluetooth: A2DP, LE, aptX HD
GPS: (L1+L5), GLONASS (L1), BDS (B1I+B1c+B2a), GALILEO (E1+E5a), QZSS (L1+L5)
USB: Type-C 3.1, OTG, Display Port 1.2
NFC-SIM, HCE
Infrared port
Battery 5,000 mAh Silicone carbon Dual battery
Charging Support 66 W fast wired charging with Honor Supercharge
Audio Loudspeaker
Unlock Options Side Mounted Fingerprint Reader
Face Unlock
Network 2G: 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 23G: 800 / 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100

4G: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20, 26, 28, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 66
5G: 1, 3, 5, 8, 28, 38, 41, 77, 78 SA/NSA
Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC
HSPA, LTE-A, 5G

NFC NFC enabled
DisplayParameters Outer Display
6.43-inch OLED Panel 1980 x 1080 pixels 20:9 aspect ratio
120HZ PPI 402
Inner Display
7.92 inches OLED Flexible Panel
2344 x 2156 pixels 9.78:9 aspect ratio120HZ PPI 402
Pen support via optional Honor Pen for both screens
Rear Camera Triple camera:
50MP (wide, f/1.9, OIS)
48MP (ultrawide, f/2.2)
50MP (telephoto, f/3.0, 3x optical zoom)
Front Camera 16MP Camera (f/2..2)
Flash Dual LED Flash
GPS GPS (L1 + L5 dual frequency), A-GPS, LTEPP, SUPL, Glonass, Galileo, Beidou
Additional Features 3840Hz PWM dimming technology for eye comfort.
Wraparound antenna and HONOR C1 RF Enhanced Chipset for strong and stable signal reception.
Honor’s Multi-Window and App Extension features for increased productivity on the large inner screen.
In box Phone(Built-in battery) x 1
USB Type-C Cable x 1
Quick Start Guide x 1
Eject Tool x 1
Inner screen protective film (Attached on the phone before delivery) x 1
External screen protective film (Attached on the phone before delivery) x 1
Warranty Card x 1
Aramid Case x 1

The specs are pretty on par for a flagship foldable for the current generation. If you are looking for a high end flagship grade foldable and are not too bothered about Qi charging then this is a real contender.

Now onto the camera.

Camera

The camera for this phone is as you expect like the rest of the phone a high-end unit with 3 lens composed of:-
50 MP, f/1.9, (wide), PDAF, 8×8 dToF Laser AF, OIS
20 MP, f/2.4, 62mm (telephoto), PDAF, 2.5x optical zoom, OIS
50 MP, f/2.0, 13mm (ultrawide), AF

The camera supports a large variety of shooting modes including all your standard go-to options such as;-

The camera system also includes 2 of Honor’newest party pieces HONOR Falcon Camera System, which uses a combination of AI and fast lenses to capture much more detail from fast-moving subjects and HONOR AI Motion Sensing Capture which will use AI to take a picture when it detects movement in the frame which is a great feature to have when you have a built-in stand due to the folding form factor.

Video recording duties are supported at up to 4K@30/60fps (10-bit), 1080p@30/60fps, gyro-EIS, HDR10+, OIS which is pretty good going for a phone this slim again.

The rear cameras take good photos as can be seen for the sample shots here. I found the photos easy to capture and the result was pleasing to the eye.

I am no pixel peeper I just want my camera to be easy to take shots and then for me to be able to use them on things like calendars and the occasional standard-size print. Any image I have captured on the Honor Magic V2 is going to tick that box perfectly especially when they’re taken in the optimal conditions.

I include an array of samples below for you to check out for yourself below.

Here are some samples of the various Zoom levels for you to see as well.

I have not been able to put the video capture to the test mainly as I have not had anything to take a video of in these dreich and dreary months of January and February. So I can’t really comment on the video quality.

The front camera is about as expected even disabling the normal beauty mode that is ever present on phones for far eastern shores I find that there is still an aspect of manipulation within the images which some may like but I am not a huge fan of.

Check these selfies to see the results for yourself.

 

That about sums up my camera insights but we will be having a camera special from my colleague Ian after he has had the chance to use the camera in slightly more picturesque locations as he is taking his Honor Magic V2 to New York when he travels there in the next week or so

Next up is the software.

Software

This is an area where the Magic V2 needs to get things right. I am very pleased to say that one of the biggest annoyances that had from my time with the previous folding effort from Honor is that they have now added the App drawer back as an option to have turned on which is awesome as it was silly that it was there, to begin with. That was really one of the biggest things I was hoping that the magic v2 would bring but there are other things we need to talk about.

With its being a folding phone you need to be able to pull off Multitasking well and the Magic V2 is on par here with the Pixel Fold in that you can have two apps open in full size at the same time but if you try and push it beyond that you will get stuck very quickly. In terms of the pure ability to multitask with multiple windows, this is a weak point of both the Pixel Fold and the Honor. However, the Honor does have one party piece that the pixel does not. You can have one app as the main view and the other two will be available as 2 floating apps that you can minimise down to a mini window to essentially hide when you don’t need it. This puts the Honor on a slight level up on the Pixel Fold I would say B+ for Multitasking. If you need more multitasking windows then you might need to look at Samsung or OnePlus or a laptop/tablet/2 in1!!

There is however another way to get more Multi-tasking action though and that is, of course, to plug the phone into another display using USB Type C and you have a Desktop to meet all your multitasking dreams unless browsing the web is one of these dreams as this is, not an app that I could get to show up when I plugged into my display. Also, the icons in this mode can be a little odd looking with some of them being very pixelated. This again is a function that is not to be found on the Pixel Fold or indeed on the OnePlus Open so bonus point here for the Magic V2.

Unfortunately, the good also comes with the bad. One of the most annoying things is when you are using a non-optimised app then when you transition between folded and unfolded some apps will display weirdly. Examples of it are shown below in the Yu Life app that I use for my work and the Mewe Social app.

Another issue that we are never going to be rid of is the amount of Honor apps that come preloaded as this is something that we get with manufacturers but it is not an issue found on the Pixel Fold as that has no bloat to speak of. I counted all the apps up as I was segregating them into their own folder there are 24 apps preloaded!

Now some of these are Honors own apps and are genuinely useful such as the inbult compas. However, if wanted TikTok then I would be quite happy to add it don’t need anyone to do it on my behalf.

If I had to really pick out other issues then another one would be a particularly foldable phone-related issue. When you’re in a full-screen app ie the web browser then you don’t have the very helpful dock that I have been able to find on the other foldable that I have used. The feature is there in a form, but I had to hunt for it in the settings menu. Instead of coming up on the side it pops in from the side if you swipe in from the side and then pause it will then bring up the dock for access to all your other apps. I didn’t like the way that this worked and I found that a lot of the time I would end up going back to the app I was in which caused frustration.

I think the persistent dock on the Pixel Fold is a much more elegant solution as this mirrors your front home screen dock with the addition of a recent app icon.

That about sums up my thoughts on the key software features that I wanted to compare with the Pixel Fold. I would say that the software is on par with what Google can offer with the Honor giving a bit of an edge on the multi-tasking abilities if you can live with the app switching. I do find the ability to have two windows open at the same time handy. I did use it a few times in this mode instead of grabbing my laptop which was genuinely useful, however, I could have had the same experience on any folding phone.

Other than that the software is pretty much all of the stuff you would expect to find in an Android 13 folding phone these days. Android 14 is coming very soon and is rumoured to be arriving on the phone with a Magic UI update alongside it very soon. Hopefully, this will arrive in time for Ian to give you his thoughts as my time with the phone has come to an end and it does need to be sent back to Honor very soon.

In terms of software updates Honor has promised five years of security patches and four years of Android updates, which is aligned with both Samsung, OnePlus and Google. At the time of writing, I am on the January Security update which arrived on my phone two days ago. I am also on the latest Google Play system update as well.

Another pain point is with notifications as these don’t always come through on time which can be irritating especially if you are awaiting time-sensitive alerts. I can see a notification come not my Pixel Fold and then it can be an age for it to arrive on the Magic V2. I have allowed some apps to get them quicker but then I have to put up with the ever-present high battery drain notice coming up.

I also do not like the way that the settings shortcuts and notifications are now separated and require you to perform the gesture on a specific side of the display. I would gladly see this disappear please Honor.

So that sums up the software experience. How about other stuff well let’s give you a quick run-through.

  • Sound and speakers.

These sound great and you can really feel the effect of having the separation afforded by having the speakers on either end of the phone when you are watching content in the landscape orientation. The phone produces a good sound stage for watching content, however, that being said the majority of the playback i experienced using the phone was over Bluetooth headphones which worked very well and I had few interruptions with the Bluetooth signal.

  • Bluetooth and  Wifi connectivity.

I have been running the phone with my Pixel Watch 2 smartwatch for the entirety of this review period and I have had no issues with it connecting and reconnecting at all., the only thing of note was that the watch did run down a bit quicker than I have seen when it was connected to my Pixel Fold but this also happens with Samsung devices so not a fault of the Magic V2. In my car, the Bluetooth has worked great and Android Auto connected with no issue over a wired connection as sadly my car needs to use that archaic process! (ED Note 1st world issue!!)

In terms of Wifi, I have experienced brilliant Wifi connectivity all over my home and when have been at work and never found reason to fault this at all. The wraparound antenna design and HONOR C1 RF Enhanced Chipset do really work and I am glad to have had them onboard. In a very unscientific test, I was able to have my Magic V2 pick up a wifi booster on the other side of my house with a better signal strength than on my Pixel Fold with a difference of 7 dBm which is significant. Even with the router which was under 1 m away, there was a difference in Honor’s favour of 1 dBm.

Again this was an area where I did not have any noticeable issues at all calls were clear and crisp and had no connection issues or issues holding a call once it had connected. I had no complaints from the other party on the call either about background noise bleed.

  • Charging speed and battery life

Sadly I did not have a supper charge to test the phone’s super fast charging but I was very pleased to say that I didn’t need to worry about being able to charge at super-fast speeds as the battery life was excellent easily allowing me to get through near two days full usage. Now to be fair I can normally stretch my Pixel Fold out to the same level but I don’t open the Pixel Fold into unfolded mode as much as I was doing on the Magic V2. When I did have to charge it from a regular charger I was able to charge it with no significant issue in a couple of hours. It would have been nice to have QI charging as an option but I didn’t miss it too much.

I don’t have time for games any more but I will ask if Ian can give his thoughts in his follow-up review and impressions piece as he might have some time while he is on his flight stateside.

Conclusion

I am really quite keen on the Honor Magic V2 5G. The hardware is fantastic and it feels as good after a few weeks of usage as it did on day 1 when it came out of the box, The hinge is smooth and the motion is fluid the lack of crease is so nice to see and use. The screens are crisp and clear no matter what the lighting. The external display size makes this feel like a normal slab phone but you have the benefit of that extra real estate when you unfold it.

In terms of software, Honor has stepped up here and I think they have improved upon the Magic VS and I expect more will come in the update to Magic OS 8.0. Multi-tasking is more capable than the pixel fold if you want to use it but the basic of two apps on the same display works brilliantly. The Magic OS implementation has become more in line with the Android ‘Stock” feel that people think of without needing to use all the bells and whistles to get stuff done.

The cameras are great and I wasn’t ever really left lacking in terms of their performance but I am by no means an expert here.

The phone really does pack a great punch and I have thoroughly enjoyed using it. However, would I buy one? If I am being honest if it was this of Pixel Fold then I would have to pick the Pixel Fold. I can’t quite put my finger on it but I just keep getting drawn back to that phone. I have owned 3 now having sold two previously!!

However, it is not me who is looking at this phone to buy it is you the reader and if you have made it his far then you may have already decided and I wouldn’t blame you for thinking about buying one of these as they are great and particularly love design then this is the foldable phone to get at the moment. Don’t be put off by the lack of QI charging as I know one of my colleagues was as it is not a big issue especially as if you take advantage of the offer on Honor’s website you get a Supercharger included with your purchase.

If you want to get the Honor Magic V2 5G then head on over to the Honor website and pick one up now while the offers are still on as this will reduce the asking price down to as low as £1119.99 (Normal RRP is 1699.99) if you use a trade-in and subscribe to get a voucher. This makes the Honor Magic V2 5G not only the thinnest bookstyle foldable phone but one of the cheapest as well!

Be sure to keep an eye out for Ian’s camera special and follow up after he has used it on his holiday back here on Coolsmartphone.com!

We have waited for 6 months for this review some of us patiently, some of us not so patiently (me). It is time to put the Honor Magic V2 through its paces. This phone is Honor’s 3rd in the V series but it is the second one to grace our shores. I was very lucky to review the previous gen in the form of the Honor Magic Vs back in May of last year and I was for the most part very pleased with the hardware. That phone was a ice step up from the other foldable on the market at the time. However, things have changed in the market as we now have more choices here in the UK we now have four book-style high-folding phones that you buy without having to resort to imports from China. Here is my summary from the Honor Magic Vs review This is an important phone for Honor as mentioned as it is them making a statement that they want to play in the Foldable market on the global stage (the previous Magic V was a Chinese-only release) and they have come out strong and also undercut their rivals in the space in doing so. However, I do feel that whilst the hardware is something for the most part I prefer, with the exception of the hinge mechanism which is too prone to unfolding when you don’t want it to, there is still work to be done on software.   The last time around I compared the Honor Magic Vs with the only real competition which was the Galaxy  Z Fold 4. Today I will be comparing the phone primarily with the Pixel Fold which has been primarily my daily driver since it was released last summer. I have also been lucky enough to have used the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and the OnePlus Open during this time. A lot of people will wonder why I am comparing it with the Pixel Fold as there are a lot of jaded opinions from reviewers out there of the folding pixel. I however have lived with that phone for going on 6 months and I honestly think of it as one of the best book-style folding phones for the average person, especially given that you can get one for nearly half the price of the RRP if you know where to look. With the above being said the Honor Magic V2 needs to be bringing its A-game to compete, thankfully as you will see during this review it has done just that. Design and Hardware. I have gone through the hardware of the Magic V2 in the course of my unboxing post which you can find here. I was very impressed with it and now having spent a bit longer with the phone my feelings toward it have not changed. This is a beautifully designed piece of hardware and other manufacturers need to take note. the screen sizes on both inner and outer displays are…

Honor Magic V2- Review

Honor Magic V2- Review

2024-02-10

Garry Clark

Design – 93%

Hardware – 90%

Software – 85%

Performance – 90%

Camera – 85%



89%

Honor have stepped things up for the 2nd gen global foldable with the Magic V2 5G which i well worth a look if you want premium design and lightweight hardware. Along with a software upgrade this is now a real competitor oin the market.

89



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