Honor Magic V2 review: the foldable smartphone as thin as it is powerful

In addition to a Magic6 Lite released a few days ago, Honor unveiled its new foldable smartphone for the start of 2024: the Magic V2.

Honor Magic V2 review: the foldable smartphone as thin as it is powerful

In addition to a Magic6 Lite released a few days ago, Honor unveiled its new foldable smartphone for the start of 2024: the Magic V2. We were able to try it for several weeks to offer you a complete test.

We can say that Honor is not idle at the start of 2024. Only a few days after the release of the Magic6 Lite (which we were able to test before its marketing), the firm is once again returning to the high-end smartphone market with the release of Honor Magic V2.

Widely acclaimed after its release in China last summer, the Honor Magic V2 is finally arriving in Europe with great ambitions: to compete with Samsung in the foldable smartphone market. We were able to try the Magic V2 for several weeks to confirm whether Samsung indeed had reason to worry.

To say that the design of the Honor Magic V2 aims at the high end would almost be an understatement. The smartphone already has packaging that looks like a collector's item. This case obviously contains the Magic V2, but also a USB-C cable, user instructions and a leather semi-shell for the back of the smartphone.

The first thing that surprises you, once you hold the Honor Magic V2, is its finesse. Apart from the Xiaomi Mix Fold (never released in Europe), we have always been used to having fairly thick foldable smartphones. The Honor Magic V2 has finally changed the situation with its 9.9mm thickness which contrasts sharply with the market leader, Samsung's Z Fold and its 13.4mm thickness. This is also reflected in the weight, which is around 20-30g lighter for the Honor smartphone and makes it very pleasant to use on a daily basis. It's a shame, however, that the Magic V2 does not have official certification against water and dust, especially at a price of 1999 euros with us.

Folded, the Honor Magic V2 sports a beautiful slightly curved screen (and very prone to fingerprints) with a selfie camera placed in the center of the upper edge. Its edge has the volume buttons and the power button (with fingerprint recognition). The latter react well to actions even if the volume button is often a little too high, which requires you to move your hand. The hinge of the Magic V2 seems very solid even if the "rough" appearance of the latter is quite unpleasant to the touch. The back of the device has a very beautiful leather covering where the photo module made up of three sensors sits. However, we regret that the latter is placed on one end, thus causing the phone to sway when used flat on a table.

Once opened, the Honor Magic V2 reveals its large 7.92-inch screen. The latter, like the exterior screen of the smartphone, strongly retains fingerprints as well as dust which easily remains anchored on the edges of the device. These edges are also quite thick, which tends to reassure us about the solidity of the Magic V2 when folding it, but to the detriment of immersion when you enjoy a video or a game. This is also feels about the crease in the center of the screen. Although relatively discreet visually, the latter is felt when you pass your finger over it.

Honor knows how to deliver quality screens and proves it here with its Magic V2. Whether it's the main screen or the large internet screen, Honor's smartphone delivers colorful renderings teeming with details. Two modes and color temperatures are available in the options (normal and vivid) in order to accentuate the rendering of the screens or to make it more faithful to reality. We also recommend using the latter otherwise you will have content displayed with colors that are a little too garish, especially on the photos in your gallery.

The main screen of the Honor Magic V2 has a maximum brightness of 2500 nits while the large screen goes up to 1600 nits. The automatic brightness is effective and adapts well to ambient conditions to adjust itself. During our tests, we never had a situation where it was difficult to view our screen without hurting our eyes, even in complete darkness.

The two screens of the Honor Magic V2 have a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz. This guarantees very good fluidity in your applications and enough FPS in your video games to enjoy them to the fullest. Both rates (internal and external) can be dynamic in order to save energy. To maintain maximum autonomy, it is also possible to limit them to 90 or 60 Hz. The two rates are however linked and it is not possible to assign, for example, 60 Hz to the external screen and 120 Hz for the large internal screen.

Given its very high selling price, we have the right to expect good performance from the Honor Magic V2. The foldable smartphone is notably equipped with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor (the third generation being released after the phone was produced) and 16 GB of RAM.

On a daily basis: nothing to complain about. Navigation within one or more applications is fluid and you move from one window to another quickly and without any slowdown. It is even possible to display several applications at the same time with the "split screen" function. We were thus able to check our emails or social networks while keeping a WhatsApp video call displayed, all without problems or slowdowns of the applications in question.

We wanted to push the smartphone a little further to its limits by making it run fairly resource-intensive games. On Genshin Impact, the MagicV2 runs in “epic” quality with 60 FPS (i.e. maximum graphics) and we only noticed a few small slowdowns which in no way detract from the gaming pleasure. By launching Fortnite on the Honor Magic V2 , the application suggests that we leave the graphics on “epic” but with 30 FPS. Going beyond this is unfortunately accompanied by several slowdowns. On the two titles launched, it was possible to feel a little heating of the smartphone. The latter, however, remains completely manageable and usable, in particular thanks to its leather covering.

The Honor Magic V2 is equipped with three photo sensors: a 50 MP main module, a 50 MP ultra wide angle and a 20 MP telephoto lens. On paper, these specs should allow the Magic V2 to take some nice shots, but foldable smartphones often have some small shortcomings on this point.

The main sensor does quite well when the light conditions are good. The photos taken with the Honor Magic V2 manage to transcribe our scenes well with fairly accurate colorimetry and enough detail to be able to post them on social networks. The smartphone even manages to capture more “agitated” subjects such as animals or young children without observing too much blur in the image.

The telephoto lens fares a little less well. The Magic V2 manages more or less to successfully transcribe the details captured, whether it is a x2 or x10 zoom, but the details seem much less provided and the blur omnipresent. The smartphone is also capable of digital zooming up to x40, but at the expense of quality which seems to soar to the point that even texts are no longer readable.

At night, the results obtained with the Honor Magic V2 are more perfectible. The smartphone has difficulty transcribing the most complicated details to capture, such as the lawn or the leaves. The management of light sources, however, remains rather good and we did not observe any "lens flare" (these small flashes of light which sometimes creep into our photos in the presence of bright points) which spoiled our photos. The Magic V2 also has a night mode that is very quick to activate, but is more than relative effective, since certain sections of our test shots still remained in total darkness (observe here the bush of LEFT).

The Honor Magic V2 runs Android 13 and Honor's in-house overlay, MagicOS 7.2. As is very often the case with the firm's smartphones, we quickly observe that many applications are pre-installed on the Magic V2. This “bloatware” is often the result of commercial partnerships between the manufacturer and the brands to amortize the production costs of the device, but often forces the user to uninstall unwanted applications.

The Magic V2 has several small, specific features that are very well thought out and useful on a daily basis. The "split-screen technology" option allows you to open several applications at the same time to enjoy them on the large screen of the smartphone.

The other technology that we were able to try on the Honor Magic V2 is called “parallel Space”. It looks, indeed, like a sort of private browsing for all of your applications. Think of a private user profile, which cannot be viewed without prior authentication, and which has its own files, applications, identifiers and parameter words. So it's more or less another phone within your phone. A fairly well thought-out function for storing a professional profile which contains sensitive information and documents, for example.

Although MagicOS 7.2 is rather well optimized and responsive, we encountered several small interface issues during our tests, including notifications that were not displayed or disappeared. Nothing that should be fixed via a few future updates.

The Honor Magic V2 therefore has several screens, a high-end processor and many other components likely to drain the device's battery. We were able to use the Magic V2 as our primary smartphone for several weeks and never ran out of battery to use it for a full day. Unplugged in the morning around 8 a.m., the Honor Magic V2 still displayed a little more than 40% battery in the evening around 6 p.m. The Magic V2's 5000 mAh battery can therefore last for a little more than a day, but you will certainly have to recharge it if you hope to use it for two full days.

Once the Honor Magic V2 is discharged, it must be recharged! The smartphone is compatible with 66W fast charging, but no charger is provided in the box (only the cable). Here are our recharge statements:

Allow a little over an hour to fully recharge the Honor Magic V2, which is an honorable score, but well below the OnePlus Open foldable phone released a few weeks ago before this test.

This is all well and good, but a fairly basic question arises: is the Honor Magic V2 a good phone for simply calling and connecting to communications networks? Honor's foldable smartphone is notably compatible with 5G and 4G networks which we were able to try for several weeks.

Unsurprisingly: our various calls were clear and our discussions were crystal clear, whether for us or our interlocutor. Tested in the middle of a place full of activity and noise, it was still possible to hear our contact on the phone without concentrating too much or covering the other ear.

Tested with several connected devices such as a Google Pixel Watch, AirPods 3 and a Marshall Stanmore III speaker, we had no connection problems on the Magic V2. The smartphone connected easily to all our devices and we did not notice any disconnections or latency.

What a pleasure to use this Honor Magic V2 on a daily basis! The firm has done a remarkable job of offering a powerful, high-performance smartphone, yet so thin in its dimensions. Although it is not the best for taking photographs, the Magic V2 is still capable of taking very convincing shots and supporting you on a daily basis.

If we have some reservations regarding the software part, it is full of good little ideas like "parallel space" or the use of several applications at the same time. The few bugs and multiple pre-installed applications which are subject to concern may very well be corrected within a few updates.

In summary, if it is not the best foldable smartphone on the market, this first proposal from Honor in Europe won us over, and we can't wait to see what the manufacturer has in store for us next.