Home Tech Honor Magic V2 review: exquisite hardware abandoned by software

Honor Magic V2 review: exquisite hardware abandoned by software

by Elijah
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Honor Magic V2 review: exquisite hardware abandoned by software

The Honor Magic V2 is the best-designed foldable tablet phone yet. It looks like a regular phone when closed, but then opens like a book to reveal a big, cushy screen.

Launched in China last year, the Magic V2 has now arrived in Europe but not at a price that could be considered affordable. At £1,700 (€2,000), it slots between the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 and OnePlus’ slightly cheaper Open.

However, it has a major advantage over the competition: its slenderness. Honor has managed to refine the hinge and the body to effectively eliminate the bulk that has weighed down foldable phones until now. Its large, bright exterior display has thin edges and curved sides, making it look and function like a regular Android when closed. When the tablet is opened, it is only 4.8mm thick, the equivalent of a stack of six credit cards, which is incredible.

The Magic V2 is only 10.1mm thick when folded, which is about the same as a regular phone in a case. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The 7.92-inch internal display is slightly larger than its competitors while still being just as bright, smooth, and beautiful. The crease in the middle is a little more visible than the Open but blends easily into the background with use.

The hinge is designed to last at least 400,000 bends and can hold the phone open at different angles. But the hinge doesn’t feel as firm as some competitors’ and the phone doesn’t have protection against water or dust.


  • Main screen: 7.92-inch (402 ppi) 120Hz OLED flexible display

  • Cover screen: 6.43-inch OLED (404 ppi) 120 Hz

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

  • RAM: 16 GB

  • Storage: 512 GB

  • Operating system: MagicOS 7.2 (Android 13)

  • Camera: 50MP + 50MP ultra-wide + 20MP 2.5x tele; 2x 16MP selfies

  • Connectivity: 5G, dual sim + esim, USB-C, wifi 7, NFC, Bluetooth 5.3, GNSS

  • Water resistance: none

  • Dimensions folded: 156.7 x 74 x 10.1mm

  • Dimensions unfolded: 156.7 x 145.4 x 4.8mm

  • Weight: 237g

The best Android chip of last year

The phone charges in about an hour using a 45W USB-C charger (not included in the box), but doesn’t have wireless charging. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Magic V2 has Qualcomm’s best chip of 2023, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 – not the new Gen 3 version that started showing up in phones last month. It still offers plenty of power for multitasking, gaming, and anything else you might want to do with it, but it’s not the latest technology despite the high asking price. The battery lasts a long time. Actively using both screens for over six hours and 5G for three hours, the battery lasts up to 49 hours between charges, or a recharge every two days.


Honor doesn’t provide an expected battery life, but it should last over 500 full charge cycles with at least 80% of its original capacity. The phone is usually repairable by Honor. Battery full replacements cost £110 and screen replacements cost £737.80 out of warranty. The phone contains recycled plastic and Honor publishes a breakdown its environmental impact and offers exchange programs.

MagicOS 7.2 lacks polish

The multitasking system lets you use up to four on-screen apps at once, but is full of quirks. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The software is the Magic V2’s biggest weakness. It comes with MagicOS 7.2 based on Android 13 from 2022, not Android 14 as you would expect from a new device in 2024. Honor will also only provide four years of Android updates and a total of five years of security updates from release, which is also at least two full years less than the benchmark set by Google, Samsung and Apple.

MagicOS has some interesting ideas, like a mode to turn the phone into a digital desk clock when idle, but it’s generally a bit rough compared to competitors’ best software experiences. It has advanced multitasking tools, including the ability to have up to four apps on screen: two in split-screen and two more in smaller floating pop-ups.

But if you tap a notification for a message, such as email or WhatsApp, the phone insists on opening the corresponding app in a floating mini-window, not full screen. Sometimes it’s convenient; other times it’s just irritating and there’s no way to stop it. I never want Gmail to open like a chat app.

The phone also comes with pre-installed unwanted apps including Booking.com, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram and WPS Office. They can all be uninstalled, but this is a £1,700 phone and shouldn’t have the kind of bloat you get on a budget device.


The Honor camera app has many features, including a manual mode, and can be used open or closed. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Magic V2 has three cameras on the back, a selfie camera on the front and one on the interior screen.

The dual selfie cameras are solid but improved for photos by the main cameras, which can easily take selfies using the exterior screen as a viewfinder.

The 50 MP main camera captures good photos in a variety of lighting conditions, although it tends toward high color saturation while frequently brightening scenes and losing contrast, making them look a bit flat. The 50MP ultrawide does a good job in bright scenes, while the 20MP 2.5x telephoto lens generally produces solid images. It doesn’t have much range, though, especially compared to top competitors with double the optical magnification available.

All three cameras struggle a bit to cope with lower light levels, losing fine detail and sharpness and becoming increasingly inconsistent at night. There’s also a marked color difference between the ultra-wide and the other two cameras, which is disappointing at this price.

None of these issues are deal-breakers, but Honor has some work to do to catch up with the best on the market.


The Honor Magic V2 costs £1,699.99 (€1,999.90).

For comparison, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 costs £1,749the Google Pixel Fold costs £1,749 and costs OnePlus Open £1,599.


The Honor Magic V2 is exquisite hardware with software that can’t really live up to expectations.

The case is so close to a regular phone when folded that it’s easy to forget there’s a giant screen hiding inside.

But the software just isn’t as polished or capable as its competitors, nor is it supported long enough. The lack of a water-resistant rating raises doubts about durability, while the camera’s performance is a bit weak in some areas. None of these issues are completely crippling and many could be fixed with updates. But they’re disappointing for a device of this price, especially when its cheaper competitors do better on these fronts.

Benefits: Ultra thin and light phone and tablet in one, just like a normal phone when closed, excellent performance, very long battery life, excellent internal screen, good fingerprint scanner.

The inconvenients: no water resistance, very expensive, expensive to repair, software not as refined as needed, short software support, older chips, camera performance lags behind competitors.

The Magic V2 is available with an attractive frosted glass or vegan leather back. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

This article was edited on February 19, 2024. An earlier version stated that Honor would only provide three years of Android updates.

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