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Honor Magic Vs hands-on review: Mind the gap

The folding Honor Magic Vs has an intriguing “gapless” hinge and it’s finally coming to the UK

Folding smartphones aren’t going away anytime soon, so it’s about time someone other than Samsung made a go of it. Oppo recently joined the fray with the launch of the Find N2 Flip, and now Honor is finally selling a smartphone/tablet hybrid in the UK as well.

Given a grand European reveal at this year’s MWC, the Honor Magic Vs is as extravagant as folding phones get, with a few surprises hidden away inside its hinge. It’s still expensive, but if you’ve got the money and you don’t care for what Samsung and Oppo are currently doing, then this could be the foldable to beat in 2023.

Honor Magic Vs review: Key specifications, UK price and release date

  • Inner display: 7.9in, 90Hz HDR10+ 2,272 x 1,984 OLED
  • Cover display: 6.45in, 120Hz HDR10+ 2,560 x 1,080 OLED
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
  • 512GB of storage
  • Rear cameras: 54MP, 8MP 3x zoom, 50MP 122-degree ultrawide
  • Selfie camera: 16MP
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • Folded dimensions: 160 x 73 x 12.9mm
  • Unfolded dimensions: 160 x 142 x 6.1mm
  • Weight: 261g
  • Colours: Cyan, Black
  • Release date: TBC
  • Price: €1,199

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Honor Magic Vs review: Design, key features and first impressions

You know the drill by now. The Honor Magic Vs is a foldable smartphone that functions as a regular-sized handheld when closed, revealing a large, inner screen when you unfold it. It’s not very thick in the folded position, either, measuring just 12.9mm – as a frame of reference, the Z Fold 4 comes in at 15.8mm.

Honor was keen to mention the Magic Vs’ super-light hinge in my briefing, which it says has not only helped keep the overall weight of the handset to a minimum (261g), but it also has fewer individual parts (down from 92 to just four). It has the added benefit of a slimmer crease than what we’re used to as well. Admittedly, the lighting in my briefing session wasn’t ideal, but the vertical line down the middle of the phone’s inner screen wasn’t very noticeable, even when I tried to catch the reflection of a nearby standing lamp.

This new design hasn’t affected the structural integrity of the Magic Vs, either, with Honor claiming that it can withstand up to 400,000 folds, or around ten years of daily use. You shouldn’t need to charge it as often as other foldables, too, with the 5,000mAh cell promising a battery life that’s three hours longer than the iPhone 14 Pro – a handset that reached a healthy 20hrs 41mins in our tests.

The front OLED display measures 6.45in across the diagonal with a long-tall aspect ratio of 21:9. Honor was sure to make another comparison to a competitor here, mentioning that this front display is bigger than the Z Fold 4’s smaller 6.2in size. It also has a 120Hz refresh rate and is 20% brighter than the previous model (1,200 nits) with a resolution of 2,560 x 1,080 and 100% DCI-P3 coverage. The large 7.9 inner display has a resolution of 2,272 x 1,984 (382ppi), although it’s worth noting that it has a slightly reduced maximum refresh rate of 90Hz.

Last year’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chipset powers the phone with 256GB or 512GB of non-expandable storage. Android 13 is available from the get-go, with Honor’s MagicOS 7.1 skin.

Finally, as for cameras, the Magic Vs incorporates a trio of rear lenses, consisting of a main 54MP (f/1.9) main unit, alongside a 50MP (f/2)122-degree ultrawide and an 8MP (f/2.4) 3x telephoto zoom sensor. It also has a 16MP selfie camera on the front.

Honor Magic Vs review: Early verdict

With the launch of the Honor Magic Vs in Europe, Samsung’s foldable monopoly is about to come to an end. A standout foldable in practically every area, there’s an awful lot to like here, and I’m looking forward to testing it out very soon.

There’s no UK price just yet (it costs €1,199 in Europe) and we don’t know when it releases in the UK, either.

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