Handsets

HONOR Magic Vs hands-on: a new foldable with good promise

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When HONOR first announced the Magic Vs, it was last November and the device was only launching for the Chinese market. At this year’s MWC Barcelona, HONOR is announcing the worldwide availability for its newest folding flagship smartphone/tablet hybrid. We’ve also got some hands-on time with the HONOR Magic Vs and we’ll be giving our first impressions of the company’s foldable.

At first glance, the Magic Vs may bear resemblance to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold4, but there are a few key differences. The Magic Vs has a larger 6.7-inch cover display and a 7.9-inch internal screen. Despite the larger dimensions, the Magic Vs is slightly thinner than the Z Fold4. When closed, the Magic Vs is 12.9mm thin and it weighs 267g.

The phone’s weight is well balanced in hand. When holding the phone closed, it feels almost lighter than it is supposed to be. The curved corners feel nice against the palm of the hand, although we do wish the rear glass had more pronounced curves. Regardless, we’re content with the comfort of the device in its closed state.

The placement of the power key is well-positioned and easy to reach with the thumb. One interesting choice was to have the power key on the lower half of the frame while the volume rocker sits on the upper half. What this means is that the volume rocker will move from the right side of the phone when closed to the left side of the Magic Vs when opened. This makes it harder to confuse the power and volume keys while the device is open.

The glossy back side of this black HONOR Magic Vs is adorned by a rectangular two-stage camera bump. The camera bezel is adorned with the words “Designed for HONOR” and surrounds the entire camera glass with two opposing rounded corners. The design imitates the asymmetrical shape of the phone while it’s closed, breaking up the mundane rectangular shape just a little bit. Oh, and the device has no gap when closed, contributing to its slim 12.9mm profile when closed. 

The Magic Vs’ magnetic clasp is quite strong. The opening action of the hinge feels smooth, but getting the display to its fully open position doesn’t feel as solid as competing foldable flagships. The hinge does not always allow for partial opening like the Samusng’s Flex Mode. Then again, HONOR didn’t implement any software features that could even take advantage of a half-open display. The crease, meanwhile, is comparable to that of the Z Fold4, but the Samsung is slightly less noticeable. The overall feel of the hardware is sturdy and stylish. The cover display does not feel cramped and its bezels are surprisingly slim. 

In the short amount of time we’ve spent with the Magic Vs, we see strong potential for Magic UI to flourish and take further advantage of the large internal display. Also, Magic UI still lingers with the look and feel of Huawei’s Harmony OS and could use an overhaul to break from Huawei’s image once and for all.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 offers more functionality like S-Pen support and Flex Mode that take better advantage of the larger internal display. Although the HONOR Magic Vs does start at a more competitive price point (EU 1599) than the Z Fold4, it could be worth considering if you reside outside of the United States. Stay tuned for our full review.

Nick Gray
I'm a life-long tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC. After writing about tech for more than a decade, I jumped at the opportunity to take on the role of Editor in Chief at Phandroid. Please contact me at [email protected].

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