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Honor is doing more for foldable phones than Samsung or Google

Honor unveiled the Magic V2 foldable just a few months ago, stunning the world with the handset’s thin profile (9.9mm when folded closed) and its weight (231g). The Magic V2 is as thick as the iPhone 14 Pro and its successor, the iPhone 15 Pro. Honor unveiled the Magic V2 after Google made the Pixel Fold official, just ahead of Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Flip 5 launch event.

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Fast-forward to mid-October, Honor launched the Magic Vs2, a new foldable that’s also incredibly thin and light for this category. More impressively, the handset sells for around $1,000, which is cheaper than the Pixel Fold and Fold 5. It’s even more affordable than the Galaxy Z Flip 5.

The big caveats here might be obvious. We are looking at a foldable device with a thin profile and reduced weight, so we’ll worry about its durability. Plus, the handset is exclusive to China for the time being, so there’s no way to take advantage of that great price if you live anywhere else. And, since nothing is free, the price teases one expected compromise: An older processor than what’s available on current flagships.

But with all that in mind, it still feels like Honor is doing more for the foldable niche than Samsung and Google could. And this will hopefully pressure other vendors to come up with similar foldable smartphones.

Honor Magic Vs2 color options.Honor Magic Vs2 color options. Image source: Honor

It’s unclear why Honor went for the Magic Vs2 release at this time of year. The company said in an announcement that the Magic V2 was the best-sold Fold-type foldable phone in China in the September quarter, per data from Counterpoint Research. Maybe Honor wants to capture more sales by releasing a more affordable version of that handset.

What’s clear from the get-go is that the Magic Vs2 isn’t an upgrade of the Magic V2. You can read our Magic V2 review to learn more about that model.

But the phone still sets a new weight record at 229g. That’s 2g lighter than the regular Magic V version. Regarding thickness, the handset measures 10.7mm when folded and 5.1mm when unfolded.

Honor says the Magic Vs2 is made with aerospace-grade rare earth magnesium alloy. The metal is less dense and covers 72% of the surface area under the foldable panel. The Super-light Titanium Hinge, meanwhile, is made with “state-of-the-art 3D printing technology.”

The specs are also great for a high-end foldable with a design that’s similar to the Galaxy Z Fold. We’re looking at a 7.92-inch OLED foldable panel with 1,600 nits top brightness. The external display is a 6.43-inch OLED panel with 2,500 nits brightness.

Powering the Magic Vs2 is the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 chip, the same one that Samsung used for last year’s foldable models, the Flip 4 and Fold 4. It’s probably the only way for Honor to launch a sub-$1,000 foldable right now. Of note, the Magic Vs2 comes with 12GB or 16GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of storage.

Honor Magic Vs2 external display.Honor Magic Vs2 external display. Image source: Honor

On the camera front, we have a triple-lens module on the back: a 50-megapixel wide camera, a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens, and a 20-megapixel telephoto camera.

Finally, the Vs2 foldable rocks a 5,000 mAh battery with 66W Honor SuperCharge fast charging tech.

The handset is available in China at 6,999 yuan ($958) for the 12GB/256GB option. Pay 7,699 yuan ($1,054), and you get the 16GB/512GB model.

All that makes the Magic Vs2 a pretty compelling device, one that would put tremendous pressure on Samsung and Google. Unfortunately, there are no plans to launch the Magic Vs2 internationally. The older Magic V2 will hit international markets, but it’s unclear when it’ll launch in new markets.

That said, it’ll be interesting to see what Samsung and Google do next in the foldable space. The same goes for other Chinese vendors who have already started selling their foldables internationally. On that note, the OnePlus Open will be the next foldable to check out, as the handset should hit stores soon.

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TECH GADGET

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