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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Honor Magic Vs hands-on: A foldable alternative to Samsung and Xiaomi

Honor is back in contention on the global stage, and the brand is picking things up right where it left off. The brand has released phones and tablets, and a new area of focus for Honor is foldables, where it made its foray last year with the Magic V. 

While that particular foldable was limited to China, Honor has grander ambitions for its 2022 foldable, the Magic Vs. The phone was unveiled in China at the end of November, and is set to make its way to global markets in early 2023. 

There hasn’t been a shortage of foldables of late, and Samsung continues to be the runaway leader in this category on the back of its Galaxy Z devices. But with Chinese brands introducing models slated to launch in global markets, 2023 is the year we could see things heating up on the foldable front. 

Honor Magic Vs review

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

I’m doing a hands-on of the Magic Vs instead of a full review as the unit Honor sent out has unfinished software that isn’t ready for public use just yet. The brand says that the hardware itself is ready and that the unit that consumers will be able to buy next year is the same as the model you see in this post, and that it is still working on tweaking the software. To that effect, I’ll be talking about the design and some of the hardware features for now, with a full review coming once Honor sends out a retail unit.

I used foldables for several months this year, starting out with the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and switching to the Z Fold 4 when that became available. I also used the Z Flip 4 for over six weeks and really liked that device for the inward-folding design, and in the last two months I used Xiaomi’s incredible Mix Fold 2. With Chinese manufacturers increasingly turning their attention to foldables, I was curious to see what Honor had to offer in this category with the Magic Vs.

Honor Magic Vs review

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

Honor nailed the design of the Magic Vs, and the foldable feels like a premium product the moment you take it out of the box. One of the things that’s immediately noticeable is the smoothness of the hinge; just like the Mix Fold 2, it articulates smoothly and is a joy to use. Honor says it switched to a gearless hinge that’s lighter and more durable, touting 400,000 actuations.

The hinge feels reliable and smooth, and there’s no flex whatsoever here. What I particularly like here is that it stays unlocked at various angles — similar to the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s Flex Mode — something that the Mix Fold 2 isn’t able to achieve. Another standout is the fact that both halves fully close with no gap in between, unlike the Z Fold 4. That said, the Magic Vs doesn’t have any ingress protection — Samsung’s foldables continue to be the only ones with this particular feature.

Honor Magic Vs review

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

Because of the thin profile and flat sides, it takes a little more effort to unfurl the inner screen of the Magic Vs. That said, the svelte design feels great, and the Magic Vs holds its own against the Mix Fold 2 in this area. Continuing with usability, the Magi Vs is taller and wider than the Galaxy Z Fold 4, and the width in particular works in its favor as the cover screen is larger and feels more in line with a traditional phone. The foldable unfurls to a 7.9-inch inner screen, and while there is a crease in the middle, it isn’t particularly noticeable in daily use.

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