Foldable phones are becoming more and more common these days. We’ve got Samsung with their Z Fold and Z Flip series, Huawei with their Mate X series and Pocket series, and OPPO recently released their N2 Flip in the Philippines.
So, it is no surprise that Honor wants to have skin in the game (at least in the Philippines) as well with the Honor Magic Vs.
Does the Honor Magic Vs have what it takes to be a serious contender in the foldable segment? Check out our full review below to find out.
Table of Contents
Design and Construction
Measuring just 12.9mm thick when folded, the Magic Vs is pretty close to the threshold of having to think you’re holding two phones instead of one. Once unfolded, you get a very thin yet expansive device — measuring only 6.1mm thin and large screen only 0.1 shy of 8 inches.
Our review unit is the international variant, in Cyan colorway, that runs MagicOS 7.1 on Android 13. It also has 12GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage.
The back panel has a frosted texture finish that feels midway smooth and waxy at the same time making it resistant to fingerprints and smudges. The all-metal frame is solid with the hinge mechanism supporting the folding display.
The SIM port is found at the bottom end. The SIM tray supports two nano SIM cards with no option for microSD cards. Along the same side is the primary speaker grill, primary mic and USB Type-C charging port. The power button is on the right side while the volume rocker is on the left; although, once folded, both of them will be on the same side on the right.
Up top is the secondary stereo speaker, a noise-canceling mic and the IR blaster which you can use with the native Remote app on the phone to configure and control your home appliances.
Display, Biometrics and Multimedia
The HONOR Magic Vs is currently at the top with the biggest foldable display at 7.9 inches, even beating the newly announced Huawei Mate X3 (at 7.85-inches) and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold4 (7.6-inches). The Cover Display is also the biggest at 6.45 inches, compared to the 6.2 inches of the Galaxy Z Fold4 and the 6.4 inches of the Mate X3.
Meanwhile, the Outer Screen has a 6.45-inch OLED display with 2560×1080 pixel resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. It’s already in the ultrawide category in terms of aspect ratio (21:9) but still more than usable enough for using the phone that we seldom use the inner display for casual tasks like messaging, social media, camera and even watching videos. The OLED display is pretty clear and crisp; brightness is also great and over-all quality is very good.
The only time we’re motivated to open the large inner screen is when we’re watching YouTube or Netflix and half the time when playing games. The aspect ratio here is a bit squarish (10.3:9) so either you pinch to zoom the video and crop out the sides or watch at native aspect ratio and settle for the thick black borders at the top and bottom of the screen.
We’d also do a little bit of gaming with the full inner display and the experience is generally better because you can see more of the gameplay environment. One thing that is noticeable though is that crease in the middle — they’re just in-your-face and hard to ignore.
When folded, the Cover Screen has a slight curved edge with the right side of the glass tapering out a bit. This gives the device a subtle curvature that allows for a firmer grip on the hands. There is almost no gap between the folded display and the entire corner is lined with a slim rubber to give it more protection to the display screen.
The power button also doubles as a fingerprint sensor and since it is situated close to the middle part of the right side of the device, it is quite easy to reach when holding the phone and unlocking it with one hand. It can recognize up to 5 unique prints but you can also switch to facial recognition as an additional security option.
With the stereo speakers, you get a more immersive sound when listening to music or watching movies. The audio quality is balanced and clear but there’s not much bass nor loud enough to appreciate where there’s ambient noise in your surroundings.
OS, Apps and UI
The Magic UI MagicOS features a custom user interface that is designed to be intuitive and user-friendly. The UI has features like gesture navigation, split-screen multitasking, and customizable app icons.
To those not familiar with MagicOS or have not used an Honor smartphone before, the operating system offers a few native features that you may also like:
Magic Live Wallpaper: MagicOS features live wallpapers that use advanced algorithms to create dynamic, interactive backgrounds that respond to user input and changes in lighting conditions.
YoYo Virtual Assistant: YoYo is Honor’s virtual assistant that is integrated into MagicOS. It can provide voice-based search, weather forecasts, and other useful information, as well as control smart home devices.
Magic Sound: Honor MagicOS includes Magic Sound, a feature that uses AI algorithms to enhance audio quality during calls and while listening to music. It can also simulate 3D surround sound for a more immersive listening experience.
The device also features Honor Connect that allows you to share App content from one device to another (e.g. smartphone to laptop). This also works with notifications, calls and messages. Think of this as something similar to the Samsung DeX or Huawei Share.
There’s also multi-window support with split screen feature but we noticed that the YouTube app tends to crash or freeze on occasion when you frequently fold and unfold the screen while playing some videos.
Performance and Benchmarks
Powering the Magic Vs is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset. It’s built on a 5nm manufacturing process and is composed of a tri-cluster CPU design with a prime core running at up to 3.2GHz, 3 performance cores running at 2.4GHz, and 4 efficiency cores running at 1.8GHz.
The chipset also includes a powerful Adreno 730 GPU, a Spectra 680 ISP for advanced camera features, and a Snapdragon X65 modem for super-fast 5G connectivity.
Antutu Benchmark v9.5.7: 815,323 (Standard Mode) / 992,103 (Performance Mode)
PCMark Work 3.0: 11,298
GeekBench 6 CPU: 1,300 (Single Core), 3,774 (Milti-Core)
GeekBench 6 GPU: 5,056 (OpenCL)
Antutu Storage: 1,668MB/s (read), 1,156MB/s (write), 224MB/s (random)
Our standard benchmarks show impressive numbers and more or less the usual scores for this kind of chipset. The internal storage, which uses UFS 3.1 technology, is also quite fast.
Needless to say, the device performs really well and it’s great that you have a large display to run multiple apps at the same time and not experience it slowing down. Gaming experience is also great and is best experience with the full display unfolded.
The device has a triple-camera setup with a 54MP f/1.9 primary camera, a 50MP F2.0 ultra-wide camera and 8MP f/2.4 telephoto with OIS and 3x optical zoom.
The main camera can shoot in 1:1, 4:3 and full aspect (21:9) ratios but no option for a 16:9 shot, so you’re left with a squarish photo or a slightly wider-than-usual photos.
The telephoto camera can zoom up to 3x optical, 10x hybrid zoom and goes up to 30x digital. Check out these sample photos we took using the main and ultrawide cameras.
Video recording goes up to 4K @ 60fps with either 21:9 or 16:9 aspect ratios while slow motion can go up to 1080p @ 240fps. You can also set the camera to Pro Mode for more control of the camera and there’s dual-video video recording where you can shoot with the main camera and the selfie camera at the same time.
For selfies, it actually has two selfie cameras — a 16MP for the cover screen and another selfie camera in the inner screen. Both produce the same results since they are identical cameras. Selfie video recording maxes out at 1080p @ 60fps.
Connectivity and Battery Life
The Honor Magic Vs comes with a slew of connectivity options, including a feature we rarely see even on regular flagship phones these days — the IR blaster. It also got WiFI 6, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, and NFC.
As mentioned earlier, the HONOR ecosystem allows for seamless connectivity with other Honor devices like tablets and laptops so this is great feature when you’re using other devices from the brand.
Determining the typical battery life of foldable smartphones can be a bit tricky since there is a huge difference between the efficiency when you use it folded or unfolded. Your personal case use and usage behavior will greatly affect how long the battery life would last.
In our benchmark tests, we tested both scenarios, and here’s what we got.
When unfolded, we get only 9 hours and 47 minutes using PCMark Battery Test at 50% brightness, zero volume and in airplane mode. Once folded, the score goes up to 13 hours and 6 minutes.
There’s a 3-hour-and-6-minute difference between the two modes so we reckon a mixed use of the two would get you an average of around 11 to 12 hours which is already good, given the size of the display.
The 5,000mAh battery comes with a 66W fast charging capability which can go from zero to 100% in just 50 minutes. Not the fastest out there but still respectable.
There’s no wireless charging or reverse-wireless charging here — something we somehow expected considering Honor borrows a lot of its technologies from former parent company, Huawei.
The world of foldable smartphones has somewhat already matured with multiple players gunning for the top spot, previously enjoyed by a handful of brands like Samsung and Huawei.
Today, we have a couple more serious players and among them is Honor with the Magic Vs. It checks all the boxes for a flagship foldable smartphone — huge display, excellent performance, great camera and good battery life. The OS is also mature with a ton of customizations while the UI is pretty nice and stable.
It’s still a bit bulky to the hold but when you place it beside the Galaxy Z Fold4, you’ll see a significant improvement in the engineering. Aside from that, we could not find anything to fault it. Overall, the Honor Magic Vs a great alternative to a growing selection of foldable smartphones available in the market. All we have to do is wait a little bit.
HONOR Philippines has not made any confirmation regarding the release of the Honor Magic Vs in the Philippines. As of writing this review, the brand is still in talks with telcos to offer this up with postpaid plans.
What we liked about it (Pros):
- Great performance
- Solid build quality
- Above average battery life for a foldable
- Primary camera is excellent
What we did not like (Cons):
- Still slightly bulky
- Crease on the display is very visible
- Not very flexible hinge mechanism
HONOR Magic Vs specs:
7.9-inch (2272×1984) OLED main screen
90Hz refresh rate
6.45-inch (2560×1080) OLED cover screen
120Hz refresh rate
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset
1x Cortex-X2 3.0 GHz + 3x Cortex-A710 2.5GHz + 4x Cortex-A510 1.8GHz
Adreno 730 GPU
12GB RAM LPDDR5 RAM
512GB internal storage
• 54MP F1.9 main
• 50MP F2.0 ultra-wide and macro
• 8MP F2.4 telephoto, OIS, 3x optical, 30x digital zoom
16MP F2.45 front camera
16MP F2.45 selfie camera
Dual nano SIM with 5G, 4G/LTE
GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS
Fingerprint scanner (side)
MagicOS 7.1 (Android 13)
5,000mAh Li-Po battery w/ 66W SuperCharge
160.3 x 141.5 x 6.1 mm (Unfolded)
160.3 x 72.6 x 12.9 mm (Folded)
267 grams (weight)
Cyan, Orange, Black (Standard)
Gold, Black (Ultimate Edition)