Honor's Magic V2 is the thinnest foldable phone to date

It's the first model that's under 10mm when folded.

Photo by Richard Lai / Engadget

With the arrival of Xiaomi's Mix Fold 2 last August, it was only a matter of time before other brands would catch up with similarly impressive slimness for their next foldable phones. So far this year, we have Huawei's Mate X3 which finally broke Xiaomi's thinness record, followed by Google's Pixel Fold — it's a tad thicker, but at least it's available in western markets. Today, another Chinese brand has beaten Huawei with an even slimmer and lighter foldable phone — the Honor Magic V2. It's the first of its kind to reach a folded thickness of less than 1cm, and it weighs less than some of the top flagship candybars — namely Apple's iPhone 14 Pro Max or Samsung's Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Specifically, the Magic V2 is 9.9mm and 4.7mm thick when folded and unfolded, respectively. Only the Mate X3 and Mix Fold 2 come close in this aspect. As for weight, the Magic V2 measures just 231g (8.15oz), beating the Oppo Find N2 and Mate X3 by a few grams. As someone who has been using a 262g (9.24oz) Mix Fold 2 for 10 months, I found it surprisingly delightful while fiddling around with Honor's slimmer and lighter foldable.

One of the keys to this form factor breakthrough is Honor's new hinge design, which consists of 3D-printed aerospace-grade titanium parts and proprietary steel bits. Together with the latest flexible OLED panel from China's BOE, the Magic V2 has been certified by TÜV Rheinland to last for over 400,000 folds — doubling that of the Pixel Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 4. As a bonus, the hinge lets the phone "hover" in a laptop-like mode, which comes in handy for taking photos, watching videos, listening to music, making video calls and more, thanks to some tweaks in MagicOS 7.2 (based on Android 13).

Despite the size and weight reduction, the Magic V2 packs a generous 5,000mAh battery capacity, beating that of all existing foldable phones. This is thanks to the new silicon-carbon battery tech, which allows for a significant bump in energy density. These cells support Honor's 66W fast charging, though fans of wireless charging are out of luck here — not a surprise given the ambitious thickness reduction. The company also had to slim down essential components like the vapor cooling chamber, antenna, aluminum mid-frame, fingerprint module, USB-C connector, speakers and more to fit everything together. Much of this was done in Honor's research lab just across the street from the production line in Shenzhen.

The Magic V2 offers a 6.43-inch 2,376 x 1,060 OLED screen on the outside, and its 20:9 aspect ratio is to better mimic the user experience of a conventional smartphone — which is just as well given the thickness and weight achievement here. When unfolded, you'll be greeted by a 7.92-inch 2,344 x 2,156 flexible panel with a near-invisible crease. Both displays have an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz plus HDR10+ support, and yes, you can use a stylus on them, though only the Ultimate Edition in China comes bundled with an active pen. Honor also touted its eye protection measures for both screens on the Magic V2, using features like high-speed 3,840Hz pulse wave modulation dimming technology to reduce eye fatigue, as well as "Circadian Night Display" to help the user sleep better.

The external and internal sides of the unfolded Honor Magic V2.
Photo by Richard Lai / Engadget

The rest of the Magic V2's core specs are very much on flagship level, featuring Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, 16GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage, NFC, triple mics, Bluetooth 5.3, infrared remote and more. With the preloaded MagicOS 7.2 (based on Android 13), Honor even promises 50 months of fast performance, as certified by SGS. The only glaring omission on this list of goodies is an ingress protection rating (the Mate X3, Pixel Fold and Galaxy Z Fold 4 all have an IPX8 rating), but Honor assured us that it has applied a P2i nano-coating to the device for basic water resistance.

The cameras are seemingly impressive, too: the rear-facing set consist of a 50-megapixel f/1.9 main camera with optical stabilization, a 50MP f/2.0 ultra-wide camera and a 20-megapixel f/2.4 2.5x zoom camera also with optical stabilization. Both the external and internal displays have a 16-megapixel f/2.2 selfie camera each. Honor said its AI motion sensing feature can help capture constantly moving subjects like kids and pets, but we won't be able to verify this claim until we get to a review unit later.

The purple, silver and black versions of Honor Magic V2.
Photo by Richard Lai / Engadget

The Honor Magic V2 is now up for pre-orders in China, with color options including black (with a vegan leather back), gold, silk purple, and silk black (with "silk" referring to the frosted glass back), with prices starting from 8,999 yuan (about $1,250) for the 256GB version, 9,999 yuan ($1,390) for double the storage, and maxing out at 11,999 yuan ($1,670) for the 1TB Ultimate Edition.

Even though the demo units I played with at Honor's headquarters had Google services pre-installed, the company was hesitant on confirming a possible global rollout. Perhaps we will hear more at IFA come September, otherwise I'm sure the enthusiasts will already know how to grab one from China, anyway. Meanwhile, the pressure is on Samsung to come up with foldables of matching qualities later this month.

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