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HONOR Magic Vs hands-on: HONOR's foldable lost weight & got into shape

The HONOR Magic Vs is the newest foldable from HONOR, and the latest foldable I managed to get my hands on. This device got announced quite recently, and HONOR provided us with a unit to check out. Before we get to it, however, do note that this variant runs software made for the Chinese market. We’re not supposed to review the device, nor show you the software on it. Don’t be disappointed yet, though, as the global model is coming. HONOR will launch a global variant of this smartphone in the first quarter of next year. I will be getting my hands on it, and will be reviewing it. Until that happens, however, here are my thoughts after initial hands-on with the HONOR Magic Vs. Just to be completely transparent, I’ve had a couple of days to gather my thoughts.

The HONOR Magic Vs is noticeably thinner than the Galaxy Z Fold 4

One thing that I noticed straight away is that the HONOR Magic Vs is considerably thinner than the Galaxy Z Fold 4. There’s no denying it. If you’ve handled the Fold 4 at all, you’ll notice the difference straight away. Samsung’s latest book-style foldable measures 14.2-15.8mm when folded, while the HONOR Magic Vs measures 12.9mm at its thinnest point. So it’s 14.2mm vs 12.9mm at the thinnest points on both devices. That may not seem like a lot, but it’s something you’ll definitely feel. The Xiaomi MIX Fold 2 is still the thinnest book-style foldable with 11.2mm, though, that is worth mentioning. Still, that phone did not launch globally, nor did Xiaomi say it’s coming to global markets. So, technically, for consumers outside of China, the HONOR Magic Vs is the way to go if you want to get as thin as possible.

That’s not the only advantage this phone has in terms of design, over the Galaxy Z Fold 4. It also comes with a gapless design. In other words, thanks to the way its hinge is made, there’s no gap between the two sides of the foldable display when the phone is folded. That looks way more aesthetically pleasing, and it also allows HONOR to make the phone as thin as it is. One downside to that is the lack of certification for water and dust resistance. Considering how thick foldables usually are, that is a sacrifice many people will be willing to take. It is a personal preference, though.

It feels really nice in the hand, and the camera island on the back helps with the grip

The phone feels really nice in the hand. I didn’t find it to be too heavy, and the weight distribution also seems to be good enough. I found myself anchoring my index finger under the rear camera island quite often, when using the phone in a folded state with one hand. There is a glass panel on the back of the phone, at least on my unit. There is also an ‘eco leather’ model. In any case, the glass back model that I received has an interesting pattern, and it’s slightly grippier than your regular glass back phones. That is something I did appreciate, although I always prefer vegan leather back, mainly for grip purposes. This glass back variant was great for taking pictures as well. HONOR simply does a great job with creating interesting backplates, it seems. Both the HONOR 50 and HONOR 70 also delivered in that regard.

It includes a side-facing fingerprint scanner

The HONOR Magic Vs does deliver that satisfying sound and feel when you fold the device. The hinge seems to be well-made, and you can fold it halfway. I presume some features will be included in the software for halfway folds. Folding and unfolding the phone feels good, and I don’t have any complaints there. The build quality overall seems to be very good. The buttons are clicky, and they feel good under the finger. One odd thing is that the power/lock key is not protruding out, as a regular button, and yet it doubles as a fingerprint scanner. I’m not going to get into how well it works, as this is not the final software, nor anything of the sort, and I’m not really supposed to talk about it yet. We’ll see once the review unit arrives.

The right side of the phone’s outer display is slightly curved, for ease of use. That comes in handy for scrolling and gestures, and it’s something many OEMs who manufacture foldable smartphones are doing. I did appreciate that, on both this device, and the previous ones I’ve used. No complaints there. Using the phone actually felt really good overall. Too bad I was unable to check out the software properly as well, but that will happen once the global model arrives. That’s when you can expect a full review to take place, in Q1 2023.

There is also a useful case included in the box

Now, before I wrap this up, it’s worth noting that a case comes in the box as well. It’s a nice case with a soft-touch feel. It attaches to the back of the phone, and it gives you a great point to grip the device. The case doesn’t add much bulk, and it’s actually a great solution, in my opinion. It also includes a sticky strip on it, for a more secure fit, even though you can use it without removing the plastic off the top of that strip as well, I’ve tried it. You shouldn’t, but you can.

There you have it, that’s basically everything I have to say thus far. I’ve included a bunch of images below, if you’d like to take a closer look at the phone, while we’re waiting for the global launch to take place.

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