When it comes to foldable smartphones, there is only one name out there that has managed to deliver a user experience par excellence - the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold and Galaxy Z Flip series. While they are by no means perfect, they offer the very best that a foldable smartphone can, considering all the limitations that are in place. HONOR attempts to buck the trend by revealing the HONOR Magic V, the company’s first 5G foldable flagship smartphone that boasts symmetrical and curved aesthetics with cutting-edge technologies.
Honor Magic V: Design and form factor
What do you do with the noticeable crease in the middle of the display when it is unfolded? Not much, it seems, unless a rollable smartphone becomes mainstream. Despite HONOR’s attempt at mitigating this through its advanced waterdrop hinge technology that touts to eliminate the large gap that is normally there when folding the device, which leads to a rather noticeable crease when you open the device, you can still see the crease. Of course, viewing it from certain angles does help as the crease ‘disappears’ from view.
Made using zirconium liquid metals, high-strength carbon fibers, and titanium alloy, the floating waterdrop hinge is touted to withstand up to 200,000 folds. That means even if you were to open and close it up to a hundred times every single day, it ought to be as good as new five years down the road. No Gorilla Glass is used for the display here, but HONOR claims to rely on an ultra-thin curved nano-crystal glass screen that provides greater durability against knocks and drops. The Magic V measures 14.3mm when folded and 6.7mm when fully opened, where it weighs 293 grams.
The rear design features cameras housed in a rectangular island at the top left-hand corner, with a vertical grated design that makes it look like a mini suitcase of sorts. It is certainly a departure from the smooth backs (glass or plastic) that you will find in numerous handsets these days.
The dual SIM tray is located at the top of the handset, while there are stereo speakers to denote that this is a flagship device.
Honor Magic V: Displays
When it comes to foldable smartphones, it does look as though writing in the plural form is going to become the norm. On the outside lies a 6.45-inch external display that boasts a 90% screen-to-body ratio. This makes you feel as though you were using a regular-sized smartphone that is slightly thicker than usual. It has a 120 Hz refresh rate with a maximum brightness of 800 nits, while a 42MP punch-hole camera lets you snap selfies without having to open the handset.
When the Magic V is unfolded, your eyes will be greeted by a 7.9-inch internal display that sports a 10.3:9 screen-to-body ratio. This is clearly an improved viewing experience compared to the ‘regular screen’, as though you are treading into tablet territory.
Covered with an AF (anti-fingerprint) coating technology, it makes it more difficult to amass fingerprints on the display courtesy of its anti-dust, hydrophobic, anti-fingerprint, and anti-oil properties. There is a punch-hole in the left display that houses a 42MP selfie camera as well. The internal display has a maximum brightness of 1,000 nits with a maximum refresh rate of 90 Hz.
I loved the fact that split-screen usage really comes alive with the Magic V, where I can have two full-sized apps on each side of the display, with an additional two more apps floating - just in case. Perhaps you want to type some information from one app to another note-taking app while making calculations with the floating calculator app - all of these are possible now without being too cluttered.
Honor Magic V: Performance
The latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor powers the Magic V, which should ensure that it will not run out of breath anytime soon as it is the flagship SoC from Qualcomm this year. You get to choose from either 256GB or 512GB of internal storage, where both models are accompanied by 12GB RAM. Connectivity options include WiFi 6 and 5G standards to ensure the Magic V remains relevant for years to come.
Honor Magic V: Cameras
The rectangular camera island at the back holds a 50MP rear wide-angle main camera (f/1.9 aperture), a 50MP ultra wide-angle camera with a 122-degree view (f/2.2 aperture), and a 50MP spectrum enhanced camera (f/2.0 aperture). You can capture photos without having to unfold the smartphone, but if you prefer to do so, go ahead by all means. I think the Magic V is easier to handle when it remains folded, and good luck in hunting down a gimbal or selfie stick that can cater to the device when it is fully open!
Honor Magic V: Software
It runs on the HONOR’s Magic UI 6.0 skin that is based on Android 12 and was running the December 2021 security patch. HONOR has not revealed just how many Android updates will the Magic V receive, nor how many years of Android security updates will it be supported with. If history is anything to go by, it will most probably receive 2 major Android updates and 3 years of security updates.
Honor Magic V: Battery
The HONOR Magic V is powered by a 4,750 mAh battery that can be juiced up using the 66W fast charger or 66W car charger. There is no wireless charging supported here. Since this was a hands-on experience, there was no way to determine just how long the battery can last before it needs to be hooked up to the charger.
I did wish the Magic V would include a stylus, due to the generous viewing real estate that simply begs to be scribbled or doodled on. Another thing that would be nice to have would be wireless charging support (and reverse wireless charging since HONOR does release its own earbuds). Last but not least, the lack of IP certification is definitely a blot on its copybook since the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 both have IPX8 certification.
There is no official release date for the Honor Magic V outside of China just yet, although things might change in the near future. So tell us: What do you think of the Honor Magic V?