About seven months ago, I very briefly tested the Honor Magic V2, which was launching in China at the time. I was very bullish on the device, because it was, at the time, by far the lightest and thinnest foldable phone yet. I called it a “breakthrough in foldable engineering.”
Usually when Chinese brands launch a phone for the China market first, the global version will follow within a month’s time, but for whatever reason, Honor decided to wait half a year. The global version of the V2 only began going on sale late last month in regions like Hong Kong and the U.K., and there’s a special Porsche Design edition of the phone that will be launching for the European market at Mobile World Congress in Spain in two weeks. I am reviewing the latter.
This phone, officially named Honor Magic V2 RSR (the acronym stands for “RennSport Rennwagen,” a sports version of the iconic Porsche 911 car), is going to attract deep pocketed tech enthusiasts with a love of luxury branding (apparently, there are enough of these people in China, Korea and Europe, because these smartphone/luxury brand partnerships are not infrequent). It certainly is a gorgeous looking phone, but I personally don’t really care for sports cars or luxury brands, so for me, the main appeal of this phone is still its sleekness.
And to Honor’s credit, even with a six month waiting period (during which major brands like Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo and Huawei all launched new foldables), the Magic V2 is still the thinnest and lightest foldable phone of them all. But the gap has closed a bit. The Magic V2 was jaw-droppingly, unbelievably thin in July of 2023. In February of 2024, the “wow factor” has shrunk a bit, but it’s still in the lead.
The Magic V2 RSR, other than having a new back design, some minor software skin alterations, and a fancier packaging, is the same phone as the Magic V2, so it measures 9.9mm when folded, and 4.7mm when unfolded. Samsung’s Fold 5, by comparison, 13.4mm when folded. And the Fold 5, which launched last August, is already a slimmed down version of Samsung’s foldable, the Fold 4 was basically 50% thicker than the Magic V2.
It’s unbelievable that Honor was able to make a foldable this much thinner than Samsung’s, without really losing any feature other than its official IP water resistance rating. They run on the same chip, have the same number of cameras, have roughly the same memory and storage and cooling plates. In fact, Honor has more hardware: the Magic V2 has a larger battery and both screens support stylus input (only one of the Fold 5’s screen does so).
In fact, the Magic V2 is so thin, it is barely thicker than a modern slab flagship phone. It is only marginally thicker than the Vivo X100 Pro, for example. A foldable phone with two screens is basically the same thickness as a normal phone.
Let’s look at the only new thing with this Porsche Design branded Magic V2: the back plate has a sleek new look that’s said to be inspired by the hood of the Porsche 911.
There’s a subtle ridge that runs vertically down the middle, providing texture. The words “Honor” and “Porsche Design” run along the ridge. The glass plate is reinforced, and has a metallic coating that gives it a cool-to-the-touch feel.
The hinge is crafted out of titanium, and as I covered in my initial hands-on, is ultra-thin. Honor had to build entirely new components to fit into a foldable phone this thin. This includes not just the hinge, but also a new ultra-dense battery technology.
The Magic V2 RSR’s two displays are both high quality. The outside screen measures 6.43 inches and get up to 2,500 nits of brightness. The inner screen is a 7.9-inch panel with 1,600 nits maximum brightness. Both are LTPO panels, and both support a stylus.
The Magic V2 RSR retail package includes the stylus, along with a very nice leather carrying pouch for the pen, plus an additional leather case for the phone. It’s a luxury packaging experience that can be seen in the video below.
Elsewhere, the phone packs five cameras: a triple lens rear-facing system with a 50-megapixel main camera, 50-megapixel ultra-wide, and 20-megapixel 2.5X telephoto zoom, a 5,000 mAh battery that can be charged at 66W speed, and a 5,000 mAh battery that lasts all day.
The cameras are pretty good, and keeps up well with Samsung’s Fold 5 cameras. With good lighting, the main camera produces excellent shots with great details and dynamic range, and the zoom lens produces sharp 66mm shots too.
In lower light conditions, we can see some loss of details, particularly at the edges, but the above shots are still respectable. But the Magic V2’s cameras are not the best in the foldable space. The Oppo Find N3 and Xiaomi Mix Fold 3 have clearly superior camera hardware with larger sensors and Periscope zoom technology. By the way, both of those phones came out after the Magic V2’s initial July China launch, meaning that six-month wait essentially allowed other brands to catch up. If I was reviewing this phone in July, I wouldn’t be able to nitpick the Magic V2’s cameras. But in February 2024, I can. In the below shot, we can see the smaller sensor of the Magic V2 had to resort to slower shutter speed at night, which results in shots that are easily blurred with even minor hand movements.
Overall though, the cameras are good, just not the best. The video a few paragraphs up have a lot more photo samples for those interested.
I had no issues with performance with the Magic V2. Honor’s software is fast and responsive, with excellent multitasking capabilities. The stylus also works as advertised, with solid palm rejection, but there is very minor noticeable latency. It’s definitely not as smooth a sketching experience as the Apple Pencil, but considering the stylus is free, I have no real complaints.
The Magic V2 RSR is a very impressive foldable phone that addresses one of the biggest complaints of foldables—that they’re too bulky. This is no longer the case, as the Magic V2 really feels like any other normal phone when folded. Having a large 7.9-inch screen that can fit into your pocket is very useful for digital nomads and people who do work on the go.
However, with that Porsche branding comes a high price. I don’t know the European retail price of this phone, but considering the standard Magic V2 costs €1,999 (about $2,156), we can expect this phone to be at least €2,300 or more.
In Asia, the phone is priced a bit lower (but still high). The China retail price of this Porsche version Magic V2 is 15,999 yuan, which converts to about $2,200. The good news is if you don’t care about the Porsche branding, the Magic V2 is actually relatively low priced in Asia. In Hong Kong, a global version of the Magic V2 retails for HK$10,999, which is about $1,400. This price puts it quite a bit lower than Samsung’s $1,800 asking price.