Magic V2 Review – Part 2

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Well in a first for us at Coolsmartphone towers both me and Gary were given a Honor Magic V2 for review at the same time, we can’t thank Honor enough for this. In Gary’s, review he concentrated on hardware and the phone in general and I took my Honor device on a week long trip to the Big Apple where I could use it as my daily driver, using like most people do in a point and shoot capacity, and reviewing the software in day to day life.

Good Points

  • Face unlock as fast and as reliable as IOS 
  • Really nice case included.
  • Lightening fast fingerprint.
  • Incredibly thin and light foldable design.
  • Near-invisible inner crease.
  • All day battery life and fast charging. 

Bad Points.

  • Some Bloatware installed such as booking.com, TrainPal,
  • The screen appears to be a bit of a dust magnet.
  • Not the latest processor
  • £300 more than the Magic Vs
  • MagicOS could be more customisable
  • No wireless charging

For a long time, my major issue with using foldable phones has been how they feel in the hand. It started with the Galaxy Z Fold (and still remains the same with the Galaxy Z Fold 5), which feels like holding two regular candy phones together. We got closer to a slab phone-like form factor on a foldable with the OnePlus Open, but it’s still thick. The Honor Magic V2 solves this problem with a thinner, lighter, and better form factor than ever.

The Magic V2 is the thinnest foldable phone ever, at only 10.1mm. The Ultimate version with a vegan leather back is even slimmer at 9.9mm.Compared to other foldable phones like the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 (13.46mm), Google Pixel Fold (12.1mm), and OnePlus Open (11.7mm), the Magic V2 is much sleeker. It is also closer to slab phones like the new Galaxy S24 Ultra (8.7mm) and Google Pixel 8 Pro (8.8mm) in thickness. The Magic V2 is a perfect balance between these


The Magic V2 is also lighter than most foldable phones, at 237 grams. The OnePlus Open, the closest competitor, is eight grams heavier. The Samsung and Google foldables are much heavier, at 253 grams (Galaxy Z Fold 5) and 283 grams (Pixel Fold). The Galaxy S24 Ultra, a slab phone, is almost the same weight, at 233 grams. The Magic V2’s thin and light design is impressive for a foldable phone.Honor achieved this by improving the material, hinge, and battery. First, it used a special steel that is 25% thinner and 20% stronger than the previous Magic Vs. Second, it used titanium for the hinge, which is 42% lighter. Third, it used a silicon-carbon battery that is thinner than the usual lithium-ion ones.

 

Magic V2 compared to S23 Ultra

Magic V2 Compared to iPhone 15 Pro Max

Magic V2 Review   Part 2

The Magic V2 also has a 21:9 aspect ratio cover display, which makes it look like a slab phone. Most flagship phones like the Galaxy S24 Ultra or iPhone 15 Pro Max have a similar aspect ratio. But foldable phones have different shapes and sizes — from the tall Galaxy Z Fold 5 to the wide Pixel Fold. The OnePlus Open is the only foldable phone that matches the Magic V2’s cover screen. This is good because it makes apps run smoothly, and they look like they do on a normal smartphone.The Magic V2 gives a great everyday experience because of these features. It feels like one phone, not two phones stuck together. It is easier to hold and use for browsing, social media, and reading than other foldable phones. It also fits in my pocket comfortably, like a regular phone. The thin and light design makes a big difference.

Honor achieved this by improving the material, hinge, and battery. First, it used a special steel that is 25% thinner and 20% stronger than the previous Magic Vs. Second, it used titanium for the hinge, which is 42% lighter. Third, it used a silicon-carbon battery that is thinner than the usual lithium-ion ones.

The Magic V2 also has a cover display with a 21:9 aspect ratio, which resembles a slab phone. This is similar to most flagship phones like the Galaxy S24 Ultra or iPhone 15 Pro Max. But foldable phones vary in shape and size — from the tall Galaxy Z Fold 5 to the wide Pixel Fold. The OnePlus Open is the only foldable phone that matches the Magic V2’s cover screen. This helps apps run well, and they appear like they would on a normal smartphone.

The Magic V2 gives a great everyday experience with these features. It feels like a single phone, not two phones joined together. It is more convenient to hold and use for browsing, social media, and reading than other foldable phones. It also sits in my pocket nicely, like a normal phone. The design is thin and light, which makes a big difference. The Magic V2 is different from other foldable phones. It doesn’t fold a big screen into a slab phone shape. It unfolds a regular phone into a big screen. That is an impressive achievement.

The Magic V2 has a 6.43-inch cover display and a 7.92-inch foldable screen. They are both OLED panels with a dynamic 120Hz refresh rate and Honor Magic Pen support. The screens are bright and clear, even in sunlight.I liked watching movies and videos on this phone, especially when I folded it in half on tight flights. But it doesn’t have Dolby Vision. I used the Honor stylus to take notes, but I didn’t bring it with me because there was nowhere to put it on the phone or its case. You need to carry the Magic Pen separately if you want to use it.The hinge is strong and stays where you want it. The crease is much less noticeable than the Galaxy Z Fold 5, but the OnePlus Open still has the best foldable screen with hardly any crease. 

Software. 

 

Software is the Magic V2’s biggest weakness. It ships with MagicOS 7.2 based on 2022’s Android 13, not Android 14 as you should expect from a new device in 2024. Honor will only provide four years of Android updates and a total of five years of security updates from release, too, which is at least two full years short of the benchmark set by Google, Samsung and Apple. That said I never felt like the OS was slow, in fact it felt very fast and fluid, but the OS felt “old” like something that Huawei was shipping on there phones a few years ago.

You can’t swipe down on the home screen to open notification shade,  you have to wiggle your thumb all the way to the top, but not just the top it has to be the top left, the top right opens the settings panel, I cant tell you the amount of times I nearly dropped the phone wile trying to do this. 

You can’t double tap the power button to quick launch the camera, something I’ve had years of muscle memory of. As I was travelling in the US the world travel clock popped up on the always on display, nicely showing dual time zones, but for some reason it showed both locations as my home, and I couldn’t for the life of me find a way to correct this.  

Sometimes the on screen was all in capital’s and other times not, and there didn’t seem to be any consideration of where words split when text wrapping on the screen. The system watch dog constantly reminded me of power hungry apps, or apps may behave differently if used across two screens, and I couldn’t find a way of stopped them resurfacing every day. 

I couldn’t find a easy way to change the font on the device and the only way I could find was using the Theme Store, but then you need a Honor ID to download anything. 

MagicOS introduces some innovative features, such as a mode that transforms the phone into a digital desk clock when not in use. However, it’s somewhat unpolished compared to the superior software experiences offered by its rivals. It boasts advanced multitasking tools, including the capacity to display up to four apps on the screen: two in split-screen and two more in smaller, free-floating pop-out windows.

However, if you tap on a notification for a message, like an email or WhatsApp, the phone insists on opening the respective app in a mini floating window, not full screen. This can be convenient at times, but at other times it can be quite annoying, and there’s no way to disable it. I never want Gmail to open like a chat app.

The phone also comes preloaded with unwanted apps, including Booking.com, TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and WPS Office. While they can all be uninstalled, this is a £1,700 phone and should not come with the kind of bloatware typically found on a budget device.

Instagram can now expand to fill the entire screen, Google Calendar no longer protests if you try to open it in split-screen mode, and Gboard will no longer block Slack’s text box when you open the latter in split-screen mode. Yes, far too many apps still appear with black bars on either side if you open them in full-screen mode, while others struggle to really make use of the extra horizontal screen real estate beyond just expanding to fill the empty space, but these problems are not unique to Honor’s foldable.

I continue to dislike how Honor’s software is set up by default, but at least there’s now the option of enabling an app drawer to avoid having all your apps clutter up your home screen. I also found the default “Dynamic” refresh rate (which attempts to find a balance between smoothness and power usage) laggy on the outer display, and you’ll want to set the refresh rate to “High” to feel like you’re actually using a 120Hz screen.

The device allows for simultaneous use of two apps, enabling me to conduct research on one side while taking notes on the other. The operation is smooth and quick, devoid of any lag or stutter. Numerous gestures, primarily involving swipes, simplify the user experience, and I was able to master them within a few days. However, OnePlus’s Open Canvas remains the superior multitasking feature in foldable software, with Honor’s multitasking matching that of the Galaxy Z Fold 5.

The Magic V2 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. Despite its age, it remains a potent processor. It comes with 16GB of RAM and storage options of 256GB or 512GB. When the phone was initially released in China last year, the processor was top-of-the-line. However, by the time the Magic V2 made its way to Europe, numerous phones were equipped with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. Nevertheless, its main competitors, the OnePlus Open and Galaxy Z Fold 5, utilize the same chipset. Despite this, the Magic V2 doesn’t feel sluggish or outdated in any way – it continues to be an excellent device.

Camera

The Magic V2 has three back cameras: a 50-megapixel main sensor, a 50MP ultrawide-angle lens, and a 20MP telephoto camera with 2.5x optical zoom and 50x digital zoom. On the front, it has 16MP camera. The colours and portraits are nice. The 10x zoom photos are good enough for social media. The Magic V2 is worse than the OnePlus Open in telephoto camera quality. The Open takes better zoom photos, but the Magic V2 has a better ultrawide camera. I prefer the Magic V2 over the Galaxy Z Fold 5 for the overall camera quality.

View through the room window

Snap taken with auto settings in good light

Night photo auto settings

Lots going on in this photo some blurring at the edges

Indoor night photo again a lot for the camera to capture, auto settings

 

Full zoom to the statue of Liberty

Full zoom again

City at night

Focus on the rose

 

The Magic V2 has a 5,000mAh battery with 66W fast charging. It was my main phone and it lasted all day. I was using all day to navigate around New York, I did have the device in power saving and even with this heavy use it easily lasted a full day.

Conclusion.

I enjoyed my time with the Magic V2 the form factor should be what a folding device is, i.e no thicker or heavier than a normal phone, is was so easy to forget there was a giant screen hiding inside.

But the software is just not as polished or capable as rivals, nor is it supported for long enough. While camera performance is a little weak in some areas, I found it better than other folders in others. None of these issues are outright deal breakers and many could be fixed with updates. But they are disappointing for a device of this price. Without a doubt, Honor’s Magic V2 is a remarkable device. Its slim and lightweight design gives you the feeling of using a typical smartphone, until you decide to unfold it. If only its software was as streamlined as its hardware. But fingers crossed future updates will improve this. 

The question is would I buy the Magic V2 with my own money, (well with some vouchers and registration of interest you can bag one for just over £1200) despite the software failings I would definitely purchase one for myself. 

 

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