During their keynote titled “Unfold Tomorrow,” CEO George Zhao introduced the Honor Magic V2 as the brand’s slimmest and lightest inward-foldable smartphone. Not content to announce only one impressive new foldable at IFA, Zhao then segued to the Honor V Purse. This outward-foldable smartphone concept was described as blurring the lines between technology and fashion. While the Magic V2 seems like the natural progression for Honor’s foldable line, the V Purse concept (if ever made) will be a tougher sell that begs answers to many immediate questions.
Honor Magic V2
This IFA keynote marked the global debut of the Honor Magic V2, as Zhao revealed Honor’s vision of setting new standards in the foldable smartphone market regarding form factor, battery life, display quality, and user experience.
The Honor Magic V2 impressed attendees; at a mere 231g (8.15 ounces) and folding to a sleek 9.9mm (0.39″) thick, it’s one of the slimmest and lightest inward foldable smartphones available.
Its cutting-edge Silicon-Carbon-Dual-Battery technology boasts an average thickness of just 2.72mm (0.11″) while packing a substantial 5,000mAh capacity within the flagship foldable’s slender form.
Adding to its robustness, the Honor Magic V2 introduces a super-light titanium hinge and a proprietary steel component to ensure durability and longevity.
The Magic V2 has even earned a durability certification from SGS for enduring over 400,000 folds, or the equivalent of a decade of folding and unfolding the screen as many as 100 times a day.
On the photography front, the Honor Magic V2 boasts a triple rear camera setup featuring a 50-megapixel main camera (f/1.9), a 50-megapixel ultra-wide camera (f/2.0), and a 20-megapixel telephoto camera (f/2.4). The front-facing dual camera setup includes two 16-megapixel cameras (f/2.2).
The Honor Magic V2 incorporates 3840Hz PWM Dimming technology, which reduces eye strain during prolonged use and delivers a comfortable viewing experience.
The Honor Magic V2 also introduces new interactive possibilities. It supports hovering photography and other hover-based experiences, like meetings and entertainment, although Zhao didn’t spend much time explaining what these experiences would entail.
Hover technology generally allows you to control actions on your smartphone by just waving your finger near the screen without actually touching it; it’s like having a touch screen that can “see” your finger movements from a short distance away,
Also intriguing is the Parallel Space feature, which allows separate storage of work and personal data while enabling the independent operation of dual-space apps; it’s like having a second phone within the foldable device.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Honor didn’t specify pricing or availability for the Magic V2 during the keynote. However, courtesy of Hadlee Simmons at Android Authority, we have some intel that suggests we won’t have to wait too long — he’s saying we can expect this new foldable in the first quarter of 2024.
As for where the Honor Magic V2 will debut, it seems that Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland, and the UK have made the guest list, and there’s even a chance that a few Latin American markets might join the party. There’s no word yet on whether it will eventually come to the UK, and if you’re in the US, it will most definitely be an import item.
The Honor Magic V2 has been announced in China in four colors — Velvet Black, Yunxia Gold, Velvet Purple, and Elegant Black — with 2nd Generation Snapdragon 8 processors and a starting price of CNY 8,999 (~$1238) for the base 16GB RAM + 256GB storage model.
The 16GB RAM + 512GB storage variant comes in at CNY 9,999 (~$1376), while the cream of the crop, boasting 16GB RAM and a whopping 1TB storage, is CNY 11,999 (~$1650). You can read the full specifications here.
GSMArena spoke with George Zhao, who dropped hints regarding the Magic V2’s global pricing when he said that Honor would draw inspiration from the successful Magic Vs, which made its international debut in March 2023 with a price tag of €1,599 (~$1,726) for the 12GB RAM and 512GB storage model.
For now, we’ll have to wait for 2024 to learn more.
Honor V Purse Concept
Okay, so let’s shift gears for a moment.
I want you to imagine an outward folding display on a foldable smartphone that doubles as a wearable purse. Honor says the V Purse will allow for endless possibilities regarding style and self-expression.
At the IFA event, the Honor V Purse concept was introduced as a blurring of the lines between our everyday electronic devices and stylish fashion statements. According to Honor, we have entered an era where everything we need is on our smartphones, whether ID, credit cards, or access to our homes.
With that in mind, Honor’s “phone-to-purse” concept could be seen as more than just a gadget; it could signify a new era where our tech becomes a part of our personal style, allowing us to express ourselves uniquely.
The Honor V Purse is remarkably slim, measuring less than 9mm (0.35″) thick when folded, and it will be incredibly portable. But because it’s a foldable smartphone, there is more to see when it is opened.
The customizable exterior always-on displays (AODs) transform the Honor V Purse concept into a fashion-forward accessory, with exterior designs mimicking elements like chains, feathers, and tassels that move and react with the smartphone’s motion.
You can also effortlessly swap out straps and chains, converting the V Purse into a shoulder bag or handbag to complement your outfit.
Honor says its V Purse concept goes the extra mile for sustainability, using vegan leather for the straps and ensuring that the AODs can complement any of the wearer’s outfits.
With fashion becoming increasingly digital, the idea is that the Honor V Purse might encourage consumers to think about their environmental footprint by reducing fast fashion consumption and promoting the concept of “buy less, use longer.”
Here’s where my issues with the Honor V Purse concept begin.
To start, I highly doubt that the V Purse will be as long-lasting (or ultimately sustainable) as even the most basic designer handbag.
I mean, I have handbags that are decades old, still in great shape, and perfectly functional, but I can’t say that about a single smartphone.
In any case, Honor has teamed up with renowned cultural tastemakers and designers like Bram Van Diepen from BURBERRY, artist Yunuene Esparza, Yuan Youmin from the China Academy of Art International College, and interdisciplinary artist Xiao Hui Wang to create custom AODs.
Honor is also opening up the API interface, inviting emerging talents worldwide to explore new design possibilities to push the boundaries of lifestyle and fashion.
It’s an intriguing concept that certainly caught the attention of everyone at the event, but I think more than a few of us were left with questions, like …
• Do you have to carry a second bag for items like lip balm, mints, and other things that usually end up in our bags, even if we aren’t toting actual IDs and credit cards or keys?
• How durable are the exterior displays? Unlike most foldable smartphones — which have a smaller external display and open to reveal the usually protected larger main display — the Honor V Purse concept wraps the main display around the exterior of the device when it is folded, which is why you’re able to enjoy all of the custom AOD effects.
• How much battery life is the AOD going to use?
• But also … where have we seen this design before?
We need to address the elephant in the room because that last question is an entirely reasonable reaction from anyone following the smartphone space for the past five years.
Exhibit A: The Huawei Mate X, which was introduced at MWC 2019. Looks more than a little bit familiar.
The Honor V Purse concept makes shockingly little effort to look even the smallest bit different from its former parent company, Huawei’s product, the Mate X, which was introduced at MWC in 2019, or the Mate Xs from MWC 2020.
For those unfamiliar with the Huawei/Honor history, I’ll try to catch you up quickly with just the highlights.
Honor started as a Huawei sub-brand back in 2013. Huawei had made a name for itself by cranking out some stellar flagship smartphones, many of which featured truly amazing cameras due to their collaboration with Leica.
On the other hand, Honor was more of a mid-range smartphone company that could offer some of the features Huawei was famous for at a much lower price.
Huawei, a private Chinese company, ended up on the US entity list in 2019 due to concerns about the brand’s close ties to the Chinese government and the possibility that “its technologies, such as 5G telecommunications equipment, could be used as surveillance tools,” which Huawei denied and continues to deny.
In 2020, Huawei sold Honor to Shenzhen Zhixin New Information Technology, a “state-owned enterprise controlled by the municipal government of Shenzhen.”
By doing this, Honor avoided being placed on the US entity list; it could continue offering smartphones with US-made chips and the full Google Android operating system, which Huawei still cannot do.
But with the V Purse “concept,” it is more than obvious that Honor is borrowing (or would it be stealing if the two brands are truly no longer sharing any parts of their businesses?) many of its design cues from Huawei.
There’s no mistaking where the V Purse concept’s design originated.
And while we’re talking about “things that make you go, hmmm,” correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s not just the Honor V Purse concept’s design that makes it seem like the two brands are still much more closely tied than they’ll admit.
This is the Huawei Mate X2, which was introduced in February 2021 …
And this is the HONOR Magic V2.
I get that there are only so many looks you can give a folding smartphone’s camera array, but in this case, there was little (or no) attempt to disguise the original inspiration.
Granted, the Honor Magic V2’s front-facing camera has been updated as the more typical Android pinhole instead of an offset island. However, I can’t be the only one seeing the overall similarity to the Huawei Mate X2’s design!
Wouldn’t it seem fair that if Honor and Huawei are as divorced as they’d like us to think, Huawei would call FOUL and sue Honor for using their designs? And yet, there hasn’t been a peep concerning design or copyright issues from Huawei.
On the other hand, as a consumer, would I like to see a Huawei Mate X series-esque smartphone available globally that comes without the stigma of being from a US entity-listed brand and that comes complete with fully operational Google services and Qualcomm processors? Absolutely … I’m not even going to pretend otherwise.
Honor has no official confirmation regarding any related plans regarding releasing the V Purse concept. But it still feels like 2024 got a bit more interesting, right? 😉
UPDATE: Honor has just announced that the V Purse concept is now a reality! Available in Gold, Blue, and Black, it will be available for preorders starting from Sep 19th in China, with a starting price of 5999RMB (~$822) for the 16GB +256GB model.