The Honor Magic VS is a new foldable smartphone from Huawei’s predecessor brand, which will be released outside of China. It uses a similar design to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold devices, with a large 7.9-inch foldable display with a smaller 6.45-inch coverage screen for use when the device is closed.
“Honor Magic VS will be the first flagship foldable phone to be launched in overseas markets for the first time and we are confident that it will bring tremendous development and change the way people around the world use their smartphones,” said Honor CEO George Zhao. International pricing and release details have yet to be announced, but in China the device will start at 7,499 JPY (approx. US$1,048) for the lowest select model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage and will ship on November 30th. Honor is expecting a global release early next year.
I got a chance to use Magic VS before the official release to familiarize myself with the devices. Since the phone doesn’t run the final software, Honor asked me not to test any software features, including multi-window mode, app expander or camera. An ongoing problem with modern foldables is that support for Android tablet apps remains poor, and at this point it’s unclear whether Honor’s first international foldable can fix that.
what am i the bean It’s possible to talk about how the Magic VS feels in the hand and how its foldable, open screen works. Honor claims its folding mechanism is tougher this time, said to withstand 400,000 folds, double that of the original Magic V. Which can have a lifespan of up to 10 years if you open and fold it 10 times a day.
Granted, I managed to fold and unfold the phone dozens of times in my limited time with the device, but the mechanism felt as solid as any other foldable device I’ve used so far. There is no squeaking or rattling when I fold it in and out, and it feels very solid once unfolded. Honor claims that the display is “wrinkle-free” when unfolded, which isn’t exactly true, as you can see in the image above, but I expect you won’t notice it too much in normal use, as with other folds.
The VS screen size has not changed compared to its predecessor. Its internal screen is 7.9 inches with a refresh rate of 90 Hz, resolution 2272 x 1984 and a maximum brightness of 800 nits, while the external screen is 6.45 inches with a higher refresh rate of 120 Hz, a resolution of 2560 x 1080. and a maximum brightness of 1200 nits. However, it has received a slight spec bump thanks to Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 processor, while its predecessor used the non-Plus version.
When folded, the Honor Magic VS looks a bit like a bulky smartphone, a bit thicker and taller due to its 21:9 cover screen. The phone weighs 261g and has a depth of 12.9mm when folded, which is heavier and thicker when folded. Personal iPhone 14 Pro weighs 206 grams, it has a thickness of 7.85 mm. But that’s less than Samsung’s Z Fold 4, which weighs 263g and measures 15.8mm at its thickest point when folded. While the external screen is a bit cramped, it seemed usable enough during my time with the phone.
Unfolded, the phone looks like a relatively small tablet with almost square proportions. The utility of this screen space will ultimately come down to software support, but at this point it’s a very open question. Both screens are OLED and therefore rich in contrast and color.
The Honor VS’s big addition over the Magic V that the company launched earlier this year is stylus support, which we’ve seen on Samsung’s S Pen in recent Galaxy Z Fold devices. I didn’t experience any phone stylus support during my time with the device.
In standard flagship fashion, the phone offers three rear cameras; A 54-megapixel main camera, a 50-megapixel ultra-wide camera (which doubles as a macro camera) and an 8-megapixel telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom. For selfies, the foldable device has a 16MP sensor. I wasn’t particularly impressed with the camera performance of current Honor smartphones like the Magic 4 Pro, but I couldn’t test the camera in Magic VS.
The Magic VS is powered by a 5,000mAh battery (a slight improvement over the Honor Magic V’s 4,750mAh battery) that can be charged at the same speed as 66W fast charging. It’s powerful enough to fully charge the phone in 46 minutes, Honor says. Available colors include orange, black and sky blue, which is the model pictured on this page.
Although Samsung is now selling its fourth-generation foldable device, it faces relatively little competition in the global market. Other companies like Xiaomi and Oppo have more or less restricted their foldable devices to the Chinese market, while the ongoing ban means that Huawei’s internationally released foldable devices cannot ship with all major Google apps and services. While the Honor Magic VS is unlikely to ship to the US, Europeans may finally see some competition in the foldable market.
Photo by John Porter/The Verge
Update as of Nov. 23 at 7:50 a.m. ET: The phone’s hardware is updated with impressions.