Honor Magic V First Look cover

Foldable displays are now the feature du jour for smartphones and Honor has thrown their hat into the ring with their take on what a foldable flagship ought to be with their Honor Magic V that debuted in China several weeks ago.

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Get a closer look at the all new HONOR Magic V foldable phone! @HONOR Malaysia @honorglobal #honormagicv #firstlook #tech #fyp #viral #bling

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A source managed to acquire a working sample of the Honor Magic V for me to get a first up close look at the design though it did not come with its packaging or its associated accessories. For the extent of this feature, I’ll only comment on the design, features and overall handling. Here’s our Honor Magic V first look where we give it as quick hands on and see what the fuss is all about.

 Honor Magic V First Look front look

What is the Honor Magic V

Pronounced as the ‘Honor Magic Vee’ for the alphabet rather than the Roman numeral five, the Honor Magic V was released in China in early January 2022 and is Honor’s first 5G-capable foldable smartphone with a form factor akin to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G with a front cover display and an inward foldable display. 

 Honor Magic V First Look folded front

Honor Magic V First Look – Specifications

Unlike the current leading foldable phone in the market, the Honor Magic V has slightly tweaked dimensions with a slightly larger 6.45-inch 120Hz OLED cover display with 1080 x 2,560 pixels and a 10.3:9 aspect ratio while the main foldable OLED display is also slightly larger as well with a 7.9-inch diagonal though it maxes out at a 90Hz refresh rate and has a larger 21.3:9 aspect ratio. 

 Honor Magic V First Look front

On paper, the Honor Magic V compared to the incumbent flagship foldable phone has a larger Cover and primary folding display though the 90Hz refresh rate of the Honor Magic V is a bit slower whereas its closest competitor has both displays featuring a 120Hz refresh rate.

 Honor Magic V First Look main display

Under the hood, the Honor Magic V runs the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor that’s built on a 4nm process with Android 12 and, in theory, full access to the Google Play store for units sold outside of China. Our test sample was able to install and run Google Play and ran everything including Google apps without issue. Storage configurations stick at 12GB RAM and either 256GB or 512GB of non-expandable storage.

Honor Magic V First Look – Rear Cameras

The camera system for the Honor Magic V features a 42MP camera set into a punch hole on the front Cover screen, another 42MP camera inset into the main display and a triple camera array on the rear.

 Honor Magic V First Look triple camera

The rear triple camera system consists of a 50MP primary camera with 6P optics and an F/1.9 aperture with laser autofocus, a secondary 50MP ultrawide angle camera with a 13mm focal distance and a 50MP Spectrum Enhanced Camera with an F/2.0 aperture. Combined, this setup allows for up to 4K@60fps video capture for the rear triple camera and up to 4K@30fps for the front and main display cameras. 

 

Keeping the Honor Magic V powered is a 4,750mAh battery with 66W fast charging. Other mod-cons include fast WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, stereo speakers for movies and gaming and a side-mounted fingerprint reader cum power button for biometrics. 

Honor Magic V First Look – Build and Design

I managed to get a quick look at a working sample of the Honor Magic V in a shade of Burnt Orange. Rather than the usual mirrored glass backplates common to many flagship phones, the Burnt Orange finish has the feel of faux leather with a muted orange hue. The tactility is pleasant and the phone feels grippy which minimises the risks of it slipping when held.

 Honor Magic V First Look hinge rear

Unfortunately, the phone lacks any water or dust protection so some care is needed to prevent any potential mishaps. From the official literature, Honor has used an alternative solution instead of Corning Gorilla Glass to protect the front Cover display that they’ve called as a ‘nano crystal glass‘ screen with improved drop resistance compared to a conventional glass panel. Naturally, I had no means to test this claim out for obvious technical reasons. 

 Honor Magic V First Look rear camera test

Honor Magic V First Look – Rear camera on auto mode at dusk

 Honor Magic V First Look dusk

Honor Magic V First Look – Night time on auto mode

 

In our Honor Magic V first look, both the cover and main display feel pleasantly slick and smooth to the touch with a relatively pleasant glide when navigating the display with minimal smudging.

Honor Magic V First Look – Waterdrop Hinge Design and Feel

The most immediate question aspiring owners would ask would most likely be the nature of its displays and, more importantly, if there’s a gap between them. It’s markedly reduced compared to the leading design despite having a similar form factor on account of the fact that it uses what they call a ‘waterdrop’ hinge. Rather than folding it across like a piece of paper, a waterdrop hinge instead gently curves it halfway which leads to a less noticeable seam when the display is deployed.

 Honor Magic V First Look hinge

The main 7.9-inch display certainly has a less noticeable seam and feels almost flat though it’s still noticeable at certain angles.

 Honor Magic V First Look flat

Honor Magic V First Look – The ‘waterdrop’ hinge has a less noticeable gap when folded flat and a flatter seam when the main display is opened up

Another thing to notice about the nature of the waterdrop hinge is that it doesn’t quite allow for it to be folded halfway and you get a springy, bouncy sensation with the screen moving slightly rather than staying firmly in place. In any case, the Honor Magic V doesn’t seem to have any modes built into its firmware that take advantage of this hybrid design so you’re limited to using it purely closed or open.

Honor Magic V First Look hinge side

I didn’t get a chance to thoroughly benchmark or test it though the version I had using the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 ran along at a smooth clip, handled and swapped between a dozen open browsers without issue. Videos on both the Cover and Main display were pleasantly vibrant and smooth. The rear triple camera array was capable of serving up some good shots and it features the usual set of modes to tackle most photographic scenarios.

 Honor Magic V First Look opened

As I only had several hours with it, I wasn’t able to fully benchmark it or its battery life but at first blush, the larger Cover and main displays do offer distinct advantages. Once I get my hands on a working retail unit for Malaysia, I’ll be able to give it a more thorough assessment beyond my first look.

Honor Magic V Availability

The Honor Magic V is currently available in China with the 12GB RAM/256GB variant retailing for CNY9,999 which is about RM6,600 while the higher end 12GB RAM/512GB variant retails for CNY10,999 which is about RM7,260. Colour choices consist of three variants with Black, Space Silver and our sample which is in Burnt Orange.

honor magic v side

Assuming you’re dead set on getting one, you’ll likely be able to acquire a sample on the grey market or via an importer though without local warranties or a means to service it if things go pear-shaped, it’d be a risky proposition at best. Our Honor Magic V first look is promising though a more thorough review needs to be done for a final assessment as to its capabilities.

There’s no official word as yet from Honor if they will be bringing the Magic V to Malaysia with the foldable being currently limited to a China release for now but we’ll keep you posted the moment we hear of anything.