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Honor’s first foldable phone, the Magic V, is a heavyweight Galaxy Z Fold 3 challenger


Last updated: January 10th, 2022 at 17:55 UTC+02:00

Honor is now officially a foldable phone manufacturer. The company announced its first foldable phone — the Magic V — earlier today, and as you would expect, it draws inspiration from the Galaxy Z Fold series. The book-like and clamshell form factors are the only two accepted formulas for foldable phones today, as determined by Samsung’s success, and Honor could’ve gone either way. It picked the more ambitious book-like design for its first foldable phone, though it didn’t do things quite exactly like Samsung.

The Honor Magic V appears to be using a similar hinge technology that’s based on a Motorola patent as the Oppo Find N. This method of folding the display has the advantage of minimizing the space between the two folding halves of the device when folded. However, it trades one display crease for many, less prominent creases that run across a wider area of the foldable display.

Honor’s first foldable phone also lacks an IP rating, which means it’s not resistant to water or dust, and oddly enough, it uses a 120Hz outer display and a 90Hz foldable screen, rather than employing a high refresh rate of 120Hz for both panels.

There’s also no Under-Display Camera technology and stylus support, which means that, once again, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 remains the only foldable phone to offer these sorts of capabilities.

The Honor Magic V got some things right

The Honor Magic V is almost half a year newer than the Galaxy Z Fold 3, and it has the opportunity to ship with Qualcomm’s latest chipset, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

Honor’s foldable phone also has a more promising camera system. It appears to be lacking Flex Mode, but the camera sensors have considerably higher resolutions. It’s equipped with three 50MP cameras and a 42MP selfie sensor.

On the other hand, the Honor Magic V also shares a few shortcomings with the Galaxy Z Fold 3. For example, neither phone has expandable storage or a 3.5mm audio port.

With all this said, hardware components improve, camera specs get better, and the Galaxy Z Fold 4 will eventually dethrone the Z Fold 3 thanks to advancements in technology. But if there’s one area where the Honor Magic V is fundamentally different than the Galaxy Z Fold series — arguably for the better — that area is the screen aspect ratio.

We’ve often complained that the Galaxy Z Fold series has an unusual aspect ratio that makes the cover display a bit too narrow for our liking. Samsung hasn’t addressed this issue with the 3rd Fold model, but the Honor Magic V is ticking those boxes. Its displays are both larger and have a squarer aspect ratio, which is something we’d love to see from Samsung’s premium foldable phone moving forward.

The Honor Magic V costs roughly $200 less than the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but again, it lacks an IP water resistance rating, Ultra-Thin Glass (UTG), Under-Display camera technology, and stylus support.

Competition is healthy for Samsung

Samsung is comfortably leading the foldable phone market. It was the first OEM to release a foldable phone in 2019, and Samsung Display’s efforts over the past decade made everything possible.

The Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the most successful foldable phone ever, followed by the Galaxy Z Fold 3. And that’s by a huge margin over the brand’s rivals. But as more OEMs join this emerging segment, Samsung appears to be getting some competition, which, in the end, should guarantee better products for us, the customers. We just hope Samsung will continue listening to customer feedback.

Whether or Samsung will maintain the gap between it and other emerging foldable phone manufacturers in 2022 remains to be seen, but one thing’s certain: everyone going against Samsung has a very steep hill to climb.

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