Honor Magic V foldable phone unveiled — and it beats Galaxy Z Fold 3 in five big ways

an image of the Honor Magic V
(Image credit: Honor)

Another foldable phone has entered the fray, this time in the form of the Honor Magic V. And while it looks like it’s aping the design of Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, it could wind up improving upon the best foldable phone we’ve reviewed. 

The Honor Magic V seemingly sandwiches two flagship-sized phones together — a different approach than what Oppo provided with its recent Oppo Find N foldable. But what Honor’s phone lacks in originality, it makes up for in several areas where it could top the Galaxy Z Fold 3. 

Bigger displays 

At 6.3 x 2.7 x 0.56 inches, the Honor Magic V is wider than the Galaxy Z Fold 3, yet thinner overall when folded. That’s good news, as it means more screen space to play with yet less bulk in one’s pocket or purse; the thickness of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 remains one of its most off-putting features

Honor Magic V

(Image credit: Honor)

The Honor Magic V features a larger display than the Galaxy Z Fold 3. The Honor’s internal screen measures 7.9 inches compared to 7.6 inches for Samsung’s foldable. Meanwhile, the external screen is 6.35 inches for the Magic V, and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 comes in at 6.2 inches.

The Magic V does lose out on refresh rate, offering only 90Hz compared to the Fold 3’s 120Hz refresh rate on both displays.

Bigger battery, faster charging

The Magic V also benefits from a 4,750 mAh battery compared to a 4,400 mAh pack in the Galaxy Z Fold 3. With Honor’s 66W SuperCharging tech, the Magic V is also set to charge faster than Samsung’s flagship foldable phone, which is saddled with 25W charging.  

More power with Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 

The Honor Magic V sports Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, which is an upgrade over the Snapdragon 888 in the Galaxy Fold 3. 

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

The Kryo CPU included with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 figures to be 20% faster and 30% more power efficient than the Snapdragon 888 in the Z Fold 3 (Image credit: Qualcomm)

Whether that’ll make a lot of difference in everyday use has yet to be seen. But having extra power on tap, especially when it comes to multitasking, is no bad thing. RAM will come in at 12GB for the Magic V and there’s two storage options at 256GB and 512GB.

Better camera specs

Honor Magic V

Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3 can feel uncomfortably thick (Image credit: Honor)

With a trio of rear camera sensors all coming in at 50MP, the Magic V could potentially beat the 12MP cameras on the back of the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Honor’s foldable phone eschews a telephoto camera for a “Spectrum Enhanced” camera. Honor hasn’t explained what that particular camera does, though you could assume it might capture a wider range of colors. Either way, in sheer megapixels, the Magic V is the early winner here. 

The same is true of the selfie cameras, with the Magic V offering a pair of 42MP cameras — one in the outer display and one in the inner. Neither shooter is an under-display camera, so the Fold 3 could have the advantage when it comes to innovation, even if the quality of images shot by that under-display camera was subpar

Raw specs are one thing; how the megapixels are used is another. Samsung has gotten better at computational photography, whereas Honor phones have lagged behind. But if the Magic V can offer decent photography chops for a price that undercuts the $1,700 of the Fold 3, it could be rather compelling.

 Lower price 

Going on sale in China on January 18, the Honor Magic V will start at ¥9,999, which is roughly $1,500. It’s unclear if the Magic V will make it to U.S. or U.K. shores. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 starts at $1,799, which is $300 more. 

 Honor Magic V outlook 

Honor Magic V

(Image credit: Honor)

As for other Magic V specs, you get Android 12 out of the box with Honor’s Magic UI 6.0 on top. And the foldable phone is available in a trio of colors: Titanium Silver, Black and Burnt Orange. 

Overall, the Honor Magic V could present a compelling case for other foldable phone makers to look at how they might refine a design that was pioneered by Samsung on a global scale. That could mean more devices competing for a spot on our best foldable phones list, which is a good thing as competition breeds innovation.  

Next: The Honor Magic VS foldable phone could be the best of 2023.

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.