The Porsche Design HONOR Magic V2 RSR is remarkable in terms of design and display, and would easily beat its foldable competition in a smartphone beauty pageant. However, the lack of an IP rating is a serious concern on a device as expensive as this, and HONOR still has a way to go to catch up with some of the big names when it comes to onboard software.
- Elegant design and form factor
- Best display on a foldable
- Stellar performance
- Improved cameras
- No IP rating
- Slightly outdated chipset and software
Foldable phones have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years, with companies such as Samsung, OnePlus, and Google Pixel embracing folding technology to offer fancy flagships at a high price. The Porsche Design HONOR Magic V2 RSR is HONOR’s third folding phone, with the Chinese tech brand teaming up with the creator of some of the world’s finest supercars to add another layer of luxury to what was already a pretty distinguished device.
While many praised the design and concept of HONOR’s second attempt, the Magic VS, in the foldable phones arena, the reviews left the brand with some areas for improvement with the follow-up, including the software, middling cameras, and a lack of IP rating. So, has the third foldable from this breakaway brand solved the issues of the second? Or is it more of the same? As you’ll find out below, that’s a complicated answer.
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Price and availability
If you’re looking to pick up a HONOR Magic V2 RSR for yourself, you had better prepare for a big hit to your wallet as the limited edition handset reportedly costs over $2000, with the brand still to reveal the official pricing and launch date. That’s not a massive shock, considering it’s a limited edition phone, and most folding handsets float around the $2000 mark. However, it’s important to point out that the extra you’re paying here is predominantly cosmetic, outside of some additional storage.
The Porsche Design HONOR Magic V2 RSR is only available in one colorway, Agate Grey. This finish is the same as multiple iconic Porsche cars, including the landmark 911. It’s a majestic metallic finish, but it might not be for everyone.
The Magic V2 RSR uses the latest MagicOS 7.2 software, which is essentially HONOR’s own Android 13 skin. If you’re reading this as a software buff, you’ll know that Android 14 is the latest version of the operating system, arriving in October 2024, making Magic0S 7.2 a little outdated. Fortunately, it’s barely noticeable for most tasks, but it’s one of the few ways this phone is a little behind the times.
With the Magic V2 RSR, you get four years of Android software updates and five years of security updates. If you’d given me those numbers this time last year, I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid, but in the twelve months since, brands like Google and Samsung have upped their game to offer up to seven years of support, making HONOR’s offering feel a little lackluster. Of course, it’s fair to say that if you’re the type to pick up a $2000 flagship, you’re probably also the type to replace it after a year or so to get something even newer, but if not, just four years of Android updates might make you think twice about spending so much money.
While the software might be a little lacking, you certainly get your money’s worth here in terms of hardware. The Magic V2 RSR has 16GB of RAM and a whopping 1TB of internal storage. This capacity means incredible performance and enough storage to download big mobile games with plenty of space for other apps, pictures, and anything else.
Finally, while it’s not a software feature, I can’t round off this section without mentioning the extra goodies you get with this limited edition Porsche Design version. There’s a stylus, two charger plugs, two charger cables, and cases for both the phone and stylus. The complete package feels like something you see celebrities picking up at award ceremonies, and while you should sort of expect that for the price, it’s still a lovely touch.
The HONOR Magic V2 RSR is a gorgeous smartphone. It’s the slimmest foldable in the world, and if this review was on looks alone, it’d be an easy 10/10. I’ve not experienced every foldable on the market, but of those I’ve spent time with, this one is the most futuristic, and thanks to HONOR’s collaboration with Porsche, it’s classy, too.
While the big selling point of the V2 RSR is how it folds open, part of what makes it so great is how it feels when it’s closed. While other folding phones are bulky when shut, the V2 RSR benefits from its remarkably thin build to feel like a regular, albeit still a luxury, smartphone. I put it next to my iPhone 13, and there’s nothing between them in terms of thickness.
During testing, I opened the phone in front of a few friends and family, and they watched on in amazement as if I’d just invented fire. As a hardware writer, it’s easy to forget how niche folding phones still are and how fascinating some find the concept. The Magic V2 RSR makes for an even more exciting spectacle, as what appears to be just a fancy brick phone folds out into what is essentially a mini tablet.
Not only does it look great open and closed, but it’s also a dream to use. Thanks to the build, there’s no time spent adjusting to how it feels, so long as you’ve used both a tablet and a smartphone before. Both Samsung and Google Pixel should take note of this form factor, as it’s one of the areas in which the HONOR foldable far surpasses the competitors.
There is a big caveat with the build of the HONOR Magic V2, though. It doesn’t have any official IP rating. It’s not uncommon for folding phones to have lower IP scores, but at least the OnePlus Open and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 have them. As beautiful as the design is, having a device worth over $2000 in your pocket is a bit scary, knowing that even a splash of water could perhaps render it useless. Mobile phones are mobile, after all, and in my experience, this lack of waterproofing or dustproofing makes me not want to leave the house with the device in my pocket.
The display of the Magic V2 RSR is the star attraction, with the folding 120Hz LTPO OLED screen capable of up to 1,600 nits of peak brightness and popping with color. If it looks big, that’s because, at the time of writing, it’s one of the biggest inner screens on a book-style foldable on the market. The front screen is no slouch either, employing the same LTPO OLED technology as the inner folding display, and is capable of a peak brightness of 2,500 nits.
Whether you’re streaming video content, playing a game, or editing in something like Canva – which, by the way, feels fantastic with the screen open – this folding display is a selling point that lives up to its billing and is the feature that feels most like it’s worth the asking price. I’ve never been one for watching movies on a phone. Still, thanks to the size of the screen and the quality of the LTPO OLED display, it easily beats out the viewing experience on any brick-style device.
Crease visibility is a big deal for folding smartphones, and in this regard, the Magic V2 RSR is up there with the best of the best. If you hold the phone open and flat in front of you, the crease is practically invisible, though it is more apparent if you twist the thing in your hands and hold it at an angle into the light as if it were a Game Boy Advance without a backlight. Fortunately, there’s little reason to grasp it like that, so most of the time, the crease is barely noticeable, and it feels like you’re using a little tablet rather than a smartphone.
The Magic V2 RSR boasts a triple-camera set-up consisting of a 50 MP primary, 50 MP ultrawide, and 20 MP telephoto. For the price of this phone, you expect incredible results from the camera, and for the most part, you get them. As ever, I’ve used a picture of my dog Floyd as a model to test out the capabilities of the primary camera. I can’t speak for him, but I’m very pleased with the results.
As you can see in the image above, the primary camera on the Magic V2 RSR has no problem distinguishing different shades of black, and a fantastic level of exposure in optimal lighting conditions captures the orange tint of his brown eyes. Considering some reviewers found fault with the HONOR Magic VS, I’ve mostly only positive things to say about the set-up on the brand’s latest. If you like your colors vivid, you should enjoy using the cameras on this phone.
Unfortunately, the camera doesn’t hold up quite as well in low-light situations, and its 10x zoom feature is a little muddy. These minor issues aren’t the end of the world, as plenty of other foldable flagships advertise as capable of doing both but struggle in the same way. However, it’s worth pointing out that a non-folding flagship like the Google Pixel 8 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra might still be a marginally better call for amateur smartphone photographers.
HONOR has somehow managed to squeeze a 5,000mAh battery into the Magic V2 RSR, which is some feat considering how thin the phone is. If you don’t know, 5,000mAh is a pretty big battery, and it means you get at least a day of charge provided you’re not using it unfolded all day every day or enjoying long gaming sessions. As with most foldables, the battery drains faster when the phone is open, but you can preserve the percentage by using it folded for day-to-day things like making calls or taking pictures.
Wireless charging would be a beneficial addition, but it’s not exactly a dealbreaker when the wired charging is so rapid. Using all the official kit, you can recharge the V2 RSR from zero in less than an hour, which means even if you need a quick boost, you can grab upwards of 20% in less than 15 minutes if you’re in a rush to leave the house but require a bit of extra juice.
The Magic V2 RSR powers its performance with an overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. While newer ones are out there with the late 2023 release of Qualcomms Gen 3 processor, this chipset is still more than capable of running graphically intensive games such as Honkai Star Rail and Asphalt 9. That is the case for now, at least. It might be a different picture later in 2024 when mobile game developers start to design on the assumption of the latest devices having a Gen 3 chipset.
Asphalt 9 is a particularly interesting case study on the Magic V2 RSR, with Honor teaming up with the developers at Gameloft to optimize the game to run at 120FPS on the phone. These are the sort of numbers the Nintendo Switch could never dream of, nor even the current iteration of the Steam Deck, so that’s quite impressive. Having played a fair chunk of Asphalt 9 on other devices, including some flagships from other brands, the extended display and boosted frame rate here offer a gaming experience that could easily see this phone wind up on our list of the best gaming phones.
Nothing I could throw at this phone troubled the overall performance in my testing. However, things can get a bit toasty if you’re running games on the highest possible settings. It’s never hot enough to make you want to put it down, but it’s worth noting if you’re someone who can happily game for most of the day.
Should you buy the HONOR Magic V2 RSR?
If you’re looking for a foldable phone with a spectacular design, dazzling display, and stellar performance despite a slightly outdated chipset, the HONOR Magic V2 RSR offers all that. Of course, it’s also a limited edition, so if you’re a smartphone collector or have a passion for supercars, there’s another obvious reason for picking up this handset.
However, we do have some hang-ups with the V2 RSR that are important to note if you’re thinking of picking one up yourself. First off is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. Yes, it’s still a powerful processor, but there are already plenty of devices out there for half the price of this one with Qualcomm’s latest Gen 3 processor, albeit not foldable ones. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if the Magic V2 RSR wasn’t so expensive, but if you’re shelling out more than $2000 for a new smartphone in 2024, you may understandably want the best of the best.
The second thing we have to revisit is the lack of an official IP rating. As a clumsy human, I can’t help but carry my V2 RSR review unit around the house like a newborn baby. Leaving the house is even worse, especially in rain-prone Britain, where the weather could decide to change at any minute and potentially ruin what is an incredibly expensive piece of kit.
If you’re not sold on the Porsche Design HONOR Magic V2 RSR, check out some alternative options below.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5
If you’re more concerned with software than design, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 is the most sensible alternative to the special edition Magic V2. It’s not as slim or elegant, but the Samsung ONE Android skin offers a smoother day-to-day experience than HONOR’s MagicOS equivalent, and an IPX8 water resistance rating means you can be more confident taking your smartphone out of the house. For more details, see our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 review.
The OnePlus Open and the HONOR Magic V2 RSR are very similar phones, each slightly ahead of the times when it comes to foldable design and slightly behind in terms of software. However, the OnePlus is cheaper than the limited edition Magic V2 RSR and the regular Magic V2, which might be the big thing stopping you from entering the foldables game. I prefer the form factor of the Magic V2 RSR, but it’s up to you whether it’s worth the additional cost.