Honor launched the Magic Vs foldable smartphone globally in an attempt to take on Samsung in the premium segment of the phone market.


BARCELONA, Spain – Chinese smartphone maker Honor launched its foldable phone globally on Sunday, as it looks to compete with Apple and Samsung in the premium class on the market.

The Honor Magic Vs was first launched in China in November. Now the company is bringing the device to a number of markets overseas, including the UK, Germany and countries in Latin America.

It marks the Chinese company’s ambition to expand into the latest smartphone technology – foldable computers – at the high end of the market, where it will compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung.

Honor was stripped from Huawei after a series of US sanctions cut off the Chinese telecommunications giant from critical chips and access to Google’s Android mobile operating system, crushing its smartphone business. As a separate device, Honor has access to Android and to the components it needs for its high-end devices.

Huawei sold Honor to a consortium of buyers that includes the government in its headquarters, Shenzhen. Honor was the budget brand under Huawei, but has tried to market itself as a premium player since its independence, filling the void that Huawei once did.

Honor launched its first smartphone abroad towards the end of 2021 and has since moved aggressively to bring more models to countries outside of China.

The company has tried to distance itself from Huawei and establish itself independently.

“Even though Honor operates as a completely independent entity, it still has to regularly declare that it is not part of Huawei. Over time, this becomes less of a problem, but it’s still a challenge it faces,” Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight, told CNBC via email.

Honor Magic V specifications

Honor Magic Vs is a so-called foldable smartphone. These are devices that have a screen that can be bent. Honor said it has tested the device by folding and opening it up to 400,000 times without issue.

Honor’s smartphone runs Android and has a 7.9-inch display when fully open. The phone also has a second display on the outside of the device when folded, which is 6.45 inches.

The Magic Vs will be offered at a price of 1,599 euros ($1,690) for the European market. It will compete with foldable devices from Samsung and Chinese company Oppo on the world stage.

But the foldable phone category, pioneered by Samsung, is still in its early stages. Foldable devices accounted for just 1.1% of total smartphone shipments in 2022, according to IDC, and this share is expected to increase to just 2.8% in 2026.

The Magic Vs is one of the first foldable devices available in markets outside of China, as Honor tries to make inroads in the nascent smartphone segment.

High-end push

While Honor has emerged as one of the biggest smartphone players in China, it has yet to find similar success overseas. It will hope that its more premium devices can help it win over users overseas.

At its peak in 2020, Huawei had managed to become the number one smartphone player in the world, Samsung and Apple passed by launching premium devices, equipped with some of the latest technology. Since the smartphone business has been crippledthere has been a big gap left that companies like Samsung, Apple and other players like Xiaomihave taken advantage of.

Honor will hope to bring back some of these users.

“I have been impressed by the products that Honor has unveiled and some of the DNA that comes from its roots as formally part of Huawei is evident in the quality of the products. Huawei snapped at Samsung’s heels when it was stopped in its tracks by the the US administration and set the benchmark among Chinese smartphone manufacturers, says Wood.

“Honor must now assert its independence and begin the long road to establishing its brand in Western markets in a similar way to other Chinese phone makers. This took Huawei almost a decade, so there is a significant journey ahead for all those companies looking to compete with Samsung and Apple.”