Honor unveiled a new foldable phone earlier this week. It competes with the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold series and has high-end specifications, but that’s not why it gained attention in the media. Why everyone is talking about the Honor Magic V2 is its thin profile.
Honor says the Magic V2 measures 4.7mm when folded open and 9.9mm when folded shut. Needless to say, the Magic V2 is a very thin foldable phone. And because it sits in the same market segment as the Galaxy Z Fold series, many people are wondering what Samsung’s response will be.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 is not a very thin phone. It measures 6.3mm when open and 15.8mm (at its thickest) when closed. You may say that the Honor Magic V2 already won the battle, but it would be a battle it fought alone. And Samsung may never be interested in fighting this fight.
Samsung gave up putting its phones on a diet years ago
In some ways, foldable phones seem to be going through similar evolutionary steps as slab-type phones did ten years ago. Customers and OEMs used to care about thin phones a lot more back in the day, but not anymore. They realized a slick profile might not be worth it if it takes away from other aspects of the phone, such as durability and battery life. And Samsung never engaged in a race for building the thinnest mobile device ever again.
Fast forward to where the Magic V2 enters the scene, and you may notice that Honor seemingly wants to rekindle that evolutionary path long forgotten. It found the right way at the right time to earn some points for creating a slick foldable device with decent battery specifications.
But as impressive as the Honor Magic V2’s dimensions might be, it’s almost guaranteed that Samsung will ignore it. The company won’t go back to trying to create the thinnest phone and won’t attempt to one-up Honor by creating an even slimmer Galaxy Z Fold. And one big reason for this is that it can’t lose water resistance.
Love or hate the brand, Samsung phones stand out because of their excellent build quality. Samsung phones don’t bend or crack easily, and at the very least, they offer some protection against water ingress. Admittedly, the Galaxy Z Fold series could use a bit of trimming around the edges. But Samsung would rather keep the IPX8 water resistance rating of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 than put the phone on a diet and forego the IP rating as Honor did.
There’s also the matter of wireless charging. The Honor Magic V2 doesn’t have this luxury. And although nobody really bats an eye at the Magic V2 lacking this almost basic technology, conversely, countless Samsung fans would likely cry foul if the Galaxy Z Fold didn’t have wireless charging and reverse wireless charging capabilities.
Many Galaxy Z Fold buyers expect their foldable phones to borrow as many Galaxy S-grade specs as possible, especially since Z Fold phones are even more expensive. And fans who already know what to expect from Samsung would probably think that the company lost its way if it had abandoned wireless charging and an IP rating for a thinner case.
Because Samsung operates on different quality standards, the company almost painted itself into a corner. It has a reputation to uphold and already learned from its past. It can’t use the same old tricks to fake innovation. Creating the slimmest phone was never the key to success, and Samsung is probably well aware that its foldable phones won’t win the fight by this metric alone. Not unless they can somehow retain a solid build, wireless charging, and an IP rating, all without sacrificing battery life. And that would be a real innovation.
Editor’s note: This opinion piece has received criticism from some of our readers and social media followers as they feel that the author is questioning the build quality of Honor’s foldable phone. However, that wasn’t the intention. The intention was to point out that a thin (or ultra-thin in this case) design is not a marker for a device’s success and how it can limit Samsung’s ability to offer features such as water resistance and wireless charging, which are features that Samsung fans and customers have come to take for granted on every flagship Galaxy phone over the years. There’s no disputing the fact that the Honor Magic V2 is a specifications monster that trumps Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold smartphones in many areas, and we’ll be mindful of getting the point across more clearly in future opinion articles.