Honor's new foldable phone seems to be a Galaxy Z Fold 3 lookalike in early tease

Honor Magic V
(Image credit: Honor)

The foldable phone market is getting pretty busy. Just weeks after Oppo unveiled its first such device in the Find N, we're hearing the first details about the Honor Magic V, the premier bending mobile from Huawei's ex-sub-brand.

Well, 'details' might be a stretch - the company has shared a teaser of the phone, which you can see in the header image of this article, and has stated that we'll hear the mobile's launch date in the next few days. 

However, Honor also confirmed that the handset will only launch in China.

On the surface, the image doesn't look very informative. It just shows a 'V' outline of the folded edge of the phone, and from the angle, you can't even tell if this is a clamshell-style flip phone like the Galaxy Z Flip 3, or a book-style one like the Galaxy Z Fold 3

You've already read the headline to this article, though, and you're probably wondering why we're so sure that this is actually a bigger model like Samsung's Folds. Well, that's because we did some digging.

Honor Magic V annotated

(Image credit: Honor)

When we looked at the Honor Magic V image, we peered for a while before seeing some light-colored streaks. Prolific phone users might recognize these as antennae bands, small plastic strips that metal smartphones have around the edges to ensure the build material doesn't block signal to the antennae in the body.

These were pretty small, and given the size of the phone, we imagine they'd look bigger if this smartphone was a smaller clamshell-like one. That's not enough to make a decisive verdict, but it inspired us to bring the image into editing software to see if we could get more information.

By tweaking with settings, we created the contrast-heavy lighter image you can see above, and a few key details emerged.

Firstly, you can see the camera bump - it's just to the right of the righthand most antennae band (those are what we've circled on the image). Secondly, between the third and fourth bands, you can make out a USB-C port.

So we're fairly confident that this image shows a book-style foldable phone, with the image looking up at a semi-folded model from the bottom. That means the camera bump probably sticks out a fair distance, and that the phone folds with the larger main display on the inside - this sounds obvious, but the Huawei Mate X wasn't this way.

Analysis: no home for the clamshell phone

With the evidence we've just shown, it seems highly likely that the Honor Magic V is a book-style foldable phone.

These devices are in vogue with first-time foldable makers - Samsung and Huawei's first such phones were like this, and Xiaomi and Oppo, which have only put out one flexer each, both used the form factor too.

In fact, Motorola is the only company that debuted with a clamshell mobile, in the Razr, and at the time of writing Samsung is the only other company with one, though rumors suggest Huawei could have one pretty soon too.

Why is this? Well, that's not exactly clear, though it's possible it's in the price. Foldable phones cost a lot, because they've got lots of new technology in them, but clamshell phones are small and compact, so you're not getting much for your money. We've seen this in the Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola Razr models, as the phones were super expensive for small mobiles.

It's possible that phone companies are focusing on big, super-powered foldable phones until it's feasible to make smaller versions at affordable prices. We're hoping to see a few more clamshells launched in the near future, though.

Tom Bedford

Tom Bedford was deputy phones editor on TechRadar until late 2022, having worked his way up from staff writer. Though he specialized in phones and tablets, he also took on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK and now works for the entertainment site What To Watch.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working on TechRadar, he freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. He also currently works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.