Thursday, June 20, 2024

The Honor V Purse is the most unusual foldable I’ve ever used

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Honor V Purse with its chain case.Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

The novelty factor of a foldable gets me excited every time I use a fold or flip phone. After all, there’s a big screen that’s being halved to fit inside my pocket, and depending on the phone, sometimes it’s made of thin glass! While foldables brought the fun factor back to phones, the Honor V Purse is bringing the same fun/exciting feeling to foldables.

Contents

  • The Honor V Purse is one of a kind
  • Turning your phone into a purse
  • A unique and imperfect foldable

I didn’t think things could get any better, but then I unboxed the Honor V Purse — and it has exceeded my expectations. It’s a reverse book-style foldable, meaning there’s a large portion of the screen that’s always exposed. I expected it to wear out within weeks, but I’ve had the device for a few months now, and after using it as my primary phone for three weeks, I’m amazed at how it has held up. It’s durable, unique, and one of the most unusual folding phones available in 2024.

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The Honor V Purse is one of a kind

Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

The Honor V Purse is not the first foldable phone that folds outwards. It’s eerily similar to the Huawei Mate Xs 2, but even thinner and lighter. To put more weight on those two words, here’s some context: The Honor V Purse is thinner (8.6mm folded) than the Google Pixel 8 Pro (8.8mm) and lighter (214 grams) than the iPhone 15 Pro Max (221g) and the Galaxy S24 Ultra (232g). And that’s why it amazes me every time I unfold it to an even slimmer 4.3mm form factor.

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This design solves two issues with most foldable phones. First, there’s virtually no crease. The OnePlus Open is the only foldable that’s managed to reduce the crease to a point where it’s unnoticeable unless you’re looking for it. But the Honor V Purse design brings it further down where you can only feel it, but can’t see it easily.

Second, it’s super light on my wrist. I like reading on my phone, and I believe book-style foldables are brilliant e-readers. But while reading on the OnePlus Open or the Galaxy Z Fold 5, I could feel the fatigue on my wrist, and it gets uncomfortable after around 25-30 minutes. However, that’s not the case with the Honor V Purse. The bar on the right side doubles as a good holding position for my fingers, and the light weight means I can read the whole way through my two-hour flights without straining my wrists.

Turning your phone into a purse

Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

While it’s still a phone, Honor has given the V Purse its own sense of style. The company wants it to be a style statement, so there’s a slew of accessories. I have the chain cover, which lets you carry the V Purse like … wait for it … a purse. I had an intense debate with my sister on why it doesn’t make sense, but she convinced me why this is a phone she’d definitely carry with that case.

Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

And I see the appeal, especially with Apple Pay and Google Pay going mainstream (I don’t remember the last time I paid for something in cash in India – UPI for the win). But it’s not practical, in my opinion. What if the case loosens its grip over time, and you are caught unwillingly tossing around your phone? However, my sister was adamant about using it with a smaller chain case, and now my mom is intrigued, too.

However, impracticality means it’s weird and stylish, and I love it. The button on the back that you’re required to press to unfold it also melds into the design because it actually feels like a purse clasp. There’s nothing else quite like this, and for that, I have to give Honor a lot of credit.

A unique and imperfect foldable

Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

The Honor V Purse is officially claimed to be able to unfold over 400,000 times, and in my time with the phone, I haven’t had any issues with the hinge. It hasn’t loosened yet, I find it really reliable, and it stays in the position I need when streaming videos. The 7.71-inch foldable OLED display features a 90Hz refresh rate and 1,600 nits of peak brightness. You get a 6.45-inch display when using it in folded form. The screen bleeding into the edge reminds me of the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge, but here, the screen isn’t ending, but flowing through the back.

In terms of usability, the display is bright, vivid, and sharp. I liked it for media consumption and reading – so much so that I bought a Kindle Unlimited subscription just for reading on the V Purse. The e-reading mode turns it into a black-and-white screen, which I find very comfortable for times when I want to get lost in a good book.

But the phone isn’t perfect. The Honor V Purse is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 778G chipset. This makes its horsepower (or the lack thereof) felt during day-to-day tasks. For instance, interacting with multiple apps at once in multiwindow isn’t as smooth of an experience as on the Honor Magic V2 or the OnePlus Open. It reminds me why a foldable phone needs a powerful processor to make the most of its screen size. A more recent Snapdragon 7-series processor would’ve made things better.

Prakhar Khanna / Digital Trends

To bring the weight and thickness down to surprising levels, Honor V Purse compromises on the cameras. It sports a dual rear camera setup that consists of a 50-megapixel primary sensor and a 12MP ultrawide camera. The cameras capture decent photos that are comparable to those taken with sub-$400 phones. They’re soft, lack details, and are mostly average. I wouldn’t carry it as my only phone on vacation. It’s not amazing, but if I’m getting the novelty of a book-style foldable in such a unique form factor at around $820, I’m fine with average cameras.

I haven’t had trouble getting through the day with the Honor V Purse. The 4,500mAh battery lasts an entire day because I’m not really pushing the phone with cameras. I’m mostly using it for media consumption, reading, and communication. Despite the screen being exposed to the external elements, it has held up very well. I’m surprised how I haven’t scratched it (yet). It has traveled with me in my bag to CES and MWC and has remained unscathed.

I would love to see more phones like the Honor V Purse, but I don’t think we will — especially considering this one is still running Android 13, with no support in sight. It’s a great piece of hardware that requires more trust than skepticism, but it won’t escape the latter — and that’s a tremendous shame.

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