There’s a distinct separation in the realm of folding phones with the more compact flip models often marketed as fashionable accessories while the larger book-style foldables are targeted at power users who require space for multi-tasking on the move. Honor chose to attempt to blend both style and productivity with its V Purse and we finally had the opportunity to spend some time with the device to see how it performs in daily use.
Honor CEO George Zhao referred to the V Purse as a “phy-digital fashion statement” back during its unveiling – a digital purse with interchangeable straps that also serves as a large screen foldable with a spacious wrap-around 7.71-inch OLED screen. It was initially intended to be a concept device until Honor made the decision to launch the V Purse in China.
Honor V Purse comes in a large box that contains the phone with its display unfolded. There’s a 35W charging brick, a USB-C to USB-A cable for charging, and a SIM ejector pin. Honor also provided us with its strap accessory which attaches to the phone’s frame on the right-hand side and enables you to physically wear it around your shoulder as a purse.
This reviewer used the phone without the chain attachment as it did not suit his personal style, but there are numerous users out there who already carry their bar phones around their shoulders with similar cases.
The most noteworthy feature of the V Purse is its size. When folded, it’s 156.5mm tall and 74.7mm wide while measuring 8.6mm at its thickest point and weighs just 214 grams. For comparison, a Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is 163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9mm and weighs 234g, while an iPhone 15 Pro Max is 159.9 x 76.7 x 8.3mm and 221g. This means that the V Purse will occupy less space and weight in your pocket than a flagship bar phone while offering a massive 7.71-inch OLED screen at the touch of a button.
Honor V Purse is also the “world’s thinnest foldable” measuring just 4.3mm in its unfolded state which feels dangerously thin but that makes it even easier to handle one-handedly and it also makes the phone that much easier to carry around.
Honor V Purse is exceptionally thin
Honor V Purse presents an outward folding design that wraps the screen around the back of the device. This is a less common choice for foldables these days with Huawei releasing its last outward folding Mate Xs 2 back in 2022. You get a 6.45-inch screen when the device is folded with a 19.4:9 aspect ratio like a regular bar phone which makes typing and general usage less cumbersome than most large folding phones.
When you require more screen real estate, you unfold the screen via the clasp mechanism and its dedicated release button. It’s located on the back side of the device just below the cameras and LED flash. The release mechanism feels solid and we have no worries for its longevity.
You are then greeted with the full 7.71-inch screen with its 2,348 x 2,016px resolution and a 10.5:9 aspect ratio, refreshing at 90Hz and with a peak brightness of 1,600 nits.
The display is stunning and offers enough resolution, excellent color accuracy and high brightness to make your content feel as immersive as possible for a smartphone. The main concern with outward folding phones is the fact that their plastic-covered screen is always exposed and this is particularly worrying here as the V Purse is also positioned as a fashion accessory which increases the chances of the screen coming into contact with objects and hard surfaces. The upside is that the display crease is way less noticeable than on inward folding phones, making for a more immersive viewing experience.
Another clever design feature on the V Purse is that it’s more ergonomic for reading thanks to the bulge on the side which acts as a natural resting position for your hand. This makes reading on the V Purse much more comfortable than its inward-folding competitors.
Software and performance
Honor V Purse runs on MagicOS 7.2 based on Android 13. The interface will be familiar if you’ve used Honor smartphones in the past two years. MagicOS is a heavily modified Android skin with a distinct look. You get full Google app support, no app drawer, and a variety of home screen and lock screen customization options.
Magic Wallet is one of the key software additions for the V Purse. It allows the back part of the screen to display a custom AOD wallpaper with a total of 47 options to choose from and the ability to add images from your gallery. Some of Honor’s designs are interactive and bring moving bits that mimic the kind of items you’d find in a real purse like makeup and jewelry.
You can also add a text prompt on the side of the device for an added touch of personality. Magic Wallet works via a triple tap on the secondary part of the screen or via a widget shortcut on the home screen. It can also even be toggled to stay on for up to 30 minutes which will be extremely taxing on the battery.
The Honor V Purse as a purse
Large folders allow you to group apps on your home screen and directly launch them with a single tap. You also get support for Honor’s Yoyo assistant and Multi dock which allows for faster app switching. Honor did put some effort into optimizing the UI for the larger screen with the option to resize all Android apps to fit the large screen in tablet mode.
Honor V Purse homescreen, settings menu, dual app multitasking and Magic Wallet
The settings app features a dual pane and you can comfortably resize apps in pop-up windows or position them side by side. While you can use two apps side by side, you can’t have two instances of the same app which is one potential area for improvement.
As a whole, the software optimizations on the Magic V Purse are a bit behind those on Samsung and Oppo foldables. We’d like to see an app dock, the ability to run multiple instances of the same app and some sort of quick snap resize option for multitasking with more than two apps at a time.
Honor V Purse is one of the rare instances where a foldable device is not paired with a flagship chipset. The Snapdragon 778G is a 2021 upper midrange chip which is not the type of SoC you’d normally find inside a foldable phone. We can get behind the idea that a concept phone like this doesn’t need a flagship chip and there’s reasoning that the 778G is a good choice when it comes to heat dissipation, CPU and GPU stability. Honor opted for 16GB RAM as standard which should leave for some headroom in multi-tasking.
Honor V Fold brings a Snapdrgaon 778G SoC alongside 16GB RAM and 512GB storage
Unfortunately, our Honor V Purse review unit would not allow us to install benchmarking apps so we could not test out its performance with our usual array of tests. We can only comment on the user experience which is smooth and snappy in general use. We did not experience any apparent lag while navigating the UI and switching between apps.
The Snapdragon 778G is a capable chip with enough power for most tasks including gaming with high-quality graphics. The phone never got hot to the touch even during more demanding tasks which was also impressive given its slim profile.
Honor went with a 50MP main cam sporting a Sony IMX800 sensor with f/1.9 aperture and outputting shots in 12.5MP resolution by default. The main cam is joined by a 12MP ultrawide lens with f/2.2 aperture. Armed with these two sensors, V Purse covers 0.6x, 1x and 2x zoom range with a 2x crop option on the main sensor. Sadly, neither of the two shooters offer OIS.
Images from the main camera offer good detail though color rendition leaves a bit to be desired. You can notice the greens looking washed out in some instances.
2x shots are comparable to the regular 1x shots in terms of detail and color rendition.
Main camera 2x
The 12MP ultrawide lens offers less detail and takes a step back in color reproduction. Daylight shots during a typically dull January day come out looking subdued and leave a lot to be desired both in detail and vibrancy.