There’s a clear divide when it comes to folding phones with the more compact flip models often marketed as trendy fashion accessories while the larger book-style foldables are aimed at power users who need space for multi-tasking on the go. Honor decided to try and fuse both style and productivity with its V Purse and we finally got to spend some time with the device to see how it fares in the day-to-day.
Honor CEO George Zhao described the V Purse as a “phy-digital fashion statement” back at its unveiling – a digital purse with interchangeable straps that also happens to be a large screen foldable with a spacious wrap-around 7.71-inch OLED screen. It was only supposed to be a concept device until Honor decided to launch the V Purse in China.
Honor V Purse comes in a large box that houses 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 sent us its strap accessory which attaches to the phone’s frame on the right-hand side and allows you to literary wear it around your shoulder as a purse.
Now this reviewer used the phone without the chain attachment as it did not suit his personal style, but there are plenty of users out there who already carry their bar phones around their shoulders with similar cases.
The most remarkable feat 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 reference, 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 take less space and weight in your pocket than a flagship bar phone while offering a huge 7.71-inch OLED screen at the push 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 wield one-handedly and it also makes the phone that much easier to carry around.
Honor V Purse brings 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 need more screen real estate, you open up 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 don’t have any 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 gorgeous and offers enough resolution, great color accuracy and high brightness to help your content feel as immersive as possible for a smartphone. The major concern with outward folding phones is the fact that their plastic-covered screen is always exposed and this is especially worrying here as the V Purse is also positioned as a fashion accessory which increases the chances of the screen getting in contact with objects and hard surfaces. The upside is that the display crease is way less prominent than on inward folding phones making for a more immersive viewing experience.
Another neat 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 bevy 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 simulate the type 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When the device is folded, you can use the back part of the screen as a viewfinder for selfies with the main or ultrawide cams. Alternatively, the rear can serve as a live mirror for the person that’s being photographed.
Selfies on the 8MP front-facing lens bring good contrast and decent color reproduction. There’s enough detail and skin tones look true to life.
Battery and charging speed
Honor fitted a 4,500 mAh battery inside the V Purse which coupled with the 90Hz refresh rate screen and midrange chipset would suggest a comparable score to some of the other popular large screen foldables likes the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold5, OnePlus Open, and Oppo Find N3. That was not the case here, as the V Purse earned an 8:08-hour rating in our Active Use Score which is some way behind those three.
Charging times were not particularly impressive either with the V Purse needing 66 minutes for a full charge. We used Honor’s bundled 35W SuperCharge adapter for our test. The phone managed a 0-32% charge in 15 minutes and was sitting at 60% after 30 minutes on the clock. The phone remained relatively cool and did not exceed 34° during peak charging.
Honor V Purse is not your typical folding phone. It folds outward, doubles as a clutch bag and runs on midrange hardware. It surely stands out from the crowd of foldables with its extravagant design.
Specs were never the driving factor here and if you’re looking at the V Purse on paper it might seem like a midranger disguised as a flagship foldable. As we found out that’s not exactly the case as the premium build and great screen befit a premium phone, while the performance coming from the Snapdragon 778G is pretty solid, if not necessarily cutting-edge.
The 7.71-inch OLED screen is superb for media consumption and it gets plenty bright without having a bothersome crease like some other high-end foldables. Build quality leaves little to be desired though durability is a question mark given that the screen is always exposed to the elements.
As it stands, Honor V Purse represents a bond between fashion and tech with the former playing a more apparent role than the latter.
We’ve been expecting more affordable foldable phones with toned-down specs for a while now and if the V Purse is any indication, it can be done. However, despite its CNY 6,000 ($840/€775) starting price the Chinese exclusivity and limited production mean that Honor V Purse won’t exactly disrupt the market.
Alex Mitchell is your go-to expert for all things mobile. With a passion for the latest smartphones, apps, and mobile innovations, Alex provides in-depth reviews, insightful analyses, and breaking news about the ever-evolving world of mobile technology. Stay connected with Alex to navigate the fast-paced realm of mobile devices.