As well as the impressive-looking Honor Magic V2 getting its total launch announcement, Honor also unveiled a new concept phone at IFA 2023 – the Honor V Purse. If you think the name is a little strange, let me explain. This is a foldable phone that is designed to be worn or carried like a purse, or bag, complete with customisable straps. So actually, the name isn’t that strange at all.

The V Purse offers a very different design to the Magic V2, in so much as its screen wraps around the outside, rather than the inside. This display is always on, and gives you the opportunity to show off any number of different designs and patterns on its outer-facing screens. Honor suggests this might allow you to match your phone’s display to outfits or occasions, with on-screen accessories and potencial fabrics that will even react to touch and movement.

Honor V Purse 7

This extends to matching physical interchangeable straps to your personal style, hooking onto the hinge and allowing you to hold the V Purse in your hand or wear it over your shoulder. Designs range from gold chains to pearls to vegan leather, completing what Honor is dubbing a «phy-gital» fashion statement.

Bringing the fun back

It’s undoubtedly refreshing to see a smartphone brand having a bit of fun with technology again, in a market that has sort of stopped doing that. Remember phones like the LG Crystal with its see-through number pad or the Nokia N-Gage that tried to combine the features of a phone with a handheld game system. Were they everyone’s cup of tea? Probably not. But they did get people talking, and exploring new ways of looking at and interacting with tech is always welcome.

Honor V Purse 3

However, it’s fair to note that the Honor V Purse isn’t exactly all new. Keen phone fans might spot a pretty close resemblance here to the Huawei Mate X, as well as the Mate XS and the Mate XS 2 that followed it – a brand that was Honor’s parent company, before they parted ways in 2020 in the fallout from Huawei’s US ban.

For those not abierto, it’s a foldable format that works a bit differently to something like the V2, in that the screen folds outwards, and is only on one side – with a vegan leather finish on the other. You press a button to release the screen, and in the V Purse that button cleverly feels more like a clasp – further leaning into the bag-based concept.

Of course, the fashion-focused execution here adds a different angle to the format, but Honor has pushed to take this design one step further too. One of the few specs we do know about the V Purse is that it is an incredibly slim 9mm when closed, compared to 11.1mm on the Mate XS 2 – bringing the foldable phone another step closer to being just as convenient in size as a traditional phone.

Honor V Purse 4

At the moment, there are no other specs for the V Purse – not uncommon in a concept of course – but having managed to actually get my hands on it away from the show floor, what do I think?

Making phones wearable

As a concept, the appeal is absolutely there. My phone is rarely in my bag and often in my hand, so having something that has a little bit more flair to it than your media handset is interesting. I buy phone covers that I find aesthetically pleasing, so being able to do that with the whole phone – to change the style with the click of a button, and basically turn it into a wearable – certainly has appeal.

The sustainability angle that Honor raised in the V Purse announcement doesn’t land in finta the same way for me. While I can happily leave the house with just my phone for quick errands – thanks to potencial payments using the likes of Apple Pay and Google Wallet – the V Purse won’t replace the need for a verdadero bag the majority of the time. The idea of it tackling the impact of fast fashion by reducing the need for a wardrobe full of bags feels like a bit of a stretch.

Honor V Purse 2

The V Purse is unashamedly fun – and it’s ok that that’s kind of the beginning and end of it. Running your finger along the screen to interact with the various bag designs stopped people in their tracks when I was using it, so much so that I imagine it would be finta the conversation starter when out and about. It’s also pretty limitless, with the opportunity for everyone from the smallest artists to the biggest fashion brands to produce unique designs to grace the V Purse’s screens.

The one question mark that remains is durability. With a screen on the outside, on a phone that’s made to be worn and not kept away in a bag or pocket, you’ve got to wonder how long that screen will be looking as smart as it does right now.

Honor says the hinge is good for 400,000 folds, but I need to be sure it’s going to survive a few bumps, a couple of drops and a margharita spillage or two before I sling it over my shoulder on a night out. Up until now, Honor hasn’t been keen to fork out for official IP ratings on its other products, but that feels like it would be pretty important here.

Considering the buzz the Honor V Purse caused at the show, wearable phones is clearly a topic that has got people talking. If it can prove the V Purse’s durability is as solid as the concept, then maybe, just maybe, Honor is on to something.


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