Chinese phone maker Honor on Tuesday released its Honor V Purse, a smartphone designed to resemble a handbag. Using optimized hinges and batteries, the new Honor V Purse is the slimmest foldable phone on the market, with a body measuring 8.6mm in its folded state and 4.3m when unfolded.

Why it matters: Three years on from its forced split with Huawei, Honor continues to try and establish its own brand identity and differentiate itself from other Chinese smartphone makers. Meanwhile, the competition for foldable smartphones is steadily increasing as more manufacturers enter this niche market; in recent weeks, major Chinese players Oppo and Huawei have introduced their own foldable devices, namely the Oppo Find N3 Flip and the Huawei Mate X5. Honor’s “handbag” design may help it stand out in an increasingly competitive market.

Details: While the Honor V Purse’s design is certainly eye-catching, its record-breakingly thin body has meant compromises have been made on performance. 

  • The V Purse is powered by the Snapdragon 778G. Qualcomm released this mid-range chipset in May 2021 and updated it to the Snapdragon 7s Gen 2 on Monday. The phone’s use of an older generation of chips means that the V Purse is unlikely to be the first choice of those seeking high-performance gaming capabilities.
  • In its folded state, the phone measures 156.5 x 74.7 x 8.6mm and weighs 214g. For comparison, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is 159.9 x 76.7 x 8.3mm and 221g. 
  • The device offers a 7.71-inch 2K OLED display with a peak brightness of 1,600 nits,  2,160Hz high frequency PWM dimming, and a 90Hz refresh rate. The silicon-carbon batteries provide a capacity of 4,500mAh, which can last for around eight hours of regular usage.
  • Designed to be worn like a handbag, the phone comes with a strap or chain and can be customized with different wallpapers on its outer screen. Honor is also selling a leather phone case to complete the purse feel.
  • The V Purse comes in three color options: gold, blue, and black. The 16GB RAM smartphone provides two storage variants, 256GB and 512GB, which are priced at RMB 5,999 ($822) and RMB 6,999 ($959) respectively.
  • At the product launch, Honor’s CEO Zhao Ming presented a set of data for foldable phones showing that global shipments of the devices exceeded nine million units in 2021, accounting for 4% of the high-end phone market. Shipments of foldable phones are predicted to exceed 100 million units in 2027, and make up 39% of high-end phone sales by that time, according to the data presented by Zhao. 
  • Zhao also refuted recent reports that Honor is set to return to the Huawei fold. Zhao labeled Honor’s former parent company “a respected competitor” and said that competition between the two brands was a positive for the industry.

Context: In August, market intelligence firm IDC released a report that indicates the foldable phone market in China has experienced rapid growth, albeit from a low base. In the first half of 2023, 2.27 million foldable phones were shipped, a year-on-year increase of 102%.

  • In the second quarter of 2023, the shipment of foldable phones in China reached 1.26 million units, an increase of 173% year-on-year. The leading five brands were Huawei (with a 43% market share), Vivo (19.7%), Oppo (15.9%), Samsung (8.9%), and Honor (7.2%).

Jessie Wu is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. She covers consumer electronics, semiconductor, and the gaming industry for TechNode. Connect with her via e-mail: