Clearly, if you're eyeing up the Honor Magic 2 it's for one primary reason - it's a slider! The display part on the top slides against the rest of it on the bottom with a very solid and positive motion.
There are hard stops at both ends of the slide, and you can't leave it mid-way - it's either fully collapsed, or fully extended. In the extended state you could try and bend one away from the other and it will give a little, but if you refrain from deliberate abuse, there's no reason to think it's particularly prone to breaking.
Now, one type of abuse it'll inevitably suffer is simply being opened and closed just for the fun of it - we know, we did it constantly. A couple of weeks of that in the office hasn't made it any wobblier or loosened up the bits and pieces, so there's that. We're not entirely sure how many actuations the mechanism will survive, but they better be a lot.
It takes just the right amount of effort to move the display down most of the times, but you might find yourself struggling for grip if your hands are cold and dry. The bundled hard case for the back isn't much grippier, but it's perhaps one better than the bare glass phone back.
Speaking of, the back comes with a shiny mirror gradient paint job that is quite the eye catcher. Of course, it attracts fingerprints like there's no tomorrow, so you'll want to do a thorough wipe-down before showing it off to your friends.
This whole slider thing isn't just for its own sake - rather, it's a consequence of the push for bezelless displays, which the one on the Magic 2 sort of is. A couple of millimeters up top and on the sides and a bit more on the bottom is pretty close to bezelless, in our book.
You might have noticed the distinct lack of a notch, meaning the selfie cameras are somewhere else - slide down the display and they show up underneath. That's a requirement for the face recognition to work, and we don't mind it one bit - not that we need a reasonable excuse for sliding it.
There's a very pleasing mechanical feel to unlocking the Magic 2 - the face unlock is almost instantaneous once you slide open the cameras, and you're fooled into thinking it's the slide that unlocks the phone. Almost. Oddly, there's no option for actually unlocking with the slider only - if you disable all types of security and slide the display down, it'll require a swipe to unlock - an opportunity missed right there.
Sliding the phone shut should perhaps lock it back but it doesn't and whether you are okay with that depends on how you look at it. On the one hand, if you slide it open to unlock, you expect the opposite action to lead to the opposite result. On the other, you shouldn't have to keep it open to be able to use it - after all, that would leave you with more bezel than on any other phone, and that would be counterproductive. In any case, we didn't find an option for locking it by closing it, so all of the above were just pointless musings.
Now, in addition to the face unlock, there's also an under display fingerprint sensor - that's still cooler than regular fingerprint sensors, it's just that the slider took all the attention. Plus this particular under display sensor isn't very fast or reliable - we found it to be somewhat slow-ish and picky about finger orientation and pressure.
The rest of the controls are fairly typical - a power button on the right, slightly above the midpoint and a volume rocker above it. The buttons are on the small side, but the travel is good, and the click action is fairly positive so we didn't encounter problems using them.
The SIM card tray is on the left and our review unit is dual SIM. There's no microSD support, sadly, and even if the 128GB base storage is plenty, a card slot would always be welcome. We can imagine, however, that internal space wasn't abundant due to the two-piece design, and the card slot didn't make it.
Down on the bottom you'll find the USB-C port in the middle, the only loudspeaker on the left, and the primary mic on the right. Up top, there's another mic and what we initially thought was an IR blaster, but it turned out to be an ambient light sensor. The eapiece gets a port on the top edge of the display slab so you can talk with the slider closed, but the actual sound driver is underneath.
The Honor Magic 2 measures 157.3x75.1x8.3mm, which isn't half bad for a 6.4-inch phone. It's particularly impressive how thin it is, given that two-piece build must have meant extra layers. It's objectively quite heavy at 206g, but it doesn't feel like it - probably it's just us being overhyped about the slider design.