It’s no secret that Huawei are having a pretty difficult time in the mobile industry, and it’s great that such a prominent electronics brand is branching out into other spaces, like we’ve recently seen with the Huawei Matebook 13. And this time, it’s time for sister company Honor to join them, wth their new Magicbook 14, which is a small form factor Windows laptop, that’s definitely taking design inspiration from a more widely known laptop manufacturer. I bet you can guess who it is.
If you said the Apple Macbook Pro, then you’d be right. The laptop itself has a metalic finish to it, and gives it a premium look and feel, especially when put againt much more expensive laptops on the market. The Honor Magicbook 14 retains a sense of style, especially as it’s not quite pure silver in colour. It has a purply blue tint to it, which is especially noticable in the border that surrounds the screen, depending on the light hitting it which gives it a fresh feel compared to other basic design laptops around this price point. There’s also a blue shiny Honor logo on top which is slightly off-centered, causing my OCD to become a little triggered. Not sure why Honor decided to go with this design when it could easily have been centered, but they’ve kept it nice and minimalist none the less.
Its weight comes in at 1.38kg, while its size sits at around 214 x 322 x 15.9mm. A far cry from the likes of the Macbook Air and even some Chromebooks now, but still, it’s nice and portable and will easily fit inside of a laptop bag, and won’t be too much of a burden to carry for long periods of time.
Down the left hand side of the laptop you can find a USB Type-C input which is used for power, a USB Type-A input and an HDMI output to plug it into an external screen. On the right is a USB Type-A input and a headphone input. One disappointment with the laptop is the fact there’s no SD card reader for those wanting to store or edit their photos. You’ll have to resort in using external readers or a Type-C dongle, but do bare in mind that you will not be able to charge the laptop if you are using a dongle.
Flipping open the Honor Magicbook 14 and you can instantly see where Honor have decided to get their design inspiration from. Oh by the way, the feels nice and solid and required a couple of hands to open up and doesn’t wobble around too much when nudged. The design though is literally uncanny to a Macbook, bar the Honor logo underneath the screen and a lack of touch bar display. The power button does double up as a finger print reader though for extra security, so that’s a bonus. The typing experience on the laptop though is pretty decent. Key presses are nice and quiet, and it never missed a beat while writng this review. One odd feature about this keyboard though is its webcam placement. It’s sitting in place of the F5 key, and springs up when pressed. It’s a nice security feature as you can hide the webcam from sight when not in use, but it produces a very ‘up-the-nose’ angles which might put some people off. Quality wise it’s passable for your Zoom calls to the office although my voice did sound a little tinny.
Also, what does bother me slightly is the dimmness of the screen. Its max brightness leaves much to be desired, and if you’re going to be using this laptop in the garden, you know as we’re all working from home now, you’re probably going to be finding yourself glimpsing at the screen in no time at all on a bright summer’s day. It’s the vividness that’s affected. Though the screen itself renders at 1080p, which is completely passable for a screen this size and the fact it’s really a work based machine. Text can be read clearly too, as long as you’re not in bright sunlight of course. With a lack of a webcam above the screen, it’s meant that Honor has been able to house the screen between extremely skinny bezels, which just heightens the premium look of the Honor Magicbook 14.
Honor have decided to go with AMD to power their new Magicbook 14, and inside you can find a pretty nifty Ryzen 5-4500U backed up by 8GB of RAM memory. Where this laptop does fall down though is with its storage capacity, and although it is an SSD which means you’ve got quick start-up times and fairly quick loading speeds between apps, it’s capacity is sitting at 512GB, so keeping large 4K files for your video editing projects is going to be a little frustrating. Not that you’ll be editing 4K videos on this thing anyway. The processor is also not the fastest, so don’t expect to put this laptop through its paces and it’s running on integrated graphics too, so again, any gaming is pretty much off limits.
To run a couple of benchmarks, and for work purposes though, it can hold its own, PCMark10 gave us a score of 4,486. with especially decent scores within the productivity scores, for things like word and spreadsheet processing. It fell down slightly for video production, but it could still render out a video in 1080p in Premiere Pro or make it through a session in Photoshop. 3DMark10 however threw back an overall score of 909, which is quite frankly one of the lowest I’ve seen myself, and is a clear indicator that this is not a laptop for gaming, although you could at a push get away with some light MOBA titles. It did score well in the CPU department though, but unfortunately not when it came to graphical performance.
Again, for entertainment, and multimedia usage, the laptop’s screen is adequate enough, but we found from the lack of brightness that films or series on Nextflix are again, a little dim and lose a lot of that punch vividness that you would come to expect. And again, darker scenes just lose so much quality. What is impressive though, are the Dolby Atmos compatible speakers. There are four in total, and actually sound pretty decent.
Even though the Honor Magicbook 14 isn’t the fastest laptop on the market, for the price to performance, as long as you don’t mind sacrificing gaming, is very good. It’s a shame about the screen, as chances are a laptop like this would be used for work in the day and entertainment in the evening, but it does do those things well. And if you’re going to be pulling it out at business meetings, people are going to think it costs a lot more than it actually does, purely for the decent styling. For more information, head over to the Honor website.