the Honor tradition is confirmed, it is a best buy

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Honor has decided to enter the fray of the notebook market with MagicBook 14. Honor’s first notebook proposal in Italy does not betray all the strong points that have made the brand known in the smartphone sector, the combination of design and performance enhanced by a quality- always interesting price. Small spoiler, Honor MagicBook 14 it is the best notebook for students and not only.

Honor MagicBook 14 design

In an inviting price range, Honor does not give up on an enterprising and serious design at the same time. It is not possible to have the multicolored textures of the best-selling Honor smartphones but the brand has worked on the details to give a touch of recognition to the MagicBook 14 with the “blue Honor” colored diamond cut, without this little trick the design would have been the classic, pleasant, mid-range aluminum notebook.

Its practical and effective soul is immediately visible from the excellent equipment of doors. Honor MagicBook 14 has a USB-C port, two USB-A 3.0 ports, an HDMI port and a convenient 3.5mm audio jack. Among other things for information purposes, MagicBook 14 has a simplified internal construction that allows you to change the SSD module by removing only the back cover. Note of merit for the excellent heat management of the MagicBook with a single fan and a good heat pipe capable of managing everything.

Honor MagicBook 14 logo

Practical, effective and concrete without however hiding a few gems. Honor MagicBook 14 has a hinge capable of extending up to 180 °, in some situations it can be very comfortable. It has a fingerprint sensor integrated in the power button, very fast and safe and in addition there is a pop up camera positioned on the keyboard, between F6 and F7.

As already said for the Huawei Matebook X Pro 2020, it is a not only scenic solution, not only useful for reducing the display frames but also important for those looking for more attention to privacy. The compromise of the pop up camera on the keyboard is the not particularly beautiful bottom view. As for the quality of the webcam, it has a single megapixel, just enough for Zoom or Streamyard (the microphones are placed in the small insertion to open the notebook).Honor MagicBook 14 web cam

With a weight of about 1.5 kg and just under 16 mm thick, Honor MagicBook 14 is easy to transport and handle. Its construction is excellent, it has no critical or weak points, its aesthetic look is close to the higher-end notebooks even if touching it, meticulously looking for the finishes, it is evident that somewhere you had to give up. The plastic around the display, for example, is not carefully worked, it is raw, certainly resistant but more could be done. Honor has been able to balance compromises well, has raised the bar where it is needed and tried to keep costs down in the less important sections.

Honor MagicBook 14 keyboard and trackpad

Honor MagicBook 14 trackpad and keyboard

The keyboard and trackpad are two important examples of the balance of compromises made by Honor. The keyboard is good, just good. The stroke of the keys is short but with a pinch resistance too high. There is a need to write decisively on keycaps during the most rapid and hectic use sessions, while typing quickly some letters may jump.

A keyboard not really for sprinters, for those who need to write at the speed of light but also in this case, is the compromise to accept. It is not possible to insert in a mid-range machine a keyboard with porous keycaps with a solid grip and convincing resistance. The backlight is also not particularly intense but at least there is and it is already good news.

The trackpad on the other hand is precise and pleasant to use although it is not particularly smooth. It is not a glass touchpad, it seems to be plastic and this material cannot offer that smoothness of high-end solutions. No problem though, many people prefer a more controlled and less smooth trackpad, it’s a matter of taste, the important thing is that it is precise and this is certainly it.

Honor MagicBook 14 display and audio

Honor MagicBook 14 display

Honor MagicBook 14 has a modern look thanks to the borderless 14 ″ LCD display on three sides thanks to the adoption of the pop up camera. The display is produced by BOE, has a classic aspect ratio in 16: 9, much more suitable for multimedia than productivity, the screen / body ratio is equal to 84%.

The resolution is “only” FullHD 1920 × 1080 pixels and it is very good news for the management of the autonomy of this notebook, a higher resolution would have created many more problems than real benefits in addition to potentially raising the price of the device. Honor has also included an anti-reflective treatment that allows the MagicBook 14 to be decidedly legible indoors and to battle outdoors where the anti-reflective treatment tries to put a patch in the not really high brightness (there is no automatic brightness sensor).

The display of Honor MagicBook 14 is still pleasant, it has a fairly lively color reproduction and suitable for the consumption of multimedia content from Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. The combination of the pleasantly colored display and the speakers placed on the bottom of the notebook allows this machine to be a good choice for TV series lovers.

The audio emitted by the two speakers tries to return the classic stereo effect but the volume does not break the eardrums and the slightly mixed medium tones do not do very well. Honor MagicBook 14 does not have very fine audio quality but it must be said that the highs are felt and with great surprise, even the bass responds present. Keep calm, Honor MagicBook 14 is still able to be more than satisfactory in terms of audio, is not one of those notebooks with such a low volume that need either headphones or a bluetooth speaker.

Honor MagicBook 14 technical sheet

Honor MagicBook 14 technical sheet

There is an applause to Honor for the choice of the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor (with integrated Radeon Vega 8 GPU), the AMD processor as well as costing less than an Intel solution allows this MagicBook 14 to be stable, performing and fast especially for the most important operations for the target audience. Here are the technical specifications of Honor MagicBook 14:

  • Ryzen 5 3500U ADM processor
  • AMD Radeon Vega 8
  • 8 GB RAM LPDDR4 1200 MHz
  • 256 GB NVMe PCIe SSD
  • Display 14 ″, 1920 × 1080 pixels
  • 2 speakers, 2 microphones
  • Pop up camera 1 MP
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • 1 USB-C, 2 USB-A 3.0
  • 1 HDMI
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • NFC
  • Battery 56 Wh

Before talking about performance, like Huawei notebooks, even in this MagicBook 14 the disk partitioning is strange. Honor has divided the disk into two partitions, the main one for Windows and 80 GB programs and the secondary one 140 GB for data. The result will be a fast saturation of the main partition with consequent signal of “Low Disk Space C”. The problem can be easily solved through the following procedure:

  1. Search and open the item “Create and format hard disk partitions”
  2. Delete partition D
  3. Assign the unallocated partition to disk C

We recommend that you do this procedure immediately, before importing data and applications onto the new notebook because data will be erased on the disk. It takes less than two minutes to fix Honor’s strange partitioning. It is not yet clear why Honor / Huawei group does not opt ​​for a better partitioning.

Honor MagicBook 14 performance

Honor MagicBook 14 performance

Honor MagicBook 14 has convincing performance, is a notebook that is definitely suitable for those who do a hectic type of work related to strong multitasking. In everyday life, switching from Chrome to Photoshop and then to Premiere without having to close anything and without seeing lag or drops in important performance is certainly a pleasure for the price range.

It will surely delight the students who work a lot with drafting documents or consulting important PDFs. The student will also be able to request additional services from Ryzen 5 and start entering the world of content creators. The MagicBook 14 responds well in management in Photoshop, Premiere and Illustrator without showing the side too much.

The merit is of how Honor has put the processor at bay because there has never been a drop in performance, never a thermal throttling with temperatures always below 78 ° peak, excellent thermal management combined with the wise choice to lower a little the clock. Samsung’s NVMe PCIe x4 SSD module is also able to boost performance considerably with speeds that always stand at 3600 MB / s read and 1500 MB / s write. Having such a fast SSD module in this price range is by no means a foregone conclusion.

If there is one thing that Honor MagicBook 14 cannot do, is to give satisfaction in gaming. The Radeon Vega 8 does not hold gaming sessions in FullHD, there is nothing to do. To be admitted, however, and not without surprises that by lowering the resolution in HD, the older titles like GTA V turn a pleasure to low details while Fortnite or Call of Duty Warzone at the historical minimum of details, have ballet performances but still acceptable. The most modern titles are absolutely unmanageable but a gamer will never point to a notebook without a dedicated GPU and it would have been impossible for Honor to insert a video card, even discreet, without raising the price too much.

Honor MagicBook 14 benchmark

In any case, the encouraging performance, system stability and heat management are also reflected in the benchmarks. We tried to feed the MagicBook 14 the usual conversion of a 4K file (1 GB) to FullHD with Handbrake and the conversion lasted 7 minutes and 43 seconds, a pretty good result. As we normally went further and we dared to edit a Premiere 8K raw file shot by a professional RED camera, the 13 second video was exported in 4K H.264 in 2 minutes and 50 seconds flat but Premiere with such a heavy file it started to show in the considerable uncertainties during the preview in real time (even if there are some tricks to improve this thing) and also the system in general was going slowly for too expensive processing.

The usual borderline case, nobody will ever use an 8K RED file on a mid-range ultrabook and then we opted for a 4K file editing (always raw RED). The situation with a 4K editing improves considerably even if the problems in live preview are still there, in any case for the same length of the movie a 4K file was exported in 2 minutes and 37 seconds. Under stress the temperatures go up to 78 °, the fans activate and make themselves felt while the temperature perceived on the body is never excessive. In any case, even the most popular benchmarks have returned gods Honest results for this Honor MagicBook 14. Here are the results of 3DMark, PCMark, CrystalDiskMark, Cinebench, Blender and Geekbench:

Honor MagicBook 14 software

Honor MagicBook 14 software

Honor has decided to present its MagiBook with a very clean version of Windows 10 Home and without too many pre-installed applications. In addition to the AMD suite for controlling the Radeon Vega 8 integrated video card, Honor inserts only a few utilities such as PC Manager and Honor Magic-link.

PC Manager is the Honor counterpart of Huawei’s PC Manager, they are two identical applications that do the same thing with the difference that instead of the word Huawei, there is the Honor one. In any case, it is a simple general pc management software, especially useful for keeping drivers updated without having to search for them anywhere on the net. Among other functions there is the possibility of starting a hardware check to find and solve problems, where not possible there is a space dedicated to assistance and the state of the warranty.

Honor Magic-Link is also a photocopy of Huawei Share, it remains a real convenience for those who have an Honor smartphone with Magic UI from version 2.1 onwards. Thanks to the NFC chip it will be possible to exchange photos, videos and any type of file between smartphone and computer simply by placing the smartphone on the NFC tag using Wi-Fi Direct. A very comfortable solution, also emphasized by the Multi-screen collaboration feature that allows you to duplicate the smartphone interface on the desktop and control it via pointer, also supporting drag and drop and copy of the text.

Leaving aside the fact that the only additions made by Honor are copy-paste of what Huawei offers, it is good to see that the brand tries to improve the integration between its devices even with different operating systems. Creating a bridge between Windows and Android through Magic-Link is a function that will certainly be useful to the target audience of this MagicBook 14 for the fast passage of files.

Honor MagicBook 14 autonomy

The battery life of the MagicBook 14 is very, very interesting. The battery capacity is 56 Wh (7410 mAh @ 7.6 V) and can be recharged quickly thanks to the compact 65 W power supply with USB-C that can recharge also smartphones and tablets. Unfortunately we have not had the opportunity to test the supplied 65 W power supply but Honor promises a 45% recharge in 30 minutes, a value to be taken with the clamps is likely that the recharge in 30 minutes is 35% according to some estimates and tests carried out. The data, both the real and the declared ones, are however very valid for the price range.

Battery life is excellent, always manages to cover a full day of mixed use made of Chrome, streaming video, graphics programs, offline text writing and PDF consultation. In particular with a brightness of 70% and an audio volume set at 60% Honor MagicBook 14 achieves these results of real autonomy:

  • Amazon Prime Video 4K streaming playback: approx. 9 hours
  • I work in Chrome 5 tab + Youtube in the background: about 8 hours
  • Using Photoshop: about 7 hours and 30 minutes
  • Offline use with Word: approximately 9 hours
  • Gaming use: about 1 hour and 50 minutes

We reiterate that the following data should be taken as indicative, there are too many factors that can affect battery life but it is clear that the autonomy of this Honor MagicBook 14 is among the strengths, is a notebook that can withstand the impact of a full day of work without the anxiety of having to recharge it. Perfect for a student or professional who spends most of the day without a recharge socket available.

Honor MagicBook 14 conclusions

Honor MagicBook 14 Review

A little bit of high, a little bit of low for Honor MagicBook 14 but thanks to the quality / price ratio, small uncertainties are canceled in one shot making Honor’s notebook an absolute best buy. Honor MagicBook 14 costs 599 Euros for the only configuration available with Ryzen 5, 8 GB RAM and 256 GB SSD, a decidedly low price for the services that are offered. In addition, Honor has decided to make it even more desirable with the launch promo with free gift smartwatch Honor MagicWatch 2. In summary, for a limited period of time on HiHonor it will be possible to buy MagicBook 14 + MagicWatch 2 for 599 Euros, after the promo the price will remain the same.

Something that could be improved there is such as the keyboard and some body finishing but for 599 Euros these are considerations that become marginal considering that for that price, in addition to the very valid Ryzen 5 processor from AMD, there is a very fast SSD module and able to be replaced easily, there is a reliable battery life and a compact charger that can also be used for the smartphone. Not only that, for the low price there is also a scenic pop up camera and a borderless display that could certainly be brighter but has a very useful anti-reflection treatment.

During the review, students were often cited as the target of this notebook. True, given their limited spending power, the MagicBook 14 is the recommended purchase for those looking for a notebook to study but not only. The performance of Honor MagicBook 14 is so solid, the battery life is so promising enough to make this notebook recommend even to professionals in some sectors who do not need to do too complex graphics jobs or who do not seek extreme portability. Not to mention the content creators, the MagicBook 14 is the ideal low cost investment to start creating content and start a low cost project.

Honor has done simple things with this MagicBook 14, has created an excellent notebook with a pleasant design, equipped with all the ports useful for daily life, has inserted some gems such as the pop up room and has armored it with performance that can satisfy all. Doing things well, doing simple things at home means bringing products that leave their mark on the market. Honor MagicBook 14 is a best buy, will sell a lot.

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