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HONOR MagicBook 14 review (2020)

HUAWEI, and its sub-brand, HONOR, have been present in the laptop landscape for quite some time, but it’s only been the past couple of years that the two companies really started to make waves. HUAWEI offers really high-tier, premium products, as we’ve seen with the occasion of our MateBook X Pro review, and HONOR is doing a great job at bringing premium quality and design, as well as performance, to the more affordable segment.

The HONOR MagicBook 14 hasn’t changed much, if at all, compared to the previous generation, in terms of its design. However, the 2020 model, announced at IFA, brings a serious spec-bump with the addition of AMD’s Ryzen 5 4500U chip, a step up from the previously used 3500U.

In our HONOR MagicBook 14 review (2020), we’re taking a look at whether you get the most bang for your buck if you decide to purchase this laptop.

HONOR MagicBook 14

Hardware

Those familiar with the previous generation will be right at home when it comes to the MagicBook 14. If, however, this is going to be your first time with the computer, you should expect a solid build mostly of aluminum and some plastic.

The laptop is available in Mystic Silver, and Space Gray, the unit we’re currently reviewing. While the case itself is indeed Space Gray, the logo on the top, as well as the chamfers, have a nice blue tone to them, which gives it an extra flashy, but subtle look at the same time.

HONOR MagicBook 14

Taking a look around the MagicBook 14, on the right side you’ll find a 3.5mm headphone port, next to a full-size USB3.2 Gen 1 (Type A). On the left-hand side, you get a USB Type-C, an HDMI, and a full-size USB2.0 (Type A) port.

The bottom features a slightly raised design in order for air to easily find its way underneath the laptop, and inside, through the grill that runs almost the entire width of the device. This is also where the speaker grills reside, one on each side for stereo sound.

HONOR MagicBook 14

Opening up the lid reveals, as its name implies, a 14-inch display with rather small bezels, thanks to HONOR inheriting the webcam approach from HUAWEI. The display has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, which is FHD, and an aspect ratio of 16:9. Said small bezels result in a screen-to-body ratio of 84%, which is not the largest out there, but it’s definitely nice to look at, granted, hindered only by the fairly large bottom bezel.

The panel is an IPS LCD, and HONOR claims a brightness of 250 nits and an 800:1 contrast ratio. The matte finish of the display ensures no reflections and the colors are nice and punchy. About the only thing we can nitpick on is outdoor visibility which is a tad difficult in bright environments, as well as the viewing angles, which are narrower compared to a higher-end laptop, but definitely not a dealbreaker. 

HONOR MagicBook 14

The keyboard is full size, with nice and pleasant key travel. Keys size and spacing ensure comfortable typing and the backlight is nice and even with little to no bleeding, illuminating clearly each key in the dark.

The touchpad offers a great experience as well. Despite being plastic, it doesn’t pose any usability issues. Clicks are firm and gestures work as they should. 

On the top right there’s a round power button which also has the fingerprint scanner embedded in it. What’s worth mentioning here is that if you turn on the computer with the finger you enrolled as your fingerprint authentication, Windows will automatically sign you in without the need to authenticate or touch the button again.

HONOR MagicBook 14

On the top right there’s a round power button which also has the fingerprint scanner embedded in it. What’s worth mentioning here is that if you turn on the computer with the finger you enrolled as your fingerprint authentication, Windows will automatically sign you in without the need to authenticate or touch the button again.

Inside you’ll find the new AMD Ryzen 5th generation 4500U processor, paired with AMD Radeon Graphics. The chip is a six-core CPU with six threads, built on the 7nm technology, and has an 8MB L3 Cache. Depending on the market, the laptop is available with either 8- or 16GB of memory, and the same goes for storage with 256- and 512GB versions.

HONOR MagicBook 14

…and then the webcam, which is always a polarizing topic when it comes to HONOR and HUAWEI laptops. The dreaded “nosecam” title still remains, but HONOR, just like HUAWEI, stresses on the privacy issue, and they’re right. A camera that’s tucked inside the keyboard will most likely not reveal anything about you even if hacked. Once you pop it open, the only downside is the awkward viewing angle, but you’ll get used to it (or buy a separate webcam if you have to).

HONOR MagicBook 14

Performance and battery life

Our review unit has 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. While it is by no means a powerhouse gaming machine, it gets the job done if you’re ok with playing titles that are not demanding. You might also need to tweak the game’s settings to a lower resolution to be easier on the graphics card.

That being said, all other mundane tasks are being handled without issues. Whether it’s work (documents, spreadsheets, browsing, emails, video calls, etc.) or entertainment (YouTube, Netflix, listening to music, basic photo manipulation), it gets the job done without any issues.

HONOR MagicBook 14

We’re not huge fans of benchmarks here on Pocketnow, but for those of you who are, here are some of the results from the tests we ran:

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Maikel Du

I worked in many technical fields, but I always resort to blogging which has become an addiction to me
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