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Honor MagicBook 14 Review: an excellent notebook at an advantageous price

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Brian Adam
Professional Blogger, V logger, traveler and explorer of new horizons.
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Honour brought the expected MagicBook 14 notebook to Italy, a product with a refined look and excellent performance in relation to the price.

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review Honor MagicBook 14 Review: an excellent notebook at an advantageous price

The world of laptops is vast and varied and includes many types of users. Many of these are not looking for maximum performance but for different products, lighter and less performing, for studying or working.

In this market segment, which has always been made of innovation and ecosystems that make an integration between the various devices more comfortable, now Honor arrives, which has finally decided to bring its MagicBook 14 to Italy. The price is set at 599.90 euros and the launch promotion is quite interesting: by purchasing the notebook in the first few days of the sale, you can get the Honor MagicWatch 2 smartwatch (46 mm), which would usually cost 179.90 euros. In short, the price is intriguing, but will the Chinese company have managed to make an excellent notebook?

Design, unboxing and connectivity

Small premise: the product was supplied to us in its sales package, but inside we found only the notebook and a USB Type-C / USB Type-C cable for charging. In any case, the final packaging should also contain a 65W charger. The first aspect you notice when you take MagicBook 14 in hand is the excellent build quality of the device, which has an aluminium body and has an excellent bevel at the edges with the company’s iconic Azure Blue colour.
A touch of not indifferent class that stands out positively, especially when the notebook is exposed to natural light.

The colouring in our possession is the Space Gray, which is also the one included in the initial sales bundle that includes the MagicWatch 2.

The constructive solidity is not bad at all, but the weight of only 1.38 kg and the dimensions of 322.5 x 214.8 x 15.9 mm is even more surprising. Portability is therefore excellent and the bezels on the sides and above the screen are very small (4.8 mm). The display is 14 inches and the screen-to-body ratio is 84%. Among other things, it is “flexible” up to 180 degrees, an aspect that is always pleasing and that makes it very comfortable to use in certain situations.

The keyboard, which has good backlighting, has a short keystroke and is very quiet. We liked this solution, especially useful when using the notebook on the move.

This is flanked at the top right by the power button, which hides the inside fingerprint sensor. You can use the latter to quickly unlock the laptop via Windows Hello and we have always found it very responsive: a detection has never been lost. Below is the large touchpad, which has always guaranteed comfortable and pleasant user experience.

We have already seen it in the past with other models, such as the Matebook D15 that we have reviewed, but here the iconic retractable camera, “hidden” under the appropriate key at the top in a central position on the keyboard. This positioning has allowed Honor to reduce the frames around the display, improving privacy and ensuring an interesting design solution, as well as able to meet the needs of those who often make video calls.

Sure, there is a certain type of user who “criticizes” the bottom-up shot a bit with this 720p webcam, but in reality, we must say that we have always used it without too many problems. Simply get used to its position. By the way, when the camera is in use, an LED lights up, so the user is always informed about its use.

On the back of the lid we find only the Honor logo to the left, while on the sides there are the various doors. On the left, we find a USB Type-C port for power supply, the small LED that signals charging, a USB Type-A 3.0 port and an HDMI. On the right, however, there are the 3.5 mm audio jack for headphones and a USB Type-A 2.0 port.
In short, the connectivity sector meets the needs of most users. In general, the design of the MagicBook 14 has convinced us particularly: it does not seem to be in front of a notebook in this price range.

Technical features

The design is important, but we know that in these cases it is the technical data sheet that counts. The notebook has a screen 14-inch IPS with Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080 pixels), 16: 9 aspect ratio and 84% screen-to-body ratio. The viewing angles reach 178 degrees and there is a good anti-glare treatment. The maximum brightness is not the highest and using the notebook in some very bright situations we noticed it, but it is nothing transcendental and we managed to enjoy the quality of this screen in most cases.
For the rest, the colours are well balanced and there is no lack of TÜV Rheinland certification, which guarantees that the display does not strain the eyes too much. Summing up, we are faced with a good panel, which has always given us satisfaction when we use it in contexts such as viewing multimedia content or even gaming.

Under the body pulses a quad-core processor (8 threads) AMD Ryzen 5 3500U operating at a base clock of 2.1 GHz and with a boost frequency of 3.7 GHz, made with a 12nm production process. It is a CPU that we have also seen on other notebooks in this price range, often chosen both for its performance and for the 15W TDP, as well as for the Radeon Vega 8 video card.

In any case, for those who are “foreign” to this market, the architecture is the Zen +, which arrived on the market in 2018. To date, we have arrived at the Zen 2: in short, it is not exactly a last-generation processor but still remains suitable at the price range. 8GB of DDR4 Dual Channel 2400 MHz RAM and 256GB of NvMe PCIe SSD complete the circle. Note the division of the SSD into two partitions: one 80GB and one 142GB.

Windows 10 Home 64 bit it is installed in the first partition and this takes up some space. To give you a concrete example, by already installing two games you are already almost running out of space. Fortunately, the second exists, but you understand well that some people may not like this choice, which we frankly struggle to understand.

Then we find support for Wi-Fi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac and Bluetooth 5.0. As for autonomy, the 56 Wh battery was able to sustain about 7 hours during our average day, but consider that we have made several gaming sessions and that 11 hours can be reached with a more “bland” use.

To do further tests, we tried to make a little more use from the office on other days and in that case you can safely bring the day home. In short, autonomy is very good. Excellent the presence of the 65W fast charge, which allows obtaining several hours of use compared to a connection of a few minutes to the power outlet.

On the software side, it is interesting to note that the Chinese company has preinstalled the PC Manager program. We have already seen similar solutions in the past: for the uninitiated, this is a convenient suite that allows you to quickly update drivers, check hardware components and manage various aspects related to notebook optimization. Among other things, there is an interesting integration with Honor smartphones that have the EMUI 9.1 or the Magic UI 2.1 and later versions.

In fact, PC Manager allows you to quickly back up photos and videos, quickly enable the hotspot functionality and above all use Magic-link 2.0. The latter is an interesting possibility that allows you to use your smartphone via the MagicBook 14, making its screen appear in a window. We had already tested a similar functionality with Huawei MatePad Pro and we must say that the ecosystem that the Honor / Huawei group is creating is very interesting.

Quick indication of temperatures: MagicBook 14 has a renewed cooling system capable of never heat too much. In some contexts, such as after a few long sessions on the gaming side, the heat begins to feel a little, but it never goes too far.

To provide you with concrete data, the CPU and GPU also reach 70 and 80 degrees respectively, numbers in the standard that we have often found with other solutions. Instead, it made us turn up a little, the noise of the fans. Let me be clear, nothing transcendental, but it is certainly not the quietest notebook on the market.

User experience

We have tried Honor MagicBook 14 in different contexts. Using it in a daily environment, Windows 10 Home runs perfectly, without ever having any slowdown whatsoever. For the school or office use, the notebook is a marvel and all the features, from Magic-link 2.0 to the pop-up webcam, passing through the excellent display and the good audio sector, also make it interesting to view multimedia content, consult documents and Web browsing. It is a notebook that clearly targets the average user, who is neither a graphics professional nor a hardcore gamer.

In fact, as you can imagine, since it is not a notebook designed primarily for the latter use, you can play some casual titles, but don’t go much further. To give you concrete examples, in Full HD only titles like Paladins or Dead By Daylight run properly, which easily exceed 30 FPS even with presets higher than the “Medium” one.

For the rest, games like GTA V run smoothly only by going down with the resolution or in any case “playing” with the graphic settings. All in all, however, MagicBook 14 is not a gamer laptop.

 

Honor MagicBook 14
Honour MagicBook 14 is a very good notebook, which aims to meet the needs of most users. The design is excellent, comfort is guaranteed by the lightness and thickness of the laptop, the performance is good for the price range and the autonomy does not disappoint expectations. Additional software features like Magic-link 2.0 are there, and there is a good keyboard, 65W fast charge and SSD. Another particularly interesting aspect is the price: 599.90 euros, which at launch also include the MagicWatch 2 smartwatch. In short, the quality/price ratio is everything, you can safely turn a blind eye on the use of an AMD processor, not last generation. In short, Honor has hit the mark.

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