The Honor MagicBook 14 (2022) is a solid productivity laptop, offering fast processing speeds, a great port selection and a good battery life. Its design isn’t so impressive, failing to stand out from rivals such as Apple and Huawei, while also being a little too chunky and heavy to compete with the MacBook Air and Dell XPS 13.
- Super-speedy processor
- Option for a discrete GPU
- Great port selection
- Better webcam placement
- Bland design
- Chunkier and heavier than rivals
- Mediocre screen
- Poor speakers
- EuropeRRP: €1099
- High-performance processor:The Intel Core i5-12500H is capable of breezing through day-to-day workloads.
- Optional RTX 2050 GPU:The discrete GPU boosts the graphical performance, which is ideal for entry-level photo and video editors.
- Fingerprint sensor:The MagicBook features a fingerprint sensor, allowing for speedy and secure sign-ins.
The Honor MagicBook series used to represent jaw-dropping value in the world of laptops, but Honor seems to have changed tactics for the new 2022 model.
Instead of sticking in budget laptop territory, Honor has become more ambitious and improved the specs (as well as increasing the price) to take on premium portables such as the MacBook Air and Dell XPS 13.
It’s a bold move from a company that had previously built up a great reputation for providing high value, but it does allow Honor to pack its laptop with high-end features such a H-Series Intel processor and 1440p screen resolution.
At the time of writing, the Honor MagicBook 14 (2022) is only available in France, Germany, China and Malaysia, but it should be shipping over to the UK in the near future.
- Design lacks distinctive personality
- Great selection of ports
- Webcam returns to top screen bezel
If you were to type the word ‘laptop’ into an AI image generator, you’d likely get something that looks very similar to the Honor MagicBook 14 (2022).
With such generic looks, the MagicBook could be accused of lacking its own distinctive personality, but it’s hard to complain too much about getting a solidly built portable at a reasonable price, undercutting the likes of the MacBook Air and Dell XPS 13.
Honor isn’t attempting to design the world’s slimmest laptop, with a noticeably chunkier frame (16.9mm) than the likes of Dell XPS 13 Plus (15.28mm) or MacBook Air M2 (11.3mm), and yet it’s still been very easy for me to slip into a bag.
There’s an upside to having a slightly chunkier build, as it allows Honor to fit on a plethora of ports, including USB-A, USB-C, HDMI and a headphone jack. That’s one of the best port selections I’ve seen from an ultrabook in recent years, and I personally love having legacy ports to plug in an old peripheral or USB stick without the need of a dongle.
But it’s also important to note that the Honor MagicBook 14 is noticeably heavier than some of its rivals. Weighing in at 1.58kg, it’s a few hundred grams heavier than the Dell XPS 13 Plus (1.23kg) and MacBook Air (1.24kg).
Does that make a big difference in practice? I personally don’t think so. I can still comfortably hold the laptop in one hand, and it doesn’t cause any back strain when stowed in a rucksack.
One of my biggest gripes with the older MagicBook 14 (2020) was the placement of the webcam – it would pop out of the keyboard and present video callers with an unflattering view up your nostrils. This has now been changed, with the webcam returning to its rightful place in the top screen bezel. Hurray!
I’ve got mixed feelings about the webcam’s capture quality. There’s not much visible pixelation, so you don’t have to suffer grainy footage, but it struggles with low-light environments. Video quality is quite low at 720p at 30fps too. All that said, this webcam is perfectly usable for video meetups with friends and colleagues.
I was disappointed by the speakers. The volume can be dialled up to a high volume, but the audio sounds screechy and unpleasant. I had a tough time listening to Crawling by Linkin Park whenever Chester Bennington hit those high notes. The speakers are located underneath the laptop, making it unfortunately muffled against your desk. If you’re listening to music or watching a movie, I strongly recommend donning a pair of headphones.
The keyboard follows the same design trend as the rest of the laptop; bland but practical. Fairly deep key travel ensures an enjoyable typing experience, and each key is chunky enough to ensure you aren’t making typos on a frequent basis. You also get a fingerprint sensor embedded into the power button, allowing for speedy and secure sign-ins.
The trackpad is faultless too, with responsive swiping and satisfyingly clicky presses. You shouldn’t have to worry about plugging in an external mouse.
- Impressively high screen resolution
- Squarish 3:2 aspect ratio
- No touchscreen
The screen specs on the Honor MagicBook 14 (2022) laptop look impressive on paper. It has a 2160 x 1440 resolution, ensuring a noticeably sharper display than a standard Full HD panel. I was impressed with the level of detail on offer when watching high production TV shows such as The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.
But dive a little deeper into the screen specs, and I can’t help but feel underwhelmed. By using a colorimeter, I was able to determine the max 368-nit brightness and 1639:1 contrast. There’s nothing wrong with those figures, but I’ve seen far better figures from laptops with OLED panels such as the Dell XPS 13 OLED and Asus Zenbook S 13 OLED.
The colour coverage is pretty weak too, covering 87.2% of sRGB, 61.6% of Adobe RGB and 63.9% of DCI-P3. This means the screen isn’t accurate enough to present photos and video at a professional grade, so those who deal with colour-sensitive work will need to look elsewhere.
Is it the best laptop display I’ve seen? Absolutely not, but it’s also far from being the worst. The high resolution means it’s a good option for video streaming, but you’ll get more vibrant colours and depth by picking up an OLED model, which only costs a few hundred quid more.
Honor has opted for a 3:2 aspect ratio for the screen, which makes it look a little more square than the average laptop display. This makes the screen well suited to productivity work, enabling more vertical visibility when viewing web pages or documents. Laptops with a 16:9 (or even 16:10) have a wider screen better optimised for watching video. But if you’re happy to put up with chunky black bars, the MagicBook is still a perfectly good option for streaming.
- Speedy processor performance
- Option for a discrete GPU
- Fast SSD speeds
The Honor MagicBook 14 (2022) has an impressive spec sheet, packing a 12th Gen Intel Core processor (the i5-12500H to be specific), as well as 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. You even get the option for an RTX 2050 GPU for added graphical grunt.
Let’s focus on the processing performance first. Honor has opted for a high-performance processor for this laptop, ensuring a speedy performance that depletes the battery at a quicker rate than a U-Series or P-Series flavour.
|Honor MagicBook 14 (2022)||Dell XPS 13 Plus||MacBook Air M2|
|CPU||Intel Core i5-12500H||Intel Core i7-1260P||Apple M2|
|Geekbench 5 single / multi||1661 / 11,042||1467 / 7155||1928 / 8698|
As the benchmark results show above, the Honor MagicBook 14 (2022) offers an even faster multi-core performance than laptops that will likely cost a couple hundred quid more.
The Honor MagicBook 14 can not only sail through basic day-to-day workloads, but can also tackle more intense tasks without slowing down. Honor is offering an optional RTX 2050 GPU to boost the graphics performance even further. That GPU may be outdated now, but it’s a smart way to offer a graphics boost without seeing a dramatic rise in price. My model unfortunately lacks a discrete GPU, so I’m unable to provide benchmark figures for that model.
Honor has even been able to use high-speed SSDs in the MagicBook 14. Our benchmark tests showed it to have read and write speeds of 6774MB/ and 4851MB/s. Those are better results than the vast majority of laptops I’ve reviewed, especially at this price point. Such speed should ensure brisk boot up times, as well as a breezy performance when loading up installed apps. It’s also handy when transferring large files, which is ideal for budding video editors.
- Honor claims 15 hours of video playback
- Features a 75Wh battery
Honor claims the 75Wh battery can last 15 hours of video playback at a 1080p resolution.
It looks like that figure is a little optimistic, as I only managed to eke 15 hours out of the system (with 150-nit screen brightness), albeit at the higher 1440p resolution. That’s still a good result though, beating the likes of the Dell XPS 13 OLED in the same test.
I’m also impressed that Honor has been able to achieve such a good battery life despite opting for a power-hungry processor. Usually Intel Core P-Series processors deplete power at an accelerated rate.
That said, I expect the model with the RTX 2050 to see a big drop in battery life. It’s not one of the most powerful GPUs available, so it should still see better stamina than a gaming laptop. Just don’t be shocked if it struggles to hit the 10-hour mark.
Should you buy it?
You want a powerful performance at an affordable price:
By packing a H-Series Intel Core processor, this is one of the most powerful laptops available at this price.
You want a fantastic screen:
Now we’re starting to see OLED panels on general productivity laptops, it’s difficult not to be underwhelmed by the LCD screen here.
The Honor MagicBook 14 (2022) looks to be a fantastic productivity laptop that not only excels at day-to-day workloads, but can even blitz through entry-level content creation too. It’s an excellent alternative to the MacBook Air for those who want to stick with Windows.
It’s a shame that the design is a little bland, while also being noticeably chunkier and heavier than the vast majority of laptops at this price. And while the screen is perfectly fine, it pales in comparison to the OLED models that are only a few hundred quid more expensive.
This is a great productivity laptop that should serve you well in your studies or office work, but it simply doesn’t offer any of the flashy features or styling to make it a more tempting option than a MacBook Air or Dell XPS 13 Plus.
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