Great build quality for the price
Display specs could be better
So-so battery life
Back at IFA 2020, Honor announced a series of new products in its MagicBook laptop line. The range blurs the lines between premium features and more affordable price tags, offering sleek designs and powerful hardware for less than €900/£1000. The Honor MagicBook Pro carries the torch at the higher end of the range.
We’ve had the Honor MagicBook Pro in-house for the last week, and I’ve been using it as my daily workstation during that time. So, let’s find out what this laptop has to offer and whether it’s a worthwhile purchase. This is Android Authority’s Honor MagicBook Pro review
See more: The best laptops from IFA 2020
What is the Honor MagicBook Pro?
There’s no fancy 4G or 5G connectivity, Windows on Arm processor, or gimmicks here. The Honor MagicBook Pro simply aims to offer the quintessential high-end laptop experience while undercutting the competition on price. The similarity with Apple’s MacBook Pro moniker is no coincidence after all. However, Honor’s €900 offering comes in at a third of the price.
Honor kicks off the premium angle with an aluminum chassis in a slim form factor. The MagicBook Pro measures approximately 1.6cm when closed. The company claims this 16-inch laptop has the profile of a 15.6-inch device, but the 1.7kg weight breaks that illusion. The laptop is quite hefty to haul around.
There’s a fingerprint scanner integrated into the power button, positioned above the rightmost of the dual front-facing speakers. 65W fast charging, a dual-fan, dual-heat pipe cooling setup, and multi-screen collaboration for Honor and Huawei smartphone owners round out a feature set that’s definitely above and beyond your average laptop.
Next up in our Honor MagicBook Pro review is the display. At 16.1 inches, the panel is a true workhorse. You won’t be short of space for multi-window multitasking. The matte finish ensures minimal glare and wide viewing angles, but that’s where the accolades end.
1080p is good enough at this size, but 1440p and a refresh rate above 60Hz would be more fitting for a truly premium product. But I guess we can’t have everything at this price. The display is limited to just 300 nits of brightness, which flirts with the limits of visibility in bright outdoor environments. There’s also a 100% sRGB color space that looks great, but it is more limited than the DCI-P3 or AdobeRBG options that creative types rely on.
Overall, the display is very nice to look at. It offers enough quality for most use cases and a great size, given how slim the design is. But it’s not a media creator’s best option. These littles compromises make it clear that the Honor MagicBook Pro isn’t quite the fully premium product the name wants to imply.
Keyboard and ports
A quality keyboard is the beating heart of any laptop, and I’m quite fond of this one. The key profile is quite low for fast travel times, but it offers enough feedback to placate demanding typers. I’m definitely not worried about the keys sticking either. The touchpad is not as nice, owing to the awkward integrated mouse buttons. Nevertheless, the buttons are forgiving and the trackpad is large enough to zip around applications.
Honor’s keyboard includes a tiny embedded webcam at the top, which defaults to closed for added security. It’s a good idea on paper, but not so great in reality. The camera’s tiny size produces okay video quality, but background bloom can be an issue. The real problem, however, is its position. Your hands inevitably block the camera while typing and the low angle is rather unflattering. I’ve never been more self-conscious about nostril grooming.
The laptop comes with three USB-A ports (two on the right, one on the left), a single USB-C port, HDMI 2.0, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The USB-C connector doubles for data and power and can charge the laptop quickly via USB Power Delivery too. A memory card reader or second USB-C port would’ve been nice, but Honor has you well covered for most uses cases here.
Performance and battery
The Honor MagicBook Pro, powered by an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H chipset, makes for a potent workhorse. Six CPU cores with 12 threads, 16GB of fast DDR4 RAM, and a 512GB SSD make multitasking and more demanding workloads a breeze. Although some may find the lack of memory configurations a little limited. During the week I’ve been working on the Honor MagicBook Pro review I haven’t noticed any stutters or pauses, even while loading up multiple web tabs, editing images, and watching video all at once. It takes a seriously heavy task like video encoding to notice any performance deficiencies.
While integrated graphics tend to receive a bad rap, the 6 core Radeon RX Vega 6 graphics chip inside the 4600H is powerful enough for some mid-tier gaming. GTA V runs at 1920×1080 without issue, so you’re more than covered for MOBAs and other less demanding games. Nevertheless, frame rates will struggle with more modern, demanding titles. Integrated graphics can only do so much after all.
Speaking of demanding applications, the cooling system is pretty good as well. The bottom venting fans don’t kick in unless you’re running a very heavy workload, and even then they’re reasonably quiet. The only drawback of this bottom-mounted design is is that the laptop gets a little warm on your lap, since there’s nowhere for the warm air to go.
The AMD 4600H does a decent job balancing high performance with battery life. I regularly made it through a full workday of writing and emails with charge to spare. However, battery life struggled with a morning of heavy image editing, running flat in a little under four hours. Gaming and large downloads also lop hours off the run time. The laptop could definitely use a larger battery to ensure a full day of use for more demanding work.
What I like about the Honor MagicBook Pro
- Great performance, even for light gaming.
- Good build quality with a solid aluminum chassis.
- Nice keyboard.
And what I don’t like
- Pretty heavy for an otherwise slim laptop.
- The display could be better at this price point.
- Battery life is good but might not last a full workday.
- Nostril hair anxiety during Zoom meetings.
Honor MagicBook Pro specs
|Honor MagicBook Pro||Specs|
|Display||16.1-inch IPS panel|
Full HD (1920x1080) resolution
16:9 aspect ratio
|Chipset||AMD Ryzen 5 4600H|
|CPU||6 cores, 12 threads|
3.0GHz (4.0GHz boost)
|GPU||Radeon RX Vega 6 (integrated)|
|OS||Windows 10 Home|
Honor MagicBook Pro review: Should you buy it?
The Honor MagicBook Pro does a lot right, especially when it comes to performance and design. The small compromises are very easy to overlook at this price. It’s an excellent allrounder. However, the laptop market is fiercely competitive. There are other great options out there that rival Honor’s €899/£999 price tag if you’re after something a little more specific.
For instance, customers looking for a sharper display and lighter design should consider the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3. The Asus VivoBook S15 also stands out as a slightly more affordable 15-inch option. Those looking for even more performance and gaming chops would do well to weigh up the Dell G5 15 or the Asus ZenBook 14 if they have a little more cash to spend. But for a general-purpose laptop, the MagicBook Pro is a solid option.
Currently, the Honor MagicBook Pro is available with a €100/£150 discount, so can be yours for €799,90/£849.99. UK customers can also grab one of three free bundles. The options are a free Honor MagicWatch 2, Router 3 and the original MagicWatch, or a Router 3 and Honor Magic Earbuds. That’s quite a bargain that tilts the value needle in Honor’s favor.