Honor MagicBook 14 (2022), hands on: A good-value 14-inch workhorse with discrete graphics

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pros and cons

Pros

  • 12th-gen Core i5 CPU
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050 option
  • All-day battery life
  • Competitive price
Cons

  • 300 nits screen
  • 720p webcam
  • Disappointing speakers

Honor is known primarily as a smartphone manufacturer, but the Chinese company’s portfolio extends to tablets such as the excellent Honor Pad 8, wearables (bands, watches and earbuds) and the MagicBook range of 14-inch, 15-inch and 16-inch laptops.

As the time of writing the Honor MagicBook 14 (2022) is not yet available in the UK, although French and German buyers can find it online with a starting price of €999.90 (~$1,064). This buys you a 12-core (4 Performance, 8 Efficient) Intel Core i5-12500H processor, integrated Iris Xe Graphics, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD. A model with discrete Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050 graphics costs €1,199.99 (~$1,276). The MagicBook 14 is also available in China and Malaysia, but not officially in the US. 

Honor MagicBook 14 (2022): ports

Left side (top): 2x USB-C, 3.5mm audio in/out. Right side (above): HDMI, USB-A.

Images: Sandra Vogel / ZDNET

The build is very solid, and the aluminium shell should prove resistant to knocks and scratches in the normal course of events. The 1.58kg weight, while on the high side for a 14-inch laptop, didn’t trouble me as I carried this device around in my rucksack. At 16.9mm thick it’s not super-thin either, but the chassis does allow room for a full-size HDMI port and USB-A on the right side, plus a pair of USB-C ports and a 3.5mm headset jack on the left. One of the USB-C ports is used to charge the laptop. 

The 14-inch screen sits in bezels thin enough to earn a claimed scree-to-body ratio of 88.15%, and there’s a 720p webcam above the screen. The screen’s resolution of 2,160 by 1,440 pixels means content is sharp and clear although its 300 nits maximum brightness is on the low side. Still, I found it perfectly adequate for indoor working. The 170° viewing angle meant I could easily share content with someone sitting to one side of me. 

Honor MagicBook 14 (2022): keyboard

Keys have 1.5mm of travel and there’s a combined power button/fingerprint reader in the top right corner.

Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNET

My review unit had a US keyboard layout, but otherwise I found it efficient and comfortable to use. There’s 1.5mm of key travel and good bounce-back, and the gentle clicking generated by typing should suit those who like to work in relative quiet. There is a fingerprint sensor in the upper right of the keyboard, integrated into the power button. The touchpad is responsive and easy to get to grips with, and as large as the wrist rest allows. 

The disappointing feature as far as the user experience is concerned is the speaker system. Their grilles are on the underside of the chassis, which muffles the sound when you’re working with the laptop on your lap or any softer surface. Top volume isn’t as high as it could be, and there’s a fuzziness to the sound output that makes music listening a little disappointing. The speakers are fine for spoken-word content, but if you’re looking for a strong audio performer for after-hours entertainment, you might want to look elsewhere. 

The 75Wh battery is specified as good for 15 hours of 1080p local video playback. My experience during testing suggests that ten hours of battery life might be closer to the mark. Still, that ought to be enough for a productive day away from mains power. Honor has launched a system called OS Turbo which can recognise usage scenarios and adjust power consumption accordingly. According to the company, this can reduce power consumption by up to 20%. Honor provides a 135W charger which it says can take the battery from empty to 100% in 80 minutes. 

The Honor MagicBook 14 (2022) performed well for the mainstream knowledge-worker tasks I threw at it during testing, the array of ports is quite strong, and battery life was good. If you’re looking for a workhorse laptop for everyday usage, and can find it on sale, the MagicBook 14 is worth considering.


Honor MagicBook (2022) specifications

OS Windows 11 Home
Processor Intel Core i5-12500H
GPU Intel Iris Xe Graphics, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050 (4GB)
RAM 16GB
Storage 512GB
Display 14-inch, 2160 x 1440 (3:2, 185ppi), 300 nits, 1500:1, 100% sRGB
Ports & slots 2x USB-C (10Gbps), USB-A (5Gbps), HDMI, 3.5mm audio in/out
Wi-Fi Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax)
Bluetooth 5.2
Keyboard full size, 1.5mm key travel
Touchpad 5-point multi-touch, 120mm x 72.2mm
Webcam 720p
Fingerprint reader integrated in power button
Audio 2x speakers, 2x mics
Battery 75Wh
Applications Honor Magic-link/PC Manager
Dimensions 307.51mm x 227.56mm x 16.9mm
Weight 1.58kg
In the box MagicBook 14, USB-C power adapter, quick-start guide, warranty card
Price €999.90 (16GB/512GB/Intel Iris Xe Graphics), €1,199.90 (16GB/512GB/Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050) 

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