When HONOR released the MagicBook back in April earlier this year, I was shocked by the value it offers. For its price, it struck a lot of the right chords – making it one of the laptops that I personally recommend. Unfortunately, the lack of availability plagued it. Then came the MagicBook 14 came around but it’s technically a refresh of the original MagicBook but with an insane price hike.
Today, we have a completely new product within HONOR’s lineup of laptops. This is the new HONOR MagicBook Pro. On paper, it’s not entirely special – but how the laptop is constructed is what makes it special as it also strikes a lot of the right chords.
Fairly simple laptop design here. Fully grey in color. While HONOR does say it’s made out of aluminium… from what we can see, hear, and feel – it’s mostly plastic.
Still, I like its understated design and it’s durable too, despite its questionable build materials. I guess the material doesn’t really matter much since it’s durable.
By the way, the ports are also the same in terms of location, variety, and amount. The main difference is that the USB 2.0 ports just got a generation bump to USB 3.0.
This is the first time I’ve seen and used a laptop that’s equipped with a 16.1-inch IPS LCD screen with 1080p resolution.
This humongous display is actually very nice to use. It’s not about the 16.1-inch screen size because I think it’s not that big of a deal because it’s just slightly larger than a typical 15.6-inch screen laptop. The main magic here is those thin bezels.
In the future iteration of the HONOR MagicBook Pro laptop, I do wish to see a 16:10 aspect ratio screen to make use of that bottom chin as well. It’s not something that I will be expecting, but it’s something that’s nice to have.
HONOR also claims that this display here has is rated for 100% sRGB color gamut coverage, but from what we can see with our own eyes – it’s not the most color-accurate display but good enough for most cases.
Specs and performance
This is where things start to get a little weird. The HONOR MagicBook Pro comes with an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H processor with AMD Radeon Graphics, 16GB RAM, and 512GB storage. Yes, AMD’s H-series of mobile processor instead of a U-series mobile processor.
Comparing both the Ryzen 5 4500U and the Ryzen 5 4600H, the latter is a higher-powered chip with 6 cores and 12 threads instead of 6 cores and 6 threads on the former. Other than that, the Ryzen 5 4600H has better boost clocks and obviously better multi-core performance.
Combined with the Radeon Graphics, this laptop can do wonders as we can play Overwatch at its lowest graphical settings and get a very enjoyable experience too.
One question we get asked frequently is “can we edit videos using this laptop?” and we’re answering that question in this video. Once we got Premiere Pro running and imported our usual Sony 1080p 60fps videos into the timeline and hit play, it’s not smooth. Granted, it’s skipping frames consistently so if you don’t mind that frame skipping, then it’s perfectly fine to edit videos on the HONOR MagicBook Pro.
I’m not particularly sure why the frame skipping is happening, but looking at the task manager, we can see that the GPU still only has 512MB of dedicated VRAM. Once we hit play, the VRAM is nearly all used up.
In short, despite this laptop having so much power, I still treat it as an ultrabook.
One good but weird thing is that the HONOR MagicBook Pro made an emphasis on the temperatures and noise – to which I commend them because this laptop is dead silent under our usual workload.
HONOR delivered this promise magnificently, too. When we stressed the CPU and GPU with synthetic load, the fan did ramp up but it’s still very quiet. Though, the fans make a higher-pitched noise which might annoy users with sensitive ears.
Also, I can’t find any settings to manually change the fan speed or to select a high power profile.
Keyboard & trackpad
The trackpad is pretty fine, though it could’ve been bigger since there is room for it to grow anyway. It tracks well and uses Windows Precision Touchpad drivers too. The palm rejection is still quite bad, just like many other Windows laptops out there.
As for the keyboard, it’s actually good. It’s a little mushy for my liking but generally, it’s fine as I can get used to it easily. Though, I don’t like the arrow key cluster, though. All 4 directional arrow keys should be the same size – either all of them at half-height or all of them at full size but offset from the entire keyboard cluster.
I still don’t like how the Fn key functions – which I have complained in the previous HONOR MagicBook review before – and also that webcam on the keyboard. I guess I’ll give it a pass this time because of that big display with small bezels.
Those fantastic speakers
Now, the extra space between the left and right sides of the laptop has two large speaker grills. And yes, the speakers are top-firing. They actually sound amazing for a laptop.
But why does the speaker has to look like it’s gutted out from another laptop and tacked onto the HONOR MagicBook Pro though? Aesthetically, it’s just not coherent with the laptop. At least make those grills the same color as the entire laptop.
Also, I think there is room to further grow the laptop. There is unused space on the keyboard deck, after all.
Maintenance & upgradability
It’s still a rather weird decision for laptops to use Torx screws. Anyway, removing the bottom screws and popping off the back panel reveals that the RAM is completely soldered. What we can swap here is the single M.2 SSD and also the WiFi card. That’s it.
What’s weird here is the empty space left beside the battery. At first glance, that slot is obviously made for a 2.5-inch drive – but there is no way to actually install a 2.5-inch drive there. That part is just completely left empty.
HONOR could’ve grown the battery in size and just occupy that empty space as well – but they didn’t.
By the way, stop partitioning that 512GB SSD into 128GB for the C:/ drive and then all the remaining capacity for the D:/ drive. It’s not the year 2000 anymore. Ransomware will take all drives, regardless it’s a partition or a completely different drive.
Battery & charger
Not bad. Despite it using a 56Wh battery. From our usage, this battery can last for about 6-7 hours while doing some intense web browsing with Spotify in the background and some YouTube videos in the mix.
Should you buy the HONOR MagicBook Pro?
I think we should flip that question around first – you should not buy the HONOR MagicBook Pro if you’re going to run graphical-intensive applications on it – like After Effects, and Lightroom. The CPU can provide a lot of power, but the GPU is still lacking because of the minuscule amount of VRAM.
You should absolutely buy the HONOR MagicBook Pro if you’re doing a lot of office work and multitask a lot since it has a larger display and also 16GB of RAM. Coupled with that high-powered AMD Ryzen 5 4600H, it can even handle large excel workbooks. With that extremely silent fan, this laptop is just perfect for office work. Yet despite all that it has to offer, it’s 16.9mm thin but weighs 1.7kg.
Personally, I like this laptop. This is my first time using a laptop with a 16.1-inch screen and it looks and feels amazing to use. Coupled with the great battery life, the only thing holding me back is the weird Fn key functionality and the obnoxious arrow key cluster.
For the price of RM3,599, I do think that it’s a good price with all things considered.