Honor MagicBook Pro Hands On Preview: a fantastic Ryzen-powered laptop
Honor isn’t exactly known for their laptops. The company has a large focus on smartphones and wearables, so I’m not too surprised that many don’t know about their laptops.
The Honor MagicBook Pro just got announced at IFA 2020, and I’ve been using mine daily to complete all of the tasks that I would normally do on my MacBook Pro. The Honor MagicBook Pro is a major win in my book, and while we’re going to be putting together a more in-depth review in the future, I’m really enjoying my time with it so far.
About this review: I received the Honor MagicBook Pro from Honor on the 31st of August, 2020. Honor did not have any input in the contents of this review.
Honor MagicBook Pro Specifications
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Design and Build Quality
The Honor MagicBook Pro struck me as a premium device from the getgo. It features a full aluminum chassis with a sandblasted shell, imposed upon only by a large “HONOR” engraving on it. The laptop itself is quite thin, especially when opened up, and it’s only 1.7kg in weight. It’s small and light enough that I’ve been able to carry it one-handed with no concerns about dropping it.
The keyboard is backlit, though it’s fairly dim compared to my Macbook Pro. It works fairly well in low light but isn’t very useful when there’s moderate ambient lighting. Obviously that doesn’t really matter though, as the purpose of a backlit keyboard is so that you can see what keys you are hitting when it’s dark. It definitely achieves that goal.
Speaking of that keyboard though, it’s nice enough to use, though it’s obviously not a mechanical keyboard. It’s a membrane keyboard, and the actuation is higher than I’m used to as a result. It’s fine for general usage and I have been typing a lot on it, but sometimes it can be a bit jarring coming from my mechanical keyboard. It’s one of the better membrane keyboards that I’ve used, which is the main thing.
I didn’t really find that it affected my typing speed much, as when I did a TypeRacer test, I was getting anywhere from 110-120WPM. Generally, I would get 120WPM on my mechanical keyboard at my computer, so I’m happy with this keyboard. I also found my typing to be quite accurate when using it.
The trackpad is larger than previous Honor keyboards, but the larger trackpad means I’ve often brushed the trackpad resulting in the cursor moving over to something else.
The keyboard has one neat little feature though; much like the Huawei Matebook series, it houses a 1MP camera that isn’t great but gets the job done. For those who are privacy-conscious, the camera being stowed away in the keyboard may grant you peace of mind as well. To deploy the camera, you click it back into the keyboard and it pops out! This webcam’s position is what allows for the 16.1-inch display to fit into what would typically be a 15.6-inch form factor. I’ve had no trouble putting the Honor MagicBook Pro in bags that were sized for 15.6-inch laptops.
On the left and right-hand side of the keyboard, you’ve got a pair of dual speakers. The quality isn’t the best, but they get the job done and are quite loud. I found them fine for movies and YouTube watching, though the audio quality for music left a lot to be desired. At the top of the right-hand side speaker, there’s a power button with a built-in fingerprint sensor.
Finally, there are 2x USB-A ports on the right side of the laptop along with a headphone jack, while the left side has a USB-C port, an HDMI port, and a USB-C port.
The display of the Honor MagicBook Pro is quite good. It’s an IPS 1080p 16.1-inch display with a peak brightness of 300 nits. The colors feel really accurate, which is probably thanks to the 100% sRGB color gamut that this laptop uses. It has a 90% screen-to-body ratio, which is why the webcam is located inside of the keyboard. It was that, or do what Xiaomi did with the Mi Notebook 14 and remove it entirely. There’s also a built-in eye comfort mode that filters out blue light. You can enable it by right-clicking the desktop and clicking “Display Manager”.
So, the performance section will be a much larger focus in the actual review, but for now, I’ve taken some basic readings and benchmarks. I’m overall very impressed with the Ryzen 5 4600H for a number of reasons.
First and foremost, this thing is fast. The Ryzen 5 4600H is an entry-level CPU, but you wouldn’t know it just from using it. Performance has been excellent in practically everything, and it doesn’t even run all that hot. I was able to play a game of Valorant with some friends where it ran within 110-140FPS consistently. It peaked at a rather high temperature of 89°C, but most of the time it sat around the 70°C mark. This heat was kept away from the keyboard as well, and I didn’t notice any thermal throttling in-game. Minecraft gets around the same FPS with a far render distance of 16 chunks.
I also did a quick benchmark test on that Western Digital nVME drive, and I was rather impressed by the results.
Finally, I did a quick CineBench test on the best performance battery preset, just to see what it is capable of. I’ll be doing more benchmarks a little bit more in-depth for the full review. A score of 2971 is extremely impressive and is just about in-line with what you’d have expected from the 2nd generation of Ryzen desktop CPUs.
For now though, as you can see, the Ryzen 4600H is no slouch. The Honor MagicBook Pro is a fantastic performer, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how it fares in more in-depth testing.
The AMD Ryzen 5 4600H boasts a rather low TDP of 45W, which means that for general usage, most of the time, the TDP will be a lot lower. Coupled with the massive 56 Wh battery in the Honor MagicBook Pro, I’ve had no issues with battery life. I’ve been getting consistently 6-7 hours of usage on a single charge. That’s primarily web browsing and non-intensive work like writing, but it’s still impressive nonetheless. Honor claims you’ll get 11 hours of offline 1080p video playback on a single charge, and I’d be inclined to agree that to be the case.
When that battery does die, you’ll be able to charge up to 50% in just half an hour with the included 65W USB-C charger. This same charger will also fast charge your Huawei and Honor devices.
Honor MagicBook Pro First Impressions
While this isn’t our full review just yet, the Honor MagicBook Pro is an intriguing purchase. On the French and German HiHonor websites, you can pick it up for €899 (~$1,065), with an ongoing promotion meaning that you can knock that price down to €799 (~$946). In the UK, it’ll cost £849, and you can also choose to get a free Honor Magic Watch or the Honor Router 3. I’m currently loving the Honor MagicBook Pro, and if you’re on the fence, check back in a few weeks’ time to get my full thoughts!