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HONOR MagicBook 14 (2022) Review: Outstanding Battery Life & Solid Performance

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The HONOR MagicBook 14 (2022) offers good value for the price, and there are two flavors to choose from.

HONOR MagicBook 14 (2022)
€1,099
Rating
star star star star star_empty
Pros
  • Premium feelling
  • Good design & keyboard
  • Outstanding battery life
  • Really fast charging
  • Really good 12th gen Intel CPU
  • Solid fingerprint scanner
  • It has all the major ports
Cons
  • Not the best display
  • Bottom-firing speakers

HONOR supplied us with a review unit of the HONOR MagicBook 14 (2022), but didn’t have a say in our opinion, nor did they see this review before you. We’ve been using the device for a couple of weeks before forming an opinion.

The HONOR MagicBook 14 (2022) is a direct successor to the product with the same name, but with the ‘2021’ included in its name. I’ve reviewed that laptop back in February this year, and quite frankly it was really good, I didn’t have many complaints. HONOR decided not to stray far away from that device, even though it’s nowhere near identical, of course. In fact, it resembles the HONOR MagicBook 14 View more in terms of the design, due to the changed position of the fingerprint scanner.

It is well-equipped in the hardware aspect, and Windows OS does come pre-installed on it. It even has that small ultrabook feel, and everything. We’ll kick things off with the design, and will then move to various other categories, to see what this laptop has to offer, and how does it stack up to the company’s previous offerings. It has one major difference that we’ll talk about, and it’s performance related.

Premium look, premium feel

The HONOR MagicBook 14 (2022) looks great, to say the least. It comes in a single color, the same as its predecessor. You’re getting this matte metallic gray finish, which is used by quite a few companies. Fingerprints are not really an issue here, and you’re getting the premium feel when you’re holding or using the device. HONOR’s logo is embedded on the outside, but it fits with the design really well. This laptop can be opened with one hand.

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All the necessary ports are here

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There are plenty of ports on the sides, everything you may want to have on a laptop, truth be said. Well, everything except an SD card slot. There are two USB Type-C slots (USB 3.2 Gen2), a 3.5mm headphone jack, a USB-A slot (USB 3.2, Gen1), and an HDMI port. There are also two microphones included on it, and two bottom-firing speakers. Unfortunately, these are bottom-firing, but more on that later on. The laptop weighs only 1.58kg, and it measures 17mm at its thickest point. It’s quite light, thin, and portable.

The keyboard is backlit, and offers good key travel

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The keyboard here is backlit, and the keys have good travel (1.5mm). There is also a resin coating on top of the keycaps, so they should be resistant to oil from your fingers. All in all, the typing experience is really pleasant, to be quite honest. That is something I’m used to when it comes to keyboards on HONOR laptops. If you like chiclet-style keyboards, this one is not bad by any means.

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The trackpad is, unfortunately, made out of plastic

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The trackpad is, unfortunately, made out of plastic, but that won’t bother many of you. Why? Well, it’s very responsive, and a joy to use. It’s also quite large, so you won’t have a problem with usage in any way. The fact it feels like plastic simply means it feels a bit cheaper than you’d think, and that it’s prone to scratches. Honestly, though, I’ve used laptops with plastic touchpads for a long time, and never had an issue because of the material, so… it’s a moot point.

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The display could be better

The HONOR MagicBook 14 includes a 14.2-inch display. This is an a-Si TFT LCD display, it’s basically a more affordable alternative to the LTPS LCD and AMOLED displays. HONOR did cut corners here a bit. The display does offer a resolution of 1440 x 2160, and it offers a 60Hz refresh rate. It is not a high refresh rate display, but that does benefit battery life, which is something we’ll talk about a bit later on.

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The aspect ratio & brightness are not ideal

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Anyhow, this display has a 3:2 aspect ratio, which is not exactly great if you consume multimedia. You will get black bars even for 16:9 content. HONOR claims this display offers 300 nits of peak brightness, which is not bad for indoor use, but not exactly great outdoors. On top of that, the viewing angles on this panel are not great, which is not going in its favor, that’s for sure.

It’s also quite glossy

The display is also quite glossy, which doesn’t go in its favor when in use outdoors. The display is rated at 100% sRGB coverage, which is a good thing. The panel is protected by the Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. So, all in all, this display has its benefits, but it’s not exactly great for outdoor use, and the viewing angles may bother you. Other than that, it’s good to go, just manage your expectations.

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It performs really well, and comes in two versions

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Many would say that performance is the most important aspect of any laptop. We don’t disagree. The HONOR MagicBook 14 (2022) is fueled by the Intel i5-12500H SoC, which is based on the Alder Lake architecture. In other words, you’re getting 16 threads with 4 performance cores, and Hyper-Threading support. There are also 8 power-efficient cores included here. All the cores share an 18MB L3 cache.

Get the RTX 2050 variant if you’re into gaming & video editing

There are two versions of this laptop. One has a dedicated graphics card, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2050, the other one relies on the Intel Iris Xe graphics only. Do note that the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2050 graphics card will be in use only for gaming and video editing, everything else will be handled by Intel’s Iris Xe graphics card. So, if you’re not planning to do demanding tasks, you’ll be fine with the version we’re reviewing here, the base model. Everything else is the same, basically.

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The base model is enough for most use cases

We won’t get into benchmarks, but these are really good specs, and do well in benchmarks. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to test out the variant with a separate graphics card, but this one feels much like last year’s. It’s good for regular tasks, but you can forget about gaming or anything of the sort. Well, you can still game, non-graphically demanding games, everything else is not going to go well. Video editing will also take considerably longer to process without dedicated graphics.

Windows 11 Home comes pre-installed

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There’s really not much to talk about when it comes to software. Windows 11 Home Edition comes pre-installed on this laptop. If you’ve ever used it, you’ll know exactly what to expect here. HONOR did add some of its own software, like OS Turbo, for example, but for the most part, it’s Windows 11 you’d expect. Everything worked fine on the software side during our testing.

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It offers outstanding battery life

HONOR included a 75Wh lithium polymer battery inside this laptop. It’s actually quite a generous battery for a laptop of this size. HONOR actually claims you can get 15 hours of fullHD video playback here, and around 10.5 hours of mixed use. All I can say is that I’ve managed to get a lot more of ‘mixed use’ than I expected. That did not include much gaming, but still, it’s impressive. I actually managed to pull off over 15 hours of use out of this thing, with ease.

135W charging is also included

To make things even better, HONOR bundles in a 135W USB-C SuperCharger here. That thing can charge this laptop in only 80 minutes, which is also quite impressive. There are two Type-C USB ports on the laptop, and you can use either one to charge it, it doesn’t really make a difference. The battery aspect, in general, is quite impressive.

The camera is decent

There is a single 720p aka HD camera included here. It’s not hidden under a keycap this time around, though, as it was on the HONOR MagicBook 14 (2021). HONOR placed it in the top bezel, which is a great call. The angle of the previous camera was really odd, and quite frankly it bothered me during video calls. This is a much more natural position for the camera, and the bezels are not any thicker because of it.

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Is the camera any good, though? Well, all I’d say is that it’s perfectly usable. I really don’t have high expectations for cameras on laptops, to be quite honest. The quality here is more than enough for video calls, and that’s all that most people need and want. So… yes, it’s good enough.

The speakers are bottom-firing, but they’re not bad

The HONOR MagicBook 14 (2022) has two bottom-firing speakers. That is the same setup its predecessor rocked. It would be better if these speakers were up-firing, of course, but there you go. Due to that positioning, you will lose some clarity, though the speakers themselves are not bad at all. In fact, unless you’re demanding when it comes to sound, chances are you’ll be happy with these.

This laptop also has two microphones included, which can be used for video calls, though the audio is not exactly ideal, of course. They are usable, but it’s always a better idea to use a dedicated microphone of some sort.

Is the HONOR MagicBook 14 (2022) right for you?

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So, is this thing worth it? You’ll have to part with €1,099 to get the base model. The variant with the RTX 2050 GPU will cost you €1,299. If you’re planning to use this laptop for video editing, gaming, or some serious work in photoshop, we’d suggest you go for the variant with a dedicated graphics card. Everything else can be handled by this laptop, and considering that alternatives are usually more expensive, this is not a bad deal at all. The display is good as long as you’re not planning to use it outdoors, the camera is decent, the performance is good, and the battery life is excellent. The speakers are also not bad, despite their location, and the fingerprint scanner does the job too. You have all the ports you need, and so on. If you’re in the market for a 14-inch laptop, which is also quite powerful, this is not a bad buy.