This aspect we refer to as value for money. Today's review will focus on the Honor MagicBook 14 2021.
- Honor MagicBook 14 2021
- Honor MagicBook 14 Benchmarks 2021
- The Honor MagicBook 14 2021 Review: Final Thoughts
The laptop market is highly competitive these days. This has led to a crowded marketplace where almost every laptop is great. While the big players tend to be more concerned with bells and whistles on their expensive laptops, everyone forgets about one thing.
This is value for money. This is the main focus of today's review, since we are taking a look on the Honor MagicBook 14 (the 2021 version).
We have also reviewed previous versions of MagicBook 14/MagicBook Pro. Several things have changed in the intervening time. Honor used to be owned by Huawei. However, Honor was sold to a Chinese conglomerate. Honor continues to make the same great products that we love. The MagicBook 14 this year has newer hardware, but the same design as last year. It's actually a positive thing as the 2020 model was very solid.
Honor MagicBook 14 2021
New Intel Tiger Lake processors are used in the MagicBook 14. The MagicBook 14 also features Wi-Fi 6 and a faster SSD. The MagicBook 14 was deemed 'The Best Budget Laptop for Students'. We are happy to say that the 2018 version of the MagicBook 14 is as good or better than its predecessor.
Intel Core i7 1165G7
Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Display 14 inches 1080p IPS
512GB PCIe 3.0 SSD
Intel Wi-Fi 6
Type-C charger 65W
1x USB Type C
1x Type-A USB 3.2 Type A
1x Type-A USB 2.0
1x 3.5mm headphone jack
High Quality Design and Construction
Honor didn't want this laptop to have too many bells, whistles or features. Honor wanted to create a laptop that was affordable and still had all of the essentials. The design of MagicBook 14 follows the same principles. It might seem a bit difficult to read at first. This is especially true when you see it through photos and videos. Once you have it in your hand, you will begin to understand the simplicity of minimalistic design.
The design is simple and clean. This is because the laptop was designed to be used by students who want to get work done. It blends well with the aluminum chassis. The edges of this laptop are polished and smooth. This chassis is rugged, and it's great value for money. Although it's simple, this laptop is one of the best-looking. It's also nice to have the Honor logo off-center.
The laptop comes in Space Gray or Mystic silver. It looks very appealing. It's small and lightweight in terms of dimension. It's not as thin or light as the MacBook Air and XPS 13, but it does its job well. It will feel very light when you carry it around in your bag. The aluminum chassis is the bulk of its weight. The metal chassis gives the device a rugged look, much like the ASUS Gaming A15 FA506IV and FX505DV that we have reviewed previously.
Both the ports and speakers can be found on the sides of your laptop. The screen is stunning once you have opened the laptop. The screen is 84% wide and has very slim bezels. This hinge can bend at any angle, so the screen can be laid flat at 180 degrees. We also have a large trackpad below the keyboard. It is well lit and easy to use. We'll get to that in a moment.
It will be obvious that the webcam is not located near your screen. The MagicBook 14's popup camera is hidden within the keyboard. It caters to privacy-conscious people. A fingerprint scanner is located in the top-right corner. It's always handy. It is easy to find and it works fast. The design is excellent. The design is simple and elegant, yet it feels very durable. There are no complaints.
11th Gen Tiger Lake Intel CPU
Let's take a moment to discuss the internals of the device before we get on with the other parts. The 2021 edition includes the most recent Intel 11th Gen Tiger Lake CPUs. The i7 1165G7 and i5 135G7 are available. These processors are both very powerful in terms of performance. Today, we have the i7. This quad-core SoC is energy efficient and works well with ultrabooks.
There are eight cores, and eight threads. The processor's base clock is 2.8GHz, but it can be boosted up to 4.7GHz. The boost frequency can only be used when all-core processes are being run. Tiger Lake is a significant improvement over Ice Lake or Comet Lake. Compatible with DDR4-3200. The MagicBook 14 boasts 16GB of DDR4 memory at 3200MHz.
This processor supports native PCIe4.0 support up to 4 lanes. The processor is built on second-generation 10nm Intel SuperFin technology. This processor is capable of competing with similar 7 nm TSMC Ryzen4000 processors, depending on what task it's being used for. This processor also includes 12MB L3 cache, which can be used for the integrated GPU and CPU cores. The total power draw is 28 Watt.
The Honor MagicBook 14 doesn't have a dedicated graphic card, just like its predecessor. This laptop instead uses Intel integrated graphics. It uses Iris Xe Graphics G7. It is built on the new architecture of 12th Gen. It is a lot faster than the Iris Plus G7. There are 96 EUs. All of the 96 EUs can be used between 400 and 1300 MHz. The graphics can drive 4 monitors with a resolution of 4K.
Although integrated graphics won't replace dedicated GPUs, they do the job. You will still be able play some of the older games with this. You'll mainly be playing eSports games like CS:GO and older games. You can run smaller indie games, as well. The performance is sufficient for casual gaming.
An Excellent Display
This laptop's display is amazing. A laptop designed for students should have an excellent display. It's likely that you will be listening to a lot of lectures and writing papers. You might also edit photos. A great screen makes a laptop great. The display is excellent in all aspects.
The panel uses a Full HD IPS 14-inch display. Full HD resolution means that the screen is 1920x1080. This is a good size for content creators. It has a thickness of 4.8 mm and a screen-to-body ratio around 84%. This is quite impressive for an affordable laptop. It feels more expensive and premium because of the smaller bezels. This increases the overall experience. This screen can even compete with the best high-end competitors.
It uses an IPS panel which gives it the best viewing angles. No matter from what angle it is being viewed, the image quality remains crisp. This panel has a brightness of 370 nits at peak brightness. This panel can be used outdoors thanks to the anti-glare finish.
The brightness of the panel was an issue last year. The panel this year is approximately 60% brighter than the previous version. The display looks flawless for the average consumer, so it's not hard to conclude that this year is perfect. It also features the blue filter that prevents eye strain. It is easy to find a good viewing angle because the screen can be laid flat.
Trackpad and Keyboard
The MagicBook is a 14 inch Ultrabook with a familiar trackpad and keyboard layout. It uses standard Chiclet keys, just like other Ultrabooks. The keys travel a mere 1.3mm. These keys do not sound dead, however, because there is an acoustic feedback. This makes the slim laptops more silent than other models that produce very little noise. The sound isn't noticeable to anyone else. This is especially important in places like schools and libraries.
All the Fn keys are located in the top row. They are used for controlling brightness, Wi-Fi and microphone settings, as well as multimedia functions. You can also change the keyboard's backlighting with one of these keys. Everything feels very familiar. It might take some getting used to the left shift key.
This is shorter than the one you would see on a MacBook. This will not be an issue if you're a writer and are used to your current keyboard. This is something that will become second nature after some hours of typing.
The trackpad, on the other hand is perfect. The trackpad is large and occupies a lot of space in the hand. It feels premium and smooth. The trackpad only reacts to your requests, and there's no ghosting. Multi-touch gestures can be detected by the trackpad easily. The trackpad has built-in buttons that allow for mouse clicks. There is no need to separate them. This trackpad is very similar to that found on MacBooks. It's a great thing, since MacBook trackpads have been the standard.
Connectivity and speakers
Let's quickly go through some basics before we get to the detailed testing and performance. On either side, the MagicBook 14's I/O ports are available. The number of ports on the Ultrabook 14 is not as high as other Ultrabooks. This is a common industry trend, so we can't blame Honor. Here's what this ensemble looks like.
One 3.5mm audio connector and one USB 2.0 port are located on the right. It is more practical to use one of the USB 2.0 ports rather than a USB3.0 port. You don't require that much speed if you are connecting a keyboard or mouse. It's disappointing that we have only two USB Type A ports. It's not a big deal but it is something to be aware of.
On the left, you will see a Type-A port, but it is USB 3.2. A USB Type-C port is also available, as well as a fully-fledged HDMI connection. Type-C ports are now available on even low-end laptops. These ports are universal and more efficient. This port is used by the MagicBook 14 to charge its battery. It's a great thing. However, you will lose the port when you charge your laptop.
These speaker grilles are found near the sides of this laptop. Although this is a good position, they would look better if they were located on the keyboard's front. Although your hands may block the grilles in this way, it sounds much better than bottom or side placement. These speakers are quite loud and of good quality. You can't get more. These sound superior to many laptops of this price.
The webcam was briefly mentioned in the design section. We'll now go into more details. You can see the webcam under the function keys, especially the F7 key. The camera will open by pressing this key. The camera will then close by pressing it once more. We aren't worried about the mechanism breaking or malfunctioning. We can change the webcam through software.
You might be asking why you would do this. Privacy is the obvious answer. These days, privacy is the hot topic. This can be done by blocking your cameras on any devices. This might seem a little excessive, but you can get webcam covers at surprisingly low prices. It is still a very unique design feature that we cannot help but admire.
This position offers privacy advantages, but there's a problem. It feels strange because of its angle. The angle of the webcam is quite steep and low. This makes it appear as though you are looking at people using Zoom. This might bother some people so be aware.
Honor MagicBook 14 Benchmarks 2021
All of this covers the physical and design aspects of the laptop. This laptop is designed for students, who need to do their work. The laptop must perform well while being portable. We did extensive testing, including benchmarks to determine the relative performance. As we discuss the tests, here is a brief overview.
To maximize performance, the tests were conducted with the laptop connected to the wall outlet. These tests were conducted in a room with a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius.
Cinebench R15 and Cinebench R20 were used for testing the CPU's performance. Geekbench 5, Unigine Superposition and 3DMark Advanced Edition were all used to test GPU. Furmark, CPUZ stress test and AIDA64 were also used to test the thermal throttling of the laptop.
After calibrating the screen using SpyderXElite, we proceeded with screen testings. Handbrake and Adobe Premiere Pro were used for media-encoding testing.
Our hands are the Intel Core i7 1165G7 version of MagicBook 14. Let's now take a closer look at the benchmark results.
3D Mark Time Spy is the first step to make sure the MagicBook 14's i7 chips are performing well. The CPU score is 3507. It is a significant improvement on the 2020 model, which means the processor can handle most work-related tasks well. The processor would be able to handle this task with much more ease if there were a dedicated GPU.
Geekbench 5 is next. Geekbench 5 is an extremely popular program, which measures single-core and multicore performance as well as the differences between them. The program assigns a set of tasks to each CPU. The time it takes to accomplish those tasks is then measured. Higher scores indicate that the processor took less time to complete those tasks. The single-core performance of the MagicBook14's i7 1165G7 scored 1537. Multi-core testing scores 5054.
The CPU was then further evaluated via Cinebench R15, Cinebench R20. Cinebench R15 scores the i7 chip 223 with a MP ratio of 4.09. This single-core performance, considering the light weight of the laptop is impressive. This laptop is comparable to other ultrabooks at this price.
Also, Cinebench R20 produced some impressive results. We got a single-core score of 572 with a MP Ratio 3.31. This is a significant improvement on last year's version. Cinebench R20 has a more difficult and challenging interface than R15. R15 and R20 are not comparable.
PCMark 10 was used to score us 4839. PCMark 10 is a more general test that checks how the PC does in office work. The image above will show you what we mean. This laptop's video editing score is 5328.
The integrated Iris XE G7 graphic used in the MagicBook 14 2121 is already mentioned. We can clearly see that Intel's XE graphics perform better than other integrated graphics in our tests. Unigine Superposition was our first test, scoring us an 1818 score.
It is very reasonable considering this laptop is not intended for heavy tasks or gaming. The GPU may bottleneck when playing more demanding games, but this isn't what the laptop is designed for.
Geekbench 5's OpenCL benchmark testing was also applied. The Iris XE G7 was rated 15067 in this test. It's not going blow your gaming laptop out the water but it is quite acceptable for this price range.
This is an excellent display for content consumption. This screen is great for watching Netflix and playing games. It also makes it easy to surf the web. It's certainly not an expensive professional screen, but that isn't what you get with a budget laptop. Let's take a closer look at benchmarks to ensure accurate display. These benchmarks are made possible by the SpyderX Elite. Below are images that show different screen parameters.
The black levels for this display are very standard. This laptop screen is also comparable to similar models in the same price bracket. The display can be calibrated to reach the right gamma value, which is 2.2.
Above is a picture showing the contrast ratio and brightness levels at various brightness settings. The display is 374 nits at 100% brightness. It is sufficient for indoor and outdoor usage. At maximum brightness, the contrast ratio of 1170 to 1 is quite impressive. This contrast ratio drops as the brightness is decreased.
This laptop has a better color gamut than the last version. The laptop covers 91% of the sRGB gamut, 75% AdobeRGB and 74% DCI-P3 coverage. It is comparable to many laptop screens of similar price.
This also makes it much easier to maintain color accuracy. It has a Delta E score less than 1 in non-colored regions. Most other colors have no higher deviation. Its average score is 1.15. This is quite impressive in all honesty.
Here's the screen uniformity testing. The display can show a difference of up to 13.4% at maximum brightness. It is a slight improvement over last year but it's not significant. It's not the best choice if you are looking to use this display in professional work environments like filmmaking and video editing.
The display has seen a significant improvement from last year. It will please the average student, who buys it to code, research and view lectures.
Honor MagicBook 14 2021 has a 512GB NVMe PCIe SSD. The SSD is surprising fast considering the cost of this laptop. These are the results of CrystalDiskMark.
Sequential read and write speed are respectively 3419.08 and 2717.80 Mb/s. These numbers, if you are familiar with SSDs will be impressive to you. The laptop will last for years and be a great tool in your work environment. You can read at 51.05 Mb/s and write at 240.59 Mb/s. These numbers should be helpful for light video editing.
The battery's performance is excellent for its price, thanks to the 11th-gen Intel chip. We ran a benchmark to verify the battery's performance. We started by putting the laptop into an inactive mode, meaning that no tasks were performed. For this purpose, the brightness was set at half-power. The laptop lasted 17 hours when it was idle. Although this is impressive, regular use is the true test.
The scenario was recreated and we performed the tasks an average user would. These tasks include browsing the internet, viewing Youtube videos and writing documents. The test was done with 50% light. The laptop can last up to 7 hours in this setting. This is a remarkable feat for such a small and affordable laptop.
We stress-tested our laptop with 100% brightness, to determine when it stops working. For this purpose, we used Unigine Heaven benchmark. The laptop was able to last for approximately 2 hours and 10 seconds in this setting.
Performance in Content Creation
In rendering software such as Adobe Premiere Pro, the MagicBook 14 will perform very well. The chip in Tiger Lake is responsible for this. The video was 4K and lasted 1 minute 32 seconds. This video was recorded at 60 FPS. Handbrake was used for this test. Adobe Premiere Pro was also used. Along with the fast encoder preset, we used presets of 4K, 1440p and 1080. Codec: H.265.
We used presets from the H.265 codec in Adobe Premiere Pro for 4K, 1080 and 720p. Below are the final results.
Thermostat Throttling/Cooling Solutions
Instead of cooling the sides, the Honor MagicBook 14 features cooling vents at the bottom. This would cause problems for any laptop as they can block the vents. It's not a problem for laptops of this size. The laptop doesn't get hot even when it is in regular use, which is good. This laptop does not need loud fans or heat pipes.
We wanted to check the laptop's thermal limits. HWMonitor 64 and HWInfo64 were used to check the metrics. AIDA64 Extreme was used to put the laptop through real stress. Below are the results.
The CPU's maximum speed is 4.6GHz when the computer starts. Here, the temperature hovers around 95 degrees. The processor doesn't stay hot at this temperature for very long, even though it is extremely high. At this point, throttling kicks in. Usually around the 2 minute mark. The processor reached a speed of 2.4 to 2.6 GHz at 60 degrees. The thermal throttle is approximately 27%. This is not a significant amount for casual users, but it's important to keep in mind if you plan to push the system.
The Honor MagicBook 14 2021 Review: Final Thoughts
The Honor MagicBook 14 impressed us last year with its excellent balance between price and performance. The basic principles are the same as the original model, but the new 2021 edition addresses some weaknesses. The 2021 version has a more powerful processor and screen as well as a much longer battery life. It is an incremental improvement, but it makes a significant difference.
If you are in the market for a laptop to use at school and work, this is a great option. Its slim profile makes it easy to carry around for daily use. Another feature that is very welcome about this laptop is its USB-C fast charging.
This laptop is a great value for money. The laptop is well-built, easy to use, and has an excellent screen. The company should keep this up and it might be able take this segment from all other vendors. The MagicBook 14 is our choice for now.