Honor MagicBook Pro Intel review

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Introduction, unboxing, compared to AMD model

This is the Honor MagicBook Pro and it’s the 16.1-inch bang-for-buck champion in Honor’s lineup of laptops at the moment.

We had a run-in with this machine back in September and did a full review on it, only it was powered by the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H with built-in Radeon RX Vega 6 GPU.

The unit we have today is the Intel Core i5-10210U-powered model with an NVIDIA GeForce MX350 GPU with the rest basically unchanged.

Honor MagicBook Pro Intel review

We’ll go over the hardware aspects of the Honor MagicBook Pro but won’t get into too much detail as anything outside of the processor, GPU and battery life are identical and you should just refer to our original review.

The Honor MagicBook Pro comes with a 65W power delivery charger with a beefy 5A USB-C to USB-C cable. That’s it – laptop, charger and cable. What’s nice is that the charger is compatible with major PD standards and can charge your phone at 10W, 18W, 24W, 45W and 65W.

Honor MagicBook Pro Intel review

The Intel-powered MagicBook Pro we received is the Mystic Silver model, but you also get a choice of Space Grey.

Intel vs AMD version
Intel vs AMD version

Intel vs AMD version

Display, touchpad, keyboard, I/O

The display on the MagicBook Pro is a 16.1-inch 16:9 1920x1080px IPS 60Hz panel with a matte surface. It’s a very good panel with excellent 1340:1 contrast and a maximum brightness of 330 nits at the center.

Same very good display
Same very good display

Same very good display

The keyboard and touchpad are good. The keyboard has adequate travel and good response. We needed some time to adjust to the speaker grilles on either side, we kept hitting the grill instead of the enter button. Some of us would’ve preferred a numpad on a 16-inch laptop, while others like their layout simpler and their touchpad centered. This reviewer thinks Honor made the right choice.

The smaller up and down keys are a bit inexcusable on a device as large as this one.

The touchpad is big and easy to use. It supports multi-touch gestures and there’s a neat setup screen where you can enable different three and four-fingered gestures. The surface is plastic, which is fine for this class of machine, but it does wobble a bit when your tap in the lower left corner. It’s a bit concerning for the long-term durability of the touchpad, although the Ryzen model seems to be holding greatly six months on.

Honor MagicBook Pro Intel review

In terms of I/O the MagicBook Pro is well-equipped. There’s a USB-C port (which is used for charging), full-sized HDMI and USB-A (USB 3.2, Gen.1, 5Gbps) port on the left and two USB-A ports and a 3.5mm jack on the right. We would’ve welcomed a USB-C port on the right as well, so we can have a choice of charging side, but at least Honor chose the correct side as default.




Ports

There’s a fingerprint scanner embedded into the power button on the upper right side of the laptop. It supports caching, which means that it will remember your fingerprint when you press to turn on the computer and then log you straight in.

The webcam positioning is uncomfortable. It sits out of the way in a special button between the F6 and F7 buttons so it’s tucked underneath the keyboard when you don’t need it.

But it’s a up-the-nose cam that looks at you from the depths of your keyboard and is easily blocked by any sort of typing. It’s also of poor quality. It’s 720p, has poor color, low sharpness and a very limited dynamic range. It will get the job done, but not much beyond.

Fingerprint reader and webcam
Fingerprint reader and webcam

Fingerprint reader and webcam

Getting to the internals of the Honor MagicBook Pro requires a torx screw and a plastic pry tool to detach the panel from the laptop. There are 10 screws you need to remove, none of them hidden.

Underneath you’re greeted by the motherboard, battery, cooling system and the only two replaceable components – the Wi-Fi card and the M.2 SSD.

There’s no second storage slot, although there appears to be an empty bay for a 2.5″ hard drive, but there’s no SATA connection present.

The RAM is soldered on, but as you can only choose a single 16GB + 512GB configuration of the MagicBook Pro, it’s no big deal.

Under the lid
Under the lid

Under the lid

Thermals, performance

The Intel-powered Honor MagicBook Pro has a 10th gen Intel Core i5-10210U processor with 4 physical cores and 8 threads. This is the now-older Intel Comet Lake generation and not the current Tiger Lake Huawei includes in its MateBook X series.

The Intel Core i5-10210U is a 15W chip with 6MB cache and a maximum clock speed of 4.20GHz. The AMD version has a beefier 45W Ryzen 5 4600H unit that boosts up to 4.0GHz and has 6 cores and 12 threads. Also the AMD chip is based on a 7nm node, while Intel’s 10th gen offering is 14nm.

So the edge in processing goes to the AMD version, but in terms of graphics things are a bit different. Bundled with the AMD model is the Vega 6 GPU, whereas the Intel model gets a more powerful discrete NVIDIA GeForce MX350.

The MX350 is a video card based around the Pascal architecture and the GeForce GTX-1050 card. Unlike the 1050, which has 4GB of VRAM, the MX350 has 2GB and is connected via a 64-bit connection, instead of a 128-bit one.

Compared to the Vega 6, the MX350 has nearly twice as many shading units – 640 vs 384 – and more memory. In certain gaming titles the MX350 scores twice as many fps. Overall gaming tests suggest around 40% more performance from the NVIDIA MX350, compared to the AMD Vega 6.

Neither configuration is aimed at true gaming performance, but will get you decent fps in modern games at lower settings.

Honor MagicBook Pro Intel review

Cooling on the Honor MagicBook Pro Intel is excellent. You get a dual fan design with dual heatpipes in between to take heat away from the chipset.

In our CPU and GPU stress test the hottest the machine got was 44 degrees Celsius. The hottest spot was in the center of the keyboard, but the heat was barely noticeable. The rest of the machine was cool and pleasant to the touch.

Honor MagicBook Pro Intel review

The Intel Core i5-10210U idles at around 700MHz and 40°C. When stressed it ramped up to 4000MHz for a few seconds an then reduced its speed by around 100MHz every few seconds. It finally settled on 3000MHz, where it remained for the rest of the test. The CPU got as hot as 90°C. During the stress test the fans got to around 45Db from arms length, which wasn’t very audible in the normally-hectic office environment we test devices in.

The NVIDIA MX350 GPU runs around 54°C and got as high as 65°C in a stress test.

Honor MagicBook Pro Intel review Honor MagicBook Pro Intel review

The 512GB SSD is a Toshiba XG6 KXG60ZNV512G NVMe/PCIe m.2 2280 unit. We measured solid numbers from the drive.

Honor MagicBook Pro Intel review

Battery life was excellent. At 100% brightness we got just over 8 hours of web browsing, while performing the same test at 50% brightness got us 14 hours. For comparison, the latter test on the AMD MagicBook Pro got just 12 hours.

Charging the 56Wh battery from around 0 to 100% is done in 1 hour and 40 minutes. A 30 minute charge takes the battery to 48%.

Should you buy it?

The Honor MagicBook Pro with Intel is a good value proposition. It has good performance, is configured perfectly with 16GB of RAM and a fast 512GB SSD, has a big screen that’s also bright for the price segment. This is a very good laptop to buy right now.

But we wouldn’t buy it over the AMD version. And the reason isn’t based on performance or specs, but price. At the time of this review’s publishing the AMD model is €900, while the Intel model is €1000. We’d rather save that €100 and go with the faster processor, all other things being mostly equal.

Honor MagicBook Pro Intel review

If you absolutely need the 30-40% bump in graphics performance from the Vega 6 on the AMD MagicBook Pro to the NVIDIA MX350 on the Intel one, then by all means, get this one. But we wouldn’t say that difference is worth the extra money.

Still, the Intel-powered Honor MagicBook Pro is one of the best laptops you can buy, irregardless of price. An above 16-inch screen in a laptop that weighs just 1.7kg isn’t something you see everyday. And one that’s priced as competitively is an actual gem.

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