Chinese electronics maker Huawei’s digital brand Honor has, since late last year, been planning to expand its hardware lines beyond smartphones. After a silent period of over six months, the brand launched its first notebook, the Honor MagicBook 15, in the country in August. It is a thin and light notebook that brings some premium features at an affordable price tag of Rs 42,990.
In principle, the Honor MagicBook 15 seems to be a decent notebook for everyday use. But does it justify its pricing? Let’s find out:
Made of aluminium, the MagicBook 15 has a thin and lightweight build. It might not be the most compact notebook around, but it certainly has a zing to its design which adds to the product’s overall premium character. But there are some issues: Even if the design is good and the build sturdy, the weight distribution is quite uneven. And, its hinge is unable to keep the display lid intact; it keeps swaying backwards even on slight movements.
The notebook’s charging adaptor is also flawed. Unlike other notebooks where chargers have a power adaptor connected to a wire, the MagicBook 15’s 65W adaptor goes directly into the socket for power supply. The issue here is the adaptor’s bulk and heavy design which are imperfect for most power output sources.
Display and sound
The Honor MagicBook 15 has a 15.6-inch screen of a fullHD resolution. It is a good display, with a fair amount of brightness and decent contrast levels. The bezels around it are thin and causing negligible obstructions. The colour display may not be accurate but it works well for most daily operations like internet browsing, multimedia streaming, video meeting, writing, etc. Complementing the display is a stereo speaker set-up, which is loud and clear. It has good bass feedback and works fine for most functions, including video calls and multimedia.
The MagicBook 15 is powered by the AMD Ryzen 5 3500U processor, mated with a Radeon Vega 8 graphics card. The notebook has 8GB DDR4 dual-channel RAM and 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD storage. It boots Windows 10 home and comes with some Huawei add-ons. The MagicBook 15 has three ports on the left: a multipurpose USB-C port, a USB 3.0 port, and an HDMI port. And on the right there are two: a full-size USB 2.0 port and 3.5 mm audio out port.
Overall, the notebook’s performance is good for daily operations. It boots up quickly and supports Windows Hello login through built-in webcam and fingerprint sensor. Speaking of the webcam, it is part of the keyboard, placed on the top function key row between Fn6 and Fn7 keys. It is a pop-up camera module which comes out and goes back in as you press the button. The camera placement is not best suited for video calls or face recognition. However, having this webcam is better than not having any.
The MagicBook 15 handles tasks like multimedia streaming, writing and editing on Microsoft Word document, data analysis on Microsoft excel, data compression, etc, with ease. Surprisingly, the notebook is also capable of handling some processor- and graphic-intensive jobs like video editing and photo editing. It is, however, not be the best suited machine for such tasks.
As for data transfer, it works fine if you move data internally but slows down drastically if you copy or move data on external connected drives like USB sticks, HDD and microSD card.
The notebook is powered by 3,665mAh Lithium-ion polymer battery, which keeps it running for around seven hours on a single charge. While the on-battery time is decent, the standby time is abysmal, as the battery drains out quickly even when the notebook is not in use. Thankfully, the notebook ships with a 65W fast charger that replenishes the battery in around an hour and a half.
The Honor MagicBook 15 covers the fundamentals right. It is not a feature-rich option in its segment, but it makes a good notebook for everyday use. It could have been better if it had a proportionate build with an even weight distribution, a strong display hinge, Thunderbolt or similar I/O ports for enhanced data transfer rate, big on-board storage and an optimised battery solution for good standby time. The MagicBook 15 is hard to recommend. At this price, there are several worthier notebooks from Asus, Xiaomi and Acer offering better utility and performance.