From pocketnow.com

HONOR touts its MagicBook Pro 16 as a powerhouse, but it performs well in some areas and not so well in others — yep, it’s somewhere in the middle.

HONOR MagicBook Pro 16 Review 6

Sanuj Bhatia / Pocketnow

Before diving into this review, I want to make one thing clear — I’ve been using MacBooks for the better part of the last decade and have been using the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M1) since it debuted in 2020. So, when I got my hands on the HONOR MagicBook Pro 16, the big question on my mind was — can this laptop replace my Mac? For any laptop to take on Apple’s laptops, especially their new M-series MacBooks, it must excel in five areas: portability, build quality, display and audio quality, raw performance, and battery life.

HONOR’s new MagicBook Pro 16 comes ever so close to matching Apple’s standards, but the machine makes one thing clear — there’s still a long way to go. With its 16-inch 165Hz screen, a powerful combination of Intel Core Ultra 7 CPU and RTX 4060 Laptop GPU, and some of the best speakers on a Windows laptop, the HONOR MagicBook Pro 16 offers a solid overall experience. However, there are some areas where it falls short. Keep reading for my detailed review to find out why and where it misses the mark.

HONOR MagicBook Pro 16 pbi

HONOR MagicBook Pro 16 Review: Somewhere in the middle

HONOR MagicBook Pro 16

Editor’s Pick

The MagicBook Pro 16 is a sleek and powerful laptop by HONOR. It has plenty of horsepower, a big 16-inch display with a 165Hz refresh rate, a dedicated laptop GPU, and a whole load of AI features.

Operating System
Windows 11

CPU
Intel Core Ultra 7 Processor 155H

GPU
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060

RAM
32GB

Storage
1TB

Battery
75Wh

Display (Size, Resolution)
16-inch, 500 nits, 3072×1920 pixels, matte finish

Speakers
6x Speakers and 2x Built-in Microphones

Colors
White

Ports
2 x USB-C, 1 x HDMI, 1 x 3.5mm headphone jack

Weight
1.86kg

Connectivity
Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.1

Security
Fingerprint Power Button

Pros

  • Impressive build quality
  • Excellent speakers and display for multimedia
  • Snappy fingerprint scanner
  • Plenty of RAM and storage
  • Capable CPU

Cons

  • White body gets dirty quickly
  • Gaming performance could’ve been better
  • Bulky charger

Pricing and Availability

The HONOR MagicBook Pro 16 was unveiled at the company’s grand keynote at MWC 2024. However, in the typical HONOR fashion, the company hasn’t announced the global pricing or availability just yet. In the home country China, the HONOR MagicBook Pro 16 starts at CNY 8,999 ($1,250 / €1,160) for the base model with Intel Core Ultra 5. We got our hands on the top-tier variant with the Intel Core Ultra 7, which is priced at CNY 9,999 ($1,400 / €1,290). We’ll keep you posted on global availability as soon as we receive more info from the brand.

Design and Build

HONOR MagicBook Pro 16 Review 4

Sanuj Bhatia / Pocketnow

Starting off with the design, which has been a standout feature of HONOR’s products. Their Magic V2 was a “groundbreaking” foldable smartphone, and the Magic6 Pro brought its distinctive design to Android flagships. The MagicBook Pro 16 follows suit — it carries on this tradition with its own flair.

The MagicBook Pro 16 comes with a pure white finish, with the outer shell given a rainbow hue. When I took out this machine out of the box, I was left amazed by this color. But, as expected, it gets dirty real fast. In fact, if you look closely, you’ll see that my unit has already picked up a few permanent stains. If you’re a cleaning freak, I would rather recommend you to get the outer surface laminated as soon as possible. Due to the white finish, I have been hesitant to eat near it, which is a shame given its speakers and display are exceptional for the price.

But, if you can overlook the color, it’s a pretty solidly built laptop. You can get a fairly sleek design for a laptop with top-end, gaming-capable hardware. It weighs 1.86kg and measures 17.9mm in thickness — only about 1mm thicker than the 16-inch MacBook Pro. The body features a soft brushed metal finish and is free from any overly flashy design elements. Even the outer shell features only the HONOR logo.

HONOR MagicBook Pro 16 Review 7

Sanuj Bhatia / Pocketnow

The placement of ports on the MagicBook Pro 16 is also thoughtfully done. There are six ports in total, with the most frequently used ones, like the 3.5mm headphone jack and two USB-C ports (one supporting PD charging), conveniently located on the left side. The right side has been left blank, while the back side of the laptop features the other ports, such as the HDMI port, two USB-A ports, and the proprietary charging port, making them less obtrusive.

To keep this thing cool, since this laptop can get a bit warm, HONOR has included air vents on all sides, including the back, bottom, and sides. However, the bottom line about the MagicBook Pro 16’s build quality is that it’s solid — and this comes from someone who has been using Apple’s MacBook for more than a decade. The hinge is also well-designed, opening smoothly with one hand, and with the body made mostly out of metal, the laptop feels sturdy and premium.

Keyboard and Trackpad

HONOR MagicBook Pro 16 Review 3

Sanuj Bhatia / Pocketnow

The MagicBook Pro 16 features a full keyboard, complete with a numeric pad on the right side. This layout is great for those who value having a numeric pad, but as someone like me who’s accustomed to centered keyboards, it took me a while to adapt. The fact that the keyboard has fairly small “Enter” and “Shift” buttons didn’t help either.

Nonetheless, the overall responsiveness and feel of the keys are excellent. The keys are generously sized, offer good travel, and are relatively quiet. Once accustomed to this layout, you’ll love typing on this machine. The keyboard even has backlighting. However, I found the lighting uneven and poorly visible against the white keys, and I switched off this feature on the first boot itself.

HONOR MagicBook Pro 16 Review 5

Sanuj Bhatia / Pocketnow

The keyboard is surrounded by the laptop’s sound system on both sides. The top right key of the keyboard doubles as a power/wake button and the fingerprint scanner. The fingerprint scanner on this machine is probably the fastest I’ve used on a Windows laptop, unlocking the laptop almost instantly upon touch.

Moving to the trackpad, the MagicBook Pro 16 offers a large trackpad with ample surface area, but this is another key area where this laptop falls short of other competitors. The trackpad feels plastic-y, and the click feedback is inconsistent, with the top half feeling stiff and the bottom overly flexible. HONOR definitely has room for improvement in this area.

Display and Audio

HONOR MagicBook Pro 16 Review 8

Sanuj Bhatia / Pocketnow

Moving onto the display, the MagicBook Pro comes with a large 16-inch “FullView” IPS LCD display with up to a 165Hz refresh rate and a resolution of 3072×1920 pixels. The display has a 16:10 aspect ratio, a matte finish, and can reach up to 500 nits of brightness. Even for someone like me who loves the glossy and colorful display of the Mac, the HONOR MagicBook Pro 16’s display does a great job in maintaining excellent color reproduction and vibrancy, despite it being a matte display.

The high refresh rate makes sure Windows and overall UI look buttery smooth. And oh, did I mention the bezels? The bezels on three sides are virtually negligible and it makes for a great viewing experience when watching TV shows, movies, and sports. The screen is also TUV Rheinland certified for Low Blue Light and Flicker Free, similar to HONOR’s other products. The only thing I would improve about this display is the brightness. The low 500 nits brightness means the colors take a hit when looked at from the side angles and in outdoor settings where the matte finish does not help either. Nonetheless, the overall experience is outstanding, especially considering the price.

What complements this display beautifully is the laptop’s sound system. The MagicBook Pro 16 may well have the best speakers of any Windows laptop currently on the market. For the first time in a while, I did not miss the sound system of my MacBook Pro — which has become the industry standard at this point. The speakers deliver punchy, detailed sound across low, mid-range, and high frequencies, making for one of the best audio experiences I’ve had on a Windows laptop in a long time.

Software, Performance, and Battery Life

HONOR MagicBook Pro 16 Review 2

Sanuj Bhatia / Pocketnow

Now, moving onto performance, but let’s first get the raw specs out of the way. The HONOR MagicBook Pro 16 is powered by Intel’s Core Ultra 7 155H processor coupled with 32GB DDR5 RAM and 1TB SSD storage. For graphics, it includes a dedicated NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 laptop GPU with 8GB of memory and an Intel Arc built-in GPU, though it primarily relies on the RTX 4060 for graphic-intensive tasks. And, with HONOR calling this laptop an AI PC, thanks to the inclusion of two Gen3 compute engines NPU for handling AI-based tasks.

As you would expect from a laptop with this capable hardware, Windows runs fast and fluid on this device. From launching applications and booting up, to switching between browser tabs and editing documents or photos, the performance is stable and quick. The only improvement I’d suggest is streamlining Windows updates, but that’s a task for Microsoft, not HONOR. But other than that, this thing flies right off the bat. Right from the moment you turn on this machine, you will feel it being buttery smooth and fast.

However, the graphics performance does not meet the expectations for a gaming laptop. Despite setting it to performance mode and keeping it plugged in, the MagicBook Pro struggles to maintain a consistent 60fps in FIFA 23, with frame rates often dropping to between 40-43fps. I also tried to play Microsoft’s Forza Horizon 5 on this machine, but found similar results with the machine failing to deliver smooth gameplay.

HONOR has integrated several Apple-like cross-platform features. The MagicBook Pro comes equipped with HONOR PC Manager and HONOR WorkStation apps. PC Manager allows you to manage the laptop, including updating BIOS and drivers, backing up data, enabling spatial audio, and configuring HONOR Share.

HONOR MagicBook Pro 16 Review 1

Sanuj Bhatia / Pocketnow

WorkStation, on the other hand, improves interoperability among HONOR devices, allowing for clipboard sharing, file transfers, screen sharing, and even using the laptop’s input devices with your phone. You can also directly enable the phone’s hotspot through the WorkStation app. While HONOR promises more AI features like document summarization, AI video subtitles, and more, these were not available at the time of review.

Regarding battery life, the MagicBook Pro 16 falls short. The battery life is disappointing, with the laptop often running out before midday even under light use, which includes document writing and editing, web browsing, video streaming, and emailing. Additionally, the laptop comes with a bulky charger, which is cumbersome despite the option to charge via USB-C.

Verdict

So, is the HONOR MagicBook Pro 16 worth it? In fairness to HONOR, it’s a commendable attempt at creating a portable powerhouse. The MagicBook Pro 16 is equipped with some of the best hardware available, boasts excellent build quality, a display + sound combo that’s unmatched on any Windows laptop, and delivers great performance, all for around $1000. While there are some shortcomings that make this laptop inferior against some of the competitors, these drawbacks are generally manageable for most users (even the most power users).

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The post HONOR MagicBook Pro 16 Review: Somewhere in the middle first appeared on pocketnow.com

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