Honor MagicBook 16 review: a solid laptop that delivers

The latest offering in Honor’s MagicBook range is its biggest screen yet and is a bang for your buck.

The formerly Huawei-owned brand still echoes some of the Chinese tech giant’s sensibilities in terms of performance and design.

The 16 is on the higher end of the MagicBook range and is a slight step up from the MagicBook 15 both in terms of size and performance. If you’re a student or a casual user looking for a laptop that doesn’t break the bank, the MagicBook 16 could be a good option for you.

Priced at £850 in the UK, the Honor MagicBook 16 currently comes only in one configuration, with an AMD Ryzen 5 5600H processor, 16GB of RAM memory and 512GB of storage. 

It’s unmistakable that Honor was going for a similar aesthetic to Apple’s MacBook but priced at under £1000.

The full aluminium body looks great and feels sturdy but it only comes in one colour, Space Grey.

For a 16-inch laptop, the MagicBook is not too heavy at 1.84 kg but for someone who uses a dainty Macbook Air, I still found it a bit bulky to carry on my commute. Certainly not ideal if you wanted to whip it out in a coffee shop and work.

So is the 16-inch display worth it? Honor has done a pretty good job with the 1,920 x 1,080 pixel IPS (in-plane switching which gives it better viewing angles) LCD with a matt, non-touchscreen surface.

The maximum brightness on the MagicBook 16 is quite good for a laptop priced in this range. The 16:9 aspect ratio makes it a solid option for Netflix binges but it’s not good enough for photo editing.

The matt finish also comes in handy if you’re working in direct sunlight. Not that we have much of that in the UK but on the I was able to work from my sunny living room with no trouble. But if you’re watching something darker, you might find it less comfortable.

The MagicBook has a fingerprint sensor that doubles up as a power button which was smooth enough to set up and use.

The shallow keyboard, again inspired by Apple Macbooks, is quiet and feels nice to type on and it comes with built-in backlighting that’s always welcome.

As good as the keyboard is, the touchpad brings down the experience a notch by feeling a little hollow.

The MagicBook 16 also features two upward-facing speakers on either side of the keyboard but the sound is average.

In terms of connectivity, the laptop features an HDMI port, two USB 3.2s, two USB-Cs and a 3.5mm headphone and microphone jack. While an ethernet and SD card slot is missing, it’s not a dealbreaker.

The 56W USB-C charger that comes with the MagicBook 16 should take an hour to charge to about 85% of battery level and about 90 minutes to 100%

Honor claims that the laptop can run approximately 8 hours while running HD video playback and that checks out.

It’s also a quiet machine so even with my million tabs open while writing documents and browsing, it’s silent.

Honor has also solved one of the biggest complaints about its original MagicBook Pro — the webcam under a keyboard key.

The MagicBook 16 has the webcam where it should be, so you can rest assured your colleagues won’t be seeing your unflattering low-angle self during your morning Zoom meeting.

The MagicBook 16 might not be the best option for specialists but for routine users and students, this laptop checks all the boxes.

If you’re looking for a laptop than can handle light gaming, streaming and tasks like browsing the web, taking video call, working on word processors and spreadsheets this will do just fine.

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