Last September, Honor launched the MagicBook View 14 in China powered by Intel’s 11th Gen Core chipset, NVIDIA GeForce MX 450 GPU, and Windows 11 out of the box. The same laptop (excluding the dedicated graphics card) is coming to Europe later in Q4 and we’re finally ready to give you our impressions after the test period, this reviewer used the MagicBook View 14 as his only work machine for both more than a week.
Going from a MacOS to Windows 11 laptop took some getting used to at first, and while I haven’t quite made the switch to make the switch, Honor does make an attractive ultraportable that covers all the main pillars of a good laptop – Premium build, good screen and keyboard, good performance and plenty of battery life. Should this be on your shortlist, or are you better off with another similarly sized compact laptop?
design, display, keyboard
The MagicBook View 14 features an aluminum unibody design and weighs less than 1.5kg. The laptop is 14.5mm thick at its thickest point, which all translates into an everyday carry fit in any normal-sized backpack. Our review unit came in a sleek space gray, but Honor also offers a more striking dark blue option. A sign of quality that is always commendable is that you can open the lid of the laptop with just one finger, and I’m happy to report that this is the case.
The star of the show is the 14.2-inch LTPS LCD touchscreen with a resolution of 2520 x 1680 pixels, a 90Hz refresh rate and a 3:2 aspect ratio. The higher aspect ratio is a welcome productivity aspect, allowing for more vertical content on the screen, which is handy if you rely on two side-by-side windows (like a browser and a word editor) or are constantly digging through Excel sheets . The panel is manufactured by Huaxing Optoelectronics, a subsidiary of TCL, and the model is MNE208UA1-1.
Viewing angles are good, with no noticeable change in contrast. For color rendering, the monitor targets 100% sRGB and 72% NTSC coverage. Honor claims a brightness output of 400 nits, and we measured a maximum of 405 nits, which is more than enough for indoor and outdoor use, although glossy surfaces aren’t ideal for this.
The default screen refresh rate is 60Hz, but it can be switched to 48Hz or 90Hz by pressing the Fn+R keys. I personally prefer the highest refresh rate setting where the UI feels smoother. The bezels are very slim for a decent viewing experience, and the 10-point multi-touch feature is perfect for the few occasions when you’re using your fingers instead of a glass trackpad.
One of the few times I enjoy using the touchscreen is when binge-watching a TV show in a dimly lit room. It’s easy to navigate the UI without using a trackpad or keyboard, and Windows 11 seems to be more comfortable with touch controls than its predecessor.
The integrated 5MP camera with its 90-degree wide-angle lens and dedicated ISP chip is a marked improvement over the 720p webcams found on older laptops, and does make a difference in the clarity of Skype and Zoom calls. The laptop also comes with Windows Hello and has a dedicated fingerprint scanner embedded in the power button.
The I/O is decent for an ultraportable of this size. The right side has two USB 3.2 ports, the second doubles as a Thunderbolt 4 connector. You also get a headphone jack/mic combo. The left side houses a USB 3.2 (Type A connector) and a full-size HDMI connector.
The keyboard is your usual chocolate with decent travel (Honor claims 1.5mm), and you get used to its size pretty quickly. It offers two levels of backlighting, which is good enough for use in darker rooms. My only gripe with the keyboard is the lack of a full-sized enter key and squeezed arrow keys, which are too cramped and cause quite a few mispresses. You also get four microphones and a loud four-speaker setup.
The base version, the MagicBook View 14, has an Intel 11th-generation Core i5-1132H Tiger Lake-U processor, while the higher-end model we had had a Core i7-11390H. The laptop features a 35W Balanced Mode that reduces power consumption and provides quieter operation. If you need more power, you can enable 45W performance mode (Fn+P), as we did in our benchmarks. Note that you need to plug in the power adapter to enter high performance mode.
There are four Willow Cove cores, each with two threads, and a base frequency of 3.4Ghz in 45W performance mode, which can be turbo boosted up to 5Ghz when you only need a single core. You get 12MB of L3 cache and a regular TDP of 35W on a Core i7 chip.
Let’s talk about benchmark scores. Starting with Geekbench 5 – the MagicBook View 14 managed 1,548 single-core points and 6,118 points in the multi-core test. The comparable AMD Ryzen 7 5800H will perform 8% worse in the single-core test, but make up for it with a 20% advantage over the Intel chip in the multi-core department.
Honor MagicBook View 14 on Geekbench 5
Switching to Cinebench R20 showed a score of 2,523, which is impressive for a thin and light laptop. The integrated Iris Xe graphics card is certainly not your ticket to AAA gaming, but it can get the job done for casual gaming and light video/photo editing. Honor outfitted the laptop with dual fans and wing-shaped radiators that only kicked in during intensive benchmarks, and normal day-to-day tasks made fan noise barely noticeable.
The MateBook View 14 comes with 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM and a 512GB WD SN730 PCIe NVMe SSD. Read and write performance here is decent, with sequential reads at 3,400 MB/s and writes at 2,700 MB/s. A cold boot takes just 10 seconds, and Chrome stays responsive even with a dozen tabs open.
This is our first laptop with Windows 11 Home, and it’s a bit polarizing. Compared to Windows 10, the interface looks familiar but feels very different, and I found myself looking for certain UI elements in the wrong places more than once. Microsoft has made some progress with touch input recognition, and the entire UI feels noticeably more touch-friendly, which is a welcome addition.
The new personalized menu layout and detailed options and system-wide dark mode are all great. Snap Assist allows you to manage up to four apps on the screen without moving the cursor too much. It took me a few days to get used to the new start menu, and I didn’t use the new widgets panel much, but I’m also not a fan of its predecessor, the Live Tiles.
The new default application setting is an unnecessary pain, if you want to set a third-party browser as your default, you have to go through the process of choosing that browser to open individual file types from HTML to HTTPS, which just takes Unnecessary amount of time. Despite some shortcomings, I found the visual identity of the Windows 11 update to be a welcome change, and there were no issues with stability or performance.
Honor also has its multi-screen collaboration tool, which lets you connect a compatible Honor phone to your laptop. You can mirror your phone screen to your laptop, wirelessly transfer files and pictures, and make audio and video calls on the big screen. I tested it with the Honor 50 we had in the office, and while the pairing process was a breeze, the actual screen mirroring was very slow and laggy.
Battery life and charging
Honor managed to fit a decent sized 60Wh battery into the MateBook View 14. The battery is good for 15 hours of local video playback at 1080p resolution and 150 nits of brightness, and an additional 11.7 hours of mixed use at 150 nits of brightness. In our tests, which included playing a 1080p video on Chrome at 75 percent screen brightness and 50 percent volume, we got 6 hours and 56 minutes, which is pretty respectable.
Honor bundles the 200-gram 65W USB-C SuperCharger with a detachable USB-C cable, allowing you to travel with a single charger for super convenience for all your devices. Interestingly, you can charge the laptop at a maximum speed of 65W through either of the two USB-C ports. A full charge took 104 minutes, and the laptop hit 80 percent after an hour on the charger.
With its MateBook View 14, Honor has delivered an impressive mix of features and portability at a price that rivals can’t match. Even better, some bundles include an Honor 50 smartphone, which is a sweeter deal if you can get one. The laptop is currently limited to China, Russia, Belarus and France, and retails for 1,099 euros. There’s even a bundle that lets you get the Honor 50 for an extra €400.
A quick comparison finds that few laptops can match the MagicBook View 14’s excellent display, premium and lightweight build, fast performance, and long-lasting battery. Acer’s Swift 3 and 5 series and Asus’ Vivobook S14 come to mind as potential competitors. 1,000 EUR price range. Lenovo’s IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro, MSI’s Prestige 14 Evo and LG Gram 14 are available if you’re over the €1,000 threshold.
If you’re not tied to the Windows ecosystem, you’ll likely pay more – currently €1,200 gets you a 13-inch M1 MacBook Air with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Also, keep in mind that Intel 12th Gen CPU-powered laptops are coming in the coming months.
The MateBook View’s 14.2-inch QHD+ screen features vibrant colors, a generous 3:2 aspect ratio, and even supports 10-point multi-touch, making it an absolute pleasure to use. The keyboard offers decent travel, the layout is beautiful, and the glass trackpad is impressive.
The Intel Core i7-11390H handles all office tasks with ease, while the integrated Iris Xe GPU manages light gaming and content creation. Having a 60Wh battery on a thin and light laptop like this is a brilliant move, and it makes you forget about sitting next to a wall plug.