Last September, Honor debuted its MagicBook View 14 in China, powered by Intel’s 11-gen Core chipset, NVIDIA GeForce MX 450 GPU, and runs Windows 11 out of the box. The same laptop (minus the dedicated graphics card) came to Europe later in Q4, and we’re finally ready to give you our impressions after a trial period where this reviewer used the MagicBook View 14 as its only working machine for over two weeks.
Getting from MacOS to a Windows 11 laptop took a bit of getting used to at first, and although I’m not quite converted to switching yet, Honor has certainly made an appealing ultra-laptop that covers all the key pillars of a good laptop computer – premium build, good screen and keyboard, decent performance and ample battery life. Should this be on your shortlist, or are you better off with other compact laptops of the same size?
Design, display, keyboard
MagicBook View 14 has a unibody design in aluminum that weighs just under 1.5 kg. The laptop is 14.5 mm at its thickest point and all this translates into an easy everyday carrying that fits any normal size backpack. Our review unit comes in the sleek Space Gray color, but Honor also offers a more eye-catching dark blue option. A first-class brand that always deserves praise is when you can open the lid of your laptop with just one finger, and I can happily report that this is the case here.
The star of the show is the 14.2-inch LTPS LCD touch screen with its 2520 x 1680 pixel resolution, 90Hz refresh rate and a 3: 2 aspect ratio. The higher aspect ratio is a welcome productivity feature that allows for more vertical content on the screen, which is handy if you rely on two side-by-side windows like a browser and word editor or constantly dig through excel sheets. The panel is made by TCL’s Huaxing Optoelectronics and bears the MNE208UA1-1 item number.
The viewing angles are amazing with no noticeable change in contrast. For color reproduction, the screen aims for 100% sRGB and 72% NTSC coverage. Honor claims 400 nits brightness output and we measured a maximum of 405 nits, which is ample for indoor use and also usable outdoors, although the glossy surface is not ideal for this scenario.
The default screen refresh rate is 60Hz, but it can be switched to 48Hz or 90Hz by pressing the Fn + R keys. I personally preferred the highest refresh rate setting, where the user interface felt smoother. The frames are quite slim and provide a good viewing experience, and the 10-point multi-touch functionality is good for the few occasions where you want to use your fingers instead of the touchpad in glass.
One of the few times I preferred to use the touch screen was while watching TV shows in dimly lit rooms. Navigating the user interface was much easier without having to use the trackpad or keyboard, and Windows 11 seems better suited for touch controls than its predecessor.
The integrated 5MP camera with a 90-degree wide-angle lens and dedicated ISP chip is a clear step up from the world of 720p webcams on older laptops and makes 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.
I / O is decent for an ultra-laptop of this size. The left side boasts two USB 3.2 ports, the other being doubled as a Thunderbolt 4 connector. You also get a headphone jack / microphone combo. The right side houses a single USB 3.2 (type-A interface) and a full-size HDMI connector.
The keyboard is your usual chiclet case with decent travel (Honor claims 1.5mm) and you quickly get used to its dimensions. It offers a two-stage backlight, which is good enough to use in the darker rooms. The only issues I had with the keyboard are the lack of a full-size enter key and the compressed arrow keys, which are too narrow and resulted in a fair share of misprints. You also get four microphones and a quad speaker setup that gets decently loud.
The base version MagicBook View 14 comes with Intel’s 11-gen Core i5-1132H Tiger Lake-U processor, while the newer model we have brings a Core i7-11390H. The laptop comes with a 35W balance mode, which draws less power and offers quieter operation. If you need more power, you can enable 45W power mode (Fn + P), as we did during our benchmarking tests. Note that you must be connected to the power adapter to achieve high-performance mode.
There are four Willow Cove cores, each with two threads and a base frequency of 3.4Ghz in 45W power mode, which can turboboost up to 5Ghz when you only need a single core. You get 12MB level 3 cache on the Core i7 chip and a standard TDP of 35W.
Let’s talk about benchmarks. Starting with Geekbench 5 – MagicBook View 14 manages 1,548 single-core points and 6,118 points on the multi-core test. A comparable AMD Ryzen 7 5800H would perform 8% worse in the single-core test, but would compensate for it in the multi-core department with a 20% advantage over the Intel chip.
Switching to the Cinebench R20 reveals a 2,523 point outing, which is impressive for a thin and lightweight laptop. While the integrated Iris Xe graphics card is not your triple-A game ticket, it does get the job done for casual titles and easy video / photo editing. Honor equipped the laptop with dual fans and wing-shaped cooling plates, which only started during intensive benchmarking sessions, while normal everyday tasks meant that the fan noise was hardly noticed.
The MateBook View 14 comes with 16 GB dual-channel DDR4 RAM and a 512 GB WD SN730 PCIe NVMe SSD. The read and write performance here is respectable with 3,400 MB / s sequential read and 2,700 MB / s write speeds. A cold start only takes 10 seconds, and Chrome remains responsive, even with over a dozen open tabs.
This is the first laptop we got with Windows 11 Home out of the box, and it’s a bit polarizing. The interface looks familiar, but still feels dramatically different compared to Windows 10, and I found myself looking for certain UI elements in the wrong place more than once. Microsoft has made some progress in touch input recognition, and the entire user interface feels noticeably more touch-friendly, which is a welcome addition.
The new layout of personalization menus and detailed options are amazing, as is the dark state of the entire system. The Snap utility allows you to manage up to four apps on your screen without moving the cursor as much. It took me a few days to get used to the new start menu, and I did not make much use of the new widget panel, but then I was not a fan of its predecessor to live tiles either.
The new default apps settings are an unnecessary pain, and if you want to set a third-party browser as your default, you need to go through the process of selecting it to open individual file types from HTML to HTTPS, which just takes an unnecessary amount of time. Despite some shortcomings, I found Windows 11’s updated visual identity a welcome change and had no issues with stability or performance.
Honor also has its Multi-Screen Collaboration tool, which lets you connect compatible Honor phones to your laptop. You can mirror your phone screen on your laptop, transfer files and photos wirelessly, and make audio and video calls on the big screen. I tested this with an Honor 50 we had lying around in the office, and while the pairing process was a breeze, the actual screen mirroring was pretty slow and laggy.
Battery life and charging
Honor managed to fit a decent size 60Wh battery inside the MateBook View 14. The battery is rated for 15 hours of local video playback at 1080p resolution and 150 nits brightness and 11.7 hours of mixed use again at 150 nits brightness. In our test, which consisted of playing a 1080p video in YouTube over Chrome with 75% screen brightness at 50% volume, we got 6 hours and 56 minutes, which is pretty respectable.
Honor brings together a 65W USB-C SuperCharger that weighs 200 grams, with the detachable USB-C cable included, making it super convenient to travel with a single charger for all your devices. Interestingly, you can charge the laptop via one of the two USB-C ports at the maximum 65W speeds. A full charge took 104 minutes, and the laptop reached 80% after one hour on the charger.
With its MateBook View 14, Honor managed to achieve an impressive mix of power and portability at a price that is hard to compete with the competition. Even better, some bundles include an Honor 50 smartphone, which makes this an even sweeter deal if you can grab one. Currently, the laptop is limited to China, Russia, Belarus and France, where it sells for € 1,099. There’s even a bundle that lets you get Honor 50 for just € 400 extra.
A quick comparison reveals few laptops that can match the excellent display, premium and lightweight build, fast performance and long-lasting battery in the MagicBook View 14. Acer’s Swift 3- and 5-Series come to mind, and so does Asus’ Vivobook S14 as potential competitors in Price range € 1,000. Lenovo’s IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro, MSI’s Prestige 14 Evo and LG Gram 14 are available if you venture over the € 1,000 limit.
If you’re not tied to the Windows ecosystem, you can spend a little more – € 1,200 can currently give you a 13-inch M1 MacBook Air with 8GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. Also keep in mind that a slew of Intel 12-gen CPU-powered laptops are set to launch in the coming months.
The MateBook Views 14.2-inch QHD + display is an absolute pleasure to use with vibrant colors, spacious 3: 2 format, and it even supports 10-point multi-touch. The keyboard offers a decent journey and is nicely laid out, and the glass touchpad is quite impressive.
Intel’s Core i7-11390H handles all office tasks with ease, while the integrated Iris Xe GPU controls easy gaming and content creation. Having a 60Wh battery on a thin and light laptop like this is a great move and it makes you forget all about sitting next to a wall outlet.