Honor has announced new versions of its popular MagicBook 14 and 15 laptops, but the most intriguing changes are under the hood with a switch from AMD to Intel.
Both new devices are now powered by Intel 11th-gen processors, alongside Iris Xe integrated graphics. That might sound unremarkable – Tiger Lake CPUs have made their way into a variety of laptops since launching – but both MagicBook 14 devices from 2020 were powered by AMD.
Those machines were extremely well received, meaning the swap to Intel CPUs (ignoring the MagicBook which had an 8th-gen Intel chip) represents a real risk for Honor.
The late 2020 MagicBook 14 was our laptop of the year, fighting off fierce competition from the likes of HP, Apple and ex-parent company Huawei.
It’s only the second MagicBook 15 that Honor has launched, but the original’s Ryzen 4500U performed admirably.
However, both new MagicBook laptops pair the silicon with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, so there should be no performance issues in everyday usage. This, along with the move to Intel – with Core i5 and i7 options depending on the market – means price increases.
The MagicBook 14 now starts at £799.99/€849.90, over £100/€100 more expensive than its predecessor, while the MagicBook 15 costs at least €949.90 (approx. £818) – lower-spec models previously dropped as low as £549.99/€583.90.
Aside from the size (14in vs 15.6in), the new Honor MagicBooks have Full HD (1920×1080) LCD displays with improved colour accuracy. Both still have a 16:9 aspect ratio, something increasingly rare on modern laptops.
Slim bezels give it an 84% screen-to-body ratio, but there’s still no room for the webcam – it’s still housed within a fake function key on the keyboard.
There’s a 56Wh battery, one of the key upgrades over the 42Wh cell on the new MagicBook 14 offering up to 10.5 hours of video playback, according to Honor.
Both have 65W fast charging via the adapter in the box – in 30 minutes, the MagicBook 14 can supposedly regain 44% charge in 30 minutes, while the MagicBook 15 reaches around 53%.
The only other noticeable difference is weight, with the MagicBook 14 tipping the scales at 1.38kg while the MagicBook 15 hits 1.56kg. Both are plenty portable, though.
Honor’s new MagicBook 14 and 15 sound like excellent laptops on paper, but it remains to be seen whether they can justify the price increases. Both devices are available from 18 May via the Honor website in the UK, France and Germany.