Honor MagicBook 15 Review with AMD Ryzen 5 5500U

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Honor MagicBook 15 Review Rating

Summary

The Honor MagicBook 15 is a well-made and attractive laptop with good specifications for anyone that wants a general-use laptop. It is perfect for work-from-home applications, and it is light enough for commuting. While it is not a gaming laptop, it has enough GPU power to run some older games at low to medium settings.

Overall
80%
80%
  • Build and Design - 85%
    85%
  • Performance - 85%
    85%
  • Price - 70%
    70%

Pros

  • Excellent build quality with an attractive neutral design
  • AMD Ryzen 5 5500U has all the performance you need for any non-gaming task (and some light gaming)
  • Superb battery life 

Cons

  • A bit more expensive the competing devices
  • I would prefer a 2nd USB-C port rather than a slow USB-A 2.0

The Honor MagicBook 15 with the AMD Ryzen 5 5500U is the latest iteration of the MagicBook 15 for 2022. Last year this laptop used the Intel Core i5-1135G7, and the 2020 model featured the AMD Ryzen 5 4500U.

This Honor MagicBook 15 is effectively the same as the Huawei MateBook D 15 AMD 2021, just with some very minor differences.

I own both the 2020 models of the Huawei Matebook 14 and Matebook 13, so I have made a lot of comparisons throughout the review. It is worth remembering that even though the Matebook 14 is very similar, it used an AMD Ryzen 5 4600H with a higher clock and TDP and twice the RAM. It also cost quite a bit more, at  £849.99.

Preview Product Rating Price
HONOR MagicBook 15 Laptop AMD Ryzen 5-5500U, 15.6 Inch with... HONOR MagicBook 15 Laptop AMD Ryzen 5-5500U, 15.6 Inch with... No ratings yet £649.99

Specification

As I cover a lot of networking hardware, it is frustrating that neither the Honor nor Huawei have a WiFi 6E module. In reality, not many people will benefit from it, but the Intel AX210 costs about the same as the older AX200, so there is no reason not to use it. Huawei only using WiFi 5 is very poor, in my opinion.

I didn't open this laptop, but I assume it is roughly the same as my Matebook 14. You should easily be able to replace the WiFi module, and the NVME drive should also be accessible.

The Honor also has a marginally better display. Apart from those two bits, these two laptops seem to be identical.

Design and Build Quality

Being a 15-inch laptop, this is neither big nor small, but with a weight of just 1.54Kg, this isn't going to weigh you down too much.

The general design of both the Honor and Huawei laptops is very similar. They are all quite minimalist, having a matte finish silver-coloured aluminium chassis, and the overall build quality feels excellent and durable.

The display is a typical resolution and aspect ratio of 1920 x 1080. In comparison, the smaller Huawei laptops use a 3:2 aspect ratio running at 2160 x 1440. However, I think they use the 16:9 aspect ratio here due to the overall size of the laptop, as it is quite wide.

It is not a touchscreen, nor is it the brightest, but it is marginally better than the Huawei Matebook D 15 2021, and it is about what you would expect at this price point.

The matte display helps make it usable outdoors but it is not the brightest

Like the other laptops, Honor has kept the bezels down to a minimum by getting rid of the webcam on the top edge of the display and placing it into a pop-up camera on the keyboard. The pop-up camera seems to get mixed comments, if you use a webcam a lot (which many of us do now) then it isn't great, and the placement is poor. I, personally, do my best to avoid using a webcam, and I'll often use a dedicated one when needed, so I quite like this placement.

The keyboard uses your typical chicklet-style keys, which offer a good typing experience as far as laptops go. I feel like they could have made the keyboard a bit bigger, considering the amount of space to the left and right.

The trackpad is good and responsive, and it is very large, covering the width of both the spacebar and right alt key, which allows this to be central to the laptop, unlike some laptops which have the trackpad offset to the left slightly.

The port selection is good; on the left, you have a USB-C port which is also the power in, then a USB-A 3.2 Gen1 and an HDMI port. On the right is a second USB-A port, but this is only 2.0, and you have a 3.5mm headphone jack. With the shift towards USB-C as standard, it would have been good for a second port on the right rather than the slow USB-A, but it is not too much of an issue.

Performance

  • 3DMark Time Spy: 1169 (CPU: 5227 GPU: 1029)
  • 3DMark Wild Life: 5952
  • PCMark: 5070 (Essentials: 8732 Productivity: 7516 Digitial: 5584)
  • Crystal Disk: 2486 / 1822 MB/s read/write

The AMD Ryzen 5 5500U is a low-power CPU with a TDP of just 15W. It has 6 cores with a base clock of 2.1GHz. Then it has the Radeon RX Vega 7 iGPU, which is often said to perform as well as the discrete GeForce MX250.

The 3DMark Time Spy score was better than expected, comfortably scoring higher than the Ryzen 5 4600H.

It will probably come as no surprise that this laptop is not designed for any serious gaming. The integrated GPU has no VRAM of its own, it has to share the system memory, and games identify just 512MB of VRAM available.

However, I was able to get older games to run reasonably well with low settings. I found that Far Cry 3, GTA V and the Witcher 3 all were perfectly playable.

As far as general use goes, this laptop performs flawlessly, easily handling general office apps, Chrome,  playing media directly or streaming and even some Photoshop.

You have a fast NVMe drive, but it is another laptop that has been partitioned oddly, with quite a small windows drive then a larger data drive. I'd probably merge the two partitions into one.

One thing I like about the MagicBook 15 is the fan noise. It isn't silent, but it is quieter than my Matebook 13, and the sound profile of the fan has a lower pitched tone, making it less irritating.

Honor tries to differentiate itself from other similar laptops with various value-added software features. You have PC manager, which provides various laptop management features but also can be used with your phone for multi-screen collaboration and to back up media.

Battery

The battery life is superb, I did a full day in an office working from it without needing to plug it in. With most of my work being light office-based tasks.

As always, I love laptops that use USB-C charging. I don't even bother with the dedicated power supply, as I have the  200W Ugreen Nexode in my office, a 150W Huwder A2002 in my living room, and I use the 120W Spigen ArcDock when travelling.

Price and Alternative Options

Preview Product Rating Price
HONOR MagicBook 15 Laptop AMD Ryzen 5-5500U, 15.6 Inch with... HONOR MagicBook 15 Laptop AMD Ryzen 5-5500U, 15.6 Inch with... No ratings yet £649.99

The Honor MagicBook 15 is available directly from Honor for £649.99. Amazon list it at the same price, but it has been as low as £549.99 recently.

Honor has the smaller MagicBook 14, which has less storage at 256GB and a slightly lower price point of £599.99

If you can live with a larger laptop, I'd say the Honor MagicBook 16 is currently a much better buy. This has a superior AMD Ryzen 5 5600H, then double the RAM and a high refresh rate display. All for £50 extra at £699. It weighs 1.84kg, though, which is not incredibly heavy, but I wouldn't want to be carrying it around all day.

Preview Product Rating Price
HONOR MagicBook 16 Windows 11 Laptop (16.1' 144Hz FHD IPS,... HONOR MagicBook 16 Windows 11 Laptop (16.1" 144Hz FHD IPS,... No ratings yet £699.00

The Huawei Matebook D 15 2021 with a AMD Ryzen 5 5500U is effectively the same laptop but costs a bit more at £699.99. During my initial draft of this review, Amazon had it for just £399.99, and it had been £500 from April onwards. It is currently out of stock, but Huawei still has it in stock.

Huawei then have:

  • MateBook D 15 2021 with 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 for £750
  • MateBook D 14 2021 with 11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 for £730

Competing brands have similar spec laptops, some more expensive, some cheaper.

Overall

The Honor MagicBook 15 is a well-made and attractive laptop with good specifications for anyone that wants a general-use laptop. It is perfect for work-from-home applications, and it is light enough for commuting. While it is not a gaming laptop, it has enough GPU power to run some older games at low to medium settings.

The main issue with it appears to be pricing, it looks like it is £50 to £100 more than competing options. In particular, the Huawei Matebook D 15 2021 seems to be an identical laptop but for less money. However, as with most consumer technology, prices vary a lot. The Huawei launched at a higher price point, and back in 2020, I reported that the Honor MagicBook 14 was a better buy than the Huawei MateBook D 14.

Last update on 2022-07-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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