HONOR MagicBook X 16 Review – Good, But Even Better for Some
The HONOR MagicBook X 16 has a high value proposition for you, and it's a 16-inch laptop that is still relatively easy to bring around. Is it worth your money? Let's find out.
+ Excellent display
+ Attractive design
+ Decent performance with expandable storage option (2 x SSD slots)
+ Light for its size
+ Comfortable keyboard with power button / fingerprint scanner combo
+ Good array of ports
+ Solid value proposition
+ HONOR Magic-link adds a layer of convenience
- HONOR Magic-link is limited to selected HONOR / HUAWEI smartphones
- No touchscreen support
- No SD card reader
- Subpar speakers
- Battery life could be a little better
Unboxing the HONOR MagicBook X 16
The HONOR MagicBook X 16 came in a standard brown cardboard box with the brand’s logo in the center. We’re not sure if this was done intentionally for recyclability or not but it is something. Inside the box, you will find the following items:
- Power cable
- 65W Charging brick
- User guide
- Warranty card
- The HONOR MagicBook X 16 laptop itself
|CPU||Intel Core i5-1235U @ 1.3GHz (up to 4.4 GHz Boost), 12M, 10C/12T, Intel 7 (10nm), 15W TDP|
|RAM||8GB LPDDR4X 4266MHz|
|GPU||Intel Iris Xe Graphics|
|Storage||512GB NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD (Kioxia BG5 Series)|
|Software||Microsoft Windows 11 Home|
Wi-Fi 6 (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
1 x USB-C
2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
1 x HDMI 1.4b
1 x 3.5mm combo audio jack
|Display||16″ Full HD (1920 x 1200) 60Hz IPS display (16:10), 300 nits, 89% screen-to-body ratio
TÜV Rheinland Low Blue Light and TÜV Rheinland Flicker Free certification
|Audio||2 x speakers
2 x microphones
|Power||65W power adapter (USB-C)
60 WHr Li-polymer battery
|Dimensions||356.2 x 250.1 x 17.9 mm|
Starting off our benchmark suite with CrystalDiskMark, the HONOR MagicBook X 16 uses a 512GB NVMe SSD that is decent at best. We’ve definitely seen much better storage devices around but realistically speaking, this is more than enough for most people as it still gives you very quick boot ups and load times.
Moving on to Cinebench R20, the HONOR MagicBook X 16 has rather good numbers considering it’s not an i7 CPU. I find it interesting that its Intel Core i5-1235U actually managed to beat an i7-1255U, which is one tier above it, in multi-core performance.
Then on Unigine SuperPosition in the 4K Optimized test, it barely managed to pass the 1,000 mark, which isn’t surprising given the lack of a discrete GPU. Sure, the Intel Iris Xe is good, but it can only do so much.
A similar pattern can be seen on 3DMark Time Spy, with the score being relatively low for the same reason as before. If you plan on buying a laptop for gaming, 3D rendering, or anything similar, this is not the one for you.
Lastly on PCMark 10, it shows the HONOR MagicBook X 16 being a solid choice for productivity, web browsing, and similar lighter tasks. Digital content creation will require a decent dGPU to be scored higher. Editing pictures should be perfectly fine still but definitely not a good idea to edit videos on this.
If you’re wondering about the battery life, the HONOR MagicBook X 16 is decent but I expected it to be a little bit better. It managed to last 7 hours and 59 minutes (479 minutes) in PCMark’s Modern Office endurance test before it died. I theorize that this is due to the slightly larger display as it’s 16 inches with a 16:10 aspect ratio compared to the standard 15.6-inch 16:9 display. This isn’t a bad thing however as I prefer it this way.
The first good thing about the HONOR MagicBook X 16 is the most obvious one, which is the display. The colours have that punchy, saturated look which is always pleasing to the eyes but not only that, it’s larger than your average laptop. After all, it’s a 16-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, so it’s slightly taller and you can see more without making it bulky.
Other than that, it has a clean, classy look which makes it perfect for work, be it at the office or for students pursuing their diploma / degree. Admittedly, it does look similar to a MacBook but if you put that aside, it’s an attractive design for sure, and it manages to keep that and its size while still retaining a lightweight body, weighing in just a mere 1.75kg. Anything lighter and you’d be press to find a smaller laptop, around 13 to 14 inches.
What isn’t like a MacBook however is the keyboard, as it’s certainly comfortable to use. The keys are spaced out well, you get a good tactile feedback while still being relatively quiet, and it has a travel distance of just 1.5mm. Furthermore, the power button doubles as a fingerprint scanner, which means you can keep this laptop secure while also making it convenient for you to login. From my experience, it didn’t have trouble reading my fingerprint at all.
You also get a good array of ports with the HONOR MagicBook X 16 as it comes with a USB-C port, two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, an HDMI 1.4b port, and a combo audio jack. There was no mention of Thunderbolt anywhere but considering the whole package, especially since you’re charging with USB-C, it’s certainly more than enough for most consumers.
From a performance standpoint, the HONOR MagicBook X 16 certainly could do better, but it’s not a bad laptop. When you take into account its retail price of RM3,499, it has a pretty solid value proposition. To get a 12th Gen Intel Core laptop with 512GB NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD (which can be expanded as it has two SSD slots) on top of the freebies (wireless mouse, backpack, and Microsoft Office Home & Student 2019), it’s hard to find a deal this good elsewhere, especially if you want a 16-inch laptop which already has very few choices in the market now.
Lastly, one of the best things about the HONOR MagicBook X 16 is the HONOR Magic-link. Essentially, it’s a means of connecting your smartphone with the laptop via NFC to transfer files, share clipboards, record the laptop screen, and manage files wirelessly. If you’re one of the people who can make use of the feature, it will certainly make your life easier and gives you more reason to buy this laptop. I do have more to say about this but you will have to read it in the next section.
Going back to the HONOR Magic-link, it’s a great feature but it’s not one that everyone can make use of. This is because it’s only compatible with selected HONOR and HUAWEI devices with NFC capabilities. If you’re using an iPhone or any other Android smartphone, you’re out of luck, which is a shame since this can actually make your life more convenient. It’s certainly one way for them to encourage people to adopt their ecosystem, that’s for sure.
NOTE: At the time of this writing, the page that lists the full compatibility of smartphones for this feature is down, so all I can say for sure is that it works with HONOR and HUAWEI smartphones with NFC capabilities.
While the display of the HONOR MagicBook X 16 is one of the better ones around, there’s a missed opportunity here as it lacks touchscreen support. It’s pretty light and easy to bring around, especially given its size, but having touchscreen would add a lot more versatility to the laptop as it makes using it without a mouse a viable option.
This drawback is far from a dealbreaker but given the size of the laptop, a number of users might be expecting otherwise, and that is the lack of an SD card reader. One would think it would be easy to add it in for that added bit of convenience but unfortunately, there is none here. You will need to get a USB card reader if you need the feature.
Lastly, the speakers on this laptop is certainly lacking. The quality it produces sound rather tinny and hollow, but the volume is also only decent at best. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s soft but it would have been nicer if it was a little bit louder at maximum volume. Best to use this with your favourite pair of earphones / headphones.
HONOR MagicBook X 16 Verdict
The HONOR MagicBook X 16 is a pretty solid laptop for productivity, regardless of whether you’re a student or you’re using this for work. It’s hard to find one with such a high value proposition, especially for a 16-inch laptop, and it gets even more attractive if you’re an HONOR or HUAWEI smartphone user with the Magic-link feature.
At the end of our HONOR MagicBook X 16 review, I award this laptop with our Silver Pokdeward.
Big thanks to HONOR Malaysia for sending us this laptop for the purpose of this review.