Honor MagicBook 14 with Intel Core i7-1165G7 review
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Review of the Honor MagicBook 14 (Intel Core i7-1165G7)

Honor has gotten a lot of use out of the MagicBook 14 chassis; we tested it once with a Ryzen 3500U APU and then again with the updated 4500U variant. Now that we’ve covered AMD processors, it’s time to look at the Intel-powered version of this laptop, which was introduced last month.

There are two processors to choose from: an Intel i7-1165G7 or an Intel i5-1135G7. Both processors are based on a 10nm SuperFin litography and are 11th generation mobile CPUs (Tiger Lake). Both feature four hyper-threaded cores (for a total of eight threads) and a TDP of 28W. The i7 model features a faster base frequency (2.8 GHz vs. 2.4 GHz), a faster top turbo frequency (4.7 GHz vs. 4.2 GHz), and larger L3 cache (12 MB vs. 8 MB).

We’re looking at the more powerful i7 variant, but as you can see, the two alternatives aren’t that dissimilar. The i7 model’s Intel Xe graphics have 96 execution units, up from 80 on the i5, although neither would suffice for much more than casual gaming. But before we look at what’s inside, let’s take a peek at what’s outside.

Display, keyboard, and design

There’s not much more to say about the design that we haven’t already said in prior reviews. The screen bezel is plastic, but the metal body is elegant.

The keyboard flexes little when pressed down, and the screen is a little shaky, but we’re happy with the build quality overall. The laptop weights 1.38 kg and is 15.9 mm thick (don’t forget the 200g USB-C charger). We’re not complaining since it’s not the lightest in its class.

The Intel version is identical to the AMD counterpart in terms of size, weight, and port choices. That final element is a letdown, since a Thunderbolt port would have been a compelling reason to select blue rather than red. However, the single USB-C connection does enable charging, despite the lack of a barrel plug. But first, let’s talk about the battery and charging.

We must first address two grievances. First, because there’s only one USB-C port (and no barrel jack), connecting in the power leaves you with only a single USB-A 3.2 Gen1 port and a USB-A 2.0 port (which will very certainly be occupied by a keyboard/mouse dongle, so they’ll have to share).

The second gripe is that if you wish to connect an external monitor, you won’t be able to do it with only one wire; you’ll need to utilize the full-size HDMI connector as well.

The MagicBook 14 has a 14-inch LCD display with a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. The official figures are 300 nits of average brightness and 1,000:1 contrast ratio, both of which are higher than the Ryzen 4500U version’s figures (250 nits and 800:1, respectively). However, those are the claimed figures.

The display on the Intel variant maxed out at 370 nits, which is quite good. The Ryzen model likewise exceeded its objective, registering 277 nits. Even so, the difference in brightness of over 100 nits is noticeable. Our only criticism is that at 50% brightness, the brightness decreases to 173 nits, which is rather low. A more linear scale would have been preferable.

The viewing angles are pretty good, and while there is a contrast shift at extreme angles, it is not a concern at typical ones. The display aspires for 100% sRGB and 72 percent NTSC coverage when it comes to color rendering.

The keyboard is the same as before, with excellent, big keys that travel well and provide decent feedback. Backlighting is also available in three levels. This laptop, like other 14-inch laptops, has a limited number of keys — aside from QWERTY, only Backspace and Delete have their own keys. The F-row has shortcut buttons for screen brightness, volume, Wi-Fi, and more, but one of them (between F6 and F7) isn’t a key at all, but rather the camera.

The plastic touchpad is about as big as it can get at this size. It’s fluid and precise, and multi-touch motions worked well. The Power button, located to the right of the keyboard, contains an integrated fingerprint scanner that may be used instead of a password to log in.

Upgradability

Unfortunately, this will be a brief part. The laptop has 16GB of dual-channel DDR4 RAM, which is more than enough for this class. That’s excellent news because it’s soldered to the motherboard, which means you won’t be able to expand it later.

A 512GB NVMe SSD, especially a Western Digital SN730, is used for storage. It’s connected to a PCIe Gen 3 x4 port. You can replace it, but because there is only one bay available, you’ll need to copy your data to the new drive first.

Finally, there’s a PCIe Gen 3 x1 connection for connecting the network card. You won’t need to replace it anytime soon because it’s an Intel AX201, which supports Wi-Fi 6 (2×2) and Bluetooth 5.1.

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