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THIS PROBABLY ISN’T THE SAMSUNG GALAXY S10, Y’ALL

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Laptops

Honor MagicBook Pro (2020) 16-inch laptop review

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OUR VERDICT

The Honor MagicBook Pro is a great laptop that doubles as an exceptional mobile workstation thanks to an outstanding price-performance ratio. Shame about the placement of the webcam though.

FOR

  • Affordable
  • Excellent performance
  • Great build quality
  • Speakers firing up
  • Fingerprint sensor built into power button
  • Magiclink feature holds some interesting promises

AGAINST

  • The pop up webcam
  • No card reader
  • No numeric keypad
  • Smaller than expected battery
  • Memory is soldered

Honor has quietly found its place alongside its parent company, Huawei, as the up-and-coming challenger brand. Of the three laptops released by the brand at IFA 2020 in Berlin, the MagicBook Pro is the one which garners the most interest partly because of its very affordable price tag and its main target, the 16-inch Apple MacBook Pro. Could this be the best-value and most balanced mobile workstation on the market yet?

Price

At the time of writing, the Honor Magic Book Pro is on sale direct from the manufacturer in the UK, France and Germany with other territories likely to follow. Only one model is available, one with 16GB RAM and 512GB SSD and a price tag of £850, which includes a free Honor watch worth £120. That translates to a VAT-free price of about $940.

Laptop Shut

(Image credit: Future)

Design

The design language of the MagicBook Pro shares common features with the Xiaomi Mi laptop brand, the Dell XPS 15 and, of course, the Apple MacBook Pro. Note the Space Gray colour scheme paired with an aluminum chassis rather than a magnesium alloy one (lighter but also displaying more flex) and a frosted matte finish.

Lid Closed

(Image credit: Future)

With dimensions of 369 x 234 x 16.9mm and a weight of 1.7Kg, it doesn’t aspire to be the lightest or the thinnest although a screen-to-body ratio of 90% means that it is not much bigger than a 15.6-inch laptop when it comes to footprint.

Screen Side View

(Image credit: Future)

A long hinge connects the display, a 16.1-inch full HD IPS one, to the base. One thing that is immediately noticeable is the lack of holes on the bezel which means that the camera sensor and the microphones are located elsewhere.

Pop-up Webcam

(Image credit: Future)

The HD webcam – based on the Omnivision OV9734 – is a pop-up type that resides inside a key between F6 and F7 and don’t worry, it won’t damage your screen if you happen to close the display without remembering to push down the webcam.

There’s no numeric keypad and two speakers are hidden behind grills located on each side of the keyboard. A fingerprint reader (Goodix branded) is also located in the power button.

Keyboard and Trackpad

(Image credit: Future)

The keyboard keys are almost apple-sque, almost nearly flush with the surface and backlit while the touchpad is generously proportioned but without any physical buttons. Shame about the stickers next to them though.

Ports Right Side

(Image credit: Future)

An audio connector and two full size USB ports are located on one side and a type-C USB, a full size HDMI 2.0 and a full size USB on the other. The Type-C connector doubles up as a universal power port that is paired with the bundled Huawei-branded switching power adaptor. The latter delivers between 5V and 20V and between 2A and 3.25A, making it ideal for charging other devices as well.

Underside

(Image credit: Future)

The base of the laptop contains two parallel rubber strips that act as raisers to allow air to cool the components inside via a perforated grill. There’s no card reader or Thunderbolt 3 connector.

Fingerprint Reader

(Image credit: Future)

Hardware

SPEC SHEET

Here are the full specs of the Honor MagicBook Pro configuration sent to TechRadar Pro for review:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 4600H

Graphics: Radeon RX Vega 6

RAM: 16GB

Screen: 16.1-inch FHD resolution

Storage: 512GB WD SN730 PCIe NVMe SSD

Ports: 1 x USB 3.1, 3 x USB 3.2, 1 x USB-C, audio jack, 1 x HDMI

Connectivity: Realtek 8822CE, 802.11ac Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0

Weight: 1.7kg

Size: 369 x 234 x 16.9mm  (H x W x D)

Battery: 56Whr

The highlight of the MagicBook Pro is the AMD Ryzen 5 4600H that powers it. It is a six-core processor with a base CPU speed of 3GHz, 11MB cache, 12 threads, six graphics cores running at 1.5GHz. Now there’s a good reason why a hexa-core model was chosen and that has to do with the fact that the base MacBook Pro model has a 6-core CPU, the Intel Core i7-9750HF, a CPU launched last year with a comparable 45W TDP.

The 4600H is therefore faster, much faster than its Intel rival. The difference is even more marked once you include the integrated GPU, a Radeon RX Vega 6, one of the beefiest on the block.

The rest of the configuration includes two 8GB memory modules (a total of 16GB, soldered), a 512GB WD SN730 PCIe NVMe SSD and a Realtek 8822CE 802.11ac (Wi-Fi 5) Wi-Fi card with Bluetooth 5.0. The battery – which is charged by a relatively compact 65W fast charger – is a 56WHr model, 40% smaller than Apple’s or the LG Gram 17; this has obviously a direct negative impact on battery life.

Performance

(Image credit: Future)

Performance and in use

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the fastest non-workstation laptop we have tested to date, conceding defeat on compute benchmarks to the almighty and undisputed king of the hill, the 16-core XMG Apex 15. The combination of a very fast processor, a capable graphics subsystem, ample system memory and a nippy SSD means that this is a supremely capable laptop that will easily take on the mantle of a mobile workstation.

BENCHMARKS

Here’s how the Honor MagicBook Pro performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

Passmark: 4815

Passmark CPU: 15866

CPU-Z: 487.6 (single-thread); 4050.2 (multi-thread)

Geekbench: 1090 (single-core); 6140 (multi-core); 10705 (compute)

CrystalDiskMark: 3412MBps (read); 2716MBps (write)

Cinebench CPU: 3208

Novabench: 2493

Atto: 3180MBps (read, 256mb); 2530MBps (write, 256mb)

AJA: 2730MBps (read); 2416MBps (write)

Windows Experience Index: 8

The fans kicked in only under load during the most intense parts of our benchmarks. Honor says that six temperature sensors and a cooling-fan motor with higher spin rates helps cool the laptop more effectively.

The pleasant experience continues on to the screen: the display is a 300nits model with a 1000:1 rated contrast ratio and a 100% sRGB color gamut. While it is not bright enough when working in direct sunlight, the fact that it is matte reduces the glare that usually makes glossy screens almost unusable whenever it’s sunny. Out of the box, the image quality is, pun intended, clearly visible. Hardly any bleed, colours that pop out, just enough vibrancy, an all-round (subjective) success.

The keyboard is likely to divide opinions as always; it has a much shorter travel which in turn impacts on the feedback, which feels sharper and less noisy. Again, that’s in line with the whole Apple experience. It is not distracting but those who like copious feedback when touch typing could be disappointed. As for the touchpad, it was a bit meh. We are fans of physical buttons and this one didn’t have any; sure it was responsive and of good size, but beyond that, it did lack character.

Webcam Angle

(Image credit: Future)

The webcam is probably the only glaring weak spot of an overall very good product. While the picture quality is good, its fixed location means that interlocutors on your video conference calls will see you from a downward angle (see picture) when the laptop is on one’s lap. The problem is different on a table where its inflexibility becomes a clear flaw.

At just over seven hours, the battery life is decent without being exceptional. Our best time was reached by the LG Gram 14 with well over 10 hours, a 50% difference. That said, the MBP achieved this with a 56WHr battery (8WHr per hour), making it less frugal than the Gram 14’s 73WHr (7WHr per hour). Note that you should be able to charge the device to 50% capacity in 30 minutes.

The competition

As mentioned before, the obvious rival to the MagicBook Pro is the MacBook Pro 16-inch. The latter costs almost three times as much but comes with four Thunderbolt 3 ports, a much bigger battery, a higher-resolution display, six speakers and a discrete GPU. Whether or not the 200% premium is worth it is debatable but one thing that cannot be argued is that the MacBook Pro 16-inch is an exceptional workhorse.

There are very few 16-inch Windows laptops at the time of writing, a slightly odd category that fits between the usual 15.6-inch models and the awkwardly bigger 17.3-inch ones.

That said, we’d like to commend the LG Gram 17 which received our recommendation in July 2020 and a comment from our fellow reviewer, Bill Thomas, that this is a laptop that “can’t actually be real”. Why? For a start it is the lightest 17.3-inch laptop ever built, it is even lighter than the smaller Apple’s MacBook Pro 13-inch albeit with a much larger footprint. While it does cost more than the Honor MBP, the Gram 17 has a bigger battery capacity, a higher screen resolution, Thunderbolt 3 ports and a numeric keypad. Some models also come with a dedicated Nvidia Geforce GTX 1650 GPU.

The only other model worth mentioning is the HP Pavilion 16.1-inch notebook, a gaming laptop with an Intel Core i5-10300H and a dedicated Geforce GTX1660Ti GPU. It is far heavier than the MagicBook Pro, has a smaller battery and its quad-core CPU won’t stand a chance against the Ryzen’s hexa-core processor.

Final verdict

We understand Honor’s desire to have a faceoff with Apple’s MacBook Pro but we have to question the wisdom of adding yet another screen size, one which is after all only half an-inch diagonally bigger than most of its peers.

On the whole though, the MagicBook Pro is a great laptop to use, very well built and with a solid pedigree as it is essentially a Huawei device. It is mightily quick, has a good battery life and overall provides a very rounded and polished computing experience.

Other than the questionable choice of having the webcam hidden in the keyboard, there’s a number of changes we’d advocate for the next iteration. Use a 16:10 panel – just like Apple’s – which will allow for more room above and below the keyboard.

Doing so means you can get a proper numeric keypad – surely a must at this size – in and move the speakers above the keyboard. Next, try to fit a bigger battery even if it means bumping the price up; matching the 100WHr battery on the Apple MBP would be ideal. A memory card reader would also be appreciated as well as the inclusion of Thunderbolt 3 as a universal connector.

Last but not least, we’d love to see a “Pro^2” version of the MagicBook Pro, one with an 8-core AMD Ryzen processor, a discrete GPU, 32GB of RAM, a pair of 512GB SSD in RAID-0 and Windows 10 Pro. That would be a landmark, flagship halo product that could propel Honor from the ranks of challenger to that of head turner.

Source: https://www.techradar.com/reviews/honor-magicbook-pro-2020-16-inch-laptop

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Laptops

MSI unveils one of the thinnest and lightest gaming laptops – Stealth 15M based on Intel Tiger Lake

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MSI unveils one of the thinnest and lightest gaming laptops – Stealth 15M based on Intel Tiger Lake

MSI has expanded its range of Stealth gaming notebooks with the new Stealth 15M model. The basis for a portable gaming system, you can choose the Intel 11th generation Tiger Lake processor up to the older model Core i7.

MSI gaminglaptop
MSI gaming laptop

An equally interesting feature of the novelty is its claim to be one of the thinnest and lightest 15-inch gaming laptops on the market. The laptop is only 15.95 mm thick and weighs up to 1.69 kg.

Unfortunately, the manufacturer does not fully indicate the technical characteristics of the  Stealth 15M. So, a portable gaming system is ready to offer the installation of two DDR4-3200 RAM sticks, but the supported amount is not indicated. It also claims support for M.2 NVMe PCIe Gen4 drives. But again, the manufacturer does not indicate the available volume options.

The 15.6-inch display of the MSI Stealth 15M gaming laptop is built using an IPS matrix. It offers support for Full HD resolution with refresh rates up to 240Hz. The discrete graphics card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Max-Q with 6 GB of GDDR6 video memory is responsible for the graphics capabilities.

The equipment also includes an RGB-backlit keyboard, one Thunderbolt 4 (USB 4.0 Type-C with DisplayPort alternate mode), two USB 3.2, Type-A, one HDMI output, as well as a slot with support for microSD memory cards and a combo audio jack. High-quality mobile sound is provided by NAHIMIC 3 technology.

The included 150W power supply is ready to replenish the 52Wh battery. With this power, the battery will charge very quickly. The dimensions of the laptop are 358 × 248 × 15.95 mm. The novelty supports wireless data transmission standards Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

The MSI Stealth 15M gaming laptop will be available in an all-white or gray finish. Unfortunately, the manufacturer has not yet announced anything about the price of the laptop and its availability.

Source: https://phonemantra.com/msi-unveils-one-of-the-thinnest-and-lightest-gaming-laptops-stealth-15m-based-on-intel-tiger-lake/

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Laptops

Cheap Gaming Laptops: Save on Acer, Asus, MSI, and Razer

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Right now, medical professionals are doing everything that they can to end this global health crisis while the rest of us try to defeat boredom. If you’re a gamer and have come to realize that your current laptop is no longer up to par in its gaming capability, we recommend the Acer Nitro 5, Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502, MSI GS65 Stealth, or Razer Blade Stealth. These gaming laptops boast formidable specs and can also serve as your work laptop. What’s more, they’re all available at Best Buy at awesome discounted prices. Save up to $400 when you get them today.

Acer Nitro 5 – $700, was $830

Gone are the days when you have to spend at least $1,000 for a good gaming laptop. If you’re on a tight budget but demand quality portable gaming, then the Acer Nitro 5 could be your best option. It’s not the sexiest looking machine out there – in fact, it looks rather plain – but this laptop aces it where it really matters: Performance. Right now, you can get it for just $700 instead of $830 at Best Buy – a huge $180 off the price.

The Acer Nitro 5 is rather understated for a gaming laptop. It’s not particularly stylish nor does it have the multicolor LEDs of premium gaming laptops. Nevertheless, it comes with stylized cooling vents and a red luminous keyboard so you can still distinguish it from ordinary business laptops. Its keyboard is precise and comfortable to use and features WASD keys that are boldly outlined in red. It features a small number pad, too. The touchpad is pretty good as well, responsive and precise with support of Windows 10 multitouch gestures. Unfortunately, its build quality isn’t the best. We noticed a fair bit of flexing when we applied pressure on it, and at 1.1-inch thick and about 6 pounds, it’s not exactly travel-friendly. At least it’s got plenty of ports for peripherals, including one USB 3.1 Type-C, two USB 2.0 Type-A, one USB 3.0 Type-A, an SD card slot, HDMI out, and a headphone/mic combo jack.

Acer also outfitted the Nitro 5 with solid specs despite being a budget gaming laptop. Equipped with Nvidia’s GeForce GTX 1650 GPU with 8GB of RAM, we enjoyed a steady 44 frames per second on medium graphics settings when playing Far Cry New Dawn, and 43 frames per second in Middle Earth: Shadow of War. While these numbers aren’t exactly mindblowing, they are quite decent for an entry-level gaming laptop.

The Nitro 5 may come at a budget-friendly price but Acer certainly didn’t skimp on its gaming performance. Get it for only $700 at Best Buy today.

Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502 – $950, was $1,200

For $950 (a whopping $250 less than its normal retail price of $1,200), you’ll get a strong GTX 1660 Ti GPU, lengthy battery life, and a sleek and sexy design with the Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502. Even though it has a middling AMD processor and a lackluster display, we still recommend the Zephyrus G if you’re after solid gaming experience for relatively less money.

The aluminum chassis of the Zephyrus G has a textured brushed finish that’s quite fetching. The glossy ROG logo is bedecked with red backlighting that faintly lights up. The screen is surrounded by super-slim bezels, and at 4.5 pounds and 14.2 x 9.9 x 0.8 inches, the Zephyrus G is incredibly light and slim. This laptop is outfitted with a decent number of ports, including an RJ45 Ethernet port, an HDMI 2.0 port, three USB 3.1 port, one USB Type-C port (DisplayPort 1.4), and a headphone jack. Although its 15.6-inch display is rather dull and dim compared to your average budget gaming laptop, it packs a 120Hz refresh rate for buttery-smooth gameplay. Its keyboard offers a very comfortable typing experience with the inclusion of palmrests, and the Windows precision drivers-powered touchpad is equally easy to use.

This laptop is armed with an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Ti GPU with 6GB of VRAM. In our test, it was able to blaze through Shadow of the Tomb Raider at its highest graphics setting and at 36 frames per second. We did notice an occasional stutter and glitch, but not enough to ruin the overall experience. Moreover, its AMD Ryzen 7 3750H processor with 16GB of RAM was able to seamlessly juggle multiple Google Chrome tabs open with five 1080p-YouTube videos while Shadow of the Tomb Raider ran in the background, making this a great work laptop as well.

Boasting an awesome streamlined design and above-average GPU performance that’s slightly marred by a subpar display, the Asus ROG Zephyrus G GA502 is a great pick for a budget gaming laptop. Get it for a huge $250 off at Best Buy right now.

MSI GS65 Stealth – $1,300, was $1,700

Well go straight to the point: The MSI GS65 Stealth is one of the best midrange gaming laptops out there. It practically has no flaws, comes at an attractive price, and boasts the power to play the most graphically demanding games at the highest setting. This exquisite piece of gaming equipment is currently on sale at Best Buy for $1,300 instead of $1,700, and an unprecedented $400 off.

The MSI GS65 Stealth screams luxury. With opulent black and gold accents adorning its svelte and sophisticated chassis, this is the Cadillac of gaming laptops. At a mere 4.1 pounds and 0.7 inches thick, this is one of MSI’s skinniest gaming laptops to date: It won’t weigh you down when you’re traveling with it. Despite its slim profile, it still has plenty of ports to offer. On the right side, you’ll find a USB 3.1 Type-A port, Thunderbolt 3, a Mini DisplayPort, HDMI, and the power jack, while the left side flaunts a pair of USB 3.1 Type-A ports, Gigabit Ethernet, a secure lock slot, a microphone jack and an S/PDIF jack for high-res audio.

This laptop’s 15.6-inch is packed with 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. It can get incredibly bright with sharp details and exquisite colors. Furthermore, its 144-Hertz refresh rate should help cut down on screen tears and latency, which works wonders on fast-paced games and movies. Normally, laptops this thin have keyboard keys that are somewhat shallow. This is not the case with the Stealth. Its island-style keys have a strong actuation, resulting in surprisingly springy action. Furthermore, your gaming will prove even more dazzling and dramatic thanks to MSI’s customizable Steel Series individual keys lighting.

The MSI GS65 Stealth is one of the first portables to feature Intel’s 8th-gen, six-core Coffee Lake processor. Working alongside an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660Ti GPU and 8GB of VRAM, this laptop is not just a beast for gaming but also for productivity. The system can easily deliver good frame rates at the highest settings as well as VR support. You’ll be able to enjoy 60fps or higher at peak settings on graphics-intensive games like Witcher 3Rise of the Tomb Raider, and Hitman.

The MSI GS65 Stealth is a lethal combination of price, power, and portability. Get it for a staggering $400 off at Best Buy today.

Razer Blade Stealth – $1,500, was $1,800

One of the best and most popular gaming laptop manufacturers is Razer, and its premium gaming Ultrabook, the Razer Blade Stealth, is now leaner, meaner, and faster than ever, thanks to a dedicated Nvidia GeForce graphics processor. You can get the Razer Blade Stealth Ultrabook for an incredible $300 less than usual on Best Buy, bringing its price down from $1,800 to $1,500.

The Razer Blade Stealth has been completely redesigned. It still has the same solid aluminum chassis, but with thinner bezels, harder edges, sharper corners, and a gorgeous jet-black finish. It looks like a tiny version of the 15-inch Razer Blade (our best gaming laptop for 2019). At the back of the screen, you will find Razer’s logo of three intertwined serpents. Its 13-inch matte screen has been calibrated to display accurate and precise colors and the blackest of blacks. It looks good no matter what angle you’re viewing it from, and it can go incredibly bright at over 400 nits max, which is exactly what we want from a premium laptop.

It gets its keyboard design straight from the Razer Blade, for better or for worse. The keyboard is Chroma-lit for full-blown gaming immersion and typing on it is a pleasure. However, we think the layout could use some serious tweaking. The keys appear cramped and the Stealth borrows the worst aspect of the Razer Blade’s keyboard layout: The full-size up/down arrow keys. This is great for gaming, but the up arrow key cuts between the “shift” and “question mark” keys, which will take time to get used to.

On to its gaming performance. The Blade Stealth has an eighth-generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB dual-channel memory, and the Nvidia GeForce MX150 graphics processor, all working together to ensure the best gaming experience despite its ultra-small size. We were able to play Fortnite and Civilization VI at more than 30 fps (frames per second) at the medium resolution setting, which isn’t smooth but is still playable. Fast-paced shooter games, unfortunately, did not fare well. For Battlefield 1 to be playable, the resolution needed to be dropped down to a lower setting. Rocket League was the sole exception, which managed 60 fps with a high-resolution setting. Overall, the Razer Blade Stealth was by no means bad. It just wasn’t as smooth as we expected it to be and is not as good as the Razer Blade.

With undeniably cool looks, a stunning display, and extreme portability, the Razer Blade Stealth is definitely worthy of recommendation. Unfortunately, it lacks stellar gaming performance, which should have been its primary strength. Still, it’s one of the better gaming Ultrabooks out there.

Source: https://www.digitaltrends.com/dtdeals/acer-asus-msi-razer-gaming-laptop-deals-best-buy-spring-sale/

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