back to article Honor MagicBook 14: Nice keyboard and ports aplenty – but with a webcam forever fixed on all of your chins

Over the past couple of years, teen-tastic mobile brand Honor has diverged from its usual fare, branching into TVs, laptops and the like. These have mostly been Mainland China exclusives, but the latest MagicBook is a notable exception. Vulture Central got its mucky talons on a unit of this shiny groin warmer, and found a …

  1. Mage Silver badge
    Devil

    Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

    USB-C is TOO versatile to the point of being stupid. It's badly thought out "Swiss army knife" that happens to provide charging.

    The great thing about this MagicBook 14 is the lipservice to USB-C stupidity. That it has the regular HDMI and USB. Has it got a 1G bps Ethernet port, or at least 100 Mbps? Often FAR better than WiFi.

    A dedicated Charger / Power port would be better than USB-C to charge.

    USB-C flaws

    A) A stupid port to power and charge a laptop compared with a dedicated port.

    B) You'd need loads of them to replace 3 or 4 USB plus an HDMI, which is an overkill for 2 to 3 of the peripherals/ gadgets plugged in.

    C) Stupid to combine Display, massive power and USB in one port.

    Already non-USB phones and tablets have the problem that with one port most can't charge themselves and act as a host at the same time, even with a Y-cable. Putting a single USB-C port on a phones or tablet solves nothing. USB-C on laptops is pointless.

    It's a spec dreamed up by the Crayon Dept, not sensible engineering, especially the idea of supplying more than 5V or more than 8W.

    1. c3me

      Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

      I understand the mobile one port criticism - removing 3.5mm jack and not adding another USB C port. But what about the Apple approach: 4 USB C ports, and use them for whatever you want on whichever side you want. I don't think that is a bad future/forward looking provision of IO on a high end device with an expected 5 year plus service life.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

        I'm a little column A and a little column B. I have a surface go, which admittedly doesnt have much space for ports I guess. So one single USB-C and you can use it with a USB hub and then connect HDMI ,USB-B and all the other things.

        But it would be nice to just have a old USB-B sometimes for when you just want to connect something like a flash drive, without needing to get the hub out.

        1. Sgt_Oddball

          Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

          You want a printer end connector? I think you meant USB-A (the flat rectangular one) as opposed to the Square USB-B (normally found on printers, external USB drives, USB hub pc output Ect).

          I honestly don't think I've ever seen a computer with a USB-B port present. Possibly some RapsPi knockoff but that's my only guess.

          1. Triggerfish

            Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

            Ah my bad, I'm an idiot. Yes USB-A :)

      2. Getmo

        Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

        Eh, not a fan of the Apple approach either. Read a review on it titled "I became the king of all dongles" because that's essentially what you have to become to enable that device to work how a laptop gets used. The reviewer claimed it wasn't that bad, but had to get a laptop bag about double the size just to carry all the extra crap with him. (And this was shortly after the Type-C standard was released, Apple jumped on this quick, so nobody even had any type-C gear yet, had to buy it all extra.)

        Maybe Apple fans put up with this crap for some esoteric aesthetic reason which I'm too dumb to ever understand. Personally, when I wanted a travel laptop, I got one that was 4 mm thicker, with the gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, and yes even the undying, ubiquitous USB-A ports Apple hates so much built in. I got that one because I actually wanted a thin, light, travel bag to carry, containing a laptop and charging cable, maybe a flash drive. Not a bag that's actually 6 CM larger, bulkier, and heavier thanks to all the extra crap you have to carry just to enable the laptop to be a laptop, requires more wires, more setup time, more points of failure, more troubleshooting, and for you to take over the entire conference room table or workspace just to get set up. Because 4 mm thinner is more important than being easy & useful, apparently.

    2. Fursty Ferret

      Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

      Interesting rant. Few problems with it though.

      A) Being able to charge my laptop with USB-C means that one charger can do my phone / laptop / iPad.

      B) My own laptop has two USB-C ports and a USB-A. Want more USB ports? Get a little USB-C hub, which has the added benefit that it can draw significantly more power than any traditional unpowered hub.

      C) Er, why? If I can plug in a USB monitor with one port and either not have to supply power to the laptop, or vice-versa, that's got to be more convenient.

      Since USB-C devices and chargers haven't taken to randomly bursting into flames I think your crayon engineering department comment is rubbish. Do you just object to new technology on principle?

    3. Tom 38

      Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

      USB-C on laptops is pointless.

      I think its the best fucking thing since fucking itself. I have one cable that I plug in to my laptop, it goes to a USB-C dock that has two monitors, GbE, all the USB bits I need plugged in to it (including two more USB-C ports), and it charges the laptop at the 130W it needs. USB-C + TB3 is fucking ace, beats any proprietary dock system hands down.

      Might not solve your needs, I've yet to find a situation where I think "God, I wish I had to plug 5 different things in to my laptop".

      1. Anonymous Cabbage
        Coffee/keyboard

        Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

        You appear to have bought a laptop to use as a desktop, which is often a fairly silly idea as laptops have terrible keyboards, plodding CPUs, not enough RAM, tiny disks, are more expensive, etc, compared to the kind of thing that gets shoved under the desk and eats laptops for breakfast. Laptops have their place, but permanently tethered to a desk isn't one of them.

        Although perhaps you just have a huge lap which can accommodate two monitors…

        "Escape" key icon because desktops still have them, unlike certain fashion-accessory laptops.

        1. The other JJ

          Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

          Or on the other hand if you regularly use your laptop on a desk as well as on the move, one cable into that USB-C port and you've got charging, a decent external monitor (or two), full-sized keyboard and mouse, wired network, printer, scanner, external speakers...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

            I've liked the idea of external GPUs ever since I saw the Vaio Z in 2011, back when Thunderbolt (now usually delivered over USB C, previously Display Port, and in the case of this Sony a physical USB A port) was still called Light Peak before Intel went with wire instead of fibre:

            https://www.anandtech.com/show/4474/sony-updates-vaio-z-thinner-lighter-light-peak-and-external-gpu

        2. Tom 38

          Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

          When I'm using a laptop on my lap, I don't need to plug things in to it. But yes, my laptop use is usually in 3 places, at a desk at work, at a desk at home, or in a meeting. The battery lasts 5 hours, so it doesn't need charging much. I do take the charger (which is not USB-C) with me if I'm travelling, or going to be in workshops all day. I find the i9, 64GB RAM and 1TB of nvme is sufficient for most things I've needed so far - certainly thrashes my personal desktop, which I haven't updated since 2014.

          My main monitor is a 4k 43", which is a bit big for even my fat arse.

          I do agree about the escape key, as a vim user its probably the 3rd most hit key; there is enough space around the keyboard on the laptop to have a real escape key rather than those pathetic half height keys. Same for the cursor keys on the laptop in TFA, why do that to the up/down?

          1. Anonymous Crowbar

            Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

            New work supplied macbook. Using pock app to replace the bar with what i want including esc

        3. Triggerfish

          Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

          Oh I dunno, made it easy to transition the whole office to WFH a few weeks back.

      2. hmv

        Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

        And it has the advantage that you can share a power cable with the slack-witted fool who forgot to bring his charger (not uncommonly me).

    4. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

      C) Stupid to combine Display, massive power and USB in one port.

      What is stupid about saving a lot of cable clutter?

      Many years back my dad would shout 'Who can rid me of this fucking snakes'nest from behind my desk?!' at the time, the cables going to his desk were mouse, keyboard, VGA, monitor power, audio cables to two speakers, power to two speakers. A mess.

      Meanwhile, at least Apple were trying, with the keyboard daisy-chaining to mouse - still present on their current USB keyboards as it was in the ADB days), and the Apple Display Connector (single cable from computer to monitor for Power, video and USB, with the Harmon Kardon speakers taking both signal and power from USB)

      1. Dave559

        Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

        "at least Apple were trying, with the keyboard daisy-chaining to mouse"

        Yes, why do so few keyboards not have a USB pass-through port for the mouse to connect to? One fewer thing to have to faff around behind/beneath the desk to connect to the base unit, and less cable clutter on the desk if it means that most of the mouse cable can just remain coiled up instead. Heck, you could even have several ports on the keyboard, and be able to plug low-power devices such as USB flash drives into them as and when needed?

        (I realise that this would require adding USB hub chippery to the keyboard, but the cost of that must be pretty trivial by now?)

        1. Sgt_Oddball

          Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

          My home mechanical keyboard does, it also has one cable for and I quote, USB, PS/2, headphone and microphone connectors. All bound in one neat cable.

          Annoyingly though I've got some weird USB printer switch plugged into it so that I can move between desktop and work laptop. Not nearly as neat anymore and I'm thinking on dropping by the office to grab my Bluetooth keyboard back.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

          I've seen USB sockets on quite a few monitors - plug your mouse and keyboard into the monitor and a USB from the monitor to desktop. Trouble is now I find that I have to deal with a long length of cables between keyboard and the monitor, where as before it would just dangle down the back of the desk

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

            Judicious use of a wooden drawer knob and a piece of double-sided tape will let you wind up unused cable out of the way. Should you wish to remove the drawer at a later date, lighter fluid will remove any sticky residue.

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

        Snakes. Why did it have to be snakes?

    5. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

      >USB-C flaws

      > A) A stupid port to power and charge a laptop compared with a dedicated port.

      You haven't said why you think it's stupid. Your 'point A' is merely reiterating your assertion.

      1. ovation1357
        Thumb Down

        Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

        My twopenny worth here is that whilst USB-C has some cool universal features and the general idea of a standardised port seems great in principle, it's a shitty choice of connector for powering a laptop because it's simply too flimsy!

        My main laptop is a 7 year old Lenovo with the round DC Jack they used for years. It's has a fair old amount of bashing in its lifetime and people tripping over the cable at home and ripping it out, or infants swinging off it, yet it's still the original PSU and the original socket in the machine.

        I hold the Lenovo connector to be quite superior but there's plenty of similar aged laptops of other brands with a similar story to tell.

        My other Lenovo uses the newer style rectangle usb-shaped power jack which also seems pretty robust although now I need yet another charger...

        However, my wife now has an E-series Lenovo ThinkPad, which, to my horror arrived with yet another style of connector. Turns out this is USB C. I noted immediately that it seemed very thin and also that it seemed to stick out much more than the Lenovo proprietary connectors... And I was right! With a few weeks, one of the kids caught the connector and ripped the cable clean off, leaving the metal contacts stuck in the laptop port. The PSU was instantly a brick because you cannot buy replacement connectors (sockets, yes - plugs to solder or crimp onto a cable? Apparently not!)

        Fortunately the laptop itself wasn't damaged and I managed to remove the broken metal and buy a replacement PSU. It's been only a couple of months and it's already loose fitting and playing up! So I've ordered the third new PSU within a year and this time it's one with a USB-C socket on it so you can at least just replace the damaged cable.

        But this leads to another problem: the connector might be the same but it's by no means universal. When my wife's newer charger wouldn't charge her laptop the other day, she tried the charger from our new Android tablet, but that one does nothing either - of course it won't because it only supplies 5v not 20v and at way too small wattage for a laptop but how's someone non technical supposed to know?

        When ordering this latest PSU I very nearly ended up with a 40w one by accident because Amazon lumps those into the results even when you search for 65w. What if my friend comes round with his 85w MacBook - can he use my wife's charger? Even if it works it'll be producing well below the required power.

        So for me, this fad of removing most if not all the useful ports from a laptop and replacing them with a single multipurpose USB C is another reason on top of the shitty chiclet keyboards and lack of escape key (unashamed vim user here too) that I'll be sticking to my T520 until the manufacturers come to their senses :-/

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

          1, at least your laptop was okay. I've known laptops with barrel connectors sustain damage to their power port (Dell) - so more expensive a fix than a new power adapter.

          2, you were unlucky that your laptop vendor integrated the cable into the charger, else you could have just bought a new cable. In their defence, there were a spate of dodgy USB C cables being sold a few years back, so maybe building the cable into the charger was an effort to prevent dangerous cables being used.

          3, it's always better for a cable to fail than the port in an expensive laptop or phone.

          4, if your children are still healthy and running around, USB C > USB C magnetic breakaway adaptors can be had for less than a tenner. Even in the absence of children and other animals, such blocks will prevent the port wearing

          5, good laptops allow charging from more than one USB C port, so the machine is still usable even if one port is damaged

          1. ovation1357

            Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

            Magnetic USB-C connectors you say? Awesome! I'll be looking those up then :-D

        2. Mellipop

          Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

          Stop whining.

          You're comparing a legacy power connector with a multi-function connector that has improved on the original USB connector based on experience.

          All (four) of my portable devices have USB-C charging, and I've just bought a couple of USB-C memory stick.

          It's already here, accept it.

    6. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

      >It's a spec dreamed up by the Crayon Dept, not sensible engineering

      There's nothing wrong with the spec. The issue is with cheap cables from disreputable vendors which don't meet the spec - it's worth spending five minutes researching a cable before buying one (or spending more money for a cable from a reputable brand).

    7. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

      >ou'd need loads of them to replace 3 or 4 USB plus an HDMI, which is an overkill for 2 to 3 of the peripherals/ gadgets plugged in.

      Er no, you'd only need one USB C socket to replace an HDMI and several USB A sockets, if your monitor acts as a USB hub. Otherwise, just two. Which still saves faff.

    8. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

      My biggest beef with any mechanical charging port is that it will suffer from wear and tair. The magnetic adapters on MacBooks up until a few years ago were the way to go for anything that is likely to plugged and unplugged a lot. Maybe we'll get there with USB-D… or wireless charging will become ubiquitous.

      But for manufacturers they're a dream because they can remove other ports from the machine and expect the user to user a breakout box, which provides what they need. It's just a pity that the a lot of the peripherals are not suited to all devices: I cannot use the HDMI adapter of my Planet Gemini with my other phone or a laptop and the breakout box doesn't have HDMI and has itself only one USB-C connection which means it can't be used for charging and video, though Planet "solved" this problem by bricking its ports allowing only one to be used for charging and one to be used for data.

      1. Down not across

        Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

        My biggest beef with any mechanical charging port is that it will suffer from wear and tair.

        Agreed. Epecially with USB ports being fairly flimsy, although USB-C seems bit more robust (so far) than previous USB-A, MicroUSB and the like.

        Reminds me when I used to have a slim 9-pin F-M straight through "gender changer" plugged into serial port to save the real port from wearing out as it got console cables plugged in and out frequently enough. Better to change the few quid adaptor occasionally than whole laptop (or to take it apart to solder a new connector to the mb.

      2. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

        > My biggest beef with any mechanical charging port is that it will suffer from wear and tair.

        Some, but not all, laptops with USB C allow you to power the laptop from more than one USB C port. Not only does this not render the machine unusable should one port fail, but it also gives you the choice of which side you want the power cable.

        Barrel connectors aren't perfect, and Dell has shown that they can fail too.

        1. ovation1357

          Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

          But I want my power adaptor at the back - ports on the side get in my way.

          And USB-C is so flimsy that unless the manufacturers are putting it on a replaceable sub-board like many of the traditional DC jack's then there's going to be a lot of folks needing to replace their motherboard (or pay someone to do surface mount soldering) just because they tripped on the cable :-(

      3. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

        You can buy a USB C to USB C magnetic breakaway connector for less than a tenner, giving you the MacBook-of-yore-style feature

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sure, USB-C is way more versatile

      I do carry a small hub with me, but that's only if I'm going onsite.

      At home, it's ONE USB-C cable in the MacBook (which has 2 on each side) which goes directly to my work screen. Through that one cable it gets power (from the screen), it hooks up to the screen itself, it drives the speakers hooked up to the screen*, it interfaces with a 2TB SSD which I use for Time Machine via one slot of the USB3 hub in the screen and talks to an rather old printer which is hooked up to the second USB3 slot in that screen. Which is 4K@60Hz of which the Macbook could drive two - AFAIK in daisy chain, still over that one stupid cable.

      My old laptop needed a HDMI cable, a power cable, a 3.5mm jack, and two USB3 cables because - and this is important - one of the USB ports had stopped providing enough power. That's a lot of single points of failure, and that did indeed herald the need for replacement after 6 years: a port gave out.

      In the new MacBook I have 4, so if the one I use gives out or wears too much, I still have 3 more. In addition, the PSU now has a sensible, replaceable power cable and I can use the PSU of other USB-C laptops if required so getting a spare isn't hard or expensive.

      As for supplying more than 5V or more than 8W, the cables communicate with the power supply what they can handle so you don't have that risk that originally prompted Apple to come up with the lightning connector: standard USB cables have no built-in controls, so if you want to send 2.4A charging power down a pipe it's better to make sure it's a cable you can trust and is rated for that sort of power. Hence the chip in lightning connectors and now universally in USB-C connectors - a passive cable won't be fed anything more than 5V.

      Yes, it's a pain, but at least it's a one-off pain. I've used VGA, DVI, HDMI 1080 and all of that, and USB A, USB3 and every conceivable power connector under the sun with laptops over the years. USB-C means I can retire half a cabinet full of cable, plus I don't have to worry I've forgotten the one cable I need when I travel or that a cable won't fit in someone else's modern laptop if they need it. It cuts down something fierce on the stock of cabling a support department needs to hold too.

      So, if this was dreamt up by a Crayon Dept, I want some of those crayons because they clearly did a damn good job.

      * But yes, I do miss that universal 3.5mm jack. That's been with us for so long, like 6 or 7 DECADES. In IT terms, that's pretty much forever.

  2. Christopher Reeve's Horse

    OS?

    It's not clear from the review whether this is a Widows 10 or Chromebook device? I'm guessing Windows from the mention of the games titles played.

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: OS?

      Certainly Apple won't sell MacOS for it.

      I'd hope Linux runs OK on it.

      Why are almost all non-Apple laptops still sold with Windows pre-installed rather than an option USB you buy to download and install Win 10? It's not like Win10 works as intended without the Internet. Are we all still paying a Microsoft Tax, or do OEMS actually get Win10 free now because MS wants to make their money from Office 365, Azure and adverts?

      1. Dave559

        Re: OS?

        Yeah, c'mon, is it too much to ask Reg reviewers to plug in an Ubuntu (other user-friendly distros are available) live USB stick while their tea/coffee/whatever is brewing and do an at least cursory 10-minute check that a laptop Works With Linux? (We don't expect a guarantee, but at least a "seems to work OK" can be helpful.)

        Perhaps it's much less of an issue nowadays, as most laptop components do seem to work well with Linux (arguably, often with far less hassle than with Windows itself, here's where your real plug-n-play is), but every so often a laptop manufacturer decides to spec a real cheap-n-nasty WiFi or Bluetooth chipset that you have to embark on a long and arduous adventure though many twisty tangled forum threads to seek out the fabled but possibly non-existent driver of power, and, if the brave adventurer finally finds the path to the goal, only the truly blessed can unlock the maze of ever-changing transient download sites, hoping against hope that they chose wisely to have the wayfinding abilities of a ranger and will not turn out to need the deep source knowledge of a wizard should the magical object need compiling before its powers can be unlocked...

        1. Dave559

          Re: OS?

          Actually, I suspect/hope that it might be pretty Linux friendly.

          The China-produced Ubuntu derivative, Ubuntu Kylin, is introducing a new desktop environment that is very clearly designed to substitute for Windows 10 as far as end users are concerned, and so I wouldn't be surprised if it ships with Ubuntu Kylin by default in China?

          With the help of Wine + warez, users might then have access to everything they need, although I'd hope that they'd take the more ethical path of using open source software instead (and so also not have to worry about data lock-in, either).

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: OS?

          Isn't there some website dedicated to testing Linux on various laptops, and for Penguins to share such experiences? If there isn't, why not start one? If there is such a website, maybe share the link every time The Reg looks at a laptop.

          1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
            Linux

            Re: OS?

            There's this one:

            https://linux-laptop.net/

            but I don't think it's been updated in a while.

        3. ovation1357

          Re: OS?

          A-men brother :-)

          I read that the Huawei matebook works well with Linux so let's hope it's true for the Honor version too.

          Sadly for me this machine looks far too much like a MacBook to be of much interest to me. But Linux compatibility is really important for me these days.

          1. Mellipop

            Re: OS?

            You can usually remove the UEFI tentacles of W10 and replace the OS with something pragmatic like Linux or BSD.

            I've paid for one of these bargains:

            https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/aerobook-pro-15-6-timeless-elegance-with-4k-visual#/

  3. This post has been deleted by its author

  4. Sebastian Brosig
    Coat

    Camera Angle

    It's OK they have Software Nose Hair Removal

    1. hmv

      Re: Camera Angle

      And the bonus feature of a nostril-cam ... people are less likely to invite you to the next video conference.

  5. Graham 32

    bezel-hugging 1080p FHD display?

    Is the display bezel-hugging? The images on Amazon and Argos suggest it suffers from the common problem of a widescreen display in a much squarer lid, so a huge bezel at the bottom of the screen. However, on those sites the logo on the lower bezel says "MagicBook" - did they change it between review samples and launch? - whereas the image in the article shows "HONOR" and looks reasonably thin but it's not clear what angle the screen is at. A few more snaps would have helped.

    The popup camera made some sense on the Huawei Matebook X Pro because the screen pretty much filled the lid. When there's so much empty space in the lid, moving the screen down by a few mm to put the camera at the top would be better.

    And is the screen gloss or matte? It looks like it's matte, which for me makes it much more desirable.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: bezel-hugging 1080p FHD display?

      I prefer the top of the screen to be as high as possible - it's more comfortable to have the screen closer to eye level. On joy of a 4:3 or 16:10 screen is that the top of the screen is higher.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Data slurp?

    What BIOS is in it and will it be sending data back to CN servers without your knowledge?

    Could be important, because that camera angle possibly ideal for creating amateur PornHub videos, allegedly ;-)

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Data slurp?

      So, your worried enough to worry about the camera, but not so worried that you won't stick a piece of duck tape over it? That's a specific and narrow range of worry! :)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Data slurp?

        It's a pop-up camera. No tape required. RTFA. (or at least look at the pretty pictures)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Data slurp?

          That kinda depends on what pops up first.

          I'll be here all week, thanks.

          :)

  7. andy 103
    Meh

    Still looking for a 2015 MacBook Air replacement

    I have a 2015 MacBook Air and it's by far the best laptop I've ever owned. I still use it daily and it's worked flawlessly since I bought it.

    Here's my issue - this laptop cost me about £800 five years ago. The current Apple Macbook Air (and non-Air) offerings are either: (1) not much better in Spec than what I've got, other than perhaps the Retina display, and (2) would still cost me at least £700 assuming I flogged mine for somewhere in the region of £300 which looks about right according to eBay.

    Then there's the issue that my Air has ports I actually use. The only adaptor I've ever bought is a Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adaptor to hook it up to an external monitor and occasionally a TV. I have a (very old but perfectly good) printer that's USB 2.0. That wouldn't be the case with any new Apple laptop.

    So if I take that ~£700 Windows laptops like this look tempting. This MagicBook looks like a decent contender. It's got the right screen size, useful ports, more RAM and SSD than my Air. The only thing I don't really like is that webcam.

    But here's the question. In 5 years time, will this still work as well as my Air is? Will it still be worth about £300 for a trade-in? Probably not and Definitely not - are the answers to those.

    Essentially this isn't as good as something I bought 5 years ago. I remember getting a laptop in 2003 and another in 2008 and they were worlds apart in terms of build quality, performance and everything else. That doesn't seem the case with a lot of things I'm seeing released now.

    So...I'm still looking...

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Still looking for a 2015 MacBook Air replacement

      The Huawai Matebook range has similar look to MacBook Pros, and they all have 16:10 screens like your Air. Some versions have discrete GPUs, but that's likely to be over your budget.

      Read reviews carefully about whatever you choose to ensure that its fan noise isn't too much louder than the MacBook Air.

      Some, but not all, laptops with USB C allow the use of external GPUs.

      Yeah, PC laptops have caught up with Apple, with decent trackpads and better build quality than was the norm a few years back.

      1. andy 103

        Re: Still looking for a 2015 MacBook Air replacement

        I might have confused things with the last point. What I meant was I bought a Windows laptop in 2003 and another in 2008. The upgrade after 5 years was very noticeable all round. The upgrade was worth the money.

        If I bought a new Macbook Air (5 years after buying my last one) - or even the laptop here - it wouldn't give me an upgrade which was worth the money. I find that quite fascinating.

        Most Macbook Air's now - aside from the Retina Display - aren't even that much higher spec than what I already have, and then lack ports which I still find useful. On the other hand Mac's do hold their value since mine is still worth ~35% of what I paid for it all those years ago. I can't see that being the case with any non-Apple laptop especially one like in this article.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Still looking for a 2015 MacBook Air replacement

      "So if I take that ~£700 Windows laptops like this look tempting. "

      According to the article, it's £549. Does affect your decision?

  8. baud
    Coat

    > Tomb Raider

    Hey, I hope that any modern computer can run the port of a PS1 game that's 25 years old.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Shadow of the Tomb Raider - 2018

      Though in context, the article described it as an older game.

      1. baud

        Personally, I think the Tomb Raider in question is the 2013 reboot, since it's alongside Civ 5 and not Civ 6.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Hmmm, I might have to look at Civ 5, given I've got time on my hands and a 2010 era laptop that doesn't meet the minimum siecs for Elite (Elite Dangerous that is, before someone makes a quip about not being able to run a Sinclair Spectrum game)

  9. Torchy

    Parent Company is.......

    Well since it is Chinese and we all know where that virus came from I will not be buying one never mind any products Chinese in the future.

    Our whole office is now committed to giving Chinese goods a miss for the foreseeable future.

    Join in and source locally if possible, if not then learn to do without.

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