Are MacBook Pros as durable/long lasting as Thinkpads?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by e5volcano, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. e5volcano macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2010
    Hey all, entering university soon and was deciding between a Macbook Pro 13 inch or a Lenovo Thinkpad X series.

    First off: I have used both systems, have windows and iMac at home and I like both OS's (Mac OSX I might have a slight favorite towards) but OS use would not matter since I can install windows on a mac, but OSX isnt a deal-sealer for me.
    What I am mainly considering is computer power, weight, battery length, and especially durability since I am sure accidents may happen

    The MBP beats the thinkpad in computing power and screen (although I'd prefer matte, I probably wont use my MBP indoors alot) but the thinkpad wins on battery length and weight.

    But as I said, my main concern is durability. I have always used thinkpads for I love that they are so durable: Metal hinges, basically undentable, keyboards with water reservoirs so you can spill a great deal of water and the computer will still work.

    So my question is to you MBP users: Everything aside (OS, looks, etc) , would you consider your MBP durable/strong and about how long does the battery last through constant useage before it goes really weak?
  2. wordoflife, Feb 1, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011

    wordoflife macrumors 604


    Jul 6, 2009
    The MacBook pro is a very durable laptop. In fact, no modern laptop is just going to fall apart randomly ... so in that sense, they are all very durable. The MBP is by no means a toughbook though. If you spill a drop of water, it will kill it. Its also prone to denting (due to the nature of the exterior material).

    Whether you buy a $300 laptop or MBP, its "durable" (as in, it wont crack and fall apart) but what I think you are trying suggest is the quality (?) of the MBP? In that sense, its a very high quality device. I personally haven't used a Thinkpad in a while, but I think the MBP is a higher quality device. Not sure how the current thinkpads are.

    The MBP battery is great. It retains up to 80% of its original capacity before it reaches 1000 cycles . I'm not sure of other laptops with that technology. If you ran 1 cycle everyday, it should last you over 3.5 years (at 80% or higher of original capacity). of course, the battery will still work after a 1000 cycles, just with degraded performance.

    Don't worry, the MBP will be fine for tossing into your backpack and taking with you everywhere. It depends how OCD you are about it though. If you don't mind some wear and tear, then you don't need to worry about anything. If you a anal about scratches and scuffs, then you might want to get a hard case / carrying pad. In my experience though, this computer is hard to scratch.
    Obviously, (with any laptop), just don't keep the laptop all the way at the bottom of your bag with 4 textbooks on top.
  3. SmokeyRobinson macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2010
  4. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Oct 24, 2007
    Obviously the thinkpad is going to be more robust because that's what the guys at lenovo want.

    magnesium alloy
    Roll cage
    metal hinges
    spill resistant keyboard
    -and according to the military-
    low pressure
    high humidity
    high temperature
    low temperature
    temperature shock

    Macbook Pro:
    Glass (trackpad + screen).
    Tight quarters.

    Macbook pro battery will last a while, should give you 80% charge up to 1000 cycles (meaning full drains and recharges). I don't know how that stacks up to the thinkpad though.

    Do i consider the MBP to be tough? Not as tough as a thinkpad, but tough enough to where I don't really need to worry about it, especially with an SSD, matte screen and clear shell in place.
  5. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    ThinkPad = slows down inexplicably after a few months due to Windows.

    MBP = Mac OS X.
  6. PowerGamerX macrumors 6502a


    Aug 9, 2009
    Go with the ThinkPad. My current one is an X200 and I absolutely love it. It feels much more sturdy than the 13" MBP I had despite being made of plastic. If longevity is what you're looking for, the ThinkPad is the one you want to get. I've spilled water on this thing (early morning slowness), and it still works great. With the 6 cell I get about 7 hours and with a 9 cell around 10. With the X201, I've heard its been improved even on that front.

    Also, unless you're doing heavy graphics work, the X201 is a beast, considering its size, and the fact that it uses full power components.

    @Consultant You probably haven't used Windows 7 that much, or a ThinkPad. The ThinkPad doesn't come with any bloatware. Well, maybe one or two things, but easily removable. Also, there are plenty of alternates to Windows, and Ubuntu is surprisingly full featured and usable, enough so, that it has become my main OS on the machine... and I've been a long time Linux critic and OS X advocate.
  7. SmokeyRobinson macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2010
    Dont be an idiot. We all know you have a problem with Microsoft for some reason; we can see your site. Also your crummy website hurts my eyes.
  8. INEEDANOTEBOOK macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2010
    Icy City
    I've had a thinkpad for 5 years, and it is still in perfect shape from the perspective of the hardware and cosmetically. But it is just that I've experienced too many slowdowns and virus infections...

    I just bought my macbook pro, so I can't vouch for its build quality yet, but I've had an Imac for several years now and the stability of the system is awesome.

    Just for that, I guess that macbooks might give you a better experience.
  9. e5volcano thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2010
    Would you say the MBP runs at a high temp consistently? I've heard that a problem with the aluminum MBP's and I've had problems with overheating on my first laptop (dell, lol).
  10. neko girl macrumors 6502a

    neko girl

    Jan 20, 2011
    I think what you're looking for is: A Thinkpad Pro is more scratchable. You can scratch it and probably not care about it as much. In a way, that's the benefit of a relatively cheap (not in an insulting way) exterior. You will hate scratching the MacBook Pro, but less durable? I think not.

    Trying smacking a Thinkpad and see how long it lasts.

    Edit: The ability for a Thinkpad's keyboard to eat your water and poop it harmlessly out the bottom is amazing. You won't get this in a MacBook.
  11. Macloven macrumors regular


    Aug 25, 2008
    I've had two Thinkpads. Both high level, magnesium body, titanium display cover, etc:

    TP #1. motherboard problems out of warranty that required putting it in the fridge to boot up. This allowed me to back everything up. This was a know problem but IBM/Lenovo wouldn't touch it out of warranty.
    TP #2. numerous viruses despite running every virus protection possible. Maybe not an IBM thing, but very frustrating. Power adaptor lost contact requiring dock to charge. Hinge on display snapped so won't close properly and when you open it, little bits of plastic break off.

    Both machines had batteries that lasted no more than 6 months, again not covered by IBM for various reasons. And when they die, they die fast.

    Four macbook pros in the family right now, everything covered under warranty other than dvd drive failure.

    All laptops are treated with respect, put in cases when in backpacks or briefcases, etc. and so far no problems with durability.

    So this may be a statistical variation, but Macbooks have treated me far better than Thinkpads.


  12. the-ep, Feb 1, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011

    the-ep macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2010
    Wait, where am I again?
    As a user of both a 13" MBP (2009) and a x201, I'll say that MBPs are as durable as ThinkPads, but in a different sense.

    ThinkPads are hardware-wise the more stable, thanks to the magnesium alloy and metal framework used underneath (not sure whether Lenovo still uses the latter though). The MBPs tend to dent and scratch over time, and the trackpad can wear out in some cases (happened on mine last year, had to send it in).

    MBPs, on the other hand, benefit from software stability, with most of it coming from Mac OS X alone. The ThinkPad comes with some bloatware, but it's a lot more manageable than that on most other Windows OEM systems.

    Simply put, I'd recommend the x201 over the MBP unless:
    - You need OS X for your work
    - You need a built-in disc drive, whether it be for actual burning or for taking it out and sticking a second HDD / SDD in there
    - The workload involves graphics, particularly 3D and OpenGL (Intel drivers have lousy OpenGL acceleration)
    - Weight and battery life are issues (the x201 9-cell battery juts out of the system's back and makes it feel slightly heavier than the MBP, and typically it lasts me about 5-6 hours)

    EDIT: Concerning overheating, the MBP does run hot when doing CPU and/or GPU-intensive activity, but I have never seen it shut down due to that. On the other hand, the x201 shut itself down several times due to heat during long TF2 sessions.
  13. vincenz macrumors 601


    Oct 20, 2008
    Your username is apt.
  14. e5volcano thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2010
    The reason why I ask is that for college, I'll be taking out and putting my laptop in my laptop sleeve of my backpack constantly...and some people may step or push my backpack with my laptop in has happened before with my thinkpad in it and no problems yet
  15. PowerGamerX macrumors 6502a


    Aug 9, 2009
    You're not supposed to be playing TF2 on it! This is a business laptop! It's meant for serious things! Like... Team Fortress Classic

    The X201 IS an ultra portable THINKPAD after all, it was never meant to do games. It was meant to make presentations, be productive, and not break on you when you need it most.

    I too am guilty of playing TF2 on mine though...

    For school... get the ThinkPad. I'd always be paranoid about my shiny new Mac getting scratched or dented :(
  16. SmokeyRobinson macrumors regular

    Dec 11, 2010
    As of now I know the condition of 3 friend's macs. All 3 are slow, 1 has had 2 hard drive failures, a broken charger, and a chipped chassis. Another has had 1 HDD failure and a graphics card failure. The third is fine, but just extremely slow. Serious.

    My gf is over and handed me her MB to find a show to watch with the comment "You can use it but its being dumb!"

    My last computer, which is older than all 3 and running Windows 7 since it RTMed, performs better than all 3 of their macs.
  17. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    The MBP is the more refined where as the ThinkPad is the tougher. Both are good. The MacBook Pro, on average, has higher ratings, both user and professional, than the ThinkPad. With that said, you can get a i7 in the X where as you are stuck with C2D with the MBP. At comparable configurations they aren't all that different price wise. I'd get the MBP but I doubt you will be disappointed either way.
  18. kevink2 macrumors 65816

    Nov 2, 2008
    I've had a couple Thinkpads through the years. No special durability. But these were low end consumer models too :(

    I probably would have bought a higher end Thinkpad 5 years ago before I bought a Toshiba, but at the time the Thinkpad in the form factor I wanted had a screen that only did 1024x768. Which was a dealbreaker for me in a laptop.
  19. NZed macrumors 65816


    Jan 24, 2011
    Canada, Eh?
    poop it out of the bottom lol
  20. NZed macrumors 65816


    Jan 24, 2011
    Canada, Eh?
    how is your toshiba? mine came with Vista OEM and i installed XP instead. Now when i try to restore to vista, an error comes up saying that it couldnt read some files(win 7 too)
  21. ZenErik macrumors 6502

    Dec 22, 2007
    I've got a ThinkPad L412 and love it. I use it for Windows and Linux, and it works great. Swapped out the optical drive for a SSD as well. :) Still have my MacBook Pro for whenever I feel like using it and for recording music.

    MacBook Pro with 2 storage drives: 5 - 6 hours battery life with casual use.

    ThinkPad L412 (9-cell battery) with 2 storage drives: 7 - 8 hours with casual use on Windows. About 6 - 7 with Linux Mint Debian.

    Not saying that much though because the 9-cell battery has a higher capacity. Lenovo has excellent warranty service, BTW. Just like Apple, they don't care who the original owner is. The warranty follows the machine, not the owner. So much better than dealing with Dell or HP.

    Aside from durability, it really comes down to which OS X you are more comfortable with. I enjoy Mac OS, Windows, and Linux. If you have a preference for Mac OS, get a Mac. If you like Windows, get a Lenovo. You can Boot Camp with a Mac, but I have had problems with that. I don't really like the way Windows works on a Mac laptop, to be honest. Same with Linux. Was not happy with the way it was running on a 2010 MBP. And I have had other issues. Like Boot Camp bricking my computer on an XP Pro service pack 2 installation. They had to change my logic board at the Apple store. :D
  22. Ferry888 macrumors member

    Jun 22, 2009
    I think MBP are very durable. I got mine 8 months now, dropped it a few times but it still works very fine. Since it is made from aluminum it got a few dents but that is just cosmetic, the system it self functions perfectly.

    Checked my battery on coconut it has got 301 cycles and 92% full charge.
    I have not calibrated it since the day I bought it.
  23. altecXP macrumors 65816

    Aug 3, 2009
    I have an x200 and a mbp. The thinkpad I feel like I can toss around, throw in my bag ect. The mbp I feel like I have to more carefull because I can dent it. So I find myself with the x200 when traveling more.
  24. greytmom macrumors 68040


    Jun 23, 2010
    Bought my MBP over 3 years ago. Now, keep in mind that I'm not in the habit of spilling a liter of Coke on it, but I can truthfully say that it's in near perfect condition. The only surface that even has any marks is the bottom, where it has a scrape mark from being slid around on a desk.

    Hinges work fine, keyboard is perfect, screen is perfect, etc.
  25. grahamnp macrumors 6502a

    Jun 4, 2008
    First of all, a Mac is designed to run OSX, it loses quite a few advantages when you put Windows on it. Also, as a Windows based machine, it is phenomenally bad value. Secondly, the X series thinkpads and the 13" MBP don't quite compare.

    All of that aside the unibody Macbook Pros are beautifully made and they feel solid but they are not rugged. It's like comparing an ornament to a brick.

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