Lenovo X1 Carbon (2017) -v- Macbook Pro nTB (2016)

Discussion in 'Alternatives to Mac Hardware' started by raqball, Jun 10, 2017.

  1. raqball macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2016
    #1
    Lenovo X1 Carbon (2017) -v- Macbook Pro nTB (2016)

    I had the Macbook Pro nTB for about 3 months after it was initially released. I sold it and recently purchased a Lenovo X1 Carbon 5th Gen (2017).. The comparison won’t be fair in some areas due to the X1’s configuration but the key thing to remember is that I paid the same price (give or take a few $$) for them both.

    Macbook Pro nTB (2016) = $1499
    • Intel Core i5-6360U
    • 8GB RAM 1866 MHz
    • 256GB SSD
    • Intel Iris 540
    • Screen: 2560×1600 at 13.3"
    • No LTE
    • Warranty: 1-year carry in or mail
    • Weight: 3.02 LBS

    Lenovo X1 Carbon 5th Gen (2017) = $1575**
    • Intel Core i5-7300U
    • 16GB RAM 1866 MHz
    • 512GB SSD OPAL 2.0
    • Intel HD 620
    • Screen: 1920x1080 at 14.0"
    • LTE card
    • Warranty: 3-year next day onsite
    • Weight: 2.49 LBS
    Those are the basic specs and prices for both of the machines. **I purchased the X1C during a holiday sale and I got an additional 10% off the sale price. Normal price for my machine is about $2300. Lenovo has sales all the time so the price I paid is not an oddity…

    Build quality:

    Macbook Pro: 9/10

    X1 Carbon: 9/10

    I rate this as a tie for a few reasons. The X1 Carbon is well built and it even has a roll cage inside to protect the machine components. It has also passed like 200 military level tests for abuse. The Macbook Pro is without a doubt the better-looking machine. It’s clean and sexy looking! You can’t go wrong with either.

    The X1C, while maintaining similar build quality is also almost a half a pound lighter. The Macbook Pro weighs about 3 pounds while the X!C weighs in at about 2.50 pounds..

    Specs / bang for the buck:

    Macbook Pro: 6/10

    X1 Carbon: 9/10

    It’s not even close here. The X1 Carbon demolishes the Macbook Pro. The specs are overall much better, it has twice the RAM, twice the SSD space and a much better warranty. The Macbook Pro I had came with 2 USB C ports and a head phone jack. The X1 Carbon has 2ea USB C, 2ea USB A, a full-size HDMI, an R45, a headphone jack and an SD card slot.

    Performance:

    Macbook Pro: 8.5/10

    X1 Carbon: 9/10

    The X1C flat out screams through everything. It’s fast and snappy. On my Macbook Pro I would often get the dreaded beachball and the transitions and animations would sometimes lag. None of that on the X!C under Windows 10 or Ubuntu.

    Geekbench:

    Macbook Pro: 3,691 & 7,148

    X1 Carbon: 4,139 & 8,311

    SSD Read and Write:

    Macbook Pro Read 1345 and Write 1320

    X1 Carbon: Read 1827 and Write 1387

    Those are just a few and I could have gone on. All in all they are fairly close in most benchmarks but the X1C gets the edge for me at least as it just feels smoother and snappier than the macbook Pro did.

    Keyboard:

    Macbook Pro 7/10

    X1 Carbon 10/10

    It’s not even close here. The X!C flat out demolishes the KB on the Macbook Pro. The X1C is very comfortable to type on and I can blaze along with minimal errors. Key travel and feel of the keys is top notch! If there is one thing Lenovo is renowned for, it’s their keyboards.

    The KB on the Macbook Pro is not terrible but it’s not good either. Some love it, some hate and some just tolerate it. I liked it well enough during my time with it but I did have the sticky key issues that many others face with the machine.

    Trackpad:

    Macbook Pro 10/10

    X1 Carbon 8.5/10

    Macbooks are well known for their trackpads and it easily wins here. The Macbook Pro trackpad is the best, hands down, and no one can even come close… The trackpad on the X1C is very good for a Windows machine, where most have average (at best) trackpads. The X1C has an above average trackpad in that regard. It also has the nub and trackpoint which some (me) love and use.

    Screen / display:

    Macbook Pro 9.5/10

    X1 Carbon 8/10

    The display on the Macbook is top notch, no doubt about it. It’s crisp, clear and has above average brightness. My X1C has the 1080p screen which I am fine with. It is also crisp and clear but not as visually stunning as the Macbook Pro. Windows also still has issues with scaling so I prefer a FHD screen for Windows use.

    The X1C has a 14” screen as opposed to the 13.3” on the Macbook Pro. The X1C manages to cram the 14” screen into the body of a 13” laptop due to its reduced bezels.

    Sound:

    Macbook Pro 10/10

    X1 Carbon 8/10

    The Macbook Pro excels here. Sound from my Macbook was crystal clear and lound. It was amazingly good, almost great! Sound from the X1C is pretty good but nowhere even close to the Macbook Pro. I don’t have any issue with sound from the X1C but there is no doubt the Macbook Pro rules this area.

    Battery Life:

    Macbook Pro 7/10

    X1C Windows 8.5/10

    X1C Linux 9/10

    With my nTB Macbook I was getting about 6 to 7 hours of battery life. This was before Apple sent out the fix so maybe it’s gotten better now. On my X1C under Windows 10 I am getting about 9-10 hours of battery life and on Ubuntu (with TLP) I am getting about 10-11 hours. The #’s on my X1C may change over time as I have limited battery cycles on it at the moment.

    Operating System:

    MacOS 9/10

    Windows 8.5/10

    Ubuntu 8.5/10

    This is a another tricky one. I prefer MacOS over any of the other OS’s out there but MacOS is not without its issues and quirks. I still give MacOS the lead here but Windows 10 is catching up quickly. I find Windows 10 to be very stable, fast and snappy. Ubuntu works fine on the X1C and everything is working as it should like WiFi, trackpad, the nub, ect..

    Warranty:

    Macbook Pro 9/10

    X1 Carbon 9.5/10

    This is another tough one. Apple has stellar service no doubt and if you live close to an Apple store then Apple warranty has more value. If you do not live close to an Apple store then the value is decreased as you’d be stuck mailing your machine in. The Macbook Pro comes with a 1-year warranty but you can purchase Apple Care for it and extend the coverage.

    My X1C came with 3-year next business day onsite warranty. Meaning they will come to my home, business or any place I happen to be within one business day to repair the machine. This is valid worldwide so if I am sitting in a hotel in Germany, England, France or wherever, that’s where the technician will go.

    As with ever manufacturer YMMV as some have had terrible experience with both Apple and Lenovo. Some have has stellar experiences with them both as well.

    Other / final thoughts:

    My X1 Carbon was ordered in silver, which is a new color for it this year. Some long time X1C lovers will scoff at the new color and dismiss it but I kind of dig it! I am OCD and greasy print and palm smudges bother me. The normal X1C black is a greasy smudge magnet! After a few hours of use the black will look like it’s been through a war zone. My silver does not show any of these smudges and does a great job of rejecting and / or hiding them.

    My X1C also has an LTE card installed. I went down to AT&T and had the machine added to my data share account and got a data SIM card for it. The LTE works great and even though I probably won’t use it often, it’s nice to have the option available.

    Photos of the silver X1C:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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    [​IMG]
     
  2. zen macrumors 68000

    zen

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    #2
    Very interesting comparisons, thanks for posting!
     
  3. raqball thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2016
    #3
    I try to be fair and rated the MacBook ahead in the areas where it is.. I don't look at these types of things with blinders on though...

    Sure it's kind of an unfair comparison IF someone were to pay full price for the X1C but Lenovo always has sales and getting an additional 10% off even their sales prices is easy....

    What I paid for mine is comparable to what I paid for my 2016 MacBook Pro but the machines are night and day different from a usability standpoint..

    The Lenovo flat out demolishes the MacBook in most areas with the MacBook snagging a few wins here and there..
     
  4. Queen6 macrumors 604

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Land of the Unexpected
    #4
    Have seen a few other silver ThinkPads here in Asia, yet to see the X1 Carbon with this colour option. Overall liking the look and lack of fingerprints :)

    Q-6
     
  5. raqball, Jun 15, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2017

    raqball thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2016
    #5
    I was checking their website daily for the silver to show as a custom order option.. It was only available for one day.. The day after I ordered I checked again and it was no longer listed as an option and Its not came back yet as an option. I wonder if they are only making so many of them?

    I really like the silver.. I had a 3rd gen X1C and a Dell XPS (1st version) and the black drove me bananas with smudges and prints showing.. Heck after an hour they looked like a greasy smudge, smear and print mess! No such problems with the silver!
     
  6. Queen6 macrumors 604

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Land of the Unexpected
    #6
    I can live with black, however I prefer the likes of Mac's and now the Surface Book which rarely if ever shows any indication of handling, even the keys versus Apple's which tend to polish up rapidly and retain grease more these days.

    Q-6
     
  7. macjunk(ie) macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2009
    #7
    Thinkpad = always black!
    I don't dig the silver color on this.

    Thanks for the review though. I tried one at work and these are fantastic machines!
     
  8. raqball thread starter macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2016
    #8
    Yeah a lot of X1 Carbon lovers do not like the fact that Lenovo offered it in silver this year.... Maybe I got the only one? LOL
     
  9. Queen6 macrumors 604

    Queen6

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2008
    Location:
    Land of the Unexpected
    #9
    Liked it as differentiated the model and of course keeps the paw prints to minimum :p

    Q-6
     
  10. macgeek18 macrumors 68000

    macgeek18

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Location:
    Northern California
    #10
    The X1C is a nice machine! I was dying for one when they first came out in 2012. I have a T410s that is still running great even though it is 7 years old. It's the original X1C.
     
  11. hajime macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    #11
    I had the T20 and T21.
     
  12. macgeek18 macrumors 68000

    macgeek18

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Location:
    Northern California
    #12
    Good machines. I still use a T500 and T42 daily.
     
  13. macgeek18 macrumors 68000

    macgeek18

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Location:
    Northern California
    #13
    I was recently shopping for a new ThinkPad and picked up a E570. It's what I wanted in a budget 15" laptop. i5 7200U, 8GB, 256GB M.2 SSD FullHD Screen, and Windows 10 Pro. I really like it and I had the E550 before it and this guy screams. I also wanted a new ultraportable and picked up a 12" YOGA. Looks like in going to have a serious Lenovo family.
    [​IMG]
     
  14. DeepIn2U macrumors 603

    DeepIn2U

    Joined:
    May 30, 2002
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    #14
    Solid review honestly!!

    I have the 2017 X1 Carbon 20HQ model or 5th generation (provided by work) and I can tell you this machine does NOT come with "an R45" or RJ45 port since you have a typo above. It comes with a USB-A to RJ45 adapter it's not built in.

    Just wanted to make that clear since nobody that's replied using several ThinkPads have noticed this typo.

    Again solid review and although we all love Mac OS we can see 2 major issues with quality and performance offering from Apple in the last 2 years:

    1. Specifications are 1-yr older open release - getting VERY pathetic here.
    2. Price remains the same throughout the entire long 8-12mth cycle ... no end of cycle sales etc.

    Moreover ...

    Seems both Lenovo and Apple are doing some sort of firmware customization with the Thunderbolt 3 ports ... Lenovo's TB3 dock it's out of the box compatible with 2017 MBP without some tweaking from what I'm gathering with a colleagues findings. I'd like to dig deeper about this myself but I'll have to wait until the next refresh of the 13" MBP.

    FYI ... 6th generation X1 Carbons are now released with newer CPU's slightly faster Intel HD/Iris GPU's.
     

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