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engbren

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 21, 2011
131
86
Australia
A few weeks ago, I was able to purchase a refurbished Lenovo Thinkpad E14 2nd Gen laptop. I had intended to use it for very light casual gaming with my son. The model is about a year old, so the specs are decent but not amazing:

  • Windows 11 Home
  • Core i5 11-135g7 with Iris XE graphics
  • 16 GB RAM
  • 512 GB m.2 nvme SSD
I use a m1 Macbook Air as my BYOD laptop for work. It is similarly kitted out with 16GB RAM and 512 GB SSD. Benchmark wise, the m1 Macbook Air is still faster than the Lenovo by a wide margin. However, for everday tasks like web browsing, email, office applications, streaming that speed difference is barely noticeable. I've been somewhat surprised by the Thinkpad as it is the first Windows laptop I've used in years that just actually works. I've found I'm almost as productuve on the Thinkpad as on the Mac:
  • Closing the lid and re-opening has worked flawlessly. On my prior Windows laptops, I'd close the lid drop the laptop in my bag and pull it out an hour or so later and find the laptop extremely hot and the battery drained.
  • The keyboard on the Thinkpad is a little more spongy than my Mac but has slightly larger keys which means my typing speed and accuracy is similar
  • The trackpad, whilst smaller, actually works well for all gestures
  • Bluetooth works almost flawlessly
  • Wifi 6 connections are held
There's a few things that are significantly better on the Macbook Air:
  • The screen quality - the Thinkpad has a 1080p screen with fairly low colour accuracy, so Macbook Air's screen wins hands down on resolution, vibrancy and colour accuracy;
  • The webcam - both have 720p webcams, the Macbook Air's webcam just produces a slightly nicer image;
  • The weight - the Thinkpad is closer to a Macbook Pro in weight so it is noticeable in the bag;
  • Fan noise - the Thinkpad is generally very quiet but when pushed, the fan noise does get loud, it cant compete with the total silence of Macbook Air
  • Battery life - the Thinkpad can't last a full workday without a charge whereas the Macbook Air can.
  • Integration with Apple ecosystem such as iPhone and Airpods. Even with the new Intel Unify app that can do iMessage and make phone calls on Windows, its very clunky, so Mac wins hands down here
The certified refurbished Lenovo, which came with a six month warranty cost around $500 AUD. Its a nice machine for the price and I've been way more impressed with it than I ever expected. Not enough for me to permanently switch to Windows but enough to actually use it for a few days and not feel like my productivity is severly hampered.
 

maflynn

macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
73,682
43,718
The certified refurbished Lenovo, which came with a six month warranty cost around $500 AUD. Its a nice machine for the price
That's the bottom line, and comparing a 500 dollar laptop vs. a 1,000 dollar laptop is a bit of an apples and oranges comparison. I would definitely expect a 500 dollar laptop have inferior display, web cam and performance then a 1,000 dollar laptop - that's just me

I'm not marginalizing the M1/M2 MBA, they're fantastic machines, with phenomenal battery life to be sure but a low end laptop such as that isn't in the same ballpark
 
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maflynn

macrumors Haswell
May 3, 2009
73,682
43,718
I just googled alternatives to the MBA and one of them came up as the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2 Intel (13”)

Without any foreknowledge or research this appears to be a better comparison. The M1 MBA display has a resolution of 1680 x 1050 400 nits, ,full P3 , wifi 6, 720p web cam and up to 15 hours of battery life

the Nano has (2160 x 1350), IPS, Anti-Glare, sRGB, 450 nits Wifi 6E, 1080p web cam and up to 14 hours of battery life

The price is 1133 for the Nano and the M1 MBA is 999. Seems like the machines are nearly identical with the Nano having better screen, wifi, and webcam, though I think the performance of the MBA will be superior, especially while on battery.
 
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engbren

macrumors regular
Original poster
Jul 21, 2011
131
86
Australia
That's the bottom line, and comparing a 500 dollar laptop vs. a 1,000 dollar laptop is a bit of an apples and oranges comparison. I would definitely expect a 500 dollar laptop have inferior display, web cam and performance then a 1,000 dollar laptop - that's just me

I'm not marginalizing the M1/M2 MBA, they're fantastic machines, with phenomenal battery life to be sure but a low end laptop such as that isn't in the same ballpark

The Lenovo Thinkpad E14 Gen 4 (confusingly there doesn't seem to have been a Gen 3 Intel version) is presently on sale on the Lenovo website at $1,099 AUD. This seems to be regularly discounted from Lenovo's retail price of $1,919. The model listed on the website is a spec bump version of mine as it has a 12th gen CPU but otherwise similar specs. The base model m1/8GB RAM/256GB SSD from Apple starts at $1,499 but other vendors have them on sale from $1,278 at the moment.

I just googled alternatives to the MBA and one of them came up as the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2 Intel (13”)

Without any foreknowledge or research this appears to be a better comparison. The M1 MBA display has a resolution of 1680 x 1050 400 nits, ,full P3 , wifi 6, 720p web cam and up to 15 hours of battery life

the Nano has (2160 x 1350), IPS, Anti-Glare, sRGB, 450 nits Wifi 6E, 1080p web cam and up to 14 hours of battery life

The price is 1133 for the Nano and the M1 MBA is 999. Seems like the machines are nearly identical with the Nano having better screen, wifi, and webcam, though I think the performance of the MBA will be superior, especially while on battery.
Of course, there are other better alternatives to MBA from Lenovo and other manufacturers. I had two different purposes for the two machines so wasn't intending to compare them but ended up doing so because they are what I have available to me to compare. However, I was surprised by how well Windows has held up. I have been using various Mac laptops (Macbook Air 2011 11 inch, Macbook Air 2014 11 inch, 2019 Macbook Pro 13 inch and Macbook Air 2020 13 inch). In that time, I have been issued various Windows laptops by employers running Windows 7 & Windows 10, all Dell laptops. Those laptops have been absolute productivity nightmares, with typical Windows complaints of regular crashing, slow boot times, having to shut down the laptop before a commute and then boot again once I arrived at the office as sleep/wake from closing the lid and re-opening just never worked properly.

I've experienced no crashes on Windows 11 and sleep/wake that is working.
 

ghanwani

macrumors 601
Dec 8, 2008
4,722
5,993
I just googled alternatives to the MBA and one of them came up as the ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 2 Intel (13”)

Without any foreknowledge or research this appears to be a better comparison. The M1 MBA display has a resolution of 1680 x 1050 400 nits, ,full P3 , wifi 6, 720p web cam and up to 15 hours of battery life

the Nano has (2160 x 1350), IPS, Anti-Glare, sRGB, 450 nits Wifi 6E, 1080p web cam and up to 14 hours of battery life

The price is 1133 for the Nano and the M1 MBA is 999. Seems like the machines are nearly identical with the Nano having better screen, wifi, and webcam, though I think the performance of the MBA will be superior, especially while on battery.
The Nano at 2 lb is much lighter than the M1/M2 MBA. Surface Laptop 5 is probably closer in terms of weight.
 
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