Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 14 vs Apple MacBook Pro 14

Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 14 vs Apple MacBook Pro 14

Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 14 vs. MacBook Pro 14: A Battle of Power and Performance

When it comes to finding the best 14-inch laptop on the market, the MacBook Pro 14 is often hailed as the undisputed champion. With its impressive features and value, any new contender looking to compete needs to bring a lot to the table. Lenovo’s Slim Pro 9i 14 is a laptop that directly aims to challenge the MacBook, boasting powerful components and top-notch performance at a more affordable price point. But does it have what it takes to dethrone the reigning champion? Let’s dive into the details and find out.

Specs and Configurations: More Options with MacBook Pro 14

Currently, there’s only one configuration available for the Slim Pro 9i 14, priced at $1,900. It features a Core i7-13705H CPU, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a 14.5-inch 3K Mini-LED display. However, it’s worth noting that other configurations, including options for slower CPUs and an RTX 4060 GPU, are expected to hit the market soon.

On the other hand, the MacBook Pro 14 offers a wider array of options. With a starting price of $2,000, it comes with an M2 Pro processor, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 14.2-inch Mini-LED display. The highest-end configuration can cost up to a staggering $6,300, featuring an M2 Max with 12 CPU cores, 38 GPU cores, 96GB of RAM, and an 8TB SSD. In our review, we tested a $4,000 MacBook Pro 14 equipped with the high-end M2 Max, 64GB of RAM, and a 2TB SSD. Clearly, there’s a significant price difference between the two laptops, which we’ll take into account when evaluating their performance.

Design: Aesthetics in the Eye of the Beholder

Both the Slim Pro 9i 14 and the MacBook Pro 14 excel in design, but they take slightly different approaches. The Slim Pro 9i 14 features a rounded design, reminiscent of its lower-end sibling, the Slim 9i. Constructed from aluminum, it boasts excellent build quality, sturdy construction, and an attractive aesthetic. However, the MacBook Pro 14 takes things up a notch, crafted from solid chunks of aluminum and exuding a premium feel. Its simplistic lines and elegant design further enhance its overall appeal. Ultimately, the choice between the two will come down to personal taste.

Interestingly, both laptops feature a notch to accommodate high-resolution webcams. The Slim Pro 9i 14 takes a unique approach with a reverse notch extending from the top of the display, while the MacBook Pro 14 incorporates the webcam into the display. While this might be a matter of preference, many users tend to lean towards Lenovo’s reverse notch design.

In terms of input methods, the MacBook Pro 14 takes the crown with its widely acclaimed Magic Keyboard, offering large keycaps, optimal key spacing, and precise, snappy switches. The Slim Pro 9i 14’s keyboard performs admirably as well, with slightly deeper switches, sculpted keycaps, and comfortable key spacing. When it comes to touchpads, the MacBook’s Force Touch haptic touchpad wins with its superior precision, clickable surface, and additional features. While the Slim Pro 9i 14’s mechanical touchpad is spacious and functional, it falls short of the MacBook’s high standards.

Connectivity-wise, the Slim Pro 9i 14 edges ahead due to its support for legacy connections. However, the MacBook Pro 14 offers an extra Thunderbolt 4 port, which can be a game-changer for some users. Additionally, Apple’s implementation of MagSafe 3 charger adds convenience and protection, freeing up a port and safeguarding against possible damage. Both laptops provide top-notch wireless connectivity.

In the realm of webcam technology, the Slim Pro 9i 14 comes out on top with its higher-resolution 5MP camera. However, Apple’s optimization of the MacBook Pro 14’s 1080p camera delivers excellent image quality as well. Moreover, the Slim Pro 9i 14 features an infrared camera for Windows 11 Hello support, while the MacBook Pro 14 incorporates a Touch ID fingerprint reader embedded in the power button. Both options offer quick and hassle-free logins without the need for passwords.

Performance: A Battle of Titans

The Slim Pro 9i 14 houses a 45-watt Intel 13th-gen Core i7-13705H CPU, boasting 14 cores (six Performance and eight Efficient) and 20 threads. Paired with the Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050, an entry-level GPU, this laptop delivers impressive performance in both productivity and creative tasks. However, in the review of the MacBook Air 14, we tested Apple’s top-tier M2 Max processor, featuring 12 CPU cores and 38 GPU cores, along with 64GB of fast RAM, surpassing the Slim Pro 9i 14’s 32GB.

While the M2 Max is undoubtedly a speedy processor, the Core i7-13705H holds its ground, especially in the Slim Pro 9i 14’s performance mode. In our CPU-intensive benchmarks, both laptops put up a good fight, trading blows in terms of performance. Surprisingly, in the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark, which utilizes the GPU to accelerate various tasks in Adobe’s Premiere Pro, the two laptops performed evenly. While the MacBook Pro 14 might shine brighter in specific creative applications, the Slim Pro 9i 14 manages to keep up, making it more than capable of handling demanding workflows.

Display and Audio: A Clash of Mini-LED

Both laptops employ Mini-LED displays, promising exceptional brightness, deep contrast, and accurate colors. However, the MacBook Pro 14 outshines its competition in this department, although the discrepancy is not due to any fault on Lenovo’s part. Mini-LED displays on Windows laptops, including the Slim Pro 9i 14, have consistently delivered similar performance.

In default standard dynamic range (SDR) mode, Windows laptops with Mini-LED displays showcase intense brightness and vibrant colors but struggle to offer satisfactory contrast. However, when switched to HDR mode, these laptops deliver deeper contrast at the cost of slightly reduced brightness and narrower color range. On the other hand, the MacBook Pro 14’s Mini-LED display strikes a better balance, providing brightness that doesn’t quite match the Slim Pro 9i 14’s levels but delivers much deeper contrast and richer blacks. When playing HDR content, the MacBook’s display can reach an impressive brightness of up to 1,600 nits. Overall, Apple’s implementation of Mini-LED technology creates a more superior visual experience.

When it comes to audio quality, the MacBook Pro 14’s quad speakers reign supreme. They deliver exceptional sound, boasting deep bass, crystal-clear mids and highs, and distortion-free volume. Undoubtedly, the MacBook Pro 14 offers the best audio experience in a 14-inch laptop. While the Slim Pro 9i 14’s speakers offer satisfactory audio performance, they simply don’t match the incredible quality produced by Apple’s quad speakers.

Portability: Thinness and Battery Life

In terms of portability, the MacBook Pro 14 holds a slight edge. It is slightly narrower, lighter, and significantly thinner. Measuring at just 0.60 inches in thickness, the MacBook Pro 14 feels sleeker and more compact compared to the Slim Pro 9i 14, which measures at 0.85 inches. Both laptops offer excellent portability, but Apple’s thin design makes it the more travel-friendly option.

Battery life, however, presents a stark difference between the two contenders. The MacBook Pro 14, powered by the highly efficient M2 Max processor, astoundingly managed nearly 20 hours of web browsing. In contrast, the Slim Pro 9i 14 fell short, with less than five hours of battery life. While we didn’t benchmark using our video-looping test, it’s safe to assume that the MacBook’s performance in that area would be even more impressive. Apple truly hit a home run, packing a blazing-fast processor into the MacBook Pro lineup without compromising on battery life. In this aspect, the Slim Pro 9i 14 simply cannot compete.

The Final Verdict: MacBook Pro 14 Takes the Crown

In conclusion, while the Slim Pro 9i 14 offers strong performance and competes well with the MacBook Pro 14, it falls short in a couple of key areas. The MacBook’s superior battery life, consistent display performance, and unparalleled audio quality give it a definitive edge over its Lenovo counterpart. While there’s a considerable price difference between the two, the MacBook Pro 14 justifies its higher price tag through its remarkable longevity and overall refinement. If you’re in the market for the best 14-inch laptop and are willing to invest in a top-tier device, the MacBook Pro 14 should be your go-to choice.