Lenovo Slim Pro 9i vs. MacBook Pro 16 a surprising upset?

Lenovo Slim Pro 9i vs. MacBook Pro 16 a surprising upset?

Lenovo Slim Pro 9i vs Apple MacBook Pro 16: A Battle of 16-Inch Powerhouses

MacBook Pro 16

The market for 16-inch creator’s laptops is increasingly competitive, with several excellent options to choose from. Among them, the Apple MacBook Pro 16 stands out as a premier example, offering an unbeatable combination of performance, battery life, and quality. However, Lenovo has recently entered the arena with its attractive Slim Pro 9i, which boasts a powerful CPU and decent graphics options. Can the Slim Pro 9i take on the mighty MacBook Pro 16? Let’s dive into the specs, design, performance, display, and portability to find out.

Specs and Configurations

Lenovo’s pricing and configurations can be a bit confusing, but at the moment, a review configuration of the Slim Pro 9i with a Core i9-13905H, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, a 16.0-inch Mini-LED display, and an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 costs $1,800. While there are cheaper configurations available, they don’t offer the same level of performance.

On the other hand, the MacBook Pro 16 is a higher-priced laptop. The base model starts at $2,499 and includes an M2 Pro CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 16.2-inch Mini-LED display. At the highest end, you can spend a whopping $6,499 for an M2 Max CPU, 96GB of RAM, and an 8TB SSD.

Design

Lenovo Slim Pro 9i

The MacBook Pro 16 features one of the highest-quality and most elegantly designed chassis in the market. Crafted from solid aluminum, its fit and finish are second to none. Its minimalist design, with subtle curves and angles, adds to its overall elegance. Despite housing a large 16.2-inch display, it maintains a reasonably compact size and weighs just 4.8 pounds. The only standout feature, albeit negative for some, is the notch at the top of the display to accommodate the webcam.

The Slim Pro 9i, on the other hand, offers a well-built chassis, although not as solid as the MacBook Pro. It too follows a minimalist design aesthetic, with comfortable rounded edges, making it an attractive option. It’s about the same size as the MacBook Pro 16 but slightly thicker and heavier at 0.71 inches and 4.92 pounds. Lenovo’s approach to using thin display bezels while still including a high-quality 5MP webcam and infrared camera is its unique reverse notch design.

When it comes to the keyboard and touchpad, the MacBook Pro 16 takes the lead. It boasts the best keyboard on a laptop today, with its excellent keycap size, spacing, and precise switches. The spacious Force Touch haptic touchpad is also unbeatable, offering a natural feel and excellent features. While the Slim Pro 9i’s keyboard is decent and its touchpad is fine, Apple clearly excels in this area.

Both laptops offer decent connectivity options, with the MacBook Pro packing more Thunderbolt 4 support and the Slim Pro 9i offering a few USB-A ports. Both also provide the latest wireless connectivity capabilities. In terms of security, the Slim Pro 9i offers Windows 11 Hello facial recognition and a webcam switch, while the MacBook Pro 16 incorporates Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

Performance

MacBook Pro 16

The Slim Pro 9i is equipped with the 45-watt 13th-gen Intel Core i9-13905H CPU, a powerful processor with excellent CPU-intensive performance. The MacBook Pro 16, on the other hand, offers either an M2 Pro or M2 Max CPU. The M2 Pro features 12 CPU cores and 19 GPU cores, while the M2 Max is configurable up to 12 CPU cores and 38 GPU cores. Although the comparison is done with the previous model of MacBook Pro 16 with the 10-core CPU/16-core GPU M1 Pro, which may be slightly slower than the new model, both laptops deliver exceptional performance for demanding productivity tasks and high-end creative workflows.

In CPU-intensive benchmarks, the Slim Pro 9i outperforms the MacBook Pro 14 M2 Max in all but Geekbench 5. The Slim Pro 9i’s entry-level Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU holds up surprisingly well against the MacBook’s Apple M2 Max CPU, demonstrating that a Windows laptop with a discrete GPU can compete with Apple’s offerings.

Display and Audio

Lenovo Slim Pro 9i

Both the Slim Pro 9i and the MacBook Pro 16 utilize the latest display technology, Mini-LED. The Slim Pro 9i impresses with its brightness, outshining the MacBook Pro in standard XDR mode. While both displays have similar color accuracy, the MacBook Pro 16 delivers a much higher contrast ratio and darker blacks by default, giving it an edge in overall display quality. When switching the Slim Pro 9i to HDR mode in Windows, it achieves similar contrast levels but sacrifices some color and brightness. Apple’s optimization of its Mini-LED panel shines through in its superior display performance. It’s worth noting that the Slim Pro 9i’s panel runs at up to 165Hz, while the MacBook Pro 16 has a 120Hz refresh rate.

In terms of audio, the MacBook Pro 16 takes the crown with its six speakers and force-canceling woofers. The audio experience is exceptional, offering ample volume, crisp mids and highs, and surprisingly robust bass for a laptop. The headphone jack is also capable of driving high-impedance headphones. While the four speakers on the Slim Pro 9i are decent, they can’t match the audio experience provided by the MacBook Pro 16.

Portability

MacBook Pro 16

Both the MacBook Pro 16 and the Slim Pro 9i are substantial machines that you’ll feel in your backpack. However, the MacBook Pro 16 manages to be slightly more compact. The real standout feature in terms of portability, though, is the MacBook Pro 16’s exceptional efficiency. With its 100 watt-hour battery, it outperforms the Slim Pro 9i in web browsing and video looping tests, even though the latter has a 75-watt-hour battery. The MacBook Pro 16’s Silicon chips prove to be significantly more power-efficient than Intel’s, allowing for prolonged battery life. With the MacBook Pro 16, you can enjoy a couple of days of normal use on a single charge, while the Slim Pro 9i will likely require a mid-day recharge. Apple’s laptop provides an impressive combination of performance and battery life that Windows laptops simply can’t match.

Conclusion

The Lenovo Slim Pro 9i is a solid 16-inch laptop with a great display and enough performance to handle demanding creative workflows. It offers a more affordable option, although its battery life falls short. On the other hand, the MacBook Pro 16 matches the Slim Pro 9i’s performance while providing class-leading battery life, superior design and build quality. It does come with a higher price tag, but if budget is not a constraint, the MacBook Pro 16 emerges as the more refined choice. When it comes to the battle of the 16-inch powerhouses, Apple’s laptop stands tall.