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13" Retina MacBook Pro vs. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 Comparison


Posted December 22, 2014 by , Editor in Chief (twitter: @lisagade)


The Retina MacBook Pro seems to steal a little limelight from every higher end Windows Ultrabook, even for those who aren't really interested in running Mac OS X. The Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 was the surprise winner for convertible Ultrabooks in the second half of 2014, stealing the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro's thunder. The Yoga 14 has the 360 degree hinge, a very good 1080p display and that legendary ThinkPad keyboard. The 13" Retina MacBook Pro has a stunning, albeit seemingly unchanging design, that crazy sharp Retina display and OS X Yosemite's ease of use and bundled useful programs like iMovie, Garage Band and iPhoto. So how do you decide? As I state every time we compare a Mac and Windows laptop, your OS preference is the most important consideration. Macs are great running Mac OS X, but less great in terms of drivers and thus battery life and trackpad elegance under Windows.

To Yoga or to Laptop?

Are you interested in trying out or continuing to use Windows 8.1's touch features? Let's face it, it's nearly mandatory to get a touch screen because the Metro UI and Charms bar aren't bearable without it. If you simply boot to the traditional desktop every time, that matters less--you can just about pretend this is Windows 7 minus the Start menu. If you want to use your laptop as a tablet, albeit a heavy one, or find that presentation mode the perfect thing for watching movies... or actually given presentations, then it's the Yoga 14 for you.

The 13" Retina MacBook Pro is a traditional laptop. No surprise hinge maneuvers and no touch screen. You'll interact with it as you have with notebook computers for the past two decades. It's tried and true, but makes no nods to future tech or Apple's iPad and iPhone touch screen prowess.


When running Mac OS X, it's hard to beat the Retina 2560 x 1600 IPS gloss display. Many programs are optimized for Retina now, and everything is pin sharp. If you're planning on running Windows, the resolution is a bit less appealing since many desktop programs and even the desktop itself aren't optimized for high resolutions like Mac OS X. You'll have to use scaling to make things easy to see, and that can actually reduce clarity a bit.

The Lenovo has a 1920 x 1080 IPS gloss touch screen. Like the Mac, it has wide color gaming that covers sRGB is very bright and sharp. It's also larger at 14" vs. the 13.3" Mac. 1080p is a good resolution for this size display if you want to avoid scaling or tiny program menus and text. That's particularly important since the Lenovo's dedicated graphics make it a gaming machine too, and many Windows games handle scaling poorly. The GPU also isn't good enough to run today's demanding 3D titles at greater than 1080p resolution.


The MacBook Pro wins for CPU power with it's dual core 2.6GHz or higher (depending on model you purchase) Intel Core i5 full mobile 28 watt CPU vs. the 1.7GHz Core i5 ULV 15 watt Ultrabook CPU in the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14. The MacBook Pro has significantly more computational power, which means faster program compiles if you're a software developer, and quicker spreadsheet calculations if you're a number cruncher.

For those who aren't developers, accountants or other folks who need CPU power to the max, but rather are Photoshop jockeys, gamers or video editors, then the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 has near unique appeal since it's one of the few 14" and under Ultrabooks with a dedicated GPU (graphics processor). It has the NVIDIA GT 840M that can handle recent 3D games at medium settings (Crysis 3 is more like low) and it boosts graphics and video programs that take advantage of the GPU.

Benchmark Comparisons:

  Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13" (2.6 GHz Core i5) Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 (1.7GHz Core i5)
Geekbench3 (single/multi-core) 2955 / 6552 2555 / 4957
3DMark 11 P1156 P2458

Both machines are top picks, and there's no overall winner. Rather it depends on what you want and need from your next laptop and your budget (the Mac is a few hundred dollars more).

There are many more points to cover, so watch our 13" Retina MacBook Pro vs. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 Comparison Smackdown video:


Deals and Shopping:


13" Retina MacBook Pro vs. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 Comparison Smackdown Video


Price: 13" MacBook Pro Retina starts at $1,299. Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 list price $1,099 ($999 street)


Related Reviews:

13" Retina MacBook Pro Review

Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 Review






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Apple MacBook Pro Retina 13" Specs:

Display: 13.3", 2560 x 1600 IPS display. Intel HD Iris 5100 integrated graphics. Thunderbolt 2/Mini DisplayPort and HDMI.

Battery: 71.8 watt-hour Lithium Ion, not user replaceable. Comes with 60W MagSafe 2 power adapter.

Performance: Fourth generation Intel Haswell dual core CPUs with Intel Iris 5100 integrated graphics, 2.6GHz Core i5 and dual core 2.8GHz Core i5 options. 8 to 16 gigs DDR3L RAM for latest generation (soldered on, not user upgradeable).

Drives: 128 gig, 256 gig, 512 or 1TB PCIe SSD drive.

Size: 12.35 x 8.62 x 0.71 inches. Weight: 3.46 pounds.

Camera: 720p FaceTime video chat camera.

Audio: Built in stereo speakers, mic and 3.5mm stereo headphone jack.

Networking: Integrated dual band WiFi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0.

Software: Mac OS X 10.10 Yosemite. Mac Mail, Safari web browser, iLife suite including iMovie, iDVD, Garage Band and iPhoto, FaceTime video chat app and more. iWork suite is a free download.

Expansion and Ports: 1 SDXC card slot. Two USB 3.0 ports, 3.5mm headphone jack and combined Two Thunderbolt 2/mini DisplayPorts and HDMI.


Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 14 specs:

Display: 14", 1920 x 1080 IPS display with 10 point multi-touch. Intel HD 4400 integrated graphics and NVIDIA GT 840M 2 GB dedicated graphics (switchable). HDMI port.

Battery: 56 WHr Lithium Ion rechargeable.

Performance: 1.7GHz Intel 4th generation Core i5-4210 processor (2.7GHz Turbo Boost). 8 gigs DDR3L 1600MHz, 1.35v RAM in one RAM slot. 16 gig caching SSD in M.2 slot and 1 TB, 5400 rpm HDD in 2.5" drive bay.

Size: 13.2 x 9.1 x 0.82 inches. Weight: 4.2 pounds.

Camera: 720p webcam.

Audio: Built-in stereo speakers with Dolby Home Theater audio, dual array mic and 3.5mm standard stereo headphone/mic jack.

Networking: Integrated Intel AC 7260 dual band WiFi 802.11b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0.

Software: Windows 8.1 64 bit.

Expansion and Ports: 2 USB 3.0 ports, 1 USB 2.0 charging port, full size HDMI, 3.5mm combo audio and SD card slot.



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