2014 MacBook Pro with Retina Display vs. Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro
August 13, 2014
You could easily argue that Apple's MacBook Pro with Retina Display is the best laptop around. But what happens when you pit the newest model against one of the best Windows 2-in-1s, Lenovo's Yoga 2 Pro? Read on, as Gizmag compares their features and specs.
Before we get started, note that we're only looking at the 13-in Retina MacBook Pro. Apple also makes a larger 15-in version, but it's less of a direct rival to the Yoga 2 Pro.
In case it wasn't already clear, we're comparing a dedicated notebook to a laptop/tablet hybrid, or 2-in-1. The Yoga doesn't, however, have a detachable keyboard like the Surface. Instead its hinged keyboard folds behind its screen for tablet use.
Sizes are similar, with the Yoga 2 Pro measuring 5 percent wider and 11 percent thinner. The Yoga is a great size for a notebook, but it's enormous for a tablet. For a little extra perspective, the Yoga is 29 percent taller and 38 percent wider than the iPad Air (in landscape mode).
The Yoga is 12 percent lighter than the Retina MacBook, but remember that Apple's notebook isn't designed to be held as a tablet. Similar to the size situation, the Yoga is going to make for an unusually heavy tablet.
The MacBook's metallic build gives it the higher-end build quality over the Yoga, which sports a plastic/metal hybrid chassis.
Riddle me this, Batman: when is one 13.3-in screen bigger than another 13.3-in screen? Why, when they have different aspect ratios, that's when. The Yoga's more elongated 16:9 screen means it's only 95 percent as big as the MacBook's 16:10 screen.
Both devices have impressively sharp screens. The MacBook's resolution may be lower, but it's as razor-sharp as you'd need a laptop to be. In tablet mode, though, you'll likely hold the Yoga much closer to your eyes. It needs those extra pixels to maintain a similar level of crispness in those close quarters.
Though some Windows laptops have touch screens, Apple hasn't shown any interest in going that route.
This visual only shows the processors for the entry-level versions of each machine. More expensive versions of the MacBook go all the way up to an Intel Core i7 (clocked at 3 GHz), while the Yoga maxes out with an Intel Core i7 clocked at 1.8 GHz.
Both machines have integrated Intel graphics, with the MacBook's having the advantage.
One of the biggest upgrades in the latest version of the Retina MacBook is its boost to a minimum 8 GB of RAM. Though you can pay extra to get a MacBook with 16 GB RAM, the Yoga also sits pretty with 8 GB across the board.
The MacBook gives you more storage options, but the entry-level Yoga gives you double the space of the base Retina MacBook.
Both machines give you built-in full-sized SD card readers.
Both systems have two USB ports each, but the MacBook has the advantage. Both of its use the USB 3.0 standard, while one of the Yoga's ports is built on the slower USB 2.0.
No surprise here, as Apple has embraced the Thunderbolt standard in its line of notebooks, while most Windows OEMs have opted to skip it.
The MacBook lets you plug in a standard HDMI cable for video out, while you'll need a special cable or an adapter for the Yoga.
Both PCs' Haswell processors will have them lasting longer than any pre-2013 notebook ever could. For Apple, that's an estimated nine hours of web browsing, while Lenovo estimates six hours of (full HD) video streaming.
Each device has a front-facing 720p webcam. Though the Yoga doubles as a tablet, it lacks a rear-facing camera.
If you have a new-ish router that supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi, then the MacBook will play nicely with those faster speeds. Of course both PCs still support older (and much more common) Wi-Fi standards.
The MacBook runs the latest version of OS X, 10.9 Mavericks, and will soon be upgraded to OS X 10.10 Yosemite. The Yoga 2 Pro runs either Windows 8.1 or Windows 8.1 Pro, depending on which pricing tier you choose.
Apple just updated the Retina MacBook Pro a couple of weeks ago, while the Yoga 2 Pro launched before the 2013 holidays. We wouldn't be surprised to hear about the Yoga 3 at IFA next month.
Technically the Yoga 2 Pro starts at $1,400. But if you hop over to Lenovo's product page, you'll be able to snag the Yoga 2 Pro for $1,000. We'd imagine this is some house-cleaning, in advance of the next-gen models.
Going off of that price, you could make a strong argument for the Yoga 2 Pro as the better buy. It has a sharper screen, double the storage in the entry-level model and can serve as both tablet and laptop. Of course that argument would assume that you're at least as happy with Windows as you are with OS X, and that you actually want a transforming device that tries to do two things at once. If you just want a damn good laptop, then it's still hard to beat the Retina MacBook Pro.
For more on the Retina MacBook, you can read our full review of the late 2013 13-in model. And if you're eyeing the Yoga's 2-in-1 form factor, you can see how it sizes up against its competition in our Windows 2-in-1 Comparison Guide.
Updated 8/17 to clarify that the Yoga 2 Pro has a hybrid plastic/metal build.
- Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro Convertible Ultrabook Tablet - Intel Core i7-4500U, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM, 13.3" QHD+ 3200x1800 Touchscreen, Intel HD4400 Graphics, Intel 7260-N WiFi, Bluetooth, HD Webcam, USB 3.0, Backlit Keyboard, Windows 8.1 (Silver Grey)
- Apple MacBook Pro MGX72LL/A 13.3-Inch Laptop with Retina Display (NEWEST VERSION)