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2014 MacBook Pro with Retina Display vs. Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

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August 13, 2014

Gizmag compares the features and specs of the 13-in MacBook Pro with Retina Display to the...

Gizmag compares the features and specs of the 13-in MacBook Pro with Retina Display to the Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro

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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.

Type

It's a dedicated notebook vs. a tablet/laptop 2-in-1

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.

Size

The Yoga 5 percent wider and 11 percent thinner

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).

Weight

The Yoga is 12 percent lighter

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.

Build

The MacBook has an aluminum unibody build, while the Yoga features a plastic/metal hybrid

The MacBook's metallic build gives it the higher-end build quality over the Yoga, which sports a plastic/metal hybrid chassis.

Display (size)

It's 13.3-in screens on both sides, but the Yoga's (with a more elongated aspect ratio) is...

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.

Display (resolution)

The Yoga has a sharper screen, but the MacBook is still extremely sharp for a dedicated la...

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.

Touch screen

The Yoga has a touch screen; no such luck for the MacBook

Though some Windows laptops have touch screens, Apple hasn't shown any interest in going that route.

Processor

Entry-level processors for each PC

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.

Graphics

The MacBook's integrated graphics are slightly superior

Both machines have integrated Intel graphics, with the MacBook's having the advantage.

RAM

RAM options

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.

Storage

Storage options

The MacBook gives you more storage options, but the entry-level Yoga gives you double the space of the base Retina MacBook.

SD reader

Both machines have built-in (full-sized) SD card readers

Both machines give you built-in full-sized SD card readers.

USB ports

Both have two USB ports, but both of the MacBooks' use the faster USB 3.0 standard

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.

Thunderbolt

The MacBook has two Thunderbolt ports

No surprise here, as Apple has embraced the Thunderbolt standard in its line of notebooks, while most Windows OEMs have opted to skip it.

Video out

Video out options

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.

Battery

Battery stats and estimates

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.

Webcam

Both machines have front-facing webcams

Each device has a front-facing 720p webcam. Though the Yoga doubles as a tablet, it lacks a rear-facing camera.

802.11ac Wi-Fi

The MacBook is compatible with the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, while the Yoga isn't

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.

Software

It's OS X Mavericks vs. Windows 8.1 (or Windows 8.1 Pro)

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.

Release

Original release dates

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.

Starting price

The Yoga technically starts at US$1,400, but you can snag one now for $1,000

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.

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About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica.
  All articles by Will Shanklin
7 Comments

Dear friend, has you compare colour space of both screens? NOT! And there is one big difference I'll prefer MacBook with Retina. Open on both comps identical colourful image in AdobeRGB colour space. As wallpaper for example. Compare the images on screens. Is there a difference? Yes, it should be! Retina has much larger colour space than standard displays.

Martin Sluka
13th August, 2014 @ 11:06 pm PDT

I have the first version of the yoga 13 and it has been a fantastic machine. I just wanted to point out a couple things since I also have an older aluminum MBP, which is also a fantastic machine. Anyway, while aluminum looks pretty, I get tired of people saying it is higher quality. The materials used on the Lenovo are also very high quality and the softer texture makes it more comfortable and less slippery to hold. IMO, it is far better suited to people like myself who sometimes walk around with our computers in one hand. It also comes in different color options. I got mine in Tangerine because it's my favorite color. The aluminum is kind of boring. Also, and maybe this is a Windows issues, I like having a USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 port because for some reason a couple of my older devices aren't recognized when plugged into the 3.0 port. As for the OS, they really both do the same thing and I am as comfortable on one as the other. Having said that, I am looking forward to seeing if Windows 9 brings improvements. One last thing. The tablet mode of the Yoga is interesting and fun at first, but the reality is that after a couple weeks I stopped using it that way. So, I would just think of it as a regular laptop with tablet ability for very rare occasions.

Charles Hedberg
13th August, 2014 @ 11:48 pm PDT

"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."

Just wanted to look at the "last words" of this review. Notice the comment of "a transforming device that *tries* to do two things at once". Some people cannot even see their own bias in the words they use. Why put the "tries" in there. Then the end it "if you just want a damn good laptop" part telling you that I guess that would be the MBP and not the Yoga?!?! Again, just reeks of passive aggressive bias.

Don't get me wrong, I think you would do well with either of these devices. But the author simply is not writing a neutral review. And note (as he does) that the Yoga is getting a refresh every soon.

Rann Xeroxx
14th August, 2014 @ 06:14 am PDT

I have had both notebooks. Things I felt should have been included are: MacBook can run full blown windows or OS X, the apple trackpad supports gestures beyond windows designed to give you a touch experience without having to lift your hand and dirty the screen. Also, when the MacBook has the clear advantage why aren't their check marks under it. Anyways, the main point should be the yoga is both tablet and notebook. They did a great job on the design of the yoga and it's a competent machine. I agree that either is fantastic but for me I think the MacBook is still king.

seonline
14th August, 2014 @ 08:33 am PDT

I bought a Lenovo all in one a few months ago. After two weeks the hard disk had to be replaced, and the disk-player never really worked, even with a software reload. Finally I gave the PC away and just use my hp laptop.

Terence Kuch
14th August, 2014 @ 12:21 pm PDT

I have the 15" MBP. It is the most amazing laptop I've had and I've been using these since the first Apple laptop in the early 90s.

I run Windows under Parallels for the one application that I need that is Windows only. Everything else I can do on the Mac.

I am very excited about the upcoming release of Yosemite. This will be a game changer.

neutrino23
15th August, 2014 @ 01:19 am PDT

Completely bias review that leans towards the authors apparent love for Macs.

It's obvious the author has never touched a Yogo 2 Pro.

Tim Lassiter
30th August, 2014 @ 08:47 pm PDT
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