Friday, 17 December 2010

Lenovo vs Apple (Why I chose a Lenovo)

Don't get me wrong, I love the design of Apple products but when my trusty Lenovo T400 had a problem, I chose to replace it with a Lenovo T410 instead of an MacBook Pro.
I realise that a 15" Apple MacBook Pro hs a better screen resolution than the Lenovo 14" and the Apple also has better graphics capability. One could also argue that the MacBook Pro has a better construction. Even so, these are the reasons that I STILL chose the Lenovo:
  1. Keyboard - The Lenovo has a great keyboard that feels a lot more positive than the MacBook keyboard. There are more keys on a Windows machine so I don't have to remember short cut keys (i.e. keys like PgUp and PgDown are missing on the Mac Keyboard). The Mac has backlit keyboard but I touchtype so the "ThinkLight" is fine for me.
  2. Price - The MacBook Pro with very similar configuration (500GB hard drive, 8GB RAM) was about £500 more expensive and I would still not have built in 3G Connectivity
  3. Analogue VGA out - The Lenovo has an Analogue VGA out compared to the micro digital display out plug of the Apple. The VGA analogue socket of the Lenovo has much better compatibility to most projector systems that I may find on customer premesis. The MacBook Pro may actually have a better signal but I would need to carry some sort of adaptor cable.
  4. Second internal hard drive capability - The Lenovo, by virtue of it's multi-bay, allows me to swap the DVD drive for a hard drive. This allows me to run with a second hard drive. The MacBook Pro DVD drive cannot be replaced.
  5. Swappable bay options. The Lenovo swappabl bay can also support an extra battery and even a BluRay drive (albeit very expenseive). These options of course do not exist with the MacBook.
  6. Better warranty - Whist Apple and Lenovo both support three year warranty, only the Lenovo is next day on site and also has options for "Accidental damage"
  7. Better connectivity - My Lenovo has the option of built in 3G support which means I do not have to use a dongle to connect to the internet via EDGE or GPRS networks. Much neater without the dongle and it has always seemed to me that dongles can be broken off so easily...
  8. Security - By this I mean the fingerprint reader. It is a great security feature of the Lenovo and is yet to appear on a MacBook Pro. Not sure if MacBook Pro has build in Anti-Theft Technology but I know the Lenovo has it.
  9. Portability - The MacBook beats the Lenovo on chic factor but is slightly bigger and certainly more stealable... I needed a laptop that would be easy to use on the Train.
  10. Usability - This is of course subjective and I know Apple are world renown for usability but this is from the perspective of a Windows/Linux guy that expects a right click! I am also a fan of the tiny joystick in the center of the Lenovo keyboard which I would really miss on an Apple.
  11. The Aluminium case - A masterful piece of engineering and beautiful to behold. However, scratch it and you will feel gutted (and it is SO EASILY scratched).
  12. Compatibility - I am in no way a Windows fan but there are SO MANY applications that I want to try that mandate Windows...
  13. Mini-DVD capability - Don't use this much but when necessary, I really want the DVD drive to handle small DVDs and CD's. Unfortunately the Apple built in drive can only support full sized DVD's
  14. Lenovo Enhanced Experience - Windows is actually usable again with fast boot and shutdown.
Other things that I needed to consider
a) Since I run virtual machines, I wanted a laptop with 8GB memory. Added to that, I need a hard drive that will store those VM's This menat a 500GB hard drive at 7200 minimum!
b) Latest offering from Lenovo (T410) comes with multi-touch capability (for the apps that support it)
c) I already have a 256GB SDS drive that I wanted to use as my primary drive and the 500GB drive would then become my secondary drive - This meant that I had to have a laptop that would support a secondary drive


  1. I agree, and you didn't mentioned the price.

  2. As a matter of perspective, I have a 2009 MacBook, and also got a Lenovo as a gift. I'm typing this on a MacBook (now 4 years old), whereas the Lenovo was unusable to begin with, batter died within a few months, and the amount of heat it generates makes me fear for my knees' safety.

    I'm shopping for a computer right now, too, but I'm not sure I'd go for Lenovo. It's not just about the price, it's also about other things, such as reliability, build quality, and stability. For example, everyone knows that Lenovo (and formerly IBM) batteries are awful and die within an eyeblink. I've had a MacBook (non-Pro) for 4 years, using the battery every day and guess what, it's still not even close to dying.

    Lenovo is tempting though, because some features are more enticing... I do want a 1080p 15" matte screen, for instance. Oh, and who uses optical drives nowadays? At least with Lenovo I can rip it out and chuck it in the bin.

  3. I have been a solid Mac user for the last decade, but I'm pretty sure that for my next machine I'll be going with a Thinkpad, for the following reasons:

    1. Apple only sell glossy displays (except for the 15 inch 'old-style' Macbook Pro, on which matte is an option). I can't use glossy displays; my eyes keep switching focus between the display and the reflection, causing a splitting headache within about 15 minutes.

    2. Complete lack of modularity in Mac laptops. Yes, some people value extremely thin laptops; I don't need one. Thin is good, but Thinkpads are thin and light enough for me, and MUCH more flexible. You can do craaazy stuff like buy bigger batteries.

    3. Storage options; as the author mentioned, the storage is MUCH more flexible; no need to have an external drive for photographs for example; just have an SSD as the OS drive, and a HDD module in place of the (almost never used) DVD drive.

    4. I agree with the keyboard comments. The lack of page up and page down on Mac laptop keyboards irks me. My wife has a Macbook Air with a lit keyboard; I use it a fair bit and fail to see any advantage whatsoever to the lighting.

    Sure, the Mac does have some advantages, those being:
    1. The trackpad is fantastic. Come on Windows boxen; catch up please!
    2. The OS is BSD, which matters for some geeks. The filesystem layout is more elegant (in my opinion).
    3. There's less malware.

    However, for what I need to do, which is run ssh sessions to linux boxes over a VPN, run web browsers, occasionally run productivity software, and properly support multiple displays (this is the reason I don't run Linux as a laptop OS), Windows on a Thinkpad does it just as well as a Mac.

  4. It's funny some comment said apple's reliability and stability is better, which I seriously doubt. Build quality like casing is subjective, but I still prefer thinkpad's solid build than apple's sexy body.

    And talking about heat, very funny again to say macbook's cooling is better.

    It seems thinkpad gets better with the newer models like t430/440, more modern looks and lighter, I think I'll stick to it.

    I totally agree with reasons to stick to thinkpad the original post. I almost take secondary harddisk for granted for laptop, until the other day at a repair shop where a girl brought some acer laptop to ask to add a secondary harddisk, and the shop guy said to the girl (i happen to bring my t400 for a second harddisk also), pointing to my 6 years old t400, that is ibm design, expensive, yours can't.

    1. I'm amazed that the original post - over three years old as I write this - is still being referenced. Thank you! Of course since that time both Apple and Lenovo machines have matured but funnily enough the points I made way back then are still relevant in todays market.

  5. This post is almost 8 years now, and i still read it and reference it to my best friend that confuse between apple vs thinkpad.

    type this from my 8 years T400 along side with my 2010 macbookpro that both still working like a charm now in 2018.