This powerhouse laptop gives the MacBook Pro an honest run for its money – Digital Trends

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The 16-inch creator’s laptop is increasingly popular, and a number of excellent options have emerged. The Apple MacBook Pro 16 is the premier example, offering a combination of performance, battery life, and quality that’s hard to match.
Lenovo recently upsized its attractive Slim 9i laptop, creating the Slim Pro 9i that packs in a very powerful CPU and a choice of lower-end GPUs. Don’t let the latter fool you, though, as Lenovo has squeezed out a lot of performance. Can the Slim Pro 9i take on the mightly MacBook Air 16?
Lenovo’s pricing and configurations can be confusing and they change often. Right now, my review configuration of 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. You can spend $1,545 and drop down to a Core i7-1280P CPU and integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, but that’s not much of a bargain.
The MacBook Pro 16 is a much more expensive laptop. It starts at $2,499 for an M2 Pro CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and a 16.2-inch Mini-LED display. At the high end, you’ll spend a whopping $6,499 for an M2 Max, 96GB of RAM, and an 8TB SSD.
The MacBook Pro 16 offers one of the highest-quality and simplistically elegant chassis around. It’s fabricated from solid chunks of aluminum, and the fit and finish are second to none. It’s a very minimalist design with just the right curves and angles, making it a supremely elegant laptop. Even with a large 16.2-inch display, it’s reasonably wide and deep thanks to small display bezels and it’s relatively thin and light at 0.66 inches and 4.8 pounds. The only feature that stands out in a negative way, for some people, is the notch at the top of the display that makes room for the 1080p webcam.
The Slim Pro 9i is also well-built, although not quite as solid as the MacBook. It’s also minimalist in its design, and benefits from comfortable rounded edges that look and feel great. It’s also an attractive laptop, and you’d be hard-pressed to choose between these two laptops on looks alone. It’s about the same width and depth as the MacBook Pro 16 while being a bit thicker and heavier at 0.71 inches and 4.92 pounds. Lenovo’s approach to using thin display bezels but still packing in a high-quality 5MP webcam and infrared camera is its iconic reverse notch, which some people might prefer.
The MacBook Pro 16’s keyboard is the best you’ll find on a laptop today, with excellent keycap size, key spacing, and the crispest, most precise switches. Its spacious Force Touch haptic touchpad is also the best you can buy, with a natural feel and excellent features. The Slim Pro 9i’s keyboard is good enough and its touchpad is fine. But Apple wins here.
Both laptops have decent connectivity, with the MacBook packing in more Thunderbolt 4 support and the Slim Pro 9i offering a couple of USB-A ports. Both offer the latest in wireless connectivity.
In terms of security, the Slim Pro 9i offers Windows 11 Hello facial recognition and a switch to electronically turn off the webcam. The MacBook Pro 16 has Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor.
The Slim Pro 9i uses the 45-watt 13th-gen Intel Core i9-13905H CPU, a 14-core (six Performance and eight Efficient), 20-thread CPU that provides excellent CPU-intensive performance. The latest MacBook Pro 16 offers either an M2 Pro or M2 Max, with the former featuring 12 CPU cores and 19 GPU cores and the latter being configurable up to 12 CPU cores and 38 GPU cores. We tested the previous model of MacBook Pro 16 with the 10-core CPU/16-core GPU M1 Pro, and so the MacBook Pro 14 with the top-end M2 Max is included as a proxy. Note that the 16-inch model will likely be a bit faster thanks to better thermals.
In our CPU-intensive benchmarks, the Slim Pro 9i was faster than the MacBook Pro 14 M2 Max in all but Geekbench 5. Looking at the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark that runs in a live version of Adobe’s Premiere Pro and uses the GPU to speed up various tasks, the Lenovo again took the lead in performance mode. That’s surprising given the entry-level Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU in the Slim Pro 9i and demonstrates that Apple’s M2 Max CPU isn’t necessarily a better option than a Windows laptop with a discrete GPU.
Both laptops are incredibly fast for the most demanding productivity tasks, and both can handle high-end creative workflows.
Both laptops use the newest display technology, Mini-LED, but each company’s implementation of it was a bit different. The Slim Pro 9i had impressive brightness, one of the highest scores we’ve recorded, and was much brighter than the MacBook Pro in standard XDR mode. Both can likely go brighter when running high dynamic range (HDR) content, something we know the MacBook Pro 16 is capable of, but we don’t measure that. Both laptops had similar color widths and accuracy and are good but not great for creators.
The MacBook Pro 16, though, had a much higher contrast ratio and display inkier blacks by default. That makes it a more attractive display overall. When we switch the Slim Pro 9i to HDR mode in Windows, its contrast rose to about the same level but its colors and brightness were both reduced. So, Apple is doing a better job of optimizing its Mini-LED panel than Lenovo. Note that the Slim Pro 9i’s panel runs at up to 165Hz compared to the MacBook Pro 16’s 120Hz.
Nevertheless, both displays are great for productivity work and very good for creative apps. The MacBook Pro 16 is the king of HDR content, though.
The MacBook Pro 16 features six speakers with force-canceling woofers, and quite frankly produces the best audio on a laptop today. There’s tons of volume, crisp mids and highs, and more bass than you expect on a laptop. It’s a great experience. The headphone jack can also drive high-impedance headphones. The four speakers on the Slim Pro 9i are fine, but they don’t really compare to the MacBook Pro 16’s experience.
Both laptops are larder machines, and you’ll feel both in your backpack. But the MacBook Pro 16 is slightly more svelte.
Mainly, though, the MacBook Pro 16 stands out because of the incredible efficiency that goes with its excellent performance. Even with a power-hungry Mini-LED display, and thanks to 100 watt-hours of battery capacity, the MacBook Pro 16 doubled up on the Slim Pro 9i in our web browsing and video looping tests. The Slim Pro 9i suffered from just a 75-watt-hour battery, but that’s not enough to account for the massive difference. Apple’s Silicon chips are just incredibly more efficient than Intel’s.
You’ll get a couple of days of normal use out of the MacBook Pro 16 on a single charge, while you’ll be reaching for the Slim Pro 9i’s charger by lunchtime. Apple’s laptop provides an impressive combination of performance and battery life that Windows laptops simply can’t match.
The Slim Pro 9i is a solid example of a 16-inch laptop with a great display and enough performance to meet demanding creative workflows. It’s also less expensive, but its battery life is poor.
The MacBook Pro 16 is just as fast and offers class-leading battery life, and its design and build are superior. It’s a lot more expensive, but if you can afford it, it’s the more refined choice.
Apple’s MacBooks are among the best laptops in the market, as they’re powered by high-quality components and they stand out with their gorgeous designs. If you’re already accustomed to MacOS, or you’re willing to learn the operating system coming from Windows, then you should always be on the lookout for MacBook deals. To help you with your search, we’ve gathered some of the top offers that are available right now. However, since MacBooks almost always sell out quickly whenever retailers roll out Apple deals, if you see an offer that you like, it’s highly recommended to proceed with the purchase right away.
Today’s best MacBook deals
Apple MacBook Air 2020 (M1, 13-inch, 256GB SSD) — $800, was $999
The 2020 Apple MacBook Air is powered by Apple’s M1 chip, and nearly three years later, it’s still a powerful laptop that will be able to keep up with all the tasks that you have to accomplish each day. The device is equipped with a gorgeous 13.3-inch Retina display, and it’s worth buying it just for that alone since you’ll be spending hours at a time staring at the screen. The 2020 Apple MacBook Air also features a 256GB SSD for storage, 8GB of RAM, and a battery that can last up to 18 hours on a single charge.
With the launch of the new 15-inch MacBook Air, Apple has solidified its most fleshed-out Mac lineup in recent memory. There’s a MacBook for almost every conceivable budget and use case, ranging from the $999 M1 MacBook Air up to the upper echelons of the 16-inch MacBook Pro.
Considering how well the 15-inch MacBook Air has been received in early reviews, there doesn’t appear to be a bad choice in the mix. That is, until you stumble upon the MacBook hidden in the lineup that Apple has continued to sell for absolutely no reason. I’m referring to the 13-inch MacBook Pro, of course.
Apple’s next round of M2 Macs is only a few weeks from being announced at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), but a new leak has already revealed the top-secret follow-up that is due out later this year, long after the WWDC dust has settled.
That’s because Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman has just spilled the beans on Apple’s M3 chip line-up, including hardware specifications for the M3 Pro that will likely find its way into the next MacBook Pro laptop. It’s the first time we’ve seen this level of detail for what could be one of the most exciting chips in recent years.
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