Head-To-Head: New Lenovo X1 Carbon Vs. Apple MacBook Pro

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Every PC maker is aiming to create a laptop that has it all: performance, portability and a beautiful display. Apple's MacBook Pro and Lenovo's new ThinkPad X1 Carbon are two of the laptops coming closest to that ideal.

Apple is seeing strong demand for its latest refresh of the MacBook Pro while Lenovo has just released the sixth-generation model of its popular X1 Carbon. Which is the better fit for you?

In the following slides, we compare Lenovo's new ThinkPad X1 Carbon vs. Apple's latest MacBook Pro on specs and price.

First Things First

One big difference with the current MacBook Pro lineup is the inclusion of the Touch Bar -- a touch-sensitive display strip that replaces the function row of keys. The Touch Bar expands the capabilities of the MacBook Pro by providing controls that automatically adapt to whatever app is being used. One MacBook Pro model, which has entry-level specs, does not come with the Touch Bar. The other models include the Touch Bar feature. There are three editions of Apple's latest MacBook Pro in total: a 13-inch version with the Touch Bar, a 13-inch model without the Touch Bar, and a 15-inch MacBook Pro with the Touch Bar.

Lenovo's new ThinkPad X1 Carbon, meanwhile, comes only in a 14-inch size. But there are different models based on the display choice, with options for both touch screen and non-touch versions. Apple's MacBook Pro does not have a touch screen display option.

Another main difference to mention upfront: the X1 Carbon runs Microsoft's Windows 10, while the MacBook Pro runs Apple's latest PC operating system, macOS High Sierra.


As mentioned, Lenovo's new ThinkPad X1 Carbon has several display options for its 14-inch screen. There are three in total: FHD (1,920 x 1,080) resolution touch screen, with brightness of 300 nits; WQHD (2,560 x 1,440) non-touch display, with brightness of 300 nits; and WQHD (2,560 x 1,440) non-touch display, with support for colorful Dolby Vision HDR technology and 500 nits of brightness. That makes the sixth-gen X1 Carbon one of the first laptops on the market to support Dolby Vision HDR.

The MacBook Pro has its own impressive options on display, however, thanks to the use of Apple's colorful and bright Retina display technology for both sizes of the laptop. The 15-inch MacBook Pro also includes higher resolution than available on the X1 Carbon, with 2,880 x 1,800 pixels. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is similar in terms of resolution to the higher-res X1 Carbon configurations, with 2,560 x 1,600 pixels.

Processor - CPU

The current lineup of MacBook Pros got their most recent update in June 2017, when Apple launched the laptops with seventh-gen Intel Core processors. The 15-inch MacBook Pro is available with a quad-core Intel Core i7 processor, while the 13-inch models have options for configuring with Core i5 or Core i7 chips (dual-core processors in all cases).

However, the recent release of the X1 Carbon means the laptop comes with even newer -- and faster -- processors than the MacBook Pro. The X1 Carbon features Core i5 or Core i7 processors from Intel's eighth generation of chips -- with one advantage being that even the Core i5 processors in the eighth generation are quad-core.

Processor - Graphics

Apple comes out ahead on graphics. While the X1 Carbon includes Intel HD Graphics 620 (integrated with the CPU), the 15-inch MacBook Pro offers AMD's powerful Radeon Pro 555 or 560, in addition to CPU-integrated Intel HD Graphics. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has options for Intel Iris Plus Graphics 640 or 650.

Battery Life

While the MacBook Pro has been much-loved as a productivity workhorse with a great display, the laptop has never been known for its battery life. That's potentially one of the biggest advantages for the X1 Carbon, which promises up to 15 hours of battery life on a charge. For the MacBook Pro, meanwhile, Apple says you should expect just 10 hours of battery life for both the 13- and 15-inch models.

Thickness & Weight

Apple made a major effort to improve the portability on the MacBook Pro with its latest refresh to the laptop. The result is that the MacBook Pro is, in fact, thinner than the sixth-gen X1 Carbon -- both for the 13-inch model (0.59 of an inch thick) and the 15-inch model (0.61 of an inch). But it's very close: the X1 Carbon measures 0.62 of an inch thick. And on lightness, which is arguably where it counts most for portability, the X1 Carbon is the winner with a weight of just 2.49 pounds. By contrast, the 13-inch MacBook Pro weighs 3.02 pounds and the 15-inch MacBook Pro weighs 4.02 pounds.


For anyone who's a heavy user of ports -- and is looking to avoid carrying around dongles -- the X1 Carbon is going to be the clear winner vs the MacBook Pro. The X1 Carbon features two USB-A ports, two USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, a microSD card reader, HDMI and a docking connector for native Ethernet. For the MacBook Pro, Apple has infamously switched over entirely to USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 in terms of port connectivity, requiring you to use a converter to attain other types of port functionality. The Touch Bar models include four USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 ports, while the 13-inch MacBook Pro without the Touch Bar has two of the ports.

Memory & Storage

A few configurations are offered for both the X1 Carbon and MacBook Pro. Both laptops are configurable with 8 GB or 16 GB of RAM -- though the 15-inch MacBook Pro and WQHD X1 Carbon automatically come with 16 GB.

For storage, the X1 Carbon offers 512 GB or 1 TB. The MacBook Pro Touch Bar models start at 256 GB of storage and can be configured with 512 GB or 1 TB. The non-Touch Bar model starts with 128 GB of storage and goes up to 256 GB.


While Apple is known for its unapologetic high-end prices for its MacBook Pro lineup, Lenovo seems to be following the playbook with the X1 Carbon pricing. I.e., none of these laptops are going to come cheap. The starting price of a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Touch Bar is $1,799, while the starting price of the sixth-gen ThinkPad X1 Carbon is almost identical at $1,789. Notably, however, that pricing for the X1 Carbon will get you a quad-core Intel Core i5 processor (eighth-gen); a 14-inch touch screen display; and 512 GB of storage. The MacBook Pro at that pricing comes with a dual-core Intel Core i5 chip (seventh-gen); a smaller, non-touch display; and 256 GB of storage.

You'll pay higher prices for the X1 Carbon with WQHD resolution ($2,269) and Dolby Vision HDR ($2,579), and also for the 15-inch MacBook Pro (starting price of $2,399).

If you're in the market for the entry-level MacBook Pro, you can get it for $1,299—just keep in mind that it comes with a much slower Core i5 processor than the other models and only two USB-C ports, among other drawbacks.