(HOLIDAY SPECIALS) 13″ Macbook Pro (2019) vs ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7—An in-depth comparison w/ benchmarks
This is a review of the 13″ MBP compared to the X1 Carbon Gen 7. Both devices are on sale for the holidays.
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 7 14″ [($1285)](https://www.lenovo.com/us/en/p/20QDCTO1WWENUS0/customize?guid=45954be9-76e8-4b87-a81f-6610ee203889&fromEdit=true&transMessageFlag=true)—-(2019) 13″ Macbook Pro [($1279)](https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1492879-REG/apple_muhp2ll_a_13_3_macbook_pro_with.html)
* Intel 8th Gen i5-8265U—-Intel 8th Gen i5-8257U
* 256GB SSD—-Same amount of storage
* 8GB LPDDR3 RAM—–Same
* Intel UHD 620—-Intel Iris Plus 645
* 2560 x 1440/ 300 nits/100% sRGB/ 90% DCI-P3/ 85% AdobeRGB—93% AdobeRGB/ 100% sRGB/ 100% DCI-P3/ 2560 x 1600/ 500 nits/ True Tone
* 51whr/6-7 hours battery life—-58.2 whr/9-10 hours battery life
* Lenovo Keyboard and Track-pad—-4th Gen Butterfly/Force touch track-pad
* 0.59 inch thick/2.9 pounds—-0.59 inch thick/3.02 pounds
***PERFORMANCE:*** Geekbench 5/Cinebench/Unigine Heaven/Black Magic/Crystal Disk Mark
Geekbench 5 (CPU):
* Average of 5 scores of X1GEN7: **1045 (Single-Core)/3627 (Multi-Core)**
* Average of 5 score of 13″ MBP: **1019 (Single-Core)/3881 (Multi-Core)**
Cinebench 20 average of 5 (CPU):
* X1GEN7: 1541
* 13″ MBP: 1663
Black Magic and Crystal Disk Mark (SSD):
MBPs always had the fastest SSDs and it’s no different here. The 13″ MBP has similar (slightly slower) hard-drive speed as the 15″ model in the real-world file transfer tests done by laptopmag/tomshardware: [X1GEN7](https://prnt.sc/qbu0kq)//[X1GEN7](https://prnt.sc/qbu1b7)//[13″ MBP](https://prnt.sc/pzq9zo)///[13″ MBP](https://prnt.sc/pzqes4)
* Crystal Disk Mark–X1GEN7: 2633 mb/s read and 1862mb/s write (doesn’t reflect real-world performance)
* Black Magic–13″ MBP: 3094 mb/s read and 2881 mb/s write
3D Mark Fire Strike (GPU):
* X1GEN7: 1285
* 13″ MBP: 1632
Cinebench 15R average of 5 (GPU):
* X1GEN7: 22.7 FPS/461 cb
* 13″ MBP: 35.19 FPS/593 cb
* A GPU comparison from [notebookcheck.](https://www.notebookcheck.net/UHD-Graphics-620-vs-Iris-Plus-Graphics-645_8098_9902.247598.0.html)
* Both aren’t dedicated GPUs, and aren’t good enough for heavy gaming.
To conclude, both are comparable in terms of CPU performance and thermals (both around 89 degrees). However, the GPU in the 13″ MBP performances better (Intel UHD 620 vs Iris Plus 645), along with a faster SSD.
The highest I hit on my X1GEN7’s display is 356 nits, and 488 nits on my MBP. Both essentially have the same resolution (2560 x 1440//2560 x 1600), and both support professional grade color-reproduction and wide gamut. However, the 13″ MBP’s display is better, ranked at #4 (vs #11 of X1GEN7) from [notebookcheck](https://www.notebookcheck.net/The-Best-Notebook-Displays-As-Reviewed-By-Notebookcheck.120541.0.html). The 13″ MBP also has a 16:10 aspect ratio vs 16:9, giving it more room for scrolling/productivity.
Another upside of the 13″ MBP display is its image/text scaling. TLDR, MacOS does a better job of scaling various image/text sizes. The reason why many professionals use Macs is because of the better scaling and color consistency/calibration, especially since you’re working with higher resolution workflows and need to frequently rescale. It’ll be a lot wiser to have the better scaling from MacOS in this case. True Tone is also useful when the ambient lighting changes in your surroundings, but for maximum color accuracy/consistency I’d recommend you to turn it off. The 13″ MBP display also has a better reflective coating and better viewing angles.
If you’re getting the touchscreen:
Touchscreen/touchbar wise both aren’t too useful in my opinion. With the touchscreen you can scroll/touch links I guess? But most of the time it‘s really awkward/annoying because I have to reach further from my keyboard when I’m working—which slows down my workflow—when I can just use the trackpad which is not only closer, but also more accurate/easier to use than touch. I also find that besides the scrolling here and there, I barely use it. Also, it’s a huge fingerprint magnet and messes up your screen. Touchbar is slightly better because you can customize your keys and it’s actually useful for some workflows, but the problem is that it lacks app support and it sometimes freezes/is more convenient to have physical keys most of the times.
Thickness and weight wise, both are essentially the same (0.59 inch 2.9 pounds X1GEN7/ 0.59 inch 3.02 pounds MBP). Both are very well-built machines. The X1GEN7 is made from a mix of magnesium and plastic (they call it “carbon fiber” but that’s just another fancy way of saying plastic), and the 13″ MBP of 100% aluminum. Both are very durable and solid machines, but I do prefer the 100% aluminum of the MBP a lot more.
The difference between battery life is also significant (up to 3 hours more on the MBP). Regarding performance when not plugged in, the X1GEN7 can handle light usage like photo editing and media consumption without dropping in performance. But for more complicated tasks such as Photoshop/video editing/light gaming, there is still a significant drop in performance (around 35-60% depending) when compared to the MBP that stays roughly the same (less than 10% drop) without being plugged in. As a result of constant charging for higher performance, the X1GEN7’s battery deteriorates faster in the long run. My X1GEN4’s battery life has already dropped by roughly 50% (3-4 hours battery life), whereas my 2016 MBP still gives me over 8-9 hours on the same tasks.
It’s still clear to me that the track-pad and speakers on the MBP are a tier above other windows laptops. The track-pad on the X1GEN7 is great, but it’ still not as good or big as the one Apple offers. Speakers on the 13″ MBP are surprisingly loud and clear, compared to the audio on the X1GEN7 that tends to get muddy on the low end, and static on the highs. Keyboard wise, the 4th Gen Butterfly is very stable. Personally, I never had an issue with them before–even with my 2016 MBP–and I enjoy the low-travel of the butterflies, however, the keyboard on the X1GEN7 is top-tier, and I would say it’s generally better for most people. The X1GEN7 also has a much better port selection, and a replaceable SSD (although RAM is soldered on). You can spend $30 more for a [port adapter](https://www.amazon.com/Flujo-Adapter-Function-Delivery-MacBook/dp/B07Y9RF9Q4/ref=sr_1_9?crid=263UWYG375DV&keywords=macbook+pro+port+adapter&qid=1576612915&sprefix=macbook+pro+port+ad%2Caps%2C374&sr=8-9) for the 13″ MBP, but both the RAM/SSD is soldered on. Both comes with 1 year warranty.
To conclude, the 13″ MBP and the X1GEN7 are one of the best ultra-books you can get for non-heavy usage. If you’re looking for a high quality device for average workflows with some light gaming on the side, then these are it. For heavier users, I would opt for the 16″ MBP or the ThinkPad X1 Extreme, since both of those have higher end CPUs and dedicated GPUs. However, if sticking with a certain OS isn’t an issue and you’re not using your laptop for heavy programs/games, then I would personally go for the 13″ MBP **since it has 3 hours more of battery life, a better display, better GPU, a better track-pad, and a faster SSD**—-but if you need the extra storage and want to add in your own, then the X1GEN7 is the way to go. In general though, I’d recommend the 13″ MBP especially since it’s $200 off right now at [B&H](https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1492879-REG/apple_muhp2ll_a_13_3_macbook_pro_with.html) for the holidays