MacBook Pro 13 (2022) vs Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10: Which one should you buy?

MacBook Pro 13 (2022) vs Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10: Which one should you buy?

Apple recently refreshed the 13-inch MacBook Pro with the new Apple M2 chip, packing even more performance into one of its most popular laptops. As the name suggests, the MacBook Pro is more so geared towards professionals, but if you’re in that category, you might also be looking at proper business laptops, and there are some great options out there. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 is one of them, and in this article, we’re going to be pitting it against the 2022 MacBook Pro 13-inch to see which one you should buy for your work needs.

Typically, these are kind of geared towards different types of users. The MacBook Pro 13 is meant for creative professionals, such as video producers and photo editors, while the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 is a bit more suited to general business use in an office. Each of the laptops excels at different things, so let’s take a closer look to see which one you should buy.

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MacBook Pro 13 (2022) vs Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10: Specs

MacBook Pro 13-inch (2022) Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10
Operating system
  • macOS Monterey (upgradeable to macOS Ventura)
  • Windows 11
  • Ubuntu
  • Fedora
CPU
  • Apple M2 8-core CPU (4 performance cores, 4 efficient cores)
  • Intel P series:
    • 12th-gen Intel Core i5-1240P (12 cores, 16 threads, up to 4.4GHz, 12MB cache)
    • 12th-gen Intel Core i5-1250P (12 cores, 16 threads, up to 4.4GHz, 12MB cache)
    • 12th-gen Intel Core i7-1260P (12 cores, 16 threads, up to 4.7GHz, 18MB cache)
    • 12th-gen Intel Core i7-1270P (12 cores, 16 threads, up to 4.8GHz, 18MB cache)
    • 12th-gen Intel Core i7-1280P (14 cores, 20 threads, up to 4.8GHz, 24MB cache)
  • Intel U15 series (not yet available)
    • 12th-gen Intel Core i5-1235U (10 cores, 12 threads, up to 4.4GHz, 12MB cache)
    • 12th-gen Intel Core i5-1245U (10 cores, 12 threads, up to 4.4GHz, 12MB cache)
    • 12th-gen Intel Core i7-1255U (10 cores, 12 threads, up to 4.7GHz, 12MB cache)
    • 12th-gen Intel Core i7-1265U (10 cores, 12 threads, up to 4.8GHz, 12MB cache)
Graphics
  • 10-core GPU
  • Intel Iris Xe graphics (up to 96 EUs)
Display
  • 13.3-inch Liquid Retina (IPS), 2560 x 1600, 500 nits, P3 Wide color, True Tone
  • 14-inch WUXGA 16:10 (1920×1200) IPS low-power, anti-glare, 400 nits, 100%sRGB
  • 14-inch WUXGA 16:10 (1920×1200) IPS low-power, anti-glare, touch, 400 nits, 100%sRGB
  • 14-inch WUXGA 16:10 (1920×1200) IPS low-power, anti-glare, touch, Privacy Guard, 500 nits, 100%sRGB
  • 14-inch 2.2K 16:10 (2240×1400) IPS anti-glare, 300nit, 100% sRGB
  • 14-inch 2.8K 16:10 (2880×1800) OLED, anti-glare, anti-reflection, anti-smudge, 400nit, 100% DCI-P3
  • 14-inch WQUXGA 16:10 (3840×2400) IPS low-power, anti-glare, 500nit, 100% DCI-P3, HDR400, Dolby Vision
  • 14-inch WQUXGA 16:10 (3840×2400) IPS low-power, touch, anti-glare, anti-reflection, anti-smudge, 500nit, 100% DCI-P3, HDR400, Dolby Vision
Storage
  • 256GB SSD
  • 512GB SSD
  • 1TB SSD
  • 2TB SSD
  • 256GB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD
  • 512GB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD
  • 1TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD
  • 2TB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD
RAM
  • 8GB unified memory
  • 16GB unified memory
  • 24GB unified memory
  • Memory bandwidth up to 100 GB/s
  • 8GB LPDDR5 5200MHz
  • 16GB LPDDR5 5200MHz
  • 32GB LPDDR5 5200MHz
Battery
  • 58.2Whr battery
    • 67W charger included
  • 57Whr battery
    • Up to 65W USB Type-C power adapter
Ports
  • 2 Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C) ports
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C)
  • 2 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A
  • 1x HDMI 2.0b
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Nano SIM slot (optional)
Audio
  • Stereo speakers, Spatial Sound support with Dolby Atmos
  • Three-microphone array
  • Quad speaker system (2 x 2W woofers, 2 x 0.8W tweeters) with Dolby Atmos
  • Quad-microphone array with Dolby Voice
Camera
  • 720p FaceTime HD camera with advanced image signal processor
  • 720p HD RGB webcam
  • 1080p Full HD RGB webcam
  • 1080p Full HD RGB + IR webcam
  • 1080p Full HD MIPI RGB + IR webcam with Computer Vision
Biometric authentication
  • Touch ID in power button
  • IR webcam (optional)
  • Fingerprint sensor
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6E
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Cellular options:
    • 5G sub-6 Cat2o
    • 4G LTE Cat16
Colorar.dsff
  • Silver
  • Space Grey
  • Deep Black
    • Optional Carbon fiber weave cover
Size (WxDxH)
  • 11.97 x 8.36 x 0.61 in (304.1 x 212.4 x 15.6 mm)
  • HD webcam: 12.42 x 8.76 x 0.59 in (315.6 x 222.50 x 14.95 mm)
  • Full HD webcam: 12.42 x 8.76 x 0.60 in (315.6 x 222.50 x 15.36 mm)
Dimensions
  • Starts at 3 lbs (1.4 kg)
  • Starts at 2.48 lb (1.12 kg)
Price Starting at $1,299 Starting at $1,639

Operating system: Windows or macOS?

The operating systems that power each of these laptops are potentially the biggest difference you’ll want to consider when choosing between them. Familiarity is a big reason to buy something, and if you’ve used Windows or macOS before, you’ll probably want to stick with what you already know. But that’s not to say there aren’t some real differences you might want to know about.

If you’re a business user, particularly working with a lot of legacy software, Windows 11 is probably your go-to choice. Windows has decades of software support behind it, and because it’s always been the most popular desktop operating system, almost everything is designed around it. All your apps are probably available on Windows, and very likely exclusive to it. On top of that, Windows 11 brings a few changes that make it a more beautiful OS than ever, if you care about that. And Windows 11 version 22H2 will add even more features to improve the experience. Aside from running Windows, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 will also be available with Ubuntu or Fedora.

macOS vs Windows

On the other hand, if you’re a creative professional, macOS may be the best choice for you. Macs are very popular among content creators, and for good reason. You can probably point to Apple’s Final Cut Pro, a professional video production software that’s often considered the best on the market, and the reason many people use macOS to begin with. But because it attracts the creative crowd more, macOS also gets a lot of support from third-party developers of creative apps, including Adobe with its Creative Cloud suite, but also many others. A lot of these apps are exclusive to macOS, or they get better support there. Many also consider macOS to be more beginner-friendly, so maybe you’ll prefer it if this is your first laptop.

Performance: Apple makes a splash with the M2

If you’ve read any of our previous comparisons involving Apple’s latest M2-powered processors, this section will probably feel familiar, but it’s always worth reiterating. The Apple M2 processor packs a lot of performance in a very energy-efficient package, even more so than the Apple M1, which was already very impressive at the time. These processors are what make the latest MacBooks some of the best laptops on the market. Of course, Intel also has new processors since the last generation of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, but Apple still comes out on top.

We’ll focus on the P series for the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, since those are the most powerful processors, and the ones that are more widely available, too. These are powerful 28W processors, and technically, they can beat the Apple M2 in terms of raw performance. The problem is they generate a lot more heat, and so they tend to thermal throttle, especially when you put them in the same chassis as a 15W processor. We’ve tested the performance of the MacBook Pro 13 with the M2 processor, and while we haven’t tested the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, we did test the X1 Yoga Gen 7, which is very similar.

Apple M2
MacBook Pro (2022)
Intel Core i7-1260P
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
Intel Core i7-1260P
Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022)
Intel Core i7-1280P
(see result)
Geekbench 5 1,902 / 8,964 1,419 / 6,915 1,736 / 9,525 1,518 / 10,525

As you can see, in this chassis, the Intel processors don’t always perform that well. They can be faster in the right conditions, but that won’t always be the case. And there’s something else to consider: Power consumption. As you can see in the graph below (from Apple), while it’s true that the Intel processors can be faster, they do so while using a lot more power. That means your battery life is also going to take a hit.

Graph comparing the performance and power consumption of the Apple M2 and Intel Core i7-1260P processors, showing the Apple M2 achieving 90% of the maximum performance of the Intel processor while using a quarter of the power.

(...) you won't get nearly as good battery life from Lenovo's laptop compared to Apple's.

Things look even worse for Intel when you look at the comparisons for the integrated GPU in both of these chips. Not only does Apple claim up to 2.3 times more performance at the same power level, Intel’s processor can barely reach half the performance of the Apple M2 while using its maximum power. The graph below is based on a 15W Intel processor, the Core i7-1255U – but the integrated GPU isn’t massively different in the P-series processors.

Graph comparing the GPU performance of the Apple M2 and Intel Core i7-1255U, showing that the Apple M2 has 2.3 times more performance at the same power level of 15W

Based on performance alone, while the Apple M2 has a clear advantage in the GPU department, things are a bit more balanced when it comes to the CPU. And frankly, while it’s true that Apple comes out on top, it’s not like either of these laptops is going to be slow. If you’re browsing the web and writing up documents, and making calls, both of these laptops are more than fast enough for your needs.

The real problem for Lenovo is battery life. The battery inside the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 is already smaller than the MacBook Pro 13’s, and with a more power-hungry processor, it’s obvious you won’t get nearly as good battery life from Lenovo’s laptop compared to Apple’s.

Rounding things out, the two laptops can have up to 2TB of SSD storage, and Lenovo comes out on top in regards to the RAM, of which it has up to 32GB compared to the 24GB of unified memory in the MacBook Pro. It’s LPDDR5 memory, which is pretty fast, though the unified memory in the MacBook Pro 13 is likely still faster and has the benefit of being equally accessible to the CPU and GPU.

There’s another problem for Lenovo here, and that’s price. We’ve been comparing the top-tier specs so far, but the truth is you’re going to have to spend a lot more on upgrades if you want the best experience. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 already has a higher starting price, and with the upgrades not being particularly cheap, you’ll get better performance from the MacBook Air at the same price point.

Display: Lenovo’s laptop gives you lots of options

Moving on to the display, these are radically different laptops in terms of the options they give you. The MacBook Pro 13 is as simple as it gets: It has a 13.3-inch display with a 16:10 aspect ratio and a resolution of 2560 x 1600. It also reaches up to 500 nits of brightness and supports P3 Wide Color. That’s all there is to it.

m2 MacBook Pro 13-inch

Being a business laptop, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 is all about options, and there are more of them than ever. It’s a 14-inch display and it also comes in a tall 16:10 aspect ratio, but the resolution and other specs vary a lot. There’s a Full HD+ base model, a 2.2K IPS display, a 2.8K OLED panel, and an Ultra HD+ IPS option. Plus, some models support touch (Full HD+ and Ultra HD+ models, specifically) and there’s even a specific option for a privacy screen, which prevents people around you from seeing what’s on your screen. If you want a particular feature and you have the money for it, you can find that option here.

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been upgraded to include a 1080p webcam by default

At its best, with configurations like the 2.8K OLED panel or the Ultra HD+ models, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 will have a better display than the MacBook Pro 13. But in the base models, the MacBook’s display is sharper and brighter. Which one is better kind of depends on how much you want to spend.

Front view of Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon

Above that display, Lenovo has more of a clear victory with the webcam. The ThinkPad X1 Carbon has been upgraded to include a 1080p webcam by default, and you get the option to add an IR camera for Windows Hello facial recognition. You can also add Computer Vision, which makes it so the laptop can tell when you approach it to start using it, as well as when you move away from it. The computer wakes up and locks itself accordingly, so it’s always ready to use without compromising security. Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro 13 sticks with a 720p webcam, which is odd to see in a 2022 laptop, and the only form of biometric authentication is Touch ID.

As for sound, the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 has a quad-speaker system with two tweeters and two woofers, while the MacBook Pro 13 makes do with just two speakers. To Apple’s credit, the company generally has great speakers, but the ThinkPad X1 Carbon might be a bit more immersive this way.

Design: The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon is somehow lighter

Considering the MacBook Pro has a 13.3-inch display and the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has a 14-inch panel, you’d probably expect it to be heavier, but that’s not the case. While it has wider and taller, the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is actually slightly thinner than the MacBook Pro 13. And it’s significantly lighter, too, starting at 2.48lbs versus the 3.01lbs of Apple’s laptop. That’s because Apple uses an all-aluminum build for its laptops, while Lenovo uses carbon fiber, which is a lighter material.

As for looks, neither of the laptops is particularly compelling. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon only comes in black, but you can make it a bit more unique with a carbon fiber weave pattern on the lid. This option is tied to some of the display configurations, but it’s one way to get a more unique look. Everything else is classic ThinkPad: Black surfaces, red accents, duplicate mouse buttons and a red trackpoint in the middle of the keyboard are all here and accounted for.

Meanwhile, the MacBook Pro 13 is also very much what you’d expect from Apple. The design is clean and minimalistic, and it comes in two colors: Silver or Space Grey. Neither of these laptops is doing anything new or exciting, but they are sure to please long-time fans who already love the previous designs.

Ports and connectivity: Business laptops have a ton of ports

Finally, let’s talk ports, which is an area where the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 absolutely dominates the MacBook Pro 13. Apple’s laptop has a total of three ports: Two Thunderbolt / USB4 ports and a headphone jack. Thunderbolt ports are very versatile, and Apple actually added support for high-impedance headphones through the headphone jack this year, so this isn’t necessarily a terrible setup. For audiophiles, it might even be better.

(...) the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has optional support for cellular connectivity.

However, when you look at the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, you get two Thunderbolt 4 ports, two USB Type-A ports, HDMI, and a headphone jack. The sheer amount and variety of ports blow Apple’s laptop out of the water and it lets you use many more peripherals without requiring adapters. On top of that, the Thunderbolt 4 ports on the ThinkPad are fully-featured, including support for two 4K displays at 60Hz and external GPUs. These things aren’t possible with the MacBook Pro because of limitations with the Apple M2 chip.

Then there’s the matter of wireless connectivity. Both laptops have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as you’d expect, though Lenovo’s laptop supports the newer Wi-Fi 6E standard, while the MacBook Pro 13 only claims support for Wi-Fi 6. But the biggest difference is that the ThinkPad X1 Carbon has optional support for cellular connectivity. You can choose between LTE or 5G support – though you’ll pay extra accordingly – and that means you’ll be able to access the internet from pretty much anywhere without having to rely on insecure Wi-Fi networks when you’re out and about. That’s a big deal for mobile workers.

MacBook Pro 13 (2022) vs Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10: Final thoughts

Which of these laptops you should buy heavily depends on the kind of professional workloads you have, and also how much you’re willing to spend. If you want the most performance and best battery life the MacBook Pro is for you, and that makes it ideal for content creators and creative professionals. It’s great for on-the-go use thanks to its efficient processor, though it’s a little heavy. It also offers a great display experience across the board.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon has its own advantages, including options for sharper and more vibrant displays, plus some optional features like touch or a privacy screen. It’s a bit more versatile, particularly in regards to the display. It’s also lighter and it has a ton more ports, plus it offers the option for cellular connectivity, which makes it all the more suited for business users who need to stay mobile. And of course, it still has great performance, though battery life won’t be nearly as good.

The biggest problem with the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is that getting the most out of it means you need to get a lot of expensive upgrades, so when you max everything out, it’s significantly more expensive than a maxed-out MacBook Pro. And because it already starts at a significantly higher price, there aren’t many price tiers where the ThinkPad X1 Carbon is specifically better than Apple’s laptop. Still, it may be worth it if there’s something specific you want that only the ThinkPad offers.

Regardless of your preference, you can buy either of these laptops below. If you’re not sold on either of them, check out the best Macs or the best ThinkPads you can buy today to see some other options from these brands.

    The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 10 comes with 12th-gen Intel Core P-series processors, new OLED displays, and a Full HD webcam.
    The 2022 MacBook Pro comes with the new Apple M2 processor, delivering even more performance than the M1 model.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Editor at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.

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