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Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro vs MacBook air Review: Comparing Specs, Price and Portability

( [email protected] ) Nov 19, 2014 02:20 PM EST
The battle of the 13-inch laptops is on as Apple's secure spot on top with the MacBook Air is being rivaled by a Chinese company called Lenovo and its Yoga 3 Pro. While the two portable computers have their own high and low points, we've taken a comparitive look at the 2014 MacBook Air and the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro to see which one has the best features, best price, and which one of the 13-inch laptops  might be best for you.
Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro showing off its popular new hinge design. Photo: Lenovo

The battle of the 13-inch laptops is on as Apple's secure spot on top with the MacBook Air is being rivaled by a Chinese company called Lenovo and its Yoga 3 Pro.

While the two portable computers have their own high and low points, we've taken a comparitive look at the 2014 MacBook Air and the brand new Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro to see which one has the best features, best price, and which one of the 13-inch laptops might be best for you.

Display

While both laptops feature a 13.3-inch screen, the Yoga 3 Pro has a much higher pixel density at 3200 x 1800 versus the MacBook's 1440 x 900 native resolution. 

According to research done at Laptopmag.com, "The Yoga 3 Pro's screen can display 99.3 percent of the sRGB color gamut, making it much more capable than the average ultraportable (69.3 percent) and the Apple MacBook Air (63 percent)." This 4K resolution makes a huge difference when you're working with graphics, photos, or other visually important subjects.

Hardware/Performance

The Lenovo laptop features a 1.1GHz Intel Core M-70 processor with 256 GB of solid state storage memory. The Apple laptop comes with a 1.4GHz Intel Core i5 dual-core processor and 256 GB of flash memory for storage. Both laptops can top out at 8 GB of RAM, although that size is standard with the Yoga 3 Pro.

While the two products have seemingly comparable performance under the hood, the Lenovo's Core M is brand new with the Yoga 3 Pro, so it still has some growing pains. As Extreme Tech points out in its own review, "Somewhat unfortunately, this critical first system doesn't seem to live up to Intel's hype."

Portability

Numbers-wise, the MacBook is 12.8 inches wide, 8.94 inches deep, 0.68 inches thick (when closed) and weighs only 2.96 lbs. The Yoga 3 Pro calls itself the "World's Thinnest Convertible Laptop" with a thickness of 0.50 inches and a weight of only 2.62 lbs, which is much thinner and lighter than the Yoga 2.

Unique Features

In almost every review of the Lenovo computer, the hinge is the main focus. While the laptop may have a few other impressive tricks up its sleeve, it's that watch-like hinge that has everyone talking. The hinge is a full watchband material that's constructed of 800 individual pieces of steel and aluminum, making it not only ultra flexible, but also ultra durable. The hinge can fold the display back 360 degrees and lock into place in any configuration, allowing it to act as a display stand, screen protector, or it can fold completely out of the way.

For the MacBook Air, its greatest strengths come in its battery life, quality touchpad, and its ability to stay cooler than most laptops. Design-wise, the MacBook Air hasn't redefined the traditional MacBook look and feel.

Battery Life

This is one area where the differences are much more noticably in Apple's favor. While the screen resolution on the Lenovo Yoga 3 Pro is much more impressive than the MacBook Air, battery life is where the sacrifice is made. The MacBook Air is said to last over 12 hours with light use, the Yoga 3 Pro only lasts for around 8 hours. Many experts agree that this is almost entirely caused by the power drain from that extra resolution.

Price

Price is another one in Apple's favor as the MacBook Air retails for $999 with the listed features while the Lenovo computer starts out at $1299 similarly equipped.

Reviewer Impressions

Overall, reviews had good and bad things to say about both laptops, so it's more up to your own preference. The Apple product was praised for its superior touchpad, ability to stay cool, and its low price, while it was condemned for its lack of touchscreen seen in most other laptops (including the Lenovo) and noticeably stagnate design.

The Lenovo's hinge and subsequent flexibility took center stage in almost every review, but its portability and 4K screen depth also wowed reviewers. On the bad side, the poor battery life seemed to restrict the otherwise high portability scores.