MacBook Pro M1 vs Lenovo Legion 5i: Which one is better?

In this post, we’ll be taking a look under the hood of both the new Lenovo Legion 5i vs the MacBook Pro M1 and which is better at doing certain jobs like gaming and video editing. Before we dive into the details, let’s take a look at both of these computer specs.

MacBook Pro M1 vs Lenovo Legion 5i: Specifications

Lenovo Legion 5i

  • Starting price: $999.99
  • Size: 15.6 inches
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (VESA DisplayHDR 400 Certified, Dolby Vision™ Enabled. )
  • Weight: 3.1 LBS
  • Processor: 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-10875H, 8 cores, 16 threads, 2.30 → 5.10 GHz, 16MB SmartCache, 45W
  • Graphics: NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2060 (6GB GDDR6)  
  • Memory: 8GB up to 32 GB
  • Storage: 128GB starting memory (up to 2TB)

MacBook Pro M1

  • Starting price: $1499.99
  • Size: 13.3 inches
  • Resolution: 2500 x 1600 (True Tone technology)
  • Weight: 5.07 LBS
  • Processor: M1 chip
  • Graphics: M1 iGPU
  • Memory: 8GB (up to 16GB
  • Storage: 256GB starting memory (up to 2TB)

Lenovo Legion 5i Design

The Lenovo Legion 5i looks and feels a lot like the previous Lenovo Y series. It’s a ‘chunky’ machine (compared to similarly priced machines) that might put you off if you’re after a minimalist computer but at the same time, it feels robust, as if it wouldn’t shatter if it fell off your desk. However chunky it may look, it has a nice fingerprint-resistant matte finish and shiny Lenovo logos on the shell. There are lots of vents and logos so there’s nothing new there in terms of the initial appearance. The majority of the computer’s ports fall along the back of the computer. Along the back, you’ll find two USB Type-A ports, one USB Type-C port and one HDMI port. Along the left side is a headphone jack and the right and left side both hold a USB Type-A port.

If you’re familiar with Lenovo computers you’ll feel at home when you open the Lenovo Legion 5i up. The layout is the same as any computer running Windows so there’s nothing new to learn here. One thing to note is the shell is made from hard plastic rather than metal but it still feels robust enough against other similar laptops in today’s market

MacBook Pro M1 Design

If you’ve loved previous MacBooks, the Pro M1 will not disappoint. In fact, the M1 has a pretty much identical design to previous Pro versions. It’s very light, weighing in at only 3 pounds so it’s easy to transport. It has a feel of quality thanks to its metal shell that justifies its price. 

Opening up the MacBook Pro M1, you’ll notice that the Touchbar returns again. This slim touch screen that runs along above the keyboard allows you to control important and core functions at the touch of a button. Whilst the design of the M1 isn’t anything new, a lot of people will argue that it doesn’t need to be because it’s already nearly perfect. The only real difference is of course the powerful M1 chip that this computer runs on.

The bright Retina display beams with crisp light and wont sap your battery life.

Lenovo Legion 5i Performance

Now, this is where it gets interesting between the Lenovo Legion 5i and the MacBook Pro M1. We’ve previously written about how the M1 has blown other Intel-based computers out of the water in terms of performance. The Lenovo Legion 5i hits the market with the 10th generation Intel Core Processors and Nvidia’s new Advanced Optimus technology which adapts to what you’re doing. This new technology will switch between your graphics card and the native graphics to save battery life.

This could make the Lenovo Legion 5i a good option for gaming and video editing. That’s because we’re told you’ll save your battery life if you’re working on the go (more on this in a minute). 

The Legion 5i is a solid option for gaming but it will need a bit of configuring to get the best results. The Legion 5i comes equipped with NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2060 (6GB GDDR6) at its core which is on par with similar priced mid-range laptops. Due to this powerful graphics card, the Lenovo Legion 5i is another great Intel-based computer tuned for gaming.

If you’re playing any modern games that have a high demand on your system, you’ll need to play with your in-game settings to see what works best for you. That’s because the Legion 5i will switch between your native graphics and the NVIDIA® GeForce RTX™ 2060 card. This in turn can affect frame rate on certain games so it’s something to keep in mind.

When playing any modern games like Grand Theft Auto V, we found that the frame rates were steady but this could vary depending on what settings you select. We ran this game on 1080p and the average frame rate was 58fps which isn’t anything to grumble about. However, this did cause the fan to blast hot air on our hand rather quickly and was a little noisy. You get the feeling that the laptop is being pushed to its absolute limits. The Lenovo Legion 5i is a gaming laptop at its core so only time will tell how high settings affect its performance over time.

Another reason why you might want to buy the Lenovo Legion 5i is for video editing. With Intel Core i7-10750H in CPU power, you’ll get the seamless video editing experience you expect when using high standard software like Adobe Premiere Pro and VEGAS. Another plus is that the Legion 5i supports 4K video editing which is what we’d expect from any modern laptop.

The biggest flaw with the Lenovo Legion 5i lies in its #1 selling point and that’s its battery life. Whilst Lenovo promises that the new Advanced Optimus technology is supposed to save battery life by optimising its graphics and drives on the fly, in our tests it failed to impress.

The problem is, we tested this laptop by playing modern games and tinkering around in Adobe Premiere Pro only to find that the battery was crying out for the charger after 3 hours of usage. This isn’t great considering this is Lenovo’s main selling point for the Legion 5i.

Average Geekbench Score

6200 Multi-Core

MacBook Pro M1 Performance

The MacBook Pro M1 is the perfect computer for productivity. We’ve written before about how the M1 chip has outperformed dedicated graphics cards like Nvidia and from what we can tell, the MacBook Pro M1 will stand up against the Lenovo Legion 5i too. Whilst the M1 is more expensive, it could still be a better option for gaming and video editing, especially for content creation thanks to its built-in professional-grade apps.

The M1 chip is nothing like anything else on the market and boasts a 25% higher CPU speed than 2019 iMacs. With the M1 chip, Apple has taken processing power to the next level. The 8 core GPU system is designed to distribute power evenly to give you better performance as you go, much like the Lenovo Legion 5i however it won’t eat up all of your battery life. The device does feature a fan but it is much quieter than any Intel-based computer I’ve used before.

Most people that own a Mac (no matter what model) will usually tell you they love editing videos on it. I’m no different and the MacBook Pro M1 makes it even easier and even faster. Something else to consider when buying the Lenovo Legion 5i is the fact that you’ll need to buy a video editing software or subscribe to one if you haven’t already whereas the MacBook Pro M1 comes with Final Cut Pro and Logic Pro built-in so you could end up saving money and time. Video rendering is lightning fast and you can be sure 4K is supported.

In terms of gaming, it’s still early days for the MacBook Pro M1 chip but the results so far are impressive even if gaming titles are limited. The GFXBench 5.0 benchmarks revealed that the M1 often outperforms the Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 Ti and AMD Radeon RX 500. There is a good chance therefore that the MacBook Pro M1 would outperform the Graphics inside the Lenovo Legion 5i, in my opinion.

Average Geekbench Score

Single-Core: 1740, Multi-Core: 7678

M1 chip vs 10th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 

We’ve talked about anecdotal results but we know that you really just want to know whether the M1 chip is better than the 10th Gen Intel Core i7 and vice versa. The truth is, there’s some muddle information out there. 

After Apple came out in 2020 and said that the M1 chip could run Windows 10 better than Intel, Intel has recently struck back by making some interesting claims about their 11th Gen Intel Core i7.

In a presentation for their new 11th Gen Intel Core i7, Intel described that gaming was better on their system. In reality, they were talking about the games that couldn’t be played on MacBooks instead of the performance of games which is a fair point, games are limited on MacBooks (for now).

For content creation tasks, Intel showed the Core i7 to be about 1.12x faster than the M1 in performing a 4K AVC-to-HEVC/H.265 file conversion. In this benchmark, they had the MacBook using the M1-native version of Handbrake. Intel also claimed that using native versions of Premiere Pro on both systems, exporting was 1.5x faster on Intel than the M1. This is nothing shocking however as this software is arguably tuned better for Intel-based computers, however, arguably those who own a MacBook would rather use Final Cut anyway which is tuned for Apple devices.

Although the Lenovo Legion runs on the 10th Gen, this recent debate gives you a little bit of an idea of where Intel and Apple are right now. Intel is trying to hit back at Apple by carefully selecting small details that could make it look as if Intel is outperforming Apple in terms of performance however Apple still seems to hold up against these minor arguments. If 11th Gen Intel Core i7 finds it hard to make convincing and clear arguments against Apple’s M1 then we’re confident they won’t be able to when it comes to their 10th Gen Intel Core i7.

Comparing the two is sometimes like comparing chalk and cheese because they both do different things based on what you need them for. The Lenovo Legion 5i is aimed towards gamers and the MacBook Pro M1 is aimed at professionals and hobbyists who need professional apps. 

MacBook Pro M1 vs Lenovo Legion 5i: Which one is Better? | The Verdict

Whilst the Lenovo Legion 5i is a robust mid-market computer for gaming and video editing, it is let down by its battery life. The new Advance Optimus technology doesn’t appear to live up to what it promises. Perhaps it is trying to replicate what Apple has done with its 8-Core GPU by designing a processor that distributes power based on what you’re doing. Unfortunately, this doesn’t appear to be working as planned yet however I’m sure this will be fine-tuned in later versions. 

For now, the MacBook Pro M1 comes out on top for me when it comes to performance. That’s not to say you won’t have great gaming or content creation experiences on the Lenovo Legion 5i, if you keep it plugged in, you won’t have any issues except for your computer getting quite hot but that’s something most people have gotten used to. Because of its graphics card, you have the option to play with the settings to get them just right for you and your games.

With the MacBook Pro M1, you’ll have a cooler gaming experience but with limited titles to play. Also, with the built-in professional video editing apps, you’ll get everything you need right out of the box.

Just let us know in the comments if you have any question about our MacBook Pro M1 vs Lenovo Legion 5i comparison.

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