Lenovo Slim 9i vs. Apple MacBook Pro 14

The 14-inch laptop has seen something of a renaissance lately. It seems that users, or at least manufacturers, see a ton of value in a laptop that’s slightly larger than a 13-inch machine but considerably smaller than 15 inches. There’s a little more room for better thermals and a larger display without creating a humongous chassis.

The Apple MacBook Pro 14 represents state-of-the-art design in 14-inch laptops, with an insanely solid build, strong performance, and phenomenal battery life. But it’s not alone. Lenovo’s Slim 9i is a great laptop in its own right, offering the same level of build quality with good performance and battery life that competes strongly against other Windows laptops, if not against the MacBook Pro 14. So, which of these outstanding premium 14-inch laptops is for you?


  Lenovo Slim 9i Apple MacBook Pro 14
Dimensions 12.40 inches by 8.44 inches by 0.59 inches 12.31 inches by 8.71 inches by 0.61 inches
Weight 3.02 pounds 3.5 pounds
Processor Intel Core i7-1280P Apple M1 Pro
Apple M1 Max
Graphics Intel Iris Xe Integrated
Display 14.0-inch 16:10 OLED UHD+ (3840 x 2400) 14.2-inch 16:10 Liquid Retina XDR 3024 x 1964
Storage 512GB solid-state drive (SSD)
Touch Yes No
Ports 3 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
3 x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4
1 x HDMI 2.0
1 x 3.5mm audio jack
SD card reader
Wireless Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
Webcam 1080p with infrared camera for Windows Hello 1080p
Operating system Windows 11 MacOS Monterey
Battery 75 watt-hour 70 watt-hour
Price $1,760+ $1,999+
Rating 4 out of 5 stars 5 out of 5 stars

Price and configurations

The Slim 9 has just two configurations as this comparison is being written, all built around the 12th-generation, 28-watt, 14-core/20-thread Core i7-1280P CPU, 32GB of RAM, and UHD+ OLED display. It’s $1,760 with a 512GB SSD and $1,819 with a 1GB SSD. That’s slightly less than when we reviewed the laptop.

The Apple MacBook Pro 14 offers the same 14.2-inch Liquid Retina display on all configurations, with a choice between various Apple M1 Pro and Max CPUs. The entry-level configuration with an eight-core CPU/14-core GPU M1 Pro, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD is $1,999. At the high end, you can get a 10-core CPU/32-core GPU M1 Max CPU, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SS for $3,299.

The MacBook Pro 14 starts out at more than the Slim 9i’s high-end configuration, making it a significantly more expensive laptop.


There’s no denying that the MacBook Pro 14 is an incredibly well-built laptop, with a chassis that’s constructed of CNC machine aluminum that feels like a solid chunk of metal. There’s absolutely no bending, flexing, or twisting anywhere, not in the lid, the keyboard deck, or the bottom chassis. And the MacBook Pro 14’s aesthetic is the usual extreme minimalism, with blocky lines that somehow manage to exude elegance.

The Slim 9i is also extremely solid with a CNC machined aluminum chassis. It’s equal to the MacBook in this regard. Lenovo covered the lid with glass, which adds an exciting element to both the look and the feel. Its chassis has incredibly comfortable rounded edges that make the Slim 9i more comfortable to hold. It’s a more extravagant aesthetic that’s also elegant.

The MacBook Pro 14 benefits from Apple’s outstanding Magic Keyboard, which has limited travel but still manages to offer a snappy and precise bottoming action that makes for fast typing from the first moment you start using it. And its Force Touch haptic touchpad is large and precise, easily the best touchpad on a 14-inch laptop. The Slim 9i’s keyboard is also low-travel, but it lacks the precision of the MacBook’s version and is not nearly as comfortable. The touchpad is fine but nothing special, especially compared to Apple’s.

Both laptops enjoy passwordless login capabilities. The Slim 9i uses an IR camera and facial recognition to support Windows 11 Hello, while the MacBook Pro 14 leverages a Touch ID sensor built into the power supply. Both worked equally well. The Slim 9i also uses its IR camera to support privacy features like Zero Touch Lock, which turns off the laptop and puts it to sleep when the user leaves the area, then wakes it up and automatically logs in when the user returns. It’s a level of convenience and privacy that the MacBook Pro 14 lacks.

In addition, both laptops have 1080p webcams that provide detailed images in various lighting conditions. They’re both excellent, but the Slim 9i benefits from a switch that electronically shutters the webcam for privacy. Lenovo uses a reverse physical notch to fit the webcam in while retaining relatively slim bezels, while Apple built a notch into the display that’s destracting to some.

Finally, the MacBook Pro 14 offers better physical connectivity, with three USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, a full-size HDMI port, a 3.5mm audio jack, and a full-size SD card reader. These are everything a creator needs. The Slim 9i has just three USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support and a 3.5mm audio jack. The Slim 9i has more up-to-date wireless connectivity with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 versus Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0.


Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The Slim 9i uses Intel’s fastest 28-watt, 12th-gen CPU, and it provides solid productivity performance and enough power to handle some low-end creative tasks. It competes well against the MacBook Pro 14 with the entry-level M1 Pro CPU in our usual benchmarks, running faster in Geekbench 5, our Handbrake test that encodes a 420MB video as H.265, and Cinebench R23. The Slim 9i can be switched between balanced and performance modes for quieter and slower or faster and louder operation, and it’s even faster than the low-end MacBook Pro 14 in performance mode.

These benchmarks don’t tell the whole story, though. The 10-core CPU/16-core GPU M1 Pro is about 25% faster across the board, and then there’s the option for the even faster M1 Max that would blow these results out of the water. And in the Pugetbench for Premiere Pro benchmark that runs in a live version of Adobe’s Premiere Pro, the faster M1 Pro scored 911. That’s competitive with the fastest laptops you’ll find, and although we didn’t test the Slim 9i using this benchmark, similar Intel machines with integrated Iris Xe graphics scored around 300. The MacBook Pro 14 benefits tremendously from a CPU (and GPU) that’s incredibly fast in real-world applications, much more so than is apparent in synthetic benchmarks.

For creators, then, the MacBook Pro 14 is a much better performer. Both can handle demanding productivity tasks, although even then, as you ramp up the CPU, the MacBook Pro 14 gains a significant edge.

Lenovo Slim 9i
(Core i7-1280P)
Apple MacBook Pro 14
(Apple M1 Pro 8/14)
Geekbench 5
(single / multi)
Bal: 1.720 / 10,115
Perf: 1,726 / 11,074
Bal: 1,728 / 9,955
Perf: N/A
Bal: 114
Perf: 95
Bal: 123
Cinebench R23
(single / multi)
Bal: 1,795 / 9,467
Perf: 1,824 / 11,301
Bal: 1,531 / 9,519
Perf: N/A


The screen of the 2021 MacBook Pro.

The Slim 9i comes with just one display option, a 14-inch 16:10 UHD+ OLED panel that’s incredibly sharp, bright, and colorful, offering OLED’s inky blacks. It’s among the best Windows displays you can buy. The MacBook Pro 14 also comes with a single display option, a 14.2-inch 16:10 mini-LED panel at 3024 x 1964, which isn’t as sharp as the Slim 9i’s display but still more than sharp enough. It’s much brighter and offers better high dynamic range (HDR) support, with wide colors that fall short of the Slim 9i while being slightly less accurate. Its contrast is even higher, however.

Both displays are excellent for creators, with the Slim 9i having an advantage in wider and more accurate colors. Both are spectacular displays for everyone else, including productivity workers and media consumers (where the MacBook Pro 14 shines, literally). You can’t go wrong with either display.

Lenovo Slim 9i
(Core i7-1280P)
Apple MacBook Pro 14
(Apple M1 Pro)
389 511
AdobeRGB gamut 95% 89%
 sRGB gamut 100% 100%
(DeltaE, lower is better)
0.89 1.13
Contrast ratio 24,310:1 35,450:1


Lenovo Slim 9i side view showing lid and ports.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The two laptops are remarkably close in size, with the Slim 9i being slightly thinner and considerably lighter. Both offer a lot of power and excellent designs packed into reasonably sized chassis and can be carried around without much fuss.

However, even with a slightly smaller battery, the MacBook Pro 14 provides spectacular battery life that’s in a completely different league. In both our web browsing and video tests, the MacBook Pro 14 doubled the Slim 9i’s web browsing longevity and almost doubled its video playback time. The Slim 9i is unlikely to last a full day of typical productivity work on a charge, while the MacBook Pro 14 might last two days. That’s a massive advantage, particularly given the MacBook’s performance.

Lenovo Slim 9i
(Core i7-1280P)
Apple MacBook Pro 14
(Apple M1 Pro)
Web browsing  6 hours, 28 minutes 15 hours, 29 minutes
Video 12 hours, 36 minutes 22 hours, 3 minutes

The Slim 9i puts up a good fight, but the MacBook Pro 14 comes out on top

There’s no doubt that these are two excellent laptops. In terms of their designs, they’re different but equally attractive and well-built. But the MacBook Pro 14 is considerably faster, especially when you ramp up the CPU, and its battery life is out of this world. It also enjoys a better keyboard and touchpad, with the Slim 9i only benefiting from its touch display.

At the same time, the MacBook Pro 14 is also a lot more expensive. That counts in this comparison, but if you have the money, then Apple has the best 14-inch laptop you can buy today.

Editors’ Choice

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The best MacBook Pro bags

MacBooks are expensive investments, so naturally, you should get a bag to safely carry yours around. Whether you are commuting for work or you’re a student, you will want a bag that is sturdy, water-resistant, and roomy enough to fit the MacBook and its accessories. Here are some of the best MacBook Pro bags you can buy to keep your computer safe from the elements. 

A woman carrying the Timbuk2 Authority on her back.

Timbuk 2 Authority Laptop Backpack

The best bag overall


  • Made from recycled materials
  • Air mesh keeps your back cool as you carry it
  • Tons of storage

Why you should buy this: It’s a roomy, durable, and eco-friendly backpack.

Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a premium backpack to carry anything and everything for a long time to come.

Why we picked the Timbuk2 Authority:

Whether you need a bag for traveling, school, or your daily commute, the Authority Laptop Backpack from Timbuk2 will work for you. This premium backpack is a great choice for just about everyone because of its many pockets and comfortable straps.

The Authority has two main compartments, and the laptop compartment can hold up to a 17-inch laptop, so it will work no matter which MacBook you have. The larger compartment also has a series of pockets ideal for holding notebooks, pens, sunglasses, and anything else you might need to carry with you. There’s also a mesh pocket on the side that is perfect for carrying a water bottle.

Both the back panel and straps are built with an air mesh to help prevent excessive sweating while you are lugging it around. The straps are also padded to make carrying the bag comfortable. The Authority is made from 100% recycled pre-consumer nylon, so the bag is environmentally friendly as well.

It’s not the cheapest option on this list, but the premium build quality and universal appeal make the Timbuk2 Authority a worthwhile investment.

TIMBUK2 Authority Laptop Backpack Deluxe, Eco Black Deluxe

Timbuk 2 Authority Laptop Backpack

The best bag overall

Someone with the Peak Design Everyday Messenger getting into a car.

Peak Design Everyday Messenger

Best messenger bag


  • Roomy interior for laptops, cameras, and other gear
  • Can be worn as a sling or over the shoulder
  • Premium construction
  • Magnetic latch


  • No side pockets
  • Expensive

Why you should buy this: It’s a surprisingly roomy messenger that can fit just about anything.

Who it’s for: People on the go who need to carry a lot of things, MacBook included.

Why we picked the Peak Design Everyday Messenger:

Messenger bags are excellent travel companions, and this option from Peak Design is one of the most versatile options available. The Everyday Messenger has Mag Latch hardware with four magnetic points of contact. This lets you adjust where the bag actually closes, allowing you to pack in a lot of contents while still being able to close the bag.

There are also a variety of pockets for laptops, tablets, and even extra pairs of clothes. The roomy compartment is also ideal for photographers who need to carry their camera and a couple of lenses. The exterior of the bag is made of recycled 400D nylon to keep the bag’s contents safe and dry.

The laptop sleeve can fit a 13-inch device, but you should still be able to fit in the 14-inch MacBook Pro because it has a similar form factor to the 13-inch model. This isn’t a good fit for the 16-inch MacBook Pro, however.

The v2 Everyday Messenger has a reinforced strap for added comfort. It can also be adjusted so you can carry the bag at your side or over the shoulder. The Everyday Messenger is one of the more expensive bags on this list, but its versatility and improved design make it the best messenger bag option around.

Peak Design Everyday Messenger V2 13L Black, Travel or Photo Carry with Laptop Sleeve (BEDM-13-BK-2)

Peak Design Everyday Messenger

Best messenger bag

Mosiso Sleeve

Mosiso Laptop Sleeve Bag

Best sleeve for 14-inch MacBook Pro


  • Water-resistant
  • Lots of colors and styles available
  • Additional pocket for tablet/phone


  • Cannot fit 16-inch MacBook Pro

Why you should buy this: It’s an affordable and water-resistant sleeve to protect your MacBook Pro.

Who it’s for: Business professionals or people who need a protective case without lugging around a bag.

Why we picked the Mosiso 14-inch sleeve:

If you are just looking for a simple sleeve to carry your MacBook, this option from Mosiso is an affordable option. This neoprene sleeve will fit comfortably in any briefcase or backpack, and it will protect your MacBook from any scratching that might occur. The sleeve is also lined with foam padding to protect the computer from bumps and drops.

It’s designed for 13-inch laptops, but it can comfortably fit the 14-inch MacBook Pro as well as the latest M2 MacBook Air because of their similar form factors. There are also a ton of colors to choose from, so you can get a sleeve that perfectly matches your style.

The Mosiso also includes a small carrying bag for charging bricks, cables, and any other accessories for your MacBook.

If you’re looking for something simple and affordable to carry your MacBook, this is the option for you.

MOSISO Laptop Sleeve Bag Compatible with MacBook Air/Pro Retina, 13-13.3 inch Notebook,Compatible with MacBook Pro 14 inch 2021 2022 M1 Pro/Max A2442,Polyester Vertical Case with Pocket, Gray

Mosiso Laptop Sleeve Bag

Best sleeve for 14-inch MacBook Pro

A man holding the tomtoc 360 waiting for a train.

Tomtoc 360 Protective Laptop Shoulder Bag

The best bag for the 16-inch MacBook Pro


  • Corner bumpers to reduce shock damage
  • Extra pockets to carry accessories
  • Retractable handle


  • Plastic D-rings make strap flimsy

Why you should buy this: It’s a tough and affordable bag designed to resist drop and fall damage.

Who it’s for: Anyone who will be traveling with the 16-inch MacBook Pro.

Why we picked the Tomtoc 360 Shoulder Bag:

If you have the 16-inch MacBook Pro, you will want to get a bag that offers maximum protection. The best option for that is the 360 protective laptop shoulder bag from Tomtoc. The Tomtoc 360 has thick interior padding to protect the MacBook from drops and falls, and the ConerArmor bumpers offer further protection from that type of damage. The materials are also water-resistant to protect the bag’s contents from rain or accidental spills.

The 360 comes with a large main pocket for your computer and two smaller pockets for accessories, charging bricks, and cables. The bag can either be carried with the briefcase handle or removable shoulder strap. The Tomtoc 360 also comes in a variety of colors, so you can find one that matches your style.

The Tomtoc 360 is a little less than $40, which makes it a great deal for anyone looking for a secure and convenient bag for their 16-inch MacBook Pro.

tomtoc 360 Protective Laptop Shoulder Bag for 13-inch MacBook Air M2/A2681 M1/A2337 2022-2018, MacBook Pro M2/A2686 M1/A2338 2022-2016, 12.3 Surface Pro 8/X/7+/7/6/5, Water-resistant Accessory Case

Tomtoc 360 Protective Laptop Shoulder Bag

The best bag for the 16-inch MacBook Pro

The Matein travel backpack against a white background.

Matein Travel MacBook Pro Backpack

The best budget MacBook Pro bag


  • Very affordable
  • Plenty of room for computer and clothes alike
  • Several different colors and styles available


  • A bit too much interior room for everyday use

Why you should buy this: It’s a spacious and affordable backpack that’s great for travel.

Who it’s for: Anyone who plans on traveling a lot or simply needs a cheap and spacious backpack.

Why we picked the Matein Travel Backpack:

If you’re looking for a large backpack to carry your MacBook but don’t want to break the bank, this Matein backpack is the best option for you. This backpack is designed with travel in mind, but that also makes it a great option for carrying a large MacBook around. The Matein is made of water-resistant polyester, and its large main compartment is perfect for packing clothes or camera gear. The main compartment also has a pocket that’s perfect for slipping your computer or accessories into.

The front has two pockets that are ideal for storing your phone, notebooks, or anything else you might carry with you. The Matein also comes with a toiletry bag that’s great for carrying the essentials, and it can also double as a dedicated case for chargers and accessories.

If you’re looking for a versatile bag or plan on doing a lot of traveling with your MacBook, the Matein is a great option.

MATEIN Travel Backpack

Matein Travel MacBook Pro Backpack

The best budget MacBook Pro bag

A man carrying the Timbuk2 Project against a blank backgorund.

Timbuk2 Project

The best premium option


  • Luxurious waxed canvas
  • Luggage pass-through
  • Fits up to 16-inch MacBook Pro

Why you should buy this: It’s a premium backpack to complement your premium laptop.

Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a compact yet spacious backpack.

Why we picked the Timbuk2 Project:

If you want a backpack that feels as luxurious as your expensive MacBook, look no further than the Timbuk 2 Project. This backpack has been designed with everything in mind, and it’s easily the most premium backpack on the market right now. It can fit up to 16-inch laptops, so the 16-inch MacBook Pro will fit perfectly. The backpack is comprised mostly of waxed canvas, which makes it water-repellant. It also has leather trims that heighten the overall aesthetic of the backpack.

The Timbuk2 Project has four compartments. The first one is for your laptop, and there is a larger compartment for carrying clothes or other items. The front pocket is perfect for carrying notebooks, pens, and other accessories, like charging bricks or cables. There is also a zippered side pocket that is ideal for your phone.

Despite being able to carry a 16-inch laptop, the Project is also very compact. That’s great if you don’t want to lug around a huge backpack, especially if all you carry is your computer anyway.

It’s $229, but that price is to be expected for such a high-end backpack.

TIMBUK2 Project Laptop Backpackcout

Timbuk2 Project

The best premium option

A photographer carrying the ProTactic BP 450 AW II as he photographs a motorcycle.

Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II

The best rugged option


  • Rugged and tactical design
  • Tons of room for cameras and expensive equipment
  • Additional straps and pouches for hiking


  • Expensive, even by premium standards

Why you should buy this: It’s the most rugged and durable bag you can get. Perfect for hiking and offroading.

Who it’s for: Photographers and offroaders who need to protect all their gear.

Why we picked the Lowepro ProTactic 450 AW II:

If you plan on doing a lot of offroading or want the most protection for your MacBook, the Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II is the best option for you. It’s an expensive option, but the robust protection you get may be worth the price, especially if you’re carrying a lot of expensive equipment like cameras.

The BP 450 AW II holds up to a 15-inch laptop, but the 16-inch MacBook Pro should fit just fine. The laptop compartment also has a variety of pockets for chargers and cables. The backpack also comes with a storage compartment designed for a DSLR camera.

This durable bag is resistant to rain, snow, dust, and sand, so it’s the perfect companion no matter where you are going. It also has a sternum strap and a convertible utility belt, which makes it great for hiking.

If you’re looking for the most protection while you travel, or you’re a photographer looking for a backpack tailor-made for you, the ProTactic BP 450 AW II is a no-brainer.

Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II

Lowepro ProTactic BP 450 AW II

The best rugged option

Someone sliding a Macbook into the Herschel Pop Quiz backpack

Herschel Pop Quiz backpack

The best for style variety


  • Lots and lots of colors and styles to choose from
  • Fits up to 16-inch MacBook Pro
  • Dividers and pockets to store a variety of items


  • No exterior water bottle pocket

Why you should buy this: It’s a roomy and stylish backpack.

Who it’s for: Students looking for a backpack that expresses their personality.

Why we picked the Herschel Pop Quiz:

If you’re a student or someone looking to express themselves with their backpack, the Pop Quiz line from Herschel may be just what you need. The backpack is affordable, starting at $70, but it can still fit up to the 16-inch MacBook Pro in a relatively compact form factor. The bag is made of polyester and has a waterproof zipper, so your contents should be safe even if you’re caught in the rain.

The Pop Quiz has a 22-liter main compartment, perfect for carrying textbooks or notebooks, and the front pocket can easily house cables and chargers. The padded straps and air mesh back also make commuting and carrying the bag a more comfortable experience.

The best thing about the Pop Quiz, though, is the variety of styles it comes in. If you are looking for something to stand out on campus or show off your personality, this bag is an excellent way to do it.

Herschel Supply Pop Quiz Backpack

Herschel Pop Quiz backpack

The best for style variety

Editors’ Choice

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Microsoft confirms Surface event, Surface Pro 9 expected

Microsoft has confirmed that it will host a launch event for its Surface product brand at 7 a.m. PT on October 12.

Currently there only a few details about what devices will be announced at the event; however, some rumors suggest Microsoft might showcase the Surface Laptop 5, Surface Pro 9 laptop-tablet hybrid, and Surface Studio 3 desktop, according to ZDNet.

Some recent reports indicate that the Surface Pro 9 has been submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), suggesting that it is near launch. According to the FCC documentation, the “portable computing device” will be ARM-based and have 5G capabilities. It is expected to run the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 processor. Other features might include a 13-inch 2880 x 1920 display with a 120Hz refresh rate, with rounded edges and a thinner frame.

Meanwhile, the Surface Laptop 5 series is expected to powered by Intel processors as opposed to AMD. Pricing for the variants in the series might include $1,180 (€1,200) for a a 13.5-inch model and approximately $1,475 (€1,500) for a 15-inch model, according to WinFuture.

Some early rumors speculated whether the Surface Laptop 5 could feature upgrades including a 120Hz display, Thunderbolt 4, and other additional ports including USB-C port, with USB 4.0, and finishes of Alcantara and metal.

Here's a first look at the refreshed Surface Keyboard and Surface Pen, which I assume are being updated for the upcoming Surface Studio 3 this fall

— Zac Bowden (@zacbowden) August 31, 2022

Accessories for the Surface Studio 3, including a Surface Pen, Mouse, and Keyboard with functionality-upgraded keys also leaked earlier this month, courtesy of Windows Central writer Zac Bowden.

Microsoft’s Surface event comes at a time when many brands are hosting fall events to announce products before the end of the year. Apple hosted its fall event where it announced the iPhone 14 series and new Apple Watch models, among other products.

The Surface launch event will coincide with the first day of the Microsoft Ignite IT Pro conference. Additionally, the Meta Connect metaverse event takes place the day prior, CNET noted.

Editors’ Choice

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Engadget Podcast: Reviewing the iPhone 14, 14 Pro and non-Ultra Apple Watches

So after all the hype last week, are the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro any good? And are the Apple Watch SE and Series 8 worth an upgrade? This week, Cherlynn chats with Devindra about her furious rush to review all of Apple’s latest gear. It turns out the iPhone 14 Pro is a pretty big step forward, but the same can’t be said for the plain 14. Also, they discuss the wider impact of removing SIM cards from this iPhone lineup, as well as the value of the Pro’s new 48MP camera.

Listen above, or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you’ve got suggestions or topics you’d like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcasts, the Morning After and Engadget News!



  • Review of the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 – 2:10

  • How does the iPhone 14 series stack up against this year’s other phones? – 45:07

  • Apple Watch SE and Series 8 reviews – 48:26

  • A few thoughts on iOS 16 – 54:25

  • Northeastern University VR lab targeted by mail bomb – 56:47

  • Period tracking app Flo gets anonymous mode – 59:22

  • We finally got a trailer for the Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom – 1:01:11

  • What we’re working on – 1:03:07

  • Pop culture picks – 1:07:31


Hosts: Cherlynn Low and Devindra Hardawar
Producer: Ben Ellman
Music: Dale North and Terrence O’Brien
Livestream producers: Julio Barrientos
Graphic artists: Luke Brooks and Brian Oh

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission. All prices are correct at the time of publishing.

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The rumors about the Surface Pro 9 may have been true

Details of Microsoft’s upcoming Surface Pro 9 have finally emerged via documents the company submitted to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It looks like it may be a successor to the ARM-powered Surface Pro X, complete with 5G capabilities.

Spotted by Windows Central and Notebookcheck, the FCC documentation references a “portable computing device.” The filing itself doesn’t contain any specific specs, but Windows Central believes it may be the Surface Pro 9 5G.

There are references to the numerous radios on the device, including 4G and 5G cellular radios. The FCC tests devices to ensure the radio wave emissions are within safe limits, however the tests done on this new device do not involve the head, which eliminates phones.

There’s also a strong possibility that the chip inside is a Qualcomm one (likely the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3) given references to the company’s “Smart Transmit” technology. Windows Central also notes that Intel-based laptops with 5G radios usually use Intel’s own radios.

Qualcomm Smart Transmit explanation from the FCC.

The Surface Pro 9 is rumored to have the same 13-inch 2880 x 1920 display as the Surface Pro 8, as well as a 120Hz refresh rate. It’s also suggested that the Surface Pro 9 will have more rounded edges and a thinner frame.

Microsoft has been slowly pushing Windows on ARM, though not as aggressively as Apple. Many early gripes with using Windows on an ARM device have largely been fixed as developer tools such as Project Volterra are pushed.

Microsoft initially tried to delve into ARM with the original Surface RT, but it ended up becoming quite a flop. The company was attempting to compete with the iPad, but failed to attract high-quality apps to the platform.

Fortunately, the landscape is very different with more manufacturers opting to release ARM versions of their devices, such as the Lenovo ThinkPad X13. A new first-party Surface Pro 9 may help Microsoft continue on the path of success and give consumers more choices in the computing landscape.

Editors’ Choice

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Google’s Nest Wifi Pro leaks weeks ahead of Pixel event

The Google Nest Wifi Pro is expected to arrive soon, and a recent leak suggests that the price has gone up compared to earlier models.

The info comes from B&H Photo, which has dropped some details of the product ahead of Google’s Pixel event, scheduled for October 6. A search for “Google Nest Wifi Pro 6E” returned several results. Those B&H listings have now been removed, but we managed to capture screenshots before they disappeared. The price is shown as $199, $30 more than the 2019 Nest Wifi’s retail price of $169 and $80 more than the current $119 sale price.

B&H also reveals two bundle options: a two-pack priced at $299 and a three-pack costing $399. Four color choices are listed, including Snow, Linen, Fog, and Lemongrass. The two-pack is only available in Snow, while the three-pack has a choice of Snow and multicolor. No photos or other details were shown in these accidental early listings.

The name Google Nest Wifi Pro 6E gives some clues about what we can expect. Wi-Fi 6E is the latest version of the Wi-Fi standard and it adds an extra frequency band to the already fast Wi-Fi 6 specification. This will help in crowded networks that have several phones, computers, and smart devices connected. The “Pro” naming scheme, as 9to5Google points out, suggests that Google might continue to sell the standard Nest Wi-Fi alongside this new model.

John Velasco / Digital Trends

Another detail worth noting is the lack of any mention of a Nest Point in the B&H listings. This lower-cost accessory works with the Nest Wifi to expand the range of coverage within your home or office. Even if the Nest Wifi Pro works with the older Nest Point, the latter is a Wi-Fi 5 device and won’t be able to broadcast a Wi-Fi 6 or 6E signal.

With Google’s next event coming in just a few weeks, we probably won’t have to wait long to learn more about the Google Nest Wifi Pro router. If you need a network upgrade sooner, there are some great deals available right now on Google Wi-Fi routers.

Editors’ Choice

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The 7 best Macs of all time, from iMac G3 to M1 MacBook Pro

Apple has been in the computer business since the very beginning. Over the years there have been some absolute classics, going right back to the company’s first product, the Apple I, in 1976.

Yet it was with the Macintosh line that Apple’s computers really found their feet. They’ve been so successful that these days the best Macs are synonymous with quality, durability, and performance. But even with such a storied history, it’s possible to pick out a few key milestones along the way. These are the greatest hits, a list of the best Macs in history that helped propel Apple to new heights.

Macintosh 128K (1984)

Remember the Super Bowl commercial for the Macintosh 128K? You know the one. Dubbed “1984” and directed by Ridley Scott, it features a young athlete smashing an on-screen Big Brother, freeing hordes of captive onlookers from captivity and conformity. That commercial was for Apple’s Macintosh 128K, and was meant to herald a new era of computing.

That desire was not misplaced. Like the commercial itself, the Macintosh 128K was a watershed moment. Not only did it birth the Macintosh name that is still used for Apple’s computers today, but it totally changed the perception of what a computer could be.

Small and lightweight, the Macintosh 128K was a true home computer, something that could find a place in anyone’s front room. It was affordable, too, lowering the barriers to entry for people who may have shied away from the computers of the past.

And it propagated a range of features that we take for granted today. It was the first computer to popularize the computer mouse, something that had been dreamed up a decade earlier but had never broken through into the mainstream. Its operating system standardized the easy-to-use graphical user interface, with windows and desktop metaphors that competitors sought to imitate. And it showed there was an alternative to IBM, whose products had a near-monopoly on the market.

iMac G3 (1998)

Couple using the iMac G3.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, the company was a total mess. A flailing product strategy, years of poor management, and underwhelming sales had combined to push Apple to the brink of bankruptcy. Yet just a year later, Apple would launch a computer that not only saved the company, but would also revolutionize the entire industry.

Everything that went into the iMac showed it was different to anything done before. It came in bursts of color, a radical departure from the beige boxes that dominated at the time. Its case was translucent so you could see the insides, helping to demystify how computers worked. And it had a carry handle, not because Apple expected you to move it often, but to help overcome the fear many people had of computers and encourage them to touch it.

It was all deliberate and geared toward making the computer approachable, friendly, even fun. That would never have worked if the software was a nightmare to use, but Apple succeeded here, too. Like the Macintosh 128K that came before it, the iMac was famously easy to use.

But it wasn’t just a plaything — it was fast, too, way more so than you would expect given its innocent demeanor. And, perhaps most importantly, it made it straightforward for people to connect to the internet. It was perhaps the first mega-hit computer of the internet era, paving the way for everything that followed, and was certainly one of Jony Ive’s greatest achievements.

iMac G4 (2002)

Apple iMac G4 with Mac OS X

If the iMac G3 helped Apple take the fear factor out of computing, its follow-up, the iMac G4, established the company as the king of cool. Ditching the bright colors for classy white and silver, the iMac G4 adopted the design language established by the iPod and used by Apple for years to come.

Its origin came thanks to a moment of inspiration. After the success of the iMac G3, Steve Jobs and Jony Ive were struggling to come up with a successor. During a stroll in Jobs’ garden, the epiphany came. Laurene Powell Jobs, Steve’s wife, had planted a profusion of sunflowers. Ive spotted them and excitedly began sketching: With a monitor attached to a moveable arm, the next iMac would seem to be so fluid it could reach for the sun, just like a sunflower.

Unlike the iMac G3 with its CRT display, the G4 introduced flat LCD panels to the Mac range, redefining how thin and light an Apple computer could be. Its LCD panel was a key selling point, but it also excelled when it came to ergonomics. The cantilevered monitor arm was not just pretty, it could be easily manipulated into a comfortable position for whoever was using it. And with all the components hidden in the base, it prompted stunned reactions of “where’s the computer?” from puzzled spectators.

Steve Jobs declared that the iMac G4 “has a beauty and grace that will last the next decade.” Sadly, it in fact lasted only two years before being discontinued. But its legacy has lived on as proof that Apple knew how to combine stunning design with excellent practicality and superb software.

First-generation Intel Mac Pro (2006)

Mac Pro old

When Apple relaunched the Mac Pro in 2019, it instantly drew comparisons to the 2006 Mac Pro thanks to its “cheese grater” front panel design. But aside from that unusual visage, what else made the first Mac Pro special? As it turns out, quite a lot.

A year earlier, Steve Jobs had promised that Apple would soon switch from PowerPC processors to Intel chips. This promised a huge uptick in performance, and nowhere was that clearer than with the Mac Pro. It was the first Mac to hit the 3.0GHz mark, something Jobs conceded was not possible on the old PowerPC architecture.

What’s more, Apple drove the point home by loading each Mac Pro with not one but two Intel Xeon processors. The chips were 64-bit, and increased the performance-per-watt of the machines. In fact, Apple claimed they offered double the performance of the previous Power Mac G5.

All that power was housed in a chassis that was as striking on the inside as it was on the outside. Once opened, there were no messy cables and fiddly screws. Everything was neatly compartmentalized, with drives simply slotting into place. It showed Apple understood that design was not just about how a thing looked, but how it worked — something Steve Jobs had been preaching since the days of the iMac G3.

First-generation MacBook Pro (2006)

The first-generation Apple MacBook Pro laptop from 2006.

While the 2006 Mac Pro was Apple’s most powerful computer in its early transition to Intel chips, it wasn’t the first. That honor goes to the 2006 MacBook Pro. And it was such a leap forward that it truly earned the “Pro” moniker.

Compared to the PowerBook G4 that came before it, the MacBook Pro offered up to four times the performance thanks to the Intel Core Duo, the first dual-core processor in a Mac. It did that while occupying a thinner, lighter aluminum chassis, and its display was two-thirds brighter than the PowerBook, starting a trend for brilliantly bright MacBook Pro screens that continues to this day.

It was also the first Mac to introduce the beloved MagSafe, which has made a welcome return in recent years. And at the top of the display was the first built-in iSight webcam, something that the PowerBook G4 totally lacked.

The transition to Intel processors resulted in a monumental jump in performance for Apple’s Macs, and one of the places this was most apparent was the first MacBook Pro. It was so significant that it prompted a name change that’s still with us all these years later.

First-generation MacBook Air (2008)

macbook air

We all know Steve Jobs was a master at the keynote presentation, but nowhere was that more apparent that at his iconic unveiling of the first-generation MacBook Air in 2008. After explaining just how thin and light the device was, Jobs then strolled over to a side table and pulled a MacBook Air out of a manilla envelope, to cheers and disbelief from the audience.

But this wasn’t just bluster. The MacBook Air was like nothing we’d ever seen before. Jobs explained Apple set out to do several things: Make a laptop that was thinner than the competition, yet was more powerful, had a better display, and a better keyboard. And boy, did the MacBook Air achieve that.

At its thickest point, the MacBook Air was thinner than the thinnest point on the world’s previous slimmest laptop — that’s how incredible Apple’s feat of engineering was. Unlike rival devices, it came with a larger 13-inch display and a full-size keyboard. And it had a full-power processor that destroyed the competition.

It was so unprecedented, it elicited stunned gasps from Jobs’ audience on several occasions. Its achievement was that it showed it was possible to build an ultra-thin laptop without the compromises other companies were forced to make.

M1 MacBook Pro (2020)

The MacBook Pro with the default wallpaper, which hides the notch.

The transition to Intel processors may have brought enormous gains in 2006, but nearly 15 years later Intel’s chips were becoming more of a hindrance than a help to Apple’s Macs. They ran too hot for Apple’s slimline aspirations, and didn’t run nearly fast enough either. Something had to change.

That something was a complete transition to Apple’s own chips, and it utterly revitalized the Mac lineup. No longer did Macs seems like overpriced underperformers — if anything, they were absolute bargains with the power and efficiency of Apple silicon. The M1 MacBook Air was a great example of this, and yet, it’s the MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch that make the list here.

After all, no one had doubts Apple couldn’t replicate the capabilities of an ultra-thin laptop like the MacBook Air. But to replace the performance of a high-wattage CPU and discrete graphics? Now that was a challenge many of us were skeptical of.

And yet, Apple totally pulled it off. The redesigned chassis brought back beloved features like MagSafe and extra ports, while the performance of the M1 Pro and M1 Max were doing things no one had seen before in a laptop of this class.

Yet what was even more amazing was that the MacBook Pro managed to do this while seriously increasing the battery life, something it continues to run circles around its competitors with. If nothing else, these MacBook Pros were proof that Apple’s move to its own silicon was going to pay off in the long run, and in many ways, it’s only just begun.

Editors’ Choice

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The Razer Kiyo Pro webcam is 50% off today

While this may not be immediately obvious, Razer has quite a lot of streaming-related equipment in its catalog of products. That might come as a surprise for those who are more familiar with the brand’s mice, keyboards, or laptops, but Razer streaming products are pretty good, especially if you’re looking through gaming PC deals for a streaming PC setup. For example, there’s the Razer Kiyo Pro, and Razer even has it discounted down to $100 from $200, a great 50% off deal.

Why you should buy the Razer Kiyo Pro

If you’ve looked at our list of best webcams, you may be more familiar with the Pro’s predecessor, the Kiyo. Well, the Kiyo Pro has a few design changes, with the biggest one being that it uses low-light surveillance camera tech for lighting instead of a ring light, which is an interesting take. How effective the adaptive light tech is will depend on your setup, but for the most part, it should manage to do a good job.

As for the actual specs, you can record 1080p at 60 frames per second, which is about on-par with its main competitors like the Logitech StreamCam and the Logitech Brio, although the latter can also do 4K at 30fps, so if creating 4K content is important to you, that might be something to consider. Field of view options are 103 degrees, 90 degrees, and 80 degrees, which gives you a nice range of options, and the overall image balancing is great out of the box, although you’re handed a lot of customization if you want it.

The Razer Kiyo Pro is a great streaming webcam if you don’t want to deal with a ring light, and with the deal from Razer bringing it down to $100 from its normal $200 price, it’s pretty affordable. Granted, it can’t hit 4K at 30fps like the Logitech Brio, but the Brio is also more expensive on Amazon. Of course, once you’ve picked your favorite webcam for streaming, check out some great gaming deals for other peripheral options and games to play!

Editors’ Choice

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Meta makes an important distinction about the Quest Pro

An ask me anything (AMA) hosted by Meta’s Chief Technology Officer Andrew “Boz” Bosworth covered several questions.

A theme that surfaced in the answers made it clear that Meta’s Quest Pro headset, which is expected to be released in October at the Meta Connect event, is focused on productivity, not gaming.

The Meta Quest Pro, aka Project Cambria, is being designed to function more like a laptop than a gaming console. In a question about how Meta’s upcoming headset would affect the market, Boz explained that it is a very different device than the Quest headset, costing significantly more and having a bigger feature set that’s oriented toward professionals. This is planned to be a headset used for work.

Delving further into the topic, another question asked how long it will be before it will be possible to spend a full day working in VR and specifically asked about coding, which requires looking at windows full of text and precisely entering information on a keyboard.

Boz answered that this is already possible now for some people but there is enough variance that it’s better to expect improvement over time rather than the perfect solution at the start.

Text resolution, user interface ease, adjustments for the eye acuity and spacing, as well as how comfortable the headset is after hours of use, all play a role. That means the Quest Pro might not be a complete laptop replacement, at least not for everyone. It seems like the emphasis will be on virtual screens and integration in mixed-reality workspaces for meetings with distant team members. Boz expressed excitement about what’s and shared that a recent demo he saw was one of the highlights of his career.

Andrew Bosworth hosts a Meta AMA

An update on the status of some of Meta’s advanced technologies was given as well. For example, a wrist controller shouldn’t be expected at Meta Connect and there is more work to be done on that device. Bosworth explained that depth sensors are too expensive, in terms of weight and expense, and it makes no sense to use them when the same thing can be achieved with Meta’s image processing. Boz also touched on bone conduction audio, which doesn’t work well for some people suggesting speakers will be the solution for the Quest Pro.

There were also questions about the lack of legs and arms on Meta avatars and apparently it’s easy to make them look right to others but not to the owner of those limbs. An answer to a far-looking question about whether AR glasses will replace the smartphone was interesting. Boz answered that an all-day wearable that’s comfortable and stylish will replace the phone but AR glasses like that are a “distant ways out.”

The full AMA is available on Boz’s Instagram account, @boztank.

Editors’ Choice

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The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is $135 cheaper at Walmart

Microsoft’s Surface Pro series of tablets are pretty well-known at this point and are often compared to the iPad Pro in their various iterations, and while it hasn’t always been a hit, they’re still competitive 2-in-1s that cost much less. For example, Surface Pro deals often bring them down to reasonable prices, like this deal from Walmart on the Microsoft Surface Pro 7, which is going for $900 and a nice $135 discount on its normal $1,035 price.

Why you should buy the Microsoft Surface Pro 7

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 sits in a peculiar place because it doesn’t represent a big leap forward like other iterations of the Pro, and yet it is priced pretty well for its specs. Under the hood, there’s a 10th-gen Intel i5-1035G4 processor that should handle most of your productivity tasks, video meetings, streaming content, and general day-to-day use. The 16GB of RAM also helps so that you don’t feel constrained or as if you’re constantly managing your apps and browser tabs because the device can’t handle them. That said, the internal storage is only 256GB, so you may want to reach for an external hard drive deal to supplement the internal storage.

Of course, the most visible and enjoyable part is the 12.3-inch screen with a 2,736 × 1,824 resolution, about the same as an iPad Pro, so you’re getting some high-end picture clarity and fidelity. The size also makes the Surface Pro 7 easy to carry around, as it weighs around 1.7 pounds, which, granted, is a little bit more than the iPad Pro but is still not too heavy to hold up. The pen experience is what sells it, although there’s still not an internal slot for it and it hangs on the side using a magnet, which isn’t ideal. Even so, the iPad Pro has the same issue.

Overall, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is a great tablet that for what it offers in terms of cost, especially with Walmart’s deal bringing it down to $900 and a $135 discount on its regular $1,035 price. But if you want to consider a few more options, there are some great laptop deals you can look at to compare.

Editors’ Choice

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