Switching From Apple to Lenovo

25 Dec 2020

Some of my friends have been telling me that Windows machines got a lot better. I decided to give it a try, and bought a top of the line Lenovo X1 Carbon Gen 8. For all of you thinking about doing the same switch, you might want to read this first.

Even though Apple is known for overpricing, and taking advantage of their customer base, they do it in a larger scheme of things, and do not engage in business practices which have a low customer experience. Unfortunately, you can’t say the same about the Lenovo universe.

Just go to their website for a minute. Try to figure out which Laptop to buy, without getting the feeling you are being scammed. Everything seems to be on sale all the time, there are laptops of different generations of the same product line being advertised to you. They lie to your face about the battery life-times. People who are buying these machines got used to this experience, and are proud of being able to navigate such websites. You really need to do your homework before buying anything.

For example: I bought the X1 with their standard FHD screen, and it feels older than my 7 years old MBP. When trying to figure out why, I found out that Lenovo has a “panel lottery”: They use different suppliers with remarkable quality differences for their displays. Which one you get is just based on luck. Turns out the panel I got is the same they use for their cheapest product line. This means I have a ghosting mouse pointer on a $2000 brand new machine. Nice.

Even if you are lucky with the screen: it does not come color calibrated out of the box! Good luck trying to find the correct color profile, unless you want to spend money on a calibration tool you’re only going to use once. Then comes Windows:

Yeah, it got better, but wow, do they carry a lot of baggage around. When trying to calibrate the display I found out that Windows has no less than three different system configuration UIs, which are also intertwined in unexpected ways. On top of that Lenovo installed their own buggy configuration tool. Configuring Windows feels like walking on ice. Even with all this configuration might, it still was not possible to get the exact serial number of my display panel without installing a third party tool.

Microsoft is also constantly nagging you about something that marginally helps their bottom line, but costs you a lot of your user experience. Like their constant push to trick people into giving them their data, or the fact that they try to force you to use their browser whenever they can.

I’m still not sure if I ticked the right boxes so that Microsoft does not get my browsing behaviour. I feel stressed every time Microsoft wants something from me. How are they trying to scam me this time?

For me this reinforces my belief that people who like Windows are simply used to it, because they need it for work or playing games. There is no point arguing with this, as their added value is their own experience, and the fact they know the tools and tricks to make the system usable to them.

One friend even told me that one of his favourite improvements in newer Windows versions is that they made it a lot easier to completely reset the operation system. My Apple machine has never been reset since I bought it almost a decade ago, and works flawlessly. His statement seems like a subtle warning as to what is expecting me in the near future using my new machine.