Speaking as professionals who are paid to know this stuff, we're baffled at times by Lenovo's confusing, overlapping laptop names: While the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro is a 14-inch ultraportable, the IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro ($1,011 as tested) reviewed here is a 16-inch desktop replacement. Fortunately, it's an appealing one, with a handsome 2.5K touch screen and lively performance at a low price. When we wrote this, the unit was hard to find in stock. But Lenovo assures us this model is a going item, and that the availability status will change. If you happen across one by the time you read this, at the suggested price or anything less, it's a great find.
Both AMD and Nvidia Inside
The letter "i" in the name of the Slim 7i Pro clues you in that it has an Intel processor. The IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro, like the ultraportable Slim 7 Carbon, features AMD silicon. In the case of our review unit, it's an eight-core, 3.2GHz (4.4GHz boost) Ryzen 7 5800H. The Lenovo.com exclusive also sports 16GB of RAM, a 1TB PCIe solid-state drive, and Nvidia's 4GB GeForce RTX 3050.Our Experts Have Tested 131 Products in the Laptops Category in the Past YearSince 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. (See how we test.)(Photo: Molly Flores)
At 0.79 by 14.1 by 9.7 inches (HWD), the gray aluminum-clad IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro is almost exactly the same size as the Dell Inspiron 16 Plus, though a bit heavier (4.59 versus 4.43 pounds). The 16-inch Acer Swift 3 measures 0.63 by 14.5 by 9.3 inches and is lighter at 3.9 pounds.
There's almost no flex if you grasp the screen corners or press the keyboard deck, and a slightly protruding webcam helps you open the lid with one hand—which, as with a growing number of laptops, awakens the laptop whether it was switched off or merely closed to put to sleep. The webcam supports face recognition to log you into Windows 11 Pro at startup, and can also lock the system if you walk away. Given these cutting-edge features, we can forgive the lack of a fingerprint reader. Thin bezels surround the 2,560-by-1,600-pixel display, giving what Lenovo calls a 92% screen-to-body ratio.4.5Outstanding$950.59See Itat DellRead Our Dell XPS 13 (9310) Review 4.0Excellent$579.99See Itat AmazonRead Our Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14 Review4.5Outstanding$422.00See Itat AmazonRead Our Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (2022) Review 4.0Excellent$852.59See Itat DellRead Our Dell Inspiron 16 Plus (7610) Review 4.5Outstanding$899.99See Itat Amazon Read Our HP Spectre x360 14 Review 4.5Outstanding$1,980.00See Itat AmazonRead Our Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 (2021) Review 4.0Excellent$899.00See Itat AmazonRead Our Microsoft Surface Pro 8 Review 4.5Outstanding$979.00See Itat AmazonRead Our Apple MacBook Air (M1, Late 2020) Review 4.0Excellent$1,288.88See Itat AmazonRead Our MSI Katana GF66 Review 4.5Outstanding$1,499.99See Itat Best BuyRead Our Acer Predator Triton 300 SE Review 4.0Excellent$2,081.50See Itat DellRead Our Alienware m17 R4 Review 4.5Outstanding$1,839.00See Itat DellRead Our Dell Precision 5560 Review4.0Excellent$1,579.00See Itat AmazonRead Our Panasonic Toughbook 33 (2021) Review(Photo: Molly Flores)
As an AMD rather than Intel PC, the IdeaPad doesn't offer a Thunderbolt port, but there's a USB 3.2 Type-C port along with an HDMI video output, an audio jack, and the AC adapter connector on the left edge. Two USB 3.2 Type-A ports join an SD card slot on the right. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth are standard. Lenovo says that 15 minutes plugged in will give sufficient charge for three hours' use.
(Photo: Molly Flores)
Four-Fifths the Nits
Lenovo rates the IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro's screen at 500 nits of brightness. It looked closer to 400 and our test equipment (see below) bore that out, but that's still plenty bright, with good contrast and pristine white backgrounds instead of dingy or grayish ones. The IPS panel is part of an increasing crop with a slightly taller 16:10 instead of 16:9 aspect ratio; its 120Hz refresh rate doubles the usual scan for smoother video viewing and light gaming. Colors are rich and well saturated, viewing angles are broad, and fine details are nicely sharp.
The webcam is limited to the usual soft-focus 720p resolution and captures blotchy but colorful images with minimal static. It has no privacy shutter, but the supplied Lenovo Vantage software lets you switch it off—or, in a novel touch, apply a green-screen effect to blur or posterize the background behind you.(Photo: Molly Flores)
Speakers above the keyboard produce sound that's disappointingly soft even at top volume, but clear and crisp without tinny distortion. There's next to no bass but you can make out overlapping tracks. Dolby Atmos software offers music, movie, game, dynamic, and voice presets and an equalizer.
The backlit keyboard has a shallow but snappy typing feel and comfortable layout, though the top-row Escape and Delete keys are small. It lacks dedicated Home, End, Page Up, and Page Down keys, but you can use the numeric keypad's 7, 1, 9, and 3 keys respectively or team the Fn key with the cursor arrows. A buttonless touchpad below the space bar glides and taps smoothly; it has a slightly stiff, hollow click.(Photo: Molly Flores)
Lenovo Vantage centralizes system updates and device settings, including performance, balanced, and battery-saving cooling fan modes. (We used the first for our benchmark testing.) It also advertises annual $29.99 Smart Performance and $39.99 Smart Privacy subscriptions. Other preinstalled software includes Amazon Alexa and Glance by Mirametrix, which uses the webcam to make app focus follow your gaze when using an external monitor.
Testing the Slim 7 Pro: Running Neck and Neck
For our benchmark charts, we compared the IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro to four other 16-inch notebooks. The Acer Swift 3 is within $12 of the Lenovo's price, while the Dell Inspiron 16 Plus is a few hundred dollars higher. The HP Victus 16 is technically a gaming laptop but also in the same price ballpark. The content-creator Acer ConceptD 5 is more costly at $2,000. You can see their basic specs in the table below.
The main benchmark of UL's PCMark 10 simulates a variety of real-world productivity and content-creation workflows to measure overall performance for office-centric tasks such as word processing, spreadsheeting, web browsing, and videoconferencing. We also run PCMark 10's Full System Drive test to assess the load time and throughput of a laptop's storage.
Three benchmarks focus on the CPU, using all available cores and threads, to rate a PC's suitability for processor-intensive workloads. Maxon's Cinebench R23 uses that company's Cinema 4D engine to render a complex scene, while Primate Labs' Geekbench 5.4 Pro simulates popular apps ranging from PDF rendering and speech recognition to machine learning. Finally, we use the open-source video transcoder HandBrake 1.4 to convert a 12-minute video clip from 4K to 1080p resolution (lower times are better).
Our final productivity test is Puget Systems' PugetBench for Photoshop, which uses the Creative Cloud version 22 of Adobe's famous image editor to rate a PC's performance for content creation and multimedia applications. It's an automated extension that executes a variety of general and GPU-accelerated Photoshop tasks ranging from opening, rotating, resizing, and saving an image to applying masks, gradient fills, and filters.
The Acer Swift 3's is the only quad-core CPU in this group, and the eight-core systems beat it up pretty badly in our benchmarks (though it easily cleared the 4,000 points in PCMark 10 that indicate excellent productivity for Microsoft Office or Google Workspace). The IdeaPad generally trailed the ConceptD and Victus but posted highly respectable scores in every test.
We test Windows PCs' graphics with two DirectX 12 gaming simulations from UL's 3DMark, Night Raid (more modest, suitable for laptops with integrated graphics) and Time Spy (more demanding, suitable for gaming rigs with discrete GPUs).
We also run two tests from the cross-platform GPU benchmark GFXBench 5, which stresses both low-level routines like texturing and high-level, game-like image rendering. The 1440p Aztec Ruins and 1080p Car Chase tests, rendered offscreen to accommodate different display resolutions, exercise graphics and compute shaders using the OpenGL programming interface and hardware tessellation respectively. The more frames per second (fps), the better.
The GeForce RTX 3050 isn't one of Nvidia's top gaming GPUs, so the Lenovo was predictably no threat to the two RTX 3060 laptops (and the Swift's integrated graphics were predictably nowheresville by comparison). But the IdeaPad can certainly handle some casual gaming, even if it's unlikely to tax its 120Hz screen.
We test laptops' battery life by playing a locally stored 720p video file (the open-source Blender movie Tears of Steel) with display brightness at 50% and audio volume at 100%. We make sure the battery is fully charged before the test, with Wi-Fi and keyboard backlighting turned off.
We also use a Datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration sensor and software to measure a laptop screen's color saturation—what percentage of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 color gamuts or palettes the display can show—and its 50% and peak brightness in nits (candelas per square meter).
Again, the Slim 7 Pro didn't knock any socks off, but put up a fine showing, lasting nearly 11 and a half hours in our battery rundown and narrowly showing the brightest if not an exceptionally colorful display. For a budget-priced desktop replacement, it did admirably.
A Nice Price if You Can Get It
At $1,011, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro is a real bargain among full-sized laptops, with a handsome 16-inch, 16:10 aspect ratio touch screen, a speedy CPU, a comfortable keyboard, ample memory, and a roomy solid-state drive. It's not a blazing gaming rig or mobile workstation, but it doesn't pretend to be.(Photo: Molly Flores)
Its biggest negative is that it may be hard to find—during our review, it sold out and was marked "Temporarily Unavailable" on Lenovo's site. Here's hoping it comes back soon and Lenovo resists the temptation to boost the sticker when it realizes it has a winner on its hands.
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