Lenovo’s new slim laptops delight digits with carbon and glass

Enlarge / The Slim 9i is the flagship.

Scharon Harding

On Thursday, Lenovo introduced a series of laptops with various options and designs. Slim laptops, formerly called the IdeaPad Slim, are a new line of foldable designs that will look to compete in June with thin and light builds, high-end components, high-resolution OLED screens and some unique textures.

shell maker

Slim 7 Pro X and Slim 7i Pro X have 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports, USB-A, a headphone jack, and HDMI 2.0.
Enlarge / Slim 7 Pro X and Slim 7i Pro X have 2 Thunderbolt 4 ports, USB-A, a headphone jack, and HDMI 2.0.

Scharon Harding

Featured products are the 14.5-inch Slim 7i Pro X and Slim 7 Pro X, where the “i” means it has an Intel CPU. Lenovo is launching the moniker “X” to represent laptops made for creators. In addition to offering up to an RTX 3050 (4GB GDDR6) laptop GPU, Lenovo also tweaks the machines’ hardware, a Lenovo representative told Ars Technica when we reviewed the laptops in person. AI software also helps manage performance and battery usage.

Lenovo didn’t disclose TDP numbers, but did say the Slim 7/7i Pro X has a higher TDP than the non-Pro X versions (which will only be available as 16-inch models in the US), especially if you get it with a dedicated laptop GPU, which is rejected in non-Pro X builds.

The new laptops also have a 70-watt-hour battery compared to 60 Wh for the non-X. Lenovo claimed the battery would last up to 12.5 hours of 1080p video playback with an Intel CPU and 15, 5 hours for the AMD version.

The laptops employ the respective series of CPUs aimed at creators from Intel and AMD. H-series chips top Intel’s 12th-gen mobile CPU pyramid, and the Slim 7i Pro X steps up to an i7-1200H with six performance cores or P-cores at 2.3-4.7 GHz, 8 efficiency cores or E cores (1.7 -2.3 GHz), 20 threads, and 96 EUs.

Meanwhile, the AMD version of the laptop steps up to the Ryzen 9 6900 HS Creator Edition, with eight cores, 16 threads, and a base clock speed of 3.3GHz that can be boosted to 4.9GHz. It also features Radeon graphics. AMD 12-core GPU 680M.

Lenovo also equipped the creator machines with lightning-fast RAM. Intel machines support up to 32GB of dual-channel LPDDR5-6000 memory, while the AMD version can go up to 6400MHz, just as fast as LPDDR5.

The laptops include 1080p webcams, start at 3.48 pounds and are 0.63 inches thick.
Enlarge / The laptops include 1080p webcams, start at 3.48 pounds and are 0.63 inches thick.

Scharon Harding

Ultimately, they’re not as rugged as Lenovo’s ThinkPad laptops, which include workstation-comparable laptops like the 16-inch ThinkPad X1 Extreme. That laptop steps up to an octa-core i7-11850H, RTX 3070 (8GB), and DDR4-3200 RAM for around $2,800.

Pro X laptops prioritize resolution and speed over color coverage, though 100 percent sRGB is fine for those creating for Windows, for example. The 3072×1920 displays have a high 120Hz refresh rate and Nvidia G-Sync Adaptive-Sync to combat screen tears. The maximum brightness is 400 nits for the IPS panel.

Lenovo Slim 9i: a touch of glass

The Slim 9i's screen looked vivid with saturated colors in our short time with it.
Enlarge / The Slim 9i’s screen looked vivid with saturated colors in our short time with it.

Scharon Harding

The flagship of the Slim series, the Slim 9i, has a higher starting price of $1,800.

Much of that price comes from the machine’s 14-inch OLED touchscreen. You can get the high-contrast display with a resolution of 3840 × 2400 (323.45 pixels per inch) at 60 Hz standard or drop down to 2880 × 1800 (242.59 ppi) for up to a 90 Hz mark. Either way, 16:10 screens are VESA DisplayHDR 500 True Black certified, which promises the deepest blacks and a brightness of at least 500 nits.

The Slim 9i at least looks like a flagship, thanks to a touch of glass. Like a modern smartphone, the lid is covered with 3D glass. A Lenovo representative told us that the glass doesn’t provide additional protection, but it does make the laptop look more elegant. The glass also meshed well with the shiny, rounded edges of the laptop deck. However, the cover glass seemed susceptible to fingerprints and we’d hate to imagine what the laptop would look like if it ever damaged the glass.

The Slim 9i only comes with Intel CPUs, up to an i7-1280P. The CPU has four P cores (2.1-4.7 GHz), eight E cores (2.1-3.4 GHz), and 16 threads. Memory is slower than in the aforementioned Pro X laptops, maxing out at 32GB of LPDDR5-5600 on two channels.

You should be able to squeeze more battery life out of the Slim 9i’s 75Whr battery compared to the Pro X machines. Lenovo claims up to 15 hours of 1080p video playback.

Port selection is sparser than on the Pro X laptops with three Thunderbolt 4.0 ports and a 3.5mm jack.
Enlarge / Port selection is sparser than on the Pro X laptops with three Thunderbolt 4.0 ports and a 3.5mm jack.

Scharon Harding

Another boost against the so-called creative machines is in the audio; the Slim 9i has two 2W tweeters, plus a pair of 3W subwoofers. If you want even more oomph and a similar design, consider Lenovo’s Yoga laptops, which include the same setup, plus a built-in soundbar. The hinge.

carbon coated

Lenovo Slim 7i Carbon.
Enlarge / Lenovo Slim 7i Carbon.

Scharon Harding

As the name suggests, the Slim 7i Carbon uses a combination of magnesium alloy and carbon fiber on the lid. You won’t find carbon fiber on the deck, as magnesium alloy offers better heat management and lower costs. That design made for a smooth, matte finish with a smooth texture that helped with my grip. It also matched the premium feel of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which uses the same chassis materials.

The Slim 7i Carbon starts at 2.13 lbs and 0.58 inches.
Enlarge / The Slim 7i Carbon starts at 2.13 lbs and 0.58 inches.

Scharon Harding

The 13-inch Slim 7i Carbon comes with up to an i7-1260P, 32GB of LPDDR5-4800, a 1TB SSD, and a 2560×1600 IPS panel at up to 90Hz. Its 50WHr reportedly lasts up to 13.5 hours. with 1080p video playback.

The laptop has three USB-C ports, including two Thunderbolt 4 ports.
Enlarge / The laptop has three USB-C ports, including two Thunderbolt 4 ports.

Scharon Harding

The Slim 7i Carbon will start at $1,300.

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Listing image by Scharon Harding

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