Lenovo’s new slim laptops delight the numbers with carbon and glass

Lenovo’s new slim laptops delight the numbers with carbon and glass

Lenovo's new slim laptops delight the numbers with carbon and glass

Lenovo Slim 9i closed
Enlarge / The Slim 9i is the flagship.

Charon Harding

On Thursday, Lenovo introduced a series of laptops with various options and designs. Slim laptops, formerly known as IdeaPad Slim, are a new line of clamshell designs that will look to compete in June with thin and light builds, premium components, high-resolution OLED displays and unique textures.

designer shells

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

Charon Harding

The most notable products are the 14.5-inch Slim 7i Pro X and Slim 7 Pro X, the ‘i’ meaning it has an Intel processor. Lenovo launches the “X” moniker to represent laptops designed for creators. Along with offering up to an RTX 3050 (4GB GDDR6) laptop GPU, Lenovo is also refining the machines’ hardware, a Lenovo representative told Ars Technica when we checked out the laptops in person. The AI ​​software also helps manage performance and battery usage.

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

The new laptops also have a 70 watt-hour battery compared to the non-X’s 60 Whr. Lenovo claimed the battery will last up to 12.5 hours of 1080p video playback with an Intel processor and 15.5 hours for the AMD version.

The laptops use the respective series of processors targeting the creators from Intel and AMD. H-series chips top Intel’s 12th-gen mobile processor pyramid, and the Slim 7i Pro X goes 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 is upgrading to a Ryzen 9 6900 HS Creator Edition, with eight cores, 16 threads, and a base clock speed of 3.3 GHz that can go up to 4.9 GHz. It also features AMD’s 12-core Radeon 680M graphics.

Lenovo has also equipped the creator’s machines with super-fast RAM. The Intel machines support up to 32 GB of LPDDR5-6000 memory on two channels, while the AMD version can reach 6400 MHz, as fast as LPDDR5.

The laptops include 1080p webcams, start at 3.48 lbs, and are as thin as 0.63 inches.
Enlarge / The laptops include 1080p webcams, start at 3.48 lbs, and are as thin as 0.63 inches.

Charon Harding

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

The Pro X laptops prioritize resolution and speed over color coverage, though 100% 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 tearing. Peak brightness is a claimed 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.

Charon 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 standard 60Hz or go down to 2880×1800 (242.59 ppi) for a tick down to 90Hz. Either way, the 16:10 screens are VESA DisplayHDR 500 True Black certified, which promises the deepest blacks and at least 500 nits of brightness.

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 rep told us that the glass doesn’t provide extra protection, but does make the laptop look sleeker. The glass also played well with the rounded, glossy edges of the laptop’s deck. The glass casing seemed susceptible to fingerprints, however, and we’d hate to imagine how the laptop would look if you ever damaged the glass.

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

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

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

Charon Harding

Another boost over the so-called creation machines is in audio; the Slim 9i has two 2W tweeters, plus a pair of 3W subwoofers. If you want even more punch and a similar design, consider Lenovo’s Yoga laptops, which include the same setup, plus a power bar sound in the hinge.

Carbon dressed

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

Charon Harding

As the name suggests, the Slim 7i Carbon uses a combination of magnesium alloy and carbon fiber in the lid. You won’t find carbon fiber in the deck, as the magnesium alloy provides better heat management and lower costs. This design gave a soft matte finish with a soft texture that helped my grip. It also matched the high-end feel of the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which uses the same chassis materials.

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

Charon 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 would last up to 13.5 hours with 1080p video playback.

The laptop has three USB-C ports, two of which are Thunderbolt 4.
Enlarge / The laptop has three USB-C ports, two of which are Thunderbolt 4.

Charon Harding

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

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