The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 14 is an evolution of the IdeaPad S740 14. It's Lenovo's non-convertible lineup that's priced in the mid-market price range, with models starting at about $750. It's thin, has a compact footprint, and it manages to pack in quite a few features, including a dedicated GPU, top-firing speakers, and some intelligent security features. I've been using the Slim 7 14 for the last week to see exactly what it's all about and whether or not it's worth a buy. Here's what I found.
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 14
Bottom line: The IdeaPad Slim 7 14 is one of the best Ultrabooks in the sub-$1,000 range. All-day battery life, excellent audio, human presence detection, dedicated GPU, plenty of ports, and a quality aluminum build outweigh the few downsides.
- Outstanding battery life
- Value pricing for what you get
- Excellent audio with top-firing speakers
- IR camera, fingerprint reader, human presence detection
- Dedicated NVIDIA MX350 GPU
- Relatively short key travel
- No physical camera shutter
- Glossy display finish
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 14 at a glance
Lenovo supplied Windows Central with a review unit of the IdeaPad Slim 7 14. It's configured with a 10th Gen Intel Core i5-1035G1 processor (CPU), 8GB of RAM, a 512GB M.2 PCIe solid-state drive (SSD), NVIDIA MX350 dedicated graphics card (GPU), and a 14-inch FHD non-touch display with glossy finish. This exact model goes for about $755 at Lenovo.
Power users can add up to a Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and up to 1TB of storage. RAM is soldered to the board barring any future upgrades, though the M.2 SSD slot is accessible by removing the laptop's bottom panel.
Here are the exact specs in my review unit.
|OS||Windows 10 Home|
|Processor||10th Gen Intel
4 cores, 8 threads
Up to 3.6GHz
|Graphics||Intel UHD (integrated)
NVIDIA GeForce MX350
|Storage||512GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
16:9 aspect ratio
Two USB-A 3.2
microSD card reader
|Audio||Dual 2W speakers
|Dimensions||12.62 x 8.19 x 0.58 inches
(320.6mm x 208.18mm x 14.9mm)
|Weight||3.3 pounds (1.5kg)|
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 14 Design and features
The IdeaPad Slim 7 is a laptop built entirely from aluminum. The base and lid are rigid, with only a bit of bend when really pressed. Weighing in at 3.3 pounds (1.5kg) and measuring 0.58 inches (14.9mm) thin, it's a laptop that can easily travel around with you. There's nothing too flashy about the design; the Slim 7 instead focuses on a quality build and quite a few features. The lid has a ledge stamped with "7 Series" for easier opening, and there are Lenovo badges on the lid and palmrest. It's otherwise a Slate Gray finish that does a decent job of repelling fingerprints.
The IdeaPad Slim 7 14's aluminum build feels great to hold and is small enough to easily tuck into a bag.
A lot of laptops move away from generous port selection as they get thinner, but the Slim 7 14 is an outlier. On the left is a USB-C port used for data and for the AC adapter, as well as HDMI 2.0, Thunderbolt 3, and a 3.5mm audio jack. The right side has dual USB-A 3.2 ports joined by a microSD card reader. After testing it appears that it's a UHS-I reader with read and write speeds up to about 30 MB/s.
There's enough native connectivity here that most people should get by alright, but you can always add one of the best Thunderbolt 3 docks for a larger setup. There's no Ethernet, but Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 are present.
The power button resides also on the right side of the laptop. Built in is a tiny fingerprint reader that works without flaw, providing quick logins through Windows Hello. More impressive, though, is the inclusion of an IR camera with Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor for human presence detection. The laptop can tell when you're present and when you're away, locking and unlocking Windows automatically. It can also be used to pause and play video upon leaving and returning.
This feature can be turned off if you're uncomfortable with the sensor, though it records no video or sound. As for the actual 720p webcam, it provides a clear image that I wouldn't mind sharing in a video conference. You can adjust its brightness, contrast, exposure, and background blur from the Vantage app. There's no physical webcam shutter, but there's a switch you can toggle in the same Vantage app.
Instead of packing speakers into the bottom of the laptop, Lenovo makes good use of the space around the keyboard. A 2W speaker flanks the keys on either side. With Dolby Atmos, audio is surprisingly good and can be tuned for different uses. Audio gets loud without any distortion when listening to music and chat comes through clear. There could be more bass, but that's the norm with Ultrabook speakers.
The IdeaPad Slim 7 14 makes good use of space for its keyboard and touchpad. The touchpad is sized appropriately for the device, and its glass surface feels great when pointing. Clicks are solid, and Precision drivers deliver all the appropriate Windows 10 gestures and shortcuts.
The keyboard, with its three-stage white LED backlight, has keys spaced appropriately. Presses are uniform, and I had no problems typing thousands of words. The only thing to consider is that key travel isn't nearly as deep as most ThinkPads. Bottoming out while typing isn't harsh, but if you're coming from a board with deep keys it will likely take some time to acclimate.
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 14 Display
Many laptops in this price range fail to deliver a display worth looking at for long. This is not the case with the IdeaPad Slim 7 14. It's available in touch and non-touch (I have the latter) at a 1920x1080 resolution only. The 16:9 aspect ratio and glossy finish are definitely the worst parts of this display, but color reproduction and contrast make up the difference.
Testing with a SpyderX Pro colorimeter, I measured 100% sRGB, 80% AdobeRGB, and 84% DCI-P3 color reproduction, all excellent results for a laptop this price. It's not going to fare well for specialized work, but that's not where this laptop aims. Combined with a measured 405 nits brightness at maximum, you should be able to mostly ignore the glossy finish and enjoy the color-rich picture.
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 14 Performance and battery
The IdeaPad Slim 7 14 brings all-day battery life and cool performance.
The Intel Core i5-1035G1 CPU is at the bottom of options for the Slim 7 14, but it's still a chip that can handle a relatively heavy workload. Use it for productivity work, including word processing, web browsing, photo editing, and spreadsheets, and you shouldn't have a problem. The inclusion of a dedicated NVIDIA MX350 GPU also gives a nice boost to performance for anyone who wants to partake in heavier photo editing or gaming. This isn't a gaming laptop, but it can certainly hold its own with lighter titles.
If you need better performance you can scale up to a Core i7-1065G7 CPU with the same dedicated GPU. There's also an AMD version of the laptop that brings faster RAM and powerful AMD Ryzen 4000 series Mobile CPUs.
I ran some benchmarks to see how well the Slim 7 14 competes with other laptops we've recently reviewed.
Battery life is outstanding. The Slim 7 14 has a chunky 60.7Wh battery, larger than usual for a laptop this thin. Testing with PCMark Office Rundown using 75% screen brightness (appropriate for a well-lit room) and the "Better performance" Windows 10 power setting, the Slim 7 14 hit 10 hours and 40 minutes of life. That's more than enough to get you through a workday without needing an AC adapter.
The laptop keeps cool under load thanks to dual fans and sizable heat pipe. The aluminum bottom also does a great job of dissipating heat.
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 14: Competition
Lenovo has an AMD Ryzen version of the IdeaPad Slim 7 14, though it no longer seems to be sold at the official website. Other retailers seem to have some models floating around with up to an AMD Ryzen 7 4700U. RAM in these models is upgraded to much faster LPDDR4x-4266, and you should be able to eke out longer battery life. However, there's no Thunderbolt 3 and no NVIDIA MX350 dedicated GPU in these models.
Lenovo also has the Yoga 9i 14, a high-end convertible with touch display (in FHD or UHD), soundbar speaker, excellent audio, and long battery life. If you're shopping for a laptop for media, this is a great option. Our best Lenovo laptops roundup has many more options.
The HP Spectre x360 14 is no doubt attractive if you're leaning more towards a convertible PC. It has a 3000x2000 resolution touch display with 3:2 aspect ratio, excellent audio, active pen for inking, comfy keyboard and touchpad, and 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs. Prices start at about $1,170, though, so it might be out of budget.
The AMD-powered Acer Swift 3 is a good 14-inch notebook alternative, delivering outstanding performance, all-day battery life, and decent port selection.
Should you buy the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 14?
You should buy this if ...
- You're looking for a value-friendly Ultrabook
- You need a bit of extra performance from a dedicated GPU
- You want a strong set of features, including human presence detection, top-firing speakers, and generous port selection
You shouldn't buy this if...
- You need a convertible laptop
- You prefer a display with more than an FHD resolution
- You want true gaming performance
The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 14 is a lot more laptop than I was expecting. It's compact and built well, feeling like a lot more than $750 when picked up. The keyboard is a bit shallow but feels nice to use, and the Precision touchpad is sized appropriately for the rest of the device. Speakers flanking the keys pump out impressive sound, and there are a bunch of security features that make the package that much better. The IR camera combined with ToF sensor will keep your laptop locked tight when you leave and will have it ready to work as soon as you return.
Even with the comparatively low-end config I received to review, I'm comfortable using the Slim 7 14 for all work, especially thanks to the included NVIDIA MX350 dedicated GPU. The display is colorful and gets bright enough to combat most of the glossy screen's glare. This is an all-around excellent laptop, and it's easy to recommend for anyone shopping within the mid-range area. If none of these are really what you're looking for, check out our collection of the best Windows laptop options available today.
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