Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Review: Ryzen Powered Thin And Light
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7: 8 Powerful Ryzen Cores In A Thin And Light
Lenovo was among the first partners to announce support for AMD’s Ryzen 4000 U-series mobile processors. When it initially unveiled the processors, AMD also revealed the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7, which was the first thin-and-light, ultrabook-class machine to pack an 8-core / 16-thread processor. To date, all other notebooks in this category featured dual or quad-core processors, with support for up to 8-threads. That kind of bump in core count could mean big things for the kind of multi-threaded workloads that are increasingly becoming more common among content creators and heavy multi-taskers.
Thanks to Lenovo’s choice of platform, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 also features integrated Vega-class Radeon graphics. Though this isn’t a gaming machine by any stretch, the Radeon iGPU built-into AMD’s Ryzen 4000 series mobile processors is one of the more capable solutions currently on the market. Of course, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 is more than just a processor. Lenovo is well known for building some of the best notebooks one the market, so we were particularly interested in taking the IdeaPad Slim 7 for a spin. Below are the main features and specifications of the particular configuration we got to check out, followed by a quick tour of the machine, and – of course – an array of benchmarks...
We looked at the top-end configuration of the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7, which was powered by the 8-core / 16-thread AMD Rzyen 7 4800U (boost clock up to 4.2GHz), with 16GB of DDR4-4266 RAM (in dual channel mode), and a 512GB NVMe SSD. This particular configuration is in limited release and isn’t available in all markets, but serves as a showcase for the platform. A Ryzen 7 4700U-based model was made more widely available in the US.
We should note that the memory is soldered down on the motherboard in the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7, so choosing the 16GB configuration is advisable – there’s no upgrading the 8GB models.
Open the lid, and the relatively large, backlit keyboard is revealed. The lighting is not RGB, but rather a simple white light. While the color can’t be tweaked, the brightness can. In typical Lenovo fashion, the keyboard on the Slim 7 is very good. We couldn’t quite rank it as high as a top-end ThinkPad, but key travel and tactility are good and the spacing makes the machine easy to type on.
Flanking the keyboard on either side are large perforations for the Dolby Atmos speaker system. Despite this system’s diminutive dimensions, the IdeaPad Slim 7 has surprisingly good audio output. You’re not going to get room-filling bass out of the tiny drives, but the richness and overall volume of the IdeaPad Slim 7’s speakers are clearly a notch above most systems with a similar form factor.
A large multi-touch, multi-gesture touchpad sits below the keyboard. While it is not particularly large, it is a good size and very responsive and reliable. Working on this machine the last few months has proven to be a pleasure, in terms of typing and mousing – for the most part. For short durations, we have no complaints. When using the machine for longer durations though, the sharp front edge of the machine dug into our wrists a bit and became somewhat of an annoyance.
Up above the keyboard area you can see the large hinge mechanism on the machine. The hinge in nearly 11” wide and relatively stiff. It’s just loose enough to allow opening the machine with one hand, without lifting the base. It is nice and smooth and can be swung all the way open 180°, to make the machine lay flat on a desk.
The 14” display on the IdeaPad Slim 7 is mostly excellent as well. The full-HD, 1920x1080 glossy display covers 100% of the sRBG color gamut and offers a sharp, punchy, accurate picture, with Dolby Vision support. The display handled productivity and media/entertainments tasks quite well and should keep most users happy, while indoors at least. The maximum brightness of the display leaves a little something to be desired, and can limit use in exceptionally bright lighting or outdoors.
Just above the display is a thin strip that houses an HD webcam, that is Windows Hello compatible. We found the responsiveness of the camera when logging in to be exceptional and accurate. Open the lid, and the system is away before the display is fully-open, and moments later you’ll be logged in, without having to touch a key.
In terms of IO connectivity, the IdeaPad Slim 7 is relatively well appointed for a machine of its size. On the right side of the machine, there is a microSD card reader, dual full-sized USB Type-A ports, a power LED and the power button. On the left side of the machine, there are a pair of USB-C ports, a full-size HDMI output, and a 3.5mm audio jack. With many thin-and-light machines nixing ports in favor of thinness, it’s nice to see the depth of ports available on the IdeaPad Slim 7. We should note that the power button is a bit fiddly. It seems to react slowly to presses, which can be a little off-putting. The machine had no issues turning on and always behaved well, but on occasion we had to wait a couple of seconds after pressing the button before the system sprang to life.
The software installation on the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 is also relatively clean. The only real annoyance is the inclusion of McAfee anti-virus, that will bug you incessantly to register – that was promptly uninstalled. Over above that, the rest is standard fare for Windows 10 Home, save for Lenovo’s Vantage utility. Lenovo Vantage is a one-stop shop for updates and system maintenance.
And with all of that out of the way, let's see how the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 performs...