Among Lenovo’s multiple laptop brands, the IdeaPad family is decidedly the one designed for consumers: people who want decent performance at a reasonable price. Consider, then, this laptop a paragon for the pickier members of that crowd. With a 14-inch touch-enabled display, a comfortable keyboard, an Evo-certified Intel Core i7 11th Generation CPU, and the latest Windows 11 operating system, the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro ultraportable ($1,199 as tested) is a slick mainstream machine at a bit of a premium price, and quite capable for everyday tasks. It’s got the looks, and the performance; what it doesn’t, and what holds it back from higher honors, is battery life.
Nicely Configured, But No Custom Options
Because the Slim 7i Pro we tested is sold as an off-the-shelf unit at Costco, it’s not customizable. What’s in the box is what you get, but what you get is very nicely configured.
The CPU is a 3.3GHz Intel Core i7-11370H with Intel Iris Xe graphics. The laptop has a hefty 16GB of RAM, more than the 8GB that’s sometimes offered at this price, and the boot drive is a spacious and fast 1TB PCI Express NVMe SSD. At 2.86 pounds, the 14-inch laptop isn’t hefty at all, and its Slate Grey aluminum case makes it stand out from the staid black chassis of many similarly configured laptops that Lenovo and other vendors offer. The Slim 7i Pro isn’t cheap, but you are getting reasonable component value for your bucks.
Going beyond the price tag, the Slim 7i Pro delivers additional features that we appreciate. The sound system is Dolby Atmos-tuned, offering an elevated listening experience with compatible audio content. While you aren’t going to ever get concert-hall quality out of a laptop, the Slim 7i Pro does deliver decent audio from its internal speakers, which vent out the chassis’ bottom.
Testing the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro: See How i7 Runs
For our benchmark charts, we stacked up the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro against three competing 14-inch ultraportables: the business-minded Dell Latitude 7420 clamshell and Lenovo ThinkPad 14s Yoga 2-in-1, as well as the XPG Xenia 14. All have Intel 11th Generation “Tiger Lake” Core i7 CPUs and similar configurations to that of the Slim 7i Pro. You can see their basic specs in the table below.
Productivity and Media Tests
We put our IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro through a stiff battery of benchmark tests to see how it compares with the others. The first of these is UL’s PCMark 10 suite, which simulates a variety of Windows apps to give an overall performance score for office-centric tasks such as word processing, spreadsheeting, web browsing, and videoconferencing. This test is particularly important, as these are the most common tasks to which many buyers will put the Slim 7i.
HandBrake is an open-source video transcoder for converting multimedia files to different resolutions and formats. This test gives you an idea of how well the Slim 7i Pro will perform on tasks such as converting video into different formats. We record the time it takes, rounded to the nearest minute, to encode a 12-minute 4K video to a 1080p copy. This is primarily a CPU test, and on this one, lower times are better. Again, the Slim 7i Pro did better than the others, almost twice as fast on this benchmark than the Dell, though somewhat closer in time to the XPG and ThinkPad 14s Yoga.
UL’s 3DMark is a graphics test suite for Windows that contains a number of benchmarks for different GPU functions and software APIs. We run two DirectX 12 tests on all PCs. Night Raid is appropriate for laptops with integrated graphics. And while the Slim 7i Pro isn’t considered a higher-end graphics PC, we also ran the Time Spy test, which is more demanding and more suitable for high-end PCs with the latest dedicated GPUs. The XPG did not run the 3DMark tests, but the Slim 7i once again turned in a better score on both of these tests than the pack, with the Latitude not far behind.
Runs Fast, But Not Too Far From the Plug
In pretty much all of our benchmark tests other than battery life, the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro brought in excellent scores. And that’s fine if most of the time you are going to be tethered to an AC outlet. Still, while seven hours of battery life is not very impressive for an ultraportable laptop, it’s way better to run time than what you would have gotten just a few years ago. And that’s for a machine that’s eminently usable for most tasks, even for modest gaming on the go. And that performance won’t cost you an arm and a leg, with a list price of just over $1,000.