I finally got to use the Lenovo Ideapad Slim 7 for a while, and gathered my thoughts on it in this article. Lenovo also sell this as the Yoga Slim 7 in some markets, but it’s the same product, so I’ll refer it as the IdeaPad Slim 7 throughout this post.
A few months ago I bought myself an IdeaPad 5 which I ended up returning because of its washed-out screen, the kind I could not live with. Ever since, I was eager to give the higher-tier IdeaPad Slim 7 a try, but because we’re a small publication and can’t afford to buy everything under the sun, I was actually hoping Lenovo would eventually send one for review. They didn’t, but I was eventually able to borrow one from a friend.
This is the higher-tier IdeaPad Slim 7 configuration based on the beastly AMD Ryzen 7 4800U processor, the most powerful platform available in this sort of compact laptops these days. It sells for a little over 1000 EUR over here, with 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of included storage, but Ryzen 5 4500U and 7 4700U models are also available from as low as 750 EUR.
After using it for the last days, I can conclude that with this kind of power and for that kind of money, this Ideapad Slim 7 is pretty much the best option in its class right now, especially in those more affordable configurations, as I doubt most of you would actually need the 4800U processor. However, this is not a premium product, so don’t expect it to feel like one and don’t expect to get the typing experience, the awesome screen, or even some of the extra features available at the higher-end. However, for the average buyer this IdeaPad Slim 7 is a clear recommendation, and I’ll get in-depth on all its strong points and quirks down below.
Specs as reviewed – Lenovo IdeaPad/Yoga Slim 7 14ARE05
||Lenovo IdeaPad/Yoga 7 Slim 14ARE05
||14-inch 1920 x 1080 px IPS 60 Hz, 16:9, non-touch, glossy, AU Optronics B140HAN06.8 panel
||AMD Renoir Ryzen 7 4800U, 8C/16T
||AMD Radeon Vega 8, 8 CUs, 1.75 GHz
||16 GB LPDDR4x 4266 MHz (soldered)
||1x 512 GB SSD (SK Hynix HFS512GD9TNG), extra 2242 M.2 slot
||Wireless 6 (Intel AX200), Bluetooth 5.0
||2x USB-A 3.2 gen 1, 2x USB-C gen with DP and power delivery, HDMI 2.0, microSD card reader, headphone/mic
||60 Wh, 65 W USB-C power adapter
||321 mm or 12.62” (w) x 208 mm or 8.18” (d) x 14.9 mm or .58” (h)
||1.40 kg (3.09 lb), .33 kg (.72 lbs) power brick, EU version
||white backlit keyboard, 2x 2W front speakers, HD webcam, IR camera and finger-sensor in the power button
Aside from the different CPU/RAM/storage options, all the IdeaPad Slim 7 versions are otherwise identical and get the same features, display and battery.
Design and build
Unlike the IdeaPad 5 that I tested a while ago, this 7 series is entirely made out of metal. However, it’s still about the same size and weight, and only a few mm thinner, as expected given the Slim moniker in its name.
That means this IdeaPad 7 is not as compact or lightweight as some of the other 14-inch laptops out there, as you can easily tell that by the bezels around the display. However, the thicker forehead allowed Lenovo to implement a camera and IR sensor at the top of the screen, and the thicker chin is an aspect I appreciate, as it pushes the screen away from the cooling exhaust and helps keep it at lower temperatures, something we’ll address in a following section. Furthermore, this Ideapad Slim 7 is also well built, and part of its extra weight can be attributed to the thicker pieces of metal used for the extra chassis, but also for the more complex thermal design and the larger battery inside.
As it is, this IdeaPad Slim 7 feels robust and well put together, with almost no flex in the lid-cover and very little give in the keyboard-deck. I also haven’t experienced any creaks or funny noises when grabbing, picking up, and using the laptop. The materials seem to be tougher than on the Ideapad 5 as well, as I haven’t noticed any dents or chips like on the 5-series, but I’d be careful when wearing a watch, the buckle will most likely leave marks on that front metallic interior lip after a while.
That aside, I also like this clean minimalistic design language that Lenovo implement on this series, the kind that would easily be accepted in all sorts of environments. Our unit is the dark gray color, which does a decent job at hiding smudges and finger-oil, but perhaps isn’t as intriguing as the blue we had on the IdeaPad 5.
On to this laptop’s practicality, let’s first touch on the screen’s hinge. This is a classic design with a long hinge beneath the display, which allows it to lean-back flat to 180-degrees and the ability to lift it up and adjust it single handily. Magnets are used to attach the screen to the main body in the closed position, and they’re really strong, so you’ll need to pull up quite vigorously to detach the display, which I found at bit annoying. The hinge is also a bit stiffer than I’d want, but it should give up with time.
Once opened up, this feels great with daily use. The arm-rest is fairly spacious, Lenovo implemented an uncompromised keyboard and threw the power button to the side, out of the way. Speaker grilles flank the keyboard on the left and right side, so you do get up-firing audio, but the quality isn’t amazing. I’m also not a big fan of the rather sharp front lip and the implemented rubber feet, which could be a little grippier.
Fliping the laptop upside down you’ll notice the open back design on top of the thermal module. Air is sucked in from the bottom and pushed out through grills placed under the screen, with some of the hot air diverted upwards onto the screen, and some backwards and out. This is a pretty good implementation for this segment, but not perfect, as we’ll explain in a following section.
Finally, the IO is spread on the sides, with USB-C and A ports, HDMI, a headphone jack, and a microSD card reader. This laptop charges via USB-C and allows video via USB-C as well, but doesn’t support Thunderbolt 3, given it’s an AMD platform. Even so, the ports are smartly positioned, with the USB-C and HDMI on the left, and the only thing that I would have liked would have been a full-size card reader, instead of the more limited microSD.
Keyboard and trackpad
This IdeaPad Slim 7 gets pretty much the same inputs we’ve experienced on the IdeaPad 5, with a standard Lenovo keyboard layout and the same kind of cheaper-feeling plastic keycaps, as well as a mid-sized plastic touchpad.
For some reason, though, I didn’t get along as well with this keyboard implementation, or perhaps my expectations were a bit higher from this product. These keys felt slightly mushier than on the IdeaPad 5, which took a slight toll on my accuracy. At the same time, though, they are quick and quiet, so a good option for silent environments.
Now, this IdeaPad is still a fair typer, but just about the average you can expect from a mid-tier ultraportable these days. Like I said, I was probably expecting better here.
This keyboard is also backlit, with bright white LEDs and overall a more uniform implementation than on the IdeaPad 5. However, with this laptop being thinner, Lenovo had to mount the keyboard higher on the chassis, and as a result, light creeps out annoyingly from under the keycaps. That’s something you’ll most likely get used to, but also something that bothered me a fair bit during my time with the laptop, and something I don’t remember bothering me on the IdeaPad 5.
The clickpad is plastic, averagely sized and rather flimsy, rattling with taps. It tracks well, though, handles all the standard gestures and implements decent clicks, although a bit clunky for my liking. Again, this is the same clickpad as on the IdeaPad 5, and I was perhaps expecting something else on this higher-tier series.
As for biometrics, there’s a finger sensor integrated within the power button, as well as IR cameras at the top of the screen, so no complaint here.
The screen was the reason I returned the IdeaPad 5, and the most important improvement on this Slim 7 series.
Lenovo implements a higher-quality panel here, with almost 400-nits of peak brightness, excellent contrast, and 100% sRGB color coverage, a great choice for everyday use and even something professionals could use for occasional color-accurate work.
My only gripe is with the fact that this is a glossy panel, without being a touchscreen, so reflections and glare are something you’ll have to live with in brighter conditions. I prefer matte panels, but I know many of you would rather get this sort of glossy finishing without the graininess effect normally associated with non-glare finishings. Up to you.
Here’s what we got in our tests, with a X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
- Panel HardwareID: AU Optronics LEN889A (B140HAN06.8);
- Coverage: 99.3% sRGB, 73.5% AdobeRGB, 77.0% DCI P3;
- Measured gamma: 2.23;
- Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 395.88 cd/m2 on power;
- Min brightness in the middle of the screen: 9.58 cd/m2 on power;
- Contrast at max brightness: 2026:1;
- White point: 6900 K;
- Black on max brightness: 0.19 cd/m2;
- PWM: No.
The panel is well calibrated out of the box and we haven’t noticed significant bleeding or uniformity problems during our time with the laptop, or in our specialized tests.
I should also mention that there’s some sort of light-senson implement on this laptop, which seems to adjust the screen’s luminosity based on the light around. I couldn’t find a way to properly disable this in the settings, but I haven’t looked carefully enough, so that’s something you should further dig out yourselves.
As a heads-up, this is a 60 Hz panel with roughly 45 ms of GTG response time (source), so not the ideal choice for faster-paced games. However, this panel implements AMD’s Freesync technology, which helps eliminate tearing and some of the other nuisances when running games, which this Ryzen 4800U implementation is actually fairly capable of (for the class). We’ll talk about that in the next section of this review.
Hardware and performance
Our test model is a top-specced configuration of the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 14ARE05 , with an AMD Ryzen 7 4800U APU, 16 GB of LPDDR4x 4266 MHz RAM, 512 GB of fast SK Hynix storage, and Radeon Vega 8 graphics embedded into the AMD APU.
Before we proceed, keep in mind that our review unit is a retail model running on the software available as of mid-September 2020 (BIOS DMCN32WW, Lenovo Vantage 220.127.116.11).
Spec-wise, the Ryzen 7 4800U is a 8C/16T processor with a TDP of 15W, but able to run at higher TDP and clocks if supplied with enough power and properly cooled. Lenovo also offers Ryzen 5 4500U (6c/6T) and Ryzen 7 4700U (8C/8T) configurations of this laptop.
Graphics are handled by the Radeon Vega 8 iGPU embedded within the 4800U APU, and we’ll talk about its performance down below.
Our configuration also shipped with 16 GB of LPDDR4x 4266 MHz RAM out of the box, in dual-channel, and an Sk Hynix 512 GB PCIe x4 SSD, plenty fast for everyday use. There are actually two SSD drives inside, with the included one being a full-size 2280 SSD, which leaves the more compact 2242 M.2 slot open for ugprades. Everything else is soldered on the motherboard. Accessing the components is a basic task, you just need to pop-out the back panel that’s held in place by a handful of Torx screws.
As far as the software goes, everything can be controlled through the Lenovo Vantage app, which offers access to the power profiles, keyboard customization options, system updates, battery settings, etc. I find this unified implementation one of the better system control apps in the business.
There are three performance/thermal profiles to choose from, and you can switch between them by pressing Fn+Q:
- Battery Saving – limits the CPU at up to 10W and keeps the fans noise at inaudible levels;
- Intelligent Cooling – limits the CPU at down to 19W and fairly low fan-noise;
- Extreme Performance – full power CPU running at 26+W and full-blast fans (still quiet, under 40 dB).
Just like on the Ideapad 5, I’ve kept this Slim 7 on Intelligent Cooling most of the time, and only switched to Extreme Performance for benchmarks and gaming. The fans rest silent with daily use on Intelligent Cooling, and rarely kick in with heavier multitasking. That translates in slightly higher internals temperatures and warmer interior, especially in the middle of the keyboard and on the bottom, but that’s fine on a quiet machine.
The next part of this article focuses on the Ryzen 4800U’s performance in demanding loads, benchmarks and games. We start by testing the CPU’s performance in taxing chores by running the Cinebench R15 benchmark for 15+ times in a loop, with 2-3 seconds delay between each run.
On Extreme Performance, the Ryzen 8 4800U stabilizes at 3.1+ GHz and 26+W of power, but also very high temperatures in the 90+ Celsius. However, the log shows that the processor runs at 30+ W for the first couple of runs, peaking at 106.9 degrees C, but eventually drops down and stabilizes at the lower power and 90+ C. Still, this is one of the hottest-running laptops in this test. At the same time, the fans spin at about 40 dB, and the laptop stabilizes at roughly 1500 points, which is unmatched by any other mobile platform at this point.
Switching over to Intelligent Cooling limits the CPU at 14+W and much cooler temperatures in the 74-80 degrees Celsius, with a roughly 20% loss of sustained performance and quieter fans. That’s still faster than any other current mobile platform.
Switching over to the Battery Saver mode limits the CPU at 10W and trumps the scores at around 1100 points, but that’s even more impressive at this kind of power and almost silent fan noise.
Finally, this laptop works fine when unplugged as well, delivering the same kind of performance noticed on the Extreme Performance pluged-in profile, so if you’re looking to run demanding loads while on the road, this IdeaPad Slim 7 delivers it.
To put these results in perspective, here’s how a couple of other AMD and Intel ultraportable notebooks score in this same test.
As mentioned already, there’s no match for the Ryzen 7 4800U in this sort of CPU-heavy tasks. AMD’s Ryzen 7 4700U comes second, at a big distance, and all the other Intel options follow in next and nearly a fraction of what the 4800U can deliver.
We went ahead and verified our findings with the more demanding Cinebench R20 test and the gruesome Prime 95. In this case, the Ryzen processor stabilizes at 26+W after the initial higher boost, and temperatures of 90+ C, which further demonstrates this platform’s performance potential.
We also ran our combined CPU+GPU stress tests on this notebook, on the same Extreme Performance profile.
3DMark stress runs the same test for 20 times in a loop and looks for performance variation and degradation over time, and this unit passed it without a problem. Luxmark 3.1 fully loads both the CPU and GPU at the same time, but it’s not properly supported by the Ryzen platform.
Next, here are some benchmark results. We ran the entire suite of tests and benchmarks on the Extreme Performance profile, which allows the APU to run at constant 26+W of power, but with higher power boosts of up to 48W in shorter peak loads. Here’s what we got.
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 3565 (Graphics – 3879, Physics – 18580, Combined – 1265);
- 3DMark 13 – Night Raid: 14813 (Graphics – 15896, CPU – 10689);
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 1369 (Graphics – 1201, CPU – 6727);
- AIDA64 Memory test: Write: 42135 MB/s, Read: 46326 MB/s, Latency: 116.9;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 2399;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 759;
- Handbrake 1.3.1 (4K to 1080p encode): 35.82 average fps;
- PassMark: Rating: 4810 (CPU mark: 18242, 3D Graphics Mark: 2828, Disk Mark: 18052);
- PCMark 10: 5376 (Essentials – 9807 , Productivity – 7616 , Digital Content Creation – 5644);
- GeekBench 4.4.2 64-bit: Single-Core: 4949, Multi-core: 27075;
- GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit: Single-Core: 1143, Multi-core: 7045;
- CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 1647 cb, CPU Single Core 181 cb;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 3610 cb, CPU Single Core 468 cb;
- x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit: Pass 1 – 196.28 fps, Pass 2 – 87.88 fps;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 39.22 s.
We also ran some Workstation related loads on the same Extreme Performance profile:
- Blender 2.90 – BMW Car scene- CPU Compute: 4m 17s (Extreme);
- Blender 2.90 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 11m 51s (Extreme);
- Luxmark 3.1 – Luxball HDR – OpenCL CPUs + GPUs score: CPU not properly recognized;
- SPECviewerf 13 – 3DSMax: 40.08 (Extreme);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Catia: 52.14 (Extreme);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Creo: 42.71 (Extreme);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Energy: 0.81 (Extreme);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Maya: 40.7 (Extreme);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Medical: 18.73 (Extreme);
- SPECviewerf 13 – Showcase: 14.74 (Extreme);
- SPECviewerf 13 – SNX: 32.07 (Extreme);
- SPECviewerf 13 – SW: 58.49 (Extreme).
These are excellent, excellent results for a U-type mobile platform, especially on the CPU side, where the 4800U is the most capable platform currently available and almost a match for the 8Core full-power platforms from Intel and AMD. Of course, the GPU scores are dragged down by the integrated Vega 8 iGPU, which while capable for its class, is barely a match for even the entry-level dGPUs out there.
If you’re looking for a slightly quieter/cooler system while running your demanding tasks, or if you’re just curious of what the AMD 4800U platform can deliver in a more standard power envelope, here’s how this IdeaPad Slim 7 performed on the Intelligent Cooling profile, which limits the APU’s power at 15+W in demanding tests, with occasional boosts.
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 3568 (Graphics – 3903, Physics – 18022, Combined – 1254);
- 3DMark 13 – Night Raid: 14694 (Graphics – 15902, CPU – 10274);
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 1370 (Graphics – 1203, CPU – 6563);
- AIDA64 Memory test: Write: 42135 MB/s, Read: 46326 MB/s, Latency: 116.9;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 2419;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 770;
- Handbrake 1.3.1 (4K to 1080p encode): 28.61 average fps;
- PassMark: Rating: 4720 (CPU mark: 16378, 3D Graphics Mark: 2783, Disk Mark: 18581);
- PCMark 10: 5356 (Essentials – 9832 , Productivity – 7534 , Digital Content Creation – 5631);
- GeekBench 4.4.2 64-bit: Single-Core: 4988, Multi-core: 25757;
- GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit: Single-Core: 1154, Multi-core: 6759;
- CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 1459 cb, CPU Single Core 183 cb;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 3127 cb, CPU Single Core 477 cb;
- x264 HD Benchmark 4.0 32-bit: Pass 1 – 191.88 fps, Pass 2 – 76.42 fps;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 38.21 s.
And the workstation loads:
- Blender 2.90 – BMW Car scene- CPU Compute: 4m 33s (Intelligent);
- Blender 2.90 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 12m 42s (Intelligent).
For the most part, there’s almost no difference between the two profiles in the shorter duration tests and especially in the combined CPU/GPU loads such as 3DMark or PCMark. However, longer CPU-heavy tasks such as Handbrake, Blender or Cinebench showcase a performance decrease of up to 20% on the power-constrained Intelligent Cooling profile, with an associated decrease in temperatures and fan noise.
Next, we ran a couple of DX11, DX12, and Vulkan titles on the Extreme Performance profile and Low/Lowest graphics settings. Here’s what we got:
||IdeaPad 7 – AMD R7 + Vega 8
||UM425 – AMD R7 + Vega 7
||IdeaPad 5 – AMD R5 + Vega 6
||UM433 – Ryzen 7 + MX350
|Bioshock Infinite (DX 11, Low Preset)
||81 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
||66 fps (50 fps – 1% low)
||63 fps (50 fps – 1% low)
||97 fps (45 fps – 1% low)
|Dota 2 (DX 11, Best Looking Preset)
||53 fps (40 fps – 1% low)
||39 fps (28 fps – 1% low)
||74 fps (39 fps – 1% low)
|Far Cry 5 (DX 11, Low Preset, no AA)
||28 fps (24 fps – 1% low)
||21 fps (17 fps – 1% low)
||21 fps (18 fps – 1% low)
||35 fps (32 fps – 1% low)
|Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor (DX 11, Lowest Preset)
||33 fps (24 fps – 1% low)
||45 fps (36 fps – 1% low)
||41 fps (30 fps – 1% low)
||65 fps (48 fps – 1% low)
|NFS: Most Wanted (DX 11, Lowest Preset)
||60 fps (46 fps – 1% low)
||56 fps (34 fps – 1% low)
|Rise of the Tomb Raider (DX 12, Lowest Preset, no AA)
||41 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||28 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||33 fps (20 fps – 1% low)
|Shadow of Tomb Raider (Vulkan, Lowest Preset, no AA)
||38 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||27 fps (16 fps – 1% low)
||28 fps (20 fps – 1% low)
||40 fps (35 fps – 1% low)
|Strange Brigade (Vulkan, Low Preset)
||41 fps (36 fps – 1% low)
||37 fps (32 fps – 1% low)
||33 fps (27 fps – 1% low)
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (DX 11, Low Preset, Hairworks Off)
||28 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
||21 fps (14 fps – 1% low)
||21 fps (16 fps – 1% low)
||29 fps avg (18 fps – 1% low)
- The Witcher 3, Dota 2, NFS – recorded with MSI Afterburner in game mode;
- Bioshock, Far Cry 5, Middle Earth, Strange Brigade, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities;
I’ve added a couple of other configurations for comparison, all of them Ryzen based ultraportables available within the same segment and price range. Make sure to check out the dedicated reviews for more details on each implementation and the different power-profiles, as these vary between each unit.
At the same time, Intel-based models are also a worthy alternative here, especially those based on the Intel Tiger Lake 11th gen processors with Intel Xe graphics, or those paired with Nvidia’s dedicated MX350/MX450 GPUs. However, we’ll cover these configurations in a short while, as we’re still finalizing those TigerLake reviews at this point.
Back to our review unit, based on those findings above, older or casual titles run at 60+ fps alright at FHD resolution and low graphics settings on this configuration, while more recent AAA games are playable, but at around 30 fps or less.
This is otherwise a solid implementation of the Ryzen 7 + Vega 8 hardware. On the Extreme Performance profile, the GPU runs and its full 1.75 GHz speed in the less demanding titles, and around 1.6-1.7 GHz in titles such as Far Cry 5.
At the same time, switching over to the Intelligent Cooling profile leads to a drop in performance of about 10-20%, but also a noticeable drop in temperatures, especially in the more taxing games. The laptop also runs quieter on this profile, to the point where the fans are barely audible even in a quiet room.
Now, as far the gaming performance goes, this Ryzen 7 4800U platform is still outperformed by ultraportables with base-level dGPUs, such as those built on Nvidia’s MX350 and MX450s chip, but also some of those built on the full-power 25W MX250 configurations available in some 14-inch chassis. Furthermore, based on our early tests, Intel TigerLake products with the higher-tier Iris Xe graphics also outmatch the AMD Ryzen platform in GPU tasks and games, but AMD maintains a massive lead in the CPU performance across the board, starting with the mid-level Ryzen 5 4500U option. We’ll further discuss this once we’re able to publish our Tiger Lake reviews.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
This IdeaPad Slim 7 implements a complex thermal module for the class, with a dual-fan, dual-radiator and a thick heatpipe on this configuration. This is pretty much required to tame a 26+ W APU in demanding loads, and I’m glad Lenovo went this route and didn’t skimp on the thermal module.
This implementation can properly cool the Ryzen 7 4800U platform in our taxing tests and in games, while allowing the platform to run at peak performance in most cases, with only some exceptions in the more challenging AAA games and CPU+GPU tasks. At the same time, this allows passive cooling with daily use, keeping the fan inactive most of the time while unplugged. That can lead to slightly warmer chassis temperatures, but it sure is a compromise I don’t mind in a silent computer.
On the other hand, the AMD APU runs very hot in some of our tests, especially while the system allows it to run at its peak power of 30-48W. Eventually, the temperatures settle at around 80-90 degrees on the CPU, which is still fairly high, and 70+ on the iGPU side of the Ryzen 7 4800U APU, which is fine. However, it comes to no surprise that a fair bit of this heat spreads onto the exterior, especially around the APU area.
We’re looking at peak-temperatures of 50+ C in the middle of the keyboard and 60+ on the underbelly, but the WASD and arrows regions stay below 40 C, which are perfectly comfortable for longer gaming sessions. Some of the heat is blown-out into the screen as well, especially on the left side on our sample, and while the chin takes out most of the blunt heat, the panel still ends-up in the high-40s, which is not that great and could lead to some degradation long-term.
During this time, the fans spin at around 39-41 dB at head-level in this case.
Switching over to the Intelligent Cooling mode limits the performance to a small degree (10-20%), but also allows the laptop to run quieter (37-38 dB) and significantly cooler, both internally and on the outside, and that’s why I’d recommend keeping the laptop on this Intelligent Cooling profile as much as possible.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Quiet Mode, fans at 0-33 dB
*Gaming – Intelligent Cooling mode – playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, fans at 37-38 dB
*Gaming – Extreme Performance mode – playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, fans at 39-41 dB
For connectivity, there’s latest-gen WiFi 6 with an Intel AX200 module on this laptop. It performed very well with our setup and the signal and performance remained strong at 30-feet, with obstacles in between.
Audio is handled by a set of stereo speakers that fire through those grills around the keyboard, and it’s actually not bad for this class. We measured punchy volumes, in the 78-80 dB at head-level, no distortions at higher volumes, and fairly good quality even on the lower end. These are definitely an upgrade over the speakers in the IdeaPad 5.
Finally, I should also mention the HD camera placed at the top of the screen, and the set of IR cameras used for Hello. The webcam is fine for occasional calls, but the quality is still rather muddy and washed out.
There’s a 61 Wh battery inside the IdeaPad Slim 7, which is larger than what you’d normally get in a mid-tier 14-incher. Combined with the efficient AMD hardware implementation and screen, this notebook lasts for a fair while on a charge.
Here’s what we got on our review unit, with the screen’s brightness set at around 120 nits (~60 brightness).
- 7.2 W (~8+ h of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 4 W (~15+ h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 4 W (~15+ h of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 9 W (~5-7 h of use) – browsing in Edge, Intelligent Cooling Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON.
The laptop comes with a compact 65W charger that plugs-in via USB-C. It’s a dual-piece design with a compact brick and long cables, and a full charge takes about 2 hours, but quick charging allows to fill-up some good hours of use in less than an hour.
Price and availability
The IdeaPad Slim 7 14ARE05 (or the Yoga Slim 7 as this is known in Europe) is listed in stores around the world in multiple versions, although for now in high demand and out-of-stock in many regions.
The top-tier Ryzen 7 4800U configuration goes for around 1050 EUR over here in Europe, while the base Ryzen 5 models sell for around 750 EUR, all with 16 GB of RAM, 512 GB of storage and the IPS 100% sRGB display.
Right now, this 14-inch version is no longer available in the US, though, but I’m hoping it will be restocked at some point.
Follow this link for updated prices and configurations in your region.
All in all, I’m not surprised this laptop is in such high demand and out-of-stock in many markets. As a mid-range allrounder, I feel that this is unmatched in its price range.
Sure, this is one of the best implementations of the AMD Ryzen U 4000 platform and at the same time one of the very few of the powerful Ryzen 7 4800U APU, the kind that smokes the mobile competing platforms and can outmatch many of the full-power processors available in full-size laptops these days in CPU-heavy tasks. But this IdeaPad is more than just a list of specs, and to be honest, this 4800U model might not even be worth paying extra for most of you. In fact, the better value is in the affordable Ryzen 5 configuration and that’s most likely what I’d go with as a daily all-rounder unless I’d really plan on putting those Ryzen 7 CPUs to good use in some way.
What’s special about this IdeaPad Slim 7 is that unlike most other AMD Ryzen ultraportables of this generation, Lenovo didn’t cut any major corners with this laptop. They went with a good display, a proper thermal design, a big battery, punchy speakers, and good IO. They also put all these features in a well-built metallic laptop that feels sturdy and practical in actual use, and included a decent set of inputs.
However, this is not perfect and it somewhat shows that it’s not a premium-tier ultraportable here and there. For instance, the keyboard, the clickpad, and the screen are fine for a 1000 EUR/USD laptop, but not on par with the ones available in the higher-tier products. And nor are the materials and the way this laptop feels overall, tbh, as it’s slightly heavier and larger than some of the other options, and not as nicely polished.
Does these matter? Well, no, as long as the price is right. And it is. At least they shouldn’t as long as you understand what you’re getting here and don’t expect this to feel or look like a MacBook Pro, for half the price.
Finally, I should also mention that while this can handle light-gaming and GPU-heavy loads to some extent, it’s still outmatched by many ultraportable laptops in this field, primarily by those based on Nvidia MX350 (and soon to be MX450) dGPUs, but also the very few based on Nvidia GTX 1650 chips (such as Razer Blade Stealth 13) or even the newer top-tier Intel Tiger Lake platforms. So if gaming sits high on your list of criteria, this IdeaPad might not be the best choice for you.
As an all-rounder, though, this is great and I’m having a hard time finding any other device that offers the same kind of value for the same kind of money. That’s why this Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 gets our full recommendation for what it is. If only it would be available to buy…
That wraps up my time with this IdeaPad Slim 7, but I’d love to hear your thoughts about it, so don’t hesitate to get in touch down below.
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