This is our detailed review of the Lenovo Legion Slim 7i, the more compact and more portable all-purpose laptop in the Lenovo Legion family.
I’ve used this laptop for the last few weeks and gathered my thoughts and impressions down below.
Unlike the 2021 Legion Slim 7 reviewed here in the past, the 2022 generation is a completely new design, both on the outside and on the inside. A new chassis, a 16-inch display, higher power hardware, improved cooling, and a 99Wh battery are among the main selling points of this series now.
Lenovo backs this up with competitive pricing, at least in today’s reality where everything has gotten more expensive. However, that might vary between regions, especially as configurations also vary between countries.
My review unit is a balanced middle-grounder with a 12th-gen Intel Core i7 processor, RTX 3060 graphics, and a 1600p IPS display, but this exact combo isn’t available everywhere. Regardless, we’ll touch on the other screen/spec options in this article, so you’ll know what to expect if you decide on getting one of these over any of the other thin-and-light laptops in this niche.
Specs as reviewed– 2022 Lenovo Legion Slim 7i
||Lenovo Legion Slim 7 16IAH7 2022
||16 inch, 16:10 format, 2560×1600 px, IPS, 165 Hz, matte, 3ms
other screen options also available, including FHD+ IPS and QHD+ mini LED
||Intel 12th-gen Alder Lake, Core i7-12700H, 6PC + 8 Ec/20T
||Iris Xe + NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 with 6GB GDDR6 VRAM 80-100W,
with MUX, Advanced Optimus, and GSync
||16 GB DDR5-4800 (8 GB soldered + 8GB DIMM)
||1 TB PCIe gen4 (SK Hynix HFS001TEJ9X115N) – 2x M.2 2280 PCIe gen4 SSD slots
||WiFi 6E (Killer 1675i), Bluetooth 5.2
||Left: 1x USB-C 3.2 gen2, 1x USB-C 4.0 with Thunderbolt 4
Right: 1x audio jack, 1x eShutter button, SD card reader
Back: 3x USB-A 3.2 gen2 (one with always in 5V2A), HDMI 2.1, DC-In
||99.9 Whr, 230 W charger, USB-C charging up to 135W
||358 mm or 14.08” (w) x 260 mm or 10.24” (d) x from 16.9 mm or .67” (h)
||2.18 kg (4.8 lbs) + .96 kg (2.11 lbs) for the charger+cables, EU version
||white backlit keyboard (optional per-key RGB), FHD webcam with E-shutter kill switch, fingerprint reader in the power button, stereo bottom speakers, Storm Grey and Onix Grey color versions
As per Lenovo’s specs sheets, this should be available in multiple other variants, going up to Core i9-12900HK, RTX 3070 100W, and miniLED display configurations. However, at the time of this article, only the lower-tier 3050Ti and 3060 models are available in most regions.
AMD-based Legion Slim 7 models are also scheduled for a later date.
Design and construction
This year, the Legion 7 and Legion Slim 7 share the same design language, with the latter being slightly thinner and lighter. Of course, they’re also different on the inside, but that’s not a topic for this article.
That means the Slim 7 is now a darker-grey design with machined milled metal edges – in fact, they sell this in two grey versions, and this variant here is the lighter Storm Grey model. There’s also an Onyx Grey model which is an almost black kind of grey, like the previous generation of the Slim 7.
I was afraid those edges might dent and scratch, but I’m not seeing any mark-ups on my unit after using it for these past weeks, not even around the left area near my watch buckle. In comparison, the bare-aluminum finishing on my old XPS 13 shows a low of scufss around that area, but the materials on the Legion seem to be tougher.
In fact, the entire construction feels robust and sturdy, and it’s one of my favorite things about this design. The lid is strong, the hinges feel strong and smooth when adjusting the screen angle, and there are no flex or squeaky noises in the main chassis. This Legion Slim 7i feels about the same build quality as a MacBook these days. I didn’t have a MacBook Pro 16 for comparison, but I did stanch a few pics of this Slim 7 next to my MBP 13, just for fun.
At the same time, while thinner and lighter than the other Legion laptops, this Slim 7 is not as compact or as lightweight as other options available in the space today. It weighs 2.2 kilos (4.8 lbs) in the tested version, and it’s a deeper design with a hump behind the screen. It’s still portable for what it is, but I must note that alternatives like a ROG Zephyrus M16, Flow X16, or especially a Blade 15 are smaller and lighter. I’ll have a follow-up post comparing these in the near future.
Now, this laptop feels compact in daily use, and that’s because the screen is positioned closer to the user and not all the way to the end of the chassis. Lenovo also implemented narrow edges around the panel, with a small chin and a forehead at the top, required to house the camera and act as a lever that allows you to easily grab and pick up the display when opening this up.
This Legion Slim 7i is also a friendly and ergonomic design. I already mentioned the sturdy build quality and the solid hinges, which keep the display in place without it wobbling. I’ll add up that Lenovo did a fair job at dulling the front edges and corners so they don’t bite into the wrists, as well as implemented a display that leans back flat to 180 degrees.
I also appreciate the dark-grey color scheme, which does an excellent job at hiding smudges and fingerprints, while still looking sleek. I’ve been using this for weeks and didn’t even have to wipe it clean for the photo shoot for this article. In contrast, the underbelly is black and it shows smudges much easier – that’s normal for black metals. Furthermore, if you opt for the Onyx Grey color version of the laptop, that’s also almost the same kind of black as the piece used for the D-panel on this sample, and will show smudges.
I’m still not a fan of the always-lit power button, which lights up in different colors based on the power profile in use. That’s because it’s placed just under the screen and in the line of sight, so can be slightly annoying when using the laptop at night. I don’t find much use for knowing the active profile in this way, but at least Lenovo redesigned it and made the lit edging narrower than on the previous generations, so I can live with it.
While in here, you’ll notice there’s this array of dots flanking the power button, at the top of the keyboard. Those are for ventilation purposes, allowing extra fresh air to go into the thermal module, and don’t hide any up-firing speakers. The speakers are still on the bottom, just like on all the other Legion laptops.
Speaking of the bottom, flipping the laptop upside down you’ll also notice the large and grippy rubber feet, as well as the open ventilation over the thermal module. We’ll further discuss this in the cooling section down below.
As far as the IO goes, Lenovo didn’t cut any corners on this laptop, despite its slimmer profile. The ports are spread around the edges and the back, and include USB-A, HDMI 2.1, USB-C ports, a card-reader, audio-jack e camera eShutter. The only things missing are a K-Lock and a standard LAN port.
The HDMI port on the back hooks into the dGPU. As for the two USB-C ports, one supports Thunderbolt 4 with DP via the Intel iGPU, and the other supports video straight from the Nvidia dGPU. Both support USB-C charging, at up to 135 W of power.
All in all, this is the best IO you will find on a portable performance laptop these days. Some other laptops offer all the same ports, such as the Gigabyte Aeros or the Acer Predator Triton 500, but the Slim 7i steps up with the excellent arrangement around the sides and on the back, allowing for a less-cluttered experience when connecting peripherals.
Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard on this Slim 7i hasn’t changed much from the previous Legion 7 models.
The layout is still among the best you’ll find in a portable laptop these days, as long as you’re OK with this sort of design with a NumPad section, and not a simpler centered design. The main set of keys are full-size, the arrows are also all full-size keys and spaced out from everything around, and the NumPad section includes narrower keys.
The keycaps are plastic and color-matched to the dark-gray color of the chassis. That means they won’t smudge as easily as black keys, but at the same time, they don’t feel quite as nice to the touch as the rubbery keycaps implemented by other brands. I’m definitely nitpicking here, but it is what it is.
The feedback on this keyboard is also shallower than on what other OEMs put in their gaming laptops, with actuations that require a softer stroke, and shorter key travel at 1.3 mm. Being used to shallower keyboards myself, I was able to get along fine with this one, but the typing experience is a bit unforgiving to straying hands, and might not be ideal for everyone. In fact, I feel that this keyboard comes close to what Lenovo put on their IdeaPad and Yoga ultraportables. I do appreciate how quietly this types.
For the lighting, my sample gets white-only LEDs, but a variant with per-key RGB lighting is also available – that’s the same keyboard from the 2021 Legion 7 series.
The LEDs on this sample are bright and uniform, but at the same time plenty of light bleeds out from under the keycaps with this design, and some of the light shines off the display’s chin and the Legion logo there. You’ll only notice this if you’re using the laptop at night, in total darkness.
As a side note, I still wish Lenovo would allow the lighting to automatically switch off after 30 seconds. There’s no such time-out option, at least none that I could find, so I had to always disable the lighting manually by hitting FN + Space (which cycles between the intensities and eventually switches the LEDs off).
The clickpad on this laptop is an averagely-sized glass surface with Precision drivers. It’s not as spacious as other implementations and smaller than what you’re getting with the Legion 7 models, but it feels smooth to the touch and works just fine with everything you will throw at it. The surface doesn’t rattle with firmer taps either, and the physical clicks feel fine, just a bit clunky.
Now, due to how this clickpad is centered under the Space key and towards the left side of the chassis, accidental palm swipes tend to happen time and again. Palm rejection is overall fairly good, but this aspect is still something worth considering, especially by those of you with larger hands. The whole thing has been already documented on the existing Legion 7 and Legion 5 Pro laptops, so you’ll be able to find more about it online. Derek mentioned it during his time with his 2021 Legion 5 Pro laptop, and explained here how you can address them if needed.
As for biometrics, there’s a finger-sensor in the power button, but no IR camera.
There’s a 16-inch 16:10 display in the 2022 Legion Slim 7 series, an upgrade from the 15-inch 16:9 panel used in the previous generation. This aligns the Slim 7 to the Legion 5 Pro and Legion 7 lineups, both available with 16-inch displays.
Lenovo mention three panel options for the Slim 7 models:
- FHD+ 1920 x 1200 px IPS with 350-nits of brightness and 100% sRGB colors, 165Hz 7ms;
- QHD+ 2560 x 1600 px IPS with 500-nits of brightness and 100% sRGB colors, 165Hz 3ms and GSync support;
- QHD+ 2560 x 1600 px IPS miniLED with 1250-nits of brightness and 100% DCI-P3/Adobe RGB colors, 165Hz 3ms.
Our unit is the middle-ground QHD+ IPS panel, very similar to what Lenovo has been offering on the Legion 7 and Legion 5 Pro models in the last year. It’s not wide-gamut, but otherwise, it’s an excellent multi-purpose display for everyday use and gaming. It also allows for GSync support, either on the Hybrid – Advanced Optimus mode or on the dGPU MUX mode.
Here’s what we got in our tests, with an X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
- Panel HardwareID: MGN007DA1-G;
- Coverage: 97.0% sRGB, 71.9% DCI-P3, 73.8% AdobeRGB;
- Measured gamma: 2.19;
- Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 494.92 cd/m2 on power;
- Min brightness in the middle of the screen: 4.32 cd/m2 on power;
- Contrast at max brightness: 1159:1;
- White point: 6000 K;
- Black on max brightness: 0.42 cd/m2;
- PWM: No;
- Response: ~7.5ms GtG (source).
Our sample came out somewhat poorly calibrated out of the box, with a slightly skewed White point. Everything looks fine after calibration.
Now, as far as the color gamut goes, sure, this panel is not as color-rich as the 100% DCI-P3 500-nits panels offered by competing models, and I would have preferred having the option for one of those instead. Still, the fact that it can be pushed up in brightness compensates for this to some extent, to the point where this doesn’t actually feel like a regular 100% sRGB panel, but as a nicer and more poping display.
The FHD+ panel option offered for this series is only 350-nits and still 100% sRGB, but feels duller and more muted in comparison. That’s still a decent panel for everyday use, but if given the choice, I’d definitely pay extra for this QHD+ option.
As for the mini LED panel, that’s not yet available in stores, and I’d reckon it will only be paired with the higher-specced configurations. 16-inch miniLED panels are awesome based on our experience with them on devices such as the ROG Flow X16 or the Zephyrus DUO 16, but they’re not necessarily ideal for every situation, due to the blooming and uniformity artifacts associated with multi-zone lighting. Hence, I’d advise further research if you plan on getting the mini LED panel on this series, especially at the added associated cost.
Hardware and performance
Our test model is a mid-specced configuration of the 2022 Lenovo Legion Slim 7i, built on an Intel Core i7-12700H processor, 16 GB of DDR5-4800 memory in dual channel, 1 TB of fast SSD storage, and dual graphics: the Nvidia RTX 3060 dGPU with 6 GB of vRAM and the Iris Xe iGPU integrated within the Intel processor.
Disclaimer: This is a retail unit provided for this review by Lenovo, and it runs on the software available as of mid-August 2022 (BIOS JYCN39WW, Vantage 184.108.40.206, GeForce 516.59 drivers). Some aspects might change with later updates.
Spec-wise, this 2022 Legion Slim 7i is built on the latest Intel and Nvidia hardware available to date. The Core i7-12700H is the mainstream performance option in Intel’s Alder Lake 12th-gen platform, with 14 Cores and 20 Threads. It is a hybrid design with 6 High-Performance and dual-threaded Cores, and 8 extra Efficiency cores, which work together in the various loads. The design and thermal module of this Legion allow the processor to run at up to 80W of sustained power in demanding CPU loads.
For the GPU, the 2022 Legion Slim 7i series is available with RTX 3000 graphics chips. What we have on this sample is the mid-tier RTX 3060 running at up to 100W with Dynamic Boost. 3050Ti 95W and 3070 100W configurations are also available, but no 3070Ti.
A MUX is still offered here, with several modes including dGPU-only or Advanced Optimus (several Hybrid modes). Switching to dGPU requires a restart.
For the RAM, this series comes with 8 GB of soldered RAM and one accessible DIMM that can take an either 8 or 16 GB stick. Our unit is a 16 GB of DDR5-4800 RAM configuration. For storage, there are two M.2 2280 PCIe gen4 slots on this series, and this sample comes preconfigured with a newer-gen and fairly fast SK Hynix drive.
Getting to the components requires you to remove a few Philips screws, all visible around the back, and then pull up the D-panel. You’ll need a plastic pin and some sort of suction cup to take out the bottom panel, as it is very snugly attached to the main chassis – getting inside this laptop is more difficult than it should be. Inside, the RAM is covered by a metal shield, and the SSDs are easily accessible. Thermal pads are placed over the SSDs to allow the heat to spread onto the back metal underbelly.
For the software, this unit came with Windows 11 preinstalled and the standard set of Lenovo apps – you’ll want to uninstall some of them. I like the predefined wallpaper, it looks so much nicer than what most OEMs offer these days.
The power profiles are Quiet, Balance, and Performance, and you can select them from Vantage or switch between them with Fn+Q. These profiles apply different power settings to the CPU/GPU and different fan profiles, as well as switch the color of the LED in the power button. Here’s a table that shows what each mode does:
*The PL settings for the Performance mode are not a proper indicator of the real-life performance, because the CPU is thermally throttled around 75-80W in sustained loads, as you’ll see in a bit.
** By default, Balance mode sets an 85W TGP for the dGPU. However, enabling the Legion Ai Engine option in Vantage allows the GPU to run at up to 100W in this mode as well, but with the same kind of noise levels as in Performance mode.
That aside, I’ll also mention that this series lacks the option to overclock the GPU in the BIOS/Vantage, an option available on other Legion devices. Hence, the GPU runs at stock clocks on all modes.
Before we jump to the performance section, here’s how this laptop handles everyday use and multitasking on the Quiet/Balanced profiles, unplugged from the wall.
Performance and benchmarks
On to more demanding loads, we start by testing the CPU’s performance by running the Cinebench R15 test for 15+ times in a loop, with a 1-2 seconds delay between each run.
The Core i7-12700H processor stabilizes at 75-78W of sustained power on the Performance setting, with the laptop sitting on the desk. As mentioned earlier, Lenovo applies 90W PL2 and 135W PL1 power limits for this processor on this power mode, but the CPU is thermally throttled in this sort of load.
Bumping the back of the laptop off the desk in order to improve the airflow into the fans allows the processor to stabilize at a minimally higher sustained power of 80+W, with similar 48-49 dB noise levels, and a minimal increase in the Cinebench scores.
Switching over to the Balanced profile translates into the CPU stabilizing at ~40W, with quieter fans and cooler temperatures. The Cinebench performance takes a 25% hit over the previous mode.
On the Quiet profile, the CPU runs at only 25W, with sub 30 dB noise levels and temperatures in the 50s C.
Finally, the CPU runs at ~25 W on battery as well, on the Performance profile. That’s an aggressive limitation in comparison to other 12th-gen Intel laptops, including the Lenovo Legion 5i Pro reviewed here. Details below.
Overall, these profiles could be further tweaked. The laptop is thermally limited on Performance mode, and then aggressively power capped on the other modes, so there’s no proper middle-ground profile for those interested in running sustained CPU loads. You’ll most likely go with Performance mode for any serious work, but you’ll have to accept the very high CPU temperatures, which isn’t ideal.
To put these findings in perspective, here’s how this Core i7-12700H implementation fares against other mid-tier laptops in this test, both Intel and AMD.
The i7 runs at about 80-85% of its capabilities in this design, so not as fast as on higher-power implementations. It is a competitive performer, though, sitting in between other portable designs, both Intel or AMD.
We then went ahead and further verified our findings with the more taxing Cinebench R23 loop test and Blender – Classroom, which resulted in similar findings to what we explained above.
We also ran the 3DMark CPU test on the Performance and Balanced profiles.
Finally, we ran our combined CPU+GPU stress tests on this notebook. 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 just fine, which means there’s no performance throttling with longer-duration sustained loads.
Next, we ran the entire suite of tests and benchmarks, on the Performance profile in Vantage, the MUX set on Hybrid mode, and on FHD+ screen resolution for consistency with our other tests. Here’s what we got:
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 18093 (Graphics – 19595, Physics – 27333, Combined – 8691);
- 3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 4473;
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 8216 (Graphics – 7726, CPU – 12827);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4574;
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 13227;
- Handbrake 1.3.3 (4K to 1080p encode): 62.44 average fps;
- PassMark 10: Rating: 5605 (CPU: 29905, 3D Graphics: 16697, Memory: 2822, Disk Mark: 30392);
- PCMark 10: 7481 (Essentials – 11217, Productivity – 9574, Digital Content Creation – 10582);
- GeekBench 5.4.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 1761, Multi-core: 12612;
- CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 2763 cb, CPU Single Core 263 cb;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 6596 cb, CPU Single Core 700 cb;
- CineBench R23: CPU 17052 cb (best single run), CPU 16335 cb (10 min run), CPU Single Core 1813 cb;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 26.39 s.
And here are some workstation benchmarks, on the same Performance profile:
- Blender 3.01 – BMW scene – CPU Compute: 2m 26s (Performance);
- Blender 3.01 – BMW scene – GPU Compute: 27s (CUDA), 14.6s (Optix);
- Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 5m 50s (Performance);
- Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – GPU Compute: 54s (CUDA), 28.7s (Optix);
- Pugetbench – DaVinci Resolve: 1073;
- Pugetbench – Adobe After Effects: crashed;
- Pugetbench – Adobe Photoshop: 998;
- Pugetbench – Adobe Premiere: 1064;
- SPECviewperf 2020 – 3DSMax: 85.11 (Performance);
- SPECviewperf 2020 – Catia: 50.63 (Performance);
- SPECviewperf 2020 – Creo: 89.24 (Performance);
- SPECviewperf 2020 – Energy: 19.93 (Performance);
- SPECviewperf 2020 – Maya: 278.90 (Performance);
- SPECviewperf 2020 – Medical: 28.55 (Performance);
- SPECviewperf 2020 – SNX: 17.39 (Performance);
- SPECviewperf 2020 – SW: 180.14 (Performance).
- V-Ray Benchmark: CPU – 11465 vsamples, GPU CUDA – 852 vpaths, GPU RTX – 1165;
On the CPU side, this Intel-based Slim 7i is a fair performer. Just like in the Cinebench loop tests, it’s not as fast as higher-power and better-cooled implementations in the longer sustained loads, but it’s snappy in the shorter runs. Among the portable designs, something like the Zephyrus M16 with its higher-power thermal design allows for up to 10% higher sustained performance in the multi-threaded CPU loads. At the same time, the Slim 7 is slightly faster than the Razer Blade 15 or the Predator Triton 500, and superior to AMD-based devices such as the ROG Flow X16.
On the GPU side, this is a 100W implementation, while most other premium thin-and-light designs run at 120-125W with Dynamic Boost. The Blade 15 is the only other option that we’ve tested that runs at similar power, and that’s a more compact product, and the TUF Dash F15 runs at 100W as well, but that’s a more affordable model. Hence, other high-tier portable options are going to perform about 7-15% faster in GPU-heavy loads. It’s not a significant difference, but something some of you might want to consider in your decision.
As a whole, though, the Slim 7 is a competitive performer and definitely a step-up from the previous Slim 7 2021 generation. The culprits are the high CPU thermals in sustained loads, corroborated with a slightly lower CPU/GPU power design in compared to some of the current alternatives. The differences are within 5-15%, and even less with daily use, so not necessarily significant.
With that out of the way, some of you might not appreciate the loudly spinning fans on the Performance mode, which ramp up to 48-49 dB at head level. Thus, if you prefer sacrificing the performance to some extent for quieter fan noise, here’s how this Legion Slim 7i does on the Balance profile with the Legion AI option disabled in Vantage, which limits the fans at sub 42 dB at head level.
- 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 16994 (Graphics – 18341, Physics – 27217, Combined – 8040);
- 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 7536 (Graphics – 7072, CPU – 12009);
- Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4619;
- GeekBench 5.4.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 1764, Multi-core: 11673;
- CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 5674 cb, CPU Single Core 695 CB;
- x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 30.92 s;
- Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 7m 08s (Balanced).
The CPU performance is hardly impacted on the shorter activities, but the 40W PL limit eventually kicks in with demanding loads. The GPU runs at 85W in this mode, which results in a 10-15% performance hit from the Performance mode. Thus, for general everyday use, this Balanced profile makes a lot of sense.
If we’re to tick the Legion AI option in Vantage, that would push the GPU to 100W even on this Balance mode, and also push the fans to around 48 dB noise levels. Hence, this mode would defeat the purpose of lowering the fan noise.
There’s also the Silent mode to consider here, which keeps the fans at sub 35 dB in sustained loads, but this significantly limits both the CPU and GPU, so I wouldn’t recommend that for anything intensive.
Let’s look at some games now.
We tested a couple of different types of games on the Performance and Balanced profiles at QHD+ and FHD+ resolutions, all with the MUX set on the discrete GPU mode.
+ RTX 3060 Laptop 80-100W
without Legion AI*
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
|90 fps (47 fps – 1% low)
||122 fps (52 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
|30 fps (24 fps – 1% low)
||49 fps (37 fps – 1% low)
(Vulkan, Ultra Preset)
|46 fps (41 fps – 1% low)
||186 fps (84 fps – 1% low)
||170 fps (81 fps – 1% low)
|Far Cry 6
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, TAA)
|57 fps (37 fps – 1% low)
||79 fps (40 fps – 1% low)
||72 fps (41 fps – 1% low)
|Far Cry 5
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA)
|75 fps (58 fps – 1% low)
||104 fps (72 fps – 1% low)
||96 fps (62 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
|44 fps (32 fps – 1% low)
||56 fps (42 fps – 1% low)
|Red Dead Redemption 2
(DX 12, Ultra Optimized, TAA)
|52 fps (38 fps – 1% low)
||80 fps (54 fps – 1% low)
|Shadow of Tomb Raider
(DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA)
|63 fps (47 fps – 1% low)
||95 fps (57 fps – 1% low)
||87 fps (55 fps – 1% low)
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4)
|72 fps (54 fps – 1% low)
||103 fps (82 fps – 1% low)
||92 fps (73 fps – 1% low)
- Battlefield V, Cyberpunk, Doom, Witcher 3 – recorded with Fraps/in-game FPS counter in campaign mode;
- Far Cry 5, 6, Metro, Red Dead Redemption 2, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities;
- Red Dead Redemption 2 Optimized profile based on these settings.
*I’ll explain why we’ve tested Balance mode with the Legion AI setting disabled further down.
Those above are rasterization tests, and here are some results for RTX titles with and without DLSS.
+ RTX 3060 Laptop 80-100W
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS OFF)
|72 fps (31 fps – 1% low)
||42 fps (26 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS ON)
|83 fps (35 fps – 1% low)
||57 fps (28 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset + RTX, DLSS Balanced)
|31 fps (24 fps – 1% low)
||51 fps (38 fps – 1% low)
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS Quality)
|Far Cry 6
(DX 12, Ultra Preset + DXR reflections / shadows)
||64 fps (34 fps – 1% low)
|Shadow of Tomb Raider
(DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA, RTX Ultra)
|36 fps (25 fps – 1% low)
||52 fps (38 fps – 1% low)
The gaming performance is fine here, within 8-15% lower than on high-power Intel 12th-gen + RTX 3060 implementations such as the Legion 5i Pro, within 5-10% of the AMD + RTX 3060 125W ROG Flow X16, and on par with other 100W implementations such as the TUF Dash F15.
With that out of the way, let’s go over some performance and temperature logs.
The Performance mode ramps up the fans to levels of 48-49 dB with the laptop sitting on the desk. That keeps the CPU at around 77-80 degrees Celsius between the tested titles, while the GPU runs at between 80-82 degrees. These are fair results, and show that Lenovo couldn’t have pushed for a higher power GPU in this design without affecting temperatures.
Bumping the back of the laptop off the desk in order to improve the airflow into the fans leads to a noticeable decrease in CPU/GPU temperatures, with the CPU now running in the high-60s C and the GPU at around 73-75 C. These are excellent temperatures, and you should consider bumping up the laptop or placing it on a cooling pad for long gaming sessions. It’s not required, though, as the temperatures and performance of a flat surface are already OK here.
There’s also the option to switch over to the Balance mode. With Legion Ai Engine disabled, the fans slow to about 42 dB at head-level and the framerates takes a 10-15% toll from the Performance mode, as the GPU power is limited at around 85W. The temperatures are still fine, in the high 70s on the CPU and low 80s on the GPU, just a little higher than on Performance mode.
With Legion Ai enabled, the laptop performs just as on Performance mode, with similar fan settings and the GPU being pushed to 100W. Hence, the Balance mode makes the most sense with Legion Ai Engine disabled, as a way of lowering fan noise while still not greatly limiting the performance.
As for the Quiet mode, it keeps the fans at sub 35 dB levels, but is hardly usable here, as it greatly limits the GPU to around 35W of power. That means you’ll have to trim down to FHD+ with medium graphics settings to get around 60 fps in recent titles.
The laptop’s performance on battery power is somewhat similar to the Quiet mode explained above, but the GPU runs at 45W in this case, both on the Performance or the Balanced modes. Hence, FHD+ with medium settings should be doable in most games. Don’t expect more than 1 hour and 30 minutes of gameplay.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
This Legion Slim 7i gets a standard, but efficient, thermal module, similar to the cooling modules implemented in other Legion laptops.
It includes two fans, four radiators, and three heatsinks that spread over the components. Unlike in other Legions, there are no thermal radiators over the SSDs here, instead, thermal pads connect the drives to the metal back.
This cooling module works well here, with the exception of sustained CPU loads, where the CPU ends up thermally limited on the Performance mode. It is nonetheless a miniaturized design in comparison to the larger Legion models, hence it can only handle a 100W GPU and the lower-limited CPU.
Most of the fresh air comes inside the laptop through the open intakes on the underbelly, and only some through the grills at the top, around the power button. As a result, these intakes are choked-up by the small-profile implemented rubber feet when the laptop sits on a desk.
That’s why lifting up the back of the laptop in order to improve the airflow into the fans leads to a significant decrease in internal temperatures. However, unlike on the other high-power Legions, this Slim 7 actually runs within acceptable temperatures on the desk as well. Thus, bumping it up only allows for a more comfortable user experience and lower internal temperatures in the 60s and 70s.
One other aspect to mention here is that dust easily goes inside this laptop due to its open-back design, and unlike other brands, Lenovo are not isolating the thermal module from the rest of the motherboard with foam, so the dust freely goes all over the place. Hence, I’d recommend opening up this laptop from time to time in order to clean it properly and prevent the dust from clogging in.
As far as the fan noise goes, we’re looking at 48 dB at head-level on the Performance mode, 42 dB on Balance mode (without Legion Ai Engine), and sub 35 dB on Quiet mode, all with demanding activities. With lighter use, you’ll hardly hear the fans on Balance or Quiet, especially as the fans can also idle with low-intensity tasks.
As far as temperatures go, no complaints with daily use. The hottest spot reaches temperatures in the mid-30s, and it’s around the power button, so out of touch.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Quiet profile, fans idle or sub 30 dB
With games and with the laptop on a flat surface, the hotspot moves in the center and at the top of the keyboard. It reaches temperatures in the mid-4os on Balanced mode and high-40s on Performance, and somewhat higher on the back.
In both cases, the fact that the hotspot is positioned so low on the chassis means that this Legion Slim 7i is going to feel somewhat uncomfortable for long gaming sessions.
Hence, you’ll want to bump up the back of this laptop or place it on some sort of cooling pad to lower the internal, and thus, the external temperatures. There’s still a hotspot around the Space key in this case, but the overall chassis temperatures drop in comparison to using the laptop on a flat surface.
*Gaming – Performance – playing Cyberpunk for 30 minutes, fans at ~48 dB
*Gaming – Balance– playing Cyberpunk for 30 minutes, fans at ~42 dB
For connectivity, there’s Wireless 6E and Bluetooth 5 through an Intel-based Killer 1675i chip on this laptop. It proved fast and reliable during my time with the laptop.
Audio is handled by two speakers placed on the bottom of the chassis. Due to how they’re placed on the flat underbelly, you’ll need to be careful not to cover and muffle them when not using the laptop on a desk.
These get fairly loud, at close to 80 dB max levels, but the audio quality still isn’t much, lacking in the lows and slightly distorting and high volumes. That’s pretty much the case with the entire Legion lineup, and this Slim 7i is no different.
Finally, I’ll mention the camera placed at the top of the screen, and flanked by microphones. The ensemble does what it’s supposed to, and the camera is FHD resolution and a wide angle, so a little better than what you’re normally getting on laptops these days. I also appreciate the electronic shutter offered on the right side of the laptop, which lets you electronically kill both the camera and the microphones when you don’t need them.
There’s a 99Wh battery inside the Legion Slim 7i configuration, which is the largest possible in a laptop and larger than most other portable designs offer.
The system still doesn’t automatically switch the screen’s refresh from 165 Hz to 60 Hz when you unplug the laptop, as other devices do, but I could cycle between the 60 and 165 Hz modes by hitting Fn+R.
It’s also important to set the laptop on Hybrid-Auto or Hybrid-iGPU only modes in vantage in order to disable the dGPU with battery use.
So here’s what we got on our unit, with the screen’s brightness set at around 120 nits (~60 brightness) and either 60 or 165 Hz refresh.
- 9.5 W (~10 h of use) – 165Hz, text editing in Google Drive, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 9.5 W (~10+ h of use) – 165Hz, 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 7.5 W (~12 h of use) – 60Hz, 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 9 W (~11 h of use) – 165Hz, 4K Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 8 W (~12 h of use) – 60Hz, 4K Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 18 W (~5-6 h of use) – 165Hz, browsing in Edge, Balance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
- 62 W (~1.5 h of use) – 165Hz, gaming – Witcher 3, Balance Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON.
These are good runtimes for an Intel 12th-gen laptop and overall this Slim 7i is more efficient than the majority of other Alder Lake Core H laptops we’ve tested this year.
I’ll also add that Lenovo pairs this configuration with a mid-sized 230W power brick, a dual-piece design with long cables, and a total weight of just under 1 kilo. You can also charge the laptop via USB-C at up to 135W, in case you don’t want to bring along the main charger, just be aware that it’s not going to run at full capabilities on USB-C power.
Price and availability- Legion Slim 7i
The Legion Slim 7i is available in some areas of the world at the time of this article.
The Intel i7 + RTX 3060 configuration is listed in Lenovo’s US store at $1549 (discounted for $1899 MSRP), but that’s for the lesser FHD 350-nits display option. A 3050Ti configuration with the QHD+ display is also available for under $1800, but the other models are not yet listed in North America.
Over here in Europe, the series is available with the QHD+ display for around 2000 EUR for the i7 + RTX 3060 model or 1600 EUR for the i5 + RTX 3050Ti variant. If possible, I’d recommend going with the QHD+ screen option over the basic FHD+.
Follow this link for updated configurations and prices in your region at the time you’re reading this article.
The AMD-based 2022 Legion Slim 7 models are not yet available in stores, but should be in the near future. I expect those to sell for less than these Intel configurations.
Final thoughts- 2022 Lenovo Legion Slim 7i
I enjoyed my time with this laptop and I think it’s a fair all-arounder for those of you looking for an all-purpose premium-feeling notebook at a competitive price.
The excellent build quality, the IO and ergonomics, and the 16-inch screen options are the main selling points of this series, corroborated with the balanced capabilities and long battery life.
At the same time, this is not as powerful as the other Legion laptops out there, and in fact not as powerful as many of the other thin-and-light designs in the same class. Furthermore, given the noisy fans and high chassis temperatures on the Performance mode, I’d recommend using this laptop on the mid-level Balance profile, which does a better job juggling with the performance, thermals, and noise levels.
Alternatives such as the full-size Lenovo Legion 7 offer superior performance and cooling, while other portable designs such as the ROG Flow X16 or the ROG Zephyrus M16 offer better screens, better performance, and better cooling in smaller/lighter designs. The Slim 7i has the pricing on its side, though, at least when available on sale, so as long as you’re OK with its capabilities and limitations, and you can find this for a good price, I’d expect you to be happy with what you’ll be getting.
This wraps out my time with this 2022 Lenovo Legion Slim 7i series, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on the series and feedback on my review, so get in touch in the comments section down below.
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