This is my detailed review of the Lenovo Slim 7i Carbon ultrabook. It’s the European variant of the laptop, and it is sold here, for some reason that I fail to understand, as the Lenovo
Yoga Slim 7 Carbon.
This is a mid-tier compact and ultra-light 13-inch ultrabook, built on 12th-gen Intel Core P hardware and with a more affordable price than
Lenovo’s top-tier Yoga 9i lineup. It competes against popular ultraportables such as the Dell XPS 13, Asus ZenBook S 13, and perhaps the Apple MacBook Air, although that’s a larger and heavier model.
Furthermore, just to make things even more confusing, this laptop is a follow-up of the
previous-gen IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon, which was a larger 14-inch AMD model, while this new-gen is a smaller 13-inch Intel build.
Anyway, much like the majority of Lenovo Yoga/IdeaPad laptops, this Slim 7i Carbon is very competitive in its niche, checking most of the right boxes when it comes to looks, ergonomics, and daily-use performance. It does come with a minimalist USB-C IO, though, and only a mid-sized battery, in order to stay beneath the 1-kilo limit, and these two might steer some of you toward other options.
Nonetheless, if you’re shopping for a lightweight travel laptop, this must be on your list. Down below we’ll get in-depth on all the important aspects that you should be aware of before deciding on one of these Slim 7i Carbons.
Specs as reviewed – Lenovo Slim 7i Carbon 13IAP7
Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon 13IAP7
Screen 13.3 inch, 16:10 format, 2.5K 2560 x 1600 px, 90Hz, IPS, matte, non-touch
touch variant also available
Processor Intel 12th-gen Alder Lake Core i7-1260P, 4C+8c/16T
Video Intel Iris Xe, 96 EUs
Memory 16 GB DDR5-4800 (soldered) – up to 16 GB
Storage 1 TB gen4 SSD (Samsung PM9A1) – M.2 2280 slot
Connectivity Wireless 6 (Intel AX211), Bluetooth 5.1
Ports 2x USB-C with Thunderbolt 4, audio jack, camera eShutter
Battery 50 Wh, 65W USB-C charger
Size 301 mm or 11.85” (w) x 206 mm or 8.11” (d) x 14.8 mm or 0.58″ (h)
Weight 2.16 lbs (.98 kg) + .64 lbs (.29 kg) charger and cables, EU version
2.2 lbs for the touch model
Extras white backlit keyboard, HD IR camera, bottom-firing stereo speakers, Onyx Grey, Storm Grey, or Moon White colors
Lenovo offers this in multiple variants, especially in the European market. You can opt for Core i5/i7 processors, 8 or 16 GB of RAM, 512+ GB SSDs, and either a touch or a matte display.
Design and construction
Lenovo pushed towards a unitary design language with their recent consumer models. Hence, this Slim 7i Carbon, or the Yoga Slim 7 Carbon as it is sold here in Europe, shares design cues with the
Slim 7i Pro X or the Yoga 9i series.
Among those, there are the clean looks with some punchy branding elements on the lid and on the inside, the rounded edges around the main chassis and lid, and the attention to detail and ergonomics.
However, unlike the other models, this one is available in three potential colors, two shades of darker grey, and a lighter grey model called Moon White. This one here is the darker Onyx Grey model. The lid cover is beautiful in this variant, while the rest is mostly utilitarian and practical, but not necessarily aesthetically appealing.
The sub-1-kilo weight is one of the main selling points of this series, making this one of the
lightest laptops on the market, especially when considering the hardware specs and overall performance. Lenovo went with some ultralight carbon-fiber and magnesium alloys for the main chassis, but the build quality is pretty good, with only some flex in the main deck when pressing it harder, but not enough to bother you in real use. The lid is strong as well.
The ergonomics are also very good with this series. The dark-gray materials are excellent at hiding smudges and finger oil, the rubber feet on the bottom provide good grip, there are no always-on lights in the line of sight, and the hinges are smooth and allow the screen to lean back to 180-degrees when needed.
My only slight complaint is about the front lip and corners which I found a bit sharp, but your wrists will rarely come in touch with those on this sort of low-profile design.
And then there’s the IO. There are only USB-C ports on this laptop, plus an audio jack and a camera eShutter knob. At least those two USB-Cs are both full Thunderbolt 4, and they’re spread on both sides of the laptop, offering convenience for charging and connecting peripherals.
A USB-C to USB-A and HDMI dongle is included with the laptop, so you don’t have to spend extra for one.
Keyboard and trackpad
This Lenovo Slim 7i Carbon gets a standard Yoga/IdeaPad keyboard, with full-sized and spaced keys.
The half-sized Up and Down keys are a bit weird, but everything else is where it should be. There’s no space for an extra column of function keys on the right side, but at least they didn’t go with miniaturized keycaps as one other 13-inch designs, such as the ThinkPad X1 Nano.
The keycaps are made out of plastic, with a slightly rounded bottom shape, and a soft-touch finish. Lenovo also went with a dark-grey color for the keycaps, as opposed to the black keycaps used in the past, and they’re better at hiding finger oil over time.
The typing experience is alright. The feedback is a little shallow and mushy, and the keypress is only 1 mm deep, so this will require time to get used to. However, I actually got along well with it during my time with the laptop, as it proved fast, accurate, and reliable. I am used to this sort of shallow feedback from my old XPS ultrabook, though, so there’s a fair chance some of you might not like it as much.
The keys are also backlit, with two brightness levels to choose from. The LEDs are bright and fairly uniform. Lenovo also throws in companion LED indicators for Caps Lock and FnLock. The illumination never times out, though, so you need to manually switch off the keys when needed, with Fn + Space.
The clickpad is rather small, but fully utilizes the available space on the armrest. It’s a plastic surface and worked fine with daily swipes and gestures. However, Lenovo could have made this sturdier, as the surface feels somewhat flimsy and rattles with taps, and the physical clicks are clunky.
As for biometrics, there’s no finger sensor on this laptop, but the camera at the top includes IR functionality and worked well with Windows Hello.
There’s a 13.3-inch 16:10 panel on this Slim 7i carbon series, available in either a matte non-touch variant or a touch glossy alternative. Both use the same IPS QHD+ 2560 x 1600px 90Hz panel. We got the matte option on our unit, but the touch model is the default option on the US market.
This Lenovo-branded panel here is alright for everyday use, by today’s standards, with sharp image quality, fair brightness, good blacks, and good contrast.
However, this is not very bright, so it will struggle in brightly-lit environments (especially in the touch version, with the added glass glare), and is only standard-gamut at 100% SRGB coverage, so the colors aren’t as rich as on some of the other options available today, especially the OLED laptops.
Here’s what we got in our tests,
with an X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:
Panel HardwareID: Lenovo – (MND307DA1-9);
Coverage: 98.6% sRGB, 69.0% AdobeRGB, 71.3% DCI-P3;
Measured gamma: 2.22;
Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 376.94 cd/m2 on power;
Min brightness in the middle of the screen: 5.33 cd/m2 on power;
Contrast at max brightness: 1302:1;
White point: 6700 K;
Black on max brightness: 0.28 cd/m2;
This panel came well-calibrated out of the box, and proved fairly uniform in color and luminosity. I also haven’t noticed any light bleeding on dark backgrounds.
Hardware and performance
Our test model is a higher-specced configuration of the Lenovo Slim 7i Carbon, with an Intel Core i7-1260P processor, Iris Xe graphics, 16 GB of DDR4-4800 RAM, and 1 TB of fast SSD storage.
Disclaimer: Our review unit is a retail model provided by Lenovo for this review, running on the software available as of early December 2022 (BIOS K2CN33WW, Lenovo Vantage 22.214.171.124). This is a mature product with mature software, so little can change with future software updates.
Spec-wise, this is based on the 2022 Intel 12th-gen Alder Lake Core P hardware platform. The Core i7-1260P is a hybrid design with 4 Performance and 8 Efficiency Cores, as well as 16 combined threads. It runs at around 20W sustained in this slim design, which is alright for this sort of laptop, but not enough to properly showcase the platform’s potential. We’ll get in-depth further down.
Graphics are handled by the Iris Xe chip integrated with the Intel processor. This runs well on the top-power profile, for a slim ultrabook design.
Our configuration also comes with 16 GB of DDR5-4800 memory. The RAM is soldered on the motherboard and non-upgradeable, and 8/16 GB configurations are offered, so make sure to choose the one that best fits your needs.
For storage, Lenovo opted for a top-tier Samsung PM9A1 drive here. This is an excellent performer, and I’m surprised they didn’t opt for something cheaper in this series. It can also be upgraded if needed, as the laptop offers a standard M.2 2280 SSD slot inside.
It is possible to open up this device to get to the internals, and it’s a basic task, as the back panel is held in place by a few Torx screws, all easily accessible. Inside you’ll find the SSD slot and the WiFi module, with everything else being soldered.
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.
There are also three performance/thermal profiles to choose from in Vantage:
Battery Saving – limits the CPU at 12W sustained and keeps the fans mostly idle with daily use;
Intelligent Cooling – limits the CPU at ~18W sustained, and ramps that fans to ~37 dB at head-level in sustained loads;
Extreme Performance – further bumps the CPU to ~21W sustained, and ramps that fans to ~39 dB at head-level in sustained loads.
I’ve kept my unit on Intelligent Cooling most of the time, and only switched to Extreme Performance for benchmarks and gaming. There are minor differences in performance between these two modes, anyway.
The fan keeps mostly idle with daily use on Intelligent Cooling, but occasionally kicks in with heavier multitasking. Here’s what to expect in terms of performance and internal temperatures with browsing, word processing, or video streaming.
Performance and benchmarks
On to more demanding loads, we start by testing the CPU’s performance in the Cinebench R15 loop test.
On Extreme Performance, the i7-1260P in our unit kicks in strongly at 45W of power, but quickly drops and stabilizes at around 21-22W of sustained power, with temperatures in the high 60s Celsius and fan-noise levels of 39 dBA.
These translate into sustained Cinebench scores of around 1100 points, which is not bad for this sort of design, but at the same time within 15-30% lower than what the i7-1260P platform delivers in higher-power laptops.
Switching over to Intelligent Cooling mode leads to a slight decrease in stabilized power (19-20W) and in fan noise (37dBA), with a minor performance loss of under 5%.
Disconnecting the laptop from the wall allows our unit to perform even better than when plugged in, stabilizing at 23W of power and scores of 1200 points. That’s weird, but I noticed similar behavior on the ThinkPad X1 Nano reviewed recently.
To put these in perspective, here’s how this Intel Core i7-1260P implementation fares against a few other modern ultrabook implementations, both Intel and AMD.
It’s not quite as fast as the AMD Ryzen 7 unit or most of the other i7-1260P models, due to the lower sustained power limit, but is competitive against previous-gen hardware or other 13-inch ultraportables such as the
Dell XPS 13 9315 or the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano.
We then went ahead and further verified our findings with the more taxing Cinebench R23 loop test and in Blender.
We then ran the 3DMark CPU profile test.
Finally, we ran our combined CPU+GPU stress tests on this notebook, on the 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 did not pass the test, which means the performance decreases to some extent once the heat builds up. We’ll further touch on this down below.
Next, here are some benchmark results. We ran the entire suite of tests and benchmarks on the Extreme Performance profile on this Intel Core i7-1260P configuration, with the screen set at the default resolution.
Here’s what we got.
3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 4467 (Graphics – 4870, Physics – 15115, Combined – 1669);
3DMark 13 – Night Raid: 15969 (Graphics – 20337, CPU – 7204);
3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 1779 (Graphics – 1586, CPU – 5736);
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 1034;
Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 3089;
Handbrake 1.3.3 (4K to 1080p encode): 38.47 average fps;
PassMark 10: 3391 (CPU – 20074, 3D – 3145, Memory – 2772, Disk – 25455);
PCMark 10: 5548 (Essentials – 10569, Productivity – 6664, Digital Content Creation – 6583);
GeekBench 5.4.3 64-bit: Single-Core: 1674, Multi-core: 9132;
CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 1769 cb, CPU Single Core 242 cb;
CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 3439 cb, CPU Single Core 643 cb;
CineBench R23: CPU 9275 cb (best run), CPU 7860 (10 min loop test), CPU Single Core 1664 CB (best run);
x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 41.02 s.
And here are some extra work-related benchmarks:
Blender 3.01 – BMW scene – CPU Compute: 4m 50s;
Blender 3.01 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 12m 06s;
PugetBench – DaVinci Resolve: 383;
PugetBench – Adobe Photoshop: 784;
PugetBench – Premiere: -;
SPECviewperf 2020 – 3DSMax: 14.11;
SPECviewperf 2020 – Catia: 12.67;
SPECviewperf 2020 – Creo: 23.70;
SPECviewperf 2020 – Energy: 3.71;
SPECviewperf 2020 – Maya: 53.35;
SPECviewperf 2020 – Medical: 7.72;
SPECviewperf 2020 – SNX: 7.18;
SPECviewperf 2020 – SW: -;
V-Ray Benchmark: CPU – 6396 vsamples, GPU CUDA – 178 vpaths;
These are alright results for a modern 13-inch ultrabook and translate in this laptop performing well with daily use and multitasking, but also having the ability to tackle more demanding sustained loads on occasion, if needed.
At the same time, this is not as far as other 13-inchers built on the Intel Core P platforms, such as the ZenBook Flip S 13 or the Dell XPS 13 Plus, to mention just the ones we’ve reviewed in the past. Those are 10-20% faster in sustained CPU loads, and potentially 10% faster in GPU loads.
Furthermore, if you’re going the AMD route, you’re getting superior CPU multi-core and GPU performance with the Ryzen 6000 models, but a drop in single-core performance and IPC, which can actually make those feel a little more sluggish with daily multitasking.
With these out of the way, we also ran a couple of DX11, DX12, and Vulkan games on the Extreme Performance profile on this Core i7 + Iris Xe configuration, at FHD+ resolution, with Low/Lowest graphics settings. I threw in a few other platforms for comparison.
Slim 7i Carbon –
i7-1260p, Iris Xe,
20+W, FHD+ 1200p
ThinkPad T14s –
i7-1260p, Iris Xe,
20+W, FHD+ 1200p
ThinkPad Z13 –
R7-6850U, Radeon 680M,
15+W, FHD+ 1200p
ZenBook 14 2022 –
i7-1260p, Iris Xe,
30+W, FHD+ 1200p
ZenBook S 13 2022 –
R7-6800U, Radeon 680M,
15+W, FHD 1200p
ZenBook S 13 Flip –
i7-1260p, Iris Xe,
25+W, FHD+ 1200p
(DX 11, Low Preset) 79 fps (52 fps – 1% low)
77 fps (46 fps – 1% low)
102 fps (65 fps – 1% low)
70 fps (48 fps – 1% low)
102 fps (63 fps – 1% low)
81 fps (48 fps – 1% low)
(Vulkan, Medium Preset) 27 fps (14 fps – 1% low)
28 fps (14 fps – 1% low)
29 fps (15 fps – 1% low)
45 fps (34 fps – 1% low)
31 fps (14 fps – 1% low)
(DX 11, Best Looking Preset) 67 fps (41 fps – 1% low)
73 fps (50 fps – 1% low)
56 fps (33 fps – 1% low)
76 fps (52 fps – 1% low)
74 fps (46 fps – 1% low)
75 fps (52 fps – 1% low)
Far Cry 5
(DX11, Low Preset) 27 fps (23 fps – 1% low)
27 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
31 fps (24 fps – 1% low)
31 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
39 fps (31 fps – 1% low)
31 fps (27 fps – 1% low)
Shadow of Tomb Raider
(DX12, Lowest Preset, no AA) 29 fps (20 fps – 1% low)
30 fps (18 fps – 1% low)
41 fps (32 fps – 1% low)
36 fps (23 fps – 1% low)
47 fps (35 fps – 1% low)
34 fps (19 fps – 1% low)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Low Preset, Hairworks Off) 35 fps (23 fps – 1% low)
36 fps (22 fps – 1% low)
36 fps (24 fps – 1% low)
38 fps (20 fps – 1% low)
41 fps (26 fps – 1% low)
39 fps (21 fps – 1% low)
Doom, Dota 2, Witcher 3 – recorded with MSI Afterburner in game mode;
Bioshock, Far Cry, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities;
These are solid results for a 20W power implementation, within 10% of the higher-power i7-1260P in the ZenBooks (or in other similar ultrabooks).
In fact, the GPU constantly runs at 1.15 GHz sustained in this laptop on the Extreme Performance mode, which is roughly 80% of what the Iris Xe chip is capable of in a full-power implementation. The CPU also keeps cool, at around 70 degrees Celsius in sustained gaming sessions, with the fan spinning at 39 dBA at head-level.
You can opt to place this laptop on a raiser stand if you want to. This won’t impact the performance in any way, but it allows the CPU to run a little cooler around 65-66 C, with a slight impact over the external chassis temperatures as well.
You can also opt to run games on the Intelligent Cooling mode, which sets a more aggressive 18W power limit and a lower 37 dBA fan profile. The GPU ends up stabilizing at 1.05 GHz in this mode, which translates into a roughly 5% decrease in framerates.
Finally, I gave this laptop a try on battery power, and once more it ended up performing better than when plugged in. The CPU stabilizes at around 28W of package power on battery mode, with the GPU running at 1.3 GHz and package temperatures of around 80 degrees Celsius. It’s very weird that these Lenovo laptops run at higher power on battery mode than when plugged into the wall.
Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others
Lenovo went with a simple thermal design here, with a single fan, a single thick heatpipe, and a single radiator.
The radiator is placed under the screen, but Lenovo smartly diverts the flow of hot air behind the laptop, so the panel never heats up in the same way as on other designs with a similarly positioned exhaust.
This thermal module is a good match for this mid-powered implementation of the Core P platform, as it allows the CPU to run at temperatures of sub-50 degrees C with daily use and around 70 degrees C with demanding loads, once the power stabilizes.
The fan spins averagely fast, but is noticeable, at just under 40 dB at head-level on the Extreme Performance profile. The system caps the fan at 37 dBA on Intelligent cooling and mostly keeps it idle with daily use. For what it’s worth, I haven’t noticed any coil-whining or electronic noises on this sample.
The laptop feels comfortable to the touch with daily use and gets acceptably warm with demanding loads, with the hottest spots barely going over 40 degrees Celsius in the middle of the keyboard, and reaching close to 45 degrees on the back. Not great, not bad, and perhaps Lenovo could even push the power limit higher on the Extreme Performance profile here, as both the internal and external temperatures suggest that could be feasible.
*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Better Battery Mode, fans at 0-30 dB
*Gaming – Extreme Performance mode – playing Witcher 3 for 30 minutes, fans at 39 dB
For connectivity, there’s the latest-gen WiFi 6E 2×2 and Bluetooth 5.1 through an Intel AX211 module on this laptop. Our sample performed 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 dual speakers placed on the bottom of the laptop, so you’ll have to be careful not to muffle them during daily use. These sound acceptable for thin-laptop speakers, as they get rather loud at close to 80 dBA max, even if they noticeably lack in bass.
There’s an HD camera placed at the top of the screen, muddy and washed out. This hasn’t been updated to the somewhat improved 2MPx camera that Lenovo puts on many of their other 2022 models. It does support IR with Windows Hello and Lenovo implemented and eShutter privacy button that can block the camera when not using it.
There’s a 50 Wh battery inside the Lenovo Slim 7i Carbon, which is smaller than you’ll find on most other ultrabooks these days, and a consequence of the slim and lightweight chassis. Throw in the high-res screen and the Core P hardware, and this laptop won’t last for very long on each charge.
Here’s what we got on our review unit, with the screen’s brightness set at around 120 nits (~60 brightness).
7 W (~7 h of use) – text editing in Google Drive, Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
6 W (~8 h of use) – 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
8 W (~6 h of use) – Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
14 W (~3-5 h of use) – browsing in Edge, Better Battery Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON.
Not great, not awful. Up to you to decide if these runtimes are sufficient for your needs.
Our model came with a mid-sized 65W charger that plugs in via USB-C. It’s a dual-piece design with a compact brick and long cables, the kind that easily tangle in your bag, especially since there are no included zip ties to allow you to easily manage them when traveling around. A full battery charge takes about 2 hours, but one hour of charging will fill up 70+% of the battery.
Price and availability- Lenovo Slim 7i Carbon
The Lenovo Slim 7i Carbon is widely available in stores at the time of this review.
In the US, you’ll mostly find this in an i7-1260P + 16 GB RAM + 1 TB SSD + touch QHD display configuration, for around $1200 right now. Not bad, and it goes for less with the occasional Lenovo sales and discounts.
Over here in Europe, the same model is available for around 1200 EUR, while Core i5 + 8 GB + 512 GB configurations go for around 1000 EUR. Just don’t forget that Lenovo sells this as the Yoga Slim 7 Carbon over here, and not as the Slim 7i Carbon.
Follow this link for updated prices and configurations in your region.
Final thoughts- Lenovo Slim 7i Carbon review
If you’re in the market for a compact and ultra-light laptop with good ergonomics, a nice display, and solid everyday performance, this Lenovo Slim 7i Carbon is surely an option to consider, especially here in Europe where you can find the lower-tier and more affordable configurations.
Just make sure you’re OK with the miniaturized IO and you’re willing to sacrifice the battery life to some extent, compared to other 13-14-inch ultrabooks that are a little larger and heavier, but also offer higher capacity batteries.
On the other hand, there are quite a few other interesting options competing for your money in the
mid-tier ultrabook space, both in the Intel camp with options such as the Dell XPS 13, the Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED, or the Asus ZenBook S 13 Flip OLED, but also in the AMD camp with devices such as the Asus ZenBook S 13 OLED or the HP Pavilion Aero 13. And there’s also the MacBook Air M1. Each has its own share of advantages and quirks, so it’s up to you to choose the one that makes the most sense for your needs and budget.
This wraps up my time with the Lenovo Slim 7i Carbon (Yoga Slim 7 Carbon here in Europe), but I’d love to hear your thoughts on it, so get in touch down below.
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