Updated: Aug 20, 2021
This is the Lenovo Ideapad Slim 7, and I’m honestly really hyped about this, and if you aren’t, well you should be, because this is a thin and light laptop that features 8 cores and 16 threads, courtesy of AMD.
That’s right. 8 cores and 16 threads, in this form factor. This is the future.
I’ve had this laptop for about 2 weeks now, and have actually been using it as my daily driver, and I’m glad to say that it didn’t disappoint, at all. I’m still pretty amazed. But before we get into all that fun stuff, let’s just quickly go over the design, display, and all that.
If you’re familiar with any of Lenovo’s current offering of the Slim series, well, this is exactly like the rest. You get a no-nonsense, minimalistic design that simply looks great, no matter where you might be, and it’s all within a 14-inch form factor, so it’s easy to slip into any kind of bag, while not putting a strain on your back either, for it weighs just about 1.5 kilograms.
For the display, you do get a Full HD IPS display that is pretty good, providing 100% sRGB coverage along with a max brightness of about 350 nits or so. I do wish it can get a little bit brighter and that the display was matte instead of glossy, but in any case, it’ll do you fine for any kind of content on YouTube, general browsing, so on and so forth.
You do get a 720p webcam up top that’s not really that great and doesn’t support Windows Hello for authentication. But if you just require a webcam, it’ll get the job done.
Of course, we then have the keyboard, and it’s that same signature design that Lenovo has been using for the longest time. Basically, it’s a fantastic keyboard that’s a joy to type on and does also feature simple white backlighting that does get quite bright.
The trackpad is also pretty great. It’s large enough for a laptop this size and has a smooth surface that makes it great to use. It simply works well, no qualms about it.
Despite being a 14-inch laptop, and having a decently sized keyboard, Lenovo still managed to cram up-firing speakers flanking both sides, and to be honest, it’s actually pretty great. For its size, there’s ample amount of volume and there’s even a little bit of depth when you listen to music. Now, I’m not going to go technical on this, but overall, I do find it pretty great, and I do actually quite like it.
Ports-wise, there’s also quite a bit going around.
On the right, you get your power button, a couple of standard USB 3.2 and a MicroSD card reader, while on the left, you get a USB-C for power, HDMI 2.0, another USB-C which does support display output, data transfer and power delivery as well, with the last being your standard headphone/mic combo jack.
Now, of course, you don’t get Thunderbolt support, as this is an AMD based machine after all, but now, let’s talk performance, and this is what I’m really hyped about.
As mentioned, it’s an AMD laptop, so you get a Ryzen 7 4800U, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB NVMe SSD.
In Cinebench R20, the Ryzen 7 4800U managed an average Multi-Core score of 3343, with a Single-Core score of 447 out of 5 runs. If you don’t see it yet, it’s pretty amazing. To put things into perspective, here’s the Intel Core i7-1065G7 from the Razer Blade Stealth. The AMD chip is twice as powerful in multi-core, as compared to that Intel CPU.
In fact, the performance is on par with the much beefier Intel Core i7-10750H, or even the Core i9-10980HK on some of the thin and light gaming laptops.
As for DaVinci Resolve, the AMD chip is able to render the 1080p edit in about 27 minutes while the 4K edit took about 40 mins.
This is honestly, pretty great results, despite the numbers. Because if you compare to a similar-sized laptop like the XPS 13 with the Intel Core i7-1065G7, it’s almost twice as fast.
Thermal performance is a little weird, though.
While starting either the benchmark in Cinebench, or the render in DaVinci Resolve, the Ryzen chip would boost as much as it can and hit 100 degrees celsius with 25 watts of power. But after a dozen seconds or so, it’ll start to pull back the clock speeds, thus lowering the temperatures, which is great, but so does the wattage as well. After about 2 minutes into the render in DaVinci, it seemed to have reverted back to the 15W TDP, and it maintains that with a temperature of about 83 degrees celsius, till the end.
I’m not too sure what to feel about the thermals. One thing to note is also that the chip will almost always only use 25W when starting something from cold. If you were to do the runs back to back, it’ll never go past 90C, and always maintain a 15W TDP. Not too sure if it’s just my unit, but it is what it is.
Now, of course, there are many more programs out there, and the performance between AMD and Intel will vary accordingly, but in all honesty, the Ryzen 7 4800U is amazing, though do take note of the temperatures.
And if you’re concerned about battery life, well, don’t be, because I could easily get about 9 hours of real-world usage. It’s far from the 17 hours which Lenovo claimed, but 9 hours is honestly good enough for a day’s usage.
But creatives aside, what about gaming? For the Ryzen 7 4800U does pack integrated Vega graphics.
Running it through our standard tests of games, you can actually expect playable frame rates in games like CS:GO, easily achieving 60 frames per second on the highest setting, while more demanding titles like Apex or triple-A titles like Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be playable, but barely.
As you can tell, it’s not the best for gaming, but if you’re someone who’s into CS:GO, or lighter games like Minecraft or Fall Guys, it won’t be too bad of an experience.
Now, to me, the only major downside is upgradability, for the only thing you can really swap out is the NVMe drive, the rest is all soldered on.
To sum up, this has been a pretty amazing experience. Despite the high temperatures, I’m honestly in awe of the performance you can get out of this chip. 8 cores and 16 threads are nothing to scoff at. But at the time of this review, I do also have to mention that Intel did announce Tiger Lake not too long ago, and they did directly compare performance with this very chip.
The graphs presented were certainly interesting, no doubt, but we’ll have to wait and see until we can get our hands on those new chips. But even so, I feel that this chip is still going to be a tough competitor, especially if cooled properly.