IdeaPad laptops have long been overshadowed by ThinkPads and Yogas, but today Lenovo took a step toward changing the perception of this oft-overlooked series by launching the IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon and IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro.
You may associate "IdeaPad" with midrange consumer PCs but this new pair of ultra-portable laptops are firmly in the premium segment. In fact, these IdeaPads are, as much as any Yoga we've reviewed, direct competitors to Dell XPS and HP Spectre models.
- Best Lenovo laptops in 2021
- Best ThinkPad in 2021: Which Lenovo business laptop is best?
- Here are the best laptop deals on the market today
It starts with some eyebrow-raising display options including a 14-inch, 2880 x 1800-pixel (QHD+) OLED panel on the Slim 7 Carbon and a 16-inch, 2.5K screen with an optional 120Hz refresh rate on the Slim 7 Pro. Both models are powered by up to an AMD Ryzen 7 CPU and outfitted with discrete graphics and up to 1TB of storage.
Lenovo is clearly using the release of Windows 11 as a launchpad to reinvent the IdeaPad name with two compelling new ultra-thin yet powerful notebooks. Can the IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon and IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro convince buyers to look away from other established brands in this segment and join our list of the best laptops? Let's take a look.
IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon and 7 Pro price and availability
The IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon and Slim 7 Pro are scheduled to arrive in October. Lenovo didn't specify a date but we expect them to ship at or shortly after the release of Windows 11 on October 5.
As mentioned, these are premium laptops despite falling under Lenovo's historically midrange "IdeaPad" moniker. The IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon will start at $1,289 while the IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro will cost $1,449.
*The IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon is named Yoga Slim 7 Carbon outside of North America if Lenovo's naming conventions weren't confusing enough. The Yoga branding seen in our product shots will not appear on North American models.
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon design, specs and battery life
Price: $1,289 (starting)
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800U
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce MX450
Storage: 1TB SSD PCIe M.2
Display: 14-inch, 2880 x 1800-pixel (QHD+) OLED
Battery: 14.5 hours (rated)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
Size: TK x TK x 0.59 inches
Weight: 2.4 pounds
The smaller of these cousins, the Slim 7 Carbon has a 14-inch, 2880 x 1800-pixel (QHD+) OLED panel display at a 90Hz refresh rate with 400 nits of brightness.
These specs are worth picking apart. For one, OLED is the leading display technology available today and only recently has it arrived on mainstream laptops. If you haven't already been captivated by them at your local electronics store, OLED screens have infinite contrast ratios because of perfect black levels as well as vivid colors. They're typically not as bright as LCD panels so it's nice to see an above-average 400 nits rating.
Also above average is the 90Hz refresh rate; almost all non-gaming laptops are stuck at 60Hz meaning animations and videos should look much smoother on the Slim 7 Carbon. Better yet, the panel supports DisplayHDR 500 and is certified by TÜV Rheinland for low blue light emission. This Carbon model comes standard with a non-touch panel but can be upgraded to a touchscreen covered in Gorilla glass.
Lenovo isn't as daring with the Slim 7 Carbon's design. It has a simple, understated chassis with simple branding on the lid and a basic deck with speaker grills flanking the keyboard. Below the keyboard is a large touchpad; look up and you'll see the webcam positioned on the bezel lip, which helps you lift the lid with one finger when the laptop is closed. Another convenient feature is the webcam kill switch on the right edge.
Ports include three USB 3.2 Type-C inputs, a pair of which supports DisplayPort 1.4, as well as a 3.5mm headphone/mic jack. This being an AMD-powered laptop, Thunderbolt is sacrificed.
While the aesthetics do nothing to stand out, the laptop's 0.58-inch thickness and 2.4-pound weight make it one of the most portable in its class. Not to mention, the Slim 7 Carbon, which is made from a mix of magnesium alloy and carbon fiber (much like the ThinkPad X1 Carbon) is MIL-STD-810H certified, meaning it can withstand extreme conditions along with the occasional drop.
It may look like a knife's edge but the Slim 7 Carbon is certainly not thin on performance. Powering this portable notebook is up to an AMD Ryzen 5800U CPU with up to 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. If you weren't already shocked at how much Lenovo packed into such a small frame, the Slim 7 Carbon can, somehow, be equipped with a GeForce MX450 GPU alongside Radeon integrated graphics.
What do the OLED panel and discrete graphics do for battery life? Well, Lenovo promises 14.5 hours of juice out of the 61WHr battery. It's a hopeful runtime that we'll certainly put to the test once we get in a unit to review.
IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro
Price: $1,449 (starting)
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050
Storage: 1TB SSD PCIe M.2
Display: 16-inch, 2.5K at 500 nits
Battery: 12.5 hours (rated)
Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, Alexa
Size: TK x TK x 0.59 inches
Weight: 4.6 pounds
Let's start with it being larger. The Slim 7 Pro has a 16-inch, 2.5K touchscreen reaching 500 nits of brightness with an optional 120Hz refresh rate for smooth animations. The Pro, interestingly, does not have an OLED panel but relies instead on a standard IPS display at a 16:10 aspect ratio with DisplayHDR 400 support. Like the Slim 7 Carbon, it is TÜV Eye Comfort for low blue light.
Again, there is not a lot going on with the design of the Slim 7 Pro. The metal laptop has a seen-it-all-before Cloud Grey hue and a simple, no-nonsense appearance. Lenovo widened the touchpad, making it 11% larger than past models and the large keyboard conveniently places the arrow keys below the main section in an inverted-T. You also get more ports in the way of two USB Type-A inputs, an SD card slot, an HDMI, a USB Type-C input and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Going with the Slim 7 Pro gets you faster performance especially when you go for the AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU and available GeForce RTX 3050 GPU. Unfortunately, RAM is limited to only 16GB and storage tops out at 1TB.
Battery life is rated at 12.5 hours, which would be a decent result if it holds up in our own test, which runs through continuous web surfing at 150 nits of brightness.