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Article updated on May 11, 2024 at 3:00 AM PDT

Lenovo Slim 7i Review: A Compact, Sturdy Midpriced Laptop With an OLED Screen

With an OLED display and a solid build, this is a rugged option for mainstream shoppers, but other touches are decidedly midrange.

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Matt Elliott
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Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops | Desktops | All-in-one PCs | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms
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Lenovo Slim 7i (14IMH9)

Pros

  • Rugged, rigid all-metal chassis
  • Rich colors and stellar contrast from OLED display
  • Quad speakers produce good sound
  • Generous 32GB of RAM and 1TB SSD

Cons

  • Display resolution merely adequate
  • So-so touchpad
  • No Windows Studio Effects for webcam

Editors' note: The Lenovo Slim 7i is now available at Costco for $1,000, which represents significant savings from its initial $1,240 cost from Lenovo when we reviewed it in April. Based on this new lower pricing, we have raised its overall rating from 7.5 to 8.0 and updated our review.

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The Lenovo Slim 7i is a sturdy and compact laptop that splits the difference between mainstream and premium. Its chief attraction is the 14-inch OLED touch display that boasts vivid colors and stellar contrast. Unlike the 2.8K OLED panels on similarly sized laptops such as the HP Spectre x360 14 or Lenovo ThinkPad Z13 Gen 2, however, the Slim 7i's display offers a pedestrian 1,920x1,200-pixel resolution. It suffices for the size, but text isn't quite as sharp as it is on a 2.8K OLED display. Inside, the laptop features an Intel Core Ultra CPU, an ample 32GB of RAM and integrated Intel Arc graphics.

The Slim 7i's aluminum enclosure is of premium quality and passed MIL-STD 810H tests for ruggedness. It feels rock solid and yet is thin and light. It's not quite the head-turner as the Spectre x360 14 and lacks its awesome haptic touchpad, but it also costs less than the HP. On the flip side, its build quality and display are superior to those of the Dell Inspiron 14 Plus 7440 and Acer Swift Go 14, each of which also costs $1,000. The Sim 7i is a good choice if you are looking for a 14-inch OLED laptop but can't stretch to afford the HP Spectre x360 14 and don't need its two-in-one convertibility.

Lenovo Slim 7i (14IMH9)

Price as reviewed $1,240, £1,150, AU$1,639
Display size/resolution 14-inch, 1,920x1,200-pixel OLED
CPU Intel Core Ultra 7 155H
Memory 32GB DDR5 RAM
Graphics Intel Arc
Storage 1TB SSD
Ports Thunderbolt 4 USB-C x2, USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, HDMI 2.1, combo audio
Networking Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3
Operating system Windows 11 Home 23H2
Weight 3.2 pounds (1.5 kg)

The Lenovo Slim 7i (model 14IMH9) starts at $1,041 for a configuration that features an Intel Core Ultra 5 125H CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB solid-state drive. The lone display option is a 14-inch OLED panel with a 1,920x1,200-pixel resolution and touch support. Our test system features a pair of upgrades to the Core Ultra 7 155H chip and 32GB of RAM and costs $1,240 from Lenovo. 

Our test configuration is now available at Costco for $1,000 where it's a great deal. Seldom do you find an OLED display along with that much memory and solid-state storage wrapped in a durable, all-metal chassis at that price.

The system is labeled as the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Gen 9 in the UK and Australia, despite lacking a 360-degree hinge that would give it flexible two-in-one capabilities that the Yoga name would suggest. It starts at £939 in the UK and AU$1,639 in Australia.

Lenovo Slim 7i laptop turned to show lid
Matt Elliott/CNET

In labs testing, the Slim 7i's benchmark results were in range of the Acer Swift Go 14, Dell Inspiron 14 Plus and HP Spectre x360 14, each of which features the same Intel Core Ultra 7 155H processor as the Slim 7i, but it never managed to lead the pack on any test. Its graphics performance trailed the other Core Ultra laptops only on the 3DMark Wild Life Extreme Unlimited test; on Time Spy and Fire Strike Ultra it was roughly on par with the other laptops using Intel's integrated Arc GPU. The AMD-based Slim Pro 7 led the way on the graphics tests because it was the only laptop among the comparison systems to feature a discrete RTX 3050 GPU. That model can frequently be found at Best Buy for less than $1,000 and is a better pick for creatives who will use the laptop for graphics work.

OLED laptops rarely excel in the area of battery life, and the Slim 7i is no exception. It lasted 9 hours and 40 minutes on our online streaming battery drain test, which should be ample time for most work or school days but still shorter than the runtime of competing laptops. 

Compact and rugged

The Slim 7i's overall look is rather corporate, with a lot of dull gray, but also thin and compact like modern corporate systems: less than 0.6-inch thick and weighing a trim 3.2 pounds, average for its size.

When you pick it up you notice its premium build. The all-aluminum chassis is rigid, with hardly any flex that plagues lesser aluminum and plastic shells. It lacks the Spectre x360 14's gorgeous, matte-black aesthetic, but the Slim 7i does share some nice design elements with HP's pricier two-in-one, including smooth, gently rounded edges and corners. They give the laptop a sleek look, and the lack of sharp corners makes it comfortable to carry the laptop and also to rest your palms on its front edge when typing and mousing. 

Lenovo Slim 7i left edge ports
Matt Elliott/CNET

And like the HP, the Slim 7i has a great display hinge that keeps the display firmly in place without any wobble yet still glides smoothly when you adjust the display or close the laptop. The overall build quality is on par with the pricier HP and a notch or two above what you get with the slightly cheaper Acer Swift Go 14 or Dell Inspiron 14 Plus.

The Slim 7i looks nearly identical to the 14.5-inch, AMD-based Lenovo Slim Pro 7 I reviewed last year. And like the earlier unit, the Slim 7i offers MIL-STD 810H ruggedness for an ability to withstand drops, vibration, shock, dust and extreme temperatures. It makes the system a good choice for students who want a laptop that will withstand the scrapes and dings it'll almost assuredly receive over four years of regular use. And it accommodates student budgets at the expected $999 Costco price tag.

Lenovo Slim 7i front corner
Matt Elliott/CNET

The best feature of the Slim 7i is its 14-inch OLED display; OLED delivers excellent contrast thanks to effectively zero-nit blacks and vivid colors. Testing with a SpyderX Elite colorimeter, the display covered 100% of the sRGB and P3 color spaces and 94% of Adobe RGB. I also measured a peak brightness of 382 nits, which is just shy of its 400-nit rating but should be bright enough for most environments outside of direct sunlight outside. 

As great as images look on the OLED panel, text appears slightly fuzzy and gray, lacking the sharpness you get with a higher-resolution display like the Spectre x360 14's 2.8K OLED panel or even the 2.2K IPS LCD on the Inspiron 14 Plus. It's not a deal-breaker, but if your job or schoolwork involves a lot of reading, you'll appreciate even a bump to a 2.2K display for staring at text for long stretches.

With quad speakers, the Slim 7i is more than just a work laptop. The four two-watt speakers produce well-rounded audio. Dialogue sounds clear and effects sound realistic when watching shows and movies, and I even found myself enjoying music playback, although I wish it offered more bass. 

The keyboard has widely spaced keys and delivers a comfortable and quiet typing experience. It includes the dedicated Microsoft Copilot key, which opens a panel for Microsoft's AI assistant, replacing the right-Ctrl key on the bottom row. Expect this to become common on Windows laptops.

Lenovo Slim 7i keyboard and touchpad
Matt Elliott/CNET

The good news is the touchpad has a glass surface that's smoother than a plastic touchpad. The bad news, depending on your preferences, is that it's mechanical and not haptic. I find the click response has too much travel and sounds "clacky." The rest of the laptop feels so sturdy and rigid, making the touchpad's subpar click response seem all the more disappointing.

The 1080p webcam delivers a sharp, fairly grain-free image but lacks support for Windows Studio Effects -- AI-based automatic framing, background blurring and noise reduction plus AI-aided noise cancellation for the microphone -- found on other Core Ultra laptops I've reviewed. While the Lenovo Vantage app has noise cancellation features for the microphone, I found them to be less effective at removing or reducing background noise than the Spectre x360 14 or Acer Swift Go 14.

The Lenovo Slim 7i has the misfortune of arriving on the heels of the HP Spectre x360 14, one of my favorite laptops from the past year. And while it's true the HP costs hundreds more, HP's discounts at the time of this writing drop the price to a reasonable $1,360 for the same configuration as our Slim 7i test system. The HP's advantages include a superior design, higher-resolution OLED display, excellent haptic touchpad and two-in-one versatility. But if your budget doesn't stretch past $1,000, then the Slim 7i is a fine consolation prize for Costco members.

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How we test computers

The review process for laptops, desktops, tablets and other computerlike devices consists of two parts: performance testing under controlled conditions in the CNET Labs and extensive hands-on use by our expert reviewers. This includes evaluating a device's aesthetics, ergonomics and features. A final review verdict is a combination of both objective and subjective judgments. 

The list of benchmarking software we use changes over time as the devices we test evolve. The most important core tests we're currently running on every compatible computer include Primate Labs Geekbench 6, Cinebench R23, PCMark 10 and 3DMark Fire Strike Ultra

A more detailed description of each benchmark and how we use it can be found on our How We Test Computers page. 

Geekbench 6 (multicore)

HP Spectre x360 14 12,897Acer Swift Go 14 12,459Lenovo Slim 7i (14IMH9) 12,128MacBook Air 13 (M3) 12,063Dell Inspiron 14 Plus 7440 11,996Lenovo Slim Pro 7 (14ARP8) 8,880HP Pavilion 15 (15t-eg300) 7,965
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

PCMark 10 Pro Edition

Acer Swift Go 14 7,020HP Spectre x360 14 6,893Lenovo Slim 7i (14IMH9) 6,764Dell Inspiron 14 Plus 7440 6,551Lenovo Slim Pro 7 (14ARP8) 6,446HP Pavilion 15 (15t-eg300) 5,234
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Cinebench R23 (multicore)

Dell Inspiron 14 Plus 7440 13,243Acer Swift Go 14 12,989Lenovo Slim Pro 7 (14ARP8) 11,520Lenovo Slim 7i (14IMH9) 11,401MacBook Air 13 (M3) 9,848HP Spectre x360 14 8,656HP Pavilion 15 (15t-eg300) 7,071
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Wild Life Extreme Unlimited

Lenovo Slim Pro 7 (14ARP8) 8,511MacBook Air 13 (M3) 8,252HP Spectre x360 14 6,026Acer Swift Go 14 5,972Dell Inspiron 14 Plus 7440 5,813Lenovo Slim 7i (14IMH9) 4,851HP Pavilion 15 (15t-eg300) 3,166
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

Online streaming battery drain test

MacBook Air 13 (M3) 1,097Dell Inspiron 14 Plus 7440 811Acer Swift Go 14 760Lenovo Slim Pro 7 (14ARP8) 727HP Spectre x360 14 595Lenovo Slim 7i (14IMH9) 580HP Pavilion 15 (15t-eg300) 356
Note: Longer bars indicate better performance

System configurations

Lenovo Slim 7i (14IMH9) Microsoft Windows 11 Home; Intel Core Ultra 7 155H; 32GB DDR5 RAM; Intel Arc Graphics; 1TB SSD
Dell Inspiron 14 Plus 7440 Microsoft Windows 11 Home; Intel Core Ultra 7 155H; 16GB DDR5 RAM; Intel Arc Graphics; 1TB SSD
HP Spectre x360 14 Microsoft Windows 11 Pro; Intel Core Ultra 7 155H; 32GB DDR5 RAM; Intel Arc Graphics; 2TB SSD
Acer Swift Go 14 Microsoft Windows 11 Home; Intel Core Ultra 7 155H; 16GB DDR5 RAM; Intel Arc Graphics; 1TB SSD
Lenovo Slim Pro 7 (14ARP8) Microsoft Windows 11 Home; 3.2GHz AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS with Radeon Graphics; 16GB DDR5 6,400MHz RAM; 6GB Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050; 512GB SSD
HP Pavilion 15 (15t-eg300) Microsoft Windows 11 Home, Intel Core i7-1355U, 16GB DDR4 RAM, Intel Iris Xe Graphics; 256GB SSD
MacBook Air 13 (M3) Apple MacOS Sonoma 14.4; Apple M3 (8-core CPU, 10-core GPU); 16GB unified memory; 512GB SSD