Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon Review: An OLED screen in a laptop that weighs under 2.5 pounds

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon Review: An OLED screen in a laptop that weighs under 2.5 pounds

The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon is a mouthful to say, but it’s also a killer laptop. It starts with a chassis that weighs in at under two and a half pounds, but then you add on top of that the beautiful 90Hz OLED display. With AMD Ryzen 5000 performance and a price tag that’s $1,239.99, it starts to feel like a bargain.

XDA Recommended Award Badge
As you’d expect, there are some shortcomings. It’s still got a 720p webcam, rather than the 1080p sensors that are going to become more common this year. Also, with the 3K resolution of the OLED display and the 90Hz refresh rate, battery life isn’t great.

XDA VIDEO OF THE DAY

Still, the IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon is just delightful. This is an ultrabook that most users would absolutely enjoy.

    Lenovo's IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon is an absolute pleasure. It's got a 90Hz OLED display, AMD Ryzen processors, and weighs in at under 2.5 pounds.

      Features:

      Pros:

      Cons:

Navigate this review:

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon pricing and availability

  • The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon is available now, and this unit costs $1,239.99
  • There’s another unit on Lenovo.com that adds MX450 graphics and more storage.

Announced as one of the first PCs to ship with Windows 11 last year, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon is available now. The model that Lenovo sent me for review includes an AMD Ryzen 7 5800U, 16GB RAM, and a 512GB SSD. It’s available on Amazon from the link above.

Angled view of Lenovo IdeaPad

There’s only one other configuration that I can find, and that’s from Lenovo.com. That comes with the same processor and RAM, but there’s a 1TB SSD and an NVIDIA GeForce MX450 dedicated GPU.

All models come with the 14-inch 2,880×1,800 90Hz OLED display, which is really the reason why you should be buying this laptop.

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon specs

Processor AMD Ryzen 7 5800U 1.9GHz, 4.4GHz (Max)
Graphics AMD Radeon Graphics (integrated)
Body 14.9x313x214.5mm (.59” x 12.32” x 8.44”), 1.1kg (2.43lbs)
Display 14” (16:10) OLED 2.8K (2880×1800), 100% DCI-P3, 400 nits, Dolby Vision, Multi-touch
Memory 16GB Dual Channel LPDDR4x-4266
Storage 512GB M.2 2280 SSD
Connectivity Realtek Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax (2 x 2) + Bluetooth 5.1
Ports 1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 (support data transfer only)
2x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (support data transfer, Power Delivery 3.0 and DisplayPort 1.4)
1x Headphone / microphone combo jack (3.5mm)
Audio 2x 3W (woofers on the side), 2x 2W (front-facing tweeters), Dolby-branded, optimized with Dolby Atmos
Keyboard 6-row, multimedia Fn keys, LED backlight
Touchpad Buttonless glass surface multi-touch touchpad, Precision Touchpad
Battery 61Wh, supports Rapid Charge Express (3 hrs runtime with 15-min charge)
Camera IR & 720p with TOF sensor, fixed focus, E-Camera shutter
Material Top: Carbon fiber
Bottom: Magnesium-aluminum
Color Cloud Grey
OS Windows 11 Home
Price $1,239.99

Design: The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon weighs under 2.5 pounds

  • It’s so light that you’ll forget it’s in your bag.
  • The Cloud Gray color is a light silver.
  • The USB Type-C ports are limiting.

Made out of magnesium-aluminum and carbon fiber, the IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon weighs in at 2.43 pounds, which is incredibly light for a consumer laptop. Being that the lid is made out of carbon fiber, it doesn’t feel cheap and plasticky like many ultra-light magnesium-based laptops do.

And the weight makes a big difference in how it feels to carry, even if it’s just the difference of a half-pound between this and a three-pound laptop. When it’s in your bag, it feels like there’s nothing there. It’s fantastic.

Closed laptop in outdoor area

When the IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon is in your bag, it feels like there's nothing there.

It comes in a color that Lenovo calls Cloud Grey, as opposed to the Storm Grey that’s more of a gunmetal shade. Cloud Grey is more of a light silver, and I’m pretty sure it’s just called that because Lenovo likes calling things grey and naming the color after weather. It’s sort of like how HP used to use ‘Dark Ash Silver’ as a fancy way of saying black. Personally, I think the Cloud Grey is very stylish, as I often find the darker tone of Storm Grey to be a bit dull. If you’re ever choosing between the two, go for Cloud Grey.

As for branding, Lenovo still keeps its logo in the corner, and it’s the only major OEM that doesn’t put a big, sexy logo in the middle. It gives the firm’s consumer laptops a basic look.

As for ports, it’s all USB Type-C, which I’m not complaining about. I will, however, complain about the selection of ports. Obviously, there’s no Thunderbolt, which is to be expected on an AMD-based laptop. If it was Ryzen 6000, which Lenovo would have just had to wait a few months for, it could have been USB4.

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon view of ports

That’s not what I’m actually complaining about. The issue is that the two USB Type-C ports on the left are very different from the one on the right. The two on the left are USB 3.2 Gen 2, supporting 10Gbps data transfer speeds, DisplayPort, and Power Delivery. The one on the right is just 5Gbps data transfer.

It’s a pain point for sure, because you’re asking the user to know the difference between three ports that look identical, and only the one on the right is labeled as SuperSpeed; the other two have no real label at all. Personally, I discovered the limitation of the port on the right when I left it on the charger, and it wasn’t charged.

Icon showing camera disconnected

Also on the right is a switch for camera privacy. This uses a method I’ve previously seen on some HP laptops, where it actually disconnects the camera internally. I do like this method for a privacy guard, as it’s pretty simple, but it does present a couple of issues.

For one thing, there’s nothing physical covering the camera. Even when HP used this feature a couple of generations ago on its Spectre lineup, it added the physical guard in the next generation. For a feature that’s designed around distrust, I don’t think users want to trust that the camera is disconnected internally. The other issue besides trust is that there’s no way to tell that the camera is disconnected. I went through a call at one point, where it said it couldn’t find my camera, and I had no idea why. I realized later that I had this switch flipped.

Overall, this is a well-designed laptop, and I really want to hammer home how light it is to carry. At 2.43 pounds, it’s delightful, but the thing that really puts it over the top is the OLED display.

Display: That sweet, sweet OLED

  • The 14-inch 2.8K 90Hz OLED display is absolutely gorgeous.
  • The webcam is still 720p.

This is one of the best displays that you’ll find on a laptop, and yes, that’s because it’s OLED. It’s 14 inches with a 2,880×1,800 resolution, giving it a 16:10 aspect ratio. It’s got a 90Hz refresh rate too, so animations are buttery-smooth. That’s not on by default though, so you’ll have to make sure it’s on in Settings.

Close up of laptop display

The OLED display is absolutely gorgeous.

Being that it uses OLED technology in the screen, that means that blacks are blacker and colors are more vibrant. It’s a stunning display, and it’s really cool that it comes standard. For most OLED laptops, you have to opt for some ultra-premium model that’s super expensive. Being that this one comes in at just over $1,200, it’s one of the lowest-priced OLED laptops out there.

Display test results

As you can see, the color gamut tests come back as good as they get, supporting 100% sRGB, 96% NTSC, 98% Adobe RGB, and 100% P3.

Display test results

Brightness maxes out at 401.2 nits, which is just above the 400 nits that’s promised. Contrast maxes out at 27,300:1, which is way beyond the 1,000:1 or so that you’d find on a non-OLED laptop. In fact, it’s probably much higher than 27,300:1, since the blacks get as close to true black as possible.

Close up of laptop webcam

Here’s the bad news. While the bezels are delightfully narrow, the webcam is still small and 720p. Obviously, you’ll be looking for an FHD webcam if you’re considering working from home. Also in that reverse notch is an IR camera and a TOF sensor for Windows Hello and what Lenovo calls Zero Touch login. The idea is that it senses when you’re in front of the laptop, wakes up, uses Windows Hello to know that it’s you sitting there, and logs you in, all without you ever having to touch anything.

Keyboard: Pretty standard for a Lenovo consumer device

  • The keyboard is backlit and the touchpad is big.
  • The audio quality is fantastic, making this an excellent streaming box.

As far as input goes, there’s really nothing to see here. It’s a pretty standard keyboard, which is fine.

Top down view of laptop keyboard

Lenovo’s keyboards are really good, something it has a reputation for with ThinkPads, but it also applies to consumer PCs like this one. It’s backlit, as you’d expect, and frankly, that line about the keyboard on the spec sheet is all Lenovo’s reviewer’s guide says about it, so we’ll leave it at that.

Angled view of touchpad

One thing I really like is that the Precision touchpad is nice and big, taking advantage of most of the available real estate. It gives you a little more space to move around.

Close up of speakers on sides of keyboard

The excellent speakers combined with the OLED display make this a great streaming box.

The keyboard is flanked by stereo speakers, which sound phenomenal. There are two 3W woofers and two 2W tweeters, so they’re pretty powerful if you’re interested in audio quality. That also means that this is a really great streaming box. With the beautiful display and excellent audio, watching movies on here is delightful.

Performance: The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon comes with AMD Ryzen 5000 processors

  • AMD Ryzen 5000 processors are great, but there’s a big performance hit when they’re running on battery.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800U, and the unit that Lenovo sent me has integrated graphics. It’s available in another configuration with an NVIDIA GeForce MX450, if you want the boost, but you probably don’t need it for what a laptop like this is going to be used for. It’s a productivity machine.

Front view of Lenovo IdeaPad

There’s good and bad when it comes to AMD Ryzen processors. The good is that you get a ton of performance for the price. To see a package like this come in at $1,239.99, it’s really impressive. These days, any time I feel like we’re seeing a premium laptop that still has a lot of value for the price, it has an AMD chip inside of it.

AMD Ryzen 5000 processors lose over 20% of performance when the power cable is disconnected.

The bad news is that AMD Ryzen laptops lose a good chunk of performance when they’re not plugged into power. Even if you set the power slider to best performance, there will be a difference. And if you’re doing something like photo editing, you’ll actually feel the difference, so it’s notable. Plugged in, this laptop scored 5,621 on PCMark 10, beating out any U-series laptop that Intel offers, in my testing, by over 400 points. On battery life, however, it scored 4,295, which is closer to an Intel 8th-gen (Whiskey Lake) Core i7. This is still fine for a productivity machine, meaning if you work in the browser or Microsoft Office.

For benchmarks, I used PCMark 10, 3DMark, Geekbench, and Cinebench. Note that all of these tests were performed while the laptop was connected to power.

IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon
Ryzen 7 5800U
Surface Laptop Studio
Core i7-11370H, RTX A2000
ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9
Core i7-1185G7
PCMark 10 5,621 5,573 5,168
3DMark: Time Spy 1,323 5,075
Geekbench 1,412 / 6,347 1,546 / 5,826 1,489 / 5,280
Cinebench 1,377 / 8,222 1,504 / 6,283 1,303 / 4,224

You can see that out of the three laptops, the IdeaPad gets the highest overall PCMark 10 score. However, both Intel processors do better when it comes to single-core performance, while the extra cores on the AMD processor gives it a leg up on multi-core performance. Also, the Surface Laptop Studio does much better on the 3DMark test thanks to the dedicated graphics.

For battery life, the most consistent results I could get were around four hours and 40 minutes. And to be completely clear, I did have the screen set to 90Hz and the power slider set to best performance. Like I said, Ryzen processors do lose a fair bit of performance just from running off of battery life, so I didn’t want to lower the power slider. And as for the refresh rate, if you’re given a higher refresh rate, you’re going to want to use it. Obviously, you can get better batter life if you adjust these things.

Who should buy the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon?

The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon is a laptop that’s incredibly easy to recommend. But as always, it’s not for everyone.

Who should buy it:

  • Customers who want a great productivity laptop and are frequently on-the-go
  • People who want a great streaming experience

Who shouldn’t buy it:

  • People who need high-quality video for calls
  • Creative professionals or gamers that require dedicated graphics

Front view of Lenovo IdeaPad

This laptop is just all-around amazing. It’s got a beautiful 90Hz OLED display, AMD Ryzen 5000 power, and it all comes in a package that weighs in at under two and a half pounds.

The biggest downside is the HD webcam. If you’re on a lot of video calls, you’re going to feel that. Also, that beautiful display sure uses a good amount of battery.

Still, the IdeaPad Slim 7 Carbon is so easy to fall in love with.

About author

Rich Woods
Rich Woods

Managing Editor for XDA Computing. I've been covering tech from smartphones to PCs since 2013. If you see me at a trade show, come say hi and let me ask you weird questions about why you use the tech you use.

We are reader supported. External links may earn us a commission.