Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16 review: Solid value, but a lot of compromises

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16 review: Solid value, but a lot of compromises

One of the great things about AMD Ryzen processors in laptops is that given the right use case, you can get some really premium performance for a relatively inexpensive price. Indeed, for just over $1,200, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16 comes with a QHD+ 120Hz display, a Ryzen 7, an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 GPU, 16GB RAM, and a 1TB SSD. That’s pretty sweet.

Of course, Ryzen processors come with significant compromises, mainly that performance suffers significantly when not connected to a power source. Also, it would be really great to see Lenovo push the limits of design a bit more than it has, as its laptops feel a bit bland.

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Still, you really can’t beat the value here. For a creator laptop, it offers the things you want, like performance, a great display, and more.

    Lenovo's IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro offers a Ryzen 7 processor, RTX graphics, a 120Hz screen, and more for a heck of a bargain.

      Features:

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      Cons:

About this review: Lenovo loaned the IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16 to XDA Developers for the purposes of this review. It had no input into the contents of this article.

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Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16 price and availability

  • The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16 is only sold on Lenovo.com, and this model costs $1,232.

Announced in September of 2021, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16 has been available since late last year. Of course, the word “available” is a tricky one here, because even while I’m reviewing it, you can’t seem to buy it.

This particular unit that Lenovo sent me comes in at $1,232, and it’s sold on Lenovo.com, when it’s in stock. Lenovo has confirmed to me that it’s not selling this laptop through any other vendors, so if you don’t see it on Lenovo.com, there’s nowhere to get it.

Interestingly, when Lenovo announced the product, it said it would start at $1,449, so it’s selling for less than that.

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16 specs

Processor AMD Ryzen 7 5800H
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050
Display 16” (16:10) OLED WQXGA (2560×1600), 100% sRGB, 500 nits, Display HDR
400, 120Hz refresh rate, touchscreen
Body 17.4-19.99mm x 247.42 mm x 356.81mm (.69-.79” x 9.74” x 14.05”)
Starting at 2.08 kg (4.59 lbs)
Storage 1TB M.2 PCIe SSD
Memory 16GB Dual Channel DDR4-3200
Battery 75Wh, supports Rapid Charge Boost
Ports 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1
1x USB 3.2 Gen 1 (Always On)
1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (support data transfer, Power Delivery 3.0 and
DisplayPort™ 1.4)
1x HDMI 1.4b
1x Card reader
1x Headphone / microphone combo jack (3.5mm)
1x Power connector
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, 802.11ax 2×2 Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5.1
Audio 2 x 2W user-facing Dolby Atmos Speaker System
Keyboard 6-row, multimedia Fn keys, LED backlight
Camera IR Camera & 720p, with ToF sensor, fixed focus
Color Cloud Grey or Storm Grey
Material Top/Bottom: Aluminum
OS Windows 11 Pro
Price $1,232

Design: The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16 is silver, and frankly bland

  • The laptop comes in silver, and has little to differentiate in terms of style.
  • There’s no Thunderbolt or USB4.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro comes in two colors: Cloud Grey and Storm Grey. While those sound similar, both being called Grey and named after weather, they’re not. Cloud Grey is just another name for silver, which is totally normal, while Storm Grey is more of a gunmetal grey.

Top down view of closed IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro

Personally, I think the design is too bland. It’s silver, big, and boring. And to be fair, there are plenty of people that want exactly that from a laptop, and I get it. All I’m saying is that there are laptops on the market that will catch some eyeballs when you take them into a Starbucks, and the IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16 is not one of them.

Made of all aluminum, it weighs in at just over four and a half pounds. This is pretty standard fir a machine like this. After all, it’s a 16-inch laptop with a 45W processor and dedicated graphics. You’ll definitely feel it in your bag. It’s big too, although that goes without saying for a 16-inch laptop.

Side view of IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro

Without Thunderbolt or USB4, you might want to wait for the next generation.

Also as you’d expect from a large product like this, there are lots of ports. On the left side, you’ll find a power port that looks like a USB Type-A port, but it’s not. There’s also HDMI 1.4b, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, and a headphone jack. That USB port does support DisplayPort 1.4, but it’s a shame that the HDMI port is 1.4b, because HDMI 1.4b doesn’t support a decent refresh rate on 4K monitors. And without Thunderbolt or USB4, your options are limited when it comes to output.

That’s worth keeping in mind too. New Ryzen 6000 laptops include USB4, which is similar to Thunderbolt 3; prior to that, you pretty much get standard USB ports. In other word, it’s a real shortcoming in Ryzen 5000 and earlier, but it’s fixed in future generations.

Side view of IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro

On the other side, there are two USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A ports, so you only get 5Gbps speeds, and there’s a full-size SD card reader. Personally, I’m a big fan of the full-size SD card reader, and I’m pleased to see it with so many companies omitting it.

Ultimately, the design is…fine. Nothing about it stands out, as it’s just a bland, silver laptop that’s made out of aluminum. It’s got the ports you need, but there are some limitations as outlined above. Of course, as I mentioned right out of the gate, there’s a lot of value for the price here.

Display: The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16 has a 120Hz QHD+ screen

  • The 120Hz refresh rate makes for smooth animations.
  • The webcam is still 720p.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16 has a 16-inch 16:10 QHD+ 120Hz display, so it’s pretty good. It’s bigger at 16 inches, and while it only sounds a little larger than 15.6 inches, it’s measured diagonally, and it’s 16:10 now. That means that it’s taller and has a larger surface area.

Close up of IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro screen

The 120Hz refresh rate is pretty, but it affects battery life.

Personally, I think QHD is the sweet spot for resolution, at least in most cases. It doesn’t suck down power in the same way that a 4K display would, and at the same time, you don’t get the pixellation that you would on an FHD screen. I think most would agree that FHD simply isn’t enough pixels for a screen this big.

The refresh rate is 120Hz, which is nice, making for smooth animations. The problem is that if you turn this on, it does affect battery life. This is something that’s been solved in other products with dynamic refresh rates, which I’d love to see in the PC space so you don’t have to choose between nice, smooth animations and a boring old 60Hz screen.

IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro display test

Testing results are good, but not great. As you can see, it supports 100% sRGB, which is great, but it supports 72% NTSC, 77% Adobe RGB, and 78% P3, which as I said, is good but not quite as good as say, a Dell XPS 15.

IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro display test

In my testing, brightness maxed out at 465.4 nits, which falls a bit short of Lenovo’s promised 500 nits. Still, I really have to say, I was impressed with the brightness on this screen. In some lighting conditions, I found it uncomfortable to use at full brightness, and that’s a good thing. This also makes it great for outdoor use.

Close up of IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro webcam

As you’d expect, there are narrow bezels on all sizes. The reverse notch at the top houses and IR camera for Windows Hello, along with a 720p webcam. Indeed, in the era of working from home, you’ll probably wish you had 1080p. This is something I’d expect to see changed in the next generation of the product.

Keyboard: If a number pad is what you want, Lenovo has you covered

Once again, Lenovo has produced a premium backlit keyboard, which is both accurate and comfortable to type on. Thanks to the size, it also has a number pad to the right of the main QWERTY keyboard. Obviously, this is something that’s a bit polarizing. you either want the number pad or you don’t, but it is there.

Top down view of IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro keyboard

The keys are shallower than what you’d get on a ThinkPad, but they’re pretty standard for a consumer laptop, which is good.

Angled view of IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro touchpad

It comes with a Microsoft Precision touchpad, just as you’d expect from any modern laptop. That means that it’s fast, responsive, and supports the gestures that you’re used to.

Close up of IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro speakers

Above the keyboard, you’ll find the Dolby Atmos system, which consists of dual 2W speakers. They sound fantastic, for anything from calls to listening to music at your desk.

Performance: AMD Ryzen 5000 is great when plugged in, but not on battery life

  • Once again, Ryzen performance suffers when the machine isn’t connected to power.
  • Battery life on the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16 is bad enough that you’ll always need to bring a charger.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16 packs a Ryzen 7 H-series processor and dedicated graphics in the form of an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050, and considering the other perks it has (it even comes with Windows 11 Pro), it’s a bargain at just over $1,200. As I mentioned right out of the gate, using an AMD Ruyzen processor is a great way to deliver premium performance at a more reasonable price point.

Top view of IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro

It just needs to be plugged in. I’ll tell you right now that the PCMark 10 score dropped from 5,956 when it was plugged in, to 4,193 when it wasn’t. That’s a 29.6% drop in performance. Note that both tests were taken with the power slider set to best performance. I edited a lot of photos in Photoshop and Lightroom, both when connected to power and when not, and you can feel the difference.

Performance dropped by 29% when the laptop wasn't plugged in.

Battery life leaves much to be desired as well. I only got two to three hours out of it when the screen was set to 120Hz, and when it was set to 60Hz, maybe I could stretch it to four hours, but that’s still unlikely. Battery life is simply not good. You cannot plan on bringing this laptop anywhere without having a charger with you.

But like I said, when it’s plugged in, performance is fantastic. For benchmarks, I used PCMark 10, 3DMark, Geekbench 5, and Cinebench R23. The laptop was plugged in for all of these.

IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16
Ryzen 7 5800H, RTX 3050
Dell XPS 15 9510
Core i7-11800H, RTX 3050 Ti
Surface Laptop Studio
Core i7-11370H, RTX A2000
PCMark 10 5,956 5,988 5,573
3DMark: Time Spy 4,299 4,801 5,075
Geekbench 1,423 / 7,368 1,538 / 7,514 1,546 / 5,826
Cinebench 1,371 / 10,587 1,491 / 9,399 1,504 / 6,283

As you can see, the benchmark scores, when the laptop is plugged in, are pretty much comparable to Intel’s 11th-gen processors.

Who should buy the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16?

Obviously, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16 is not for everyone. In fact, this is aimed at creators, or at least people that need the power of dedicated graphics.

Who should buy the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16:

  • Creators that need to get a lot for their money
  • People that will be connected to power most of the time, or at least when doing power-intensive tasks

Who should not buy the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 Pro 16:

  • Users that are on battery power most of the time
  • Creators that can afford to not make so many compromises
  • People who are on a lot of video calls and care about webcam quality

Here’s the deal. If you’re looking for a laptop that’s aimed at creators, you have to think about what you want to spend. If you’re a professional that can afford to spend a bit more, you should buy something with an Intel processor. If you’re a hobbyist or just starting out, AMD Ryzen could be better for you. The big thing to consider is that performance takes nearly a 30% hit when you’re not connected to power.

 

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.

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