REVIEW: Yoga Slim 7i Pro sets high bar for work-from-home machines

Sep 8, 2021

FIRST launched almost a decade ago, the Yoga line of laptops started as bendy, flexible touchscreen convertibles. (Hence the name.) With a flip of the keyboard, you could turn your notebook PC into tablet and tent configurations, offering a “best of both worlds” option for users.

Nowadays, however, the Yoga line is all about options. The classic convertible is still there, of course, but now you can get the Yoga in all kinds of flavors. In this review, we’re taking a look at a Yoga that doesn’t have a touchscreen, but promises high-powered performance: the Yoga Slim 7i Pro.

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What new features can you find?

The laptop can’t resist flexing the minute you flip open the lid, immediately turning on without needing to press the discreet power switch on the right side. And if you’ve turned on Windows Hello security, the IR camera on the webcam slot can quickly read your face and unlock your computer very quickly.

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Back to work, just like that, in only a few seconds.

This might not be a big deal for a laptop user who merely closes the lid on a notebook when the day is done. But I’m the type of guy who shuts down his laptop if I’m going to be taking a break for more than an hour. So this was a small quality-of-life tweak that I greatly appreciated. It helped that the IR camera worked so much better than the one in my current laptop, reading my face quickly and only rarely messing up. I only had to type in my PIN a few times during my two and a half weeks with the device.

Lenovo packs in more automated tweaks. A “zero-touch lock” function also dims your screen when the IR camera doesn’t detect you, then quickly snaps back on when you sit down in front of your screen again. Supposedly, it helps with privacy and battery life. But this feature was unpredictable, at best. At times, it never kicked in, and others, it was so aggressive I would just stand up to pace around the room and get my thoughts in order, and when I came back the screen was already black.

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    Again, the hardworking, all-seeing IR camera makes getting back to work as easy as looking straight into the screen, but your mileage with zero-touch lock will vary. In any case, if you find it too annoying, you can switch all these features off in the included Lenovo Vantage app.

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    What are the laptop's specs?

    The laptop comes in a sandblasted aluminum chassis that looks good in pictures, but in real life almost disappears into the background. Branding is limited to a small metallic Lenovo tag on the laptop corner, and the word “YOGA” recessed onto the surface. It’s minimalist to the point of boring… and perhaps, exactly the point. It doesn’t have obnoxious “gamer” embellishments, and it feels no need to shout out its brand. If the design fails to inspire any excitement, you’re assured that it’s professional enough to bring anywhere, in any setting.

    In any case, the build quality is definitely top tier, with a solid heft, a well-machined lid, and a matte surface that absolutely repels oily fingerprints.

    And under the hood? As you can tell from the “7i” name, this laptop packs the Intel i7 chip (latest gen, of course). The configuration that we got to test also had 16GB of RAM, a 1 TB SSD hard drive, and an Nvidia GeForce MX450 with 2GB of VRAM. This combo is powerful enough to go toe-to-toe with your toughest workload — and wipe the floor with it. The onboard video card is even enough to cut decent videos on Adobe Premiere.

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    We also tested it out on last year’s Doom Eternal and the just-released strategy game Humankind. On the settings screen, Doom kept on throwing me warnings that the game's requirements exceeded the system’s existing video RAM, but the shooter (widely praised for its optimization) still ran smoothly, dropping frames only in the most hectic mid-game battles, and crashing only once.

    The top-down, boardgame-like Humankind stuttered slightly when moving pieces across the map, but was more than playable on this rig.

    Props, too, to this laptop's thermal and noise performance. Even if the exhaust vents are located at the bottom, it never got too hot that you couldn’t work with this computer on your lap. The only time it got uncomfortably warm was while gaming or charging.

    Fan noise only kicked in while playing Doom, with the laptop jacked into “Extreme Performance” mode. Otherwise, it’s a silent killer, this one.

    Here's the full list of specs.

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    Yoga Slim 7i Pro Specs (reviewed unit)

    Price: P84,995
    Intel Core i7-1165G7, 16GB memory, 1TB SSD, NVidia GeForce MX450 2GB, 14" 2.8.K (2880x1800) display 400 nits 90Hz, 720p front-facing camera, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 1, 1x headphone/microphone combo jack, 2x Thunderbolt 4/USB-C, Windows 10 with Office Home and Student 2019 bundled in, 2W stereo speakers

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    How is the screen and port selection?

    In terms of ports, the Slim 7i Pro has two USB-C ports on the left side, which both come in Thunderbolt flavors, in case you want to hook up a portable video card or an external monitor. On the right side is a USB-A port, a headphone jack, and the power button.

    So yeah, that’s a slim selection of ports. HDMI is the big one that’s missing here, and an extra USB-A in case you need to plug in a mouse and, say, an external hard drive at the same time. A USB-C hub will likely be a must-have accessory. Both USB-C ports are also on one side, which means if you’re charging and and need to use the adaptor (to get more ports), you’ll need to have the right-looking one so it won’t block the charging port right beside it.

    But that means you get a space-saving chassis that only measures 16.9mm at its tallest point — about as thin as a Macbook Air. It’s also very light at just under 3 pounds, making it very easy to carry around with one hand, or disappear into a backpack.

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    Both the keyboard and the touchpad are also very easy to work with. The trackpad — a smooth, glossy, spacious affair — felt so nice I didn’t feel the need to break out my trusty mouse, which I usually do when working on laptops.

    On the Slim 7i Pro is a 14-inch screen at a very tall 16:10 aspect ratio (more vertical space for doomscrolling!), minimal bezels on all sides, vivid colors, and a very, very welcome 90Hz refresh rate. At max brightness it goes up to 400 nits, which, in our experience, brought the battery down to just 56 percent in three hours of constant use. If you run out of battery, the USB-C port can quickly take care of that — an hours’ worth of charging can juice up the battery from 10 percent to 89 percent; blazing fast numbers for a laptop.

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    Yoga Slim 7i Pro review: Is it worth buying?

    At the configuration we tested, the Yoga Slim 7i Pro costs P84,995.

    For comparison, that’s the same price as Lenovo’s own Legion 5 Pro, which comes with a Ryzen 5 chip and 512GB of storage, as well as a thicker chassis with gamer-influenced design. However, it does have a beefier RTX 3060 video card (with 6GB of RAM) and a bigger, brighter 16-inch screen that can go up to 165 Hz.

    So, even without going outside of the Lenovo family, you can clearly see where the priorities lie with the Yoga Slim 7i Pro. And that will determine if this is the right laptop for you. At this price range, you’re now freer to pick and choose the specs that matter most to how you work. Do you prioritize a stronger CPU for everyday tasks, with the storage space to boot and a professional-looking exterior? Or do you prefer a more gaming- and/or video editing-ready rig, but are willing to sacrifice the thin and light factor?

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    If you’re not looking for a gaming laptop, the Yoga Slim 7i Pro sets a very high bar that’s hard to beat. The tall 90Hz display panel, a very capable Intel chip, a sizable hard drive, whisper-quiet performance, and an all-day battery — the Slim 7i Pro more than justifies its price tag. If you’re looking for a work-from-home workhorse that looks and feels good, this is it, folks. The video card — and the light gaming you can do with it — is just the very sweet cherry on top.

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