Disclaimer: We were loaned a review unit, courtesy of Lenovo Malaysia in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are the author’s own and not influenced by Lenovo Malaysia, and/or its affiliates, in any way.
While there are many high-performance gaming laptops available on the market out now, most of them are large and bulky and aren't ideal for usage as a travelling device. However, times are changing - a lot more companies are putting out high-performance gaming machines suitable to bring around with you. Introducing the Legion Slim 7i, Lenovo's take on a high-performance laptop in a slim, lightweight, form factor.
There are plenty of reviews out there already benchmarking this laptop and pushing it to its limits, so we decided to take a different approach for this piece. Since the selling point of the laptop is its form factor and weight, for over a week, I used the laptop as my work machine on days I was not at my desk.
For reference, my regular laptop is an Intel-powered Ultrabook with no discrete GPU. It's gone through its fair share of wear and tear over the past three years but still functions great as a work device, I expect the Legion Slim 7i to outclass it in multiple ways.
Right out of the box, I was impressed by the Lenovo Legion Slim 7i. I had seen it in pictures previously, but this machine looked amazing in person. It has a very unassuming look. Instead of bright lights, sharp edges and loud styling - under its corporate-ish attire, lies a beast of a machine. I'm not a huge fan of the whole 'gamer aesthetic' and I'm glad Lenovo went in this direction.
Though the device is slightly heavier than my own laptop that I'm used to bringing around, I only noticed its heft when I was holding the laptop (i.e. taking it out of my backpack). When I was carrying it around my backpack, it didn't feel that much different. On the other hand, the laptop's power adapter is one heavy unit. Fortunately, the laptop has a reasonable battery life (at least 4-5 hours running in high-performance mode) based on my usage habits, so I didn't need to need to lug around that chonky accessory if I wasn't going to be out for the whole day.
The laptop's power button also works as a battery indicator for the machine - if you see it flashing, you'll know it's time to charge. The glowing symbol on the Legion logo behind the laptop display is also a nice touch, giving a subtle hint of its gaming-capabilities.
The Legion Slim 7i is the portable version of the Legion 7i, a powerful gaming laptop. But by making it slimmer and lighter, a few sacrifices had to be made. On the Legion Slim 7i, you'll find that it's missing the ethernet, HDMI and side USB A port. Although I could get by without using them, your experience may differ if they are necessary for your workflow.
The Legion Slim 7i only has 4 USB ports - 2x USB C, 2x USB A. Due to the limitations of the slim chassis, the USB A ports are located on the rear of the laptop, which makes them tedious to reach in a pinch. Fortunately, if you have USB C peripherals, those are located on the right side of the device. While it is troublesome if you are used to frequently changing your USB devices (i.e. switching out thumb drives), it can be solved with the use of an external USB hub (not ideal, but it is a solution - or make sure your devices use USB C).
My workflow relies heavily on internet-based apps, so a lot of it is done via a web browser (Chrome), Notion, and Teams. As predicted, I had no issues here, in fact, I would say that using this as a daily machine has been fantastic.
The laptop performs as well as expected - launching programs feels snappy, quick, and effortless. The ultra-responsive touchpad combined with the large 144hz display (which I love) made working feel almost as good as working from my home desktop. My productivity wasn't hampered at all when I was out and about with this device. It felt good to know that I had a device that I could reliably work with and had the ability to run resource-hogging games when the occasion called for it.
The numpad was a nice addition (I don't normally use one) - it made entering two-factor authentication codes a breeze, and the keyboard itself is one of the nicest keyboards I've ever used on a laptop (high praise from someone who's very picky when it comes to input devices). In fact, most of this review was written on the Legion Slim 7i's keyboard itself!
If you use your laptop in dark conditions, the keyboard's RGB lighting will make sure you don't get lost. I appreciated the fact that pressing the FN key will light up specific keys on the laptop to inform you of the key combos you can use. Though it was expected to perform well for regular day-to-day tasks, it was nice knowing that the laptop was also capable of playing intensive games at the highest quality settings. I benchmarked and played a few rounds of GTA V on the laptop just to be sure, and was not disappointed. With everything set to High or Very High, I was consistently able to reach over 100 FPS, sometimes jumping up to 120+.
One thing to point out is that the fan noise increased substantially during gaming sessions but it kept the laptop running smoothly, with no hiccups. The case did heat up significantly, but again - it won't be an issue if you plan to use an external keyboard and mouse or gamepad (which you'll probably want to when gaming).
The laptop also features unobtrusive Lenovo software and it didn't come loaded with bloatware (except McAfee antivirus - it's 2020, who needs anything else besides Windows Defender and good browsing habits?). It also has iCUE if you need to adjust the RGB on the keyboard (I turned the lights off because it's not for me). A 1TB SSD also meant that I wouldn't be running out of space any time soon, and 16GB of RAM is plenty for most people. The front-facing camera is passable - it works well enough but can be a bit grainy even in brightly lit conditions. For those who are worried about their privacy, it features a slider to block the lens when not in use.
Speaking of privacy, the laptop features a fingerprint reader for security purposes. With the built-in Windows 10 security options, it was quick and easy to set up a fingerprint password to unlock the device. I set it up to replace the PIN on the login screen without a hitch. No more fumbling for keys when trying to access your laptop quickly.
Bluetooth and wireless connectivity worked great. I had no issues with the speakers or onboard microphone - they were loud and clear. But as usual, you'll want to use your favourite headphones/mic anyway, especially if you work in public.
Using the Legion Slim 7i for the past week has been a pleasure, and I'll be sad to part with the machine. That being said, the laptop isn't perfect - the hard to reach USB A ports in the rear (a problem that will be solved eventually when more devices transition to USB C), the heavy power brick and the less-than-stellar battery life are all points to consider before picking this machine up.
While it is very powerful, the machine does seem a tad overkill if you're planning to use it as a daily driver for non-GPU-intensive work - there are more affordable laptops out there for that purpose. However, if you're looking for a machine that's great for travelling and powerful enough to game with when you need to, the Legion Slim 7i is hard to pass up, especially if you want one of the sleekest-looking machines on the market.
The Legion Slim 7i is going to cost a pretty penny, with a retail price of RM7,599 (but at the time of writing, Lenovo does have some web deals to bring the price down). The laptop comes installed with Windows 10 Home edition, and from now till 31st March, will come preinstalled with Microsoft Office Home & Student 2019 (worth RM529). You can purchase it from Lenovo Exclusive Stores nationwide and Lenovo authorised online sellers.
Pros: Amazing performance, great keyboard, trackpad, gorgeous high refresh rate display, sleek design
Cons: Poor placement of USB A ports, lack of HDMI port, heavy power brick, gets hot and noisy under heavy load