The new Lenovo Slim 9i 14 was created with two objectives in mind: first, it is the first carbon-neutral laptop to be commercially available. Secondly, despite being made of many recyclable materials, it should bring premium entertainment and mobile luxury. In this review, we will look at the choices and design strategies Lenovo has adopted to see if the reality matches the pitch.
Slim 9i Specifications Highlights
With the Lenovo Slim 9i 14, prospective buyers won’t have to worry too much about understanding their hardware options because Lenovo made it very simple. There’s one processor option (including graphics) and two excellent OLED display options. The RAM (16 GB or 32G soldered) and storage (512GB or 1 TB) are easy choices, depending on your needs.
Our testing unit has an Intel Core i7-1280P (6P+8E cores) with integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics. There’s 32 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage, though this will not affect the benchmarking performance compared to models with smaller memory and storage footprints.
The two display options are 2.8K (90Hz) and 4K OLED (60Hz) panels with similar performance, except for the refresh rate and pixel count. More on that in the Display section.
Lenovo included its A.I. Core 2.0 feature, a chip (+software) that smartly manages power and display settings to maximize benefits while lowering power usage. Among many other things, Lenovo can detect when you’re going away and lock your computer immediately, both for security and power savings.
The Lenovo Slim 9i 14 design is one of the most exciting aspects of the laptop, giving it a distinct look and feel that sets it apart from other laptops we’ve seen this year.
The Slim 9i 14 is built like a smartphone, with curved edges and a huge tempered glass surface on the display’s back cover. The glass makes it look extraordinarily slick and elegant. At the same time, the glass is probably more resistant to minor scratches than aluminum and is easier to clean. Unfortunately, it could also crack if you mistreat it.
Lenovo is providing a cool laptop sleeve in the box as users will probably want to keep this laptop as pristine as possible. The glass is tested to resist a 50cm drop but avoid drops altogether. The sleeve has a pen holder, but unfortunately, there’s no e-Pen support. For e-Pen support, look at the new Yoga i9 14, the convertible-PC counterpart to this laptop.
“THE GLASS MAKES IT LOOK EXTRAORDINARILY SLICK AND ELEGANT”
Thanks to the rounded edges, holding the laptop is highly comfortable and soft, which you will appreciate as you go from meeting to meeting. The phone is only 0.59-inch thick (14.9mm), comparable to two stacked smartphones.
A huge aspect of this design is the world’s first Carbon Neutral laptop, certified to the ISO 14067:2018 standard that describes how we should calculate a product’s carbon footprint. Even the package paper is FSC certified.
Making this laptop carbon neutral is a remarkable technical feat of engineering and a potentially smart business direction. Many companies are actively looking for ways to hit their ESG goals (Environmental, Social, and Governance) to satisfy investors.
“CARBON NEUTRAL: A REMARKABLE TECHNICAL FEAT OF ENGINEERING”
The laptop’s dimensions of 315 x 214.4 x 14.9 mm (12.4 x 8.44 x 0.59 inches) make it a very compact computer in its category. The aluminum and glass construction gives it a 3.02 Lbs (1.37Kg) weight. That’s higher than the ThinkPad X1 Carbon or ThinkPad X1 Carbon nano, two exceptionally lightweight laptops.
The Slim 9i 14 has a light heft that screams “quality material” when you pick it up. Check one out in a store if you have a chance, as it’s worth the experience, even just for curiosity’s sake.
Keyboard and Trackpad
The keyboard is similar to what Lenovo uses in its high-end consumer laptops. Smile-Shape keys offer a 0.9mm (guestimate) key travel with firm and agreeable tactile feedback. This keyboard is backlit by monochrome LED lighting (2 levels).
The glass Trackpad is ~50% larger than the new ThinkPad X1 Carbon, so that’s a huge change for Lenovo. It is now very suitable for complex gestures using 3-4 fingers, and if these are part of your workflow, you’ll be thrilled with this trackpad.
Having three USB-C ports on the laptop is good, especially when using the Thunderbolt 4 protocol. There’s also a 3.5mm audio connector and Lenovo also provides a USB-C multiport adapter (VGA, HDMI, USB-A) that adds basic connectivity.
The Slim 9i comes with a quad-speakers, Dolby Atmos-certified Bowers & Wilkins sound system with two woofers (2x 3W) at the bottom and two tweeters (2x 2W) on either side of the keyboard hidden behind the speaker grills.
“A WORLD-CLASS AUDIO EXPERIENCE”
The speaker set produces a world-class audio experience, not only for a laptop this size but also for laptops of any size. For example, the sound quality is much better than our large 17-inch gaming laptop at the office. It’s mind-boggling.
It is a testament to the quality components and tuning Lenovo has selected for this laptop. In the end, Audio does rely on sound physics, so larger laptops have the potential to feature even better and more powerful audio, but sadly most don’t.
The Lenovo PureSight 4K OLED display we have tested is magnificent. Of course, it comes with all the OLED benefits you’ve heard of: intense black and excellent color reproduction are the two properties which make this screen a perfect entertainment medium, especially in a dimly lit environment.
PureSight is a Lenovo brand that describes a quality level for its best flat panels. The technicalities may change over time, but Puresight represents workstation-level displays of the moment.
In a bright setting like the outdoors, it’s more difficult to perceive all the nuances the display can render. The specifications of this screen show 400 NITs of brightness, but we measured it at 558 NITs which was a good surprise. Both options are glossy displays, so the colors and details look a bit better than a matte panel. The downside is high reflectivity.
The 16:10 aspect ratio gives a bit more vertical space, which is pretty much a standard in 2022 for high-end productivity laptops. With 100% DCI-P3 (125% sRGB) color coverage and integrated X-Rite color tuning, this laptop can undoubtedly cater to the needs of 2D graphics professionals who need to show their work under the best conditions.
The 1080p webcam is a step up from previous 720p integrated webcams and has an infrared sensor to log in with facial recognition securely. An e-Privacy shutter as a physical switch off to the laptop’s right side. You must be inside Windows to enable/disable the camera using an Fn key. The switch lets you do this even when locked out.
This laptop has far-field microphones, which means it is optimized to record sound from any direction. This was initially added to support voice assistants like Microsoft’s Cortana or Amazon’s Alexa.
The Slim 9i 14 (“i” stands for Intel) is powered by an Intel Core i7-1280P, one of the more performant mobile laptop processors for this category of laptops. Our data shows it to bring a significant performance boost over the i7-1260P (as tested in the X1 Carbon) and even more over the i7-1230U (as seen as one Dell XPS 13 option).
All productivity and multimedia tasks are handled with ease and speed. However, this platform is also very appropriate for 2D graphics design and web development. Light video editing is possible since there’s 32GB RAM and a 1TB storage option, but the lack of a discrete (GPU) might cap your video-editing potential.
Enterprise-oriented laptops such as the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen10 do get a higher sequential disk read/write performance, which could translate to slightly higher productivity for I/O heavy workloads such as video compression export. However, the level of disk performance of the Slim 9i 14 is very good in its consumer laptop category.
With the standard PCMark 10 Modern Office battery test, we got 460 minutes (7.6 hours) of continuous office-like work with the screen (110 NITs). It is important to note that this is with the 4K OLED display configuration, which is the most power-hungry. With the 2.8K display, this could climb to 9.5+ hrs, but we have not tested that one.
Lenovo says this 4K laptop could yield 11.5 hours of local video playback at 150 NITs, while the 2.8K model would get 11.7 hours. Both claims seem believable, but that’s a best-case scenario.
The 75Wh battery is quite large for a 14” thin and light laptop, which explains why Lenovo can propose such display and processor options and still maintain stress-free battery life for most users.
There’s a 65W compact AC Adapter, or you could also use a 3rd party adapter that complies with USB-PD (Power Delivery) at the correct wattage, like the EZQuest UltimatePower 90W GaN Wall Charger.
Those who perform only very basic tasks and want extreme battery life should check the ThinkPad X13s, but we think the use case is completely different from what is intended for the Slim i9.
The Lenovo Slim 9i 14 is designed as a luxury, carbon-neutral computer that offers “premium entertainment” in a small form factor. From that standpoint, the design has achieved and perhaps surpassed its goals.
This laptop is an absolute multimedia beast that offers the ultimate visual and sound experience in a 14-inch laptop form factor. In addition to entertaining, we think it is a capable 2D create workstation or an ultramobile web development computer with enough CPU, RAM, and storage for these tasks.
Data shows the Slim 9i 14 is most often compared to the new Yoga 9i, and for good reasons. Internally, both computers have many common traits, but the Yoga 9i has a 360-degrees hinge (and speaker) design in addition to e-Pen support.
“AN ABSOLUTE MULTIMEDIA BEAST”
The Dell XPS 13 is also another popular comparison. We think the use case is different. The XPS 13 is significantly more compact than the Slim 9i, but that’s because it’s a 13.3” laptop (vs. 14”). The XPS 13 also has less powerful CPU options and does not offer OLED displays. It might be an X1 Carbon Gen10 or X1 Nano competitor instead.
We like where Lenovo is going with this product and are generally impressed with the industrial design, build quality, and selected technologies.
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