AMD has been extremely competitive with desktop computers but, up until recently, they were the low cost, low performance, low battery life competitor to Intel for laptops. That changed with AMD’s latest processors and the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 with AMD is a showcase of how it can provide more performance for less cost. I’ve been playing with this notebook for the better part of a week and think it could be a game-changer. For those working from home--given there is a massive shortage of good laptops at the moment--this might be a time to consider an AMD product, assuming you can get one before they too run out.
Impressions of the AMD-based Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7
Finding the perfect balance of performance, battery life, carrying weight and the cost is always a struggle because, generally, you have to pick two of these and sacrifice the others. If you want high performance and good battery life, the product is going to be heavy and expensive; if you want lightweight and low cost, you’ll bleed performance and battery life. And if you want all four, well good luck with that, you typically are only going to get two.
The AMD based Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 comes the closest to providing all four goals in a single product. It performs in line with high-priced gaming machines; it costs (below $900) in the mid-range; it weighs just a whisker over 3 lbs., making it an ultra-light; and it has (on spec) 14 hours of battery life. This last spec I haven’t tested because, like you likely are, I’m working from home and can generally plug in right now.
- It is not bad-looking, through your choice of color is set at slate gray and it has, for an ultra-light laptop, a decent set of features--including a 14” 300-nit screen;
- 8 GB of memory;
- up to 17.5 hours of battery life (very high for a low-cost, high-performance mobile offering);
- for security, it has an IR camera and fingerprint reader (Windows Hello compatible);
- it has two USB 3.2 ports, two USB-C ports (one for power) and an SD card r;.
- sound is Dolby Atmos, so it is surprisingly good with Atmos movies and it is surprisingly thin (.58”). For perspective, at its deepest, the once market-leading Apple MacBook Air is .63”.
- This laptop comes with Lenovo’s latest power supply, which is much slimmer and better looking than their previous generation (I mention that because the Lenovo power supplies had been looking dated before this). Oh, of course, it has fast charging.
With Radeon Graphics and the new Ryzen 7 4700U processor (2.00 GHz with a 4.10 GHz Max Boost for things that need that extra performance, eight cores and 8MB of cash this is an impressive inexpensive performance offering. I’m reminded that just a short time ago, getting a laptop with more than four cores was unusual, even in a high-end product. For wireless, it has Wi-Fi 6, which is what I’m running at home and I’m still impressed at how incredibly fast this latest Wi-Fi technology is.
In use, the keyboard is the traditional Lenovo showcase of excellence, the design is immaculate and attractive and the screen is more than adequate for this or even the next higher price point. And at just a hair under $900, this is one of the few strong values in the market.
Now while I prefer a 17-inch laptop for working from home, many of us will eventually be going back on the road, to school and back to the office. A 17-inch product isn’t viable for those who have to use the thing on a plane or lug it two and from work or school.
Granted that, given the increasing shortage of laptops, a whole lot of folks are finding out they and their kids aren’t going back to school or work this year. It is tough to find any laptop right now but, if you can get it, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 could be the ideal product for those stuck at home for months but who will eventually need to go back to the way things were after next June, when the antivirus medicine is projected to be widely available.
In the end, though the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 is a strong showcase of what AMD is now capable of, it is a far cry from what we’ve previously seen from the company. Lenovo took a risk with this product; I think it paid off.
Rob Enderle is a principal at Enderle Group. He is a nationally recognized analyst and a longtime contributor to QuinStreet publications and Pund-IT.