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Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon Gen 7 review: A superbly crafted Windows ultraportable

Our Rating :
£1,099.99 from
Price when reviewed : £1099
inc VAT

Beautifully made and feature-laden, the latest Yoga Slim 7i Carbon is a class act


  • High-quality, lightweight design
  • Colourful 90Hz 2.5K touchscreen
  • Good performance


  • Limited physical connectivity
  • Mediocre 720p webcam
  • Shallow key action

The Yoga Slim 7i Carbon 13 is not a new name from Lenovo. It’s been the moniker attached to its premium 13.3in thin and light laptops for some years.

The Gen 7 after the name is the important bit, and signifies this is the latest incarnation of Lenovo’s super-compact laptop, complete with 12th gen Intel Alder Lake silicon and a general technical and aesthetic makeover to take it into 2023.

Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon review: What you need to know

It’s hard not to love ultraportables. Being able to lug around a fully functioning computer and not feel like you’re carrying anything at all is seductive. But there’s still the lurking feeling that you’re paying more for less. More, because high-end ultraportables are anything but cheap; less, because of the trend to give you fewer and fewer ports and connectors for your money.

Indeed, the latest trend in these types of laptops is to give you hardly any physical connectivity at all, and the Yoga Slim 7i Gen 7 takes it to the next level, removing even the humble 3.5mm headphone jack. Not even Apple has dared to do that yet.

It’s a retrograde step in my opinion, but, otherwise, this is an impressive package. It comes with a usefully powerful processor, a high-quality display and speaker system and a pretty good keyboard, all jammed into a petite but very well-made and well-engineered chassis. Battery life is good for an Intel-based machine with a small battery, too.

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Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon review: Price and competition

Configuration tested: Intel Core i7-1260P CPU, Intel Iris Xe GPU, 16GB quad-channel RAM, 1TB SSD, 13.3in 2,560 x 1,600 IPS display; Price: £1,099.

The Yoga Slim 7i Carbon on my desk is the model with all the trimmings and will set you back a relatively affordable £1,099. Lenovo says you can also have a Slim 7i with a Core i5-1240P chip, 8GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and a non-touchscreen but that’s not yet available in the UK. Of course, there is a fair amount of rather strong competition in the ultraportable laptop market, and here are just four good alternatives to consider.

Apple’s M2 MacBook Air is, quite rightly, a very highly regarded laptop. It lacks touch support but, at 13.6in, the Air’s display is larger than the Lenovo’s and has a good 1080p webcam parked above it. Despite the powerful M2 underpinnings you still get exceptional battery life, which is almost reason enough alone to choose Apple’s take on the ultraportable. A result of 17 hours in our battery test puts it way ahead of the Windows competition. If you want a 1TB SSD, however, you’ll have to spend £1,649.

Asus’ OLED-screen ZenBook S 13 comes with a cracking 13.3in 2.8K display and potent AMD Ryzen 7 6800U CPU/Radeon 680M GPU underpinnings and, like the new Lenovo, it weighs less than 1kg and it edges the new Yoga when it comes to battery life, although the 720p webcam isn’t up to much. At a shade under £1,000, it’s very good value.

The Dell XPS 13 Plus is either a triumph of form over function or a modern design classic, depending on who you speak to. The capacitive function keys, invisible touchpad and edge-to-edge keyboard take some getting used to but they work wonderfully well. To match the Yoga’s specs, you’ll need to spend £1,700 so it isn’t the cheapest option.

Huawei’s MateBook X Pro may be a little larger and heavier than the new Lenovo but it has a broader 14.2in display, so that’s not unexpected. Its 3K touchscreen is superb and, like the new Yoga, it refreshes at 90Hz, while the six-speaker sound system is truly outstanding. With four USB-C ports, it’s much easier to live with than the competition listed above and at the current price of £1,650, it’s great value.

Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon review: Design and build quality

The latest Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i is an altogether more rounded affair than its rather slab-sided predecessors. It’s still not what I’d call a design classic but it’s sleek enough to slide into a backpack barely noticed, while the screen bezels are nice and narrow and in wholly keeping with the price tag. Three colour schemes are available, all variations on the theme of grey, but one has a white lid, which raises it a little above aesthetic mundanity.

Lenovo certainly hasn’t stinted on construction materials. The lid is made from carbon fibre – hence the name – while the base is made from magnesium-aluminium alloy. That’s clearly an effective combination because, despite weighing just 984g and being only 14.8mm thick, the Slim 7i is an impressively solid device.

And the design has also been buffed with the MIL-STD-810H cloth, which bodes well for general survivability. It’s been a while since Lenovo stopped using the Yoga brand exclusively for its 2-in-1 models and the lid of Slim 7i Carbon can only be pushed back 180 degrees. However, it’s good to see the lid can be opened all the way to 90 degrees using just one finger, without it tipping over.

The laptop’s slender sides don’t host much, though: a mere two USB-C ports (one Thunderbolt 4, the other USB 3.2 Gen 2×2), a webcam isolation switch and a power button. Both of those USB-C ports support USB PowerDelivery 3.0, though, so you can use either for charging. As I’ve said up top, that’s a paltry selection and Lenovo doesn’t bundle anything in the way of an expansion dock or audio adapter, either.

Surprisingly for an ultraportable, you can remove the base panel of the laptop with relatively little effort, but there isn’t much you can do with it once you get in. The RAM is soldered in place with no spare slots and the 1TB 2280 PCI-E SSD occupies the only M.2 storage slot. At least the hard drive, wireless card and battery are easily accessible should you ever need to swap them out.

Rounding off the internal component ray is the ever-reliable Intel AX211 wireless card, which supports 6GHz Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1. The 1TB SSD fitted to my review machine was a nippy Samsung PM9A1 PCI-E 4 affair.

Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon review: Keyboard, touchpad and webcam

There’s no getting away from the fact that the keyboard is rather shallow – the key travel is a mere 1mm – but other than that it’s pretty good. The key action is very precise, the deck feels nice and solid and the layout is good for an ultraportable with full-sized left/right cursor and return keys.

There’s also a handy raft of bespoke function key operations such as Fn+Q, which toggles between operating power modes, Fn+R, which toggles between display refresh rates, and Fn+M, which disables the touchpad. A user-programmable smart key can be set to carry out actions with either a single or double press to add yet more convenience to proceedings. There’s a two-level keyboard backlight as well.

At 105 x 70mm the glass-covered touchpad is generously proportioned for a 13.3in machine and it works well, although the click-action at the bottom is a little too deep and noisy for my liking.

The webcam is a rather basic 720p affair that seems out of place on a laptop costing as much as the Slim 7i Carbon. Colours and contrast are satisfactory during video chats, but the overall image is still dull and grainy. The rather poor image quality undermines the various features in Lenovo’s Smart Appearance webcam app – having a crisp, clear virtual background makes the low quality of the facial image jar all the more.

The camera does at least support Windows Hello infrared facial recognition – important as there’s no fingerprint reader here – and there’s a physical toggle on the right side of the chassis, allowing you to quickly toggle it on and off. The camera has a couple of other useful tricks up its sleeve, too, such as the ability to pause video playback or lock Windows when you look or move away.

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Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon: Display and audio

The Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon’s display – a 13.3in 2,560 x 1,600 IPS unit – has a lot going for it. I measured maximum brightness level at 373cd/m², which is fine if unexceptional, and colour performance is perfectly presentable with 96.8% sRGB gamut coverage. The contrast ratio is a more than decent 1,276:1 and there’s nothing wrong with the colour accuracy, either. In testing, it returned a Delta E colour variance of exactly 1 versus the sRGB gamut, which is very good indeed.

Of course, that doesn’t mean this laptop is being pitched at serious creative work. For that, you really need full DCI-P3 or AdobeRGB and coverage of these colour spaces is in the mid-60s, much lower than the corresponding figures for the MacBook Air or ZenBook 13, which can muster nearly 100% of DCI-P3.

Perhaps more interestingly, the display also has a variable refresh rate so you can bounce between 60Hz and 90Hz at the tap of a key. If you prefer smooth animations you can select the latter, or switch back to 60Hz to save on battery life. There’s also an ambient light sensor to keep the display brightness in sync with your surroundings and, despite having a gloss finish, the screen proved effective at keeping reflections at bay.

The Harman-branded Dolby Atmos stereo speakers sound pretty good, too, delivering a more than acceptable amount of volume with 74.7dB(A) registering from a pink noise source measured at a distance of 1m. The sound is quite easy on the ear: punchy and composed with a noticeable bass presence and no distortion, even when the volume is turned up to maximum. The sense of space and openness was clearly evident when watching the final episode of Obi-Wan Kenobi on the Slim 7 with music, dialogue and sound effects all nicely in balance during the climactic lightsabre duel.

Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon: Performance and battery life

Thanks to its Core i7-1260P processor and 16GB of quad-channel LPDDR5 RAM, the Slim 7 Carbon gives a pretty decent account of itself performance-wise.

In the Expert Reviews’ standard 4K multimedia processing test, it scored 208 points. The Dell XPS 13 Plus and Huawei machines on this chart built around the same processor did better, but our review Dell had 32GB of memory and the MateBook X Pro has an aggressive performance mode and a very efficient cooling system.

Some of the difference is down to the fact that, during long runs, the Yoga does suffer from some thermal throttling, which reduces performance by around 15% and involves some fan noise. The Yoga was closer to the Dell and Huawei pack in the shorter GeekBench 5 test, proving it has a very decent turn of speed for an ultraportable over sprint rather than marathon distances.

The Lenovo has the measure of the other Intel machines, though, when it comes to battery life, lasting 9hrs 17mins in our standard video rundown test, despite a relatively small 50Wh battery. The AMD-powered ZenBook beat that by more than 20 minutes but it’s the M2 MacBook Air that’s best in this test, pushing on to the 17-hour mark.

When it comes to the data transfer speed of the laptop’s storage drive, the Lenovo gave a very good account of itself as well, almost matching the Dell XPS 13 Plus and seriously embarrassing the other three machines I matched it against. Sequential read and write speeds of 4,828MB/sec and 2,551MB/sec – the latter beating even the Dell – are impressive for a machine of this type.

Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon review: Verdict

The new Yoga Slim 7i Carbon is exquisitely well made, impressively light and compact and it has a high-quality touchscreen display and decent battery life. Many will argue that limiting the physical connectors to two USB-C ports is a bit silly, but when other manufacturers are doing the same it would be unfair to criticise Lenovo too hard.

At the end of the day, the Lenovo Yoga Slim 7i Carbon 7th Gen has more features and no more idiosyncrasies than its competitors, which makes it a slightly more rounded package. If only it had a better webcam and came with a USB-C dock.

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