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A YouTuber built his own PS5 Slim that’s less than an inch thick

Sony typically follows up its PlayStation consoles with a slim version a few years later, but that time hasn’t come for the PS5 yet. While we all wait for a slimmer PS5 that would fit in small spaces better, a YouTuber called DIY Perks already built one for himself. He took apart a standard PlayStation 5 and replaced everything that needed to be replaced to get rid of the console’s bulk. He substituted components with similar parts and his own home-made creations, including the console’s rather voluminous casing, to come up with a device that’s just 1.9 centimeters thick.

Putting the current device’s power supply and cooling system with the rest of the console’s components wouldn’t yield a “slim” version of the PS5, though. So, what Perks did was build his own water-cooling system and put the power supply in a long, slim external case that can be placed behind the TV, where it won’t be noticeable. While he did run into some issues that took time to solve, he was able to make the console work in the end. His cooling system was even more efficient than the the standard PS5’s, based on the temperatures he took when he tested it out using Horizon Forbidden West

Unfortunately, Perks’ PS5 Slim is one of a kind and not easy to replicate. You can check out his process in the video below if you need ideas or just want to be awed.

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Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro Review: Lovely Display Saves Day

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro

MSRP $1,420.00

“Despite some flaws, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro is one of the better new Windows 11 laptops you can buy.”

Pros

  • Solid productivity performance
  • High-resolution, 90Hz display
  • Great keyboard and touchpad
  • Simple but attractive aesthetic

Cons

  • Build quality is slightly subpar
  • Battery life is mediocre

Beyond the Surface devices, new Windows 11 laptops have been sparse so far.

Now there’s Lenovo’s IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro, one of the most anticipated newcomers sporting Microsoft’s latest operating system, and it promises to leverage Windows 11 with high-end components and a productivity-friendly 16:10, high-resolution display.

The IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro is intended to be a prime example of Lenovo’s “midrange-plus” lineup, which boasts some of the features you’ll find in ThinkPads and a quality build while still being (relatively) affordable.

My configuration came in at $1,420, which isn’t so cheap. The $1,190 starting configuration sits in a confusing place, too. But ultimately, it’s all about whether this is a good laptop for the money. While it has some problems, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro manages to be a promising start to the Windows 11 era of laptops.

Design

A Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro sitting on a table, angled to a view of the backside and lid.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

If I judge the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro as a premium laptop, then I have to pick some nits with its build quality. It’s constructed of machined aluminum, which is a good thing, but I found the lid to be a bit bendable and the keyboard deck and chassis bottom had some flex. That would be a suitable build quality at $1,000 or less, but at over $1,400, it’s a bit lacking. The HP Spectre x360 14, for example, is just a few hundred dollars more and is solid as a rock, while the Asus ZenBook 13 OLED is several hundred dollars cheaper and is more robust. The IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro’s hinge is excellent, though, making it easy to open the laptop with one hand while holding the display firmly in place.

The IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro has minimal bezels up top and on the sides, with a larger chin than you’ll find on the likes of the Dell XPS 13. An inverted notch at the top houses the cameras and adds a convenient lip for opening the lid. Added to the taller 16:10 display, the chin makes the laptop deeper than it might be, while the side bezels keep it relatively narrow.

It’s a well-sized laptop that’s easy enough to carry around.

Overall, the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro is in line with other 14-inch laptops with 16:10 displays like the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9. It’s thin at 0.67 inches, although not as thin as the ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9’s 0.59 inches. Its weight is average for 14-inch laptops at three pounds. The ThinkPad, however, is a half-pound lighter. Overall, the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro is a well-sized laptop that’s easy enough to carry around.

Aesthetically, the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro joins many recent laptops that utilize a minimalist design. It seems the more laptops I review, the more similar they start to look. The IdeaPad is available in slate gray (my review unit) or light silver. It has very simple lines and angles, a curved rear edge, and subdued logos that combine to give it a very nondescript appearance.

As with so many similar laptops, including the likes of the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1, it’s an attractive enough laptop, but it won’t stand out. The HP Spectre x360 14, with its gem-cut design and bright accent colors, enjoys a much bolder design. Will you like the IdeaPad’s look? Probably, unless you want a laptop that makes a fashion statement. It certainly won’t offend.

Connectivity isn’t a strength. You’ll find two USB-C with Thunderbolt 4 ports along the left-hand side (one of which is used for power) and a USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port and 3.5mm audio jack along the right-hand side.

Unfortunately, there’s no SD card slot or HDMI, which is disappointing. Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 handle wireless duties.

Performance

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro sitting on a table.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

My review unit was equipped with an 11th-gen 35-watt Intel Core i7-11370H CPU, a 4-core/8-thread processor that sits between the U-series aimed at thin and light laptops and the 45-watt H-series intended for more powerful laptops. It’s an interesting processor that splits the difference between, say, an 8-core/16-thread 45-watt Core i7-11800H and a 28-watt 4-core/8-thread Core i7-1185G7. The Core i7-11370H is a productivity CPU through and through — it’s meant to be fast enough to churn through demanding productivity workflows, but is not in the same league as processors that are faster at creative applications.

The first thing to note is that Lenovo included its performance-tuning utility that lets you switch between battery-saving, intelligent cooling, and extreme performance modes. The utility made a difference in just two of our benchmarks, our Handbrake test that encodes a 420MB video to H.265 and Cinebench R23. Both of those are CPU-bound, and that’s where the utility had the most impact.

In Handbrake, for example, the IdeaPad took 202 seconds to finish the process in intelligent cooling mode and 155 seconds in performance mode. That’s a meaningful difference, and in fact, it almost matched the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio with the same CPU in that laptop’s performance mode. The same held with Cinebench R23, where the IdeaPad’s score jumped to 6,150 from 5,544, a more competitive result.

The IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro is a speedy productivity laptop.

However, in Geekbench 5, PCMark 10, and 3DMark Time Spy, the utility made little to no difference. Even in intelligent cooling mode, though, the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro scored well in these benchmarks, coming in ahead of the U-series competitors and close to the Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 with its Ryzen 7 5700U and the Surface Laptop Studio in all but the 3DMark test. Naturally, the fastest laptop in our comparison list was the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 with its Core i7-11800H. Looking more closely at the PCMark 10 benchmark, the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro did well in all the tests, including Essentials, Productivity, and Content Creation.

What all this means is that the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro is a speedy productivity laptop that can handle everything a typical user will throw at it. Set it to performance mode, where the fans spin up and are quite a bit louder, and it can better handle light creativity tasks. It’s not going to compete with the faster Intel CPUs or AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series for creators, but it’s better than the typical thin and light Intel laptop.

Geekbench (single/multi) Handbrake
(seconds)
Cinebench R23 (single/multi) PCMark 10 3DMark Time Spy
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro (Core i7-11370H) 1578 / 5957 202 1514 / 5544 5149 1888
Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 (Ryzen 7 5700U) 1184 / 6281 120 1287 / 8013 5411 1247
Samsung Galaxy Book (Core i5-1135G7) 1401 / 5221 180 1361 / 5391 4735 1584
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 (Core i7-1165G7) 1327 / 5201 N/A 1469 / 4945 5147 1776
Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio (Core i7-11370H) 1321 / 5131 179 1304 / 5450 5091 4266
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Extreme Gen 4 (Core i7-11800H) 1520 / 7353 106 1519 / 10497 6251 6691
MSI Sumit E13 Flip Evo (Core i7-1185G7) 1352 / 4891 207 1360 / 4392 4872 1751

With Intel Iris Xe graphics, that IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro isn’t a gaming laptop. Its 3DMark Time Spy score is average, and it managed just 22 frames per second (fps) in Fortnite at 1200p and epic graphics. That’s in line with other Iris Xe laptops and means the IdeaPad is best for older titles or newer titles at lower resolutions and graphical settings. Or just stick with casual gaming.

Display

Image of the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro's display.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Lenovo equipped the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro with a 14-inch 16:10 IPS display in what it calls a “2.8K” resolution at 2,880 x 1,800. It’s a sharp and bright display, with dynamic colors that aren’t oversaturated and enough contrast that black text pops on a white background. It also runs at 90Hz (60Hz is configurable), making on-screen movement and animations a bit smoother. I found the display to be quite good during my testing and as I wrote this review. There’s also the option for a 2.2K (2,240 x 1,400) IPS display that runs at 60Hz, which I didn’t test.

My colorimeter agreed with my impressions. The display was reasonably bright at 369 nits, above our 300-nit threshold and beating out the the 238 nits of the $1,000 Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1 and the 326 nits of the $900 Samsung Galaxy Book, both of which are genuinely midrange machines. The IdeaPad was also brighter than the $1,885 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9’s 306 nits, and that’s officially a premium Lenovo laptop.

The IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro also enjoyed wider colors than average, at 80% of AdobeRGB (72% is closer to average) and 100% of sRGB (95% is average), much better than the Inspiron 14 2-in-1’s 52% of AdobeRGB and 69% of sRGB and the Galaxy Book’s 48% and 64%. The IdeaPad even beat out the ThinkPad’s 76% and 100%. Those colors were also fairly accurate at a DeltaE of 1.65 (1.0 or less is excellent), compared to the Inspiron 14 2-in-1 at 1.8, the Galaxy Book at 2.41, and the ThinkPad at an even better 0.99. Finally, the IdeaPad’s contrast was 1,340:1, well above our preferred 1,000:1 and much higher than the other three laptops I’ve been using for comparison.

Closeup image on the webcam, screen, and bezels on the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Those are excellent results for a laptop that’s not explicitly designed for creators who demand even wider colors — though the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro’s colors are certainly wide enough for less demanding creative types. Scanning our database, I couldn’t find a recent 14-inch laptop for the same or more money that had a better display — and most had significantly worse displays. The display also supports Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR), making it an excellent laptop for binging HDR content from Netflix and other streaming services. Lenovo is charging a pretty penny for the IdeaPad, and the display helps justify the investment.

The audio is provided by two downward-firing speakers underneath the front of the chassis, and the sound was clear and bright. There was minimal bass, as usual. The only problem is that volume was low even when turned all the way up, yet there was still a touch of distortion. You’ll want a pair of headphones for Netflix and music, and sound quality is not one of the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro’s strengths.

Keyboard and touchpad

The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro's keyboard and trackpad.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

The IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro features the same keyboard design that you’ll find on all Lenovo laptops not labeled ThinkPad. It’s spacious with large and comfortable sculpted keycaps. The “TrueStrike” switch mechanism has been brought over from the Lenovo gaming laptops, providing a more tactile feel. The switches are snappy, with a soft bottoming action that made for a precise feel. There was plenty of travel for this type of keyboard, too.

It’s not at quite the same level of comfort as HP Spectre or Dell XPS keyboards, but it’s close enough. Most people will love this keyboard.

The touchpad was large and took up most of the space on the palm rest. Kudos to Lenovo for leveraging the taller display. The touchpad surface was smooth, with just enough friction for precise swiping, and the buttons had a healthy click without being loud. It’s a Microsoft Precision touchpad, and so the usual Windows 10 multitouch gestures were well-supported. The touch display was also responsive, and welcome.

An infrared camera and facial recognition provide Windows Hello support, and it was fast and reliable. Lenovo included its user presence detection technology that locks and sleeps the laptop when the user leaves the area, keeps the laptop unlocked when the user is in front of it even if the keyboard and touchpad aren’t being used, and automatically wakes the laptop when the user returns from an absence. It can even pause a video when the user steps away. Overall, it’s a convenient system that worked well, and I had to turn it off to run my battery tests unless I wanted to sit in front of the laptop for hours of idle time.

Battery life

Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro sitting angled on a table.
Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

With a 61 watt-hour battery and a high-resolution 14-inch display, the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro had me very curious about its battery life. I was also wondering how the 35-watt CPU would perform.

To begin with, the IdeaPad was inconsistent in our web-browsing test. The first time I ran the test, the laptop lasted for just 6.25 hours, which is an abysmal score compared to the 10 hours or more we like to see from premium thin and light laptops. I ran it a second time, and it managed 7.75 hours. That’s better, but still way behind the field.

Battery life isn’t a strength of the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro.

The Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1, for example, lasted for 12.9 hours on this test, while the Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio lasted for 10.5 hours. Just as concerning as the short runtime, though, was the inconsistency. In our video benchmark that loops through a local Full HD movie trailer, the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro made it to 12.75 hours, which is a decent score that beat the Inspiron’s 11 hours, but fell behind the Surface Laptop Studio’s 14 hours.

In the PCMark 10 Applications battery test that’s the best indicator of productivity longevity, the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro lasted 9.25 hours. We didn’t test the Surface Laptop Studio in this test and the Inspiron 14 2-in-1 wouldn’t complete it, but the IdeaPad’s score is less than average for thin and light laptops. Most last for at least 10 hours and some, like the MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo, make it to 13 hours or more. The IdeaPad hit just 95 minutes in the PCMark 10 Gaming battery test, indicating that the laptop keeps up its performance while running on battery.

Overall, battery life isn’t a strength of the IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro. Whether it will last you a full day of work depends on your workflow — if it’s at all demanding, then you’ll want to keep your charger with you, just in case.

Our take

The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro is positioned as a midrange laptop, but priced like a premium machine, and fortunately, it lives up to the latter. Its build quality is slightly lacking and its battery life is mediocre, but its performance is solid and its display is excellent for the class of machine. It’s a good-looking laptop that’s reasonably sized and attractive, if simply designed.

The extra features, such as the user presence detection technology, are welcome additions that add value. The IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro is a solid addition to the 14-inch clamshell market and carves out a healthy niche for itself thanks to its superior display.

Are there any alternatives?

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 is an excellent alternative if you’re willing to spend a little more money. The display isn’t as good, but the battery life is spectacular, and its build quality is much better.

HP’s Spectre x360 14 is another solid option that’s a bit more expensive as well, but it will give you the flexibility of a 2-in-1, an elegant design, and the option for an even better OLED display.

The Dell XPS 13 is a great choice, as usual, if you’re willing to step down a bit in display (and chassis) size. It’s fast, long-lasting, and incredibly attractive and well-built. Again, you’ll spend a little more, but it’s worth it.

How long will it last?

The IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro could feel a little sturdier, but it’s built well enough to last for several years of typical usage. Its components are up to date and should keep Windows 11 humming along. The one-year industry-standard warranty is disappointing, as always.

Should you buy it?

Yes. The IdeaPad Slim 7i Pro has great performance and a lovely display, and it will meet the majority of the needs of the most demanding productivity users. Only the battery life stands out as a true negative.

Editors’ Choice




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Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ review: Slim and inexpensive, but middling quad-core performance

If you’re looking for an inexpensive quad-core laptop that’s less than three-quarters of an inch thick, the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-51DJ might fit the bill. This slim laptop packs in more than enough power for everyday computing tasks, and its quad-core performance is respectable, if shy of awe-inspiring. A fingerprint reader and nearly all-day battery life will appeal to productivity-minded road warriors, although they’ll have to settle for a display that’s on the dim side.

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best laptops. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested. 

Price and specifications

Acer packs a bewildering number of configurations into its budget Aspire 5 line—at least 22 by my count, ranging from $350 (at presstime) for a dual-core AMD Ryzen 3 3200U-powered model with a bare-bones 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid-state drive, all the way to a considerably beefier quad-core Core i7-8565 model with a hefty 12GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics that cost about $850 at the time of this writing. Most Aspire 5 versions boast a 15.6-inch display (although I spotted at least one 14-inch model), with a mix of 1080p and 720p resolutions.

The configuration we’re reviewing here is a middle-of-the-road model, complete with a quad-core Core i5-8265U CPU, a Whiskey Lake processor that debuted in late 2018 as a modest upgrade (mainly a slightly faster boost clock speed) to 2017’s Core i5-8250U Kaby Lake Refresh chip. Comparable to a Core i7 processor from a couple of generations prior, the i5-8265U is a solid workhorse that can hold its own when it comes to CPU-intensive tasks like video editing.

acer aspire 5 51dj profile Ben Patterson/IDG

The Core i5-powered version of the Acer Aspire 5 comes with an impressively slim and trim shell.

Also on board: a reasonable 8GB of RAM, which helps to smooth out performance when running multiple programs at once; a 256GB SSD, a decent amount of storage for a speedy solid-state drive; an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 chip, and a full-HD (1920×1080) 15.6-inch display.

On paper, that all adds up to a relatively sturdy workhorse for everyday computing chores like web browsing and composing Office documents, Intel’s integrated UHD 620 will let you do a little light gaming, but think Minesweeper more than Fortnite.

If you’d prefer to spend a little less money, check out our review of this $399 Aspire 5 with a dual-core Core i3 processor, which lacks the Core i5’s quad-core power but still packs a punch when it comes to day-to-day desktop tasks.

Design

The laptops in Acer’s Aspire 5 line do a nice job of feeling thinner and lighter than they really are. This particular model of the Aspire 5 is no different: Yes, it tips the scales at nearly 4.25 pounds, but at just 0.7 inches thin the Aspire 5 manages to feel reasonably light, particularly given its sizable 14.3-by-9.9-inch footprint.

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Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ review: A dual-core laptop that’s slim, light, and priced to move

It won’t win any speed records, but the Acer Aspire 5 A515-54-30BQ makes for a compelling bargain-priced laptop all the same. This $400 model of the Aspire 5 packs a roomy full-HD display and a solid dual-core Intel CPU into a slim chassis that weighs less than four pounds. Its smooth day-to-day performance and long battery life should keep productivity-minded users happy. You’ll have to settle for some compromises, however, including a cramped 128GB solid-state drive and just 4MB of RAM.

Price and specifications

Acer offers at least 22 configurations in its budget Aspire 5 line, ranging from $350 for a dual-core AMD Ryzen 3 3200U-powered model with a bare-bones 4GB of RAM and a 128GB solid-state drive, all the way to $850 for a far beefier quad-core Core i7-8565 model with a healthy 12GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and dedicated Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics. Most Aspire 5 versions boast a 15.6-inch display (although I spotted at least one 14-inch model), with a mix of 1080p and 720p resolutions.

This $400 model that we’re reviewing comes with a dual-core Intel Core i3-8145U CPU, a Whiskey Lake processor that offers a slightly higher boost speed while trimming the base clock speed of its predecessor, the Core i3-8130U (Kaby Lake Refresh) CPU from 2017. Minor differences aside, both of these low-power, dual-core processors deliver solid performance for mainstream computing tasks like web browsing and working with Office documents, although they’ll have a tough time keeping pace with CPU-intensive tasks like video editing. If you’re looking for a laptop that can help you cut together your 4K video masterpiece, consider a system with at least a quad-core processor.

acer aspire 5 30bq profile Ben Patterson/IDG

This sleek, Core i3-powered Aspire 5 boasts a slim profile and an aluminum lid.

Also inside this budget Aspire 5 is 4GB of DDR4 RAM, which is…not great, but not terribly unusual for such an inexpensive laptop. Just be aware that the Acer may start to chug if you’ve got too many programs or browser tabs running at once.

Similarly constrained is the mere 128GB of storage in the laptop’s solid-state drive, which leaves you a scant 90GB of free space once Windows and other various pre-installed apps are accounted for. You might be able to make that work if you rely on Dropbox, Google Drive, or other cloud-based storage services, but know that the Aspire’s 128GB SSD will fill up quickly if you install too many programs or try to transfer your playlists and photo albums.

Back on the plus side is the Aspire’s roomy 15.6-inch display with Full HD (1920×1080) resolution. Its integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 can handle some casual gaming, although not much beyond Microsoft Mahjong.

If you’re looking for a laptop with a little more storage and power, consider the quad-core, Core i5-enabled version of the Aspire 5 with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, which we’ve reviewed here.

Design

Generally speaking, the laptops in Acer’s Aspire 5 line feel thinner and lighter than they really are, and this Core i3 model of the Aspire 5 follows in the same footsteps. At just 0.7-inch thick and a shade under four pounds, the Aspire 5 manages to feel reasonably light, particularly given its substantial 14.3-by-9.9-inch footprint.

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Samsung’s Galaxy Book Flex α: A slim QLED-packing 2-in-1 with a ‘palatable’ price tag

Samsung’s QLED-equipped Galaxy Book laptops are coming, and no, you won’t have to spend north of $1,000 for them. The upcoming Galaxy Book Flex α (or “alpha”) is slated to arrive in the first half of 2020 with a relatively tame sticker price.

Starting at $830, the 2-in-1 Galaxy Book Flex α is a variant of the pricier Galaxy Book Flex. Its differences include a slightly thicker and heavier shell, a smaller battery, and pared-back features. Then there’s its 13.3-inch QLED (or quantum-dot) display, complete with 1080p resolution, 100-percent color accuracy, and up to a whopping 600 nits of brightness.

Let’s pause for a moment to dig into the details:

  • CPU: Undisclosed Intel 10th-gen Core processor
  • Display: 13.3-inch FHD (1920×1080) QLED display, 600 nits
  • GPU: Intel UHD Graphics
  • Memory: Up to 12GB DDR4
  • Storage: Up to 512GB SSD
  • Ports: USB-C, USB 3.0 x 2, HDMI, microSD, combo audio jack
  • WLAN: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax 2×2)
  • Battery: 54Wh
  • Dimensions: 304.9 x 202 x 13.9mm
  • Weight: 2.6 pounds (1.19 kg)

A few things pop out when taking a glance at the Galaxy Book Flex α’s specs, starting with the fact that the alpha is a hair thicker than the comparable 13-inch version of the standard Flex and slightly heavier. That said, the teeny difference in girth and weight probably won’t be too noticeable in a backpack or briefcase.

Samsung didn’t give us much detail in the processor department, other than that it’s a 10th-gen Intel CPU. Given the integrated Intel UHD graphics core, it’s a pretty safe bet that we’re in Comet Lake territory rather than the Ice Lake CPU in the Flex 13, but we’ll update this story once Samsung gives us some clarification.

Also a step down from the standard Galaxy Book Flex are the Flex α’s maximum memory and storage capacities, which are capped at 12GB and 512GB respectively, versus 16GB and 1TB for the pricier Flex.

Another key missing feature is Thunderbolt 3. The Flex α settles for plain USB-C, although at least the newer, cheaper Flex throws in a pair of legacy USB 3.0 Type-A ports. The standard Galaxy Book Flex serves up a pair of Thunderbolt 3 ports and USB-C, but no USB Type-A ports.

Then there’s the battery: The Flex α makes do with a 54 watt-hour battery, compared to the 69.7Wh battery in both the 13-inch and 15-inch Flex laptops. Samsung promises up to 17.5 hours of battery life from the Flex, but we’re curious to see if that estimate stands up to real-world conditions.

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HP Envy 13 review: A slim, light, and inexpensive workhorse with discrete graphics

There’s a lot to like about the HP Envy 13, starting with its super-slim design, its bright 4K display, its comfy keypad and impressive quad-core performance. The Envy 13 also manages to pack in a discrete GPU and respectable battery life, all for a very reasonable price tag. That said, we did encounter some issues with the laptop’s overly sensitive trackpad (which HP says it’s investigating), resulting in a jittery cursor that regularly jumped around the screen and even highlighted and deleted our words by accident.

Configuration

For as little as $750 with discounts, you can snap up an HP Envy 13 with a 13-inch full-HD display, an 8th-generation Intel Core i7-8565U processor, 8GB of RAM, and an integrated Intel UHD Graphics 620 core. On the other end of the spectrum is a 13-inch HP Envy with a 4K display, a 1TB SSD, a 10th-gen Intel Core i7-10510U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a discrete Nvidia GeForce MX250 graphics card, all for a discounted $1,350 sticker price. You can explore all these configurations directly on HP’s Envy 13 shopping page.

We tested the HP Envy 13-aq0044nr ($1,100 on Amazon), which cherry-picks features from both the higher- and lower-end configurations of the laptop.

  • CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i7-8565U
  • RAM: 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • GPU: Discrete Nvidia GeForce MX250
  • Display: 13-inch UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS BrightView touchscreen
  • Storage: 512GB SSD

Overall, that’s an impressive amount of power under the hood for a fairly reasonable price. The 8th-gen Core i7 processor might look like a disappointing downgrade to those thirsting for a 10th-gen Intel CPU, but from what we’ve seen, there’s not much of a performance gap between the 8th-gen Whiskey Lake processor in this configuration and the 10th-gen Comet Lake chip in the pricier Envy 13 models. Both of these quad-core CPUs are built on Intel’s 14nm process, for one thing. While the Comet Lake processor has a slightly higher boost clock, you’re probably not going to feel the difference in typical daily desktop duties.

Besides the solid CPU, you’re also getting a generous 16GB of RAM and a roomy 512GB SSD, meaning you’ll enjoy plenty of multitasking headroom, plus enough storage to install plenty of programs and even a decent amount of media. The 4K touchscreen should deliver razor-sharp visuals (although you’ll pay a price in the battery-life department), and then there’s the cherry on top: discrete graphics in the form of an entry-level Nvidia mobile graphics card, handy for working in Adobe Premiere or even playing a little Fortnite

Design

Sleek, slim and silver (or “pale gold,” if you cough up an extra $10 on HP’s online configurator), the HP Envy 13 cuts an enviably trim profile. Measuring 12.1 x 8.3 x 0.58 inches and weighing in at just 2.8 pounds (or 3.42 pounds with the AC cord, which comes with a compact power brick), the Envy 13 feels great to hold in your hands, and it’s barely there in your backpack. I should know, because the Envy 13 served as my laptop at CES in Vegas this year. My back is eternally grateful for the Envy 13’s light, wafer-thin shell.

The top of the HP Envy 13’s aluminum lid is featureless save for the HP logo stamped in the middle. When you close the lid, the front lip has an hourglass edge that makes the laptop easier to open, while the L-shaped back edge of the lid covers the hinge, making the rear of the Envy 13 look like the spine of a book. When opened, the hinge props up the Envy 13’s lower chassis, angling the keyboard while also allowing for a cooling airflow beneath the laptop.

hp envy 13 aq0044nr hinge Ben Patterson/IDG

The hinge on the HP Envy 13 props up the keyboard while helping to maintain airflow beneath the chassis.

Opening the Envy 13’s lid reveals (in the case of this particular SKU) the eye-popping 4K display, which is surrounded by slim bezels on the top and sides but a rather chunkier one on the bottom. Above the keyboard sits a speaker grille with an attractive diamond-cut design. The power button takes residence just above the Escape key, which should help prevent the accidental presses users sometimes experience with side-mounted versions.

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Lenovo’s leather-wrapped IdeaPad Slim 9i laptop packs Intel Tiger Lake and Xe inside

Lenovo’s IdeaPad Slim 9i will feature Intel’s next-gen Tiger Lake CPU and Xe graphics rolled into a luxurious, leather-wrapped, lightweight laptop with three Thunderbolt 4.0 ports.

The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 9i features a 14-inch 1080p screen with HDR400, WiFi 6, an electronics privacy shutter, a Windows Hello camera, and an ultrasonic finger print reader that works better with wet fingers.

But the star of the show is Intel’s new Tiger Lake CPU. You can read more about it here, but the 10nm, 11th-gen CPU is expected to take the fight to AMD with higher clock speeds and vastly improved Xe graphics. 

Laptops aren’t just about the CPU though. They’re also about the design, screen, keyboard, and more. Premium laptops demand premium feel, and nothing says premium more than leather, so Lenovo bonded leather to the frame of the IdeaPad Slim 9i. In a configuration sold only in mainland China, Lenovo will offer “3D Countour Glass” that curves at at the bezel. Mainland Chinese buyers will get the curved glass, but not the ultrasonic finger print reader which will work with wet fingers.

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Nothing says luxury like leather.

Another luxury touch is an all-glass palm rest that includes the trackpad as well. Since the trackpad doesn’t click like a conventional hinged trackpad, Lenovo includes a “Smart Sensor Trackpad” that vibrates to simulate a click. It’s somewhat similar to Apple’s trackpad design that uses haptics to compensate for lack of physical movement, but it doesn’t include Apple’s terrible depth feature.

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You’ll get three Thunderbolt 4.0 ports on the IDeaPad Slim 9.

The laptop will come with up to 16GB of LPDDR4X and up to 2TB of storage. It will weigh 2.64 lbs. and is about 13.9mm thick, Lenovo said. Battery life is rated at 20 hours. The laptop is expected to be on sale by this November starting at $1,599.

New Lenovo Yoga laptops, too

If you want more flexibility than the conventional clamshell design that the IdeaPad Slim 9i offers, Lenovo is also rolling out two updated Yoga laptops: the Lenovo Yoga 9i with 14-inch display, and the Yoga 9i with 15-inch display.

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Lenovo’s Yoga 9i will feature Intel’s Tiger Lake and Xe graphics in a convertible form factor.

The Lenovo Yoga 9i with a 14-inch display will also come with Intel’s next-generation Tiger Lake CPU and Xe graphics, along with up to 16GB of LPDDR4X and 1TB of storage. Screen options go up to a 4K UHD screen with 500 nits of brightness. 

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Computing

The Lenovo Legion Slim 7i is the world’s lightest 15-inch RTX laptop

Every laptop has to have a “thing” now, and the “thing” for Lenovo’s new Legion Slim 7i is its weight. Claiming the title of the lightest 15-inch GeForce RTX laptop, the Legion Slim 7i weighs a mere 3.96 pounds.

Sure, nit pickers will say even lighter laptops have had GeForce RTX 2060 GPUs, but those laptops are have smaller 14-inch screens too. The body itself is built out of aluminum.

Lenovo’s laptop will come in a range of configurations, offering from a 10th-gen Core i5 all the way up to a 10th-gen Core i9—itself a noteworthy inclusion in such a diminutive frame. Graphics options range from the entry-level GeForce GTX 1650 Ti to the GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q. 

The Lenovo Legion Slim 7i will support up to 32GB of DDR4/3200 when paired with a Core i7-10980HK and Core i7-10875H. With all other Intel CPUs, the maximum clock speed of the RAM is 2933MHz. You can also get up to 2TB of storage.

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For screen options, Lenovo offers a 4K UHD screen at up to 600 nits of brightness, a 1080p panel at 144Hz and 300 nits, or a 1080p panel at 60Hz and 300 nits. You charge the 71 WHr battery capacity via a dedicated 170 watt or 230 watt adapter using a standard barrel charger port. Speaking of ports, the Legion Slim 7i gives you two Thunderbolt 3.0 ports and two USB-A at up to 10Gbps. The laptop also supports WiFi 6 wireless connectivity.

If you’re into biometric security, there’s no Windows Hello camera, but the Legion Slim 7i includes an integrated finger print reader in the power button. Cooling for this generation will feature a 31 percent larger air intake, Lenovo said, as well as additional fan blades.The RGB keyboard isn’t mechanical, which isn’t surprising in such a slim notebook, but Lenovo said it has put extra engineering into its feel so it’s more like a mechanical keyboard.

The Legion Slim 7i will start at $1,329 and is expected to be available in October.

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Computing

30% off: Lenovo’s IdeaPad Slim 7 laptop packs Thunderbolt 3 for $630

Anyone looking for a killer deal on a premium laptop need look no further than Staples today. The office supply retailer is selling a 14-inch Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 for $630, complete with a 1080p screen, a 10th-generation Intel processor, and Thunderbolt 3. That’s about $250 cheaper than the MSRP of $880 you’ll find elsewhere.

This notebook looks pretty darn sweet. It’s rocking a quad-core Intel “Ice Lake” Core i5-1035G1 processor with a 1.0GHz base clock that boosts all the way up to 3.6GHz. It also offers Hyper-Threading, doubling the number of processing threads available.

Lenovo doubled down on visuals with a discrete GeForce MX350 graphics card. The MX350 offers better graphics than Intel’s onboard UHD graphics, but it’s by no means a beefy graphics processor if you’re thinking about gaming. This Nvidia GPU exists mostly to help with high-resolution video playback and image editing tasks, though it can definitely take esports and retro-styled games for a whirl.

The display, as we mentioned measures 14 inches, with a crisp 1080p resolution. A 512GB SSD supplies speedy storage, and there’s 8GB of RAM. For ports, it has two USB 3.1 Gen 2 connections, and two unspecified USB ports (probably USB 2.0). There’s also the aforementioned Thunderbolt 3 port, which isn’t all that common in the Windows world, even on Intel laptops—and especially not on notebooks going for under $650. The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 also packs Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and Bluetooth (again unspecified but probably 4 or 5).

Overall, this is an excellent-looking laptop with everything most people need, including a little future proofing on the Wi-Fi side. And today, it’s going for a fantastic price.

[Today’s deal: Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 with Core i5 for $630 on Staples.]

Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more details.

Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn’t like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he’s not covering the news he’s working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.

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Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 review: Fast and affordable, with discrete graphics

Packed with features sure to make productivity mavens happy, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7 delivers both performance and value in a slim and trim shell, even if its battery life isn’t quite what we’d hoped.

Powered by a Core i5 Ice Lake processor and armed with discrete GeForce MX350 graphics, this configuration of the IdeaPad Slim 7 ($880 from Lenovo) deftly handles crushing CPU loads and Adobe Premiere-level graphical chores. It also boasts such niceties as a Thunderbolt 3 port, facial and fingerprint biometrics, Dolby Atmos sound, and Wi-Fi 6 support. 

The IdeaPadSlim 7’s battery life fell a little short of our expectations, and the laptop’s staid design, while pleasingly slim, won’t wow anybody (which shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with Lenovo’s IdeaPad line). Still, it offers a good feature set for this price range (or even cheaper, if you can grab Lenovo’s “instant” discount).

This review is part of our ongoing roundup of the best laptops. Go there for information on competing products and how we tested them.

Configuration

Lenovo offers five versions of the IdeaPad Slim 7, ranging from our unit (82A4000MUS) to a $1,130 (or $1,017 post-discount) version with a Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, and an integrated Intel Iris Plus GPU. There are also IdeaPad Slim 7 models powered by AMD Ryzen 4000-series chips (here’s our performance preview), but Lenovo is currently out of stock. More units are in the pipeline, we’re told.

Here are the detailed specifications on the system we reviewed:

  • CPU: Quad-core Intel Core i5-1035G1 (Ice Lake)
  • Memory: 8GB LPDDR3 3200MHz
  • Graphics: Discrete Nvidia GeForce MX350
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Display: 14-inch FHD (1920×1080) IPS, 300 nits, non-touch
  • Webcam: 720p
  • Connectivity: One Thunderbolt 3 port, one USB SuperSpeed 5Gbps Type-C, two USB SuperSpeed 5Gbps Type-A, HDMI, combo audio jack, microSD slot
  • Networking: Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Biometrics: IR facial recognition, fingerprint sensor
  • Battery capacity: 60.7 Watt-hour
  • Dimensions: 12.62 x 8.19 x 0.58 inches
  • Weight: 3.2 pounds (measured), 0.68-pound AC adapter

Just looking at the specs, this is a rock-solid configuration for the price, starting with the peppy Core i5 Ice Lake CPU, the roomy 512GB SSD, and the 8GB of low-power RAM (though 16GB would have been better). The discrete MX350 graphics card won’t deliver silky gaming visuals, but it should do the trick for content creators.

You also get a reasonably bright 14-inch full-HD display. It’s non-touch, unfortunately, although pricier SKUs do offer touchscreens. The Thunderbolt 3 port is great for connecting dual 4K displays and speedy external storage, and a pair of SuperSpeed USB-A ports handle legacy peripherals. More goodies include facial and fingerprint biometrics, plus Wi-Fi 6 (time to pull the trigger on that Wi-Fi 6 router you’ve been pining for), while the beefy 60.7-Watt-hour battery promises plenty of battery life (as we’ll see in our performance section).

Design

True to its name, the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 7’s 0.58-inch profile is svelte, but the laptop’s aluminum, slate-gray lid is completely featureless save for a small “Lenovo” logo on the side. In other words (and as with other laptops in Lenovo’s IdeaPad line), don’t expect the Slim 7 draw any envious looks while you’re out and about. Still, we appreciate the lip along the top edge of the lid, which makes it easier to pry the laptop open with your fingertip.

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