Tech review: Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 5i is a solid all-rounder notebook

Overall, the IdeaPad Slim 5i is a well-rounded and versatile notebook suitable for mainstream users.
Overall, the IdeaPad Slim 5i is a well-rounded and versatile notebook suitable for mainstream users.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM LENOVO.COM

With many people now working from home, the line between work and home has blurred further.

Mirroring this trend are the gadgets - consumer models are increasingly adopting features from business machines and vice versa.

Lenovo's latest consumer- oriented IdeaPad Slim 5i notebook, for instance, comes with security and privacy options that, in the not-too-distant past, would have been available only in business laptops.

My Slim 5i review set has an optional fingerprint reader ($10) integrated in the power button, which means a user's fingerprint is scanned when he or she presses the power button to switch on the laptop. Thus, an authorised user will be logged into the Windows 10 operating system without having to scan the fingerprint again or enter a password.

Like some of Lenovo's business laptops, the higher-end configurations of the Slim 5i have a camera shutter that can physically block the Web camera when it is not in use.

To accommodate the Web camera and its microphone array, the top screen bezel is thicker in the middle and protrudes slightly, which also makes it easy for users to grip and open the laptop lid. The plain lid has a small Lenovo tag at the corner, feels sturdy and does not flex easily.

While the outside of the Slim 5i is smooth, the interior surfaces, such as the palm rest, have a soft-touch coating that feels more comfortable than the cold metal surfaces of aluminium-clad notebooks.

At 17.9mm thick, the Slim 5i does not quite live up to its moniker. But there is ample space for ports and connectors, such as a pair of USB Type-A ports, an HDMI port and a USB Type-C port that can be used to recharge the laptop. There is also a SD card reader - handy for photographers and videographers.

Further bolstering the Slim 5i's credentials as a content creation tool is its Nvidia GeForce MX350 graphics chip. This entry-level discrete graphics chip outperforms the usual integrated graphics chip in photo- and video-editing software.

The notebook can run less demanding games at modest settings. First-person shooter Apex Legends, for instance, runs at around 32 frames per second at Low settings at a screen resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels.

And while its keyboard is shallow compared with that of a gaming notebook, the keys are tactile and large enough that they do not affect my gaming performance.

But the noise from the cooling fan increases significantly when running a game. The bottom of the notebook also becomes warmer and it is uncomfortable to place on my lap.

The Slim 5i's dual speakers are worth mentioning. Located at the sides of the keyboard, they face the user and sound clear and unmuffled.

Intel's latest 10th-generation Core i7-1065G7 quad-core processor powers the Slim 5i. My souped-up review set ($1,868) has 16GB of system memory and a 1TB solid-state drive.

In the PCMark 10 benchmark, the Slim 5i scores 4,556 compared with the HP Spectre x360 13 (4,286), which uses the same Intel processor, but lacks the Nvidia graphics chip.

Battery life is decent at 6.5 hours with the display set to maximum brightness.

Overall, the IdeaPad Slim 5i is a well-rounded and versatile notebook suitable for mainstream users.

FOR

• Camera privacy shutter and fingerprint reader

• Dedicated graphics chip

• Clean, minimalist design

AGAINST

• Warm when running more demanding apps

SPECS

PRICE: $1,868 (version tested, starts from $876)

PROCESSOR: Intel Core i7-1065G7 (1.3GHz)

GRAPHICS: Nvidia GeForce MX350 2GB GDDR5

RAM: 16GB DDR4

SCREEN SIZE: 14 inches, 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

CONNECTIVITY: USB 3.1 Type-C Gen 1, 2 x USB 3.1 Type-A Gen 1, HDMI, SD card reader, audio jack

BATTERY: 45 watt-hour

RATING

FEATURES: 4/5

DESIGN: 4/5

PERFORMANCE: 4.5/5

VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

BATTERY LIFE: 4/5

OVERALL: 4/5

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