Not very long ago, I reviewed Lenovo’s Ideapad Series’ Flex 5, and it was a tremendous 2-in-1 machine that has offered us the best of both worlds. Lenovo now has sent us another machine aimed at productivity under the Ideapad series again; this time a clamshell laptop — the Ideapad Slim 5i.
The newest in the lot features Intel’s 11th Gen Core i5-1135G7 with Integrated Intel’s iRIS graphics. The Windows 10-powered unit, which we received for review, costs Rs 64,990, and there are a couple of other models, and then there’s a higher-end model featuring NVIDIA’s GeForce MX450 graphics sets the device at Rs 73,990. The Slim 5i review unit has been with us for quite a while now (a little over two months), and you can consider this a long-term review. Let’s delve right in.
Lenovo Ideapad Slim 5i — Design and Display
Like many other Lenovo counterparts out there, including the Flex 5, which we tested earlier, the design aesthetic resembles the same on the Slim 5i. The unit we received is a Graphite Grey variant featuring a metal panel, which is soft to touch. The clamshell here has the grey theme going around; it appears to be a minimalistic and well-designed machine with darker grey keys and trackpad while maintaining the grey colours up top and all over.
The Ideapad Slim 5i, as the name implies, comes in a slightly lighter form factor. It weighs around 1.6Kgs, and it felt easy to carry around, and sliding it into a backpack wouldn’t be much of a problem. You can get on with it anywhere in the house, like laying on a couch or sitting through a dining desk, or if you’re going to the office amidst the pandemic, it can settle on your office desk quite comfortably as well.
The keyboard design on the Lenovo Ideapad Slim 5i is a well-thought design. It comes with a full keyboard along with a dedicated number pane on the right as well. For security, there’s a fingerprint sensor placed right above it for authentication. Alongside the function keys, you also have the native playback controls, which I felt convenient to have, particularly while listening to music on another service or watching videos on OTT platforms.
The typing experience on the Slim 5i keyboard appeared smooth; the key travel is great, and feedback is very responsive; I found myself typing faster on this machine than on my older XPS machine. The additional number pad on the right is another convenient feature, though I haven’t used it extensively. Not having one might have given us more room for conventional keys, as the current setup might occasionally feel cramped for some. The other prominent aspect of the keyboard here is it is backlit, and it can get bright enough to work in darker environments.
Right above the keyboard, we’re greeted with user-facing speakers, which is slightly different in placement compared to previous machines from Lenovo that featured on either side of keyboards.
The huge full-size keyboard is accompanied by a generously sized trackpad, which is enough room to get the task done. A slightly bigger one would have been ideal; nonetheless, it’s still a good trackpad with the right amount of responsiveness and (L/R) clicks placement is fair enough.
The Lenovo Ideapad Slim 5i comes with a 15-6-inch (39.62cms) Full HD display with a matte finish and not the glossy, thankfully, which I don’t prefer personally. The display has slimmer bezels throughout and gives us more room to consume all kinds of content, be it personal or professional use. The IPS display packs in a (1920×1080) resolution and achieves a peak brightness of up to 300 nits, and further packs in the anti-glare coating.
I found myself using this display is quite darker conditions as well as brightly lit conditions. For office spaces, work from home scenarios, the display suits best. The colour reproduction for content is moderate (’cause I prefer LED panels). It is still usable for my working conditions and has generous brightness levels to play around with; however, I struggled on this display especially using outdoors like in well-lit conditions or direct sunlight, for instance. I found it hard to comprehend the matter or content that I was watching under highly lit conditions.
Another significant security measure from Lenovo is the 720p HD (not so great) camera housed on top of the display. It features the company’s signature privacy shutter, which can be easily toggled while not in use. It’s indeed good to have one, particularly in the current scenario as most of the stuff is done through homes and having this little privacy option is a well-thought idea from Lenovo.
The Lenovo Ideapad Slim 5i has good enough ports when it comes to the I/O front. On the right, you can find two USB A ports (USB 3.2 Gen), coupled with a card reader, a microphone, and a power/sleep indicator. Moving on to either side, you can find the power input, followed by a USB Type-C port (USB 3.2 Gen), an HDMI port and a port to consolidate the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Lenovo Ideapad Slim 5i — Performance
As suggested earlier, the Ideapad Slim 5i model, which we have, attains Intel’s latest 11th Gen i5-1135G7 with clock speeds of up to 2.42GHz. The machine further packs in 8GB of RAM paired with 256GB of PCIe SSD to run Windows 10 and other tasks smoothly and one TB of HDD to store your files. The device further supports Wi-Fi 6 and features Bluetooth 5.1.
The Ideapad series from Lenovo usually appear to be meant for professionals or students, for that matter. The Slim 5i is no different and doesn’t disappoint as well. I have used the laptop as a daily driver since I got in for review. Being a tech content writer at The Mr Phone, my daily use case primarily involves the web with multiple chrome tabs open, Microsoft Teams continuously running in the background and considerable use cases of photo editing tools like Photoshop or Adobe XD.
The machine here did a pretty good job in handling those quite effortlessly. That is evident since it runs on the latest Intel 11th Gen processor. Also, I never noticed any struggle during the regular mundane course like browsing, working on docs/sheets; however, using slightly heavy editing tools can be quite demanding for the laptop or even the higher-end games. Again, that is not why the public buys the Ideapad series; they usually go for the Legion series.
The Slim 5i does perform without any stutter for the aforementioned professional stuff. The laptop is surprisingly calm and doesn’t heat, making it fun to work with for my daily tasks. Though Intel’s IRIS graphics powers the laptop, it is still not meant to handle heavy games; lighter games can be doable. For bigger names, you need to look for the NVIDIA model or elsewhere like the Legion series.
The Ideapad Slim 5i scored 5640 for single-core and 18541 for multi-core on the Geekbench test for the number-hoggers out there. Similarly, it achieved 37463 for OpenCL score, again on Geekbench. As for the Cinebench test, the laptop achieved 5118 points on multi-core and 1159 points on a single core.
The Lenovo Ideapad Slim 5i comprises a 3-cell 57Wh battery that charges through a provided 65W adapter. While the company has promised 11-hour battery life, in our testing, I could manage it to run for a typical 7-8 hour scenario in our professional working hours before plugging the adapter. That’s generous, in my opinion, given the slim and calm form factor it offers. It takes around two hours to get fully charged; however, a fifteen-minute charge could give you enough juice for two to three hours and an hour more if you enable the battery saver option with minimal brightness and pausing the background syncing.
The other prominent features of the Ideapad Slim 5i include its Dolby Audio certified speakers and the popular Lenovo Vantage tool. The speakers here are user-facing and can get loud enough to watch videos on social media or platforms like YouTube. They are well placed and are reliable for your regular conference calls too. But for watching content on OTTs like Netflix or listening to music from third-party services, I found myself going back to speakers or headphones.
The Lenovo Vantage is another prominent tool that comes preinstalled for Lenovo laptops. It helps the machine to keep in check, optimise, and offer security. Though the Windows 10 update services work flawless, the Vantage tool also offers necessary firmware updates. It keeps with the maintenance of the machine — be it the battery or security. Users can fiddle with other audio, camera, display, smart assistant settings through the Lenovo Vantage tool.
While the earlier reviewed Lenovo Ideapad Flex 5 offered the best of both worlds as a 2-in-1, the latest Slim 5i alone excels in offering its best to professionals and students out there. It checks in all the requirements for a typical working professional or a student taking classes amidst the pandemic. Our Slim 5i model here is great for them, but if you’re a high-end user, suit yourself to get the NVIDIA model, which costs a couple of bucks more, or consider getting a Legion series model.
The Slim 5i 11th Gen i5 model still falls under the mid-range segment when it comes to laptops with tiny tradeoffs like the minimal design aesthetic, average audio; other than that, it is a go-to laptop for office/professionals.