It’s been quite some time since Intel announced its 11th-gen laptop processors, complete with the new logo design and Intel Iris Xe graphics. And yet, so far I’ve not gotten my hands on a laptop packing the new processor and iGPU. That all changed when Lenovo sent over the IdeaPad Slim 5i (Rs. 61,990) with all the new goodies that Intel made, and a bunch of typically Lenovo stuff. So, if you’re in the market for a new work laptop that doesn’t break the bank or your back, and you’re considering the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 5i, here’s our review of the laptop.
Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 5i Review
As is usual with our reviews, let’s take a quick look at the specifications of this laptop before diving into the review.
|Display||15.6-inch Full HD; 300nits;
|Processor||Intel Core i5-1135G7 @2.4GHz;
Turbo Boost upto 4.20 GHz
|RAM||8GB DDR4 3200MHz|
|Storage||256GB PCIe SSD + 1TB HDD 5400RPM|
|GPU||Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics|
|Ports||2xUSB 3.2 Gen 1, 1xUSB 3.2 Type-C Gen 1, Headphone / microphone combo jack|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.1; Intel WiFi 6|
Design and Build
The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 5i doesn’t seem to be cutting any corners on the design and build aspect. The laptop comes with a typically Lenovo design language, which I like. That means it has a lid with no obnoxiously large branding, just a small Lenovo tag on the left edge. The laptop itself is slim, and feels well built to the touch.
The slimness isn’t a surprise though. After all, it’s right there in the name. However, I do appreciate laptops that aren’t too bulky for no good reason, and it’s nice to see most work laptops getting a thinner profile these days.
Once you open up the lid as well, the IdeaPad Slim 5i continues to impress. There’s a large 15.6-inch display here (more on that later) surrounded by thin bezels which make the laptop look good. There’s a webcam up top, and I really love Lenovo’s built-in privacy shutter that you can slide over the webcam to cover it up. It’s these little things that make a device feel well thought out.
Lenovo has used a dark colour all over this laptop, which in my opinion looks really nice. The lid is actually the lightest colour on the laptop, the bezels are black and the keyboard is a nice dark grey that looks amazing. It’s also really great to the touch. It appears rubberized, though I don’t think it actually is, but the best thing is I don’t see any weird fingerprints getting on this surface with normal use.
On the sides, you get the usual ports (more on those later as well), along with a power input and an LED indicator that lights up when you’re charging the laptop.
Overall, Lenovo has knocked it out of the park with the design and build of this laptop. It’s perfectly understated while not being completely invisible to the eye. This is certainly a laptop that will fit right in at work, in board meetings, and anywhere else you decide to take it.
Moving on to the display, the IdeaPad Slim 5i comes with a 15.6-inch IPS display with a Full HD resolution. You also get a 14-inch option if you want a slightly smaller laptop, but Lenovo sent the bigger one over to us.
It’s a big display, which is great, and it does get bright enough. Although the matte anti-glare finish makes it look slightly less bright; but that’s true for every laptop with a matte screen, and I appreciate anti-glare displays even more now that I’m sitting at home with lighting that wasn’t set up according to actual work setups.
It’s sharp, and if you’re using it purely for work (which is the intended use case here), this display won’t let you down even though I’m used to a much higher resolution display on my MacBook Pro. What I mean by that is that text looks crisp and clear on this screen, unlike some other displays where you can see rough edges and pixels.
This here is also a solid display for consuming media content. I used it quite a bit to stream Netflix and Prime Video shows and it’s pretty great for basically everything.
Most of the time I find myself reviewing gaming laptops, which makes benchmarking and testing easier than usual. You can simply play games and note the performance. However, work laptops are slightly more complicated because of the sheer types of work loads you can put them under.
Even here at Beebom, we have people editing videos on Final Cut Pro, making motion graphics with After Effects, writing articles, designing graphics for social media, and a lot more. Clearly, I can’t put this laptop through 4K video editing tasks. What I did do, was use it as my daily driver for a while, which means the usual tasks that I do.
That includes a ton of Edge tabs with Photoshop running in the background, along with a lot of typing, scrolling, editing screenshots and moving them around. In doing all of that, this laptop doesn’t even break a sweat. It’s actually really good at handling multi-tasking as well, and it doesn’t get too warm. All of those are good things.
Obviously, I also ran a couple of benchmarks to get some standardised test numbers out there for you to see as well. As usual, I used 3D Mark and PC Mark to test it out and here are the results. In 3D Mark Time Spy the laptop scores 1091 points and in PC Mark 10 it scores 4543.
So there you go, if you want to compare this laptop’s synthetic performance to other laptops, use these numbers and see for yourself what works better for you.
Keyboard and Trackpad
Lenovo has had great keyboards for a while now. I remember reviewing the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i and I really loved that keyboard. This one is just as good. The keys are well spaced out which means you don’t feel cramped while typing, and the key travel and response is pretty great.
I must note, however, that this keyboard feels just a tad less tactile than the one on the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i. It’s not an issue, and it doesn’t feel mushy by any means, but there is a difference and you can feel it.
I also appreciate Lenovo giving us a full-size keyboard on this laptop as well, similar to the IdeaPad Gaming 3i and laptops like the Legion Y540. Both laptops that I really loved the keyboards on.
The keyboard is backlit, in case you’re wondering. You can use Fn + spacebar to toggle the brightness levels or to turn the backlight off if you want to.
The only thing I don’t like about this keyboard is the compact arrow key layout. I’m so used to Lenovo offering full size arrow keys (on both the laptops I mentioned above), that this just feels disappointing. Also, it’s no secret that compact arrow keys just… suck.
Apart from that one pain point, I really like typing on this laptop.
Then there’s the trackpad. While I don’t understand why the trackpad is so much to the left on most Lenovo laptops, it’s just a personal issue that I have. Other than that though, this is a good trackpad.
It’s big enough, though not huge, and it feels quite responsive as well. You also get support for Windows gestures and the trackpad area is definitely big enough to comfortably use gestures on.
I don’t have a lot else to say about this trackpad, but yeah, you won’t need a mouse with this laptop unless you are so used to using a mouse that it feels weird not having one with you.
Ports and Connectivity
In terms of ports and I/O, this laptop is somewhere between not enough ports and so many ports you don’t know what to do with them. Whether that makes it a perfect selection of ports is something we can discuss in depth another time (it’s not).
However, you do get the basic ports you’d need with this laptop. There are two USB Type-A ports, a USB Type-C port, HDMI, SD card reader and a headphone/mic combo.
The Type-C port here supports power delivery, which I love, because it can charge up devices faster, but I would have liked another USB Type-C port here just for further expansion if needed.
For connectivity, Lenovo is offering Bluetooth 5.1 and WiFi 6. So your laptop is ready for you if you are switching to (or already have) WiFi 6 enabled routers on your network. I don’t.
Lastly, the battery. This is where most laptops tend to falter, don’t they? Especially work laptops because they do need to offer good battery life unlike gaming laptops that are usually connected to power anyway for better performance in games.
The Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 5i comes with a 57Wh battery though and that’s actually huge. That’s the same battery you’ll find inside the Legion Y540 which is a gaming laptop with an RTX 2060 and a Core i7 processor. Except the IdeaPad Slim 5i doesn’t need to power a hungry dedicated GPU. Not to mention the 11th-gen processor is more power efficient than ever.
What all that means is that the battery life on this laptop is pretty good. Lenovo claims 11 hours of battery life, which sounds fairly good enough, but in my usage I was getting somewhere around 9 to 10 hours depending on what I was using the laptop for. If you’re purely browsing the web and watching a couple of YouTube videos, you will get somewhere around 10 hours of use out of this laptop.
While that number is decent, and it should be generally enough to last your workday without plugging it in, I still carried the charger along all the time just in case, and you should probably do that as well.
Pros and Cons
- Great design
- Excellent performance
- Good battery life
- Compact arrow keys are weird
- Keyboard isn’t as tactile as other Lenovo laptops
Should You Buy the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 5i?
At the end of the day, the question is whether you should buy the Lenovo IdeaPad Slim 5i? Well, if your workflow is all about documents, writing, browsing the web and light Photoshop usage, this laptop is perfect for all of that. It’s not too heavy, which makes it easy to carry to work and back, and it looks and feels quite premium which is great for its price tag of Rs. 61,990.
Obviously, there are other laptops you can consider in the same bracket, including the Mi Notebook Horizon Edition (Rs. 59,999). On the other hand if you want to play games as well, you can check out the IdeaPad Gaming 3 (Rs. 65,990). Also, if you’re willing to extend your budget, the Asus ZenBook 14 is a solid laptop for Rs. 77,499 as well.