Lenovo is shrinking the chassis of the Legion 7i from 0.79 in. to 0.7 in., and the weight from 4.6 lbs to 3.9 lbs., making the up-coming Legion Slim 7i the lightest and slimmest gaming laptop it’s ever made. The company is attempting to tackle the holy-grail of laptop design: a laptop that is light, thin, and aesthetically pleasing, but also one with well-designed thermals so it can pack some serious power.
Max-Q graphics cards have helped shrink laptop chassis, but it often costs some performance. Even if a laptop has a non-Max-Q GPU, it doesn’t always mean the CPU heatsink or cooling fans suck enough heat away from the components to let the machine shine to its fullest potential. My experience with Lenovo gaming laptops has always been good when it comes to balancing power and thermals, but I have yet to test out anything so ambitious.
To achieve this, Lenovo says it redesigned the thermal system for this laptop. It utilizes what it calls Dynamic Boost 1.0 to shift power from the CPU to the GPU when needed during gaming. The more demand placed on the GPU, the more power shifts over.
The Legion Slim 7i also utilizes Lenovo’s ColdFront 2.0 cooling system. With this cooling system, Lenovo says it has achieved a 31% greater air intake over the Legion Y740Si by machine-drilling holes over the CPU/GPU. Those little above the keyboard? That’s not a speaker. That’s for airflow.
The fans have more blades so more cool air can be pushed along the triple heat pipes. Lenovo also says the fans will never get absurdly loud to cool down the system because of the motherboard’s multiple thermal sensors. They will automatically detect CPU/GPU temperatures to ensure the laptop is getting enough cool air and, essentially, quickly adjust to any power fluctuations so nothing weird happens when you’re in the middle of a heated battle.
On top of all that, Lenovo says it was able to fit a full-sized keyboard into the slimmer laptop, which includes a number pad, media keys, and full-sized arrow keys—all with a 1.3 mm key travel. Lenovo claims that even though the keys have a shorter travel distance in this laptop’s slimmer chassis, every press should still feel like the deep keystrokes on a desktop mechanical keyboard.
I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that the weight of this gaming laptop is dependent on the configuration. Its weight starts at 3.9 lbs, according to Lenovo, and I’m assuming that’s based on the most budget-friendly configured model. However, I don’t see a higher-end configuration adding that much more weight to the Legion Slim 7i, at least not as much as the Legion 7i. There are other gaming laptops that weigh less, like the Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 (3.7 lbs), but balancing thinness and weight with thermals is a major challenge in laptop design right now. So a thinner and lighter laptop could have a downside like thermal throttling.
The Legion Slim 7i will come with up to an RTX 2060 Max-Q (plus external GPU support), up to an Intel Core i9-10980HK, up to 32 GB DDR4-3200 memory, and up to 2 TB of M.2 NVMe PCIe SSD storage. The Legion Slim 7i will also come with either a 15.6-inch 4K 60 Hz, 1080p 144 Hz, or 1080p 60 Hz display. While the entire supped-up, top of the line package will definitely cost more than the starting price of $1,330, you’ll be able to customize to hit or get close to your desired price point.
This laptop, plus a slew of other Lenovo products like the new Yoga 9i, is set to launch Holiday 2020.