Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 14 review

Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 14 review

Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 14: A Portable Powerhouse Lacking in Display and Battery Life

Lenovo has recently unveiled the Slim Pro 9i 14, a 14.5-inch laptop that offers a more compact version of the impressive Slim 9i. With its fast components and sleek design, it aims to compete directly with the Apple MacBook Pro 14. Although the Slim Pro 9i 14 performs well in terms of power, its design, display quality, and battery life fall short. Let’s dive deeper into the specifications, performance, display, and design of this portable powerhouse.

Specs and Configurations

The Slim Pro 9i 14 comes in one configuration, priced at $1,900. It features a Core i7-13705H CPU, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD, an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 GPU, and a 14.5-inch 3K mini-LED display. Lenovo may introduce lower-end CPU options and an RTX 4060 in the future, but they aren’t currently available on the website. Comparatively, the Acer Swift X 14 offers a similar CPU and GPU with 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, along with a 14.5-inch OLED display, all for $1,500.

Excellent Performance in a Relatively Small Package

The Slim Pro 9i 14 stands out with its fast components. While it doesn’t surpass the performance of the Acer Swift X 14 in most benchmarks, it performs well overall. In the Pugetbench Premiere Pro benchmark, it outperforms the Swift X 14 and even matches the performance of the larger Slim Pro 9i and Apple MacBook Pro 14.

One of the key features of the Slim Pro 9i 14 is its GPU, which is optimized for creative tasks. It performs exceptionally well in productivity applications and also provides decent entry-level gaming performance. For instance, it manages to deliver around 78 frames per second in Fortnite at 1200p with epic graphics. However, it falls slightly behind the larger Slim Pro 9i and the Apple MacBook Pro 14 in gaming performance.

Another Questionable Mini-LED Implementation

Unfortunately, the mini-LED display on the Slim Pro 9i 14 doesn’t live up to the quality of Apple’s MacBook Pros. In standard dynamic range (SDR) mode, the display lacks the deep contrast found on Apple’s panels. While it is brighter by default, the contrast and color accuracy suffer in high dynamic range (HDR) mode. Despite these shortcomings, the display is still great for productivity use and performs well with HDR content.

Audio from the four speakers on the Slim Pro 9i 14 is serviceable, providing clear mids and highs. However, it lacks the deep bass found in Apple’s MacBook Pro laptops, making external speakers or headphones a preferable option for the best audio experience.

Poor Battery Life is No Surprise

Despite having a smaller display and a slower CPU than its larger counterpart, the Slim Pro 9i 14 disappoints in terms of battery life. Similar to the larger model, it falls well below average in battery tests, lasting just under five hours in web browsing and around 8.75 hours in video looping. This makes it a laptop that will need to be charged frequently, requiring users to carry around the relatively large and heavy power adapter.

An Attractive but Slightly Chunky Design

The Slim Pro 9i 14 inherits its chassis design from the elegant Slim 9i, with rounded edges for comfortable use. It has a relatively simplistic overall design, featuring small display bezels and Lenovo’s reverse notch at the top. While it has a thicker profile compared to some of its competitors, such as the Acer Swift X 14, it remains portable and well-built.

The keyboard on the Slim Pro 9i 14 is enjoyable to use, with nicely sculpted keycaps and plenty of spacing. The touchpad is spacious and precise, although its button clicks can be a bit loud. In terms of connectivity, it offers Thunderbolt 4 support and plenty of legacy ports, including a full-size SD card reader.

Conclusion: A Portable Powerhouse Lacking

The Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 14 is an attractive and well-built laptop that packs a punch in terms of performance. It offers a good keyboard, touchpad, and privacy features. However, its mini-LED display falls short compared to Apple’s MacBook Pro 14, and its battery life disappoints. Although it is more affordable than some competitors, the price difference isn’t significant enough to outweigh its limitations. Despite its strengths, the Slim Pro 9i 14 is ultimately lacking in key areas, making it a difficult choice compared to other options in the market.