Lenovo recently announced its new Slim, Yoga and Legion gaming notebooks and a new budget gaming brand called LOQ. These new devices are riding on the momentum of Lenovo's CES 2023 announcements, including its Lenovo Yoga 9i laptop with its unique dual display design. You can read my coverage of Lenovo at CES 2023 here.
We are seeing two interesting directions that Lenovo is taking, first with its Yoga and Slim brands and second with the introduction of its LOQ gaming brand. Let's start with the Lenovo Slim and Yoga notebooks.
Lenovo Slim and Yoga notebooks
Depending on where you are in the world, Lenovo uses different Yoga and Slim notebook naming schemas. The Yoga brand is Lenovo’s 2-in-1 design thin and light notebook brand and the Slim brand is its premium thin and light notebook brand. Everywhere but North America, the Slim Pro 9i is called the Yoga Pro 9i, and the Slim 7 is called the Yoga Slim 6.
Lenovo is targeting its new Slim Pro 9i 14-inch and 16-inch notebooks —the “i” denotes an Intel processor—at content creators. I appreciate that Lenovo is taking its Slim devices in a direction that will satisfy these users, who need the type of performance we usually see only in gaming notebooks. The company says the Slim 9i is its most powerful consumer notebook; the software acceleration, powerful display and overall boost in specs back up that claim.
The Slim Pro 9i 14-inch and 16-inch and the Slim 7 come with Lenovo's X Power tuning solution, which uses hardware boosts and software acceleration for more efficient cooling. The biggest difference between the Slim Pro 9i and Slim 7 comes in the hardware specs, with the Slim 7 using an AMD Ryzen 7 processor.
The Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 16-inch and 14-inch models have customizable Intel 13th Gen Core i9 processors with 32 gigabytes of overclockable memory and Nvidia RTX 4070 graphics cards. These components should offer much more performance compared to last year's Slim notebooks and a huge boost in battery life, especially with the Power X Tuning solution also included.
Another advantage of the Lenovo Slim Pro 9i is that it has a powerful display for content creators. The 16-inch and 14-inch Lenovo Slim 9 notebooks have 165-hertz 3K resolution mini-LED displays. The 16-inch and 14-inch models will have 100% DCI p3, 100% sRGB and 100% Adobe color gamut. On paper, this is very good.
I like that Lenovo gave the 14-inch and 16-inch versions identical specs, with the only difference being the size of the laptops. Laptop size is dictated by preference more than by the extra screen real estate of the 16-inch or the extra mobility of the 14-inch. On paper, both models of the Lenovo Slim Pro 9i are more than capable of being great devices for productivity and content creation alike.
Another major difference from last year's models is the new keyboard design. Lenovo has increased the key travel on these new devices to 1.5mm, and made the keys slightly concave. These keyboard changes remind me of Lenovo's ThinkPad series keyboards, some of the best laptops available. I will have to get my hands on a new Slim device to give my full opinion of the new keyboard design.
The Lenovo Yoga 7i 16-inch will be available with an AMD 7000 series processor and the Yoga & with a 13th Gen Intel Core U series non-Evo processor. Intel’s Evo platform optimizes for battery life, responsiveness, connectivity and performance for thin and light notebooks. Only the 14-inch will have the option of an Intel Core U Series processor with Intel Evo. I prefer the North American nomenclature for Yoga and Slim devicing, recersing the Yoga brand for the 360-degree design and being a differentiator for Slim devices. Although I would need to experience the Yoga 7i 16-inch for my self, I think the 16-inch chassis could be slightly large for a two-in-one design.
LOQ Gaming and Legion Slim
There used to be only one type of gaming laptop, and it was fat, clunky and needed to be close to an outlet. Nowadays, gaming laptops are powerful enough to handle some of the most demanding games while having slimmer designs and better battery life. These improvements leave room for variety among gaming notebooks, especially when we compare thin gaming laptops with budget gaming laptops.
LOQ is Lenovo's new brand of budget-level gaming notebooks. Lenovo has intentionally made the new LOQ logo similar to the logo for its Legion notebooks. I like Lenovo's thinking with its gaming lineup, positioning LOQ gaming notebooks just below the Legion brand as sementation enables premium pricing on Legion and more flexibility with LOQ. It isn't easy to differentiate the premium and budget lineup of any company's devices. I have seen the most success when companies differentiate budget from premium by characterizing the budget brand with reliability and the premium brand with premium features and technology.
Reliability for gamers includes good peripherals and solid performance, and I think Lenovo nailed both of these for its new LOQ gaming machines. The LOQ notebooks include full rear I/O, a USB-A port, Gigabit LAN, HDMI 2.0 and charging ports on the back. I was also pleased to see the full-sized signature Lenovo gaming keyboard, which is one of the best features of Lenovo gaming laptops.
The 15-inch and 16-inch LOQ gaming notebooks support up to 32GB of memory, Intel 13th Gen Core or AMD Ryzen 7000 processors and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4060 laptop GPUs. The RTX 4060 also features a MUX switch, which allows the user to bypass the integrated GPU. These components offer more than enough performance for budget gamers.
Lenovo also introduced the other half of its Legion Slim portfolio with the Legion Slim 7i, Slim 7, Slim 5i and Slim 5. Lenovo has included its LA AI chip in all four of these new designs, allowing their systems to tune thermal performance and reach up to 140-watt TDP. The Lenovo Legion Slim 7 and 7i are the first devices to feature Wi-Fi 7, and although that standard is not as widely available as Wi-Fi 6 at the moment, this does give some future proofing to the device.
It is exciting to see Lenovo offer powerful content-creator notebooks that give users the option of AMD or Intel hardware. These AMD and Intel variants should be great devices that users can compare and decide between based on personal preference. The mini-LED displays are also a great touch from Lenovo and should be compelling features for users looking for powerful creator-specific notebooks.
Likewise, it is exciting to see Lenovo offer budget-level gaming notebooks without sacrificing the features and reliability that gamers most want. The LOQ brand maintains some of the most important features of the Legion lineup while differentiating itself from the Legion brand.
I look forward to seeing Lenovo build on its premium Yoga and Slim devices and hopefully reserving the Yoga brand for 360-degree devices and the Slim for classic premium notebooks. It already has great success with its mature premium business notebooks, the ThinkPad, and I believe the Yoga and Slim premium consumer brands are on the same trajectory.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy co-op Jacob Freyman contributed to this article.