Lenovo’s new Slim Pro 9i takes on the MacBook Pro with Mini LED display, creator-friendly specs

The laptop starts at $1,699.99 and goes on sale this May.

Lenovo Slim Pro 9i in a dim bar iin New York City
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Like many PC companies nowadays, Lenovo is taking another shot at grabbing marketshare from the immensely popular MacBook Pro. This time, it’s with the eighth-generation Slim Pro 9i, a more powerful version of the Slim 9i from last year. The company is going all out with this model, giving it a Mini LED display, dedicated graphics, a better keyboard, and improved thermals. It wants the machine to be a go-to option for creators, and as always, it’s hard to say whether it can grab people’s attention the same way the MacBook has.

The new Slim Pro 9i comes in two sizes: 14.5-inches and 16-inches. Both of them have Mini LED “PureSight Pro” panels which greatly enhance their quality compared to other laptops in Lenovo’s lineup. At a product demo where the company was showing them off, I got to take a glance at them, and they were indeed spectacular. Colors were more vibrant, black levels were inkier (although not as inky as an OLED screen), and each display was really bright thanks to the 1,200 nit peak brightness level. (For reference, the current MacBook Pros can reach 1,600 nits.)

You can swap the Mini LED panel for LCD if you want to save a few bucks, but anyone looking for the best possible screen will choose the Mini LED option. Not only do you get excellent visuals, but there’s also a 165Hz refresh rate, faster than the LCD’s 120Hz refresh rate. The display is also configured with support for 100 percent of the DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB color gamuts, while the resolution floats around 3K.

The laptop comes with Lenovo’s rounder, more friendly “comfort edge” design with an aluminum enclosure and two color options: Storm Gray and Tidal Teal (my personal favorite). The keyboard is a bit deeper than previous Slim laptops with 1.5mm of travel, and there are new finger-friendly divots in each key cap to make typing feel more comfortable. Lenovo is also using 50 percent post-consumer recycled plastic for the keyboard, as well as 50 percent recycled aluminum for the bottom deck of the Slim Pro 9i.

Inside, Lenovo equips the machine with Intel’s 13th-generation processors, up to an i9-13905H. You can pair the chip with Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 4070 dedicated graphics with 8GB of GDDR6 VRAM and 64GB of LPDDR5X RAM. For storage, you get up to 1TB of PCIe Gen 4 SSD storage.

Lenovo highlights a suite of features that can help you tackle intense workloads, all bundled in what the company calls “Lenovo X Power.” This includes improved thermal capacity over the previous Slim Pro 9i, with a 62.5 percent increase on the 16-inch model and a 25 percent increase on the 14.5-inch model. Lenovo has also optimized its AI algorithms to work more efficiently when handling tasks powered by a Nvidia GPU, improving performance and reducing slowdowns.

Whether these changes are enough to make this laptop a top contender for creators isn’t clear, but at least it seems that Lenovo is taking a real shot at providing an experience that can match those expectations.

There’s a health mix of ports that includes USB-C, USB-A, Thunderbolt 4, HDMI, and–hold for applause–SD card. Above the display sits a 5MP webcam for video calls (equipped with a privacy shutter), four microphones, and stereo Dolby Atmos speakers in the base. And of course, the laptop is powered by Windows 11.

As for myself and a lot of other people I spoke to during Lenovo’s briefing, the Slim Pro 9i grabbed my attention. Its combination of powerful specs, good-looking hardware, and amazing screens was enough to catch my eye. I’m enticed by what Lenovo has put together, and I’ll be curious to see how it all works when I get to review it.

In addition, Lenovo is also announcing the Slim Pro 7 and Slim 7i. The former comes with a 14.5-inch 3K 120Hz display, while the latter has a slightly smaller 14-inch display with a 2.8K resolution. The Pro 7 has an improved design with a more satisfying keyboard, a bigger battery, and IR sensors for Windows Hello support. Meanwhile, the 7i offers a thin and light form factor that’s designed to be as portable as possible.

You get AMD’s latest Ryzen 5000 and 7000 series chips (up to an R7-7840HS), 16GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, and Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 graphics on the Pro model. The 7i ships with Intel’s 13th-generation chips, the same amount of storage and RAM, and much more ordinary Iris X integrated graphics. Both come with aluminum enclosures, a variety of ports, and a couple of color options.

The Slim Pro 9i starts at $1,699.99 and goes on sale this May. Meanwhile, the Slim Pro 7 and Slim 7i start at $1,199.99 and $1,179.99, respectively. They’re both expected to land in April.