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Lenovo Yoga 9i Review: 2-in-1 flexible design and performance [Video]

Laptops and tablets both have their own pros and cons when it comes to life on-the-go, but there are some interesting products that bridge that gap. Released in late 2020, the Lenovo Yoga 9i has some features that will make it appealing to those who want a versatile computer for work or home use. A 2-in-1, the Yoga 9i can fold itself backward to work in a tablet or tent mode making it great for travel, presentations, and more thanks to the garaged stylus. Packing a powerful 11th Gen Intel Core i7, the Yoga 9i is ready to work, as well. Be sure to hit the video below to find out more about the Lenovo Yoga 9i.

Out of the box

What makes the Yoga 9i appealing is its versatility as a 2-in-1 laptop that can also be used as a tablet thanks to its flip-over design. As a laptop, you still have the functionality of the keyboard and a touchscreen, but bend it backward and you have a handy tent-mode for watching media or presentations. Take it even further to tablet mode to take notes, mark up a PDF, or just kick back with a movie. 

Quick Specs

  • CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7 @ 3 GHz
  • Graphics: Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • Memory: Up to 16GB 
  • Storage: Up to 1TB (512 on this model) PCIe SSD
  • Battery: 60Wh integrated
  • Display: 1920×1080 FHD 60hz w/ Dolby Vision
  • Price: List: $1,699 currently $1,294 on Amazon
  • Dimensions: 12.57 x 8.51 x .57 inches
  • Weight: 1.37 kg (3.02 lbs)

Design Overview 

One of the things that makes the Yoga 9i appealing is its premium looking and feeling design. Made mainly of aluminum, the body has a great finish to it and gives a look and feel that is reminiscent of Apple. While this model has a light grey color, there is also a darker Shadow Black version with an optional leather cover.

The chin between the pivoting soundbar and the bottom of the screen is pretty large, but with a small laptop like this, that’s okay with me. It puts the display a bit higher and leaves more room for the trackpad. 

Lenovo Yoga 9i: Video

Ins and Outs

For connectivity, the Yoga 9i features two USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 / Thunderbolt 4 ports, one USB-A 3.2 Gen 2, and a single headphone / microphone combo 3.5mm port. As a small laptop, I’d be surprised to see anything more than these shoved in here. This works well to get connected to most peripherals with the combination of USB-A and USB-C while still keeping the computer simple and sleek. Of course, you can always pick up an external dock to augment connectivity thanks to those powerful Thunderbolt 4 ports. 

Lenovo Yoga 9i: Keyboard and trackpad 

As with the materials of the laptop, the keyboard and trackpad also feel good in my opinion. The keyboard features a pretty standard layout with F1-12 keys along the top and arrow keys squeezed in the bottom right of the board.

Lenovo does shorten some of the keys in the bottom left compared to a standard bottom row to place the function key in between Control and the Windows key. I found this layout plenty easy to navigate. 

The trackpad isn’t huge, but it fits the size of the laptop well and was very responsive in my experience. Depending on if you’re a tapper or a clicker for a trackpad, the Lenovo Yoga 9i has a relatively heavy click to actuate. That can be satisfying if you’re an aggressive clicker, or a bit more work if you like a lighter touch. But, the Yoga 9i is plenty responsive with just tapping the trackpad as well. 

Touch screen + Pen

What makes the Lenovo Yoga 9i a 2-in-1 is the rotating touch screen with the included garaged pen. Both make it easy to navigate the computer. The pen is small, but having it always available with the computer is super handy. It all seemed to work well in my testing. I don’t often navigate a computer with a stylus/pen so that was a little different for me. But, it behaved how I expected it to. It was easy to scroll on web pages and navigate the laptop’s menus. 

When flipping the screen past halfway, the computer enters tablet mode and disables the keyboard. This helps to prevent and accidental inputs when you are handling the computer making it much more convenient. There is also a mode where you can handwrite words and characters and the computer will interpret those, which is great for writing notes if that’s what you’re used to. 

Lenovo Yoga 9i: Performance

Now, this isn’t meant to be a high-performance gaming or video rendering machine. But, with an 11th gen Intel Core i7 1185G7 running at 3.0Ghz and integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics, it’s great for multitasking work, video, and most everyday tasks. That being said, with graphic settings on low I was still able to get over 60fps playing Valorant. So, it’s not going to be a great pick for the latest AAA titles, but games that are optimized for low-performance machines will work well.

Lenovo Yoga 9i: Battery life

Under normal light use, the Yoga 9i does well for battery life in this configuration with an integrated 60Wh battery. Using PCMark 10 to benchmark some figures, under the normal workload benchmark the Yoga 9i lasted 7:28 until the battery saver kicked on at 20% battery and stopped the benchmark. I had the display almost all the way up to the highest setting during this benchmark, as well. 

Under heavy load with the gaming battery benchmark on PCMark 10, the Yoga 9i lasted about 2 hours and 18 minutes. Getting the Yoga 9i back up to 100% took about two hours and 15 minutes. 

Even when under heavy load I didn’t find the Yoga 9i overly loud or excessively hot. I was able to leave it on my lap and it remained quieter than my old MacBook Pro even when at full load.

Dolby Atmos on a Laptop?

When it comes to audio, laptops and tablets are rarely ever impressive. Throwing a Dolby Atmos rating on top of that look good on paper, but how does it really perform? 

I mean, for a laptop it does sound pretty impressive. No distortion even at high volumes, but there really isn’t much bass present. Picking out the bass line in Our Day Will Come by Amy Winehouse, which has typically has a pretty forward bass line, was near impossible. And while clarity is pretty impressive for picking out different instruments, there isn’t much in the way of stereo separation. 

But, vocals are crisp and clear as well as instruments in higher registers. Metal tracks like Protest the Hero’s Mist came through with clarity. 

And one of the bonuses here is the rotating soundbar that hinges the screen. When entering tablet or tent mode, the speakers are at a better angle for projecting in different directions. Don’t expect to get a huge bass response out of the Yoga 9i, but you’ll be able to hear everything else very crisp and clear. 

1080p 60Hz Dolby Vision touch display

In addition to Dolby Atmos for audio, the Lenovo Yoga 9i also has a Dolby Vision certification, at least on this 1080 FHD version. This display offers up to 400-nits of brightness with a glossy surface. 

Lenovo claims a color space of 72% NTSC, which is equivalent to 99% sRGB. In my experience, colors are vivid and look great on the 1080p display.  Watching Netflix and other media on the Yoga 9i looks great thanks to that color range.

Adequate Webcam

For productivity and web conferencing, the Yoga 9i also has a webcam above the screen. While a light will turn on when the camera is active, there is also a slider to cover up the camera for those who are worried about privacy. At 720p, video quality isn’t anything great, but it will get you by when you need to use the laptop for video conferencing.

Other Premium Features

The Yoga 9i also has some other premium features to help make the user experience easier. One of those is the fingerprint reader located just under the arrow keys on the right side of the computer. This in combination with the fast boot time thanks to that PCIe SSD makes the time from pressing the power button to being fully logged into Windows about 12 seconds.

9to5Toys’ Take

All of these things together make a versatile and easy-to-use laptop. Need to knock out some emails? Put it in laptop mode and use the keyboard and CPU to cut through digital conversations. Traveling and want to kick back and watch a movie? Flip it over into tablet mode or tent mode and enjoy the clear Dolby Atmos sound.

Its lightweight and sleek design also make it easy to carry along when traveling and fit into a workplace or boardroom. The tent mode is great for presentations, and the rotating soundbar makes sure that viewers can hear the audio clearly as well. 

The touchscreen and included pen are great for those who like to do some light graphic work or are also more used to taking notes with a physical pen. 

But, it’s definitely not for everybody. If you intend on gaming or need the extra power for more creative work like video editing, photo editing, or 3D projects, you might be better served with a laptop more in the gaming realm. But, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Yoga 9i for what is it – A powerful and versatile thin and that light can be used for much more than just crushing spreadsheets and emails.

Buy Lenovo Yoga 9i

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