Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i Review

It’s fair to say that Lenovo makes some very good laptops. Just about every device we’ve seen has ended up at (or nearly at) the top of our monthly group test ranks. The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is a little different in that it’s something of a more-experimental form factor – two touch-screen OLED displays linked by a 360-degree hinge. So, how practical and innovative is it, whose productivity can it boost and who should buy it?

Lenovo Yoga Book Specs

Screen2 x 13.3-inch glossy, 60Hz, 2,880 x 1,880, OLED, touchscreen displays
Processor3.7-5.0GHz Intel Core i7-1355U CPU
Memory16GB LPDDR5-6400 RAM
Graphics1.3GHz Intel Xe GPU
Hard drive512GB
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6E
Bluetooth 5.1
3 x Thunderbolt 4
Speakers4 x 2-Watt
MicrophonesDual array
Webcam1,440p
Extra SecurityWindows Hello (webcam)
Webcam E-shutter
TPM 2.0
Battery80Wh
Dimensions299 x 204 x 16mm
Weight1.34KG
SKU13IRU8
Full specs here.

Features, Ergonomics and Design

At a basic level, the Yoga Book 9 looks like a prop from Star Trek and so it insta-wins the catwalk competition, in our minds. The two OLED screens, which are joined by a 360-degree hinge (that also contains speakers), look awesome in every configuration it’s in… and there are a few.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review open book
You can quickly see why the Yoga Book is called a book (although, to be fair, checking that the screens had rotated vertically would have made for a better shot. Here it’s more like a calendar, on its side).

Its fundamental form is a laptop with no physical keyboard – the second screen can magic one up either by jabbing an icon in the taskbar or, more usefully, using a three-point finger-touch for the trackpad or an eight-finger touch for both the keyboard and the trackpad. The trackpad works exactly as you’d hope and we didn’t miss the tactile button pressing. The keyboard works well too but it’s unsurprisingly firm and harsh for extended typing.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review open
The Yoga Book 9i with virtual keyboard and trackpad.

The Yoga Book 9 also comes with a small rechargeable keyboard. If you place on top of the top-half of the bottom screen(!) a virtual trackpad appears below to complement it. The typing position is a little advanced, but it still feels mostly like a regular laptop – just not quite as good.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review front wedge
The separate keyboard has a Bluetooth on-and-off switch plus a USB-C port for charging. The whole laptop also comes with a robust piece of magnetic card that can be folded into a wedge, for inclination.

The keyboard itself is comfortable to type upon but the lack of wrist rest can get a little tiring after a while. That it can be used away from the screen is useful though.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review oblique keyboard
Yoga Book 9i with the physical keyboard and virtual trackpad. If you slide the keyboard down, you lose the trackpad but gain either more Desktop real estate or Windows widgets. Moving the keyboard engages a magnetic connection to keep it in the same place.

You can also use an origami-like cover to set both screens up vertically with the keyboard magnetically connected at the base – making it function like a reasonable, two-screen desktop. It can also come with an (optional) Bluetooth mouse.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review front dual-screen
Yoga Book 9i in Desktop mode.

In addition to the separate keyboard, Lenovo provides a stylus (which can be attached to the origami cover by an integrated loop.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review side view
The Yoga Book 9i in ‘Desktop’ mode.

The screens can also be folded back-to-back where one gets deactivated and the other acts like a tablet.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review tent
On its way to becoming a tablet, the Yoga Book 9i can first become a two-screened tent: perfect for playing Battleships.

In some ways, carting around the six different pieces is a bit fiddly but we soon got used to dealing with the main components in the form factor we knew we’d use on a particular occasion. Still, if too much choice gives you anxiety, there are simpler options out there.

The 13.3-inch OLED screens themselves have a UHD, 2,880 x 1,880 resolution and a glossy finish. They display a very sharp Windows Desktop, vibrant colours and true blacks. The graphical performance extends into multimedia where the Windows HDR compatibility shines through – videos exhibit dramatically improved contrast (with details appearing in both dark and bright areas simultaneously). Plus, there are smooth transitions in both colourful and monochromatic gradients.

We did find that the displays could get confused sometimes, though. When brightness was ramped all the way up in HDR mode, content in bright areas got completely blown out, but this was rare and simply flicking the virtual HDR switch in the Windows Settings remedied the situation.

Both screens have 60Hz refresh rates and this, when combined with a rather slow pixel response time, meant that fast-moving objects got a little blurry – but only in a way that would affect gamers playing competitive shooters.

Lenovo has fitted two 2-Watt speakers and two, 2-Watt subwoofers in the Yoga Book 9i’s hinge and the resulting sound is very impressive. There’s some punchy bass and audio fidelity is very good from the top to bottom end. It helps make it a great multimedia device.

There’s a UHD, 1,440p webcam which captures impressively clear video while impressively fighting-off grain in low light. It also has an IR camera which makes it Windows Hello compatible for face-recognition login. A switch on the right side of the lower half acts as an E-Shutter. There’s a dual-array microphone which does well at capturing clear audio, even in a noisy environment.

Ultimately, it’s fun to interact with, but a traditional laptop is better at performing traditional laptop tasks. The ability to operate with two, separate, equal-sized screens opens productivity doors for dual-screen office work. You can also watch multimedia while performing other tasks. If you use a stylus, it’s handy for creator workloads and if you want to use it as an occasional two screen desktop replacement it performs such duties well. If this sounds attractive, it might be what you’ve been looking for.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i: Photo Flourish

Our Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review photos feature a guest appearance from a can of “Duff a l’orange.” Only 20 calories!

Performance

Inside Lenovo’s Yoga Book 9i is a 3.7 – 5.0GHz Intel Core i7-1355U processor with two Performance cores and eight Efficiency cores which operate across 12 threads. It’s partnered by 16GB of fast, low-power LPDDR5-6400 RAM and a speedy 512GB NVMe hard drive.

In the PCMark 10 ‘general computing’ test, the 9i scored 5,692 which is just below average in the big, wide world of laptops but impressive for something so thin. It struggled in the Cinebench CPU rendering tests though: in the rapid, R15 test it scored 1,419 while in the longer R23 test it scored 7,952. If you want to use the 9i for rendering, you’ll be waiting around for longer than usual.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review closed book
The Yoga Book 9i looking like a book.

3D Performance comes via the integrated Intel Xe graphics which operate at a relatively swift 1.3GHz. However, that’s a bit like saying you’re entering a turbo-charged donkey in the Melbourne Cup.

It wouldn’t run the difficult 3DMark ray-tracing tests. In the AAA-gaming-title-mimicking Time Spy and Fire Strike Extreme tests, the Yoga Book scored 1,848 (average 10fps) and 2,502 (average 11fps) respectively. So, you’ll struggle if you’re a big-time gamer.

However, in the easier 3DMark Night Raid test, which apes casual and competitive games, the Yoga Book scored 18,001 which is an average framerate of 105fps. As such, it can play phone-grade games comfortably and they can potentially look very good with the two screens – especially if the second screen offers additional functionality – like a track map in a racing game.

The 9i’s cooling system is somewhat different to rivals. The ‘top’ screen is where the components lie and so it can get rather warm, but who cares? The cool half is what will likely end up on your lap. Also, the fans don’t make any distracting noise, even when under load.

Connectivity

Describing which way is up on a dual screen, ass-backwards device like this, is tricky, but hopefully, you can understand the following.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review left
On the ‘left’ of the Yoga Book 9i (which can also be the bottom) there’s a Thunderbolt 4 port.
Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review right
On the ‘right’ (which can be the top) there are two more Thunderbolt 4 ports, the webcam’s E-shutter switch and the power button.

Inside the 9i is Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1 wireless connectivity. Not having a USB-A port is a bit annoying and one of the Thunderbolt ports is used for charging. But, three is better than two, although a dongle would have been welcome.

Portability and Battery Life

Lenovo’s Yoga Book 9i is very solidly built and has a very robust hinge. At the same time, the lack of give on the chassis means you should take extra care not to drop it.

It weighs just 1.34KG and the phone-type charger only adds an extra 181g. The keyboard, cover, stylus and cardboard wedge thing are all trivial in weight and you don’t need them for many applications anyway.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review components
Yoga Book 9i components.

Meanwhile, the 80Wh battery ran the PCMark 10 Modern Office test for a decent 11 hours and 25 minutes (when in dual-screen-only laptop mode) which is impressive. It’s a highly portable device.

Price and Availability

The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is available now for $4,299. On the one hand, that’s expensive for an ultraportable laptop. On the other, it’s dramatically cheaper than the folding, single-screen OLED convertible alternatives we’ve seen lately.

3 Alternatives to Lenovo’s Yoga Book 9i

There are only three quasi-obvious alternatives to the Yoga Book 9i that we’ve seen in recent times.

Asus Zenbook 17 Fold OLED – Asus’s 17-inch folding OLED tablet was the first one-piece convertible we saw. It’s very first-gen but the single screen is a step up from the 9i. It’s very expensive, though.

HP Spectre Foldable 17 – The second-gen version of a folding OLED tablet is more refined than Asus’ but it’s even more expensive!

Asus Zenbook Pro 14 Duo OLED It has a second screen for some well-tailored productivity boosts and it’s much cheaper than the 9i. It has a slightly awkward layout but, might be more practical, though.

Conclusion: Should you buy the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i?

It’s tricky to answer this question. If it appeals to you, then go for it. The main people we’ve seen benefit from the potential productivity boosts that it affords, are creators who use a stylus and who also want a laptop form factor – but that covers most existing convertibles and they cost much less.

Another pontential market is the high-level execs who like the idea of traveling with the folding OLED one-piece convertibles from HP and Asus (above), but can’t justify their huge price. However, having two separate panels instead of one, cancels out some of the large-screen benefits we saw with those.

Ultimately, having two distinct, similarly sized screens has the potential to boost your productivity, whether you’re working creatively, with spreadsheets or with multimedia in the background. If, this sounds like you, check it out as it could just be what you’ve been looking for. It’s not going to change the whole laptop market, though.

Awards

High Recommended Portable Laptop Award

Pros

Great screens
Highly versatile form factor
Portable

Cons

Expensive
A bit fiddly

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