The Lenovo laptop range is a comprehensive one, but if you’re looking for the top tier consumer models it’s the Yoga series you’re after. The Lenovo Yoga 9i is one of their top tier models at the moment, and with a fresh copy of Windows 11 on board, Lenovo has sent one over for review.
The convertible laptop offers a versatile option with an 11th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, 8 GB RAM and 512GB of onboard storage and a large 14” Dolby Vision compatible display that’s offered with a leather cover on the rear of the display and comes with an integrated stylus for $2,699.
The Yoga laptops are Lenovo’s premium consumer design, with the 360-degree hinge, and of course great quality components.
I’ve been using the Lenovo Yoga 9i for two weeks now, and here’s how it went.
Hardware and Design
The Lenovo Yoga 9i is a dark laptop with a black lower deck with the 14” display covered with leather. The leather covering on the lid of the laptop isn’t a first, but it’s the first I’ve experienced on a Lenovo laptop and it’s done very nicely.
The Lenovo Yoga 9i comes in Shadow Black for this model, which includes a leather top panel on the rear of the display.
It’s real leather, though it’s very likely just a very thin layer, but it does feel nice – especially on cold mornings when a metallic shell can be a bit painful to touch.
The longevity of the leather is definitely something of an unanswered question. If you manage to tear or scratch the leather lid, it would likely be a lot more noticeable than a metal lid. I’m not willing to try scratching the review unit, but suffice it to say, you should probably be a little careful with the leather.
It’s a personal preference, but to me, the overall Black colour scheme of the Lenovo Yoga 9i is just a thing of beauty.
There’s a few ports included on the Lenovo Yoga 9i, with Dual USB-C (USB 3.2) Thunderbolt 4 ports which support high-speed data transfer, Power Delivery (3.0) and Display Port 1.4, as well as full-sized USB-A port (USB 3.2) and of course a combo audio jack.
It’s great to see a full-sized USB type A port on a laptop, giving you easier access to legacy peripherals. The USB-C ports are of course easy to use for power out, or just plugging in a USB-C hub for even more options.
Overall, it’s a great design that’s lightweight and easy to transport with a versatile set of ports.
With an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor, 8GB LPDDR4 RAM and a 256GB M.2 SSD the Lenovo Yoga 9i also isn’t short on power. It’s also using the Intel Xe graphics which Intel launched with their 11th Gen processors.
Overall, performance on the Yoga 9i is almost flawless for all your general day-to-day work in the browser, or office apps. The limitation is the 8GB of RAM, though you can opt for up to 16GB on the Yoga 9i.
Gaming isn’t great, as you’d expect with an Intel Xe graphics chipset, but it’s not bad. I can play The Forest or The Ascent with a decentish frame-rate, though with reduced graphics options, with The Forest sitting around 40fps, while the Ascent sat around 30-35 most of the time.
Overall, the performance for business is fantastic but gaming is probably best described as ok, giving you some good options for using your laptop.
The display is an IPS LCD, 14-inch in size with a FHD (1920×1080) resolution and comes with a max peak brightness of 400nits. The display is Dolby Vision compatible for those popping visuals and of course it’s multi-touch.
The brightness and clarity of display are great when working in the office, though the gloss finish on the glass makes for a reflective surface which is somewhat of a problem if you decide to head outdoors. It’s also somewhat of a fingerprint magnet, so keep a cloth handy.
There’s a 360-degree hinge connecting the display to the lower deck which moves freely when you need it to, but lets you position the screen any way you want and it stays there. Wiith 360-degrees of movement, you can run it as a traditional clamshell or all the way round into tablet mode and any position in between.
Camera, Keyboard, Trackpad and Fingerprints
Lenovo keyboards on their laptops have always been good, the Yoga 9i keyboard has been slightly recessed into the lower deck of the Yoga 9i. It’s not too far though, with the front panel of the laptop adding a wrist rest of more comfortable typing. It’s a decent keyboard with the key caps spaced out quite nicely, though the keycaps are flat and I prefer a slight curve to rest my fingers on.
The keyboard is backlit with the FN+SpaceBar key combination letting you turn it on or off, or amp up the brightness settings.
While the keyboard is good, the touchpad leaves something to be desired.
The marketing on the Lenovo website describes the Touchpad ‘all-new Glass Sense touchpad which brings a whole new experience with 50% more active surface area and haptic feedback.’
The size is great and it sits centred on the lower deck which is comfortable for typing. The haptic feedback when you click though is, well, almost non-existent. You can barely feel any feedback from it at all. There’s settings for the Touchpad in Windows, but not one for the haptics, so while you can amp the sensitivity, you can’t tell it to be more forceful on feedback.
There’s a webcam on the Lenovo Yoga 9i, but it can only capture 720p resolution and also has no Windows Hello support. This means it’s ok for basic video conferencing, but not a lot else.
Thankfully for those needing some secure login options there is a Windows Hello fingerprint sensor on the lower deck just below the keyboard. Once setup, it’s decently fast and accurate, making the laptop security a little more convenient for you to use.
Lenovo has never been backwards in partnering with companies to offer a more premium experience and that’s true of the Yoga 9i, with their continuing partnership with Dolby yielding an Atmos compatible sound setup.
The audio on the Yoga 9i includes the innovative rotating soundbar integrated into the hinge, which is complemented by the dual downward firing woofers in the base. It makes for a good sound all round, with clear audio for speaking and a good deal of power when needed for those on-screen explosions in movies.
It’s really good sound. That’s not something I’m used to saying for laptops, but that soundbar coupled with the downward firing speakers sound really good with the laptop in any position.
The laptop includes a 4-cell, 60Wh integrated battery. Lenovo advertises ‘up to 17 hours’ of battery life on their FHD resolution model on their site:
I didn’t manage to see 17 hours of use. I personally averaged around a full day of use at lower screen brightness. It was a solid 8 hours of work, ranging from simple web surfing, office work and playing videos, through to editing some video and photos.
The benchmark of 17 hours is from ‘MobileMark® 2014’ according to the Lenovo site, so take it with a grain of salt. That said, you’ll get a full business day of use out of it – though if you use a secondary display this drops again.
In terms of charging, you get a 65W USB-C charger in the box. The laptop supports rapid charging, with Lenovo dubbing it ‘Rapid Charge Express’ which can give you up to 3-hours of runtime with a single 15 minute charge. It’s handy if you need it to be on the go very quickly, but a full charge takes a touch under 2 hours.
An interesting addition to the Yoga 9i is the garaged stylus. The stylus is stored in the rear of the laptop along the back edge on the right side around from the power button. The stylus is powered, charging while inside the laptop, and comes with an ‘Elastometer’ nib which Lenovo says ‘replicates the feeling of writing on paper’.
The stylus is easily removed from the ‘garage’, but sits flush and out of the way when not in use.
The stylus can be used to select, or tap on Windows touch targets letting you navigate around the system. You can of course fire up graphics apps to draw with it or even into MSWord if you want to take some quick notes. The note-taking feels pretty decent, though not quite where you get with an Apple Pencil, or even a stylus from a Galaxy Note.
It’s a handy addition to the laptop feature set if you’re into using stylii, or it just sits out of the way unobtrusively if you don’t.
Enjoy writing notes or making sketches with the new garaged pen that features the Elastometer nib which replicates the feeling of writing on paper. And for added form and function, the leather model has an edge-to-edge glass palm rest with the all-new Glass Sense touchpad which brings a whole new experience with 50% more active surface area and haptic feedback.
The Lenovo Yoga 9i comes with Windows 10 Home pre-installed, but there is of course a free update to Windows 11 available if you want it.
There’s the usual cruft installed on the Lenovo Yoga 9i, the usual MS Office trial, a Mcafee LiveSafe trial and of course all the Lenovo utilities for the Dolby Atmos/Vision tuning and more.
While these applications are expected, the bloatware is getting a little worse each generation with the laptop also coming with Disney+ pre-installed. You also get icons for a variety of apps like TikTok, Amazon Prime Video, Roblox and PhotoShop Express in your start menu which then install the app once you select them.
For anyone who likes a clean Windows install to start off their laptop, the inclusion of these apps is annoying, but you can get rid of them. As usual, my advice is to spend a half hour sorting out the pre-installed app situation on your laptop and then it’s smooth sailing from there.
Should you buy it?
The Lenovo Yoga 9i offers a sleek looking device in black with good battery life, screen and some great audio. The 360-degree hinge offers a number of form factors to help you get work done, or just help you relax the way you want.
There’s some niggly issues like the trackpad, and overall I’m not sure the leather on the back of the display adds much to the proposition – but as a laptop, the Yoga 9i is a fantastic laptop.
At $2,699, the price tag is almost as attractive as the laptop itself, though if you shop around you may find some better deals – but that’s a good price for the hardware included and the performance.
You can find out more about the Lenovo Yoga 9i on the Lenovo website, or start checking out your favourite retailers to see one on display – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.