Lenovo Yoga 9i 2-in-1 review: an elite package

The Lenovo Yoga 9i 2-in-1 is one of the sleekest laptops you can buy

It’s been a while since the Lenovo Yoga 9i was upgraded to the latest 11th-gen silicone from Intel and finally, I’ve managed to get my hands on the device. As is on-brand for the Yoga series, the laptop has an extremely slim form factor, a hinge that rotates 360-degrees, a lightweight design, and a crisp display. However, the massive starting price of Rs 1,70,490 can act as a deterrent for many. In this review of the Yoga 9i, let’s find out how the devices fares in real-life usage. 

The lowdown

I’m a fan of the Shadow Black colour option on the laptop which features a matte-like feel across the chassis. Lenovo even offers an optional genuine leather cover that is hand-crafted via a 20-step process and feels extremely premium to the touch, much like the Alcantara fabric on the base of Microsoft’s Surface series of laptops. At 15mm, the Yoga 9i is amongst the thinnest notebooks in the market, tipping the scales at 1.3kgs. Both these factors become even more impressive when you hear the astonishingly good speaker system packed inside the chassis, which I will get to in more detail later. The hinge actually acts as the front-firing soundbar for the speakers while also allowing a smooth rotation of the lid all the way back. All the ports are placed on the left of the device with just the power button on the right… and this does feel less than ideal. To wit, there are two USB C Thunderbolt 4 ports along with a USB A 3.2 port and 3.5mm headphone/mic combo. You can charge the device using either of the two USB C ports and both of them also have DisplayPort functionality as well. 

One of the biggest highlights of the device is its 14-inch display which, apart from being a touchscreen, offers a UHD (3,840 x 2,160) resolution with a standard 60Hz refresh rate. It is HDR compliant, though the feature only turns on when the device is plugged in for charging, and there is support for Dolby Vision too. Lenovo claims a 90 percent coverage of the DCI-P3 colour gamut and up to 500nits of peak brightness. While my usage never fully utilised the 4K display, I was more than impressed with the colour accuracy and sharp contrast ratios on the panel. The off-axis colour shift of the LCD panel was fairly noticeable but overall the viewing angles on the laptop are quite nice and the addition of Dolby Vision provides a more than stellar viewing experience. There is also a stylus provided with the laptop for better utilisation of the touch screen. I believe the Yoga 9i’s display can accomplish excellent colour grading and should be considered by creative professionals and photo editing enthusiasts. 

Lenovo employs a standard chiclet-style six-row keyboard that has average travel and a reasonably quiet typing experience. The backlighting is white in colour and has two levels of intensity making it easy to type in the dark. The keyboard offers a good typing experience, though I did wish the enter key was slightly bigger. The trackpad below sits extremely flush with the chassis and camouflages itself in the black colour almost to the point of invisibility. The haptic feedback on the trackpad mimics the realistic press of a button, which is appreciated but I do feel the overall touch response could have been better. 

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The Yoga 9i’s processing capabilities rest on the Intel 11th-gen i7-1185G7 processor with four cores and eight threads. It employs a 10nm SuperFin manufacturing process, with the max frequency on each of the i7-1185G7’s four cores set to 4.8GHz under sustained load. The Yoga 9i is part of Intel’s Evo platform which means that it’s able to provide lighting fast wake up from sleep speeds, at least 10 hours of battery life at FHD resolution and more. My usage of the Yoga 9i included binge-watching a couple of TV series, typing up this review while having a dozen Chrome tabs operating simultaneously, and the usual day-to-day tasks. I consistently got up to 4-5 hours of screen-on time with the screen resolution set to 4K. The rather thin chassis design doesn’t leave a lot of room for thermal outlets and as a result, the Yoga 9i got a little too hot after running relatively stressful tasks such as Cinebench R23.  This was a common theme during my usage of the device and there were quite a few instances of thermal throttling.

Apart from that, the device works reasonably well as an everyday machine to carry around and use for office work. Of course, anything graphically demanding is not conducive to the integrated Iris Xe graphics. Casual gamers can run something like Valorant for a while but only at low graphics. My unit came with 16GB of soldered LPDDR4x RAM and 1TB of PCIe SSD storage which should be sufficient for most users. There is a fingerprint scanner for biometrics but no face recognition, which is a bummer. The Dolby Atmos-powered speakers on the Yoga 9i are among the best I’ve ever heard outside the realms of Apple’s MacBook Pro 16-inch. The rotating soundbar design enables a front-firing speaker setup in any orientation and is supported by two subwoofers and two tweeters. I can say with full conviction that the speakers play a huge part in making the Yoga 9i one of the best media consumption devices on the market. 

The device comes with a 60WHr battery that is rated for up to 10 hours. As I had mentioned earlier, at UHD resolution and about 60 percent brightness levels, I got up to 4-5 hours of operating time. Reducing the screen resolution to FHD, the usage increased to about 8 hours, which is decent but not groundbreaking. The good thing is that a 30-minute charge can juice up the battery by more than half, which should last up to 4 hours at 1080p. 

Final verdict

The Lenovo Yoga 9i is an expensive proposition for sure but the display quality and the incredible speakers do leave a lasting impression. Design-wise, there are only a few which can oust the Yoga 9i in terms of portability and sleekness, while still maintaining a robust chassis. Intel’s 11th-gen i7 silicone provides reasonably good performance too. If you want the best of what Lenovo can offer for a productive day-to-day workflow in a stylish package and can afford the Rs 1,70,490 outlay, the Lenovo Yoga 9i gets a thumbs up from me. 

Editor’s rating: 3.5 / 5

Pros:

  • Super-sleek and lightweight
  • Excellent speakers
  • Dolby Vision makes for a great viewing experience

Cons:

  • All ports on just one side
  • Thermal design could be better