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Review: Lenovo Yoga 9i 2-in-1 Laptop

This elegant portable brings style and power to the conference table or coffee shop.
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Lenovo Yoga 9i laptop
Photograph: Lenovo

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Elegant, rounded design. Amazing sound. Great OLED display. Solid performance. Good selection of ports, including headphone jack. Nice keyboard with useful function buttons.
Integrated graphics. Power button on the side is odd.

Lenovo's latest Yoga 9i is everything a flagship laptop should be: powerful, sleek, and portable, with an excellent 2.8K OLED display. The latest iteration of the 9i even includes Bowers & Wilkins speakers in the rotating soundbar hinge for some truly impressive sound (for a laptop).

The 9i uses Intel's 13th-generation processors with integrated graphics. That will be the only real rub for some: the lack of a dedicated graphics card. Otherwise this laptop is a tech-savvy traveler's dream.

Simple, Stylish
Photograph: Lenovo

The Yoga 9i has enough business vibes to it that no one is going to look at you funny when you lay it on the conference room table, but it's also very much not a brick-like Thinkpad. The 2023 Yoga 9i is a stylish, powerful 2-in-1 convertible with a unique, impressive soundbar. It's now on its eighth revision, and at this point Lenovo pretty much has things down. This release is largely a spec bump.

You’ll find the same rounded edges and overall elegant design as the last release, which is one of my favorite aspects. I wish more laptops embraced rounded edges. Why make sharp edges right where your wrists are going to rest for hours at time? Typing on the 9i was noticeably more comfortable on my wrists than my Lenovo T14, which has sharper edges.

There are two colors available, a light Oatmeal and a darker Gray model. All models use a 13th-generation Intel i7 chip (1360P) and come with 16 GB of RAM (soldered, not upgradeable). Prices start at $1,700 for the 2.8K model with 512-GB SSD, which I tested, and go up for the 4K OLED screen version with a 1-TB SSD. The price puts them in the luxury laptop range, and the design and overall 2-in-1 styling reflects that as well.

Probably the most impressive aspect of the 9i is the sound. Lenovo has tucked two Bowers & Wilkins 2W tweeters into the hinge and added two 3W woofers on the bottom. The result is the best sound I've ever heard come out of a laptop. Admittedly, laptops make a low bar when it comes to sound, but this thing sounds good. Like actually good. It's even better in "tent" mode, which is what you'd want for watching movies.

The 14-inch display is equally impressive. I was quite sure Lenovo had sent the 4K version until I checked the specs and realized I'd been using the 2.8K version for two weeks thinking it was a 4K. That actually made me think I'd probably skip the 4K version and get the improved battery life of a slightly less hi-res screen. The 2.8K screen also has a 90-Hz refresh rate to the 4K's 60 Hz, which makes the lower density screen slightly smoother and better for gaming (though you won't do much gaming with the integrated graphics).

Lenovo claims 100 percent DCI-P3 color accuracy, and in my testing I found that my screen supported 100 percent of the sRGB space and 98 percent Adobe RGB color space. I mention my screen because Lenovo screens sometimes vary within the same product line, but these results are generally in keeping with what you'd expect for an OLED screen.

Unlike some other premium laptops these days—cough, Dell XPS 13, cough—there are plenty of ports on the Yoga 9i. On the left side there are two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports, along with one USB-A port. On the right you get another USB-C port (oddly, not Thunderbolt 4, though you can charge with it) and headphone jack. Sadly, though, you'll also find a power button on the side. I detest this. I always seem to grab it when I carry it around, inadvertently shutting down the laptop. Not a deal breaker, but something to be aware of if you're similarly clumsy.

Some Cool Keys, an Awkward Power Button
Photograph: Lenovo

The keyboard is one of the more interesting features of the Yoga 9i. It has flat chiclet-style keys that are fine. They're not high end and not all that pleasant to type on, but they work. What's interesting is that the far right side of the keyboard has a series of one-touch function keys for controlling performance settings, audio settings, and color settings, even adding a background blur to the webcam with a single button. There's also a fingerprint reader. I actually found these keys very useful, particularly the power profile button. By dialing back the power when I was just browsing the web, I was able to get more out of the battery.

The touchpad is huge for a 14-inch laptop, on par with Apple’s MacBook Pro 14-inch, and it worked well with the multitouch gestures built into Windows. The Yoga 9i also comes with an active stylus. It works great for taking notes, and seems like it might be okay for a little sketching as well.

Good for Working Movie Nerds
Photograph: Lenovo

I am happy to report that the webcam in the Yoga 9i is also pretty good. It's 2.1 MP, with a 16:9 view, giving you 1080p video capture. It's not 5-MP quality like you'll find in some recent machines, but it's the best webcam I've tested on a laptop this year.

The Yoga 9i has a 75 watt-hour battery, which boasts the same Rapid Charge Boost feature found in other recent Lenovos, like the Slim Pro 7 (8/10, WIRED Recommends). I managed 11 hours and 17 minutes in our standard battery test, which loops a 1080p film (local) with the brightness at 75 percent. In more realistic testing, like just using it for work for a few weeks, I was able to regularly get 12 hours, sometimes more so long as I kept the brightness dialed back a bit. That's pretty good for an OLED laptop.

While there is much to love about Yoga 9i, it is clearly not aimed at gamers. Even casual gamers will likely be disappointed by the integrated graphics performance. If, however, you're in the market for a stylish, reasonably powerful laptop with awesome sound and a great, movie-friendly OLED display, the Yoga 9i is a great choice.