Lenovo Yoga 9i review
With most of us continuing to work from home for the foreseeable future, buying a brand-new laptop has become a priority for many. Sales of PCs have boomed over the last year. At the same time, there’s never been so much choice with an ever-growing list of Windows 10-powered machines for users to pick from. Standing out from the crowd can be tricky for manufacturers, but Lenovo is hoping to do just that with its new Yoga 9i.
Not only does this device transform from a laptop into a tablet, but it also comes clad in real leather for a truly luxurious feel. There’s also a powerful processor, an Apple-style trackpad with haptic feedback, and a stylus bundled in that lets you write and scribble on the glorious 4K display.
Sound enticing? Express.co.uk has been putting the 9i through its paces and here’s our full review.
Lenovo Yoga 9i review
Straight out of the box, the Lenovo Yoga 9i will certainly catch your eye as it’s not only paper-thin but can also be purchased in a luxury black leather finish. This makes it stand out from the crowd of boxy, black and grey laptops, but also gives it a supremely premium feel.
Having a leather laptop might not be for everyone, but we really like what Lenovo’s design team has done with this Yoga. Adding a touch of material to the case makes it feel pretty unique and it certainly beats many of the boring black plastic laptops than line the shelves of technology stores.
However, before you get too excited, buying the 9i in leather does come with a word of warning. In fact, Lenovo has included a whole leaflet in the box about the dos and don’ts of owning this machine, which included keeping it dry at all times and out of direct sunlight.
We’re also not sure how it will look after years of being shoved into your rucksack, so it’s worth thinking about how much punishment you’ll be putting it through before hitting the buy button. If you’re worried by any of this – a standard metal finish is also available but the leather certainly sets it apart from most of its rivals so, for our money, it’s a risk worth taking.
Flip open that leather lid and the premium feel continues inside. First off, there’s a stunning 14-inch 4K Ultra HD touch display that offers a truly fabulous viewing experience. Whether it’s bashing out an email, checking the web or bingeing on Netflix, everything on the screen appears bright, pin-sharp and packed full of vivid colours.
As mentioned above, this is also a clever 2-in-1 machine which means the display can be flipped to instantly transform the laptop into a large tablet.
The model we tested comes with a stunning 4K display
Lenovo Yoga 9i review
The hinge is also firm enough to allow the screen to be set at any angle and this works in both laptop and tablet mode meaning you can easily stand up the screen when using it without the keyboard.
When it’s time to get some work done you’ll find a fully backlit keyboard with well-spaced keys that offer plenty of travel. We’ve spent hours using the Yoga 9i and the keyboard is supremely accurate and enjoyable to use.
In fact, we’d go as far as to say that it’s one of the best keyboards we’ve tested in a long while. If you’re buying a laptop for some endurance typing …this might just be the best option around.
Once you’ve had enough of ploughing through boring emails, the Yoga 9i transforms into an excellent machine for entertainment and it’s not just that 4K screen that makes it ideal for a Netflix binge.
Tucked in the hinge is a mini soundbar that even includes Dolby Atmos for 360-degree sound. This speaker booms out audio with a decent level of bass and volume plus it works just as well in tablet mode as it does when you switch back to the standard laptop.
The trackpad and fingerprint scanner sit flush with the case making them hard to find
The Lenovo Yoga 9i features a very good soundbar with Dolby audio
Helping you power through everyday tasks is the latest Intel Core i7 processor which can cope with pretty much anything without the hint of a stutter. There’s also 8GB of RAM in the base model but this can be beefed up to 16GB if you think you’ll need it.
The option to bump up the 512GB of internal storage to 1TB is also available although the more you add the more that will be removed from your bank account.
The base machine currently costs £999.95 in Lenovo’s flash sale with the top-end 4K model demanding a price of over £1,600. Outside of the sale, you’re looking at closer to £2,000.
Other nice features worth a mention include a stylus tucked in the case which allows you to scribble on the screen without using your finger. It’s a nice touch although this digital pen doesn’t have the same premium feel as the rest of the laptop which is a shame.
There’s a 720p camera which is actually pretty good considering the low resolution and is perfectly adequate for those endless zoom calls we are all making. Lenovo has also included a neat little shutter to cover the webcam if worried about privacy.
You’ll also find plenty of ports including a standard USB-A and two USB-C Thunderbolt sockets. It’s a smart move from Lenovo as it gives users choice without needing a bag full of dongles. It’s just a shame that all of these ports are placed on one side. That’s a small niggle but there are some bigger faults that have frustrated us during our time with the 9i.
A stylus tucks inside the rear case
The Lenovo Yoga 9i comes with plenty of ports although they are all on one side
Lenovo has tried to make this PC feel ultra-premium and in doing so has made the trackpad and fingerprint scanner sit completely flush with the case.
It does look great but it’s made the fingerprint scanner frustratingly hard to use. With no indent, you can see where to put your finger and we ended up leaving the instruction sticker on so we could spot this security feature with a little more ease. When you do place your finger on the scanner we also had a very hit and miss experience with it not always working. In fact, we often ended up just bashing in our password to gain access to the screen.
Lenovo has also opted for an Apple-style force touch trackpad which is good but just can compete with what the MacBook offers.
Instead of a physical click, Lenovo now uses haptic feedback to make it appear you are tapping on the trackpad. Apple has nailed this technology but the Yoga 9i doesn’t offer the same user experience and it takes a lot of getting used to.
Battery life is pretty average and you certainly won’t want to head out for the day without taking a charger with you. We were testing the 4K version which eats into power more than if you opt for the standard 1080p screen. After six hours of streaming video, the tank was almost empty which isn’t terrible but it’s certainly not market-leading.
We guess you’ll need to decide what’s more important as 4K looks great but might not be so appealing if you’re on the road all day. And that’s our final moan as the adaptor that’s supplied with the 9i is massive. With other companies making these battery boosters so much smaller we have no idea why Lenovo ships this premium laptop with such a horribly chunky cable and giant power pack.
Lenovo Yoga 9i review
Lenovo Yoga 9i review: Final Verdict
PROS – Stunning design • Leather feels super premium • Glorious 4K screen and excellent audio • Great keyboard • Easily becomes a tablet
CONS – Fingerprint scanner is hard to use • All ports on one side • Battery life could be better
With its leather case, included stylus, and stunning 14-inch 4K touchscreen display, the Lenovo Yoga 9i certainly stands out from the incredibly crowded Windows 10 laptop market.
This machine is supremely powerful, and the fact that it can transform into a tablet is a massive bonus.
Along with being a great workhorse for your emails and spreadsheets, you can have plenty of fun, especially with that Dolby soundbar bringing an audio boost to your boxset binge. The mix of USB-A and C ports is a great bonus plus that fabulous keyboard all add to the appeal.
There’s clearly plenty to like about the Yoga 9i but the trackpad, fingerprint scanner and less than impressive battery life are all things to be aware of before taking the plunge. It’s also pretty pricey with the model we tested costing over £1,500.
That said, if you want a unique laptop that’s packed with power and has a screen that’s as good as your 4K TV then the 9i comes highly-recommended.