Lenovo is a big player in a removable laptop, and the Yoga 9i is its top dog. The sequel Yoga C940, $ 1299.99 and more The 14-inch Yoga 9i is a capable laptop in almost every important area, with a comfortable keyboard, respectable battery life, and some of the better specs you get for the price. But there is one area where it is far from the pack – the sound.
Yes, you read it correctly. There’s actually a 14-inch laptop with very good sound. I know. I’m also shocked about writing about it. Although it does not quite exceed such HP Specter x360 and Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Plus in many other areas, the Yoga 9i’s innovative speaker design keeps it an exceptional entertainment and multimedia device in its ultra-premium mix.
About this speaker system, to begin with. There are two downward subwoofers on the bottom. But the secret of the 9i is that the custom tweeters are housed in a rotating soundbar built into the hinge of the laptop. Placement means that the grills are always outwards, regardless of whether the laptop is in a shell, tablet or tent mode.
I don’t exaggerate when I say this is the best sound I’ve ever heard on a laptop this size. Its volume fills more than room, and it sounds great with bass thriving in all directions. The surround quality was also great.
The 9i is preloaded with Dolby Atmos speaker system software, where you can switch between movie, music, game, and audio presets, as well as personal profiles and a dynamic mode that recognizes content and adjusts audio accordingly. These matter – namely, the music mode brings out the song more.
To complement the sound, the 9i has a very comfortable 1080p touch screen with precise details and colors. I have no trouble watching movies and YouTube videos on it, and you can switch between different picture modes (dark, light and vibrant) with the preloaded Dolby Vision software. However, the screen is quite glossy and kicked off a frustrating amount of glare in brighter rooms. And it’s not the brightest around, surpassing the test at 290 rivets. I also hope that Lenovo will extend the 16: 9 aspect ratio, as some of its pages reward models in business mode.
The last thing worth saying about the platform is its decorated pen. Garage pens are sometimes a huge pain to pull in and out, but this was a smooth remove. The location of the garage on the right side of the back edge of Yoga is not the most comfortable, but is definitely better than storing the pen yourself.
The pen has a new elastomeric tip designed to mimic the feel of a pen on paper. It’s a true description of how it feels in practice, but it also means that writing and drawing isn’t as smooth as with other touchscreen pens. (It’s also small – much smaller than most real pens.) And Lenovo’s pen settings software has two (very small) buttons that can be combined for a variety of tasks – erase, left-click, copy, paste, whatever you want. You can also check the pen battery here. Lenovo says it can take 40 minutes to charge in 15 minutes.
There is not much to say about this platform. The backlit keyboard is acceptable and spacious, but a little smoother than my favorite on the market. The device looks good and is sturdy enough, but it doesn’t have the same sleek professionalism as the Specter x360 14 or Surface Pro 7 Plus (and the prominent Lenovo logo on the hinge looks a little rough to me). It’s not the lightest laptop, but it’s still portable at 3.02 pounds. And the port selection is about as good as you’d expect for this slim laptop, including a USB 3.2 Type-A Gen 2, two Thunderbolt 4 and an audio combo.
There are some optional cool features – an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, an edge-to-edge glass palm rest, a haptic touchpad, and a leather cover – that weren’t included in the model I submitted. Configurations for these additional features start at approx $ 1769.99, which is currently discounted to $ 1239.99 on the Lenovo website.
Yoga 9i begins $ 1299.99 (Tested $ 1,449.99). The base model includes the Core i5-1135G7, 8GB of RAM (soldered) and 256GB of storage (PCIe SSD). This special configuration features 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, as well as the Core i7-1185G7 (Intel’s most popular chip for thin and light devices).
The Yoga 9i has been authenticated through Intel’s Evo platform, as have many of its competitors in premium 2-in-1 mode. Laptops are designed to offer a number of Intel-selected benefits, including Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6, all-day battery life, fast start-up time, fast charging, and responsive battery performance. In my experience, check, check and check.
The performance was as satisfactory as we expected from the high-end 1185G7. The system exploded through 20ish Chrome tabs and booted significantly faster than 10th generation yoga systems would be. Intel’s Iris Xe graphics card is more than capable of running some games, as long as you don’t expect 60 frames per second for anything too demanding. Battery life was also a pleasant surprise given the processor power. I used an average of eight hours and 25 minutes of continuous use when the screen brightness was about 200 staples.
For video calling, the 9i’s webcam is a bit grainy but maintainable; It has a physical privacy shutter, although it is very small and can be a clumsy move if you have big fingers. The camera doesn’t support Windows Hello (which is a bit disappointing – other top convertibles at this price point, like the Specters and Spokes, have this feature), but there’s a fingerprint reader underneath the arrow keys that you can use to sign in. It had trouble recognizing my fingers once or twice, but otherwise it was fast and accurate.
The 9i also has two dual microphones. These are useful not only for video calls (where they took my voice nicely), but also for Amazon Alexa, which is pre-installed for yoga. Smart home enthusiasts can not only give Alexa voice commands via yoga, but also activate the Amazon display mode, which changes the yoga home screen to look like the Echo smart screen home screen. Hey, don’t let me stop you.
One of my disappointments here is bloatware. Yoga 9i isn’t full of tons of rubbish, like some budget computers, but it forces McAfee LiveSafe on you. McAfee notifications appeared everywhere I put the device up, and sometimes even appeared in windows in the middle of my screen and interrupted what I was doing. The program is a pain to remove and you need to close all tabs and restart your computer. It’s not a huge thing on a large system, but it rubs me the wrong way to see this on a $ 1,500 laptop.
Overall, however, I have very few complaints. The Yoga 9i is an excellent 2-in-1 device with standout sound. But is it best? To answer this, we need to compare it to the HP Specter x360 14, which is the dominant ruler of the 14-inch convertible ball.
In MSRP, Specter is $ 180 more than yoga for similar specifications (although it has an Intel Core i7-1165G7, a small step from the 1185G7). Its main advantage over yoga is its design. The Specter is a truly beautiful laptop with golden accents and sloping edges; it would not look wrong in the jewelry store. While the Yoga 9i is far from ugly, it looks almost like any other laptop you see in a particular business meeting or lecture hall. Another significant advantage that the Spectre has is the 3: 2 aspect ratio, which is more spacious and comfortable for multifunction use than the Yoga 16: 9 panel. And the Specter is just a little better in many other areas. I like the keyboard just a little more, there’s one extra port (a microSD slot that can be quite valuable for extra storage), the webcam is better, it’s a little teensy lighter and it gave me another two hours of battery per charge.
So Yoga 9i doesn’t end up taking the Spectre’s crown. Still, it offers such distinctive sound – an area where so many expensive laptops are pretty awful – that I’m glad it’s an option for people who really appreciate the quality of the soundtracks in music and movies. And the 9i is certainly functional enough in all other areas, so if you’re looking for a convertible and the Specter isn’t in your price range, or if distinctive sound and a decorated pen are a priority for you, this is one to consider.