Review on Lenovo Yoga 9i (14-inch)
- Thin, light, and stylish – This 2-in-1 laptop weighs just 3.64 pounds and is only 0.82" thick. It's soft and comfortable to the touch, with a durable paint that creates a better user experience. Digital pen included
|Price history for Lenovo Flex 5 14" 2-in-1 Laptop, 14.0" FHD (1920 x 1080) Touch Display, AMD Ryzen 5 4500U Processor, 16GB DDR4, 256GB SSD, AMD Radeon Graphics, Digital Pen Included, Win 10, 81X20005US, Graphite Grey|
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The Review on Lenovo Yoga 9i (14-inch)
Lenovo is a major player in the convertible laptop sphere, and the Yoga 9i is its top dog. A sequel to the Yoga C940, the $1,299.99-and-up 14-inch Yoga 9i is a capable laptop in almost every area that matters, with a comfortable keyboard, respectable battery life, and some of the better specs you can get for its price. But there is one area where it is way ahead of the pack: the audio.
Yes, you read that right. There is actually a 14-inch laptop there with very good audio. I know. I’m shocked I’m typing that too. While it doesn’t quite beat HP’s Specter x360 and Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 Plus in many other areas, the Yoga 9i’s innovative speaker design keeps it in the premium mix as an exceptional entertainment and multimedia machine. Our review of Lenovo Yoga 9i (14-inch) Verge Score 8.5 out of 10 Good Stuff Good
Excellent speakers and audio system Powerful processor Battery lasts all day Value for money
Stable design 16:9 display is cramped and weaker than the competition Bloatware spoils the experience
Buy for $1,299.99 from Lenovo Buy for $1,079.99 from Best Buy
About this speaker system, for starters. At the bottom are two downward-firing woofers. But the secret of the 9i is that the custom tweeters are housed in a rotating soundbar, which is built into the laptop’s hinge. Due to the positioning, the grilles always face outwards, regardless of whether the laptop is in clamshell, tablet or tent mode.
I’m not exaggerating when I say this is the best audio I’ve ever heard from a laptop of this size. The volume fills more than a room, and it sounds great in all directions with thumping bass. The surround quality was also superb. The excellent sound is thanks to the speakers built into the hinge, which are always pointed towards you, whichever way you use the 9i. Unfortunately, the flashy logo is also always visible. When you put the Yoga 9i in tablet mode, the speaker in the hinge faces outwards.
The 9i comes preloaded with Dolby Atmos speaker system software, where you can switch between movie, music, game and speech presets, as well as personalized profiles and a dynamic mode that detects your content and adjusts the audio accordingly. These do make a difference – namely, the music mode brings out the vocals more. Lenovo Yoga 9i specs (as tested)
Model: 82BG000CUS Intel 11th Generation Core i7-1185G7 Processor (up up to 4.8 GHz, four cores) 16 GB RAM 512 GB SSD storage 14-inch Full HD 1920 x 1080 touchscreen 720p webcam 12.57 x 8.53 x 0.62 inches, 2.97 pounds Two Thunderbolt 4 USB C Ports, One USB 3.2 Type-A Port, 3.5mm Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack Ultrasonic Fingerprint Scanner Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1
Complementing the sound, the 9i has a very nice 1080p touchscreen with accurate details and colors. I’d have no problem watching movies and YouTube videos on it, and you can switch between different picture modes (dark, light, and vivid) with preloaded Dolby Vision software. However, the screen is quite glossy and kicked back a frustrating amount of glare in brighter rooms. And it’s not the brightest out there, peaking at 290 nits during testing. I also wish Lenovo would ditch the 16:9 aspect ratio as it does on some of its premium models in the business space.
The final thing to shout about the chassis is the docked stylus. Garage styluses are sometimes a huge pain to get in and out, but this one was easy to remove. The location of the garage on the right side of the back of the Yoga isn’t the most convenient, but it’s definitely preferable to storing the pen yourself.
The stylus has a new “elastomer” tip that should mimic the feeling of a pen on paper. That’s a good description of how it feels in practice, but it also means it doesn’t write and draw as smoothly as other touchscreen styluses. (It’s also small – much smaller than most real pens.) And there are two (very small) buttons, which can be assigned to various tasks – erase, left click, copy, paste, whatever you want – in Lenovo’s Pen Settings software. You can also check the pen battery here. Lenovo says it lasts 40 minutes on a 15-minute charge.
Not much to say about the rest of this chassis. The backlit keyboard is acceptable and roomy, but a little flatter than my favorites on the market. The device looks nice and is sturdy enough, but it doesn’t have the same sleek professionalism as the Specter x360 14 or the Surface Pro 7 Plus (and the prominent Lenovo logo on the hinge looks a bit corny). It’s not the lightest laptop around, but it’s still portable at 3.02 pounds. And the port selection is about as good as you’d expect for a laptop so thin, including a USB 3.2 Type-A Gen 2, two Thunderbolt 4, and an audio combo jack.
There are some optional fantasies features — an ultrasonic fingerprint reader, edge-to-edge glass palm rest, haptic touchpad, and leather case — which were not included with the model I was sent. Configurations with that extra features starting at around $1,769.99, currently discounted to $1,239.99 on Lenovo’s website.
The Yoga 9i starts at $1,299.99 ($1,449.99 as tested). The base model includes a Core i5-1135G7, 8 GB RAM (soldered) and 256 GB storage (PCIe SSD). This particular configuration comes with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, as well as a Core i7-1185G7 (Intel’s top chip for thin and light devices).
The Yoga 9i is verified through Intel’s Evo platform, as are many of its competitors in the premium 2-in-1 space. Qualify, laptops are believed to offer a number of Intel-selected benefits, including Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6, all-day battery life, fast boot time, fast charging, and responsive battery performance. In my experience, check, check and check. The Yoga 9i’s keyboard and trackpad are adequate, but nothing special.
Performance was just as satisfying as we’d expect from the top-of-the-line 1185G7. The system flashed through a load of 20-ish Chrome tabs and booted up up noticeably faster than 10th generation yoga systems. Intel’s Iris Xe graphics are more than capable of running some games, as long as you don’t expect 60fps from something too demanding. The battery life was also a pleasant surprise, given the power of the processor. I averaged eight hours and 25 minutes of continuous use, with the screen around 200 nits of brightness.
As far as video calling goes, the 9i’s webcam is a bit grainy but usable; it has a physical privacy hatch, although it’s very small and can be awkward to 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 Specters and Surfaces do feature), but there is a fingerprint sensor under the arrow keys that you can use to log in. It struggled to identify my finger once or twice, but was otherwise fast and accurate.
The 9i also has two dual-array microphones. These aren’t just useful for video calls (wherever they chose) up my voice fine) but for Amazon Alexa, which is pre-installed on the Yoga. Not only can smart home devotees give Alexa voice commands through the Yoga, but they can also activate Amazon’s Show Mode, which will change the Yogas home screen to look like the home screen of an Echo smart display. Hey, don’t let me stop you.
Wrap up Review on Lenovo Yoga 9i (14-inch)
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