Lenovo Yoga 9i laptop review

Lenovo Yoga 9i (Gen 8) review: Fancy, yet light

8.7

Lenovo Yoga laptops are known for being among the best 2-in-1s in the world. They’re flexible to the user’s needs, they’re ultra-portable, and (in the case of this premium model), they’re very powerful for the form factor. My time with the Lenovo Yoga 9i was not without its frustrations, but it’s easy to see that it’s perfect for the people it was designed for.

First impressions

The first thing I noticed taking the Yoga 9i out of the (surprisingly small) box was just how light it is. It’s got a full 14-inch OLED screen, but it only weighs a negligible amount more than my MacBook Air.

The set-up process itself was like the set-up of any PC, plus having to refuse a bunch of bloatware Lenovo at least had the decency to ask about before installing.

Having the fingerprint sensor on the bottom right corner of the keyboard means that it’s easy to set up biometric security, similar to that found across Apple laptops. Moving some of the media shortcuts to the right of the keyboard also made it easier to switch between various audio and picture modes, which was a nice touch.

Lenovo Yoga 9i laptop lock screen

Overall, it makes a great first impression of being a highly portable 2-in-1 that mostly just wants to get out of your way and let you do whatever it is you want to do.

Lenovo Yoga 9i specifications

Processor13th Generation Intel Core i7-1360P Processor (E-cores up to 3.70 GHz P-cores up to 5.00 GHz)
Operating SystemWindows 11 Pro 64
Graphics CardIntegrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Memory16GB LPDDR5-5200MHz (Soldered)
Storage512GB SSD M.2 2280 PCIe Gen4 TLC
Display14-inch 2.8K (2880 x 1800) resolution, OLED, Glare, Narrow Bezel, HDR500, 100% DCI-P3, Touch, 400nits, 60/90Hz
Camera1080P FHD IR Hybrid with Dual Microphone and Privacy Shutter
Battery4 Cell Li-Polymer 75Wh
AC Adapter / Power Supply65W
Ports1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2
1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (support data transfer, Power Delivery 3.0 and DisplayPort™ 1.4)
1 x Headphone / mic
2 x Thunderbolt 4 (support data transfer, Power Delivery 3.0, and DisplayPort 1.4)
ConnectivityWi-Fi 6E 2×2 AX & Bluetooth 5.1 or above
ColourStorm Grey
Warranty1 Year PremiumCare
Price (RRP)$3,479
Official websiteLenovo Australia

This model usually sells for $3,479 but is on sale for $2,199 from the Lenovo online store at the time of writing.

Lenovo Yoga 9i Performance

Overall, the performance of the Lenovo Yoga 9i was very impressive, except for one key area where a lagging driver update held back the experience from being perfect. There are known issues with the version of the Intel Xe graphics driver that Lenovo is currently using, and Intel has a new version of that driver available, but at the time of review, Lenovo hadn’t released their customised version of that driver. Presumably, this update will be available soon, but I can only write about the experience I had.

But, aside from some graphics issues while playing games (see below), I had an easy time editing photos and videos, doing day-to-day tasks, and videos looked great on the 2.8K display. So, its performance was generally excellent (as you’d expect with these specs at this price point), aside from one thing that will likely be updated in the near future.

Benchmarks

In PCMark 10 productivity tests, the Lenovo Yoga 9i scored very well at 6227. It’s no surprise that a laptop with a 13th Gen Intel Core i7 processor and 16GBs of RAM is good at productivity tasks, but it’s nice to have confirmation. I could have so many tabs open without the laptop appearing to notice. I had dozens of tabs open (dozens) and the Yoga barely seemed to notice.

However, I was disappointed by the 3DMark Time Spy benchmarking score of 1655. It’s not too surprising, given it doesn’t have discrete graphics, but it is lower than I expected. Looking around, other reviewers got scores around 2000, so it might just have been my machine, or because of that graphics driver issue.

Everyday usage

The OLED screen with a 16:10 aspect ratio makes this laptop a joy to use every day. The screen is bright, the colours strong, and it strikes that important balance of having enough room to do everything you need without being too big to carry.

Lenovo Yoga 9i laptop closed
It’s a beautifully light laptop that’s easy to take wherever you go.

Annoyingly, there isn’t anywhere to store the stylus in the laptop, but it does make for a handy tool for artists and hand writers alike. I found it to be more accurate than previous Yoga styluses I’ve used. You can store it in the included pouch, though, and that’s close enough.

The beauty of the Yoga 9i is that it’s a powerful and nice laptop that gets out of your way. If you’ve used a powerful yet light 2-in-1 laptop before, like a Dell XPS 13, you’ll know what to expect.

Design

I really love the design of this laptop. It was made to be touched. The smooth, rounded edges are comfortable, even when you’re slumped in goblin mode on the couch. It slides easily in and out of a backpack, and it’s generally a premium experience. This feels like a fancy and expensive laptop, which is good, because that’s what it is.

The keys on the keyboard feel satisfying to type, but don’t have too much travel so they’re not tiring to use. Just enough click, but not too much click.

I also really like the design of the speakers. It’s a soundbar that’s hinged at the bottom of the screen so it’s always at the right angle with the screen. The tuning on it is so good that it’s one of the few thin speakers I’ve heard on a laptop that didn’t make me feel like I needed to apologise to the musicians for playing their songs on it. The gaming experience with the speaker was good, too.

Light gaming

A computer with these specs should really be able to play most games you throw at it. Not at the best specs, mind you, but well enough that a casual gamer will have a good time. Unfortunately, when I booted up Fortnite to test this, the first thing that came up was an error saying there was a known problem with the graphics driver. So, I went to the Lenovo Vantage app to perform an update, but there was none to be had. Now, I could use the updated driver direct from Intel, but there’s always a risk that using a driver not specific to the device will just create other, bigger problems. Plus, that’s probably not something your average user would seek out to install. So, I played using only the drivers provided by Lenovo.

This was a mistake.

Lenovo Yoga 9i Fall Guys gameplay
Fortunately, Fall Guys fares better on the integrated graphics.

Epic was right about there being problems with the driver. I could play only on ‘low’ specs and by the end was probably only getting around 10FPS. It felt like I was playing on a microwave. I still came second, but it was a deeply unpleasant experience that I don’t think is indicative of what the laptop is capable of. Unfortunately, I had to return my review unit before an update was made available, but Lenovo will presumably get around to that at some point.

On games like Fall Guys and The Sims 4, the motion and graphics were much smoother. But it’s something Fortnite players (and other casual gamers) should be aware of.

Who is the Lenovo Yoga 9i for?

The Lenovo Yoga 9i is for business travellers who need some oomph to finish off presentations, creators who use video and photo editing software, and artists. On sale for $2,200, it’s a bargain for a laptop with this amount of power, and thus an easy recommendation. But at the full price of $3,479, it’s definitely out of reach (and overkill) for more casual users who would be better suited to the Yoga 7i or another, cheaper solution.

The Yoga 9i is one of the nicer 2-in-1 laptops I’ve reviewed, certainly the best I’ve seen this year. If I were shopping for a new non-gaming Windows laptop, this would be the one I would go for, given how easily it travels while still being able to do everything I need it to.

Lenovo Yoga 9i
A pretty, powerful and flexible 2-in-1 laptop that gets out of the way so you can just do what you need to do.
Features
9
Value for money
8
Performance
8.5
Ease of use
9
Design
9
Positives
Light
Powerful
Pretty
Negatives
Lenovo is slow to update graphics drivers
Nowhere to store stylus in body of laptop (though, there is stylus storage in included travel pouch)
No discrete graphics card
8.7