June 27, 2022

interteiment

Innovation Leader

The new best consumer laptop

XDA Best Award

I review a lot of laptops, and if you’ve heard of it, it’s probably crossed my desk. So when I say that the Lenovo Yoga 9i is now the best laptop on the market, I’m saying that from a place where I’ve actually tested the rest. The only caveat is that Dell hasn’t announced this year’s XPS 13 and HP hasn’t announced this year’s Spectre x360, but Lenovo has just gone so far beyond what it’s offered in previous generations. It’s phenomenal. The bottom line is that if you’re going premium, this is the laptop you should buy.

A big part of it is the design. The Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022) actually feels sexy, something I really haven’t said about it in the past. It maintains the rotating soundbar, which has even better audio quality than its previously best-in-class predecessor. And the screen is OLED, with options for 2.8K 90Hz or 4K 60Hz.

On the inside, it comes with Intel’s new 12th-gen processors, so you get a nice boost in CPU performance. All-in-all, this is a super easy laptop to recommend.

    Lenovo’s Yoga 9i is the company’s flagship convertible laptop, and this year, it’s definitely among the best on the market.

Navigate this review:

Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022) price and availability

  • Lenovo is currently selling only one model, and it starts at $1,079
  • There are other models coming to Best Buy and Amazon

Lenovo’s latest Yoga 9i laptops were first announced at CES this year, and that was back in January. While it was months before they started shipping, it’s worth noting that Intel hadn’t even details the processors that were going to be inside of these things just yet. Now, I’d call it a slow rollout.

Lenovo.com only has one model, and it costs $1,079. It comes with a Core i7-1260P, 8GB RAM, a 256GB SSD, and an FHD+ display. There are other configurations coming, of course. The ones sent to reviewers had either 2.8K or 4K OLED screens, 16GB RAM, and either 512GB or 1TB of storage. I asked Lenovo where I could buy one, and the answer was that these configurations are from Best Buy SKUs; the listings just aren’t live yet.

Colors include Storm Grey, which is a sort of gunmetal gray, and Oatmeal, which is another word for champagne or pale gold, obviously.

Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022): Specs

CPU 12th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-1260P (2.1 GHz / 12 Cores / 18M Cache)
Graphics Intel Iris Xe Graphics
Memory 16GB Dual Channel LPDDR5-5200 (soldered)
Display 14”, 2.8K OLED (2880 x 1800) IPS, 400 nits, 100% DCI-P3, 90 Hz, 16:10 (WQHD+), Touchscreen
14”, 4K OLED (3840 x 2400) IPS, 400 nits, 100% DCI-P3, 60 Hz, 16:10 (WQUXGA), Touchscreen
Memory 512GB, 1TB (One M.2 2280 PCIe Gen 4×4 slot, supports M.2 2242/2280 SSD)
Connectivity Intel Wi-Fi AX211 + Bluetooth 5.2
Ports 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2
1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (support data transfer, Power Delivery 3.0 and DisplayPort 1.4)
2x Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 40Gbps (support data transfer, Power Delivery
3.0 and DisplayPort 1.4)
1x Headphone / microphone combo jack (3.5mm)
Audio 2x 3W (woofers on the side), 2x 2W (front-facing tweeters on hinge bar), optimized with Dolby Atmos, Bowers & Wilkins Speakers
Keyboard 6-row, multimedia Fn keys, 1-click function keys, LED backlight
Touchpad Buttonless glass surface multi-touch touchpad, supports Precision TouchPad (PTP), 80 x 135 mm (3.15 x 5.31 inches)
Battery 75Wh Li-Polymer, supports Rapid Charge Boost (2 hrs runtime with 15 min charge)
Camera 2.0-megapixel IR & RGB hybrid, FHD 1080p webcam with privacy shutter, fixed focus
Chassis 318 x 230 x 15.25 mm (12.52 x 9.06 x 0.6 inches)
Starting at 1.4 kg (3.09 lbs)
Material Aluminum CNC (top & bottom)
Color Storm Grey, Oatmeal
OS Windows 11 Home
Price Starts at $1,079.99

Due to an issue that’s immaterial at this point, Lenovo actually sent me both of the models above. One of them has a 2.8K OLED display and the other has a 4K OLED display. The former is in the Oatmeal color, while the latter is Storm Grey.

Design: The Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022) is the prettiest Lenovo laptop in history

  • The Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022) is completely redesigned, with shiny and curved edges

I’m a sucker for beautiful laptops. Having reviewed hundreds of PCs, so many of them just feel the same after a while. This often goes for Lenovo’s consumer PCs, where you’d just get this sort of gray slab. I always think back to a 2008 Cadillac ad where Kate Walsh asked, “When you turn your car on, does it return the favor?”

I’ve actually referenced that quote in several reviews throughout my career, because there’s a certain feeling that goes along with using a laptop that’s just sexy. I’ve said it about HP’s Spectre x360 laptops in the past, although the company seems to be signifcantly toning down its design. I also said it about Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 2, back when it was one of the only laptops with an OLED display.

I hate to use the term glow-up, but that’s the treatment that the Yoga 9i got.

I’ve never used the phrase ‘glow up’ in my life, but that’s what Lenovo gave the Yoga 9i. If you look down from the top, it looks pretty standard, but the edges around the base are all rounded wwith a polished and glossy look. It gives it a beautiful look while it’s still not outspoken. I will say, however, that this is the first time in a long while that someone has commented on a laptop that I was carrying.

As I said above, I have a Storm Grey model and an Oatmeal model. Oatmeal, despite having a name that sounds like anything but what you’d want with a laptop, is definitely the winner. It’s a pale gold that sticks with that beautiful yet subtle feeling. This is also the first time I’ve actually liked Storm Grey though. The shiny edges and flat keyboard deck really take a standard gunmetal gray laptop and level it up.

Soundbar hinge on laptop

Along the back, you’ll find the rotating soundbar. This has been a stable to the Yoga 9 series since it was called the Yoga C930. Ever since it was introduced, it’s had the best audio quality in a laptop. And this time, it’s even better thanks to the partnership with Bowers and Wilkins.

Close up of ports on Lenovo laptop

On the left side, you’ll find that Lenovo hasn’t abandoned USB Type-A like some of its competitors have. It’s USB 3.2 Gen 2, meaning that you’ll get 10Gbps speeds out of it. Also on that side, there are two Thunderbolt 4 ports, either of which can connect to an external GPU, dual 4K monitors, and more.

Lenovo took its best-in-class audio quality and made it better.

On the other side, there’s a 3.5mm audio jack and another USB Type-C port; however, that one is USB 3.2 Gen 2. Only two of the three USB Type-C ports are Thuunderbolt.

One thing that’s missing is the pen garage, which was present in previous generations of the product. The Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022) does come with a case that has a pen loop, but other than that, there’s no actual way to store the pen.

To wrap up this section, I think it’s clear how much of a fan I am of the design on the new Lenovo Yoga 9i. When so much can be the same between different laptops, a design like this makes a big difference.

Display: OLED all the things

  • The Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022) has a 14-inch 16:10 display, with a couple of OLED options
  • 4K seems like overkill when 2.8K is so good

There are three options for the display on the Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022): 1,920×1,200, 2,880×1,800 OLED, and 3,840×2,400 OLED. I’ll be focusing on the latter two, since those are the two I’ve had the opportunity to test.

Close up of Lenovo Yoga 9i display

Combining the OLED display with the design makes the Yoga 9i delightful

What you’re seeing is the 2.8K OLED model, and frankly, it’s the best option. It also comes with a 90Hz refresh rate option – something that came via a firmware update – while the 4K OLED panel is 60Hz. Also, there’s no visible pixellation on the 2.8K model, so I’m not sure why you’d want or need anything more than that.

Of course, it’s a beautiful screen, thanks to true blacks and vibrant colors. I ran display tests on both machines.

The results on the color gamut tests are identical. Of course, it’s worth noting that if you get the FHD+ model, you will see different results, since that one isn’t OLED. Brightness was higher on the 2.8K model, coming in just above the promised 400 nits. The 4K model fell a bit short.

Both screens are beautiful, of course, and going back to the design, even that is a nice look. The chin starts out with a flat gray or gold, depending on the model, and it goes right into the black bezel of the screen. It’s all a very clean design. With the combination of glossy and matte, they almost feel two-tone.

Close up of Lenovo Yoga 9i webcam

We’ve also got an FHD webcam webcam on this laptop. We’re seeing more of that this year, since it’s recommended for Intel’s new Evo spec. It’s a big improvement over the 720p webcams we saw in previous generations. There’s a privacy guard too, in case you’re into that.

Lenovo Yoga 9i camera sample with background blur

The camera is a hybrid sensor, combining the webcam with the IR camera. The better solution is to separate the two, but I’m really not complaining.

Keyboard: It has a button for dark mode

  • The keyboard is comfortable and quiet
  • The touchpad is large.
  • There are buttons for things like dark mode, performance, audio profiles, and background blur.

The keyboard on the Lenovo Yoga 9i is quite nice. The glossy edges meet a matte keyboard deck, making it feel clean and stylish, the theme of the whole design. And also, it’s just a great keyboard. It feels comfortable to type on, and it’s quiet too. I really like it, maybe even more than some ThinkPad keyboards these days.

Top down view of Yoga keyboard

The touchpad is nice and big too, as you can see, yet it doesn’t feel as wobbly as the big touchpads in some of Dell’s premium laptops. The whole experience is just delightful.

Shortcuts on Lenovo Yoga keyboard

On the right side of the edge-to-edge keyboard, there are several shortcut keys, which are pretty cool. That top one lets you set your power profile, making it nice and easy to toggle between when you want the most power and when you want to conserve battery life. Also, on the 4K model especially, the fan gets pretty loud.

Lenovo’s background-blur button is clutch for video calls

Right below that is a button to blur your background. It works in any app, and as you can see from when I talked about the webcam, that includes Windows Camera. Below that lets you set an audio profile for things like gaming, music, or movies. And at the bottom, there’s a button that toggles between light and dark modes on Windows 11.

I really like the shortcut buttons. I’d wish for them to be customizable, but then they’d never actually get customized. So as they are, they’re pretty good.

At the bottom-right, there’s also a fingerprint sensor, which is useful for biometric authentication. After all, if you’re the type to use a privacy guard on the webcam, then you’re probably not logging in via facial recognition.

Performance: Intel’s P-series is fast, but affects battery life

  • It comes with Intel’s new 28W CPUs, which are more powerful but have the same graphics.
  • The fan gets loud on the 4K model.
  • Battery life is OK, but only because the battery is huge.

The Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022) packs Intel’s P-series processors, which are new to this generation. Both units that Lenovo sent me include a Core i7-1260P, a processor that has four P-cores and eight E-cores, for a total of 12 cores and 16 threads. There’s a solid boost in CPU performance here.

As far as graphics performance goes, Iris Xe means almost the same thing is did for 11th-gen. There are 96 execution units and a 1.4GHz max dynamic frequency, which is the same that we saw in the Core i7-1195G7, a mid-stream chip that was released as a boosted version of an existing one. If you got a Core i7 when 11th-gen launched – with a Core i7-1165G7 or a Core i7-1185G7 – the Core i7-1260P does have slightly better graphics.

Lenovo Yoga 9i in tent mode

This really isn’t the type of machine where you have to concern yourself with performance. If you need dedicated graphics, such as if you’re editing video or gaming, there are different machines for you. In fact, Intel is planning a big boost to integrated graphics for 13th-gen processors. This is a productivity machine, as well as a creative machine if you’re doing things like drawing and editing photos. I did a lot of work in Lightroom Classic, and it performed like a champ.

For benchmarks, I used PCMark 10, 3DMark, Geekbench, and Cinebench.

Lenovo Yoga 9i
Core i7-1260P
Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360
Core i7-1260P
Lenovo Yoga 9i
Core i7-1185G7
PCMark 10 5,616 5,362 4,861
3DMark: Time Spy 1,678 1,821 1,597
Geekbench 5 1,736 / 9,525 1,696 / 9,177
Cinebench R23 1,637 / 7,757 1,649 / 7,949

I actually included test results from the Samsung Galaxy Book 2 Pro 360 just to note that the Yoga 9i tests better. I didn’t have Geekbench or Cinebench results for last year’s Yoga 9i, but in the Surface Laptop 4, the Core i7-1185G7 scored 1,551 / 5,829 in Geekbench 5 and 1,295 / 5,194 in Cinebench.

As far as battery life goes, I ran it a couple of ways. First of all, I streamed Netflix nonstop on the 4K machine, the 2.8K machine at 90Hz, and the 2.8K machine at 60Hz. As expected, the 2.8K machine at 60Hz lasted the longest, at an excellent 13 hours and 25 minutes. The next best is the 4K screen, which lasted seven hours and four minutes. Finally, 2.8K at 90Hz only lasted four hours and 11 minutes. I know it seems crazy that a 50% boost in refresh rate knocks the battery life by so much, but that’s been my experience with high refresh rate displays on Windows. This is something that needs to get better, and that’s not Lenovo’s fault.

Top down view of Lenovo Yoga 9i

Of course, streaming Netflix doesn’t give you an accurate representation of real-world performance. I only ran that to see how the three configurations compare. For real-world testing, I did real-world usage, leaving the brightness where it was and the power slider on balanced, I just worked. For this one, I left the 2.8K model at 60Hz, and when compared to the 4K model, the results were weirdly similar. They got about four hours of battery life, give or take five minutes on any given run. Seriously, I can’t even get results that consistent when running the same PC over and over.

Four hours is about average when it comes to real-world usage in a Windows laptop. The only thing is that Lenovo actually increased the battery size. It’s 75WHr now, and I’d expect more output from it. For now, I’m blaming Intel and it’s increased wattage on the P-series processors.

Should you buy the Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022)?

Like any laptop, the Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022) isn’t for everyone.

You should buy the Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022) if:

  • You want an ultrabook that’s stylish
  • You’re looking for superb audio and video quality

You should not buy the Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022) if:

  • You need dedicated graphics
  • You carry a pen with you a lot

Probably the biggest con to the Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022) is that there’s nowhere to store the pen. That means that if you’re using the pen on the go, you need to either travel with the case, or keep the pen in your pocket. This is a big change since this product has had a pen garage for years.

But if you want a beautiful laptop with a killer OLED screen and best-in-class audio, it’s impossible to suggest anything else.

https://www.xda-developers.com/lenovo-yoga-9i-2022-review/