Lenovo Yoga Book 9i – IGN

Multi-monitor setups have been a mainstay of PC gaming forever, but laptops are almost always a single-screen affair. That can be limiting if you’re used to using two screens on your desktop, and if you’re interested in multitasking, it doesn’t get much better than having a whole second display at your disposal. Using multiple screens with a laptop has meant connecting portable monitors or strapping bulky multi-screen extenders to the back of your display. Not ideal solutions.

The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is a 2-in-1 Windows laptop that’s out to change all that. With two gorgeous 13-inch OLED screens, a fast processor, plenty of memory, and 512GB of storage, it’s the perfect device for work and browsing the web. If gaming is what you’re after, however, it’s still best to stick to a traditional gaming laptop.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i – Design and Features

The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is a fresh take on a 2-in-1 laptop. It’s not the first dual-screen notebook and it’s certainly not the first 2-in-1 that can be flipped and folded, but by combining two 13-inch OLED screens and giving you the option of using them just about any way you would like, it becomes a jack of all trades in a way few other notebooks can. It’s refreshing, though clearly designed for a particular type of user.

Its versatility is really its secret weapon, allowing it to shift seamlessly between laptop and tablet modes. Its screens can be used vertically, stacked on top of each other, or side by side like a book. You can flip one screen to the back and use it with the included stylus (or your finger) or tent it to use as a display. You can open it like a laptop and, with a quick gesture, transform the bottom screen into a keyboard deck with a customizable trackpad.

Typing and tapping on a sheet of glass is never ideal, so it also comes with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard. In a cool bit of design, place the keyboard about where you’d find it on a normal laptop and it is magnetically drawn into place and held there, giving it a bit of solidity. The space underneath automatically turns into a palm rest and trackpad. It’s not quite the same as a normal laptop, but it’s close enough to evoke the same feeling and is entirely usable.

The laptop also comes with a neat stand that lets it be used vertically in dual-screen laptop mode. Folding origami-like into a magnetic pyramid, it stands taller to support the weight of both screens. The keyboard then magnetizes to a tray on the bottom to hold it in place. I admit, it looks a little gimmicky and I was skeptical. But after using it for a couple of weeks, I’m in love with the design. Even for simple things like browsing the web, it’s surprisingly engrossing.

The Yoga Book 9i feels more like a laptop, but that’s not just because of the design. It also sports pretty decent specs for productivity performance. It comes with a ten-core Intel Core i7-1355U processor, 16GB of DDR5 memory, and 512GB of NVMe memory. That’s enough to run just about any productivity application smoothly, but since it uses weak integrated graphics, gaming and demanding content creation is out of reach unless you’re running very low settings or simple indies – if they run at all.

Connectivity is also limited, so plugging in multiple peripherals without a hub will be difficult. There’s one Thunderbolt 4 port on the left and two more on the right, alongside a camera privacy button and power switch. All three ports can be used for power using the included 65W GaN charger, though, with 9-10 hours of battery life, you’re probably safe leaving the charger at home most days.

The screens are the absolute high point of the Yoga Book and for more than just their versatility. Both screens use vibrant OLED panels. Simply put, they’re stunning. The colors pop with just the right amount of saturation, and the infinite contrast of OLED and peak 400-nit brightness provide wonderful dynamic range. Everything from still images to video seems to pop off the screen, and since both are HDR-500 certified, you’ll be able to enjoy a wider color gamut than laptops typically provide. It’s also accurate enough for content creation, though you’ll want to stick to photo editing and 1080p video or less if you’re creating content for YouTube or other social media. As an art tablet with the included stylus, however, it works very well.

Clearly it’s not designed for the most demanding tasks, but for virtual meetings and watching videos, it’s fantastic. It comes with a 5MP webcam that’s able to capture video up to 1440p at 30 FPS. It’s one of the better cameras I’ve seen built into a laptop, offering a good amount of detail and dynamic range. Low light performance suffers some with noticeable noise but is still very usable.

For music and movies, the speakers are surprisingly excellent. Designed in combination with Bowers & Wilkins, the speakers are cleverly built into the hinge, closing the distance to your ears and improving their quality. They’re surprisingly full-bodied and get quite loud. Listening to Spotify or catching up on a TV show, I found them to be very enjoyable.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i – Software

The Yoga Book 9i’s User Center is the main piece of companion software that comes pre-installed. Unlike many companion apps, it doesn’t offer any settings related to overall performance and instead controls how the two screens function. A portion of it is dedicated to teaching you the different ways that you can use its two screens and the gestures you’ll need to use it fluently, but it also provides access to a notes app and a selection of settings to help you manage windows, widgets, and moving content between both screens.

The system also features a handful of other Lenovo apps. Lenovo Vantage provides quick access to system and warranty information (and ads). Lenovo Now provides access to tech support should your device get lost or stolen (and serves lots of ads). The Lenovo Pen Settings app allows you to configure the buttons and function of your stylus, surprisingly without ads.

It also comes with McAfee anti-virus pre-installed, which obnoxiously sends notifications multiple times a day. This is grating behavior on its own, but if you plan to use a blank screensaver to protect its OLED screens, it wakes it up and leaves the screen active until they’re dismissed. While some kind of anti-virus can be a good idea (if you’re not a fan of Windows Defender), McAfee’s notifications actively undo a common method of protecting the panels and just isn’t worth keeping.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i – Battery Life

The Yoga Book 9i comes with an 80WH battery that can last a full eight-hour workday and usually beyond. Exactly how much battery life you’ll get will depend on how you’re using it. I tested battery life formally with PCMark 10’s Modern Office battery test and anecdotally using it as my daily driver. PCMark 10 simulates an average workday, swapping between applications that include graphic arts, spreadsheets, virtual meetings, and web browsing. In normal use, I did many of these same things, but spent more time with the web browser open and YouTube playing in the background.

In PCMark 10, the system lasted nine hours and 57 minutes when set to half brightness and with both screens active. Turning off the bottom screen and re-running the test increased that to twelve and a half hours. In my personal testing with increased video playback, I found that runtime closer to nine hours in dual screen mode and a similar twelve hours with one screen active. Using the laptop with the Bluetooth keyboard in place was closer to eleven hours since a portion, but not all, of the bottom pixels could be turned off.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i – Performance

If you’re looking at the Yoga Book 9i for gaming, look elsewhere. While it’s great for productivity, the integrated Intel Xe graphics are terrible for modern gaming. To achieve a playable frame rate, you’ll need to turn both graphics and in-game resolution way down and even then will only scrape by.

For our comparison testing, we set all of our games to Ultra or highest settings and enable both ray tracing and supersampling wherever possible. The Yoga Book is completely unplayable at these settings. To get playable frame rates, I had to set each game to 800p, low settings, and enable Intel Xe Supersampling on Performance or Ultra Performance mode. At 1800p resolution, Total War: Warhammer 3, and Hitman 3 wouldn’t run at all, and due to a driver issue Forza 5 also wouldn’t load past the menu screen.

Lenovo’s User Center software calls out the potential for dual-screen gaming, but it’s not something you should rely on being supported. There’s only a handful of games that work with it and those that do are older, like Asphalt 9, and the implementation is weak, like using the bottom screen for a rudimentary map. Other games simply run full screen on the top or bottom display the same way they would on a multi-monitor desktop display.

The real potential for the Yoga Book as a gaming machine is streaming from the cloud. If your internet speed supports it, Xbox Game Pass Ultimate streaming is a far better option. There’s a growing library of games that look and run better over the cloud, offloading all of the processing to a more powerful remote computer.

But you wouldn’t buy this laptop if gaming was your primary purpose. It’s marketed for productivity and entertainment and for those purposes, it works very well. I found myself using it most as a laptop with both screens stacked vertically using the included stand. Being able to run a movie in the upper screen while working on a review in the bottom screen was nice in a way I’ve never experienced on a laptop before. It’s a true multi-tasker.

Performance within web and productivity apps is also excellent. I didn’t have any slowdowns working in Google Docs, Sheets, or the Microsoft Office suite. I always had another app open and slowdowns just weren’t an issue. Virtual meetings were also more productive because I could have reference documents open on the bottom screen without needing to Alt+Tab to access them. Editing photos and video is also an option, though I did experience some stuttering as I opened up more projects or added additional media and effects.

I’m not much of a tablet user, so tablet mode was less useful for me personally, but it functions perfectly well as an everyday carry. The stylus is responsive, so taking notes on the fly and controlling Windows via touch is simple. The machine deactivates the bottom screen in this mode, which prevents you from interacting with the screen by accident. It’s smartly designed and able to shift on the fly.

It’s not without its issues, however. When using it as a tablet, I sometimes had trouble getting the bottom screen to turn back on when I went back to laptop mode (I had to change the resolution to get it to power back on). The touch keyboard and trackpad also sometimes missed presses and taps. It wasn’t common, but when it happened, it was always frustrating.

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