Reviewing laptops can be quite a chore, because we have to spend a lot of time on the device to get real experience. While the same goes to reviewing other gadgets like smartphones or headphones, it is cumbersome to carry multiple laptops. So quite often I will port over most of my current work to the new laptop so that I can leave my main laptop at home.
Fortunately, I was delighted to switch over to the Lenovo Gen 7 Yoga 9i (Intel 12th Gen Core i7-1260P, 2100MHz) and use it as my new primary computer. Like previous Yoga series, the Yoga 9i is a 2-in-1 convertible laptop that you can switch from laptop to tablet, and fold it into a tent and a display stand.
First of all, the Yoga 9i does not have any sharp corners or edges. This rounded edge design really makes hands-on computing extremely comfortable, as I no longer experience discomfort due to resting my palms against the edges of laptops. The body is precision-machined using aerospace-grade aluminium with rounded, high-gloss sidewalls crafted through a 10-step CNC, sandblasting, anodization, and polishing process.
I also like the quality of the 14-inch multi-touch OLED display. It produces an ultra-high contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1, covers 100% of DCI-P3 colour space and 125% SRGB colour space, offers wide viewing angle, 600 nits peak brightness, and 1ms response time. Being Dolby Vision HDR certified, images are sharp and contrasty, colours are vibrant and make videos pop. The display panel also supports Lenovo Precision Pen 2 and other compatible tablet pens that work with Wacom AES 2.0 digital pen digitizer with 4,096 levels of tablet pen pressure and tilt detection work.
The speakers, powered by Bowers & Wilkins, do not disappoint. The two tweeter drivers are located at the 360-degree hinge to deliver unblocked audio even when the laptop is folded in the various modes. The two woofers are located below the keyboard to use the large body to resonate the lower frequency. It still cannot match external speakers with a proper chamber, but B&W has created a decent impact which contributes to the overall tonality. At high volumes, the audio will get distorted. But after all is said, the Yoga 9i speakers are among the best I have heard on a laptop. Toggle among the audio modes will produce different stereo imaging – “Music” creates a frontal sound, while “Gaming” generates a closer surround effect which lets me hear the audio better.
When it comes to keyboard, there are two schools: one loves to hear the loud clackity clicks of the keys, while the other loves them being quiet. One thing is for sure: users want to hit the keystrokes accurately and without misses. With that, two additional sub-types of keyboard users exist: one that types lightly, and the others that bangs the keys.
With the Yoga 9i, the full-size keyboard is quiet to type in, the key-travel is short and the key-action is firm. My fingers like the feel of the keys that allows me to get the key-presses fast and accurate without typing too hard or lifting the fingers too much. An additional column of short-cut function keys at the right lets you apply quick setting changes, and the fingerprint reader is cleverly disguised to look like one of the keys to achieve a cohesive design. While the Yoga 9i supports facial recognition login and smart presence detection, the fingerprint allows me to unlock the keyboard at public places when mask-wearing is required. The Lenovo Vantage Smart Assist intelligent sensing feature also automatically logs out the laptop when I leave the desk and logs in when it detects me approaching the laptop. The same sensor also can pause media when I walk away.
Equally impressive is the built-in webcam. Even though it is just 2MP, my face appears well-exposed even under backlight or low-light conditions. Lenovo even added a physical lens cover to ensure privacy when you needed it. Even without the use of telecommuting software like Zoom or Teams, the background can be blurred by activating the feature natively via the short-cut button located at the right column. The blur algorithm focuses on the face more than anything, so most of the times, your hands and other body parts get blurred.
Poor Battery Life
The biggest drawback with Yoga 9i is the battery life. Despite a 75W battery, the laptop easily runs out of battery after about 6 hours of multi-window web browsing and productivity tasks. The good thing is that the battery can be charged to 100% in just 2 hours on either USB-C located on both sides of the laptop, which keeps the cable tody. I have no complaints with the overall performance of this beautiful beast. The weight of 1.4kg is not exactly light, so despite its ability to fold 360-degrees, it feels cumbersome to use it in various display modes.
I thoroughly enjoy using the Lenovo Yoga 9i (Gen 7) during the review period. The computer runs smoothly, the Smart Assist feature allows effortless log-in without entering PIN or password. The aluminium body is sturdy and with rounded corners for comfortable handling, the audio quality is loud with wide frequency response and good surround effects. The only drawback, poor battery life, is mitigated with super fast charging in 2 hours.
The Lenovo Yoga 9i retails in Singapore from S$2449. Visit the website for the latest price and customise your machine with add-ons and upgrades.