Tom's Guide Verdict
The Lenovo Yoga 9i packs a lot into a nimble, long-lasting 2-in-1 design
Long battery life
Colorful 1080p display
Hundreds less than competitors
No IR webcam
Shadow Black design costs extra
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Price: $1,049 (starting); $1,379 (reviewed at)
CPU: Intel Core i7-1185G7
GPU: Iris Xe
Display: 14-inch, 1080p
Size: 12.6 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches
Weight: 3 pounds
The Lenovo Yoga 9i is the latest excellent 2-in-1 to ship from Lenovo, and one of the best laptops out there. It offers the latest 11th Gen Core i7 processor, keeping it in line with the competition. Plus, you get to mention the added stylus makes navigating on the tablet portion much easier and even more enjoyable. What’s not to love when you have one of the best 2-in-1 laptops with good battery life, a colorful display, an amazing rotating speaker, and fast performance? Well, there could be a few things.
Keeping up with its charm, Lenovo created another premium laptop with limited ports, and by limited I mean a grand total of four, two of which are the same type. Furthermore, though the laptop itself is pretty great, the competitors performed better in several categories, so make sure to pay attention to what you want and expect in a laptop.
Another hiccup is that all of the major physical updates went into the Shadow Black option of the Yoga 9i, and if you want to see any of that, you’re going to have to pay close to an extra $600 to get it, despite it sharing the same specs.
Regardless, this Lenovo Yoga 9i review will show why it delivers the best bang for your buck, making it one of the best Windows laptops you can buy.
Lenovo Yoga 9i review: Price and configuration
The Yoga 9i comes with a handful of different configuration options, with the baseline starting at $974 (with sales and coupons applied on the Lenovo site), and the most expensive costing $1,599. The model we reviewed, which costs $1,049 (or $1,399 without coupons and sales), comes with an Intel Core i7-1185G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD, and a 14-inch 1920 x 1080p touchscreen display.
If you’re looking to lower the price, the baseline version, which starts at $974 (or $1,299 without sales and coupons applied), comes with an Intel Core i5-1135G7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of SSD, and a 14-inch 1920 x 1080p touchscreen display.
However, if you don’t mind spending a bit more, the Yoga 9i has a slick shadow black option, which costs $1,599. This version of the laptop offers an Intel Core i7-1185G7 CPU, 8GB of RAM, 512GB of SSD, and a 14-inch 1920 x 1080p touchscreen display. You’re paying nearly $600 extra just for the design, but you’re losing out on an additional 8GB of RAM.
Lenovo Yoga 9i: Design
The Lenovo Yoga 9i is a very sleek and lustrous 2-in-1, but Lenovo offers an even more-attractive model than our silver review unit. The Shadow Black edition offers a dark metal chassis (hence the name) with the option of adding a leather case.
However, the Yoga 9i that we reviewed features a mica aluminum chassis, and the differences between it and the Shadow Black model are not insignificant: the Shadow Black's glass palm rest covers the entire keyboard deck, and packs an embedded fingerprint sensor and a haptic touchpad.
Going back to the model we tested, its lid bears a chrome “YOGA” logo, which shines in the light to show off brand. Just as I was about to open the laptop, I was met with another logo etched ever so slightly on the edge of the lid, reading “YOGA 9 SERIES," a neat little touch.
The interior of the laptop keeps with the same sleek design as the outside, with some noticeable differences of course. The bezels to the sides of the glass touchscreen are both very thin, while the bezel on top expands in the middle to give more room for the webcam, and the bottom bezel sits as the largest. Below the screen, on the hinge, is the soundbar which rotates with the screen. The keyboard itself is a decent size, with thin keys, and located below is the touchpad.
The Yoga 9i is pretty thin, at just 12.6 x 8.5 x 0.6 inches, and weighing 3 pounds. It is thinner than the 13.5-inch HP Spectre x360 14 (11.8 x 8.7 x 0.7 inches, 3 pounds), and about as thin as the 13.4-inch Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (11.7 x 8.2 x 0.6 inches, 2.9 pounds) and the 13.3-inch MacBook Air with M1 (12 x 8.4 x 0.6 inches, 2.8 pounds).
Lenovo Yoga 9i review: Ports
The thinner they are, the less ports they pack. The Yoga 9i has a grand total of 4 ports, and one of them includes the charging port.
On the left, you find its dual Thunderbolt 4 ports, USB 3.2 Type-A port and a headphone jack. You also get a fingerprint sensor on the deck, right below the bottom-right corner of the keyboard.
The right side contains the power button at the top corner.
Lenovo Yoga 9i review: Display
The Yoga 9i has an absolutely beautiful 14-inch, 1080p display that fooled me into thinking it was 4K at first. While watching the trailer for Raya, the colors were vibrant and beautiful. In the scene where Raya is walking through the market, the green, pink, yellow, and orange tones of the lanterns were vivid. Meanwhile, the hay roofs, and even Raya’s hair, were sharp and well defined.
According to our colorimeter, the Yoga 9i produced 107.3% of the sRGB color gamut, making it slightly better than the XPS 13 2-in-1 (98.8%) and the Spectre x360 14 (105.3%), but not as great as the MacBook Air (114.3%).
Our test also determined that the Yoga 9i isn't as bright, producing up to 334 nits. That's dimmer than the XPS 13 2-in-1 (488 nits), Spectre x360 14 (365 nits), and MacBook Air (366 nits). You can see this in the photos we shot, which showed a bit of our own reflection.
Lenovo Yoga 9i review: Touchpad, keyboard, and stylus
The Yoga 9i is be perfect in a college or work setting, as typing on the large and chunky keys proved to be silent. When testing out the keyboard on 10fastfingers online typing test, I was able to meet my average of 53 words per minute.
The 4.1 x 2.7-inch touchpad has a silky smooth feeling to the touch, which differs from the palm rest of the laptop. The touchpad proved to be quite reliable when swiping and clicking, and worked well with Windows 10 gestures like two finger scrolling.
In the back corner, opposite to the Lenovo logo on the hinge, is the stylus slot. The stylus features an Elastometer nib, which is made to feel like you’re writing on paper while using the pen. The pen works perfectly if you plan to use the laptop for drawing purposes or even for taking notes, as it is able to easily pick up my swipes. However, while using the stylus, I noticed two small buttons directly in the center of it which seemingly stops the pen from functioning, causing me to have a difficult time while playing with it on paint. They can function as a right clicker (top button) and an eraser (bottom button).
Lenovo Yoga 9i review: Audio
The rotating soundbar in the Yoga 9i is an amazing adaptation for this laptop. It makes it so that if you’re using it as a laptop or a tablet, the sound produced can be fully audible. The audio itself that came out of the soundbar was loud and vivid. I was overall impressed with the sound of the music I listened to.
While listening to “Saturn” by Sleeping at Last, the violin and cello intro played just as I remembered it, but I noticed a bit of muffle when both instruments played together, almost as though the speakers couldn’t handle the tune, but it wasn’t overbearing. As the piano softly introduced the vocals, the speakers were able to clearly distinguish the voice of the singer, sending shivers down my spine.
Lenovo Yoga 9i review: Performance
The Yoga 9i that I tested came with an Intel Core i7-1185G7 processor and 16 GB of RAM, which cleaved what I threw at it. I opened around 30 Google Chrome tabs, some of which were playing 1080p YouTube videos, and it didn’t show any signs of slowdown.
On the Geekbench 5.3 overall performance test, the Yoga 9i scored 5,312, which beats the Spectre x360 14 (Core i7-1165G7, 16GB of RAM), which scored 4,904. But the Yogo 9i’s performance sits below the XPS 13 2-in-1 (Core i7-1165G7, 16GB of RAM), which scored 5,639. The M1 chip and 16GB of RAM in the MacBook Air pushed it to an astonishing 7,575.
The Yoga 9i transcoded a 4k video to 1080p on our HandBrake benchmark in 14 minutes and 24 seconds. For once, its rivals couldn’t compete, with the XPS 13 2-in-1 (15:52), Spectre x360 14 (17:02), and the MacBook Air (14:56) trailing in its dust.
The 512GB SSD in the Yoga 9i did alright with duplicating 25GB of multimedia files, clocking in at a rate of 692.25 megabytes per second. This trumps the 405.6 MBps rate from the XPS 13 2-in-1's 512GB PCIe NVME SSD, but we got a higher rate of 764 MBps from the Spectre x360 14's 512GB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD.
Lenovo Yoga 9i review: Graphics
The Yoga 9i comes packed with the Iris Xe Graphics, which won’t give you the greatest frame rate when playing intensive games, but it will get you some decent gameplay for games at a lower graphics setting.
On the 3DMark Fire Strike Test, the Yoga 9i scored a whopping 5,014, which flies by the Spectre x360 14 (4,229, Iris Xe) as well as the category average (4,488).
While running Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm (Medium, 1080p), the Yoga 9i was able to run at 25 frames per second, doing better than the Spectre x360, which ran at 20 fps and the XPS 13 2-in-1, which ran at 21 fps. However, the Yoga 9i didn’t quite go beyond the category average of 28 fps, or our personal threshold of 30 fps.
Lenovo Yoga 9i review: Battery Life
On Lenovo’s site, the Yoga 9i is said to be able to last a good 10 hours or so of battery life, and that number doesn’t disappoint. In fact, the Yoga 9i ended up lasting even longer on our battery test. When the Yoga 9i surfed the web continuously over WiFi at 150 nits of brightness, the laptop was able to endure for 11 hours and 15 minutes.
Compared to some of its competitors, the XPS 13 2-in-1 (10:53) falls behind the Yoga 9i. However, both the Spectre x360 14 (12:11) and the MacBook Air (14:41) both blow by with astonishing duration.
Lenovo Yoga 9i review: Webcam
The webcam on the Yoga 9i has a security feature, aka the webcam shutter, which is barely noticeable. I had no clue there was even a slider for it, but right above the webcam is a very small and seemingly unnoticeable plastic piece that you can pull from side to side in order to switch it on and off. Of course, me being the person I am, it took me over a day to realize that there was a shutter making it so the webcam wouldn’t activate.
Unfortunately, this webcam is not an IR webcam, so it doesn't support Windows Hello for unlocking — an annoyance for personal security and privacy.
The webcam itself is actually pretty good, definitely an upgrade from the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Nano Gen 1. The 720p webcam still proved to be a bit blotchy in the pictures, but it had a lot more color, with the tones of my brown hair and blonde highlights showing up quite nicely. If you’re still not pleased with the camera or would like something better, check out our best webcams page.
Lenovo Yoga 9i review: Heat
Heat is barely an issue with the Yoga 9i. It kept fairly cool while running a 1080p video for 15 minutes.
The main points of contact stayed fairly cool and comfortable, with the touchpad reaching 79 degrees and the keyboard being 87 degrees. The hottest it got was 96 degrees, which was 1 degree higher than our comfort threshold, and that was on the underside of the laptop. That's not a major concern if the laptop is on a desk, and even if it’s not, it’s warm at worst.
Lenovo Yoga 9i review: Software
Lenovo really likes to bless us with little to no bloatware on their laptops, and I am loving it. Most of what you’ll need is packed all into the Lenovo Vantage app, which is where you can find the latest BIOS and driver updates, information about the Yoga 9i, and the system settings and warranty information. There is also another app called Active Pen, which allows you to customize the button controls.
Otherwise, you’ll find some Windows 10 apps preinstalled, but nothing that's too out of the ordinary or annoying, since you can easily uninstall it.
The Yoga 9i also comes with the average 1-year limited warranty.
Lenovo Yoga 9i review: Verdict
As this Lenovo Yoga 9i review has shown, it's an impressive stunner up and down. The Yoga 9i offers pretty great battery life, a colorful touchscreen display that’s better than the average 1080p screen, amazing rotating speakers that baffled me with the sound it produced, and fast performance. However, when you compare the Yoga 9i to its competitors, its results could be a bit better in certain categories, and there is a major limit of ports.
Want a brighter screen? Go for the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, though its battery life isn't as long. If you're not tied to Windows 10 or a convertible design, take a look at the Apple MacBook Air with M1, which has a nicer display and longer battery life. But just as with the XPS 13 2-in-1 and the Spectre x630 14, you're going to wind up spending a lot more to get the same specs. Otherwise, this 2-in-1 is everything you need.
Jennilyn Lombardo has years of tech journalism experience reviewing all sorts of products. Her bylines can be seen across Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where she contributes thoughtful and informed coverage of laptops, headsets, mice and video games. When she's not working she attends to two lovely fur babies, and can't wait to treat them to the most ludicrous tech imaginable.