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A decade has passed since Lenovo introduced the first Yoga 2-in-1. Though Microsoft’s Surface devices set the trend, it was arguably the high-volume Yoga line that became the true vanguard of mainstream convertible design. Lenovo’s Yoga 9i 14-inch (2022) builds on this decade of experience in all the right ways. From the thin profile to the powerful internals, this year’s model delivers blazing fast performance in a tiny package. Although the fan noise can be a bit loud and we feel as though it relies too much on USB-C, overall we were impressed with this machine.
Lenovo Yoga 9i 14-inch specifications
The Lenovo Yoga 9i 14-inch is among the first laptops with Intel’s new 12th-Gen Core mobile processors targeting thin-and-light machines. Though thin, the laptop packs four performance cores and eight efficiency cores for a total of 12.
Lenovo doesn’t get enough credit for its design. I can’t think of another Windows laptop maker so consistently willing to go off script and the Yoga 9i 14-inch is a prime example of its willingness to depart from the norm.
From a distance, the Yoga 9i looks like most Windows 2-in-1s. It’s a clamshell design with a rotating hinge that folds back 360 degrees, effectively turning the laptop into a tablet. Approach it, however, and you’ll notice the laptop is adorned with round, gleaming chrome edges across the top and bottom half.
It’s an eye-catching look with practical benefits. The rounded edges mean you never encounter a hard touch point while maneuvering the laptop. This will be a minor point for many. After all, it’s not like other 2-in-1s will slice your finger. Still, the Yoga 9i is more inviting than the norm.
The Yoga 9i’s low weight and touchscreen further improves ease of use. It’s a great machine to carry with one hand or spin around to share something with a friend or co-worker across a table. It’s not small or light enough to be an iPad replacement, but the 9i comes as close as you can expect from a device without a detachable keyboard. That’s good news if you need a 2-in-1 for use in cramped spaces or for travel.
Keyboard and trackpad
IDG / Matthew Elliott
The Yoga 9i 14-inch offers a quality keyboard despite its thin profile. Key travel is good and has a firm, pleasant bottoming action. The layout is also excellent and makes full use of the laptop’s 14-inch size. Key caps are reasonably sized yet there’s plenty of space between keys.
Several unique keys can be found on the keyboard’s right side. These include a key that turns the Windows system-wide dark mode setting on or off and one that flips through performance modes. Though a nice extra, they’re not a must-have and won’t change how most people use the 2-in-1. The keyboard has a backlight and uses a light sensor to automatically turn it on in a dark room (it can also be activated manually).
I appreciate the Yoga 9i’s large touchpad. It measures about 5 inches across and three inches deep. This is a great size for a thin, portable 2-in-1 and provides plenty of room for Windows’ multi-touch gestures. The touchpad does a good job of rejecting unintended input, which is important, as its large size means my palms came to rest on its surface.
IDG / Matthew Elliott
The base Yoga 9i 14-inch has a IPS touchscreen with 1,920 x 1,200 resolution, but my review unit had the upgraded OLED touchscreen with 3,840 x 2,400 resolution. This makes for a 16:10 aspect ratio which provides extra vertical screen real estate that’s useful when multitasking or viewing vertically scrolling content like web pages or PDF documents. Text clarity is excellent, as 323 pixels are crammed into each inch. Eagle-eyed users might detect a fine speckled pattern in bright white documents, a likely result of the OLED screen’s particular subpixel layout, but I didn’t find it distracting.
Image quality is otherwise excellent. The Yoga 9i’s display has accurate color, a wide color gamut spanning up to 99% of DCI-P3, a high maximum brightness above 400 nits, and deep black levels thanks to the OLED display panel. Images and movies look vivid, crisp, and have a realistic sense of dimensionality that draws in your eye.
HDR is supported and Lenovo even offers support for Dolby Vision HDR in addition to the less capable HDR10 standard. It can’t match the brilliance of Apple’s Mini-LED MacBook Pro but has an advantage in crisp contrast and depth that becomes apparent when viewing in a dark room.
The display is glossy, so glare can be a problem. The maximum brightness of 400 nits allows use even when beside a sunlit window but some reflections will be obvious.
In another departure from the norm, the Yoga 9i leans hard into audio quality. The hinge doubles as a miniature Dolby Atmos soundbar. It works well, delivering a loud, throaty presentation that is suited to music and movies but still clear enough for podcasts. Maximum volume is high enough to fill an office, though this sometimes muddies the sound in bass-heavy tracks. This is an excellent sound system for a slim 2-in-1.
Webcam, microphone, biometrics
A 1080p camera standard on the Yoga 9i 14-inch. This is great to see on any premium Windows device and remains the exception, not the rule. It’s an obvious upgrade over 720p, offering a big leap in sharpness and more accurate, vivid color. Exposure is still an issue in unevenly lit rooms, however, and using it at night will introduce a ton of noise. The camera offers a small physical privacy shutter, which is a nice touch.
The laptop’s dual microphone setup performs as expected. It’s usable from several feet away from the laptop. You can even speak from across a small room if you raise your voice. Quality is thin and distant, however, and distinctly different from using a real microphone.
Biometric login is offered through both a fingerprint reader and facial recognition. The fingerprint reader works well but, as always, it can be fooled by greasy or dirty fingerprints. Facial recognition through Windows Hello is the quicker, more reliable method. It works well even in a dark room.
The Lenovo Yoga 9i 14-inch has a pair of USB-C 4 / Thunderbolt 4 ports. These include DisplayPort Alternate Mode for connecting displays and can charge the laptop when connected to a USB-C power source. With the right adapters, these versatile ports can be used to attach a HDMI or DisplayPort display, connect to the Internet over wired Ethernet, or drive multiple additional USB ports in a USB hub.
There’s only one USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port for connecting legacy wired peripherals. It’s joined by a 3.5mm combo audio jack for connecting a headset or external speakers. This makes for a slim selection of wired connectivity. Those who don’t choose to go wireless for most peripherals will likely need to purchase a dock, which can range from $50 to several hundred dollars (depending on its capabilities).
While the lack of wired connectivity will annoy some, it’s typical for the premium 2-in-1 space. Want more wired connectivity? You’ll need to put up with a heavier, thicker machine.
Wireless connectivity is provided by Wi-Fi 6 along with Bluetooth 5.1. The wireless adapter provided very strong, reliable performance in my testing, dealing well with all corners of my home. Bluetooth was functional up to about 25 feet with walls between devices.
The Yoga 9i 14-inch is an interesting test of the Intel Core i7-1260P’s capabilities. This new 12th-Gen Intel Core processor packs a total of 12 processor cores (four P-Cores, 8 E-Cores) plus Intel Xe graphics. It looks great on paper.
The heavily multi-threaded Cinebench R15 benchmark is a different story. It puts the cores to work for an outstanding score of 1,837. This absolutely blows away the prior Core i7-1195G7 and comes surprisingly close to the Ryzen 7 5700H. Intel’s many-core approach pays off here.
IDG / Matthew Elliott
This remains true in Handbrake, another heavily multithreaded benchmark. Transcoding a 4K file of the short film Tears of Steel takes over an hour, which is a long time, but it’s about a half-hour less than prior Intel processors. The Core i7-1260P does not score as close to the Ryzen 7 5700H as in Cinebench, however.
Processor performance is a win for the Core i7-1260P. It scores very well in two out of three tests and, importantly, does its best work in multi-threaded workloads. That’s important, because the bulk of demanding workloads a user will face in 2022 are heavily multi-threaded.
But what about graphics?
IDG / Matthew Elliott
The Core i7-1260P offers many processor cores but doesn’t make big changes to integrated graphics. That’s fine, as Intel’s Iris Xe with 96 execution units (EUs) remains capable for its category. It delivered a score of 1,985 in 3DMark Time Spy. This is the match for the best Intel integrated graphics we’ve tested in the past and will match or beat most Ryzen mobile APUs, as well.
Games from the Xbox One / PlayStation 4 era are typically playable at 30 FPS or better, though the most demanding will require cuts in resolution and detail settings. Older games, like Counter-Strike or League of Legends, can sustain 60 FPS at 1080p.
I’m impressed by the Yoga 9i’s performance. The Intel Core i7-1260P is a winner in multithreaded workloads and pulls off this victory without compromising in other areas. This achievement is even more impressive given the Yoga 9i’s slim form factor.
There’s just one issue to be aware of – noise. The Yoga 9i is quiet at idle but a real whirlwind at full tilt. It’s enough to annoy anyone in the same room if the laptop is left in the open. This is an area where Intel-powered laptops just can’t compete with Apple’s nearly silent MacBook line.
Lenovo squeezes a large 75 watt-hour battery into the slim Yoga 9i 14-inch. This is serious capacity for a 2-in-1 and good news for endurance.
IDG / Matthew Elliott
The Yoga 9i lasted 12 hours and 12 minutes in our standard battery test, which loops a local 4K video file until the laptop dies. This is far from a record and a bit less than the prior Yoga 9i model, but I’d still call it better than average.
Real-world observed battery life was not as impressive. The laptop averaged about seven hours of endurance in a workload of heavy web browsing, document editing, and occasional photo editing. The 4K OLED display is a likely factor, as these screens can be power-hungry at high brightness.
The product page for Lenovo’s Yoga 9i touts several partnerships including Amazon Alexa for PC and three free months of Xbox Game Pass. Free stuff is nice, but it hints at a problem: there’s a lot of bloatware.
Lenovo stuffs the Yoga 9i with several added icons and content. By far the most annoying is McAffee antivirus, which often interrupted my workflow with two to three back-to-back banner ads. It’s not as bad as some recent Acer laptops but disappointing to see in a laptop priced well above $1,000.
Lenovo’s Yoga 9i 14-inch is an excellent addition to the company’s long line of capable premium 2-in-1s. It packs strong performance, a great OLED display, excellent audio, a pleasant keyboard, a large touchpad, and future-proof connectivity into one compact, versatile package. Though Intel’s new Core i7-1260P is performant enough for many professionals and creators, the Yoga 9i’s size and connectivity makes it ideal for travelers, students, and everyday users who want a premium Windows experience.
Matthew S. Smith is a freelance technology journalist with 15 years of experience reviewing consumer electronics. In addition to PCWorld, his work can be found on Wired, Ars Technica, Digital Trends, Reviewed, IGN, and Lifewire. Matthew also covers AI and the metaverse for IEEE Spectrum and runs Computer Gaming Yesterday, a YouTube channel devoted to PC gaming history.