Lenovo’s dual-screen Yoga Book 9i is a triumph of re-engineering – a novelty that’s actually very practical
- Genuinely useful reinvention of the laptop form factor
- Excellent sound system
- Good battery life
- Bespoke software offering not finished
- Keyboard has no backlight
- The odd Windows glitch
How many screens should a laptop have? Most people would say just one. Some manufacturers beg to differ. The latest device designed to convince us all that we really do need two screens is Lenovo’s new Yoga Book 9i.
It’s a fairly simple concept but one that, it turns out, is a rather good idea. The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is, quite simply, the most successful dual-screen laptop design we’ve come across so far.
Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review: What you need to know
In a nutshell, the Yoga Book 9i is two 13.3in OLED touchscreens joined together with a 360-degree hinge, which also houses the speaker system. It really is as simple as that.
To make the system as versatile as possible, Lenovo bundles a clever foldable stand, a magnetic Bluetooth keyboard and the new Active Pen 3, which has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt detection.
Lenovo’s core pitch for the Yoga Book is as simple as the basic design: in 2023, using two screens with your PC is an increasingly common practice, so it makes sense to offer that same option in a small, light package for mobile users.
Maybe the day of the dual-display laptop has finally arrived a decade later than predicted.
Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review: Price and competition
Configuration tested: Intel Core i7-1355U with Iris Xe graphics, 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, 1TB PCI-E 4.0 SSD, 2 x 13.3in QHD (2,880 x 1,800) OLED touchscreens, Windows 11 Home; Price: £2,299 inc VAT
There’s only one Lenovo Yoga Book 9i model available and it costs £2,299. It comes with a 13th Gen Intel Core i7-1355U CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD and two 13.3in 2.8K OLED touchscreens.
There isn’t much direct competition. In fact, the only product remotely like the Yoga Book 9i is the Asus ZenBook Fold, which is now available for around £2,500, £800 less than it cost at launch. When folded up, it’s quite a chunky affair, but the 17.3in OLED screen is very impressive when you open it up.
If all you want is a small, lightweight laptop with a great OLED screen, then the new Asus Zenbook S13 OLED has much to recommend it. It weighs next to nothing, and has a superb 2.8K OLED screen. Performance is good, thanks to the same Intel processor used in the Yoga Book, and you can get more than ten hours from a full charge.
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Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review: Design
With two screens the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is clearly no normal laptop, but it can be used like one if you want. Unfold it as you would any regular clamshell machine, attach the supplied Bluetooth keyboard to the lower half – it mounts here magnetically but obscures most of the lower screen – and you can tap away as you would on a normal portable.
The two screens come into their own when the Yoga Book 9i is used on a desk or table. Here, you place the Bluetooth keyboard on your desk and prop up the unfolded, connected screens using the magnetic “origami” stand supplied in the box. You can support the screens in portrait or landscape orientation with this stand, depending on your preferences. Despite my initial concerns about stability, the setup proved surprisingly steady once the Yoga Book was in place.
When the stand isn’t being used, the Yoga Book adapts to various modes: laptop form, tent mode and tablet mode. In ‘tent’ mode, with Windows duplicating the display, it becomes an effective tool for presentations across a table.
Despite all the extra accessories, it all stows away in an impressively compact and lightweight package. The folding twin display unit measures 299 x 204 x 16mm and weighs 1.2kg, while the ‘origami’ stand, Bluetooth keyboard and stylus add an additional 400g to the weight, bringing the total to 1.6kg. These components conveniently fold down to occupy a space not much larger than the keyboard itself.
What you don’t get, however, is a particularly broad selection of ports. The lower section of the laptop, which is slightly thicker than the upper part, houses a mere three Thunderbolt 4 ports, one of which must accommodate the supplied 65W charger. There’s no 3.5mm audio jack, either.
While the hardware achievements of the Yoga Book stand tall, however, the software side sometimes leaves a bit to be desired. The Smart Note app works well, but the Smart Reader e-reader app, designed for seamless reading of PDF, Mobi, Epub and text files across the dual screens, remains listed as ‘coming soon’.
Odd system glitches occasionally appear, too. When I was using the virtual keyboard and mouse, the cursor would occasionally vanish from the screen temporarily. And, while moving open windows between the two screens should be possible using a flicking action, I found this wasn’t particularly reliable.
Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review: Keyboard and webcam
The Bluetooth keyboard supplied with the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is impressive. It has a clean and responsive key action, despite its shallow travel, although it does lack fold-away feet for adjusting the angle of attack. There’s no backlighting, though, which is hard to overlook, considering the price of the system overall.
You don’t have to use a physical keyboard, though, if you’re only an occasional typist. Leave the Bluetooth keyboard at home and you can summon the virtual keyboard either with an eight-fingered tap, by touching a text entry box, or tapping the keyboard icon in the system tray. This virtual keyboard provides four levels of haptic feedback, optional keystroke sounds and various opacity settings, ranging from solid to nearly transparent.
There are two virtual keyboard layouts, which you can switch between by pressing F10. The first is a simulation of a real laptop keyboard with a touchpad and buttons below. The second removes the touchpad and moves the position of the keyboard down, displaying a series of widgets above it. You can use the same layouts with the Bluetooth keyboard.
The 1080p webcam is an impressive performer, capturing bright and crisp video with satisfactory colour saturation. Download the Lenovo Smart Appearance App and additional features such as face tracking, virtual or blurred backgrounds and facial adjustments become accessible. These offerings are reminiscent of what Asus provides with its high-end compact laptops, although the Lenovo features can all be used concurrently.
For added convenience, the webcam supports Windows Hello facial recognition – just as well, given there’s no fingerprint scanner. Additionally, a physical kill switch for the webcam provides peace of mind for the privacy-conscious.
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Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review: Display
The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i’s dual 2,880 x 1,800 OLED panels have a 16:10 aspect ratio and a pixel density of 255ppi, and both exhibit impressively consistent performance. In fact, in testing, I found readings from both were identical, although you can set the brightness of each screen independently.
Both reproduce an impressive 122.7% of the DCI-P3 colour space, and brightness is pretty good, too. In SDR mode peak brightness reached 370cd/m², while in HDR mode the brightness jumps as high as 576cd/m² (when displaying small areas of white against a dark background). That comfortably surpasses the threshold set by the Yoga Book’s Vesa DisplayHDR 500 TrueBlack certification.
The peak SDR brightness is more than satisfactory for indoor usage, and self-lit OLED pixels mean deep, inky black and vivid, solid colour. However, in well-lit outdoor environments, the glossy glass-topped screens can reflect the surrounding light distractingly.
Colour accuracy could, however, be better, with an average Delta E of 3.97 versus sRGB, thanks to some oversaturation. In everyday use this isn’t an issue because, to the untrained eye, everything looks gloriously colourful, but for colour-critical work in that particular colour space, you’ll need to recalibrate the display (or displays) using a colorimeter.
Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review: Speakers
The “soundbar” speaker that bridges the two halves of the Yoga Book houses 2x 2W and 2x 1W Bowers & Wilkins-branded speakers.
These perform admirably, pumping out up to an impressive 80dBA of sound, measured from a one metre distance with pink noise. Sound quality is pretty good, too, with solid bass presence, while the higher frequencies exhibit intricate detail.
The most impressive feature of the soundbar, however, is the surround sound effect, which, rather impressively, gives the impression there are a couple of satellite speakers positioned either side of the Yoga Book.
As always, if you want the best sound quality for music or movies, you need to connect a pair of decent Bluetooth headphones. But this speaker bar will be absolutely fine for most other sorts of content.
Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review: Performance
Powering the Yoga Book is an Intel Core i7-1355U CPU, a ten-core processor that has two high-performance cores and a 28W maximum TDP. Intel’s Iris XE handles the graphics, and there’s 16GB of LPDDR5X RAM.
The Yoga Book posted a decent score of 163 in our standard 4K media benchmark, indicating a level of performance capable of handling most productivity tasks without issue. It’s a little slower than the Asus Zenbook S13, which has the same specification, but this small difference can be explained by the fact that the Yoga Book 9i is fanless.
While the Yoga Book isn’t positioned as a gaming laptop, Lenovo has made efforts in this direction. Mobile titles such as Modern Combat 5, Dungeon Hunter 5 or Asphalt 9 from the Microsoft Store let users enjoy the novelty of viewing in-game maps on the lower screen. Serious Sam 4, our default gaming benchmark on laptops without a discrete GPU, ran at 61fps on low settings and 1,920 x 1,200.
The Yoga Book showcases solid heat management, a noteworthy feat considering its fan free design. Thermal throttling remained conspicuously absent throughout testing and even during intensive stress testing the warmest point on the bottom part of the assembly only reached 40°C.
The performance of the SKHynx PCI-E 4 SSD doesn’t reach extraordinary levels, but its sequential read and write speeds of 3,986MB/sec and 2,293MB/sec, respectively, are certainly good enough within the scope of this device.
Battery life, however, is very good despite the fact that there are two displays. Engaging a video loop in VLC with the main display at 170cd/m² brightness and the secondary display at 50cd/m² – just enough to keep the onscreen keyboard visible – depleted the 80Wh battery in 8hrs 33mins, a duration exceeding my initial expectations. For even lengthier usage, disabling one screen entirely can grant up to ten hours of light operation from a full charge.
Lenovo Yoga Book 9i review – Verdict
Is the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i a gimmick or a game-changer? I would say the latter because the dual-display setup makes a lot of sense when you have a couple of high-quality and high-resolution OLED touchscreens, something previous laptops of this type lacked. If you need two screens and maximum portability then there’s nothing to compete with this ingenious machine.
The Yoga Book isn’t just a one-trick pony, though: the excellent sound system and good battery life mean that even if you use it as a conventional laptop with the Bluetooth keyboard, you’ll still have an excellent user experience. For once, reinventing the wheel has resulted in a better wheel.