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Lenovo's latest 2-in-1 laptop wowed me with clever design and a bold outlook

The Lenovo 9i 2-in-1 laptop has a stunning 2.8K resolution display, strong speakers, and a well-designed keyboard in a sleek and stylish form factor.
Written by Cesar Cadenas, Contributing Writer
Cesar Cadenas/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • Lenovo's Yoga 9i has one of the most eye-catching designs for a 2-in-1 laptop I've ever tested.
  • It sports a high-resolution OLED display, powerful speakers, and a matte black keyboard in a sleek form factor.
  • However, I recommend keeping the charger nearby, as the Yoga 9 can be power-hungry.

2-in-1 laptops are some of my favorites because of their creative designs. Manufacturers aren't afraid to get a little experimental with these, and Lenovo is one of the most daring. For example, 2023 saw the launch of the ThinkPad Plus Gen 4, which had an OLED screen on one side and an e-Ink display on the other. Not everyone bought into the hype surrounding the ThinkPad Plus, but you have to give kudos for trying something new. 

Also: The best 2-in-1 laptops: Top flexible, hybrid, and convertible notebooks

Now, Lenovo is back at it again with another unique 2-in-1 laptop, the ninth-generation Yoga 9i 14; although this time, they're not adding any e-Ink screens. Instead, the company made a series of calculated changes resulting in a very cool-looking machine.

I'm a big fan of how it looks. My review unit came in a snazzy Cosmic Blue, a shade that shifts to a purplish hue when in the right light. The laptop's corners are round with edges plated in polished metal, and thin bezels adorn the OLED display, enabling a wide aspect ratio for better visuals. The laptop's prominent chin houses a 5MP webcam while also making it easy to open. 

View at Lenovo

The Yoga 9i is slimmer than the previous generation, weighing less than three pounds. With its durable exterior, this lightweight device can handle the rigors of travel, but as a consequence, it doesn't have many ports. All you get are three USB-C inputs, a USB-A port in the corner, and a headphone jack. I recommend buying one of the best laptop docking stations if you want to expand its connectivity.  

The keys on this laptop are also a little darker than the rest of the body as they're covered in a matte black material, resulting in an interesting design look. But it's when you put all of these features together, that they coalesce into what is a very elegant-looking laptop. In fact, I would rank the Yoga as one of my favorite hardware designs, up there with the likes of Dell XPS 16.

Also: This Asus laptop looks unassuming, but it has a powerful feature creatives will love

The OLED display, however, is the shining jewel of this device. It outputs a 2.8K image resolution (2880 x 1800 pixels) at a refresh rate of 120Hz. This fast speed ensures buttery smooth video playback, and the touchscreen's performance is further helped by the slew of image enhancers. Lenovo's 9i also supports the entire DCI-P3 color gamut, comes with Dolby Vision, and utilizes DisplayHDR 500 all at once to achieve stunning image quality. 

The glass used for the touchscreen attracts fingerprints like a magnet, but luckily, Lenovo throws in a free stylus so you can use that instead of smudging the screen. There isn't a slot to hold the pen but you can attach it to the back of the display thanks to an internal magnet.

Cesar Cadenas/ZDNET

The keyboard is pretty special, as well. Each key has a travel distance of 1.5mm, giving them that bouncy, springy feel that doesn't require much force to register an input: a light touch is all you need. This allows you to type quickly and accurately without tiring out your hands. On top of that, each button has a small indentation guiding your figure to the center so you directly engage with the travel distance. 

The Yoga 9i also comes with a handful of extra function keys. Those at the top are your standard affair: media control buttons, airplane mode, and so on, while the keys on the far right introduce helpful functionality. The top key with the throttle icon lets you cycle between different performance modes to prioritize hardware performance, battery longevity, or boost the fans. The key above the fingerprint reader, however, is a freebie. You can map whatever command you want to it, such as opening a web browser or launching your email app. 

The Yoga 9i also does something I wish way more laptops do, and that's place the speaker system on the hinge. One of my pet peeves with many laptops is they often place the drivers on the bottom firing down, muffling the sound. Lenovo avoids this entirely, as it doesn't matter whether the machine is in laptop or tablet mode – audio sounds great. Subwoofers are, however, located at the bottom, but I'm okay with this placement because I still felt the bass resonate and even vibrate the device a little, adding to the immersion. 

Also: I tested Lenovo's dual-screen laptop and it improved my productivity in profound ways

Regarding the battery life, be sure to keep the charger nearby because the Yoga 9i does not last for very long. At its peak, the laptop lasted about 7.5 hours which is an average amount, but comes at the cost of its performance. If you try to swing in the other direction and instead boost its performance, the battery life drops down to just five hours.

ZDNET's buying advice

Overall, the Lenovo Yoga 9i 14 Gen 9 is a solid machine. I recommend it to anyone looking for a new work laptop, especially if you're a creative professional who needs a device that excels at multiple jobs. Prices for the model start at $1,477; however, at the time of this writing, it's currently on sale for $1,329 on Lenovo's site. 

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