There’s not too much to say about the rest of this chassis. The backlit keyboard is acceptable and roomy, but a bit flatter than my favorites on the market. The device is fine-looking and sturdy enough, but it doesn’t have the same sleek professionalism as the Spectre x360 14 or the Surface Pro 7 Plus (and the prominent Lenovo logo on the hinge looks a bit corny to me). It’s not the lightest laptop around, but it’s still portable at 3.02 pounds. 2 Type-A Gen 2, two Thunderbolt 4, and an audio combo jack.
There are some optional fancy features – an ultrasonic fingerprint reader, an edge-to-edge glass palm rest, a haptic touchpad, and a leather cover – that weren’t included on the model I was sent. Configurations with those extra features start around $1,, currently discounted to $1, on Lenovo’s website.
The Yoga 9i starts at $1, ($1, as tested). The base model includes a Core i5-1135G7, 8GB of RAM (soldered), and 256GB of storage (PCIe SSD). This specific configuration comes with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage as well as a Core i7-1185G7 (Intel’s top chip for thin and light devices).
The Yoga 9i is verified through Intel’s Evo platform, as are many of its competitors in the premium 2-in-1 space. To qualify, laptops are supposed to offer a number of Intel-selected benefits, including Thunderbolt 4, Wi-Fi 6, all-day battery life, quick boot time, fast charging, and responsive performance on battery. In my experience, check, check, and check.
Performance was as satisfactory as we’d expect from the top-notch 1185G7. The system blazed through a load of 20ish Chrome tabs and booted up noticeably faster than 10th Gen Yoga systems would. Intel’s Iris Xe graphics are more than capable of running some games, as long as you’re not expecting 60fps from anything too demanding. Battery life was also a pleasant surprise, given the power of the processor. I averaged eight hours and 25 minutes of continuous use, with the screen around 200 nits of brightness.
As far as video calling goes, the 9i’s webcam is a bit grainy but serviceable; it has a physical privacy shutter, though it’s very tiny and can be clumsy to move if you have large fingers. The camera doesn’t support Windows Hello (which is a bit disappointing – other top convertibles at this price point like Spectres and Surfaces do have this feature), but there is a fingerprint sensor beneath the arrow keys that you can use to log in. It had trouble identifying my finger once or twice but was quick and accurate otherwise.
The 9i also has two dual-array microphones. These are useful not just for video calling (where they picked up my voice just fine) but for Amazon Alexa, which comes preinstalled on the Yoga. Not only can smart home devotees give Alexa voice commands via the Yoga, but they can also activate Amazon’s Show Mode, which will change the Yoga’s home screen to look like the home screen of an Echo smart display. Hey, don’t let me stop you.
The Yoga 9i doesn’t come loaded with a ton of junk like some budget computers do, but it does force McAfee LiveSafe on you. McAfee alerts were popping up all over the place while I set the device up, and sometimes even appeared in windows in the middle of my screen and interrupted what I was doing. The program is a pain to uninstall, requiring you to close all of your tabs and then to restart your computer. It’s not a huge issue in the grand scheme of things, but it rubs me the wrong way to see this on a $1,500 laptop.