Lenovo Yoga 9i Review | Best 2 in 1 Laptop of 2023

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 Lenovo Yoga 9i

The new yoga 9i for 2023 which i was super excited to try firstly it has intel's 12 gen processor inside and i haven't tested any laptops with it and secondly this is lenovo's flagship consumer convertible and lenovo has been on a tear recently and i wanted to see how good their top consumer offering is

Lenovo Yoga 9i
Lenovo Yoga 9i
But after using this laptop for over a week and especially coming off the back of using the excellent macbook pro 14 honestly i wasn't entirely pleased my unit has the intel 12 gen i7 1260p processor which has 12 cores 4 performance cores and 8 efficiency cores.

Display, Pen & Touchscreen

It also comes with 16 gig of ram a 1 terabyte ssd and a stunning 14 inch eyelet panel with excellent color accuracy i measured the brightness at just under 400 nits this is bright enough to be used in almost any environment however the screen is quite reflective what you'll notice in my b-roll when looking at darker content on the screen like say watching a movie at times 

Lenovo Yoga 9i
Lenovo Yoga 9i
i did find myself having to adjust the angle of the screen so lights behind me weren't visibly reflecting off it given its excellent pixel density of 3840 by 2400 and its 16x10 aspect ratio i had no problem setting windows scaling to 225 percent which enabled me to see a ton more content than the recommended 300 percent in fact on par with the most content  i've seen on a windows laptop to date with a 14 inch or smaller screen 

But not as much content as on my macbook pro 14 which i also set to the most content i could see on screen without needing to squint talking about the macbook pro 14 on-screen movement on it did look smoother as its display can refresh at up to 120 hertz the yoga 9i on the other hand can't go above 60.

Lenovo Yoga 9i
Lenovo Yoga 9i
Where the yoga 9i shines though is in its touchscreen and pen functionality it can be used in several form factors including as a tablet in this capacity the 9i works very well the pen was great and was accurate as was the touchscreen little note this seems to be a newer version of lenovo's active pen unlike the prior model which used a single aaa battery to charge this model is charged via usb-c which is super handy.

Keyborad & Trackpad

The keyboard i don't love at first try it does feel decent but after a while you'll notice the keys feel a bit spongy and mushy especially if you've tried the latest macbook pro keyboards also the spacing of the keys seems a little far apart plus the special keys off to the right results in the keyboard shifted a little to the left at times 

Lenovo Yoga 9i
Lenovo Yoga 9i
This meant i accidentally hit the fingerprint reader rather than the right arrow key overall i mistyped more on this laptop than any other laptop

i've recently tested on the positives its keyboard backlight works well and i do appreciate lenovo's intuitive special keys for example switching the function keys to their regular f2 f3 functions etc .which you'll want to do for things like excel work it's as easy as pressing the function and escape key together the trackpad i also don't like it is very large

Which is good and tracking is accurate i found though when i press down to click the cursor can jump a little that's because this trackpad is mechanical not like apples which don't physically depress when you click them apple just makes it feel like it's clicking in other premium windows laptops that do have a mechanical click this isn't such an issue this one

I don't know it just feels like it's a bit looser or maybe a bit deeper honestly because of it i wasn't 100 accurate when clicking on something with this laptop look rounding out the keyboard and trackpad both are decent and would be very good on a budget laptop.

Sounds

The laptop speakers are exquisite especially for vocals very clear immersive soundstage and they get loud so when watching a movie it is a great experience but  when playing fuller audio like edm music that requires bass

The sound is now here near as good as that of the macbook pro 14s before we hit performance a couple of other items for you this laptop has a fingerprint reader and windows hello facial recognition.

Webcam

So plenty of ways to get you logged in fast here's how the yoga nine-nice webcam looks and sounds in natural lighting conditions but as you're about to see not all of these new 1080 webcams are created equal and 

Here is the macbook pro 14's 1080 webcam in the exact same  lighting conditions to me it looks a little better and it sounds a lot better the webcam has a physical privacy filter and the laptop comes with a soft carrying case that can also hold the pen which is nice alright.

Performance

I gotta admit after watching several other reviewers videos of intel's 12th gen laptop processors i was worried what i saw was yes they can run fast but they do have a ton of power to do it this generates more heat and may result in more fan noise to cool the laptop plus i've seen all the marketing hype about intel changing the game with it

Now offering two different types of cores performance and efficiency cores at the end of the day i don't care about the hype let's see if it actually makes a difference for my tests i set the laptop to extreme performance in lenovo's vantage software and best performance mode in windows or drivers bios and program versions were updated to the latest in geekbench 

which tests a variety of common tasks the 9i single core score was excellent as was its multi-core a good amount higher than the ryzen 5000 laptops in my tests and substantially better than the intel 11 channel laptops from last year particularly in multi-core

but but but only on par with apple's lowest in macbook pro 14 m1 cpu the one with the 8 cpu cores and 14 gpu cores in cinebench which tests the processor's performance when it is maxed out now you can see the ryzen cpus really flex their muscles eeking out very similar performance to this intel 12th gen and keep in mind these are the ryzen cpus from last year 

once again the macbook pro 14's lower stand cpu still keeps up with this new offering from intel

But this is far from the whole story things only get worse for intel from here when under full load to equal the performance of ryzen and the lowest in macbook pro 14 cpu this cpu draws lots of power much more than those laptops this results in a slightly hotter filling chassis a hotter running processor and more fan noise substantially 

So compared to the macbook pro 14. before we move on i told you i'd call out the ideapad carbon edition which scored very similar cinebench tests as this laptop the ryzen processor in that laptop required far less power to get those results and it ran a lot cooler it even had a tad less fan noise and guys it's super lightweight i seriously need to do a full review of that laptop as i absolutely love it.

Let's talk about regular use though just say browsing the net or using office applications in this use case the chassis remains very cool to the touch however the fan is pretty much always on in a quiet room you'll definitely hear it and the moment you do anything on the laptop like installing a program the fans ramp up and it's very audible 

it's not as annoying as my hp spectre 14 with intel's older 11th gen cpu where the fans pulsate meaning it is quiet and then all of a sudden they come on very loud but unfortunately this laptop has some of the most distracting fan noise of any consumer laptop we've had in the studio i was keen to see 

if there were significant improvements to the integrated graphics so i ran the fire strike benchmark and then time spy yes there are some improvements compared to intel's 11th gen integrated graphics in fact it almost scored as high as the dedicated nvidia mx450 in my idea pad 5 pro but this is still nowhere near as good as a low end dedicated graphics like the nvidia 3050 ti

and you definitely notice this when i tried to edit one of my 4k youtube videos the laptop couldn't handle it as things were super choppy with tons of drop frames my macbook pro 14 

on the other hand which as i keep saying has their lowest m1 pro cpu inside edits videos like a champ so similar to the last generation of intel processors the integrated graphics is the same in that you'll be able to play casual games like league of legends on this but nothing more.

Battery Life

The battery life does intel's 12 gen processors with its efficiency course help here nope i measured a measly four hours and 30 minutes of battery life in my test that's streaming a movie from netflix on repeat over wi-fi and no i'm not joking with that score yes i was on lenovo's battery saving setting 

and i did have windows set to best power efficiency i also had the screen turned down three notches of brightness you will probably get longer battery life if you turn down the screen further perhaps this is to do with software not being optimized for intel's 12th gen processors but honestly right now battery life on this it's pretty bad perhaps it only happens on some units as digital trends

for example , reported much longer battery life on theirs look clearly i've only tested a single laptop with an intel 12th gen processor

So my thoughts are far from statistically significant but from this sample intel continues their run of the most disappointing laptop cpus you can buy perhaps things are different for larger laptops with better cooling solutions and higher power delivery.

Conclusion

This is a high quality laptop but it suffers from two main issues one the constant fan noise which i believe is probably to do with having to cool intel's 12th gen processor other consumer lenovo laptops that i've had with ryzen 5000 processors like the ideapad carbon edition 

Honestly they're much quieter and two the price my configuration of this laptop is a best buy exclusive that will be on sale for 1930 us dollars for the kind of people who are likely to be considering this device i people who don't need high-end graphics and just want a good premium portable laptop the macbook pro 14 even the lowest end configuration is way better 

and it doesn't cost that much more the config with equivalent specs to this one can be had on amazon for about 2 250 us dollars its keyboard is more comfortable its trackpad is way better its webcam is better and of course the m1 pro chip runs circles around this intel 12 gen processor its more powerful in graphical intensive tasks it runs way cooler to the touch has substantially less fan noise and longer battery life 

i would only consider the yoga 9i if it were at least 500 us dollars less than the macbook pro 14 or if you wanted one of the unique features of this laptop that the mac just doesn't have i.e you're an and want to draw on the screen with a pin or you want to run linux or something like that now best buy and lenovo are well known to have regular rotating sales on most of their laptops

So if this drops to about say 1 500 us dollars and they release a bias update to reduce the fan noise then i do think it's worth considering when editing the video we did find a cheaper configuration that could be coming but it only has 256gb of storage eight gig of ram and loses that nice oled screen look don't get me wrong guys the yoga 9i it's a good device and 

if you aren't overly fussy with a bit of fan noise and you buy it at a good price you'll probably be pretty happy with it the problem is in 2023 the macbook pro 14 it's just a much better device.

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