Lenovo Yoga E-book 9i evaluate: The world isn’t prepared for dual-screen laptops, however Lenovo is

Now and again, a tool comes alongside and challenges you to contemplate the viability of a wholly new product class. That’s exactly what Lenovo is doing with the Yoga Book 9i. By changing the normal bodily keyboard with a second show, the corporate is rethinking what a laptop computer can do. In tight confines, you possibly can depend on a digital keyboard or an included magnetic different. However when house isn’t a priority, you possibly can prop the entire system up on its customized folding cowl to create a fascinating dual-screen workspace. It’s like a miniature all-in-one PC that’s extremely straightforward to hold round. And whereas its software program nonetheless wants work and it prices twice as a lot as an ordinary clamshell, the Yoga E-book 9i is proof that it’s price exploring this new department of the laptop computer’s evolutionary tree.

Design and shows

There’s a profound magnificence to the Yoga E-book 9i’s design. Although the laptop computer’s backside half is a bit thicker than the highest, it appears like Lenovo has boiled the machine right down to its most elementary parts: two halves (on this case, screens) joined by a hinge within the center. The twin 13.3-inch shows (2,880 x 1,800) look nice too, boasting OLED panels with wealthy colours and a examined brightness simply shy of 400 nits.

Lenovo

Lenovo Lenovo Yoga E-book 9i

Execs

  • Novel design
  • A number of bundled equipment
  • Higher-than-expected battery life
  • Capabilities as a transportable all-in-one PC

Cons

  • Costly
  • Poor dual-screen assist in Home windows
  • A number of bloatware
  • Typing on a touchscreen will be awkward
  • No 3.5mm audio jack

Across the exterior, the Yoga E-book contains a polished steel body with three Thunderbolt 4 ports, which is sweet to see on a system this measurement. Sadly for followers of wired audio, you don’t get a 3.5mm audio jack. Fortunately, Lenovo’s 5-megapixel IR webcam is sharper than what you get on most competing units, and holding every part collectively is the corporate’s signature speaker bar hinge, which is impressively loud and punchy. All advised, regardless of being barely heavier than a typical 13-inch ultraportable as a result of that second layer of glass, it’s nonetheless very straightforward to hold round.

The remaining items of the Yoga E-book 9i’s equipment are its equipment, which embody a stylus, a indifferent magnetic bodily keyboard, a folding kickstand cowl and even a glossy journey mouse. The keyboard communicates by way of Bluetooth and has its personal USB-C port for charging. Regardless of its measurement, it doesn’t really feel cramped and provides extra key journey than you may count on. Throughout transport, the quilt wraps across the keyboard to maintain it protected, whereas Lenovo’s Digital Pen 3 will be stashed within the hooked up loop. 

The mouse is the odd one out as a result of whereas it is a helpful inclusion, it’s additionally somewhat fundamental (its solely noteworthy attribute is having a toggle on the underside for rapidly switching between two paired units). Plus, it does not connect to the remainder of the system in any method. Nonetheless, what you possibly can create while you put these items collectively is when issues get actually attention-grabbing.

A dual-mode machine

In clamshell mode, the Yoga E-book 9i appears to be like and features like an everyday laptop computer. However in fact, it’s lacking a discrete keyboard and touchpad, so what do you do while you want them? That’s straightforward, you simply faucet eight fingers on the underside panel and immediately you get digital stand-ins. And for occasions while you solely have to mouse round, you should utilize a three-finger faucet as an alternative, which summons a floating touchpad that leaves room for Lenovo’s widgets (climate, information, and so on.) or the rest you’d prefer to put down there.

The Yoga Book 9i's stacked display setup might be its most useful mode, as it lets you keep a big project open up top while reserving the bottom screen from email, messaging and more.

Picture by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Surprisingly, typing on a touchscreen isn’t as unhealthy as you may suppose. Don’t get me incorrect, it’s nonetheless not practically as quick or correct as utilizing a bodily keyboard. Nevertheless it’s serviceable, so long as you’re keen to make some changes. You may’t slam your fingers down as a result of there are not any switches or precise keys with depth to cushion each strike and it’s essential be extra conscious of when your arms begin to drift lest your sentence devolves right into a jumble. However after slightly apply, I’m capable of hit 60 to 65 phrases per minute, which is down from round 85 wpm usually. As for mousing, the tackiness of the glass means swiping round isn’t fairly as fluid both. However that’s OK, as a result of for those who don’t need to rely fully on a digital keyboard or touchpad, you don’t must.

Dropping Lenovo’s keyboard on the underside display immediately converts the Yoga E-book right into a extra conventional setup. The magnets inside even assist align it correctly. From there you possibly can sort away on bodily keys for those who want. Simply don’t neglect to take away the accent earlier than you shut the lid.

The Yoga Book 9i's side-by-side dual-screen mode is great for being able to reference sources while writing.

Picture by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

What’s most spectacular concerning the Yoga E-book 9i’s is its means to remodel into a transportable all-in-one PC when it’s propped up on its kickstand cowl. On this mode, there are two choices for its shows: a stacked setup with one display on prime of the opposite and a side-by-side association. Each configurations have their makes use of. Twin portrait-mode panels are nice for rapidly referencing supplies like spec sheets whereas writing. Alternatively, the vertically stacked orientation is superb for protecting an essential mission open up prime whereas the underside display is reserved for e-mail or messaging apps.

No matter your choice, merely being able to make use of two shows on a tool provides the Yoga E-book 9i a novel benefit over just about each regular laptop computer. Positive, you possibly can recreate the same state of affairs utilizing a bunch of add-ons, nevertheless it’s by no means going to be fairly as glossy.

Software program

The largest draw back to the Yoga E-book 9i is that whereas its {hardware} is strong, its software program is hit and miss. Lenovo makes an attempt to mitigate this with its Person Heart, which does a terrific job of showcasing the laptop computer’s dual-screen options and is a simple place to regulate settings like show modes, brightness and extra.

There's no arguing that typing on a virtual keyboard takes a lot of getting used to.

Picture by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Sadly, even with the additional help, it’s clear Home windows 11 isn’t designed for laptops like this. Generally when launching full-screen apps like a sport, the Yoga E-book will get confused and places the window on the incorrect panel. Different occasions, like while you’re putting in a program or logging in, a immediate pops up that fully disables the decrease show, which is form of annoying while you’re counting on a digital keyboard and touchpad. I can perceive that it is onerous to optimize software program while you don’t have a tool to check issues on. Besides, there’s no hiding that this creates a stilted expertise in comparison with an ordinary laptop computer, and for those who’re contemplating shopping for a Yoga E-book 9i, this can be a fact you’re going to must reside with (no less than for now).

Efficiency

Packing an Intel Core i7-155U chip, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, the Yoga E-book 9i can deal with most productiveness wants. Even when multitasking throughout each shows, efficiency felt comparatively snappy. Nonetheless, for those who’re planning on commonly doing extra demanding issues like video modifying, you’ll most likely need a beefier machine. On our video encoding take a look at, the laptop computer took a minute and a half to transform a one-minute film trailer from 4K to 1080p. That’s not nice when in comparison with programs with quicker chips that may carry out the identical activity in 30 to 40 seconds.

Battery life

For a small system with dual screens, the Yoga Book 9i still features three USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4. Unfortunately, it doesn't come with a 3.5mm audio jack.

Picture by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Even with a comparatively giant 80Wh battery, for a system with two screens, the Yoga E-book 9i fared higher than anticipated on our normal video rundown take a look at. It posted a time of eight hours and 12 minutes, which is a pair hours shorter than conventional similarly-sized rivals just like the Asus ZenBook S 13 (10:39). Nevertheless it’s longer than what you get from extra highly effective thin-and-light gaming notebooks, which regularly battle to get north of 5 hours on a cost.

Wrap up

As the primary laptop computer to function two shows, the Yoga E-book 9i is a somewhat divisive machine. Beginning at $2,000, not solely is it actually costly, its efficiency can be slower than extra conventional opponents on this worth vary. Nonetheless, for folks like me who continually yearn for extra display actual property once I’m away from dwelling, Lenovo has created one thing that’s greater than the sum of its elements. When house is restricted, the Yoga E-book 9i’s clamshell mode feels proper at dwelling on an airplane tray desk. However when it is not, it could actually broaden into a transportable dual-screen workstation–full with all of the fixings of your desktop at dwelling. And when it’s essential pack up, every part collapses right into a neat, semi-self-contained bundle that matches within the smallest of laptop computer luggage.

One of the best things about the Yoga Book 9i is that despite having two screens, it collapses down into a neat semi-self-contained bundle that's really easy to fit in a bag.

Picture by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

The Yoga E-book 9i is a nifty little transformer that’s extra participating than something Michael Bay has directed within the final 20 years. With how little laptops have modified not too long ago, it feels just like the Yoga E-book has much more room to develop within the years to return. Positive, it’s nonetheless a bit awkward, however as the start line for a brand new sort of pocket book, Lenovo’s debut dual-screen convertible has me satisfied.

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