I love it when electronic device manufacturers release innovative new form factors! They are fun to learn and can improve productivity by opening up new workflow scenarios. While smartphone manufacturers have been pushing boundaries, such as with the introduction of the best foldable smartphones, laptops have mostly stuck to the traditional clamshell design, but those can be so boring.
Lenovo’s Yoga Book 9i not only gives us a very interesting new form factor design, but it also allows for a larger variety of operational modes from a dual-screen tablet, 13″ tablet, laptop-style mode, larger desktop style mode with two horizontal screens, or a double vertical screen desktop mode.
It’s fascinating how flexible this Yoga Book 9i is when adapting to different workflow situations! There are many positive things to say about this modular device, with only a few minor downsides. Learn more about our experience with the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i in our detailed review below.
Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is an affordable tablet PC laptop convertible with two gorgeous OLED screens attached to a soundbar hinge and includes a wireless keyboard, mouse, pen, and folding stand.
- Brand: Lenovo
- Color: Tidal Teal
- Storage: Up to 1TB PCIe 4.0 SSD
- CPU: Intel Core i7-1355U
- Memory: 16GB
- Operating System: Windows 11 Home
- Battery: 80 watts Lithium-ion polymer
- Ports: 3 x USB-C
- Camera: 5MP camera with IR
- Display (Size, Resolution): 2 x 13.3 in, 2880 x 1800, 400 nits OLED touch
- Weight: 2.95 pounds
- GPU: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- Form: Dual screen convertible
- Dimension: 11.78 in x 8.03 in x 0.63 in
- Network: Wi-Fi 6e, Bluetooth 5.1
- Speakers: Bowers & Wilkins
- Price: $1,999.99 USD
- Adaptor and Battery: USB-C
- Two beautiful 13″ OLED touch screens that fold into an ultra-book sized laptop
- Comes with external keyboard, mouse, stand, and pen
- Large variety of usage modes to choose from
- Excellent hinge-based sound bar
- Customized software make the dual screens more useful in different modes
- Great value at an affordable price
- Some extra pieces to carry
- Separate device batteries to charge (keyboard, mouse, pen, tablet PC)
- Pen interface is not professional grade
- Glossy screens are prone to finger print grease and reflections
What’s in the box
First of all, when you open the packaging, you’ll notice that the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i comes with a lot of matching accessories, and that’s a huge advantage. I know these days most device manufacturers barely include any accessories because they want you to buy them separately and that can be an advantage too in cases where maybe you already have compatible accessories or maybe you don’t want to use any of the extra stuff. When it comes to the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i though, you really do kind of want everything because these accessories make the multi-modal experience this device was designed for really shine.
Besides the Yoga Book itself, you get a nice USB-C charger, a silver slim silent wireless mouse, a pen, a matching wireless Bluetooth keyboard, and a folio case. Yes, I’m a little disappointed too that the mouse and pen don’t use the gorgeous tidal teal color of the Yoga Book 9i, keyboard, and case, but this is because those are existing products that have simply been bundled with this package instead of being made custom for the new device. The silver kind of matches the nice silver in the Lenovo and Yoga logos though.
The keyboard and pen fit nicely together with the folio case. There’s a loop that the pen fits into and there are magnets in the short end of the case that stick to the bottom of the wireless keyboard. And don’t worry, even if you lose the pen included, our sister-website XDA-Developers have got you covered — check out their guide covering the best pens for Lenovo Yoga Book 9i. However, there’s no mouse holder, so that has to be carried separately, but it’s pretty compact so that’s not a big deal.
The keyboard case also doubles as a stand! That’s right, even the little keyboard carrying case has multiple modes of operation.
Multiple Modes of Operation
This is the big advantage of the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i; it’s ability to adjust to a wide variety of operation modes.
The first usage mode is simply opening the clamshell tablet PC’s hinge and using the two screens like a large tablet.
The hinge rotates 360 degrees so you can flip it completely around to have a clip-board-sized touch screen tablet, or you can flip it into a tent style mode, or angle it like a laptop. The pen interface is the less-expensive Wacom AES technology, so it’s not as great as Wacom’s EMR digitizers. There aren’t any pen holder magnets or silos on the tablet itself (there is a loop in the keyboard case/stand though), so you may find yourself placing the pen behind your ear when needing to switch between interaction methods.
If you tap 8 fingers on one of the touch screens, a full screen touch keyboard and trackpad will appear in that panel. This gives the two screen tablet a laptop-like function where you can use one side as a keyboard and trackpad while the other side is a normal display. The full sized keyboard is pretty nice, but it doesn’t give you any tactile feedback like you get with a real keyboard. You’ll have to actually look at the keys in order to see which one you want to press.
I also wish the shift key was sticky on this. Currently, you have to actually hold the shift key to keep it activated while pressing another key where-as on many other touch screen keyboards, the shift key stays enabled until you press the next key. I also kind of wish the letters written on the keys would become uppercase when caps-lock or the shift key was activated so that I could more easily tell that I would be typing uppercase letters.
You’re probably thinking that this touch-screen keyboard isn’t going to be great for typing out lots of text and that’s true, but guess what…
You can place the wireless Bluetooth keyboard right on top of the touch screen and magnets will detect it and show a trackpad interface in the empty space below (if you place the keyboard close to the hinge). Don’t close the clamshell screens in this configuration! This mode of operation gives you a real keyboard in a laptop-style form factor. This is what you want to do if you’re going to be typing a lot and want to use the Yoga Book 9i on your lap like an actual laptop computer.
The software trackpad that appears on the screen beneath the keyboard works well, but you can’t feel the left click and right click buttons, so you’ll have to keep your eyes out for those. I also wish this was customizable somehow to show a 3rd “middle click” mouse button for use in 3D programs. The left click can be activated with a single finger tap though, and the right click can be activated with a two finger tap on this trackpad, so really all that’s missing is a middle click button.
This software trackpad has another really awesome trick though. There’s a little two-arrow circle button on the left side. If you press that, the software trackpad grey rectangle disappears and the entire bottom section of the touch screen becomes usable as a trackpad! I love this feature! This means I don’t have to move my hand to the center of the palm rest to move the mouse pointer around. I can put my finger on the right side of the bottom corner and control the mouse pointer from there. This awesome ergonomic flexibility makes me wish that I could move the left/right/middle touch mouse click buttons to the left side of the palm rest area for an even more ergonomic mouse pointer interface layout. Unfortunately that bit is not possible, but I imagine it could be with a software update.
Another minor issue with the virtual trackpad is that if you leave the computer in this state and it goes into sleep mode, the keyboard position will not be detected when waking from sleep, so you’ll have to move it off the magnets and then reposition it to get the virtual trackpad back. Update: that bug appears to have been fixed in an update already. The virtual keyboard and trackpad are also not usable at all when Windows shows a user account control authorization dialogue so you’ll have to use the touch screen to interact with those, but this is to be expected.
But wait, there’s more! If you place the wireless keyboard at the bottom of the second screen, there are magnets there that also detect its position and instead of a touchscreen trackpad, you’ll get a couple widgets loading in the empty area above the keyboard’s position (if this option is turned on in the User Center settings). By default, our unit shows a calendar with my actual schedule from Outlook x86 on the left, as well as Microsoft’s generic news widgets on the right.
I love the fact that the calendar widget actually works with Outlook x86 as this is not true with Microsoft’s Windows 11 calendar widget. You can also access this widget bar without the hardware keyboard, by putting 8 fingers on the virtual keyboard and dragging towards the bottom. Unfortunately this widget bar doesn’t seem to be customizable at the moment. I do love the calendar widget on the left, but I don’t really need MSN news links about what clothing celebrities are wearing or what Elon Musk is doing today.
An email list next to the calendar widget would have been super useful. Lenovo expects to update this software later, so we can hope for a little more customization control in the widgets bar perhaps.
Now if you’ve got an actual desk or table nearby, you’re going to want to set up the Yoga Book 9i in one of the modes that seriously takes advantage of the dual OLED screens. Above layout uses the folio case stand to prop up the tablet PC in a dual horizontal screen layout. You’re probably going to want to use the mouse in this configuration too, but the touch screens and pen will obviously still work. The included mouse is really nice, by the way. It’s a silent model that doesn’t make loud clicking or scroll wheel noises. It’s a bit thinner than many other mouse designs as well, and this makes it nicely portable when fitting into a pocket in your bag.
The dual horizontal screen desktop setup is probably my favorite mode configuration for the Yoga Book 9i since most of my Windows programs work best with landscape orientation screens and having two available is pretty great for multi-tasking. Tapping five fingers on the lower screen will extend the program in the top screen all the way down through the second screen in case I need a very long view without scrolling. It can sometimes be hard to tell which program you’re applying this gesture to because many programs no longer have proper title bar color indicators to show which window is active. (In the old days of Windows & MacOS application window management, the title bar of the active window was very obviously different from background windows; this is no longer the case due to modern design regressions.)
This dual horizontal layout configuration also puts the sound bar on a nice horizontal level for broadcasting sound into your horizontally arranged ears. This sound bar provides really excellent audio too! It’s got Bowers & Wilkins speakers in there with two 2-watt tweeters in the hinge and two 2-watt woofers in the base. They’re optimized for Dolby Atmos and will work beautifully with Dolby compatible content on Netflix for example.
If you’d rather have dual portrait screens side by side, all you have to do is rotate the tablet PC and place it in the stand like so! This mode is great for applications that involve a lot of vertical scrolling as you’ll be able to see more data at the same time on each screen.
The dual screens fold together into a very nice little 13″ ultrabook package. The teal blue color looks fantastic, and I love the little silver Lenovo Yoga logos in the corners of the top panel.
The bottom side is thicker like many laptops are, but not by much. You’ll also find some little rubber feet here to keep the device stable on a desk. This is where all of the manufacturer stickers appear since we can’t put them on the palm rest like we usually see with laptop computers (since the palm rest area is a touch screen.)
The dual OLED screens are totally gorgeous, but the glass finish is very glossy which means it’s prone to distracting reflections. The glossy touch screen is also very prone to fingerprint grease, so it’s going to get a bit dirty pretty quickly. You may want to clean it with rubbing alcohol periodically. Both display panels meet PureSight requirements and support Dolby Vision content with 13.3”, 2.8K OLED, 400 nits, 100% DCI-P3, 60 Hz, 16:10, touchscreen, and pen support.
Making full use of the multiple modes of operation also means having multiple things to carry and charge. They do fold up into a pretty compact pile, but still it’s a few more pieces to carry than a normal clamshell laptop.
The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i comes with Windows 11 pre-installed. Personally, I dislike Windows 11 due to all the features that were removed, the reduced usability, and reduced interaction efficiency. (See: Explaining Windows 11’s bad design). Windows 11 is even worse when it comes to dual screen systems, but Lenovo has added some software to help make managing dual screens on the Yoga Book 9i more acceptable.
When you drag a window title bar with a finger on the touch screen or the mouse pointer (if you have this option turned on in the User Center settings), then a couple rectangular shapes will appear. If you drag the window to that then previews of window outlines will appear in the second screen. Letting the mouse click or finger touch go will snap the window into that new position on the second screen. Unfortunately this doesn’t work while using the pen, unless you go to the “Windows Ink Settings” and then “additional settings” and then turn on “let me use my pen as a mouse when it’s available”.
There are also some new snap layout options if you hover over the maximize/restore button for windows. The extra grey rectangles in that pop-up menu have little arrows pointing to the other screen and those are meant to indicate snapping the window into a layout on the other screen. One bug with this interface that’s slightly annoying is that the window’s floating dimensions are not preserved when unsnapping the window from a tiled layout. I have to manually resize windows to their preferred floating dimensions every time.
If those window management interfaces aren’t intuitive enough for you, it’s also possible to simply click and drag windows by their title bars and move them to the other screen. This works well with a mouse, but not the pen or touch due to the big hinge gap between the screens. Flicking the title bar towards the other screen is supposed to work too, but this gesture is difficult to get used to.
The Yoga Book User Center is the bundled program that you’ll want to use to change and discover all of the extra settings and features made for the special features of the Yoga Book 9i. This is where you can customize window management features, individual screen brightness, dual-screen wallpaper (which allows you to choose special wallpaper animations that span both screens), virtual keyboard/touchpad features, widget bar, and cross-screen browsing features. There are also FAQs and tips about the dual screen interaction methods.
Lenovo Vantage is another bundled app. This one includes up-sells for extended support options as well as other management tips.
You’ll also find some special service deals and trials in the Vantage app that you can take advantage of if you so choose.
Another bundled app includes keyboard shortcut customization options.
A trial subscription for McAfee antivirus is also included.
When it comes to running professional grade applications, the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i works great as long as you understand the limitations of its 16Gb of RAM, Intel Iris GPU, and Core i7-1355U processor. Exporting hundreds of RAW photos can slow the whole system down significantly, but again this is something to be expected given the hardware specs.
In terms of pen interface graphics programs, the Wacom AES digitizer and battery powered pen are not nearly as good as the more-high-end options. The pen is fine for writing out notes in OneNote or doing some minor sketching, but it can become unresponsive in programs like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop depending on how much memory you’re using. Wacom’s EMR technology is much better, but of course the Yoga Book 9i is meant to meet a specific price point, so you can’t have everything.
The 80 watt-hour battery works great for about 8-11 hours depending on your usage. That’s totally acceptable considering we’ve got two screens to power as opposed to the one that laptops normally include. You’ve got an included rapid charger that will get the battery life back up to about 80% in 30 minutes as well.
You’ve also got an AAAA battery in the pen, an AA battery in the mouse, and a rechargeable battery in the wireless keyboard. Those should all last a good long time, and the keyboard can be charged via USB-C the same as the tablet PC, but it’s just another thing to keep track of and maybe carry spares for just in case.
Pricing and Availability
The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i can be found at BestBuy or Amazon starting June 16, 2023 for less than $2000.
Sometimes creative computing gadgets become hard to use due to an increased learning curve or other trade-offs that are too much to offset the advantages. The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is not one of those examples. The advantages are totally worth the minor disadvantages in this design. Yes, you may have to carry the included keyboard & mouse around instead of just a regular notebook computer, but now you have the ability to set up at a desk with double the screen real estate that you would if you only had an ultra-portable laptop. The fact that all of the accessories are included in the box is a huge advantage too. If you’re the type of person who’s most efficient on a desktop computer with two screens, but also needs something that travels well, and is even usable as a tablet while walking around, the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is going to be your most versatile option.