Lenovo YogaBook 9i hands-on: An enormous leap for dual-screen laptops

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We’ve seen a handful of corporations try and make dual-screen laptops a factor – from Dell’s Concept Duet back in 2020 to more moderen techniques like ASUS’ line of ZenBook Duo notebooks. However with the YogaBook 9i at CES 2023, Lenovo is pushing the concept of a real two-screen laptop computer additional than ever earlier than.

From the surface, the YogaBook 9i doesn’t look a lot totally different from a typical laptop computer. However while you open it up, you’re greeted by two 13.3-inch 2.8K OLED shows that dominates the within of the system. Which means in contrast to ASUS’ rivals, there’s no room for a bodily keyboard – at the least not on the physique of the system. Nonetheless, to assist all kinds of setups and use instances, Lenovo additionally offers a variety of bundled equipment together with a folding kickstand, a removable Bluetooth keyboard and a stylus. And it’s this mix of peripherals that basically elevates the YogaBook 9i into one thing greater than a easy clamshell.

When propped up on the kickstand you may place the laptop computer’s shows in both side-by-side or stacked orientations, which offers tons of vertical display screen actual property or extra conventional twin shows relying in your wants. Then, all it’s important to do is slap the BT keyboard down on a desk and all of a sudden you’ve a tool that’s extra like a conveyable all-in-one desktop.

Lenovo additionally has some software program methods to get probably the most out of the varied show modes. For instance, when the YogaBook 9i’s screens are stacked on high of every, you may faucet 5 fingers in opposition to the display screen to span a single window throughout each shows in what the corporate calls waterfall mode. Alternatively, while you need to transfer home windows from one display screen to a different, you may merely flick your finger to ship an app up or down. And just like what we’ve seen on the ThinkPad X1 Fold, Lenovo has a wide range of grid choices so you may launch into twin, triple or quadruple app layouts to maximise your multitasking.

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Along with normal handwriting and stylus assist, you should use the YogaBook’s stylus to seize screenshots after which press a button to robotically embed it in a brand new OneNote file. This makes the method of recording minutes or saving concepts from brainstorming classes throughout conferences tremendous easy.

And naturally, when area is a priority, you may at all times use the YogaBook 9i in clamshell mode, both through the use of an on-screen digital keyboard or just dropping the BT keyboard on high of the decrease show. I additionally actually respect a number of the small add-ons Lenovo included to assist varied typing layouts. By pushing the keyboard again in direction of the display screen (each the bodily or digital keyboard through an eight-finger swiping movement), you may activate a digital touchpad (albeit a considerably small one). Or if in case you have an exterior mouse related, you may pull the keyboard ahead to disclose a row of widgets for stuff like climate, information and extra.

The YogaBook 9i can be used both vertically and horizontally when propped up on its included stand.

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As for specs, the YogaBook 9i is nicely geared up with Thirteenth-gen Intel Core i7 CPUs, as much as 16GB of DDR5 RAM, 512GB of storage and three USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4. And regardless of being a comparatively glossy system that measures simply 0.63-inches thick, Lenovo managed to cram a big 80Whr battery inside. That’s essential as a result of these twin OLED shows are fairly power-hungry, with the corporate claiming the laptop computer will final round seven hours in dual-screen mode or nearer to 14 hours when solely utilizing a single show.

In ideal conditions, the YogaBook 9i's keyboard works well. But as soon as your hands start to drift, things can get messy really fast.

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That mentioned, I do have just a few considerations. First, a number of the gesture controls and stylus enter weren’t significantly responsive. The YogaBook even blue-screened a few occasions over the course of about an hour whereas I examined it. However that’s kind of to be anticipated when demoing pre-production units. The larger problem for me is that whereas I’m optimistic about the way forward for dual-screen laptops, typing on a touchscreen continues to be a problem. I discovered that once I was in a groove, I might sort practically as quick as I can on a standard bodily keyboard. The issue is that when your fingers drift (and they’ll), typos begin piling up in bunches, and there’s no great way of discovering the house row once more. Which means you typically need to look right down to examine the place of your palms, which is annoying for contact typists.

Despite its dual screens and slim dimensions, the YogaBook 9i still features three USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4.

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Lastly, whereas I really like that Lenovo places the YogaBook’s kickstand, BT keyboard and stylus within the field without spending a dime, I actually assume the kickstand must be built-in to the system itself, like it’s on convertibles like a Surface Pro. That’s as a result of although the kickstand turns right into a folding cowl of kinds, it feels such as you spend a bit an excessive amount of time protecting observe of every part and working towards origami when shifting between modes.

However in lots of respects, that is what you get when an organization explores an untested design. And even with these considerations, I’m nonetheless extremely excited to check out a ultimate retail model of the YogaBook 9i when it comes out someday in April for round $2,000.

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