Lenovo announced a laptop at CES 2023 that I really want to love. It’s the Yoga Book 9i, the most striking dual-screen laptop I’ve seen yet and the one that holds the most promise for my workflow. My editor, Luke Larsen, wrote a piece comparing the Yoga Book 9i to the Surface Neo, and that’s an apt comparison.
Our opinions are similar, but I’m going to focus on what most excites me about the Yoga Book 9i. And that’s its ability to work side by side with two lovely 2.8K OLED displays.
I use three 4K displays connected to my desktop PC in my home office, where I do all my work that involves not just writing copy, but also researching and reading other material, creating spreadsheets, and other tasks. Working on one display is what I do when I’m focused exclusively on writing content that doesn’t require a lot of additional research. That is, I can work with one display when I’m OK with using a single full-screen window.
When I’m away from my home office, I sometimes use an LG +view Portable Monitor, along with whichever laptop I’m using. That gives me a second display for multitasking, which is a bit cumbersome, but it works. The LG +view is also a high-quality IPS display that’s just fine for productivity work.
But the Yoga Book 9i has two 2.8K OLED displays. That’s insane. Yes, I’d have preferred 4K+, even on 13.3-inch displays, because I’m a pixel-peeper and demand sharp text. But 2.8K is a sharp enough that I won’t see any pixels, and OLED’s incredible contrast means that black text will jump off white pages. That’s exactly what I look for in a display.
Using the origami stand, which is apparently quite strong and robust, the Yoga Book 9i can be configured with both displays side by side in portrait mode. That provides a ton of both vertical and horizontal space, perfect for a writer. The keyboard sits in front where it belongs, and the only thing missing is a touchpad. But a portable mouse will do just fine instead, and I’m happy to carry one around with me.
The idea of using both those displays in a relatively small area is downright exciting. Yes, there are a few extra parts to carry around, but again, that’s OK. None of them are huge or heavy, and they’ll fit nicely in a backpack. That includes the Yoga Book 9i itself, which when folded as a standard clamshell, is just 0.63 inches thick and weighs 3.00 pounds. That’s fine for a 13-inch-class laptop.
Let’s say I want to use the Yoga Book 9i as a standard clamshell laptop, just for writing copy. Well, it can do that, too. You can either place the physical keyboard on the lower half of the second (bottom) display and use the remaining portion for touch, or go all-digital with a keyboard supporting haptic feedback with a simulated touchpad. That’s a huge difference from some previous digital keyboards without haptics, which provided no feedback when keys were pressed.
I could see myself using the laptop in this configuration, meaning it would be a true dual-purpose machine for me. I love the MacBook Pro 14 for various reasons, but the Yoga Book 9i sounds like it could give that excellent laptop a run for its money.
I’m not sure about the vertical configuration with the two displays on top of each other. First, it looks unwieldy to me, although I trust Lenovo to create a reasonably stable configuration. I’m just not sure I’d be comfortable using the laptop that way. I don’t have vertically oriented displays today and have never felt the need for them, so that mode would likely go unused.
As far as its performance goes, the Yoga Book 9i is built around Intel’s latest 13th-gen Raptor Lake CPUs, with 16 GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage. That’s plenty for the kind of productivity work the laptop is built for. And with 80 watt-hours of battery, it’s reasonable to assume solid battery life.
The only concern I have is with the price, which starts at $2,100. That’s a lot of money, but it’s not more than I paid for the MacBook Pro 14. It I run into some extra cash, then of all the laptops I saw at CES 2023, the Yoga Book 9i is the one I’d spend it on.
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