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Lenovo’s Yoga E book 9i is for the two-screen way of life

Two screens on the similar time. That’s the complete attraction of Lenovo’s Yoga E book 9i in a nutshell, as greatest as I can inform after utilizing the machine for a few weeks.

The $1,999.99 9i, for the uninitiated, is a dual-screen clamshell touchscreen laptop computer that eschews the standard keyboard deck for a second touchscreen on the underside half. Lenovo has been experimenting with nontraditional laptop computer designs for years, from foldable ThinkPads to twisting laptops with E Ink shows and digital keyboards, and it hasn’t all the time gone properly. Excessive costs, awkward software program, and unconventional designs have stored them from actually being something you should purchase.

The Yoga E book 9i is just not with out a few of these compromises. Nonetheless, it’s Lenovo’s greatest execution of the dual-screen kind issue and doesn’t really feel almost as very like an experiment as Lenovo’s earlier concepts. Having two screens on the similar time is a really compelling pitch for lots of people accustomed to working at a desk, and there are specific use circumstances the place the 9i’s distinctive kind issue presents a bonus over different laptops.

Lenovo got here up with some intelligent software program and {hardware} methods to make this work, and the result’s a surprisingly usable first lower at a tool with two screens and no built-in keyboard. But it surely’s not more likely to exchange your clamshell laptop computer simply but.

6 Verge Rating Lenovo Yoga E book 9i $ 1999.99 The Good Two sensible, usable screens in a single laptop computer

Intelligent equipment to make greatest use of each screens

Wonderful audio

Surprisingly good battery life The Dangerous Awful as a conventional laptop computer

Requires a whole lot of course of to arrange every time

Software program quirks due to the 2 screens

Countless bloatware and ads

Costly $2000 at Greatest Purchase How we charge and assessment merchandise

From first look, the 9i doesn’t look all that completely different from Lenovo’s different Yoga fashions and even some other 2-in-1 convertible laptop computer. It’s about the identical thickness as my MacBook Professional when closed, with an additional lip on the highest half to make opening it simpler and supply room for the Home windows Howdy-compatible webcam.

It could appear to be each halves are similar, however the backside half is thicker and the place the precise computing parts reside. The chassis is a good-looking darkish blue aluminum with rounded, polished sides and simply three ports — all Thunderbolt 4 USB-C. The factor I missed probably the most from the port choice is a 3.5mm headphone jack; I’m simply not prepared to offer these up on a laptop computer but.

Crack it open, although, and the 9i’s distinction turns into obvious. The 2 13.3-inch, 2880 x 1800 OLED panels with 16:10 facet ratios mild up and offer you two equally sized Home windows desktops to play with. They’re colourful and punchy like OLED screens needs to be, and the 400 nit peak brightness is a lot for many conditions exterior of direct daylight. Fortunately, the screens are properly color-matched, too.

Like prior dual-screen gadgets, equivalent to Microsoft’s Floor Duo telephone, the Yoga E book 9i is all about completely different postures. The primary one is the default clamshell mode, the place you’d attempt to use it like a regular laptop computer. That is additionally the worst approach to make use of this machine.

The digital keyboard is giant and has mild haptic suggestions, nevertheless it’s nonetheless not an amazing typing expertise. You’ll be able to plop the included Bluetooth keyboard on high of the underside half and use that as a substitute, which is a lot better for typing.

Tapping eight fingers on the underside display pulls up a digital keyboard. Beneath it’s a digital trackpad that may span all the width of the display or be constrained to a typical trackpad measurement. Typing on the digital keyboard goes about in addition to you would possibly anticipate: I may make it work at about half my regular typing pace and with much more errors. Lenovo constructed some mild haptics into the system to offer some suggestions, nevertheless it’s not one thing that replaces a bodily keyboard. The digital trackpad additionally works and helps the standard multi-finger Home windows gestures, however the glass makes it really feel sticky, and it isn’t almost as easy to make use of as an precise {hardware} trackpad.

Lenovo Yoga E book 9i specs (as examined) Show: two 13.3-inch, 2880 x 1800 OLED touchscreens

Processor: Intel Core i7-1355U


Storage: 512GB

Ports: three Thunderbolt 4 USB-C

Dimensions (when closed): 11.78in (299mm) x 8.03in (204mm) x 0.63in (16mm)

Weight: 2.95lbs (1.33kg)

Included equipment: wi-fi keyboard, mouse, stylus, folding stand

Value: $1,999.99

Swipe down with eight fingers on the keyboard, and it’ll transfer to the underside half of the display, revealing two widgets above it. These widgets suck: one is an Outlook calendar widget that refused to work with my Google Calendar account, and the opposite is a chumbox of terrible clickbait headlines powered by Microsoft’s Information app. Lenovo actually must make extra choices to offer some usability right here.

This posture additionally often has software program points: the mouse cursor will generally get “trapped” on the underside display underneath the keyboard for those who slide it down too far, and you may’t use the trackpad to verify any Home windows safety prompts; you must attain up and faucet the display every time. One time, my complete Slack window obtained caught on the underside display and I couldn’t discover it as a result of the keyboard and trackpad coated it up.

Bundled with the Yoga E book 9i is a Bluetooth keyboard that may sit on high of the underside half of the pc and take the place of the digital keyboard. Typing with that is a lot simpler, and it’s cool that the system routinely is aware of once you’ve plopped the keyboard onto the display. But it surely’s not a lot enjoyable to make use of on a lap like a typical laptop computer as a result of the entire thing feels unstable and awkward when typing or shifting your weight because the keyboard isn’t truly connected to the deck. Plus, you continue to need to take care of that less-than-stellar digital trackpad.

The most efficient posture of the 9i, and my most popular approach to make use of it, includes that Bluetooth keyboard and a folding stand and mouse that additionally include the pc. Utilizing the stand, which conveniently doubles as a journey case for the keyboard, you’ll be able to prop the 9i up virtually vertically, permitting you to simply see each screens on the similar time.

This turns the 9i right into a multi-monitor productiveness machine. Home windows views it as two separate shows, identical to it does with two screens on a desktop, which opens up a whole lot of sensible use circumstances. I can have my browser or energetic window up at virtually eye degree on the highest show whereas I keep watch over chat apps or electronic mail on the underside display. Or I can take part in a video name on the highest display and reference or take notes on the underside one. It’s like having a separate USB-C transportable show constructed proper into the laptop computer itself. You’ll be able to even stretch a single window throughout each screens to take a look at an particularly lengthy doc or webpage with much less scrolling (although the hinge will obscure some data), however I didn’t actually find yourself doing this in day-to-day work.

That is the Yoga E book 9i’s true and greatest kind and its most helpful. One intelligent use case is writing notes on the underside display whereas referencing the highest.

The 9i may also be rotated 90 levels so you’ve got two portrait-oriented screens facet by facet. Some would possibly discover this convenient for evaluating two paperwork on the similar time, however I a lot most popular utilizing the 9i with its screens in panorama orientation.

The draw back of all of that is it clearly doesn’t work in your lap and requires toting round a bunch of (fortunately included) equipment and establishing the entire workstation with stand, keyboard, and mouse everytime you wish to get all the way down to work. If you happen to’re the kind of particular person to already pack a transportable USB-C monitor or simply use your laptop computer on the similar desk on daily basis, this gained’t be a lot of an issue. However everybody else will discover extra friction to getting began with the 9i than nearly some other laptop computer.

Additionally included with the 9i is a stylus, which may conveniently be saved in a material loop on the folding stand. The stylus works on both display and may be helpful for jotting down handwritten notes on the decrease display whereas on a video name on the highest display or utilizing the house above the keyboard as a scratch pad for to-dos and different issues to recollect all through the day.

There are a whole lot of use circumstances you’ll be able to think about with two screens stacked on high of one another, and I can see video editors eager to have their modifying timeline on the underside display and their footage preview on high or avid gamers hoping to keep watch over Discord on the decrease display whereas taking part in on the highest one.

Sadly, the 9i isn’t actually highly effective sufficient to allow both of these experiences very properly. It’s very a lot nonetheless a sub-three-pound skinny and light-weight laptop computer, and its U-series Core i7 chip isn’t designed for these extra intense workloads. I had no downside with efficiency in my day-to-day productiveness workflow, consisting of numerous browser tabs, video calls, Slack conversations, and listening to music or watching video, however in our customary benchmarks for gaming and artistic work, the 9i scored fairly low. (That music and video sounded surprisingly good because of the soundbar constructed into the hinge between the 2 screens, by the best way.)

Lenovo Yoga E book 9i benchmarks Benchmark Lenovo Yoga E book 9i 15-inch MacBook Air (M2) Geekbench 6 CPU Single 2007 2606 Geekbench 6 CPU Multi 5050 10055 Geekbench 6 GPU (Metallic) N/A 45607 Geekbench 6 GPU (OpenCL) 11698 27795 Cinebench R23 Single 1647 1590 Cinebench R23 Multi 6051 8189 Cinebench R23 Multi looped for half-hour 5720 7830 Shadow of the Tomb Raider benchmark (1920 x 1200, highest) 22fps 28fps PugetBench for Premiere Professional 192 328 4K export 7:46:00 0:03:48

Battery life, alternatively, is healthier than anticipated given the 9i is powering two full-size screens on a regular basis. I used to be in a position to handle between six and 7 hours of use between fees, which isn’t a lot lower than I get from most skinny and light-weight laptops. And since one of the simplest ways to make use of this pc is on a desk or at a desk, it’s possible you gained’t be removed from an influence outlet anyway.

Lastly, I’ve to notice that Lenovo masses up this pc with a lot bloatware that you can be swatting pop-ups for issues like McAfee and Amazon Prime Music trials for days once you begin utilizing the pc. These items are gross on any laptop computer however actually tarnish the expertise of a $2,000 pc.

There’s simply a whole lot of stuff that goes together with the Yoga E book 9i in comparison with conventional laptops.

The Yoga E book 9i is just not the transportable pc you purchase for targeted, intense work. It’s for multi-all-the-taskings, it’s for maintaining a tally of that Slack dialog whereas watching YouTube on the display above, it’s for not compromising in your multi-monitor setup once you’re away from house. Extra screens, you demand, and the 9i offers.

The 9i offers extra at a desk however requires compromises elsewhere

However on the similar time, it’s exhausting to suggest it to the standard laptop computer purchaser. The standard clamshell design has been round for therefore a few years as a result of it really works — you’ll be able to put it on a desk or you should utilize it in your lap, and you’ve got dependable enter gadgets in each positions. The 9i offers you extra once you’re at a desk however requires compromises in much less formal positions. It’s not as snug to make use of casually on the sofa as a result of neither the digital nor the bodily keyboard is sensible on the underside display, and taking it to a espresso store or different location requires bringing alongside a keyboard, mouse, and stand, along with the pc itself.

Past that, there’s the fee — you’re paying lots to have these two screens joined collectively. You may get a superb laptop computer plus an exterior USB-C show and save lots of of {dollars} in comparison with the Yoga E book 9i — and nonetheless reside the two-screen way of life. You’d even have the pliability of one thing that works properly once you’re lounging on the sofa.

Nonetheless, the Yoga E book 9i permits me to be almost as productive from the espresso store as I’m at my desk at house, offered I keep in mind to tote alongside all the mandatory equipment to make it work. That alone is likely to be definitely worth the compromises elsewhere.

Images by Dan Seifert / The Verge