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Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i review: a stunning OLED display inside one of the market's best-looking laptops

Good looks, an incredible OLED display and decent in many departments, but the 9i is not blessed with great connectivity - and it's not always affordable

The Lenovo Yoga Slim i9
Price
£1,519 exc VAT
  • Fantastic OLED screen
  • Good-looking, robust design
  • Decent battery life and performance
  • Few physical ports
  • CPU isn't always quick

Think about Lenovo laptops and you'll probably conjure images of dark, serious business machines, but that's not true of the bright, breezy Yoga Slim 9i. This rig layers a glossy glass coating over the lid, and you'll find gleaming curved edges around the chassis – rather than sharp, irritating corners.

It impresses on the inside, too, with one of Intel's Alder Lake processors and a 2.8K OLED screen with a smooth 90Hz refresh rate. The price of £1,519 exc VAT is tempting, too, although that brings the Lenovo into contact with many strong rivals, like the MSI Prestige 14, HP ZBook Firefly G9 14 and Dell XPS 13 Plus.

Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i review: Design

The Lenovo is one of the best-looking small laptops around right now. Its curved edges and glass lid look fantastic, and the aluminium enclosure is eye-catching. The Yoga comes in two colours – a darker grey and an off-white shade Lenovo calls Oatmeal – and it'll hold its own against any competitor.

Lenovo has a hard-won reputation for practicality, too, and that's not been forgotten. Above the screen is a small lip that holds the webcam and enables users to open the Yoga easily, and the hinge movement is butter-smooth. Build quality is excellent, too: there's hardly any give in the screen and the base barely flexes. It's easily the kind of laptop you could toss in a bag without concern for its safety. And, thanks to a chassis thickness of just 16.5mm, it won't take up much space.

You might notice its heft, though. At 1.38kg with a 321g power brick, the Yoga is a bit heavier than the MSI and Dell notebooks. The margins are tiny and this is no dealbreaker, but bear this in mind if you want to reduce weight.

It's a hard machine to get inside, too. You'll need to wade through Torx and Philips screws to remove the base, and once inside you can only access the SSD – everything else notable is soldered down.

Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i review: Keyboard and trackpad

Lenovo's practical reputation extends to superb keyboards. And while the Yoga does have a great typing unit, it's divisive too. Positively, it's consistent, comfortable and quiet, and the sturdy chassis means the keys bounce back impressively – it's a unit you could use all day without fatigue. Negatively, though, the keys are shallow, with only a millimetre of travel. That's great if you're happy to use a light-touch unit like this, but the MSI and HP units both have more physical movement and feel more substantial.

The layout is also restricted because you don't get a numberpad and you'll have to make do with small Function and Cursor keys – but that's normal on a 14in notebook.
The trackpad, meanwhile, is excellent. It's huge – 135mm wide – and its glass surface is supremely smooth. Its pair of in-built buttons move with a satisfying clicking motion.

Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i review: Display

There's lots to like about the screen, too. The 14in touchscreen uses OLED technology, which means bold imagery and inky depth. Alongside its infinite contrast you get a 16:10 aspect ratio and a high resolution of 2880 x 1800 – so there's a bit more vertical space and plenty of pixels for sharp imagery. The 90Hz refresh rate makes animation a bit smoother than the average 60Hz display, and the screen supports HDR500.

In SDR mode the peak brightness of 396cd/m2 is high enough for indoor and outdoor use, and its 600cd/m2 HDR luminescence means you get a minor boost in HDR-enabled movies and TV shows. The display's incredible contrast means colours really pop, and the Yoga's screen does a tremendous job with all three key gamuts. It renders 100%, 99.2% and 96.8% of the sRGB, DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB colour spaces with volume figures way beyond 100%, so it'll churn out every shade needed by every task.

The display's Delta E of 3.21 is good rather than great, and the colour temperature of 6,209K is slightly on the warm side. The result? A dazzling, sharp display that's good enough to handle almost everything – it's one of the best screens you'll find in any laptop, and it makes photos, web pages, documents, movies and TV shows look bright, bold and absorbing. The machine also includes a Lenovo Precision Pen for quick sketches and creative tasks.

The Delta E could be a bit better and precludes the Lenovo from being well-suited to tough, colour-sensitive workloads, but the internals can't handle many of the apps required for those tasks anyway. It's comfortably better than the HP and MSI panels and is on-par with the best Dell screens. And if you'd like a little more sharpness, the Yoga is also available with a 3,840 x 2,400 screen for an extra £83 exc VAT – although that option drops the refresh rate from 90Hz to 60Hz.

Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i review: Hardware and performance

Intel's Core i7-1280P takes centre stage in the Lenovo, and this mid-powered Alder Lake part includes six Hyper-Threaded P-Cores with a peak speed of 4.8GHz alongside eight E-cores. Elsewhere, there's 16GB of dual-channel DDR5 memory and a 1TB Samsung PM9B1 SSD with moderate read and write speeds of 3,558MB/sec and 2,764MB/sec. There's no room for discrete graphics -- instead, you get Intel's Iris Xe integrated core.

In Geekbench's single- and multi-core benchmarks the Lenovo delivered scores of 1,738 and 10,806, and they're excellent results -- better than any rival. That means you've got enough power to handle everyday tasks and content creation work, like photo- and video-editing.

In our benchmarks the Lenovo returned an image-editing score of 221, a video-encoding figure of 147 and a multi-tasking score of 294 for an overall result of 233. Those results is a little underwhelming: broadly the same as the low-power chip in the HP, and slightly behind the Dell and HP laptops.  

Some explanation can be found if you delve into the clock speeds. While the Lenovo's CPU attained its stated 4.9GHz pace in single-threaded benchmarks, in multi-core tests the CPU hit 3.3GHz but then throttled to around 2.1GHz. We observed that behaviour in the laptop's Extreme Performance mode and in the default Adaptive option, so it may well be the case that Lenovo isn't letting the laptop run at unfettered speeds unless the task really demands it.

Nevertheless, those Geekbench results are encouraging and there was never any sign of slowdown or struggle during real-world use. The Yoga is a good thermal performer, too, with modest fan noise and no external heat issues no matter the task.
The i7-1280P is the beefiest processor available for the Yoga. It's sold with a slower i7-1260P processor without any price discount, so ignore that option. The Core i5-1240P is ideal for everyday office and browser-based tasks, and opting for that chip knocks £116 exc VAT off the Yoga's price. It's also possible to switch to a 512GB to save £75 exc VAT.

You don't get any option to switch away from the 75Wh battery, and it's middling. Our standard battery test turns the display down to 170cd/m2, engages airplane mode and runs video, and the Lenovo lasted for 11hrs 40mins. That's enough for a full day of work and it's better than the Dell and MSI, but the HP lasted for fifteen hours – and plenty of other lightweight laptops perform like that, too.

Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i review: Ports and features

Lenovo's laptop is slim and stylish but not laden with ports. Three Thunderbolt 4 ports are installed around the edges, and any of those can charge the laptop. There's a headphone jack and a siwitch to close the webcam, but that's it. There are no full-size USB ports, no HDMI output, and no card reader.

It's possible to add USB 3.2 Gen 1, HDMI and VGA connectivity with a dongle, but that's not included in the laptop – it's a £33 exc VAT addition. Dell's XPS 13 Plus also suffered here, but other rivals are better: the MSI has a full-size USB port and a microSD card reader, while the HP deploys two full-size USB ports, SIM and smart card slots and an HDMI output. Internally, Lenovo's laptop has dual-band Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, but no wired Ethernet. Its 1080p webcam supports Windows Hello facial recognition, but you don't get a fingerprint reader. You'll find that option on the HP and MSI rigs.

Elsewhere, the Yoga deploys loud, punchy speakers that are ideal for media playback and background music. Lenovo also claims that this is a carbon-neutral notebook, which is great if you'd like to improve your environmental impact.

Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i review: Verdict

Lenovo's laptop may not have loads of connectivity, but it impresses elsewhere. It's got one of the best screens you'll find on any lightweight laptop – the OLED panel is crisp, bright and dazzling. The Core i7-1280P processor offers ample power for multi-tasking and content creation, and the keyboard is fast and satisfying. The robust Lenovo looks great, too.

There are negatives, though. Battery life is fine but could be better, and the processor didn't always reach its full potential. Some people won't like the shallow keyboard. The pricing situation is tricky, too: at the time of writing it costs £1,113 exc VAT, which is a great price, but its normal price of £1,519 exc VAT makes it more expensive than any rival.

Still, there's no denying you're getting a high-quality unit if you do shell out for this machine, and it's always going to be worth the cash if you want a good-looking, all-day laptop with an OLED panel.

Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i Specifications

Processor

1.8GHz Intel Core i7-1280P

RAM

16GB DDR5

Graphics

Intel Iris Xe

Storage

1TB SSD

Display

14in 2,880 x 1,800 OLED

Operating system

Windows 11 Home 64-bit

Connectivity

Dual-band 802.11ax WiFi, Bluetooth 5.2

Ports

3 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C/Thunderbolt 4/Power, 1 x audio

Dimensions

316 x 230 x 16.5mm (WxDxH)

Weight

1.38kg

Warranty

1yr RTB

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