Lenovo YogaBook 9i hands-on: A huge leap for dual-screen laptops

We have seen fairly a couple of corporations attempt to make dual-screen laptops a factor of the previous Dell Idea Duet returns in 2020 to more moderen techniques such because the ASUS line ZenBook Duo notebooks. However with the YogaBook 9i at CES 2023, Lenovo It pushes the thought of ​​a real two-screen laptop computer additional than ever earlier than.

From the surface, the YogaBook 9i does not look a lot completely different from any common laptop computer. However once you open it up, you are greeted by two 13.3-inch 2.8K OLED screens that dominate the within of the gadget. Which means in contrast to ASUS’ rivals, there is no area for a bodily keyboard—at the least not on the physique of the gadget. Nonetheless, to help every kind of setups and use circumstances, Lenovo additionally offers a spread of bundled equipment together with a foldable kickstand, removable Bluetooth keyboard, and stylus. And it is this mixture of peripherals that actually makes the YogaBook 9i greater than a easy shell.

When propped up on the kickstand, you’ll be able to place the laptop computer screens in side-by-side instructions or in stacked instructions, saving loads of vertical display area or conventional twin shows relying in your wants. Then, all it’s important to do is faucet the BT keyboard on a desk and abruptly you’ve got a tool that appears rather a lot like a conveyable all-in-one desktop.

Lenovo additionally has a couple of software program methods to get probably the most out of the completely different show modes. For instance, when the YogaBook 9i’s screens are stacked on high of one another, you’ll be able to faucet 5 fingers on the display to stretch a single window throughout each screens in what the corporate calls waterfall mode. Alternatively, once you wish to transfer home windows from one display to a different, you’ll be able to merely slide your finger to ship an app up or down. Just like what we noticed in ThinkPad X1 foldLenovo has quite a lot of grid choices so you’ll be able to run twin, triple, or quadruple app layouts to maximise your multitasking.

In clamshell mode, the YogaBook 9i supports both a virtual on-screen keyboard and a physical Bluetooth keyboard.

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Along with customary pen and handwriting help, you should use the YogaBook’s pen to take screenshots after which press a button to mechanically embed it into a brand new OneNote file. This makes recording minutes or saving concepts from brainstorming periods throughout conferences quite simple.

In fact, when area is a priority, you’ll be able to at all times use the YogaBook 9i in clamshell mode, both through the use of a digital keyboard on the display or just dropping the BT keyboard above the underside display. I additionally actually appreciated a few of the small add-ons Lenovo included to help completely different sort layouts. By pushing the keyboard again towards the display (both the bodily or digital keyboard by way of an eight-finger swipe movement), you’ll be able to activate the (albeit considerably small) digital touchpad. Or you probably have an exterior mouse hooked up, you’ll be able to drag the keyboard ahead to disclose a row of widgets for issues like climate, information, and extra.

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

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When it comes to specs, the YogaBook 9i is well-equipped 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. Regardless of being a modern system, comparatively solely 0.63. An inch thick, Lenovo has managed to stuff a big 80Wh battery inside. That is necessary as a result of these twin OLED screens are so power-hungry that the corporate claims the laptop computer will final about seven hours in dual-screen mode or roughly 14 hours when utilizing only one display.

In ideal conditions, the YogaBook 9i's keyboard performs just fine.  But once your hands start to drift, things can get messy pretty quickly.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Having mentioned that, I do have some considerations. First, a few of the gesture controls and stylus inputs weren’t significantly responsive. The YogaBook even blue-screened twice over the course of about an hour whereas I used to be testing it. However that is sort of to be anticipated when displaying pre-production gadgets. The most important downside for me is that regardless that I am optimistic about the way forward for dual-screen laptops, typing on a contact display continues to be a problem. I discovered that after I was in a groove, I may sort as quick as I may on a standard bodily keyboard. The issue is that when your fingers get carried away (and they’ll), typos begin piling up in clusters, and there is no good technique to discover residence row once more. This implies you usually must look right down to test the place your palms are, 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.

Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Lastly, whereas I really like that Lenovo places the YogaBook’s kickstand, BT keyboard, and stylus within the field totally free, I actually suppose the kickstand must be constructed into the gadget itself, as it’s in convertibles like Floor Professional. That is as a result of regardless that the kickstand converts right into a flip-up cowl of kinds, it feels such as you spend fairly a little bit of time protecting monitor of all the pieces and training the artwork of origami when transferring 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 am nonetheless extremely excited to check out the ultimate retail model of the YogaBook 9i when it comes out someday in April for round $2,000.

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