Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i Review: Poseable, Powerful but Pricey


The Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i laptop packs a lot of processing power into a thin and lightweight frame.

Made from premium materials, the Yoga Slim 9i’s is a high-end Windows 10 laptop aimed at people who want a device primarily for office work, but don’t mind splashing a bit of cash on something that’s great for watching movies on, or can comfortably do a spot of light photo editing.

As with all laptops from Lenovo’s Yoga series, the Slim 9i features a hinge which lets you push the display all the way back and fold it over so that it can function as a tablet as well as a laptop.  

With a lot of laptops coming with the same Intel 11th-gen processors and slender frames on the shelves right now, the Yoga Slim 9i is going to have to strike quite a pose in order to capture attention. 

Design & Build 

The Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i (model number 14ITL5 here) is a smooth operator, literally. The machine-milled aluminium body feels very cool to the touch and looks very sharp in all-black paint.

Taking a leaf out of the HP Spectre Folio’s style guide, you can even pick up a Yoga Slim 9i with a leather jacket. This model also features an edge-to-edge glass palm rest, and a highly responsive glass-coated trackpad – it’s this model which Lenovo sent to me for testing. 

Thin enough to slip neatly into a satchel and weighing just over 1kg, the Yoga Slim 9i is very luggable indeed. Its slim profile (as small as 14.6mm) is mirrored by thin 3mm bezels, which accentuate the 14in display. As with the Yoga Slim 7, a tiny 720p HD camera with a mechanical privacy cover has somehow been crammed into the slender frame. 

Despite the slenderness and lightness, everything here generally feels pretty robust. The reflexive hinge mechanism is sturdy and it’s easy to set the Yoga Slim 9i into tent mode for when you’re done with work and are ready to watch something. 

Keyboard & Trackpad

The keyboard is spacious and easy to get familiar with, although as with other Lenovo laptops, I find that the ‘Enter’ and ‘#’ keys are too close for my liking (basically touching). Sometimes the ‘i’, and ‘o’ keys would not register whch culd be qute frustratng especally when typng passwrds (get the point?).

There are no dedicated navigation keys, but you can action ‘Home’, ‘Page Up/Down’, and ‘End’ by using the arrow keys (up and down are tiny) while holding down the ‘Function’ key, which also lets you toggle the keyboard’s backlight when combined with a press of the spacebar.

Lastly, while the trackpad responds very well to swipes and swishes – your fingers will glide across that glass trackpad – it takes more force than you’d like to depress and for a click to action, to the point where you’ll sometimes have to click twice. 

The Yoga Slim 9i is a joy to use most of the time, but there are some snags.

Screen & Speakers

The Yoga Slim 9i’s 14in touchscreen display boasts high levels of brightness and colour space coverage. 

Available in two flavours, Full HD 1080p (1920×1080) and 4K Ultra HD (2840×2160), Lenovo promises maximum brightness levels of 400 nits and 500 nits respectively. 

The model I was sent for testing was a 4K version. Using a SpyderX Pro colorimeter, I recorded a very impressive maximum brightness of 588 nits. At 50% brightness, I recorded 137 nits. Both horizontal and vertical viewing angles are very good, with hardly any greying observable at extreme angles. 

In lay terms, Yoga Slim 9i’s display brightness is powerful enough for you to be able to work in practically any location, although the reflective nature of the display’s glass cover means that you’re liable to pick up lots of lovely glare.

Colour space coverage is also good, with all of the sRGB space maxed out, and a decent 85% of Adobe RGB 89% and P3 – it follows that websites, photos and video content all look rich, natural, detailed, positively bursting with colour here. 

Audio quality here is very good as well with music, especially benefitting from an interesting speaker arrangement. You get four speakers here, two woofers that are set into the underside of the deck, and two tweeters that direct sound into the 360-degree hinge.

Bass noises rumble pleasantly while treble sounds are nice and bright. Sound distorts quite badly above 80%, but realistically, you don’t need it to be up that high, as 50% volume is more than loud enough for listening to music at your desk, or watching something in bed. 

In tent mode (see below), things sound a little squashed, mainly because the sound coming out of the woofers is now bouncing off of the back of the display. Things don’t sound bad, just a little muffled. 

Specs & Performance

Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i range comes with 11th-gen Intel laptop processors, either the Core i5-1135G7 or the Core i7-1165G7 – although at the time of writing the lower power option is nowhere to be seen.

The i7-1165G7 is slightly more powerful, featuring both a higher base clock speed (2.8GHz vs 2.4GHz), which can boost to a higher frequency (4.7GHz vs 4.2GHz), so if your budget can accommodate, this may be the one to reach for. 

Aside from that, both of these CPUs are fairly similar in terms of capability, as they’re both quad-core processors and both feature the same Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics. Sadly, there are no versions of the Yoga Slim 9i which come with dedicated graphics processors – which you may even expect at this price.

Storage options include 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB SSDs and in terms of memory, there’s 8GB or 16GB of LPDDR4X RAM. 

The model I was sent up came with a Core i7-1165G7 processor, 512GB of storage and 16GB of memory. I ran the following benchmarks to demonstrate how this model stacks up to various rivals. Find out how we test laptops.

The PC Mark 10 result of 4882 is good, but laptops with the same processor, like Acer Swift 5 (SF514-55T), have given similar results. Like the Swift 5, the Yoga Slim 9i scored highly for Essentials (9792), and moderately high for Productivity (6732), but not so well for Digital Content Creation (4791).

The 3DMark Night Raid result is also on par with what I’d expect from a laptop with this processor and no dedicated graphics cards. 

It means that the Yoga Slim 9i will absolutely blitz through web browsing and office work, do OK at photo editing but isn’t really suited for gaming or intense work like video editing – all of which tallied with my experiences testing it.  

I usually work with around ten tabs open in Chrome with music in YouTube, and, more recently, Bandcamp going in separate tabs, as well as the Spotify app. With all this running I only encountered a noticable slowdown on a few occasions.

Likewise, I was able to comfortably crop, resize and fiddle with light levels in GIMP with several photos open at once, without things choking up. It took me 1 minute and 40 seconds to open 100 JPEGs. Using a laptop with 16GB of RAM means you can actually have quite a lot of stuff on the boil at once. 

As there are no options with dedicated graphics though, editing several large photos at once here could be tricky. I attempted to play a game of Civ 6 here, and as I found with the Acer Swift 5 (SF514-55T), I could just about push it until the latter stages of a standard game before things started to become laborious.

While you’ll be able to run less-demanding games and indie titles here, the Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i is not a gaming laptop and shouldn’t be treated as such. If you want to be able to mix business with pleasure, then something like the Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming 3i might be more to your liking, or one of the models from the best cheap gaming laptop and best gaming laptops round ups. 

Battery Life

Battery life is solid. You will easily get a working day’s use (read: 6-7 hours) out of the Yoga Slim 9i without having to worry about the charger. 

When looping a film with the brightness set to 120 nits as we usually do, the laptop kept running for a solid 11 hours and 48 minutes. There are longer-lasting laptops out there but also plenty that can’t last this long.

It’s fast to recharge as well via USB-C. It’ll take just under two hours (1 hour, 51 minutes) to go from empty to full. Here’s a breakdown of the charging over time.

30 mins – 23%
60 mins – 50%
90 mins – 92%

Connectivity & Ports

Being a thin and light laptop, the Yoga Slim 9i isn’t packing a lot when it comes to physical connections, but what do you get is two Type-C USB ports with Thunderbolt 4 tech here. 

The presence of Thunderbolt 4 means you can charge, connect to the Internet with an Ethernet adapter, or connect to monitors all through the same ports. 

In practice, you’ll likely use one port for charging at all times, with the other used to connect to a dongle or USB-C hub. as there are no Ethernet or HDMI ports here, you’ll need to have the right dock to hand if you need those for your home office set up.

There’s also an old-school Type-A USB port here, along with the usual 3.5mm jack for headphones. 

In terms of wireless connectivity, there’s a 2×2 WiFi 6 antenna, which means you can enjoy some of the fastest WiFi speeds currently going.

When connected to my Netgear Orbi RBK750 mesh network, I’d regularly see link speeds of around 700-800Mbps on the on the 5GHz band, all the way up to the full 1201Mbps when in the same room as the router, or one of the satellites. Read the best mesh WiFi kits and best WiFi router guides for the lowdown on the latest Wi-Fi 6 options.  

Support for Bluetooth 5.0, the latest Bluetooth standard is included here, too, meaning you’re able to stream tunes to portable speakers from greater distances. 

Price & Availability

The Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i is available to buy now. 

Lenovo is selling two models in the UK, one with the black leather cover and 512GB of storage for £1749.99, and the other with the metal cover and a 1TB SSD for £1799.99.

Both of these models are otherwise identical, featuring the same i7-1165G7 processor and 4K touchscreen display. It appears the Core i5 is not available so if you need a cheaper option, then take a look at the non-Slim Yoga 9i from £1,079.

There is an entry for the Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i on Amazon UK, but no price was listed at the time of writing. 

Costco UK is selling the all-metal Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i with a 4K screen the i7-1165G7 processor, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD for £1,689.99. This exact same model is also available from Very, for £1,799. 

In the US, Lenovo doesn’t have the Yoga Slim 9i on the official store so you’re limited to the regular model starting at $999.

Lenovo’s Australian site is currently out of stock of Yoga Slim 9i’s, but The Good Guys are selling a model with a Full HD display, Core i7-1165G7, 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, for $3,199.

Alternatives include the Samsung Galaxy Book Flex 2 and Asus ZenBook Flip S but you can view more in our best 2-in-1 laptops chart and overall best laptops chart.

Verdict

The Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i bosses everyday work and thanks to a rich, detailed display and high processing power, it’s a dab hand at quick photo editing.

This, combined with powerful speakers means that it’s great for streaming content, too. Battery life is also solid. It both looks and feels fantastic. It’s pretty much a perfect package. 

It’s not without its flaws, namely keyboard issues and a fussy trackpad, which stand out in sharp relief to the overall silky smoothness.

When laptops are priced close to two grand, these things are less excusable than they would be on a budget device. If you can live with this then there’s a lot to love here.

Specs
Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i: Specs

Windows 10 Home / Windows 10 Pro
14-inch Full HD (1920×1080) / 4K Ultra HD (2840×2160) touch display
Intel Core i5-1135G7 (4 cores, 2.4GHz, up to 4.2GHz), Core i7-1165G7 (4 cores, 2.8GHz, up to 4.7GHz)
Intel Iris Xe Graphics
8GB or 16GB LPDDR4X RAM, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD
2x USB 4 Type-C (Thunderbolt 4, DisplayPort, PD)
1x USB 3.1 Type-A
3.5mm headphone jack
4 x Dolby Atmos-tuned speakers
1mp webcam
802.11ax Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
319.4 x 216.4 x 14.6-15.7mm (metal) / 319.5 x 216.7 x 15.3-16.5mm (leather and glass)
1.37kg (metal) / 1.44kg (leather and glass)


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