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Lenovo Yoga 7i Review: Brilliant, but for Other Reasons

Rating:
8/10
?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price:
Starting At $1,169.99
The Lenovo Yoga7 in laptop mode
Dave McQuilling / Review Geek

If you can’t decide between a laptop and a tablet, Lenovo may have the ideal solution for you. Its Yoga series consists of devices that can function as either. But is the folding system just a gimmick or an actual game changer?

The 16″ Yoga 7i is a laptop that you can bend backward to create what may be the largest tablet-like object I’ve ever used. The computer recognizes you’ve done this, and the OS switches to a format better suited for tablet use.

I reviewed the 16″ Yoga 7i, and a 14″ model is available, alongside other devices offering two-in-one functionality. One of these may meet your specific needs better. I’ll talk about some trade-offs you’ll make in return for the larger screen size, but keep in mind there are other options available if those trade-offs don’t seem worth it.

Here's What We Like

  • Plenty of useful ports
  • An amazing laptop underneath it all
  • Outstanding large display
  • Very good touchscreen

And What We Don't

  • The main gimmick falls flat
  • It comes with Windows 11

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Specs as Reviewed

  • CPU: 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1260P (2.10 GHz)
  • RAM: 16GB LPDDR5
  • Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • Graphics: Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • Display: 16″ 2.5K LCD (2560 x 1600) IPS, 400 nits, 100% sRGB, 60 Hz, 16:10, Low Blue Light
  • Battery: 71Wh with Rapid Charge Express
  • Connectivity: Intel® Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.2
  • Operating System: Windows 11 Home
  • Ports:1 x USB-A (USB 3.2 Gen 14) 2 x USB-C (ThunderboltTM 4.0 / PD / DisplayPortTM / USB 4.0) 1 x HDMITM 2.0 1 x Full-size SD Card Reader (UHS-1(104) PCIe Gen 1) 1 x USB-A (USB 3.2 Gen 1) 1 x Audio Combo Jack
  • Camera: 1080p IR & RGB hybrid webcam
  • Audio: 2 x 2W user-facing tweeters and 2 x 3W woofers Dolby Atmos Speaker System
  • Dimensions: 12.47″ x 8.67″ x 0.68″ (361.51mm x 249.65 mm x 19.20mm)
  • Weight: 1.9 kg / 4.19 lbs

A Surprisingly Good Entertainment Laptop

A Lenovo Yoga7 in tablet mode
Dave McQuilling/Review Geek

I had never considered using a laptop for home entertainment, but the large screen and small bezel on the Yoga 7i may have changed my mind. Some of my best experiences with this laptop involved using it for a kind of ultra-relaxed movie night.

The screen itself appears bigger and more beautiful than the specs suggest. While I’m not the kind of person that demands everything I watch be in 8K with surround sound, I have some standards. The Yoga 7i’s screen more than meets those standards. Both the picture quality and sound were perfect for a screen of this size.

I’m not saying you should invite your friends and family over, plop the Yoga 7i on a coffee table, and all huddle around it. That would be silly. But if you make a bowl of popcorn, snuggle up in a blanket with your significant other, pet, or houseplant, balance the laptop on your thighs, and dim the lights — watching a movie on this thing is an excellent experience. Provided it’s in laptop mode…

It May Be a Bit Too Bulky

A yoga 7 folded backwards
Dave McQuilling/Review Geek

On paper, one of the main selling points of the Yoga 7i is that you can fold it into a tablet. In reality, this isn’t a feature I enjoyed. The main problem is the bulk; the 16″ model is a large, heavy laptop. A standard tablet tends to weigh almost nothing. It’s a pain to hold a Yoga 7i for an extended time, and it hasn’t got enough traction in tablet form to balance on something without slipping. It’s much more comfortable to use it as a laptop.

Then there’s the crippling anxiety that comes with having the keys on the bottom of your device. When it’s folded, the keys are on the underside and exposed to whatever surface the “back” of your “tablet” touches. The keys don’t work in tablet mode, so unintended keystrokes aren’t an issue. However, the thoughts of snagging or damaging one always lingered in my mind.

You can fold it so the keyboard is on the bottom and the screen is on the outside, sort of like a reverse laptop,  and use this method to set the screen at an angle you find comfortable, but I don’t see the point. You may as well have the screen 10 inches further away and use it as a standard laptop. The “fold” that makes the most sense involves standing the laptop up, as I have in the above photo. This is okay if you’re watching something but not great if you’re prodding the screen. So yet again, what’s the point? Lenovo’s pen might make a difference, especially if you’re an artist or someone who prefers to scribble things down. Then it would make sense to have the screen flat. It is a separate purchase and not something I’ve tested.

It Performs Very Well as a Laptop

Some of the ports on the Lenovo Yoga7.
Dave McQuilling/Review Geek

Ignoring all of its touch-related features, the Yoga 7i is an outstanding laptop. The touchpad is huge, which takes a little time to get used to, but it is a fantastic asset once you get used to it. The keyboard isn’t as nice as a mechanical one but is still very pleasant as laptop keyboards go.

You get a lot of screen space, and while it isn’t as much as you would get with a dual-monitor setup, it does seem roomier than the average laptop screen. The screen is big enough to handle two windows, and there is enough processing power and RAM to deal with horrendous tab management.

Regarding portability, as mentioned, the Yoga 7i is a big boy. You’ll need a larger-than-average laptop bag to transport it; it is heavier than you may be used to, though the lightweight charger brings the overall weight closer to that of a standard laptop. And the charger itself is fantastic. The computer will give you good battery life, and I’ve gotten a full 8-hour workday done without coming close to draining it. But its fast charging abilities set it apart. If you run out of juice, you won’t have to plug in for long. “battery life” is pretty vague, and hitting the “three hours” you get from a 15-minute charge depends on what you’ll be doing while unplugged. But I can confirm you can get a fantastic amount of charge into this laptop in no time.

Then there are the ports on offer. It’s always nice to see an SD card slot, as despite being standard in most cameras, the number of new laptops you can plug them straight into drops every year. Then at the other end of the technological scale, you have two Thunderbolt ports. So you can transfer files in a pinch, assuming the device you’re transferring them from also uses the Thunderbolt system.

The Touchscreen is Magnificent

A yoga 7 laid down in tablet mode
Dave McQuilling/Review Geek

Despite the two-in-one concept not winning me over, I was sold on touchscreen laptops years ago. I’ve had a touchscreen laptop as my daily driver for the bulk of the last decade, and it’s hit the point where I accidentally prod other people’s screens when I’m using their devices. Putting aside the folding function, the Yoga 7i is one of the better touchscreen laptops I’ve used and exists in the price bracket you’d expect a touchscreen with its specs to be in.

Its large screen size makes your pokes more precise, the screen itself is very responsive, and gestures are effortless. It did pick up smudges, but they all do that. I have yet to encounter a truly smudge-resistant surface. Maybe it was the tablet function that made Lenovo put a bit of extra effort into their screen. If you need a new touchscreen laptop, this may be your best option.

The Main Issues I Encountered Weren’t Lenovo’s Fault

The Lenovo Yoga 7 on an end table for scale
Dave McQuilling/Review Geek

Even if you’re spending north of $1000 on a laptop, you shouldn’t be overly surprised by a few teething issues. Like most things, computers need breaking in, and it’ll take a short while to get your settings just where you want them, initial updates installed, and your drivers configured to the point where things work. However, despite these expectations, my first few days with the Lenovo were a bit of a nightmare, and none of it was Lenovo’s fault.

Constant blue screens, errors, issues with applications, crashes out of nowhere. You name it; I was plagued with it. It took an entire reinstall of the operating system to get things working properly. Still, I normally do a good portion of my work on the laptops I test, which I didn’t fancy risking after those first few days.

I believe my issues were software-based and primarily down to how bad Windows 11 is over a year on. It’d be great if Windows 10 were an option, and you may be able to downgrade, but as with all new laptops, the OS might be an issue.

The Yoga 7i Justifies Its Price Tag

The Lenovo Yoga7's keyboard
Dave McQuilling/Review Geek

A few weeks ago, I reviewed the Acer Swift X and concluded it wasn’t worth the price tag. There was nothing that truly set it apart from laptops that were half the price, and it put itself in a bracket where it was competing with devices like the MacBook Air. However, the Yoga 7i does do enough to justify its price tag, and if I were looking for a touchscreen laptop for work and light entertainment, I would part with my own money to get one.

Yes, its main gimmick falls a bit flat (not literally), but if you buy one, you will get a highly functional touchscreen laptop at around the price you’d expect to pay. The screen itself impressed me, both visually and in terms of functionality. Don’t expect it to run modern games flawlessly; it lacks the graphical oomph for that, but after the teething period, it handled all of the work-based tasks I trusted it with flawlessly. If you need a new touchscreen laptop, get this. If you really, really want a two-in-one, you might be better off with the 14-inch option.

Rating:
8/10
Price:
Starting At $1,169.99

Here’s What We Like

  • Plenty of useful ports
  • An amazing laptop underneath it all
  • Outstanding large display
  • Very good touchscreen

And What We Don't

  • The main gimmick falls flat
  • It comes with Windows 11

Dave McQuilling Dave McQuilling
Dave McQuilling has spent over 10 years writing about almost everything, but technology has always been one of his main interests. He has previously worked for newspapers, magazines, radio stations, websites, and television stations in both the US and Europe. Read Full Bio »