Lenovo’s ready to show off its high-end laptops for the latter part of this year. They include the newly-renamed Yoga 9i series, with a conventional laptop and a 2-in-1 both clad in luscious leather to go along with high-end specs, and a super-thin gaming laptop on the LEGION line.
Yoga 9i 14″ and 15″
Let’s start with the Yoga 9i. This laptop comes in three varieties: 14- and 15-inch versions of the Yoga 9i convertible laptop, and the Yoga Slim 9i (also called the IdeaPad Slim 9i for the North American market, according to Lenovo). The Slim version is a standard laptop sans fold-back screen.
All three of these designs use an aluminum alloy body, similar to last year’s Yoga C940. But the 14-inch 2-in-1 and the 9i slim laptop both have an optional leather cover on the top lid, as well as optional full-width tempered glass on the palm rest. These more exotic material touches mirror similar attempts to stand out in the high-end laptop market: see the Alcantara keyboard covers of the Surface Laptop and leather-clad HP Spectre Folio.
Other 2-in-1 design highlights include the excellent speaker bar inherited from the C940 series, integrated Amazon Alexa services, Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5, an ultrasonic fingerprint reader integrated into the wrist rest, haptic touch feedback on the touchpad (instead of a conventional clicking mechanism), a physical camera block shutter, Thunderbolt 4 ports, and an integrated stylus. Oddly, all the ports are on one side for the 14″ (two USB-C/power, one USB-A, headphone jack), with only the power button opposite. the 15″ version has its USB-A port on the right, with an option for a proprietary charger. Lenovo says that the 14″ model can last up to 18 hours while the 15-inch model can last 13, but frankly, Lenovo’s battery estimates haven’t impressed me in the past.
The 14-inch 2-in-1 Yoga 9i will be offered with a “next-gen Intel Core processor” (likely the 11th-gen Tiger Lake design) and Xe graphics, with a maximum of 16GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage. The screen will top out at a 500-nit 4K LCD panel, though it will probably be offered with cheaper 1080p panels, too. The 15-inch version has room for an optional discrete graphics card, the GTX 1650 Ti, but will have to make do with 10th-gen Core i9 processors on the most expensive model. It’s configurable with up to 2TB of storage.
Yoga (IdeaPad) 9i Slim
If you prefer a slimmer traditional laptop, the Yoga 9i Slim (AKA the IdeaPad 9i Slim) includes almost all of the hardware of the 14-inch 2-in-1, plus an option for 2TB of storage, an infrared camera for Windows Hello, and a battery life up to 20 hours (again, estimated by Lenovo). The slim laptop uses an “electronic privacy shutter” activated by a button on the side, which cuts power to the webcam instead of covering it. The slimmer model uses three USB-C ports (no A) with a headphone jack, spaced out more evenly on both sides.
Gamers who require something thin and light might be interested in Lenovo’s last laptop announcement, the LEGION Slim 7i. Lenovo says it’s the slimmest 15-inch gaming laptop in the world that offers an RTX 2060 graphics card…which is a lot of qualifiers, but the design’s .7-inch aluminum body speaks for itself. The Slim 7i is offered with a variety of 10th-gen Core processors, from an i5 to an i9, and between 8 and 32GB of RAM. SSD storage ranges from 512GB to 2TB.
Lenovo is offering three screens with this gaming laptop: 1080p at 60 hertz or 155 hertz, or 4K at 60Hz only, with a boosted 600 nits of brightness. Other highlights include explicit support for external GPUs, a full-sized SD card slot, double 2-watt speakers, two USB-C ports (including power), a fingerprint reader integrated with the power button, and a full-sized keyboard with 10-key pad. That keyboard has RGB lighting provided by Corsair.
Lenovo says that these laptops will be coming “this holiday season.” The LEGION gaming laptop starts at $1330, with the Yoga 9i 14″ at $1400, the 9i 15″ at $1800, and the Yoga 9i Slim/IdeaPad 9i Slim at $1600. Of course, all of those prices fluctuate based on your hardware selections.