Lenovo Yoga Book 9i hands-on: The dual-screen future

I’ll admit that I was skeptical when I first saw pictures of Lenovo’s new dual-screen Yoga Book 9i. I’ve tried foldables and dual-screen apps, and while many are usable, many also have serious limitations. But it’s the first dual-screen laptop I’ve ever tried that I can see myself actually buying. And that’s because Lenovo has clearly done the software engineering necessary to ensure that it can address a number of the… obvious concerns that shoppers might have with a device like this.

The keyboard attached to Lenovo's Yoga Book 9i in vertical mode.

This butterfly flaps its wings when you open and close the laptop.
Photo by Vajran Pavik / The Verge

The first objection is an obvious one: There’s no visible touchpad on the Yoga Book i9. When Lenovo announced the device, which is a laptop-sized spiritual successor to Microsoft’s Surface Neo, it jumped out at me at first — essentially two 13.3-inch, 16:10, 2.8K OLED screens in one rests on top of the other. mid and a detachable keyboard. ,how does one navigate it, I was surprised to see the keynote speaker.

It turns out that there are several methods, and they all seem to work. First, you can touch the screen. Second, you can use the stylus (which rests very snugly in the sleeve on the back of the device). And third, in Lenovo’s software settings, you can drag a virtual touchpad onto the screen. This touchpad has haptic buttons which, with their physical feedback, Really feels like real buttons, You can change the size of this touchpad. You can do it here and there. The world is your oyster. Touchpad-ing the screen felt awkward at first, but it’s something I imagine you’ll get used to.

The stylus on the back of the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i kickstand.

Here is the pen.
Photo by Vajran Pavik / The Verge

you can also Fold the device at 90 degrees and use it like a regular 13-inch laptop. This is also a feature of single-screen foldable devices, but the deal with it is that it usually shrinks the screen you’re working with (since you’re taking a screen you previously folded horizontally). were using from and halving it’s length).

Folding the Yoga Book into clamshell mode obviously cuts your available screen two to one, but the size change doesn’t feel nearly as drastic as when you fold, say, Asus’s ZenBook 17 in half. You’re still looking at a standard-sized 13.3-inch laptop screen with the same aspect ratio as before. (The bottom half, where the keyboard attaches, also isn’t particularly tight, another frequent problem with foldables.)

Anyway, when you fold the Yoga Book 9i into clamshell mode, a virtual keyboard and touchpad automatically pop up in the places you’d expect. This touchpad is also haptic, and while I generally hate using onscreen keyboards, it’s probably the most clicky and comfortable I’ve ever used. If you do this you can place the physical keyboard right above the virtual keyboard, if you do this the touchpad will stay in place.

These all seem like very workable solutions to the missing touchpad problem. OEMs have struggled with the question of where to put a touchpad on a dual-screen laptop since time immemorial, and we’ve seen a number of front-mounted keyboards and teeny, clunky touchpads in the space. In previous reviews of Asus’ dual-screen models, I’ve suggested that their trackpads were so terrible that Asus would be better off abandoning them all together. Lenovo has made that leap, and frankly, I respect that.

Lenovo Yoga Book 9i folded into laptop mode with keyboard attached.

That’s the touchpad, just below the keyboard.
Photo by Vajran Pavik / The Verge

The Yoga Book doesn’t use a special edition of Windows 11 (RIP Windows 10X), but with all the various gestures Lenovo has added to optimize interactions for the dual-screen form factor, it looks like it might. Is. There are several ways to move your windows and applications around, and it takes about four seconds to master them all.

is my favorite movie. Touch and hold any app or browser tab, then flick it, and it moves to another screen. There’s also a Snap Layout feature optimized for this device, which will probably be more useful to many people in the Yoga Book’s form factor than a standard Windows laptop.

Tapping with five fingers on your tab or window causes it to expand to fill both screens, in the aptly named “waterfall mode.” I can see it being fun to use, although a huge hinge in the middle of your waterfall somewhat hinders the aesthetic. If you’re using the laptop in clamshell mode, pulling down on the keyboard with eight fingers pulls up a little control panel with weather forecasts, CPU usage and performance statistics, quick access to Outlook, and other applications. (It does, however, get rid of the touchpad that’s there, so it’s a quick-reference thing you might want to leave open—unless you have a mouse plugged in.)

The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i lies in horizontal mode with the keyboard attached.

This is what it looks like when you hold it sideways – like a book.
Photo by Monica Chin / The Verge

I’m sure Lenovo made a thousand more cool things here. (Lenovo reps were eager to show us more tricks, but our time slot was limited.) I’m also sure I haven’t explored every possible situation in which you might use this device, and there’s no way to buy it. Will require some exploration. Start.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions specifically about horizontal mode, and whether you can use two screens side-by-side. The answer is yes, you can, but it’s a bit awkward. As you can see from the photo above, the screen is tall and thin when placed this way, and the result looks a bit more like a storybook than a work setup. it’s something you could We do, but it may require some getting used to (and, at times, creative resizing).

Another question I hear a lot: Does the yoga book wobble? the answer is yes. If you’re tapping the screen and the laptop is perfectly vertical, the top screen wobbles a bit. However, I don’t see this as a major problem, as I find myself doing most of my navigation on the non-wobbly bottom screen, which will be closer to me and more comfortable to reach.

And finally: how powerful is that thing, and can you edit video on it? The processor inside is a 13th-generation Intel Core i7 U-series chip, and you know what, it’s not terrible. It’s designed for thin and light devices, so you won’t have an incredible editing experience, but you could probably complete a project on it if you were outside.

However, it’s true that whether this device ultimately succeeds will depend on Lenovo’s ability to create an excellent software experience. The company wasn’t quite as successful there with the ThinkPad X1 Fold, which was quite a mess to use. The Yoga Book 9i feels better, although my testing time was limited. I didn’t have any problems navigating the internet or jumping around between tabs during my brief time with the device; And although there have been reports of blue-screening of the device during other people’s testing, I haven’t experienced it myself. I’ll have more impressions when I get my hands on a final unit.

But my main takeaway is that I think someone may have finally figured out the right way to do a dual-screen device. This is a really neat idea. It’s managed to combine the portability benefits of foldables with the fun versatility of dual-screens without too many downsides that I can see. You need to be okay with a hinge in the middle of your workbench though— And With as low as $2,000, which is just the starting price.

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