Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i Gen7 (14IAP7) review: A lavish laptop


Yes, the Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i really comes from the same company that makes ThinkPad business laptops. This particularly attractive ultraportable borrows styling cues from the smartphone world and is much easier on the eyes than the current crop of MacBook-a-likes doing the rounds.

It’s not just a pretty face either. 12th Gen Intel processors promise top-tier performance, while an OLED display panel and speakers tuned by Bowers & Wilkins should deliver cinema-quality picture and sound.

However, luxury never comes cheap and there is no shortage of competition. The 14-inch MacBook Pro, Microsoft Surface Pro 9 and Dell XPS 13 Plus are all amazing machines in their own right – has Lenovo done enough to earn a place among them?

Design and construction: going for the gold

Lenovo has done away with sharp edges and 90-degree angles for the Yoga Slim 9i, in favor of curves and rounded edges that you can’t help but run your fingers through. Polished aluminum glistens in the light and pale gold complements the white glass lid. It’s definitely more appealing than Lenovo’s color name (“oatmeal”) suggests, and a refreshing change from the monolithic new MacBook Air.

Open the lid and the polished finish gives way to a more discreet matte, which hides fingerprints well. Ultra-slim screen bezels and thin speaker grilles flanking the keyboard hammer home that this is a premium machine. It’s also quite light, weighing less than 1.4 kg. It’s physically comparable to many 13-inch machines, so it’ll be fine for hybrid work. And of course, this being a Yoga, the screen folds up 180 degrees.

Ports are limited to just three USB-Cs (two left, one right) and a 3.5mm headphone port. However, all three also double as Thunderbolt 4 ports, so they can be used for displays, data transfers, or even connecting an external GPU. A physical kill switch for the built-in webcam will also appeal to privacy-conscious people.

There’s no fingerprint sensor here, but you do get Microsoft’s Windows Hello facial recognition for hands-free logins. There’s an infrared camera as well as a 1080p webcam built into the bezel of the display, so it’ll work in the dark, and can usually match your mug in just under a second.

Screen & sound: a feast for the eyes

Take a look at the Yoga Slim 9i’s gorgeous 14-inch OLED display and it’s hard to believe there’s an even better one out there for those willing to splash a little extra cash. The standard laptop has a 2880×1800 resolution panel, but you can upgrade to 4K for an extra £100 – as long as you don’t mind the battery life that comes with all those extra pixels.

Both have the same 400 nits peak brightness, 100% DCI-P3 color coverage and Dolby Vision support, as well as DisplayHDR 500 True Black certification from display experts VESA. This results in epic image quality, with perfect blacks, exceptional contrast and particularly vibrant colours. HDR content looks luscious, and X-Rite Color Wizard software lets you quickly switch between color profiles when precision is needed.

There is, however, a good reason to stick with the regular panel. The refresh rate peaks at a smoother 90Hz, which is easier to watch and allows for stutter-free scrolling. The 4K display only manages 60Hz – although if you spend most of your time without being connected to mains, you’ll probably want to stick to 60Hz anyway to extend battery life.

The touchscreen is responsive and we had no trouble working in a sunny room, although the glossy coating can make reflections a bit of a pain. Well done the viewing angles are superb then.

The four speakers tuned in black and white are perfectly matched to the screen. They have real presence, even before you turn the volume up, with clear vocals and a crisp high end that doesn’t stray when you turn things up. It gets incredibly loud when you want it to, although there’s only so much low-end that four fairy little riders can produce. If you want big bass, headphones are always the way to go.

Keyboard and trackpad: don’t quite click

The Yoga Slim 9i’s keyboard has a nearly full set of full-size keys, with only the arrow and function keys needing to slim down to make room for the speaker grilles on either side. Everything is smartly spaced and comfort isn’t an issue, with plenty of room to rest your wrists on either side of the expansive touchpad.

There’s a bit of flex when really pressing the keys, but for general typing it feels perfectly firm. The main downside is the lack of travel, with the keys dropping quite quickly. They’re reasonably springy, but it’s just not as satisfying to type as some key rivals. We also noticed a few instances of double-registering key presses, something we didn’t encounter on the latest MacBook Air or Dell XPS 13 Plus.

Having gold keys and white backlighting isn’t the best combination either. This is handy when working in the dark, but does the opposite during the day, making it harder to tell the characters apart. At least there’s an auto mode that turns off the light in well-lit areas.

The touchpad, meanwhile, is excellent. It’s giant, with an aspect ratio that matches the screen and with support for multi-touch gestures. There’s a satisfying mechanical click when pressed with any force, but it’s just as adept at recognizing lighter taps.

Performance and Battery Life: Fast Doesn’t Mean Better

With a 12th Gen Core i7 processor and 16GB of RAM running the show, the Yoga Slim 9i doesn’t hurt when it comes to performance. In fact, you could say it has a bit too much: the i7-1280P is a 28W chip, which means it consumes a little more battery than Intel’s 15W U-series models. .

The 1280P’s extra performance cores make a difference on the desktop, keeping demanding applications snappier and more responsive than any previous generation CPU, but we’re not talking a giant leap here. It can handle image edits in Photoshop and will produce 4K video on demand, but the fan has to work overtime once you start pushing it hard. The noise isn’t super loud, but definitely noticeable.

Intel’s Iris Xe GPU is also clocked a little higher here than on the U-series chips, but we’re still talking about integrated graphics here: modern games will need to run at 720p and compound detail settings to get a frame playable rates. Less intense titles like Diablo Immortal were perfectly playable on a mix of low and medium settings.

Still, for a thin and light computer that will primarily use word processors and web browsers, we’d prefer better battery life. The Yoga Slim 9i isn’t a bad performer in this area, managing just over six hours of daily use, but it’s far from an M2-powered MacBook. Expect less if you watch a lot of HDR video.

Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i verdict

Whether you’re a fan of style, expect top-tier performance, or want a display worthy of a cabinet binge, the Yoga Slim 9i delivers on all three fronts. It’s a brilliantly capable work machine with the screen and speakers to keep you entertained once you’re done.

The 28W processor might actually be overkill in such a small machine. It also has a ripple effect on battery life, which is just fine. The shallow keyboard will also take some getting used to.

It’s just short of brilliance, and the high price will likely be a turn-off, but still succeeds as an all-rounder you’d be proud to pull out of your laptop bag.

Technical specifications of the Lenovo Yoga Slim 9i (2022)

Filter 14 inch, 2880×1800 OLED
CPU Intel Core i7-1280p
Memory 16 GB RAM
Chart Intel Iris Xe
Storage 512GB/1TB
Operating system the Windows 11 House
Connectivity 3x USB 4/Thunderbolt, 3.5mm headphone port
Battery 75Wh
Dimensions 315x214x15mm, 1.39kg

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