Saturday, October 23, 2021
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Lenovo Yoga 9i (14) review – Dolby Vision and Tiger Lake – what could go wrong?


Since Lenovo felt their Yoga C940 laptops were not premium enough, they decided to make some changes. Now the laptop features an optional lather lid cover, a glass palm-rest area, and other minor improvements, and oh – a Tiger Lake processor under the bonnet.

Our particular unit comes with the flagship Intel Core i7-1185G7, which is also equipped with the latest and greatest iGPU from the Blue company – the Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 – more on that – later.

So, the laptop has a touchscreen panel with either 1080p or 4K resolution and has stylus support, a feature, which is proven by the dedicated Pen housed in the laptop, itself. By the way, according to the official specs sheet, the UHD panel is VESA HDR400 certified and supports Dolby Vision.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-yoga-9i-14/

#CommissionsEarned

Contents


Specs Sheet

Lenovo Yoga 9i (14″) – Specs


Dimensions


319.4 x 216.4 x 14.6 ~ 15.7 mm (12.57″ x 8.52″ x 0.57″)

Ports and connectivity

  • 1x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 2 (10 Gbps)
  • 2x USB Type-C Thunderbolt 3, Power Delivery (PD), DisplayPort
  • Wi-Fi 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • Audio jack 3.5 Combo Jack

Features

  • Fingerprint reader
  • Web camera HD
  • Backlit keyboard
  • Microphone Dual-Array Microphone
  • Speakers Rotating Sound Bar with Dolby Atmos
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

What’s in the box?

Inside the box, we see a 65W USB Type-C power brick, as well as … another box. And inside the second one, you will find the notebook as well as some paper manuals.

Design and construction

There is no doubt that this notebook is exceptional. It features a CNC aluminum lid, or stamped aluminum plus leather cover, while the base has an aluminum keyboard deck and glass palm-rest area. Should you opt for the leather-topped model, your unit will have a profile of 15.3-16.5mm and will weigh 1.44 kg. And if you buy the metal only iteration, the profile will be thinner (14.6-15.7mm), and the weight will be lower – 1.37 kg. In terms of structural integrity, the laptop is extremely tough, thanks to the metal and glass sandwich found pretty much everywhere.

Interestingly, the lid opens easily with a single hand, which is helped by the balanced hinge and the massive protrusion on the lid. It also houses the HD camera and its “TrueBlock” privacy shutter.

As you can see from the images, there is a huge grill on the hinge cover, which is called the “Rotating Sound Bar”. It houses two of the speakers (most probably the tweeters), whereas the other two are downwards-firing (found on the bottom panel) and should be the woofers. As for the keyboard, it is a decent unit with large keycaps, clicky feedback, and sadly – short key travel. It also has a backlight.

What is more interesting here is the palm-rest area. It is entirely made out of glass, which makes it feel premium, but be a nightmare for cleaning. And while there is a very subtle stripe, surrounding the touchpad, we just couldn’t get used to it and kept reaching outside of it. Another particularly compelling feature is the lack of a physical clicking mechanism. Instead, Lenovo has executed something very similar to what Apple does to its Macbooks – use a haptic motor (or as we peasants call it – a vibrator). However, we found it to be a bit early in its development, as it has troubles recognizing when you want to click, and when you are just gliding around.

Thankfully, such issues can be fixed with updates, and in our opinion, Lenovo would be very quick to address them, as soon as they get enough feedback.

Last but not least, there is the bottom panel, which houses the intake vents. Traditionally, the exhaust is happening from the back of the machine. By the way, we want to note that when the device is opened, you might experience a slight wobble, should you be using the included stylus. It is not too much, but for a notebook chasing the $2000 price tag, we have to be nitpicking.

Ports

This is officially the first laptop we got, which uses the Thunderbolt 4 technology. In fact, there are two Thunderbolt 4 ports on the left side, and they’re paired with a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 2) port. As the notebook charges by USB Type-C, naturally, both ports would work for charging. The only other port here, by the way, is the Audio jack. With that said, the right side only houses the Power button, while the backside is home to the dedicated stylus.

Disassembly, upgrade options, and maintenance

To get inside this machine, you need to undo 6 Torx-head screws, as well as three Phillips-head ones, hidden beneath the back rubber foot. After you do so, pry the bottom panel with a plastic tool, starting from the back.

As we can see, the cooling solution hasn’t changed much from the Yoga C940 14. It once again includes two heat pipes of different sizes, as well as two fans, and some brackets, cooling the soldered memory, as well as the VRMs.

Yep, sadly, this laptop has all its memory soldered to the motherboard, so no upgrades are possible. Thankfully, you can switch the M.2 SSD for a faster or a larger one in the future.

And for dessert, the battery capacity is 60Wh and takes half of the space inside the machine.

Display quality

Lenovo Yoga 9i (14) features a UHD IPS touchscreen display, model number BOE NV140QUM-N54 (LEN8B93). Its diagonal is 14″ (35.56 cm), and the resolution – 3840 х 2160. Additionally, the screen ratio is 16:9, the pixel density – 315 ppi, their pitch – 0.08 x 0.08 mm. The screen can be considered Retina when viewed from at least 28 cm (from this distance, the average human eye can’t see the individual pixels).

Its viewing angles are excellent. We have provided images at 45 degrees to evaluate quality.

The maximum measured brightness is pretty high – 477 nits (cd/m2) in the middle of the screen and 460 nits (cd/m2) average across the surface with a maximum deviation of 17%. The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen and at maximum brightness is 6900K – slightly colder than the 6500K optimum for sRGB.
In the illustration below you can see how the display performs from a uniformity perspective. The illustration below shows how matters are for operational brightness levels (approximately 140 nits) – in this particular case at 57% Brightness (White level = 141 cd/m2, Black level = 0.108 cd/m2).
Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work (a maximum tolerance of 2.0 ). The contrast ratio is good – 1300:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people in HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is an essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Lenovo Yoga 9i (14)’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers just 99% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976, and 89% of the DCI-P3 gamut, which ensures punchy, vibrant colors.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Lenovo Yoga 9i (14) with the default settings (left), and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile (right).

The next figure shows how well the display can reproduce dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 26 ms

Health impact – PWM / Blue Light

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Lenovo Yoga 9i (14)’s display doesn’t use PWM to adjust its brightness values at any point. This makes it comfortable for long working periods while being comfortable with your eyes in this aspect.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Conclusions

Lenovo Yoga 9i (14)’s IPS touchscreen panel has a super crisp UHD resolution, good contrast ratio, comfortable viewing angles, very wide color coverage (89% of the DCI-P3 color gamut), and a very high maximum brightness (477 nits). Moreover, its backlight doesn’t flicker at any brightness level. Interestingly, by default, the display is way off the color accuracy standards in sRGB. However, with our Gaming and Web design profile applied, you get an Average dE value of 1.5. This would make it a very good professional tool for everyone who values color accuracy. However, the poor luminance uniformity across the area of the display of our unit actually makes it inappropriate for work.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Lenovo Yoga 9i (14) configurations with 14.0″ BOE NV140QUM-N54 (LEN8B93) (UHD, 3840 × 2160) IPS panel.

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia’s products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work - screen profile

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming - screen profile

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.

All

Sound

Lenovo Yoga 9i (14)’s speakers produce a very high-quality sound with high maximum volume and Dolby Audio tuning. Its low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations.

Drivers

All of the drivers and utilities for this notebook can be found here: https://pcsupport.lenovo.com/us/en/products/laptops-and-netbooks/yoga-series/yoga-9-14itl5/downloads/driver-list

Battery

Now, we conduct the battery tests with Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits, and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. With the 4K panel, we see a pretty unimpressive battery life – 7 hours and 42 minutes of Web browsing and 7 hours and 33 minutes of video playback.

CPU options

This laptop features the latest Tiger Lake processors from Intel. You can get the notebook with either the Core i5-1135G7 or the Core i7-1185G7.


GPU options

And for the graphics card, you get the Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7.


Gaming tests

cs-go-benchmarks

rise-of-the-tomb-raider

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i7-1185G7(15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Lenovo Yoga 9i (14) 3.08 GHz @ 92°C @ 42W 3.14 GHz @ 96°C @ 34W 2.28 GHz @ 76°C @ 19W

Since this is the first notebook we’ve tested with this processor we can’t compare it to anything. However, we know for sure that the alleged Base frequency for the CPU is 3.00 GHz, which means that the Yoga 9i (14) is heavily throttling under long extreme loads. However, since the processor is a 15W unit, and we see that it consumes 19W, we think that the Core i7-1185G7 is not throttling, but it is rather Intel that suggests a higher Base clock than it really is. This remains to be seen, though.

Comfort during full load

When the Extreme performance setting is applied, the laptop runs both loud and warm under heavy load.

Verdict

First things first, the Yoga 9i (14) is a very well built machine. Premium materials, unorthodox approach, the latest and greatest in terms of technology – Intel Tiger Lake CPUs, Thunderbolt 4 support, Wi-Fi 6 support, and so on. It also produces a great Dobly Audio-tuned sound with its four 2W speakers. However, the entire idea has its drawbacks. And the first one is the touchpad. While having a glass palm rest area looks amazing and pleasing to the eye, there is a reason it is not being widely used.

The reason for that – fingerprints. In an hour of usage, it collected more fingerprints than the immigration services does for a month. Also, the haptics of the touchpad needs improvement, as it registers slides as clicks, and the actual click feels more like a vibration than as haptic feedback.

On the bright side, Lenovo Yoga 9i (14)’s IPS touchscreen panel (BOE NV140QUM-N54) has a super crisp UHD resolution, good contrast ratio, comfortable viewing angles, very wide color coverage (89% of the DCI-P3 color gamut), and a very high maximum brightness (477 nits). Moreover, its backlight doesn’t flicker at any brightness level. Interestingly, by default, the display is way off the color accuracy standards in sRGB. However, with our Gaming and Web design profile applied, you get an Average dE value of 1.5. This would make it a very good professional tool for everyone who values color accuracy. However, the poor luminance uniformity across the area of the display of our unit actually makes it inappropriate for work.

As we said, it has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, as well as a USB Type-A port, so you don’t necessarily need to use a dongle for everything you do. On the other side, there is no SD card reader on board. Yet, it has a built-in stylus.

And for the performance, it is very good, considering the fact we are talking about a 15W CPU. However, in terms of processing power, the flagship Tiger Lake Core i7-1185G7 is just not on par with the Ryzen 4000U series. Especially considering the price difference. As for the graphics department, well, it is clear that Intel has finally risen their game, and it just looks like they might have the upper hand.

So, at the end of the day, this laptop is a hit and miss. So many great features, but so much more to improve.

Pros

  • Fresh, sleek premium look
  • A hodgepodge of aluminum, leather, and glass
  • There is an included stylus
  • 4K resolution with 477 nits of maximum brightness, Dolby Vision, and VESA HDR500 support (BOE NV140QUM-N54)
  • The display doesn’t flicker at any brightness level (BOE NV140QUM-N54)
  • Fully covers the sRGB gamut and is able to display 89% of the colors in the DCI-P3 gamut (BOE NV140QUM-N54)
  • Tiger Lake onboard + Thunderbolt 4 support
  • Our Gaming and Web design profile helps achieve standard-matching color accuracy

Cons

  • Lacks an SD card reader
  • Glass palm-rest area, which is a magnet for fingerprints
  • The touchpad vibration needs improvement
  • 4K unit offers less than 8 hours of light usage on battery
  • Uneven luminance uniformity across the screen (BOE NV140QUM-N54)

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System: https://laptopmedia.com/series/lenovo-yoga-9i-14/

#CommissionsEarned





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