Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8: Two-minute review
If you were to tone down the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8’s charisma to an average 7, it would still be a pretty great laptop – compact, capable, and packed with mention-worthy features such as a great keyboard, an included stylus, and a rotating soundbar that blasts out decent audio. But as it is now, its appeal is simply off the charts, making it even more irresistible. In fact, it might have just sealed Lenovo’s status as the new IT brand for laptops.
Don’t get me wrong; Lenovo’s portables have always been incredible in my opinion, and I’ve always been a fan. But they’ve also always sat in the shadows of Dell and HP, relatively unknown except to those who are in the know.
These days, however, I think most are willing to concede that they may be surpassing even the Dell XPS line in the best laptops realm – quite a feat considering that the line has held a lofty status for years and considering that Dell has recently given its XPS 13 2-in-1 model a not wholly welcome design overhaul (it’s now essentially a tablet with a detachable keyboard).
One of the best touchscreen laptops – and naturally, among the best 2-in-1 laptops – we’ve tested in 2023 (so far), the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 is an absolute stunner, with an Oatmeal, glossy-trimmed satin chassis that’s worthy of your adoration, a 360-degree rotating soundbar, a vibrant OLED display, and an elegantly minimalist look. It packs a punch as well, going toe-to-toe with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 in terms of performance. And, most importantly, it isn’t as pricey as the Dell XPS and HP Spectre x360 lines, which makes it a more prudent choice.
It isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty damn close, and if Dell and HP were wise, it might behoove them to start paying attention.
Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8: Price and availability
- How much does it cost? $1,399.99 / £1,440
- When is it available? Available now in the UK, available on April 10 in the US
- Where can you get it? Available in the US and the UK
At the time of writing, the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 has yet to hit the shelves in the US, being slated for release on April 10. You can, however, already pre-order our review configuration at Best Buy for $1,399.99, which puts it in the same price as the similarly-specced Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 and just a little more affordable than last year’s Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, which I am in the process of testing now. A higher-specced version will be made available, hopefully on the day of release.
In the UK, it’s a slightly different story, with both configurations available now at Lenovo UK, with the base model costing £1,440 and the higher model priced at £1,599. I’m still waiting on word as to when it’ll be available in Australia.
I wouldn’t call the Yoga 9i Gen 8 a budget or even affordable model. It definitely sits in the premium range, albeit perhaps on the lower end. However, for what you’re getting, it’s definitely reasonably priced and a great value proposition.
- Price: 4 / 5
Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8: Specs
The Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 comes in two configurations, the base model and the higher-end model that has twice the storage capacity and a higher resolution display.
Lenovo has been known to limit its available configurations to two or three per laptop model, and it’s no different here. At the time of writing, the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 is only available in two configurations. Both are powered by the same Intel Core i7-1360P chip and Intel Iris Xe integrated graphics, and they both have the same 16GB memory.
Where the higher-end model deviates is in the storage capacity and the display. It doubles the base model’s storage to 1TB and sees its 2.8K OLED display and raises it a 3840 x 2400 OLED panel.
It’s worth noting that while these configurations are confirmed in the US and the UK, we don’t have any information about pricing and availability in Australia. In addition, it’s entirely possible that Lenovo adds more during or after its official launch. Not to worry; we’ll update this review accordingly.
Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8: Design
- Look and design that are impossible to resist
- Great trackpad and keyboard with useful shortcuts
- Stunner of an OLED display
I’ll tell you right now that you’ll have a hard time resisting this laptop as soon as you hold it in your hands. Though it largely preserves its predecessor’s design, the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 still feels like how the Dell XPS line felt when it was overhauled – a breath of fresh air. Its all-aluminum chassis has an elegant, minimalist look with just the words Lenovo and Yoga engraved on opposite sides of the top cover.
I quite like the Oatmeal colorway, as it works well with that modern minimalist look as well as the rounded corners and glossy edges, which by the way is rare on laptops, making this one even more distinctive.
The Yoga 9i Gen 8 is more than adequately travel-friendly, being compact, fairly lightweight, military-grade solid, and svelte, which makes it sufficiently easy to handle in tablet and tent modes. I’m not quite sold on laptops that turn into tablets yet, but what I can say is that I’ve used this one in both modes, and the experience was comfortable. I especially like being able to watch Narcos in bed without having to put on my glasses. In addition, a stylus comes packaged so you can interface more with that touchscreen without spending extra money.
Its 360-degree-rotating soundbar moonlights as the hinge, and it’s a pretty ingenious element. Whatever mode you’re on, those speakers are never facing directly away from you, which means you're getting good audio every time. But more on that later.
The keyboard, backlit and spacious, spanning the length of the laptop, will never make you feel cramped, especially since the keys are stubby – short yet thick – and there’s enough space between them. And, the whole thing’s comfortable and satisfying to type on, just the ticket for hammering out those work documents or, in my case, reviews and features. I also appreciate that Lenovo took great pains adding shortcuts here: performance modes, webcam background blur, light and dark modes toggle, airplane mode, audio profile, and more within easy reach thanks to these shortcut keys.
This keyboard is so great, in fact, that it makes the trackpad look insipid and boring, which is saying something since the trackpad — big, responsive, accurate, and nice to the touch — is pretty great in its own right.
For quick sign-ins, you’ve got a fingerprint scanner and facial recognition here, and they’re both not only fast and responsive but not at all a pain to use. My biggest gripe with fingerprint scanners is that they’re usually finicky little things – your fingers have to be dry and clean and whatever else for them to do accurate readings. That’s never been an issue with this one. Speaking of cameras, professionals and casual users alike will appreciate that 1080p webcam, which we are starting to see in a number of higher-end laptops these days.
And for the finale, there’s the OLED multi-touch glossy display which gives you a 2880 x 1880 resolution, a 90Hz refresh rate, Dolby Vision support, and 14 inches of pure unadulterated OLED viewing. It gave me about 200% sRGB and 142% DCI-P3 coverage during testing, and a yummy average color accuracy of 0.39 (standard is Delta-E<2). And, honestly, my Netflix experience has been elevated.
- Design: 4.5 / 5
Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8: Performance
- Great performance for productivity and every day workloads
- Decent but not the snappiest with creative workloads
- Display could be brighter, audio is decent
Here's how the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
3DMark: Night Raid: 17,852; Fire Strike: 4,927; Time Spy: 1,916
GeekBench 6: 2,464 (single-core); 10,828 (multi-core)
25GB File Copy: 1,669 Mbps
Handbrake 1.6: 9m 45s
CrossMark: Overall: 1,789 Productivity: 1,714 Creativity: 1,977 Responsiveness: 1,506
Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm (1080p): 25fps
Web Surfing (Battery Informant): 10 hours and 10 minutes
I wish I could compare this laptop to another new anticipated release this year with very similar specs, but seeing as that’s currently under wraps at this time, let’s settle with the ones that are already out.
TechRadar’s own benchmark results show that the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 surpasses the likes of a similarly-specced and similarly-priced Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro 360 in most of them except in the Fire Strike extreme stress test. Same with an Intel Core i7-1360P, Iris Xe- powered LG Gram Style with double the RAM.
In fact, it crushed the competition in CPU performance, especially multi-core ones, and our real-world application benchmark, scoring 10,828 in the Geekbench 6 multi-core test and 1,789 in Crossmark. As is the norm with integrated graphics, the graphical performance isn’t anything to write home about, scoring an average of 25fps with Sid Meier's Civilization VI at the native 1800p resolution although it did perform better than the two aforementioned rivals in Night Raid.
In practice, it’s also not too bad. I used it to edit and export 50 high-res 7952 x 4472 images from RAW to JPEG in Lightroom, and it took about two to three minutes to do so. That’s obviously not instantaneous, but it’s faster than my own M1-powered iMac 24-inch – though, to be fair, this review unit does have double the memory. It did get a little warm and pretty loud when exporting those images, however.
As I mentioned before, the display is yummy to stream on. The only drawback here is that it averaged about 350 nits of brightness during testing, and with many displays offering more than 400 nits these days, some might find it a little dark for their taste.
I don’t mind it, however, especially since it offers a dynamic range wide enough that visuals do not lose a lot of detail in darker scenes or clips. I also tested this out in a bright, outdoor cafe on a warm and sunny day, and I could see what’s on my screen just fine, despite some glare. And, the whole panel looks to be fairly uniform in brightness in all quadrants, according to the colorimeter readings.
Everybody is praising the sound quality here, but I find it no match for the MacBook Pros. The mid-range is full, and it sounds good for streaming. But there’s really very minimal low end here, the mids are a little compressed, and the high end is boosted so it can sound a little harsh depending on the audio. Also, listening to music is not as pleasant as streaming shows and movies. Don’t get me wrong; it’s good audio, just not amazing as other reviewers make it sound like.
- Performance: 4.5 / 5
Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8: Battery life
- A little over 10 hours at full charge
- Rapid charging on hand
There’s not a lot of higher-powered Windows-powered laptops out there than can surpass the MacBook Pro in battery life. And sadly, the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 is in the same boat, not even coming close to the Apple Macbook Pro 14 with M2 Pro’s 14 hours and 23 minutes battery test results.
The upside is that the Yoga 9i Gen 8’s battery life really isn’t that bad. It’s good actually, delivering a little over 10 hours of juice during our proprietary Web Surfing battery test and beating out the Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360’s just under eight hours result and 2022’s Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, which just made it over that eight-hour mark.
Listen, 10 hours will get you a full day’s work and then some, so while it probably isn’t going to outlast your energy levels, it’ll ensure that you’re commuting light since you can leave the charger at home. Plus, if it’s one of those days when you need to put in more than 10 hours, you can count on its rapid charging as well.
- Battery life: 4.5 / 5
Should you buy the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8?
Buy it if...
You need a laptop for productivity and the occasional photo editing
This is an incredibly capable laptop that handles productivity and every day tasks like a pro and holds its own with creative workloads.
You're looking for a great-featured laptop
There's a lot of great features here, including a rotating soundbar, an OLED display, a fingerprint reader, many keyboard shortcuts, and a 1080p webcam, making it futureproof.
You're tired of the homogenous look on devices
The Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 veers off the beaten path with its minimalist, elegant look you'd be hard-pressed to find elsewhere.
Don't buy it if...
Money is tight
I think that this laptop is reasonably-priced for its performance and features, but it's not exactly a budget option. Look elsewhere if you need something under $1,000/£1,000.
You want a brighter display
That OLED display is fantastic, but it averages at about 350 nits in brightness, which in today's standards is just average.
You do more creative workloads
It held its own with photo editing high-res images, but it got pretty loud and warm, and it also wasn't the fastest. If you do more photo and video editing than productivity tasks, you should get something with more graphical prowess.
Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8: Also consider
If our Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 review has you considering other options, here are two more laptops to consider...
How I tested the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8
- Used it as my work and streaming laptop for a week
- Tested it with the apps I used for work, including Adobe Lightroom
- Ran a standard suite of benchmark tests
Using the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8 for work and media consumption for about two weeks allowed me to really see what it's made of. I used it indoors and outdoors for productivity work, editing high-resolution images, and streaming Netflix.
Of course, we also ran in through our suite of benchmark test as well, putting its CPU, GPU, and display through its paces, and compared those results to those of similar laptops.
I have been testing laptops, Chromebooks, and PCs for a few years now, first as a freelance journalist for many of the top tech publications and now as one of the Computing editors for TechRadar. That makes me more than qualified to test laptops such as the Lenovo Yoga 9i Gen 8.
First reviewed April 2023