So you’re used to me flipping back and forth between work and play on the laptop front – for Lenovo that means ThinkPads versus the Legions. We’re in the middle today with Lenovo’s Yoga 9… Leather. We’ve looked at a lot of workstations over the years, but with this Yoga 9 it’s clear that the design focus was style. Their Yoga line has always delivered sleek and solid business and media machines, but wrapping it in leather really gives it that super premium feel. The non leather version starts at $1,349.14 on Lenovo’s website with an 11th-gen i5, FHD 400-nit display and a mica finish, going all the way up to just north of $2,000 for the model I’m reviewing. So before we begin, here’s the specs those $2,000 bought for my test model:
- Proc: Intel 11th generation Core i7-1185G7 (3.00 GHz, up to 4.80 GHz with Turbo Boost, 4 Cores, 8 Threads, 12 MB Cache)
- Memory: 16GB LPDDR4X, 4267MHz
- Storage: 500GB PCIe SSD (up to 1TB)
- Graphics: Integrated Intel Iris Xe Graphics
- Screen: 14” UHD (3840 x 2160) IPS, glossy, touchscreen, VESA HDR400, 500 nits
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6 802.11AX (2×2), Bluetooth 5.1
- Other: Housing for included pen, fingerprint scanner, leather wrap finish
Specs and Design
This laptop is about style. 3.02lbs light and 0.6″ thick, this 14″ laptop may not be large enough for me to have the RJ45 jack I love so much, and my oldschool tastes would have loved some additional port options. With an emphasis on portability though, the single USB-A 3.2 Gen2, 2 x USB-C 4.0/Thunderbolt and mic/headphone combo ports are enough for its purpose. Opening it up brings us a sleek and smooth deck with what looks like a non-existent touchpad that blends right in. There’s a fingerprint scanner on the right. The top half has a webcam with cover on the top of the thinly-bezeled IPS screen, which folds 360 degrees back to allow both tent mode and a full tablet experience. The hinge in the middle is a rotating Dolby Atmos soundbar that produces some highly decent sound whichever mode you decide to operate in. The Yoga 9 comes with a pen built-in, garaged in the chassis just to the right of the soundbar. In this case the keyboard borrowed a bit from Legion with their backlit TrueStrike tenkeyless keyboard, which is quiet and accurate and feels pretty good overall.
For that added touch of luxury, the metal chassis on this model is bonded with leather for a nice grain and grippy feel on the top of the notebook, It’s that feel that sets the 9 Leather apart as Lenovo’s flagship Yoga.
Focusing on style doesn’t mean you’re giving up performance. The 500 nit Vesa HDR touchscreen is nice and bright at 3840×2160, and has pretty good color representation with a nice glossy finish. The stock Windows 10 desktop wallpaper out of the box has a lot of bright pinks contrasting with darker blues and blacks to make that very clear at power on. And while it’s no gaming machine, the 11th generation i7 brings plenty of processing power even if we’re only looking at integrated Iris Xe graphics.
Lenovo’s Vantage software offers some similar options to the Legions, with toggles for fast-charge and cooling profiles for performance vs. battery conservation.
Overall, the specs are great for a business/media machine, and it’s built for portability and style in mind.
Our everyday test may include us doing a lot of stuff to run a machine through its paces, but at its core it’s a battery test. How long is this going to last you before you need to juice up? Lenovo advertises that the FHD model can run up to 15 hours, and that we can squeeze 10 out of the UHD models. Our UHD model got us to just about the 9 hour mark, which is pretty close to the advertised numbers. It was mostly media consumption from streaming services, but here’s how we got there:
Unplugged from the battery, we had the wifi turned on and the screen at full brightness, beginning with some work in MS 365 and Power BI while chatting back and forth with clients and teams on Slack, and watching commentary on Twitter and YouTube on the predicted horrible fate of my beloved Philadelphia Eagles in what was truly a depressing season.
After the football doom we went into full media mode, starting with episodes of Ancient Aliens on Amazon Prime Video. After a couple episodes of that we jumped over to HBO Max to check out The Flight Attendant for a while. After about 5 hours of continuous media consumption and an hour of work, I was still looking at about 35% of the battery life left.
We loved having a garaged Active Pen as part of the unit, so we switched over to tablet mode to test out the pen features. Pen work was smooth and responded pretty well to different levels of pressure in Windows Whiteboard and other apps that support pen entry. The Yoga 9 served very well as a written notebook for taking notes during meetings or just sketching for yourself.
Following that up with a couple episodes of Criminal:UK we got ourselves to just about the 9 hour mark.
We also ran the Yoga 9 through PCMark 10, which measures all specs for an overall modern office pc. This unit scored a 4840, actually slightly beating Lenovo’s Legion 5i (GTX 1660Ti) for office and desktop use, and also beating some competition with the same 11th gen i7 and integrated Iris graphics from Dell and MSI according to the online comparisons.
Gaming Test (just for fun)
Now the Yoga 9 doesn’t have a discrete GPU – it’s a lot of what allows for the long battery life, as well as the lightweight build and lower temperature when it’s on your lap. So instead of looking at NVIDIA’s GTX/RTX or an AMD Radeon, we did run a couple of tests to see what the integrated Iris Xe is capable of.
From the Blizzard library we were able to play World of Warcraft and Diablo III without too much issue. Integrated graphics means we weren’t going to be able to do a whole lot in UHD resolution, but we were still able to almost get 30fps. To decrease some of the chop, tuning it down to FHD (1920×1080) did get us to 60fps, letting us spin through the realm of Sanctuary on our seasonal demon hunter and traipse through the Shadowlands without any issues.
Just for fun we also ran it through the Final Fantasy XV for Windows benchmark, where in standard mode in FHD it scored a 2126, unsurprisingly registering as “Low.” As a comparison RTX-fueled notebooks can break 10k on the same test. With no surprise integrated Iris Xe graphics is simply not going to run the latest games. And that’s ok, because that’s not where this laptop lives.
So again, this isn’t a gaming laptop, but you still have some options for when you’re on the go or traveling.
Lenovo’s Yoga 9 Leather is their premium 2-in-1 with a premium build and feel. It fits the bill for business and travel, or the combination of both. And when you’re not using it being a pro, the sharp UHD screen will let you consume media from the streaming service of your choice. If you’re feeling more like a book or something a tablet would be more suited for, just spin the screen around and use the included Active Pen.
The higher end models do come at high end price with the top end breaking the $2k mark, but