Lenovo Can Do No Wrong With Its Yoga 7i Laptop

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Photo: Joanna Nelius/Gizmodo

Lenovo’s newest Yoga 7i is a tiny but mighty, 2-in-1 Intel Evo-certified laptop, which means its core features are a 10-hour battery life, a 1-second wake-up time, and a lightning-fast charging time. It has what other Evo-certified laptops have, but Lenovo has a special knack for combining just the right components together to hit lower price points than other laptop makers. It’s not the fastest laptop out there; don’t expect to edit 4K videos on this thing. But like MSI’s Prestige 14 Evo, if you need a machine for school or something to quickly make PowerPoint slides for a work presentation, the Yoga 7i has you covered.

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On the outside, Lenovo’s Yoga 7i isn’t that much different than its older counterpart, the Yoga C740. The number and types of ports are identical, except now the Yoga has two USB 4 Type-C ports that are Thunderbolt 4 compatible thanks to Intel’s Evo certification standards. The keyboard layout is identical. Speaker placement, hinges—all the same. The one reviewed here is a darker color, but I’m glad Lenovo didn’t mess with the design. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? The design is clean and simple, perfect for a 2-in-1 laptop.

But the most important changes are on the inside.

The 10th-gen Intel i5-10210U processor has been swapped out for the newer Intel Core i5-1135G7 with Iris Xe graphics, giving this new Yoga a big performance boost over the previous generation across all our usual benchmark tests. Both are 4-core, 8-thread processors with a max clock of 4.20GHz, but the 11th-gen’s smaller transistor architecture (10nm SuperFin verses 14nm) and 2MB of extra cache mean the Core i5-1135G7 can do more with basically the same specs.

Rendering a 3D image in Blender is seven minutes faster with the CPU and GPU, transcoding a 4K video to 1080p 30 fps is five minutes faster, and Civilization VI also performs decently well for a chip with integrated graphics. The Core i7 11th-gen mobile CPUs are punchier, but you can crank down the graphics settings to speed things up. The Iris Xe is still an integrated GPU, and while its light years beyond what Intel’s UHD graphics can do, it’s not exactly a gaming-level GPU.

Can you play games on the Yoga 7i? Yes, but at a low resolution and low graphics. The Core i5-1135G7 is designed for work productivity, which makes it perfect for something like Lenovo’s Yoga line of 2-in-1s. I previously pitted the Core-i5 1135G7 against a few other mobile processors and, not surprisingly, it fell far behind in gaming benchmarks. But running tasks it was designed for, like in Word and Excel, the Yoga 7i proves to be a great convertible machine that’s small and light, and can do way more than a similarly-priced Chromebook. Plus, it’s cheaper than the C740 was when it was first released. The older machine started at $900, but the Yoga 7i starts at $770 with Lenovo’s deal at the time of this review’s publication. The bigger and badder specs you want in this laptop, the pricier it will be (obviously).

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In addition to the 11th-gen Core i5 processor, the model reviewed here has 12GB of memory and 475GB of storage, both of which are not only non-standard sizes, but this laptop cannot be configured with either of those sizes. The model on sale for $770 has 8GB of memory. But if you want 16GB you’ll need to select the customization option, which starts at $820 but tacks on another $55 for double the RAM, bringing the total cost to $875. Getting a 512GB SSD tacks on another $45, and then you’re looking at $920 for the Yoga 7i. The RAM is soldered to the motherboard, so unless you’re really adventurous, don’t even think about switching out the RAM down the road.

If you’re not willing to shell out an extra $150 to get the Core i7 processor, having 16GB of RAM will make a world of difference when paired with the Core i5-1135G7. Thankfully, Lenovo usually has a lot of deals going on at any given time, so if this 14-inch version interests you but you’re trying to save as much money as possible and are OK with 8GB of RAM, the Yoga 7i 15.6-inch version is currently $710. And the only thing you’ll sacrifice is 50 nits of screen brightness. All the other specs are identical, aside from weight and dimensions. The 15.6-inch version is only a pound heavier—coming in at 4.19 pounds compared to the 14's 3.1 pounds—but it’s still super light and portable.

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Not to keep harping on price, but you can also upgrade the 14-inch model with a Core i7-1165G7 and 16GB of RAM for about $200 less than the MSI Prestige 14 Evo, enjoy the same level of performance, and have a convertible laptop to boot. The Prestige has a Core i7-1185G7, but the Core i7-1165G7 is only 100MHz slower at its top clock speed by comparison.

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Price has almost always been Lenovo’s strongest selling point over its competitors, especially when it comes to work-focused laptops like the Yoga 7i. The average user won’t necessarily care about a 100MHz difference in CPU frequency or how many milliseconds faster the Core i7-1185G7 is compared to the the Core i7-1165G7 while running Civilization VI. Price, battery life, and portability would be at the top of the list, followed by overall processing power. The Lenovo Yoga 7i can roll with the best of the best at more attractive price points.

Lenovo’s own AMD-based IdeaPads are faster than the Yoga 7i in some tasks, though, like the IdeaPad Slim 7. It has a slightly different processor than the one we recently reviewed (performance doesn’t vary by much), but if you are looking for something even cheaper and don’t care for a 2-in-1, that’s another good option. However, the Yoga 7i has the better integrated graphics, and much longer battery life than other 2-in-1s like Asus’ ROG Flow X13 and Microsoft’s Surface Book 3. Yep, it’s another damn good laptop for under $1,000.

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READ ME

  • Over 10 hours of battery life
  • Noticeable increase in performance over the previous Yoga generation
  • Touchscreen still as responsive as ever
  • Includes Thunderbolt 4 ports that can output to a DisplayPort
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DISCUSSION

By
Troll

1) Touch your face to make your finger tips greasy a bit.
2) Type on keyboard to get some of the grease on the keyboard.
3) Close the laptop.

Does the screen touch the keyboard when closed? If it does, you can see squares of the keyboard keys on the screeen.

I have a Lenovo ultrabook that does the above. My solution is to put a piece of paper on the keyboard before closing.