Lenovo makes some of the best 2-in-1s on the market, and for its upcoming premium Yoga convertibles, aside from updated specs and components, some are also getting fancy leather backs.
Spread across two slightly different 14 and 15-inch models and a third “Slim” version (which will be called the IdeaPad Slim 9i in North America), the Yoga 9i will come with a range of new Intel Core processors, a revamped chassis with an updated Rotating Sound Bar—a speaker built directly into the hinge. Plus on select models, it’s getting ultrasonic fingerprint sensors and premium leather lids.
On the outside, the new leather-topped Yoga 9i will come with an authentic leather panel attached by what Lenovo says is a 20-step bonding process so that the top of the system will wear and age naturally without ever falling off. While this isn’t the first recent gadget or laptop to feature leather, it’s still a pretty unique option.
Meanwhile, if you’re not the kind of person who wants cowhide on their electronics, regular Yoga 9i systems will feature an all-metal build (mostly aluminum) with specs up to 16GB of RAM, 1TB of PCIe SSD storage (or 2TB for the 15-inch system), and 4K touchscreens. On the 14-inch Yoga 9i, you’ll also get graphics powered by Intel’s new Xe architecture, while the 15-inch model will include an optional Nvidia 1650Ti GPU, which is a feature you rarely get on 2-in-1s.
Elsewhere, Lenovo says it has slimmed down the Yoga 9i’s bezels, while also adding a new webcam that features an electrical shutter switch that can cut power to the webcam with the flick of a finger for no-nonsense privacy. Lenovo has also upgraded the Yoga 9i’s rotating hinge to support Dolby Atmos audio, while also adding a few hidden vents for improved thermals.
But perhaps the most noticeable change on the new Yoga 9i is its new glass palm rest offered in models that come with the leather lid, which spans the laptop’s entire lower deck while also incorporating the system’s new Smart Sensor Touchpad. By integrating the touchpad seamlessly into the laptop’s deck, Lenovo says it was able to increase its overall size by almost 50%. However, that change does mean these models of the Yoga 9i won’t have a physical click, so in order to add some sort of physical feedback, Lenovo is turning to a new haptic rumble system. This could be a divisive feature, because when it works, like on modern MacBooks, haptic touchpads can be even better than old-school click buttons, but when they don’t, things get frustrating real fast.
Other small features include a new ultrasonic fingerprint reader for fast logins, a new Smart Sense keyboard with adaptive backlighting, and a similar built-in “garage” for storing the Yoga 9i’s included stylus. (Note: Currently, it seems the ultrasonic fingerprint reader will only be available on the Yoga 9i Slim in the U.S.) And when it comes to connectivity, the Yoga 9i offers support for Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, and at least two Thunderbolt 3 ports for charging and data transfer.
As for the 14-inch Yoga 9i Slim, its the same general design but in a slightly thinner body, with the Yoga 9i Slim measuring 0.54-inches thick and 2.64 pounds, compared to 0.57-inches thick and 2.9 pounds for the smallest 14-inch standard Yoga 19.
So even though Lenovo isn’t giving its flagship 2-in-1 a total revamp like its new naming scheme might imply, there are still a number of upgrades and improvements scattered across the system. And with the previous model already being on of the best in its class, Lenovo’s top-end Yoga didn’t need that much of a tune anyways.
The 14-inch Yoga 9i will start at $1,400 (or $1,700 for the leather model), with the 15-inch version starting $1,800, with both slated to go on sale in October. Then, later in November, the Yoga 9i Slim/IdeaPad 9i Slim will go on sale starting at $1,600.