The Best Dual Display Laptop We’ve Tried
This is the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i and as you can clearly see, it’s a dual display laptop. And all we can say is that it's really amazing. In fact, we’re surprised at how practical it actually is. To give you all a quick rundown, you get dual 13.3” OLED displays and you can use the Yoga Book 9i in a variety of ways.
You get the usual modes such as Tent, Display, Tablet and of course, Laptop. But with the included Folio Stand, you now also get two additional modes in the form of Book and Scroll.
The Scroll mode in particular is probably our favourite and arguably the most practical yet. It’s exactly like using a dual monitor setup with a desktop at home, but now, you actually get to have that experience on the go. It’s ridiculously amazing. Now before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s actually take a look at what the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i actually offers.
We start with the design and it’s definitely a looker. The Tidal Teal colour in particular certainly fits well with the entire minimalistic design and that same colour translates down to even the accessories such as the Folio Stand, the Magnetic Bluetooth Keyboard and even the Digital Pen 3.
Lenovo also makes use of smooth rounded edges all around the frame which certainly gives a softer look but is also practical at the same time, given the multi-function nature of the device. Despite the dual displays, the Yoga Book 9i is still relatively thin at just 15.95mm and weighs just about 1.34kg.
In terms of ports, you do get the bare minimum here as usual with most devices in this class. Basically, there’s just three Thunderbolt 4 Type-C ports and that’s actually it. There isn’t a 3.5mm combo jack to be found anywhere and that’s honestly a real shame but we also kind of understand why that was extremely difficult to implement given the fact that an entire 13.3” panel adorns the bottom half of the laptop.
Now it is possible to still plug in your favourite pair of cans with a Type-C dongle but do know that those dongles that include a 3.5mm jack usually do cost quite a fair bit more as the implementation itself requires a DAC. So we guess it’s kind of a trade off here but you can still always use a good pair of Bluetooth headphones.
Great Speaker Placement
But you might even need to do that because the built-in speakers on the Yoga Book 9i are actually really good. Due to the design, Lenovo has actually implemented a Sound Bar within the hinge itself. That portion includes two tweeters and that works in tandem with the two woofers that are located in the bottom half of the chassis.
The result produces really clear and vibrant sounds that makes listening to music surprisingly, really enjoyable. Of course, it also does great with movies and the likes as well, with a little bit of bass no less thanks to those two woofers. Now any audiophile would know that the quality of speakers aside, positioning is equally or perhaps even more important. Because the sound bar is built right into the hinge, the tweeters are almost always directed towards where your ears are which does make quite the difference. Overall, it’s a great speaker system with the help of Bowers & Wilkens and we really enjoyed it.
OLED Is Amazing. Two? Doubly Amazing.
Which leads us to the dual OLED displays.
To put it simply, OLED is really amazing and the fact that you get two here doubles the awesomeness. Now, both the panels are the exact same, so it’s a 13.3” OLED panel with a 16:10 aspect ratio and a resolution of 2,880 x 1,800 running at 60Hz. It’s capable of 100% DCI-P3, a 400 nits average brightness with a peak brightness of 600 nits, DisplayHDR 500 True Black certified, and supports Dolby Vision.
Everything that you do with the OLED is just great and feels natural thanks to Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Watching your favourite content is really enjoyable with punchy and vibrant colours and even just doing standard general tasks is comfortable and great to use. The use of 16:10 is also great for productivity, giving you that slightly extended height in resolution to view more things at once.
And the fact that it’s the same exact panel on both displays is just simply great. It reduces that friction of transitioning between the two displays and it’s just more natural for your eyes, removing the need to acclimatise.
Not to mention that both displays support touch and 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity with the Digital Pen 3.
Okay so with all that out of the way, let’s focus on how you actually use the Yoga Book 9i.
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First and foremost, it is still a laptop and so you can certainly use it as such. Now you might be wondering, how do you get a keyboard? All you have to do is to tap 8 fingers on the display and it’ll pop out a full virtual keyboard and touchpad on the bottom display.
Now how does it feel? Not too bad in our opinion. Of course, it isn’t the best but it gets the job done and Lenovo did also include haptics to provide some tactility as much as possible. With enough time, you can get really comfortable with it.
But if you want an actual keyboard, you can do that too. Included with the Yoga Book 9i is the Magnetic Bluetooth Keyboard. And you can just take this and place it onto the bottom display where it’ll attach magnetically. The Yoga Book 9i will instantly recognise it and instantly bring up the touchpad on the bottom. So now you get a kind of standard laptop design and this works brilliantly.
However, you can also actually attach the keyboard on the bottom half of the bottom display and with this setup, the Yoga Book 9i will bring up two little multi-task apps. The left will be the calendar and the right will be current news. In our opinion, this is the worst implementation of the bunch of modes as you can’t really replace those two apps per se. If you were to cancel the, all the Yoga Book 9i does is to revert back to the use of the full display but now the keyboard is basically obscuring half of it. If there’s anything Lenovo needs to work on, it’ll be this.
So now you can definitely use all the other usual modes such as Tent, which is incredibly useful for on-site presentations or even just take it on the go like a tablet. Tablet mode is arguably one of the most useful modes if you’re taking the Digital Pen 3 into consideration. For artists or note-taking, this is certainly a great way to do so.
Scroll Mode Is The Best
But let’s now focus on the best use case we’ve ever tried and that is Book and Scroll mode. If you’re someone who’s more into programming or coding, or just prefer to use your displays in portrait mode, this is the way to go.
Scroll mode however, is where it’s at. This is the best use for the Yoga Book 9i and it literally transforms how you use your laptop anywhere you go. For starters, the experience is exactly just like you would with a dual display setup at home or at the office, one on top of the other. The best part about this however, is the position and comfort that this mode provides while still being extremely practical and versatile. When placed in Scroll mode, the top display essentially acts as your main display and due to the nature of the design, the display is placed right where your eyes will naturally rest when looking straight ahead while sitting down. It’s so natural that you don’t even think about it.
And when used with the Magnetic Bluetooth Keyboard which attaches as so, together with an external bluetooth mouse, you really get to make use of the dual displays to its entirety. You can have your main window on top display, and have a secondary window or other applications open on the bottom display. Everything is at your disposal and it’s amazing. With this setup, you’re going to Alt-Tab much less often.
In addition, the sound bar is going to be positioned optimally and so is the webcam.
You do get a 1080P image thanks to the 5MP sensor and it looks great. As mentioned in this mode, it looks really natural and the microphones perform admirably as well. Definitely an above average webcam here.
Great All Round Performance & Battery Life
As for performance and battery life, the Yoga Book 9i is what you would expect it to be. Performance is great for everyday tasks thanks ot the Core i7-1355U and despite having to power two OLED displays, battery life is actually really good, nearly 10 hours of actual usage thanks to the 80Wh battery.
As far as we've shared, we’ve only great things to talk about the Yoga Book 9i but there are a couple of things we do want to mention, that Lenovo isn’t going to be able to solve and might irk you. The first is the fact that if you’re just using the laptop itself with the virtual keyboard and touchpad, it’s going to get fingerprints really easily. In fact, keeping your device spotless is a ritual you’ll have to do everyday should that be the case.
Another would be the fact that the virtual touchpad doesn’t operate like an actual touchpad. Even if you have the keyboard attached, Windows still treat the dual displays as is, strictly separate. And so sometimes, you might find that your mouse cursor is actually on the bottom display, which can get annoying at times. In addition, if launching an application requires you to give permission with the Windows Account Control pop up, you can’t use the virtual touchpad at all. It just disappears. Which means you then have to touch the screen or have an external mouse to continue.
Now there are still many more great things you can do with the Yoga Book 9i such as dual display gaming with a few supported games and Lenovo’s own Smart Note app that allows you to jot down notes right on the lock screen itself. However, the latter is a feature that’s not yet available as of right now.
We Reiterate, This Is The Best Dual Display Laptop
All in all, we’re extremely impressed with the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i. This is by far the best implementation of a dual display in a laptop that we’ve tried thus far. For anyone who’s interested in an actual usable, dual display setup, on the go, with good performance and battery life no less, we actually have nothing else to recommend other than this. However, it does come in at a starting price of S$3,599 or US$1,999.
While it might be pricey, we do feel it might be well worth it. No other laptops at this point in time comes close to the experience that this offers and if that is something you’re looking for, we wholeheartedly recommend the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i.