My favorite laptop this year was the Lenovo Yoga 9i, so when the company reached out with the non-convertible version of it, I was all-in. Naturally, I had already seen it in-person when it was announced, so I knew about the differences between the two. Along with the shiny gold (also known as Oatmeal, for some reason) soft touch edges, this unit has a glass-covered lid.
It feels absolutely premium, and of course, it comes with all of the bells and whistles you’d want from a premium laptop. It has 28W Intel processors, 32GB RAM, a 1TB SSD, and a UHD+ OLED display. Just like with the Yoga 9i, the OLED screen also comes in a 2.8K 90Hz flavor.
I did have a couple of issues, such as double typing with the keyboard. Also, there were some weird benchmarking anomalies, enough so that Lenovo actually sent me a second unit, although it wasn’t any better. And of course, the more powerful 28W processor does use up more battery life.
But this is just an excellent laptop. It’s pretty and feels premium, and it’s powerful too. When you’re not working, you can watch content on the beautiful OLED display and listen on the Dolby Atmos speakers. It’s a great experience. We’ll just have to work on how Lenovo calls gold laptops ‘Oatmeal’.
Navigate this review:
Lenovo Slim 9i pricing and availability
- The Lenovo Slim 9i has been on the market since the summer, and starts at $1,799.99
While you can get the Lenovo Slim 9i now, availability seems to be, well, slim. Lenovo.com only sells a handful of configurations. It comes with a Core i7-1280P, 32GB RAM, either 512GB or 1TB of storage, and a 4K OLED display. It starts at $2,070.
There should be other models though, of course. No PC, even the most premium ones, start at 32GB RAM. In fact, there should be models with a 2.8K 90Hz OLED display out there somewhere, and it’s possible that they’re just not on Lenovo.com.
The official starting price is $1,799, and you can expect other configurations to fill out over time.
Lenovo Slim 9i specs
|Processor||Intel Core i7-1280P|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe|
|Body||315 x 214.4 x as thin as14.9mm / 12.40 x 8.44 x as thin as 0.59”
Starting at: 1.37kg (3.02 lb)
|Display||14” 4K (3840 x 2400) Touch OLED, 16:10, 400 nits, 100% DCI-P3, 60Hz, Dolby Vision, TUV Low Blue Light Certification|
|Memory||32GB Soldered LPDDR5-5600|
|Storage||1TB SSD M.2 2242 PCIe 4.0×4 NVMe|
|Connectivity||WiFi 6E + Bluetooth 5.1|
|Ports||3 x USB Type-C (full-function/ Thunderbolt 4.0)
1 x 3.5mm Audio Jack
|Camera||1080p FHD MIPI IR camera|
|Audio||2x2W + 2x3W Bowers & Wilkins Speaker System, Dolby Atmos|
|Touchpad||Buttonless glass surface multi-touch touchpad, supports Precision Touchpad|
|Battery||75Wh, Rapid Charge Boost (15 min, 2 hours usage)|
|Material||3D Glass + Aluminum|
|OS||Windows 11 Home|
Design: Shiny gold and a glass top
- It uses Lenovo’s soft touch design
- All three USB ports are Thunderbolt 4
As I mentioned earlier, my favorite laptop of 2022 was the Lenovo Yoga 9i, and a big reason for that was the design. I like interesting and beautiful designs on laptops. It’s been so long since the classic silver aluminum design debuted. We can do better, and for a while, I thought the HP Spectre x360 was the sexy laptop king, but this year, HP made its designs more subtle. That’s also when Lenovo kicked it up a notch.
First of all, all of Lenovo’s new laptops have its comfort-edge design. That means that all of the edges are rounded off. On the 9i series, the edges are polished and glossy, giving it a little bit of bling. What makes the Slim 9i particularly sexy, however, is that it also has a glass-covered lid. It feels ultra-premium. If you’ve ever wanted to take a laptop out of your bag and just feel really good about it, Lenovo’s Slim 9i is the way to go.
While the color is a pale gold, Lenovo calls it Oatmeal for whatever reason. I don’t know what it is with companies and trying to find weird names for colors, but here we are.
There are only three USB ports on the Lenovo Slim 9i, and none of them are USB Type-A this year. All three of them are Thunderbolt 4, which I’m not complaining about. There are two on the left side, and one on the right.
Thunderbolt 4 ports are good for 40Gbps data transfer speeds, but that’s probably not what you’re thinking about when using them. More specifically, you can connect a Thunderbolt dock with two 4K displays, or you can connect an external GPU and add some graphics power to the already powerful CPU that’s under the hood.
Also on the left side is a 3.5mm audio jack. And on the right side, there’s a power button and a camera shutter button. If you flip the switch, the camera doesn’t work. You’ll see an indicator on the screen that the camera is disconnected, but there’s no physical barrier blocking the camera.
Ultimately, the design is one that will turn heads, between the metallic gold Comfort Edge design and the 3D glass lid.
Display: It’s that sweet OLED
- The 14-inch OLED display comes in 4K 60Hz or 2.8K 90Hz
- It has an FHD webcam
The screen on the Lenovo Slim 9i is absolutely beautiful. You’ve got two options. It comes in 4K 60Hz or 2.8K 90Hz. The unit that Lenovo sent me is 4K, and that seems to be the only one on Lenovo.com right now. Presumably, other configurations are sold elsewhere, or Lenovo is simply out of stock.
I actually think that 2.8K is the better option. I’ve used both panels, and I’ve not noticed any visual difference between the two in terms of resolution. When the 2.8K panel is set to 60Hz, you’ll get much better battery life than with the 4K panel. And then if you want those smooth animations, you can bump it up to 90Hz.
From my testing, the 4K OLED display supports 100% sRGB, 95% NTSC, 97% Adobe RGB, and 100% P3. As you can probably tell, these numbers are really good, but they’re also what I expect from an OLED laptop. You get rich, vibrant colors, and you get true blacks.
As you can see, the black level doesn’t change as the brightness does. This is typical behavior for OLED displays, which aren’t backlit like a traditional LCD. Interestingly, brightness fell shot of the promised 400 nits at 377.5 nits, although I didn’t notice any issues.
The webcam is 1080p, which is an upgrade, and something that’s necessary in today’s age of working from home. As I mentioned above, there’s a toggle on the side of the laptop for a privacy guard on the camera, but there’s no physical barrier displayed over the camera. You just get a visual indication that the camera won’t work, and if you open the Camera app, it says that the camera is blocked.
It’s actually not disconnecting the camera internally, because unlike other implementations where there’s a switch but no visual indicator on the sensor, such as with HP’s Spectre x360, the camera still shows up in Device Manager when that’s turned off. In fact, the Camera app wouldn’t say that the camera is blocked; it would say that no camera is found.
Keyboard: There’s no dark mode button
- The full-size backlit keyboard is flanked by powerful Dolby Atmos speakers
As I’d expect from a Lenovo keyboard, it’s very comfortable to type on. Unfortunately, I did experience a lot of double typing, which is a pain. If I published this review without correcting them, you’d barely make it a couple of sentences without a spelling error.
On each side of the keyboard, there are Dolby Atmos speakers, and there are another two on the bottom of the laptop. Just like with the Yoga 9i, there are two 3W woofers and two 2W tweeters, so the audio is pretty powerful. The main difference is that unlike the Yoga, the speakers aren’t in the hinge.
But because of the speakers on the sides of the keyboard, there’s no room for those special keys that were on the Yoga 9i. That machine had dedicated buttons for toggling between dark and light themes, for blurring your background on a video, and more. It was something I considered to be a more thoughtful feature of the Yoga 9i.
The touchpad is nice and big, so that’s always a plus. Overall, it’s a great experience, with the exception of the double typing.
Performance: It has Intel’s P-series processors
- The Lenovo Slim 9i comes with a Core i7-1280P
- There isn’t much of an advantage over the U-series
Real-world performance with the Lenovo Slim 9i is fine. It’s a productivity laptop with a 28W processor, so there’s not that much that can go wrong here. And if you’re looking at the Lenovo.com configurations, the only RAM option is 32GB.
Indeed, Intel’s new P-series processors are great, but I still haven’t found a proper use case for them. They do come at the cost of additional battery life over the 15W U-series, and that’s why this machine has such a massive 75WHr battery. For that battery life, you get a higher TDP and more P-cores, which results in more performance. But specifically, that relates to CPU performance. Intel’s latest integrated graphics haven’t really changed gen-over-gen, and the difference between Iris Xe on a 15W part versus a 28W part isn’t significant.
But like I said, performance is fine. It would be super weird if we were talking about a latest-gen Core i7 in a laptop that wasn’t fine.
What is weird is some benchmarking anomalies that I had. Lenovo actually ended up sending me a new unit to try and fix this, but it didn’t help. You’ll notice that the Geekbench 5 single-core score is extremely low. I get my Geekbench scores by running it three times and averaging the scores, so two of them were around 700. For clarification, a Core i7-1280P should be pulling a score of around 1,700 on single-core in Geekbench.
Sometimes the scores were correct; indeed, multi-core is on point. While the PCMark 10 score is where it should be, I could run it other times and get scores closer to 4,000. I tried turning off all of Lenovo’s settings in Vantage, but it just didn’t help. Obviously, it does have something to do with Lenovo’s own software, but I wasn’t able to fix the issue.
It’s important to note that benchmarks don’t really represent the real world. There was no point in using the Slim 9i where it felt like a machine that would get a score of 700 in Geekbench 5.
|Lenovo Slim 9i
|Lenovo Yoga 7i
|Dell Inspiron 14 2-in-1
Ryzen 7 5800U
|3DMark: Time Spy||2,122||1,774||1,256|
|Geekbench 5 (single / multi)||840 / 11,153||1,694 / 8,370||1,151 / 6,091|
|Cinebench R23 (single / multi)||1,624 / 11,194||1,763 / 7,315||1,233 / 7,768|
I like throwing in some U-series benchmarks because in some cases, they actually get better scores. While we’re seeing ultrabooks with 9W, 15W, 28W, and 45W processors, it seems that the winners always tend to be the traditional 15W options. These laptops really aren’t designed for such powerful CPUs, so they don’t sustain performance as well.
When it comes to battery life, the absolute best I could do was five hours and 17 minutes, with a median score of about four hours and 17 minutes. I was actually impressed. While that’s not great battery life for a laptop as a whole, I expected the 4K OLED display and the 28W processor to drag it down more. The 75WHr battery saved it.
For clarity, battery life was recorded by working normally in apps like Vivaldi, Slack, Skype, OneNote, Microsoft To Do, and other productivity applications. The power slider was on balanced, and the screen brightness was at medium.
Who should buy the Lenovo Slim 9i?
You should buy the Lenovo Slim 9i if:
- You want a laptop with a style that will turn heads
- You stream a lot of media
You should NOT buy the Lenovo Slim 9i if:
- You use a lot of USB Type-A peripherals
- You need over five hours of battery life consistently
The Lenovo Slim 9i is a great laptop. I love it, despite its finnicky keyboard. One thing that I love about Lenovo’s 9i products is that it’s adding an OLED screen to already great audio, so if you’re using it to watch movies or something, it’s just a tremendous experience.