I’ll admit that I used to be skeptical after I first noticed footage of Lenovo’s new dual-screen Yoga Book 9i. I’ve tried foldables and dual-screens aplenty, and whereas many are usable, many even have critical limitations. But that is the primary dual-screen laptop computer I’ve ever tried that I might see myself really shopping for. And that’s as a result of Lenovo has clearly performed the software program engineering needed to ensure it may possibly deal with most of the considerably… apparent issues that customers may need with such a tool.
The first objection is an apparent one: there’s no seen touchpad on the Yoga Book i9. That’s what first jumped out at me when Lenovo introduced the system, which is a laptop-sized religious successor to Microsoft’s Surface Neo — primarily two 13.3-inch, 16:10, 2.8K OLED screens stacked on prime of one another with a hinge within the center and a removable keyboard. “How on earth will one navigate this?” I questioned as I watched the keynote.
It turns on the market are a bunch of how, and so they all appear to work. First, you may contact the display screen. Second, you need to use the stylus (which lives very sturdily in a sleeve on the again of the system). And third, in Lenovo’s software program settings, you may pull up a digital touchpad proper onto the display screen. This touchpad has haptic buttons that, with their bodily suggestions, really really feel decently just like actual buttons. You can resize this touchpad. You can transfer it round. The world is your oyster. It felt odd at first to be touchpad-ing on a display screen, nevertheless it’s one thing I think about you’d get used to.
You also can fold this system at 90 levels and use it like a daily 13-inch laptop computer. This is a characteristic of single-screen foldable units as effectively, however the take care of these is that it often makes the display screen you’re working with a lot smaller (because you’re taking a display screen you’d beforehand been utilizing horizontally and halving it lengthwise).
Folding the Yoga Book into clamshell mode clearly decreases your accessible screens from two to 1, however the dimension change doesn’t really feel almost as drastic because it does once you fold, say, Asus’s Zenbook 17 Fold in half. You’re nonetheless one standard-sized 13.3-inch laptop computer display screen with the identical facet ratio because it had earlier than. (The backside half, the place the keyboard attaches, can be not notably cramped, one other frequent concern with foldables.)
Anyway, once you fold the Yoga Book 9i into clamshell mode, a digital keyboard and touchpad robotically pop up within the locations you’d count on them to be. This touchpad can be haptic, and whereas I usually hate utilizing onscreen keyboards, this one might be essentially the most clicky and cozy one I’ve ever used. You also can place the bodily keyboard proper on prime of the digital one, with the touchpad remaining in the identical place in case you accomplish that.
These all appear to be very workable options to the issue of the lacking touchpad. OEMs have struggled with the query of the place to place touchpads on dual-screen laptops since time immemorial, and we’ve seen quite a lot of front-mounted keyboards and teensy, crappy touchpads within the area. In earlier critiques of Asus’s dual-screen fashions, I’ve steered that their trackpads have been so horrible that Asus can be higher served ditching all of them collectively. Lenovo has taken that leap, and, frankly, I respect it.
The Yoga Book doesn’t use a particular model of Windows 11 (RIP Windows 10X), however with all the varied gestures Lenovo has added to optimize interactions for the dual-screen type issue, it feels prefer it might be. There are some ways to maneuver your home windows and functions round, and all of it takes roughly 4 seconds to grasp.
My favourite is the flick. Press and maintain on any app or browser tab, then flick it, and it flies to the opposite display screen. There’s additionally a snap format characteristic personalized for this system, which can most likely be far more helpful to many individuals within the Yoga Book’s type issue than it’s on commonplace Windows laptops.
A 5 finger faucet in your tab or window additionally expands it to fill each screens, within the aptly-named “waterfall mode”. I can see this being enjoyable to make use of, although having an enormous hinge in the course of your waterfall hinders the aesthetic considerably. If you’re utilizing the laptop computer in clamshell mode, tugging the keyboard down with eight fingers pulls up slightly management panel with fast entry to climate forecasts, CPU utilization and efficiency statistics, Outlook, and different functions. (This, although, eliminates the touchpad that’s down there, so it’s extra of a quick-reference factor than one thing you’d wish to go away open — except you have got a mouse plugged in.)
I’m positive there are a thousand extra cool issues that Lenovo has inbuilt right here. (Lenovo’s representatives have been keen to point out us extra tips, however our time slot was restricted.) I’m additionally positive I haven’t discovered each doable place during which you can use this system, and that buying this might require some exploration at first.
I’ve particularly gotten quite a lot of questions on horizontal mode, and whether or not you need to use the 2 screens facet by facet. The reply is that sure, you may, nevertheless it’s slightly bit odd. As you may see from the image above, the screens are tall and skinny when positioned this fashion, and the consequence seems a bit extra like a storybook than a piece setup. It is one thing you might do, nevertheless it may require some getting used to (and, at instances, artistic resizing).
Another query I heard quite a lot of: does the Yoga Book wobble? The reply is: sure. If you’re tapping the display screen and the laptop computer is totally vertical, the highest display screen is a bit wobbly. I don’t see this as an enormous downside, nonetheless, as a result of I think about I’d wish to do most of my navigation on the non-wobbly backside display screen, which might be nearer to me and extra snug to achieve.
And lastly: How highly effective is the factor, and may you edit video on it? The processor inside is a Thirteenth-Gen Intel Core i7 U-series chip, and you already know what, that’s not horrible. It’s designed for skinny and light-weight units, so that you received’t have an unbelievable modifying expertise, however you can most likely full a challenge on it in case you have been out and about.
It is true, although, that whether or not this system in the end succeeds will depend upon Lenovo’s capability to create a superb software program expertise. The firm didn’t fairly succeed there with the ThinkPad X1 Fold, which was pretty glitchy to make use of. The Yoga Book 9i feels higher, although my check time was restricted. I didn’t have any issues with navigating the web or leaping round in tabs throughout my transient time with the system; and although there have been reports of the system blue-screening throughout people’ testing, I didn’t expertise that myself. I’ll have many extra impressions after I get my fingers on a closing unit.
But my principal impression is that I feel somebody could lastly have discovered the precise method to do a dual-screen system. This is a very neat thought. It’s managed to mix the portability advantages of foldables with the enjoyable versatility of dual-screens with out many downsides that I can see. Though you have to be okay with a hinge in the course of your workspace — and with coughing up no less than $2,000, which is simply the beginning worth.
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