Can you really use a laptop that is made up of two screens with an optional physical keyboard? The answer may surprise you. Lenovo showed off its new Yoga 9i 2-in-1 laptop at CES and it presents some interesting questions.
I’ve seen dual-screen laptops before. Some even go back several years, except the implementation didn’t always hit the right spots. The Yoga 9i is intriguing for a number of reasons that focus on functionality as much as design. Take, for instance, that a physical keyboard, folio stand/case and stylus pen come in the box with it. Lenovo makes a clear implication that it views this as a productivity tool like few others.
Seeing double with the Yoga 9i
It depends on how you use the dual displays. You can endlessly scroll through web pages across both. Or, you can keep them separate and view different content on each one. Seeing it reminded me of the Microsoft Surface Duo, though the two share little else in common, otherwise. Move the device sideways and it’s like having a digital book or magazine in hand. I didn’t see any demos for reading ebooks on it, but that is but one use case that came to mind for me.
Both screens are 13.3-inch OLEDs that look stunning in 2.8K resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio. They max out at 400 nits brightness, which is okay, They’re both touch-sensitive, naturally, and quite responsive as well. With a separate physical keyboard and folio that doubles as a stand, you essentially have a mobile workstation in one sitting. Granted, you’re missing a mouse, but that’s not hard to find.
The lower screen can turn into a virtual keyboard and trackpad on its own. Even better, place the physical keyboard on the bottom half, and contextual information pops up on the top. Raise it to the top half, and a trackpad appears below. It’s actually pretty brilliant and cool to see in action.
What else can the Yoga 9i do?
That’s actually the mysterious part of the equation here. Based on known specs, the Yoga 9i will only have integrated, not discrete, graphics, so I don’t see this as a strong tool for video editing and production. That’s a shame, given how gorgeous the displays are. Instead, this 2-in-1 will more likely follow a general productivity path with some creativity to boot. I see no reason why you can’t use it to create content, especially with a pen nearby.
Without testing it out, it’s hard to gauge what this 2-in-1 is truly capable of, not to mention what sort of viable use cases could pop up. Coders may like the book format, much like writers and photographers like me could when working on a story or editing an upright photo. Another could be sharing the same information with someone sitting across from you. However you look at it, it should be fairly easy to multitask on this device.
You will have to wait a little bit, but Lenovo told me it is launching the Yoga 9i in June 2023. If you’re curious about Lenovo’s Yoga lineup, check it out here. Be sure to also look at the latest tech coming out of CES 2023.
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