The Lenovo Slim Pro 9i (a.k.a. the Lenovo Yoga outside of North America) is Lenovo’s big swing in the high-end laptop world, competing with machines like the Apple MacBook Pro and Dell XPS series — laptops relied upon by media professionals for being tough, light, and powerful enough to depend on, wherever the job takes them.
It’s the kind of laptop you buy when price comes second to quality – an investment, more so than other gadgets. With that promise comes high expectations on all fronts. While the Lenovo Slim Pro 9i meets or exceeds virtually all of them, short battery life could be a dealbreaker for many media professionals, especially those working long hours on-site.
On that note, let’s discuss a little more about what you can expect from this high-powered laptop below in our Lenovo Slim Pro 9i review!
Review Unit Specs
The Lenovo Slim Pro 9i comes in 14-inch and 16-inch variants. We reviewed the Lenovo Slim Pro 9i 16 with a 3200×2000 165Hz Mini-LED display. The laptop is powered by an Intel Core i9-13905H CPU, part of Intel’s H-series of higher-powered laptop CPUs, and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4050 laptop GPU.
Our review model came with 32GB of LPDDR5X RAM, a 1 TB SSD for storage, and a 75-watt-hour battery. The Slim Pro 9i runs Windows 11 out of the box. This configuration retails for $1,800.
Lenovo Slim Pro 9i: Build
The Lenovo Yoga is meant to be a premium machine, so you know it will have the look and feel to match. The device has a sturdy aluminum chassis, and while you probably don’t want to test a laptop this expensive, it’s weighty and substantial enough to hold up to the occasional bump and fall.
You’ve got to set your expectations for the laptop: It’s not a light device, and with the kind of processing power it has within its frame, it’s not supposed to be. At 4.92 pounds, it’s noticeably weighty, although not more so than similar premium laptops. It’s just good to know going in that with this laptop, you’re prioritizing power over mobility and versatility.
The bezels around the display are mostly thin, with a larger one on the bottom and a bump on the top that houses the webcam. The rock-solid design allows you to open and close the laptop with one hand, and you can open the display to nearly 180 degrees – it doesn’t entirely lay flat but gets close enough.
Lenovo Slim Pro 9i: Display and audio
The mini-LED display is one of the standout features of the Slim Pro 9i. The 3200×2000 16:10 165Hz 16-inch mini-LED touchscreen display on our review unit is crisp and sharp for work, video watching, and gaming.
Lenovo advertises up to 1200 nits of brightness, which essentially depends on how you tweak your display settings, but generally, brightness levels are high enough to take advantage of HDR playback.
Mini-LED is one of many display technologies held up as more affordable alternatives to OLED panels, and while the color contrast isn’t quite at the OLED level in this laptop, it is good enough for most uses. That said, media professionals dealing heavily in video and image editing might not find it the best option among all the pro-level laptops.
While the display does stand out, we are a little surprised at how much work it takes to get HDR to shine. HDR is off by default, but turning it on turns up the brightness a bit too much in some areas, creating halos.
With some extra work to optimize and calibrate, we can get the output and contrast we’re looking for, but it’s worth mentioning that you shouldn’t expect miracles right when you flip the switch. Even after these adjustments, we think color quality suffers with HDR on.
Audio is mostly a bright spot, thanks to a multi-speaker array with discrete woofers, tweeters, and upward- and downward-firing units. As a system, the audio gets plenty loud and remains clear. We do feel like the default tuning makes voices more difficult to hear, and the audio has a mechanical sound. Still, on the whole, we don’t find much to complain about for a set of laptop speakers.
If you need better audio quality, you can make use of the 3.5mm headphone port on the side.
Lenovo Slim Pro 9i: Performance
With a current generation Intel i9 H-series processor, the GeForce RTX 4050 laptop GPU, plus 32GB of RAM, the Slim Pro 9i is a pretty formidable laptop. You can configure it with faster graphics cards like the RTX 4060 GPU or RTX 4070 GPU. Still, even with the RTX 4050 on our review model, it can run more intensive tasks with ease.
We can play about an hour and a half of Fortnite on high graphics settings and get well over 60 fps consistently, supported by the display’s refresh rate. The laptop fans kicked in quickly while gaming. Still, we didn’t notice any performance slowdown after prolonged use.
While the laptop gets a little warm, it never runs hot, which is pretty impressive for something handling 60 fps gaming at high graphics settings. The fan noise is noticeable but nothing more than expected. Dedicated gaming laptops might edge the Slim Pro 9i out, but not by much, especially if you get the configurations with more powerful GPUs.
Gamers looking for an all-around machine, or one that doesn’t have the bulk of a gaming laptop, will probably like what they find here. Big caveat: that’s all assuming the device is plugged in.
On battery power, performance is pretty choppy, but that’s OK – you probably won’t be gaming or doing heavy media editing on battery power anyway because, as we’ll get to later, the battery drains very quickly.
If you’re doing something demanding on this laptop, you’d have to use it plugged in. The point is, if it can handle smooth 60 fps gaming, almost everything else checks out – you can load up on browser tabs, do some video editing, stream, or do some of those things together – the Slim Pro 9i can handle it all.
You won’t be disappointed if you’re the kind of content creator who shops for this laptop level.
Lenovo Slim Pro 9i: Battery life
As we’ve alluded to a couple of times, this is the one big knock on the Slim Pro 9i. We did some practical testing, so your mileage may vary; still, based on our experience, the Slim Pro 9i is limited to light use on battery power – running demanding tasks takes it down quickly. We did the testing with the adaptive lighting feature turned on.
During video playback, we used 17% of our battery capacity while watching one hour of video without HDR and 23% of our battery capacity with HDR turned on.
Gaming ran through the battery in no time – an hour of Fortnite took the battery from complete to under 5%. So, plug this one in if you’re gaming! Even with a typical workload, the battery drains quickly, shedding 33% of battery life in an hour and a half, including writing this review and some web browsing.
For what it’s worth, this is also coming from San Francisco, where ambient temperature is a lot cooler than other parts of the world. If you live in a hotter climate, you might see even shorter battery life.
Fortunately, the laptop comes with a 170-watt charging brick that gets the device charged up quickly. An hour of charging or so will get you pretty close to a full charge.
Lenovo Slim Pro 9i: Touchpad and keyboard
The Slim Pro 9i excels here. The larger 16-inch frame allows for a large touchpad, which is quite handy if you find yourself without a mouse and need to get some work done.
The keys on the keyboard have 1.5mm of travel, with a nice tactile feel. The larger 16-inch frame allows for more spacing between the keys, which is immediately noticeable – We have a much easier time typing on this version of the Slim Pro 9i than with similar 14-inch laptops, although it’s not much better or worse than similar 15- or 16-inch premium laptops.
Both the keyboard and touchpad are satisfying to use, and we can’t say we noticed anything wonky over a month of using the laptop. The touchpad’s size is excellent, particularly if you’re a fan of using touch gestures on any application, whether for editing or general use.
We noticed that with the touchpad shifted to the left, the palm rest for the right hand was comfortably large, but the left palm would occasionally hit the upper corner of the touchpad.
Lenovo Slim Pro 9i: Ports and connectivity
Aside from the 3.5mm headphone port we mentioned in the display and audio section, there’s a Thunderbolt 4 port, an HDMI port, a charging port, and a USB port that you can use to quick-charge other devices on the left side.
The power button, a toggle to shut the webcam on and off physically, another legacy USB port with quick charging, and a full-size SD card reader are on the right side of the device.
On the top of the display is a 5MP webcam, which works great for video calls. A quick note about the webcam – there’s a cool battery/security feature called Zero Touch, which automatically puts the laptop to sleep when you walk away and wakes it up when you come back, thanks to facial recognition that piggybacks off of Windows Hello. It’s not a game changer, but it’s a nice little extra over the month or so we used the laptop.
Everything is current on the wireless end, with both Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1 supported.
Lenovo Slim Pro 9i: Pricing and availability
The availability of the Lenovo Slim Pro line is spotty. Still, you can find some configurations on Lenovo’s site or other retailers like Costco, Best Buy, or Amazon.
Our configuration retails for $1,800, which ticks up substantially when you opt for more powerful GPUs. The RTX 4060 GPU configuration, for example, retails for $2,200.
Should you buy the Lenovo Slim Pro 9i?
In 2023, we know what the Lenovo Slim Pro 9i is up against – titans like the Dell XPS line and the Apple MacBook Pro, alongside other formidable options like the HP Envy 16.
In terms of performance and build quality, it’s right there with the rest of the tough competition but falls short when it comes to battery life. While extra features like Zero Touch are cool, they’re no replacement for an extra few hours of battery life when you’re working on-site.
Fortunately, at $1,800 for this configuration, it is competitive in price – it’s cheaper than the MacBook Pro 16 and is competitive with the Dell XPS 15. So, the question really is: How badly do you need battery life?
If you’re rarely out of sight of a power outlet, the Slim Pro 9i represents an excellent value for the performance you’re getting. But, if you’re often out in the field or editing video on-site, it’s tough to recommend unless you already have scads of backup power.