I upgraded from Lenovo's Flex 5 to the Yoga 9i — here's what I love the most

I upgraded from Lenovo's Flex 5 to the Yoga 9i -- here's what I love the most
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Lenovo’s 14-inch Yoga 9i laptop is an absolute beauty, inside and out. Prior to purchasing this stunning device a month ago, I was using Lenovo’s Flex 5 as my daily laptop. I’ll mention upfront that I loved my Flex 5 and constantly talked about how great it was with friends and family, which only emphasizes the Yoga 9i’s grandeur. 

Both the Yoga 9i and the Flex 5 are 2-in-1 convertibles, meaning they can function as a traditional clamshell laptop and a tablet, thanks to their rotating, 360-degree hinges. Beyond that, these two laptops are different in almost every way.

The Yoga 9i is about two-to-three times more expensive than the Flex 5. By default, this means that the internal specs are better with more RAM, storage, and a newer processor. While I certainly enjoy those improved specs, they don’t play any significant part in why I believe the Yoga 9i is a transforming titan.

The Yoga 9i’s 4K OLED display is absolutely gorgeous

I haven’t chosen a personalized desktop wallpaper yet, so right now, I see a collection of images that came with the Yoga 9i. And honestly, these images are so vibrant and beautiful that I might just be lazy forever and never change it. Every time I close out of whatever I’m working on and I see the desktop background in all its 4K OLED glory, I’m amazed by how crisp and vivid the colors are. I feel like I was cheating myself from greatness for years with a puny 1080p resolution. 

Lenovo Yoga 9i (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

1080p is a pretty standard resolution for laptops, and while I was using my Flex 5, I didn’t have any complaints. It’s only when you compare a 1080p resolution to a 4K resolution side-by-side that you notice how much you’ve been missing out. Considering the amount of times I’ve said “Wow” to my husband about the color vibrancy, I’d say the Yoga 9i’s display is my favorite feature. By the way, if you’re looking to swap out your boring ol’ 1080p laptop for 4K goodness, check out our best 4K laptops page for some stellar options.

I love the overall design and the keyboard

One of the first design differences I noticed between the Flex 5 and the Yoga 9i was the keyboard. On the Flex 5, there’s a speaker to the right and left of the keyboard, causing the keyboard to be a bit smaller overall, with keys closer together. Since the Yoga 9i has a rotating soundbar at its hinge, there’s more room to stretch out the keyboard. 

Lenovo Flex 5 (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The edge-to-edge keyboard is slightly recessed so that the keys don’t touch the display when it’s closed. Also, there are some handy function keys on the right-hand side, like an easy toggle button, between the laptop’s cooling modes. 

Lenovo’s Yoga 9i has a sleeker design overall compared to the Flex 5. Its aluminum chassis looks and feels more smooth and glossy. The curved edges and corners are also aluminum — and they have lustrous finishes you can see your reflection in. 

Lenovo Yoga 9i (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

The Yoga 9i is only about half a pound lighter than the Flex 5, but for some reason, it feels like there’s more of a difference. As someone who frequently takes a laptop to the library or a coffee shop to work, I love how lightweight the Yoga 9i is. 

The speakers sound awesome, especially for a laptop

Any laptop I’ve ever tried to listen to music on sounds awful. Even if a laptop has a Dolby Atmos speaker system, the sound quality is lackluster. With the Yoga 9i, this is not the case — and I’m thoroughly impressed. 

Lenovo Yoga 9i (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

When I played a song on YouTube to test it out, I felt like I was listening to a premium Bluetooth speaker. Whereas a lot of laptops have Dolby Atmos speakers or worse, Lenovo’s Yoga 9i has a rotating soundbar with speakers from Bowers & Wilkins, an award-winning brand known for exceptional sound. You can hear the highs, the lows, and everything in between, whether you’re listening to a song, a TV show, or a video game. 

I played the same song on my Flex 5 to see how much better it was, and I felt a little embarrassed for my poor, old Flex 5 because it sounded muffled and monotonous. 

Lenovo Flex 5 (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

I also loved the design and placement of the rotating soundbar. Because the soundbar is at the Yoga 9i’s hinge, you get the same great sound whether you’re using it in laptop mode, tent mode, or tablet mode.

Lenovo’s Yoga 9i has the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth versions

Almost every new iteration of smartphones, laptops, or any other techy device has support for the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth versions. As of today, the newest Wi-Fi variation is Wi-Fi 6; for Bluetooth, it’s Bluetooth version 5.2. Lenovo’s Yoga 9i supports both Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6 networks. My old Lenovo Flex 5, however, only supports Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 4.2. 

Lenovo Yoga 9i (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

If you’re unfamiliar with the differences between Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6, as well as Bluetooth 4.2 and 5.2, here’s a brief comparison. Wi-Fi 6 is able to connect more devices with a greater range and speed compared to Wi-Fi 5, and Bluetooth 5.2 has improved audio capabilities, a larger range, and double the data transmit speed of Bluetooth 4.2. 

That said, your other devices with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities have to also support the latest versions in order to reap all the benefits. For example, if your laptop supports Wi-Fi 6, but your router doesn’t, you’re not going to experience increased range and speed. Luckily, all the devices I use on a regular basis also support the latest Wi-Fi and Bluetooth versions, so I’m a fully future-proofed gal!

The 1080p webcam stands out in a world of 720p webcams

Many laptops, including my previous Flex 5 model, have a 720p webcam resolution. A lot of external webcams you’ll come across max out at 720p, even though 1080p is (and has been for a while) an affordable, viable option. 

Left: Lenovo Yoga 9i, right: Lenovo Flex 5 (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

To be fair, there are laptop users who keep the webcam privacy shutter on almost permanently, and never find a need for the webcam. This cohort has, of course, decreased over the past few years, with more people needing access to a functional webcam to use with Zoom or Google Meet for school, work, or even personal chats with family and friends. Even if you only need a webcam once or twice a month, it’s worth it to invest in a laptop with a 1080p webcam. 

If you look at a 1080p webcam next to a 720p shooter, it’s kind of gross. The 1080p webcam on my Yoga 9i is so much crisper and brighter compared to my old Flex 5. Sometimes, a grainy picture can be a good thing, like when you’re having a bad skin day, but for the most part, a 1080p resolution is preferable. There are even laptops out there that have stunning 4K webcams, but those are out of my price range and 1080p is a great upgrade for me. 

Bonus: You get 3 months of Xbox Game Pass for free!

When I bought my new Yoga 9i laptop from Lenovo, I received three months of Xbox Game Pass for free. Although Xbox Game Pass is already a great deal, I’ve been putting off trying it because I have so many video games in my backlog. But when it’s free, I just have to try it. That’s how it works, right? 

I’ve already downloaded two or three games, and even finished one, which is rare for me these days. There are a ton of awesome games available on Xbox Game Pass and I’m probably going to continue paying for the service after my trial. The monthly price compared to how many great games you have access to is truly a ridiculous deal.

This bonus of a three-month trial isn’t just available for the Yoga 9i, but it’s not available for every laptop Lenovo offers. A lot of Lenovo’s Legion laptops offer a free one- or three-month trial, but you’ll have to browse the company’s website to find which specific deal is attached to each laptop.