The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is a 13-inch laptop, but with two whole screens, how does it compare to Microsoft’s flagship Surface Pro 9?
The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is a dual-screen OLED laptop that gives you extra space to be productive, while also being usable as a traditional laptop. It has a premium design and 13th-generation Intel processors, too.
The Surface Pro 9 is the latest tablet from Microsoft. It comes in new colors and is available with either 12th Gen Intel Core CPUs or the Microsoft SQ3 processor depending on whether you need 5G support.
Lenovo makes some of the best laptops on the market, and in fact, the 2023 Lenovo Yoga 9i is our favorite laptop of the year right now. But while the company is leading the charge when it comes to more conventional laptops, it's also breaking new ground with some out-of-the-box products, like the new Lenovo Yoga Book 9i. This is a laptop with two 13-inch screens, with one replacing where you'd usually find the keyboard.
Needless to say, this makes for a fairly expensive laptop, and if you're interested in it, it's worth seeing how it stacks up to the competition. In this case, we're pitting it against the Surface Pro 9, Microsoft's flagship Windows 11 tablet, which also has a lot to offer in the way of a portable device with a separate keyboard. These are radically different devices, but at the end of the day, they're working towards a similar goal.
The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i was announced earlier this year at CES, and it's expected to be available in June. You can already find it listed on Lenovo's website, but you can't buy it yet. Pricing is expected to start at $2,100, which already makes this a product for a small handful of users.
On the other hand, the Surface Pro 9 has been available for a few months at this point, having launched in the fall of 2022. It starts at $1,000 for the Wi-Fi model or $1,300 for the 5G version, and you can find it at almost any retailer. Obviously, the pricing difference is massive here, so the Yoga Book 9i has to do a lot to justify its price tag.
We have to start with the most obvious difference, and that's the form factor and displays. The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is a pretty wild concept, featuring two whole 13.3-inch OLED screens with super-sharp 2880×1800 resolutions.
These two screens can be used in a few different ways. You can prop up the Yoga Book 9i with the included stand, which lets you use both screens at the same time. You can have the screens in a vertical or horizontal orientation, giving you a dual-screen setup. A vertical orientation may be great for reading, while a horizontal layout might be better for multitasking. Of course, you can also use just one screen.
It's even possible to have these screens accomplish different tasks. For example, you can have a keyboard and touchpad on the bottom screen. You can even attach the included physical keyboard to the bottom half, so it becomes more like a typical laptop. Or, for some games, there may be controls on the bottom screen while you enjoy the game on the top. The dual-screen setup is super versatile on the Yoga Book 9i.
The Surface Pro 9 doesn't have anything overly fancy that can compete with the Yoga Book 9i. It comes with a single 13-inch display with an IPS panel. It has a similar resolution of 2880×1920, but it does have the benefit of using a smoother 120Hz refresh rate. This makes things appear smoother on the screen, and it can be really nice to have. Lenovo's laptop sticks to 60Hz, though that's at least partly offset by having an OLED panel.
Since it's only one screen, there isn't anything too crazy you can do with it, though it does support touch input. Of course, you can attach a keyboard to use it more like a laptop, or remove it to use the device as a tablet, but that's about it. A downside for the Surface Pro 9 is that there's no keyboard in the box, so that's an extra expense you need to consider.
While we're on this topic, it's worth mentioning that both of these devices have a 5MP webcam that supports Windows Hello facial recognition. However, the Surface Pro 9 does have a second camera on the back: a 10MP sensor with 4K video support, which can be useful for recording videos in a pinch.
On the performance front, the comparison is more straightforward. The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is a newer laptop and that means it comes with newer 13th-generation Intel Core processors. The Surface Pro 9 is still rocking 12th-generation processors, though the differences aren't massive. The core counts are similar, but 13th-generation models can boost a bit faster, which yields slightly better performance.
That gap in performance becomes more noticeable when we look at the 5G version of the Surface Pro 9, which comes with a Microsoft SQ3 processor, based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3. Comparing the average performance of all these processors shows you can get more performance from the Lenovo Yoga 9i, as you'd expect.
Intel Core i5-1235U
Intel Core i5-1335U
Intel Core i7-1255U
Intel Core i7-1355U
Geekbench 6 (single/multi-core)
Geekbench 5 (single/multi-core)
Geekbench is a relatively short benchmark, so the results here aren't necessarily indicative of long-term performance, but the theoretical limit is higher on Lenovo's laptop. There seems to be an anomaly with the Geekbench 5 results for the Core i5-1335U, but Geekbench 5 has been superseded by Geekbench 6; we only included it to compare the Microsoft SQ3 processor. The performance on the integrated GPU is similar, though, since Intel hasn't made any changes in a while.
The core counts are similar, but 13th-generation models can boost a bit faster, which yields slightly better performance.
Performance isn't just about the CPU, though. In terms of RAM, the Surface Pro 9 Wi-Fi model has a bit of an advantage, since it can be configured with up to 32GB of RAM, while the Yoga Book 9i is limited to 16GB, though this should still be enough for most users. However, some models of the Surface Pro 9 only have 8GB. As for storage, both devices max out with a 1TB SSD.
While the Lenovo Yoga 9i is definitely more impressive in multiple ways, having two displays on a single computer and simply being more of a typical laptop than a tablet makes for a significantly heavier device. The Lenovo Yoga 9i comes in at 2.95 pounds, which is over a full pound heavier than the Surface Pro 9, which comes in at around 1.94 pounds. It's also 15.95mm thick, compared to the 9.3mm of the Surface Pro 9.
Of course, this doesn't account for the Surface Pro 9's keyboard, which is optional and sold separately. This adds 0.65 pounds and 4.89mm of thickness, which makes things here a bit more balanced, though Microsoft still comes out on top in terms of portability.
Being more of a typical laptop than a tablet makes for a significantly heavier device.
Connectivity is more of a mixed bag. The Lenovo Yoga Book 9i comes with three Thunderbolt 4 ports, while the Surface Pro 9 only has two, in addition to a Surface Connect port. Neither device has a headphone jack, an unfortunate reality for some PCs these days. The Surface Pro 9 with 5G has an obvious advantage, that being 5G support, but it sacrifices Thunderbolt support in the process, only featuring regular USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C ports. Ultimately, for mobile productivity, it's hard to beat 5G support, but the laptops are neck and neck otherwise.
As with most purchasing decisions, choosing between these two laptops has a lot to do with pricing, and the price gap between the Surface Pro 9 and Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is immense. Again, the Surface Pro 9 starts at just $1000, while the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i starts at $2,100, which is more than double the cost. We don't yet know what the base configuration includes, but based on the spec sheet, it seems likely that it would be an Intel Core i5 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. It's not clear how much higher that price will go for different specs.
Surface Pro 9 is probably more appealing to most buyers
If we try to configure the Surface Pro 9 close to those specs, we can get a Core i5, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD for $1,400. There's no option for 512GB of storage with a Core i5 processor, so it's impossible to put the two on the same level. If you were to opt for a Core i7 and a 512GB SSD, that would cost you $1,900. If you want a second screen to get the same kind of productivity boost, a portable monitor will run you $150 at a minimum if you go with a lesser-known brand and a low-resolution panel, and you'll also need to spend $180 if you want the official Surface keyboard.
That ultimately means that if you want that dual-screen experience, the Yoga Book 9i isn't much more expensive all things considered, and you get a more consistent experience with the dual displays, and better displays at that. But most people probably aren't looking for that, and with that in mind, the Surface Pro 9 is probably more appealing to most buyers.
While it's clear that the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is technically a better device with stronger performance, dual gorgeous screens, and a more versatile form factor, the price difference makes it hard to recommend to most people. If you're looking for a new device for school, personal use, or even for some lighter work, the Surface Pro 9 is probably all you need, and it starts at a much lower price.
The Surface Pro 9 is arguably the best Windows tablet on the market, and while it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i, it’s a more reasonable option for most buyers.
With that being said, if you care about a dual-screen experience on the go, the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is truly excellent. The two OLED displays look stunning, it has top-notch performance, and it includes everything you need out of the box. You need to be willing to spend a lot of money, but it's a fantastic option. At writing time, it can't be purchased yet, but you can check it out below.
If you want a dual-screen setup anywhere you go and you’re willing to invest in it, the Lenovo Yoga Book 9i is a legitimately great laptop with two stunning displays and top-tier performance.
If neither of these laptops seems like the right fit for you, maybe take a look at the other Surface PCs or Lenovo laptops you can buy right now. There are more conventional form factors that may be interesting to you.
I’ve been covering the tech world since 2018, and I love computers, phones, and – above all that – Nintendo videogames, which I’m always happy to talk about.