Lenovo Yoga 7i 16 Review

Posted on September 28, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Mobile, Windows 11 with 5 Comments

2022 is the year of the 16-inch laptop, and the Lenovo Yoga 7i delivers with its convertible form factor, a terrific display, and power to spare. The reasonable price tag doesn’t hurt either.

Design

The Yoga 7i 16 is large, of course, but it’s also stylish, with comfortable, curved matte edges and subtle, professional styling. The dark Storm Gray color is pleasant to look at, and it presents a professional face to the world. Not that you’re likely to travel too much with this laptop, of course.

As a convertible laptop, the Yoga can fold over backward and present other useful form factors—like tablet and stand—that some may find useful. But at this size, usability can be a bit awkward, especially if you intend to use it as a tablet. You know whether you need this sort of thing, I suppose. But I just used it as a large laptop for the most part.

Whether you use it as a tablet or a laptop, you’ll appreciate the rigidity of the aluminum body. Aside from the middle of the keyboard, which not surprisingly has a bit of give given the huge gap it has to span, the Yoga is rock solid, with no give at all.

Display

The Yoga 7i offers a single display option, a 2.5K (2560 x 1600) glossy IPS panel with an ideal 16:10 aspect ratio, Dolby Vision HDR capabilities, multitouch and smartpen compatibility, a 60 Hz refresh rate, and 400 nits of brightness.

I had no issues using this display for productivity work, but it’s almost better tuned for multimedia: watching videos on this display was particularly good.

And the bezels are among the smallest I’ve seen—it has a 91 percent screen-to-body ratio—especially on the sides and bottom. Lenovo bulks up the top bezel a bit with its “reverse notch” communications bar, which sticks out a bit from the top of the display lid. I like the look, and it also helps one open the lid more easily.

Internal components

The Yoga 7i 16 can be configured with a variety of 12th-Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 P-series processors, integrated Iris Xe or discrete Intel Arc A370M graphics, up to 32 GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and up to 1 TB of PCIe SSD Gen 4 storage. That’s all quite modern, and I’m interested to finally test Intel Arc graphics, but the review unit was configured with an Intel Core i7-1260P processor, Iris Xe graphics, 016 GB of RAM, and 512 GB of storage.

Ah well. But that’s still overkill for the standard productivity tasks I engage in daily with apps like Microsoft Word, Notion, Brave, and Photoshop Elements, and I experienced terrific performance across the board. I didn’t use this laptop for video editing with Premiere Elements or software development with Visual Studio 2022, but given my light usage of each, I suspect it would have worked fine.

And noise and heat were not an issue, though the large bottom air intake works best on a hard surface like a table. I sometimes work from a bed, but it never got overly loud or hot.

Connectivity

Despite the latest-generation Intel processors, the Yoga 7i 16 ships with previous generation Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, and there’s no cellular connectivity option. This isn’t a deal-breaker, of course, but I’m surprised not to see Wi-Fi 6E and a more up-to-date Bluetooth.

Ports and expansion

Expansion is reasonable, with a good mix and modern and legacy ports. The left side provides a full-sized HDMI 2.0 port, a full-sized USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port, two Thunderbolt 4/USB-C ports with power delivery and display port capabilities, and a full-sized SD card reader.

And on the right, you’ll find a second full-sized USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 port plus a combo headphone/microphone port and, oddly, a power button. This was the typical placement on 2-in-1s and tablet PCs years ago, but PC makers have typically stopped using this configuration because users have a hard time finding it and it’s too easy to press inadvertently. That said, I didn’t have any issues using it once I remembered where it was.

Audio and video

The Yoga 7i 16 features a four-speaker stereo sound system with two 2-watt tweeters on the top and two 3-watt woofers on the bottom, and they’re supported by Dolby Atmos, an immersive sound technology that dramatically enhances audio playback, in particular for movies. And as I had hoped, the Yoga is a multimedia powerhouse: I found myself lost in movies like Stars Wars: The Last Jedi and Atomic Blond thanks to its immersive display and terrific sound.

The Yoga also delivers a mostly excellent hybrid work experience. The webcam supports IR capabilities and 1080p of resolution, but its privacy shutter is manual and hard to find. (Bundled smart appearance software can help tune the webcam with background blur, face framing, automatic video enhancement, sometimes creepy eye contact correction, face filters, and other effects. It’s a bit much, but can be very effective.) The Yoga also offers a decent dual microphone system, however, and there is a microphone mute key in the function row.

Keyboard and touchpad

The keyboard would be decent if it weren’t for the number pad, which pushes the keyboard over to the left and makes for a lot of typing mistakes when I mean to hit commonly-used keys like Delete and the arrow keys.

Indeed, I kept toggling the numpad on and off by mistake because the key that controls that is right next to Backspace. Looking past that, the keyboard is full-sized and offers short key throws, which I like, but a bit clacky and loud.

The glass touchpad is likewise a bit too wide, which makes it hard to select rather than right-click in some cases. But the accuracy is excellent, and I didn’t suffer from many mistaken swipes. (I often have to disable three- and four-finger gestures, but didn’t have to in this case, a good sign.)

The Yoga is compatible with Lenovo’s Digital Pen, but that peripheral is not included, and I did not test it.

Security

The Yoga 7i 16 provides Windows Hello compatible facial and fingerprint recognition, which is my preferred configuration. The latter is oddly made available via a small square reader on the right wrist rest rather than via a key or the power button. This design is curiously old-school, but it works great.

Sustainability

Unfortunately, the RAM in the Yoga 7i 16 comes soldered and can’t be upgraded, but the SSD is replaceable, and the Torx screws that hold on the bottom of the keyboard deck should make that process easy enough.

Portability

Thanks to its size and aluminum build, the Yoga 7i 16 is a bit heavy at 4.37 pounds and not a great choice for regular business travel, or travel of any kind, really. But it’s reasonably slim for a big convertible, at about 0.76 inches (19.2 mm), and longevity is very good: I averaged almost exactly 6:30 hours of battery life in normal productivity usage.

The 71-watt-hour battery supports rapid charge via the bundled 65-watt USB-C power adapter. I didn’t test this, but Lenovo claims you can get a 3-hour charge in 15 minutes.

Software

As a consumer/prosumer PC, it’s perhaps not surprising that the Yoga ships with some bloat, including Amazon Alexa, McAfee LiveSafe, and SmartNote, plus seven Lenovo-branded utilities and two Intel utilities. It’s not objectionable, and the apps you don’t want are easily removed.

Pricing and configurations

The Lenovo Yoga 7i 16 starts at $1169.99 for a configuration with a 12th-Gen Intel Core i5 P-series processor, 8 GB of soldered RAM, and 256 GB of storage, but I strongly recommend upgrading the RAM to 16 GB for just $60 more. You can configure this PC with various upgrades, including a Core i7 processor, and more RAM and storage, and choose between Storm Gray and Arctic Gray colors. But a maxed-out configuration with 16 GB of RAM, 1 TB of SSD storage, and a Lenovo Digital Pen is still under $1500. These are great prices.

Recommendations and conclusions

If you can get past the shifted keyboard and number pad, the Lenovo Yoga 7i 16 is highly recommended: this is a terrific-looking convertible PC with great productivity performance and battery life, and it’s priced to sell. You can think of the Yoga line as a high-end Toyota: a high-quality product that encroaches on Lexus (Lenovo’s Think-branded products) without the high-end price tag.

At-a-glance

Pros

  • Great performance and battery life
  • Terrific multimedia experience with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision
  • Professional design
  • Excellent ports selection
  • Great value for the price

Cons

  • Numpad makes the keyboard error-prone
  • Previous-generation connectivity

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