Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) vs Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022): What’s the best type of 2-in-1 laptop?

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) vs Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022): What’s the best type of 2-in-1 laptop?

For many people – myself included – 2-in-1 laptops are easily the best kind of laptop. Being able to use your laptop as a tablet whenever you want is really convenient, and just having a touchscreen can come in handy at times. But even within that limited scope, there are different form factors to choose from, with the most prominent being the detachable and convertible routes. The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 has typically been one of the latter group, but for 2022, Dell decided to make it a detachable, like the Surface Pro 8. So, how does this new Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 compare to a more traditional convertible, like the Lenovo Yoga 9i?

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That’s what we’re here to find out. These different form factors have implications on many aspects of a laptop. It’s not just a shape – it affects the performance, portability, and overall convenience of the device. So, if you’re having trouble choosing between these two, let’s take a closer look at what each of them brings to the table so you can decide which one fits you needs the best.

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Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) vs Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022): Specs

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 7
CPU
  • 12th Generation Intel Core i5-1230U (9W, 10-core, 12-thread, up to 4.4 GHz, 12MB cache)
  • 12th Generation Intel Core i7-1250U (9W, 10-core, 12-thread, up to 4.7 GHz, 12MB cache)
  • Intel Core i5-1240P (28W, 12-core, 16-thread, up to 4.4 GHz, 12MB cache)
  • Intel Core i7-1260P (28W, 12-core, 16-thread, up to 4.7 GHz, 18MB cache)
  • Intel Core i7-1280P (28W, 14-core, 20-thread, up to 4.8 GHz, 24MB Cache)
Graphics
  • Intel Iris Xe (up to 96 EUs, 950MHz)
  • Intel Iris Xe (up to 96 EUs, 1.45GHz)
Display
  • 13-inch 3:2 3K (2880 x 1920), 500 nits, DisplayHDR 400, anti-reflective, anti-smudge, Corning Gorilla Glass 7, Dolby Vision, touch and pen support
  • 14-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS, touch, 400 nits, 100% sRGB, 60Hz refresh rate
  • 14-inch 2.8K (2880 x 1800) OLED, touch, 400 nits, 100% DCI-P3, 90Hz refresh rate
  • 14-inch UHD+ (3840 x 2400) OLED, touch, 400 nits, 100% DCI-P3, 60Hz refresh rate
Storage
  • 256GB PCIe 4 SSD
  • 512GB PCIe 4 SSD
  • 1TB PCIe 4 SSD
  • 256GB PCIe 4 SSD
  • 512GB PCIe 4 SSD
  • 1TB PCIe 4 SSD
RAM
  • 8GB dual-channel LPDDR4x 4266MHz
  • 16GB dual-channel LPDDR4x 4266MHz
  • 8GB LPDDR5 5200MHz
  • 16GB LPDDR5 5200MHz
Battery
  • 49.5Whr battery
    • 45W charger
  • 75Whr battery
    • Up to 100W USB-C charger
Ports
  • 2 Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C) ports
    • USB Type-C to Type-A adapter included
    • USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter included
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C)
  • 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
  • 1 x USB Type-A 3.2 Gen 2
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
Audio
  • Dual stereo speakers with Waves MaxxAudio Pro and Waves Nx 3D audio
  • Dual-array microphones
  • Quad stereo speakers (2 x 3W woofers, 2 x 2W tweeters) by Bowers & Wilkins, Dolby Atmos
  • Dual-array microphones
Camera
  • 5MP/1080p front-facing webcam
  • 11MP/4K world-facing camera
  • Full HD 1080p webcam with IR
Biometric authentication
  • IR camera
  • Fingerprint reader in XPS Folio keyboard
  • IR camera
  • Fingerprint sensor
Connectivity
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Optional (only in Slate model): 5G (Intel 5000)
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6E (2×2)
  • Bluetooth 5.2
Color
  • Sky
  • Slate
  • Oatmeal
  • Storm grey
Size (WxDxH)
  • Sky (Wi-Fi only): 292.5 × 201.2 × 7.4mm (11.5 × 7.9 ×0.29 inches)
  • Slate (5G)292.5 x 201.2 x 7.8mm (11.5 x 7.9 x 0.31 inches)
  • 12.52 × 9.06 × 0.6 inches (318 × 230 × 15.25mm)
Dimensions
  • Sky (Wi-Fi only): Starts at 736 grams (1.6 lb)
  • Slate (5G): Starts at 811 grams (1.8 lb)
  • IPS screen: Starts at 1.5kg (3.31 lbs)
  • OLED screen: Starts at 1.4kg (3.09 lbs)
Price $1,099.99 (includes XPS Folio) Starting at $1,079.99

Performance: Two very different kinds of Intel processors

As we mentioned at the start, one of the things that are influenced by the form factor is performance. Detachables are generally very thin devices, and that means they have to use processors that are easier to cool down. That’s why the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 for 2022 uses processors from Intel’s U9 series with a 9W TDP, as well as 10 cores and 12 threads, with boost speeds up to 4.7GHz. The Lenovo Yoga 9i, by comparison, uses Intel’s P-series processors with a 28W TDP, and the top-tier configuration has 14 cores and 20 threads, and it can boost up to 4.8GHz. That makes a pretty big difference in terms of performance, especially for more demanding workloads.

The Lenovo Yoga 9i has faster processors at the expense of battery life.

That applies to the integrated GPU in each of the processors, too. While Intel Iris Xe graphics have up to 96 execution units on both U9- and P-series processors, the GPU is clocked at significantly different speeds. On the U9 series, it runs at up to 950MHz, while on the P series, it runs at up to 1.45GHz, an advantage of over 50%. Neither of these makes for a good gaming laptop, but the Lenovo Yoga 9i could run some lightweight games with tweaked settings, while the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 would have some trouble with most modern titles.

However, there’s a flip side to all of this, and that’s battery life, or power consumption, specifically. The thermal design power (TDP) of a processor indicates the power needed to keep it running cool, and a higher TDP means your laptop has to use up a lot more power. Now, the Lenovo Yoga 9i has a significantly larger battery, but even with that, we’ve found that battery life with Intel’s P-series processors is usually far from ideal. You’ll probably get noticeably longer battery life from the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1.

Aside from the processor, there’s also the RAM and storage, and here, the two laptops are much more similar. Both come with up to 16GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD for storage. The Lenovo Yoga 9i does have newer LPDDR5 RAM, but this is a type of RAM that has advantages and disadvantages compared to LPDDR4x, so it’s not necessarily a clear step up, at least until software is more optimized for it.

Display and sound: The Lenovo Yoga 9i has two OLED options

In terms of the display, these laptops are pretty different from each other. As the name suggests, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 has a 13-inch display, and it comes in a 3:2 aspect ratio, similar to Microsoft’s Surface devices. In fact, that’s not the only similarity, because it also has a resolution of 2880 x 1920, the same you’d find on the Surface Pro 8. This is the only configuration available for the display, but it’s a very good one. It’s plenty sharp and Dell generally uses very good IPS displays on its devices, so you should have a great viewing experience by default.

On the other hand, the Lenovo Yoga 9i has a 14-inch panel, and the aspect ratio is 16:10. It’s not quite as tall as 3:2, but still taller than a typical 16:9 display, and it’s a fairly large display all things considered. Lenovo offers a few configuration options, though. The base model comes with a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) IPS display, which is less impressive than Dell’s offering, but you get two stellar upgrade options. Both of these are OLED, and you get to choose between 2.8K resolution (2880 x 1800) with a 90Hz refresh rate, or Ultra HD+ resolution (3840 x 2400) with a standard 60Hz resolution.

Both of these are very sharp displays for the size, and with OLED, you get true blacks and very vivid colors since each display has its own light source. You can choose to have a slightly smoother experience by going with a 90Hz refresh rate, or go for the sharpest image quality with the Ultra HD+ option. It’s good to have options, and Lenovo gives you some of the best you can get here.

Close up of Lenovo Yoga 9i display

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 has a 5MP front-facing webcam and an 11MP rear camera.

The Lenovo Yoga 9i also dominates in terms of sound, but not necessarily because of any fault of the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. As a compact tablet, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 has dual stereo speakers, and they fire sideways, which should offer a solid audio experience. However, the Lenovo Yoga 9i has a quad-speaker system with two 3W woofers and two 2W tweeters by Bowers & Wilkins. Plus, two of those speakers are housed in the “soundbar hinge”, designed to ensure the speakers are always firing in your direction. As we noted in our review, this is a speaker setup that works wonderfully for media consumption.

Finally, there’s the webcam, and this is one area where the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 pulls ahead. Being a tablet, the cameras are a much bigger focus than a typical laptop. You get a 5MP front-facing camera supporting 1080p video, but there’s also another camera on the back – an 11MP sensor that can record video in 4K. Meanwhile, the Lenovo Yoga 9i has a 1080p webcam, too, and it’s pretty good, but it’s fair to say you’ll get a better experience with XPS 13 2-in-1. Both cameras do support Windows Hello facial recognition, too.

Design: The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is very portable

At the end of the day, the biggest deciding factor between a detachable and a convertible is the portability and convenience each design offers. As a detachable, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is essentially a tablet, and it’s very portable because of that. By itself, it weighs just 1.6lbs, and it’s only 7.4mm thin, so it’s easy to take anywhere, plus it looks very nice and modern in both Sky and Slate colorways. You also have some flexibility in the ability to attach the XPS Folio keyboard cover when you want it, and remove it when you don’t. Many people appreciate that kind of flexibility, especially when a tablet is so easy to carry. Most of the time, even with a keyboard attached, tablets feel lighter and more portable than a full laptop.

That’s not to say it doesn’t come with some sacrifices, though. The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is designed to rely on the XPS Folio case to stand up, and the kickstand only supports three different positions you can use it in. You lose some convenience in terms of how you can position the screen relative to you, so it can sometimes be hard to view it comfortably, and you only have a few modes you can view it in.

Meanwhile, as a convertible laptop, the Lenovo Yoga 9i is naturally a bit bigger. It measures 15.25mm in thickness, and it starts at 3.09lbs of weight for the OLED models, or 3.31lbs for the IPS configuration. That is noticeably thicker and heavier, but keep in mind things are a bit more balanced if you choose to travel with the XPS Folio case to the XPS 13 2-in-1. And in return for the slightly larger size, the Lenovo Yoga 9i gives you a great keyboard that’s always available. Plus, you can use it in few different modes, too, like tent or tablet mode, and the free-moving hinge means the display can be in any position you want.

On a more subjective note, the Lenovo Yoga 9i also looks absolutely stunning. Lenovo significantly changed the design from previous models, and the laptop now has shiny curved edges all around the chassis, making it look premium and classy. The two colors available, Oatmeal and Storm Grey, look great with this new design language, too.

Ports and connectivity: Lenovo gives you more ports

Finally, we have the ports, and here we see a potentially big downside of the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 design. Because it’s so thin and compact, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 only has two Thunderbolt ports, and that’s it. Dell ships a couple of adapters with the device, so you can get a headphone jack and a USB Type-A port, but neither of these things is built-in. We mentioned portability above, but if you’re planning to connect some peripherals to the laptop, this can actually be worse for portability since you always have to remember the adapters.

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 will have a 5G version.

Meanwhile, the Lenovo Yoga 9i has a more complete setup, giving you two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one standard USB Type-C port, one USB Type-A port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack, all built into the laptop itself. It makes use of that larger size and gives you a few options for legacy wired peripherals, even if it’s not a super wide selection like you might get with a business laptop. This way, you can plug in a flash drive or some headphones in a pinch without having to carry anything extra.

As for wireless connectivity, both laptops support Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, which is pretty typical for laptops with 12th-gen Intel processors. The big difference comes in the fact that the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 will be available with 5G later this year, so if you want to stay connected to the internet wherever you go, that’s the option you’re looking for.

Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (2022) vs Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022): Final thoughts

You’ve no doubt heard this before, but ultimately, choosing between these two laptops is up to your personal needs and preference. Still, we’ve looked at a few reasons you might prefer one or the other in this article. The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is the more portable and lightweight of the devices, plus it should get better battery life, which adds to the portability factor. If you’re someone who works a lot on the road, this may be a better choice for you. Plus, with optional 5G connectivity coming later, that’s even more true. There are also things like the better cameras and the fact that, by default, it has a better display than the Lenovo Yoga 9i.

But there are advantages to Lenovo’s laptop, too. This convertible design makes room for more powerful processors (at the expense of battery life), and it has its own convenience factor. The keyboard is always attached to the laptop, so you’re always ready to use it, and the hinge lets you use the screen in any position you want and in a few different modes, so there’s some added flexibility there. Plus, it has some stunning OLED display options if you’re willing to pay for them, and the sound system is unmatched here. And you get a few more ports built in, too, so connecting peripherals is that much easier. And, on a more personal note, it’s just a beautiful laptop.

Front view of Lenovo Yoga 9i

Knowing what each of these laptops excels at should make it easier to decide which one is a better fit for your needs. Personally speaking, the Lenovo Yoga 9i is much more appealing, since I find the convertible form factor more convenient, and the extra power it offers is great for more demanding workloads.

Regardless of which way you’re swinging, you can buy either of the laptops using the links below. Otherwise, you may want to check out the best Lenovo laptops or the best Dell laptops to see what each of these companies offers in their lineup. There are great options for all kinds of users.

    The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 is a sleek Windows tablet with a sharp 3:2 display and 12th-gen Intel processors. It comes with the XPS Folio keyboard case, so you can use it as a laptop.
    The Lenovo Yoga 9i is a premium convertible laptop with a stunning design, high-end performance, and great OLED display options.

About author

João Carrasqueira
João Carrasqueira

Editor at XDA Computing. I've been covering the world of technology since 2018, but I've loved the field for a lot longer. And I have a weird affinity for Nintendo videogames, which I'm always happy to talk about.

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