Dell XPS 13 (2022) vs Lenovo Yoga 9i: What’s the best ultrabook?

Dell XPS 13 (2022) vs Lenovo Yoga 9i: What’s the best ultrabook?

Buying a new laptop in 2022 means you’re kind of spoiled for choice. There have been some fantastic laptops released this year, catering to all different kinds of users. But one of the most popular types of laptops are ultrabooks – compact, lightweight laptops designed for everyday use while traveling, at school, or at work. Two of the top choices for this year are the Dell XPS 13 and the Lenovo Yoga 9i, but they’re pretty different from each other.

Most notably, the Dell XPS 13 (2022) is a standard clamshell laptop, while the Lenovo Yoga 9i is a convertible, so that alone might be a good reason to choose one over the other. But there are a lot more differences inside and out, so let’s take a closer look so you can decide for yourself which one is better for you.

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Dell XPS 13 (2022) vs Lenovo Yoga 9i: Specs

Dell XPS 13 (2022) Lenovo Yoga 9i
Operating system
  • Windows 11
  • Ubuntu 20.04 LTS
  • Windows 11
CPU
  • 12th Generation Intel Core i5-1230U (12W, 10-core, 12-thread, up to 4.4 GHz, 12MB cache)
  • 12th Generation Intel Core i7-1250U (12W, 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 graphics (up to 96 EUs)
  • Intel Iris Xe graphics (up to 96 EUs)
Display
  • 13.4-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge non-touch, 500-nit, anti-reflective
  • 13.4-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge touch, 500-nit, anti-reflective
  • 13.4-inch UHD+ (3840 x 2400) InfinityEdge touch, 500-nit, anti-reflective
  • 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 DDR5 5200MHz
  • 16GB dual-channel DDR5 5200MHz
  • 32GB dual-channel DDR5 5200MHz
  • 8GB LPDDR5 5200MHz
  • 16GB LPDDR5 5200MHz
Battery
  • 51Whr 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 optional
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C)
  • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2
  • 1 x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
Audio
  • Dual stereo speakers (4W total output)
  • Dual-array microphones
  • Quad stereo speakers (2 x 3W woofers, 2 x 2W tweeters) by Bowers & Wilkins, Dolby Atmos
  • Dual-array microphones
Camera
  • 720p HD camera with IR
  • Full HD 1080p webcam with IR
Biometric authentication
  • Fingerprint reader
  • IR camera
  • Fingerprint reader
  • IR camera
Connectivity
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6E 1675 AX211 (2×2)
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Wi-Fi 6E (2×2)
  • Bluetooth 5.2
Color
  • Sky
  • Umber
  • Oatmeal
  • Storm grey
Size (WxDxH)
  • 11.63 × 7.85 × 0.55 in (295.4 × 199.4 × 13.99 mm)
  • 12.52 × 9.06 × 0.6 inches (318 × 230 × 15.25mm)
Dimensions
  • Starts at 1.17 kg (2.59 lb)
  • IPS screen: Starts at 1.5kg (3.31 lbs)
  • OLED screen: Starts at 1.4kg (3.09 lbs)
Price Starting at $999 Starting at $1,079.99

Performance: 12W or 28W Intel processors

As you’d probably expect, both the Dell XSP 13 and Lenovo Yoga 9i for 2022 come with the latest Intel processors, those being the 12th-generation Alder Lake family. But that doesn’t mean they’re exactly the same. The Dell XPS 13 is using Intel’s U9 series processors – which have a 9W default TDP – and slightly boosting them to 12W. Meanwhile, Lenovo using the new P-series processors, which have a much higher 28W TDP. A higher TDP generally means more performance, and you can see that the P-series processors have more cores and threads than the U9-series models. Here’s a comparison of the Core i5 models in the two laptops. Unfortunately, it’s hard to find scores for the Core i7 models right now, but this should give you an idea of the difference.

Dell XPS 13 (2022)
Intel Core i5-1230U
Lenovo Yoga 9i (2022)
Intel Core i5-1240P
Geekbench 5 (single-core/multi-core) 1,463 / 5,940 1,650 / 9,933

That’s quite a big advantage, and it should be the same in terms of the GPU. according to Intel’s spec sheet, the Intel Iris Xe integrated GPU can only boost up to 950MHz on the U9-series processors, while P-series processors can go up to 1.45GHz, so the Lenovo Yoga 9i should perform significantly better.

The Dell XPS 13 has much more power-efficient CPUs.

Of course, the trade-off for that is battery life, and based on our testing with Intel P-series processors, it’s not very good. The Lenovo Yoga 9i lasted a little over four hours on a charge while working, though performance was much better with video playback. Still, the 12W processors in the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 are likely going to get you much better battery life overall. The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 has a smaller battery, but it will likely still last longer.

Aside from that, the Dell XPS 13 can be configured with up to 32GB of RAM, which is double what you can get with the Lenovo Yoga 9i, so it might be worth it if you have workloads that need large amounts of memory. For storage, both laptops max out at 1TB of SSD storage, so they’re neck and neck on that front.

Display and sound: The Lenovo Yoga 9i is amazing for media consumption

Moving on to the display, both of these laptops are great in their own right. The Dell XPS 13 comes with a 13.4-inch display and it has a 16:10 aspect ratio, which is great for productivity since you can see that much more at once without having to scroll. The base model is a Full HD+ (1920 x 1200) panel without touch support, but you can add a touchscreen or upgrade to the Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) model for the best quality image possible. These are all IPS panels, but Dell uses very good displays, so they look great. Still, this year’s model doesn’t have the 3.5K OLED we saw last year, which is a bummer.

Front view of Dell XPS 13 2022 in Umbra

Meanwhile, the Lenovo Yoga 9i has a slightly larger 14-inch display, and it also has a 16:10 aspect ratio. The base configuration is also similar, being a Full HD+ display, but because it’s a convertible, touch and pen support are standard features. Plus, the upgrades are where it gets really interesting. You can opt for a 2.8K (2880 x 1800) OLED panel, which has a 90Hz refresh rate for a smoother experience, or you can spring for the Ultra HD+ (3840 x 2400) OLED panel with a 60Hz refresh rate. Both of these are fantastic displays, and you can choose what suits your budget and needs the best. With OLED, you can count on true blacks, vivid colors, and a very high contrast ratio.

The Lenovo Yoga 9i has a 1080p webcam.

But where the Lenovo Yoga 9i truly pulls ahead in terms of the media experience is the sound. The Dell XPS 13 (2022) has a set of dual stereo speakers, which works fine, but it’s not overly impressive. It’s a compact laptop, so that makes sense. However, the Lenovo Yoga 9i has a quad-speaker setup – two 3W woofers and two 2W tweeters. Plus, it has a “soundbar hinge” where two of the speakers are placed so they’re always firing sound in your direction. If you want to watch movies or other content, the Lenovo Yoga 9i is the best place to do it.

Close up of Lenovo Yoga 9i display, with the soundbar hinge visible below it

Another important victory for Lenovo’s laptop is above the display. In 2022, manufacturers like Lenovo have caught on to the demand for higher-quality webcams, especially since the last two years pushed many people to work remotely. The Lenovo Yoga 9i has a 1080p webcam, but Dell is sticking with a 720p sensor in the XPS 13, so the former should help you look better in video calls and meetings.

Design: The Dell XPS 13 is ultra-portable

Coming around to the design, the Dell XPS 13 shows its strength as laptop meant for mobility. Dell completely redesigned this laptop, and that’s part of the reason it has 12W processors instead of the 15W models we saw in the past. The laptop is now just 13.99mm thin and still incredibly compact in both width and height. Plus, it weighs just 2.59lbs, so you can take this anywhere easily.

Dell XPS 13 in SKy and Umber colors

The latest model also comes in a couple of new colors, which make it a fairly unique device. The colors are Sky (light blue) and Umber (dark burgundy), and you don’t see those often in premium laptops, so Dell deserves some points for that, too.

On the other hand, the Lenovo Yoga 9i is a noticeably larger laptop, though it’s far from chunky. It’s 15.25mm thick and larger in every dimension (it does have a larger display, after all). It also starts at 3.09lbs of weight for the OLED model, or 3.31lbs for the IPS model, so it’s heavier, though it shouldn’t make this a difficult laptop to carry with you.

Side view of Lenovo laptops

But Lenovo also managed to make this a beautiful laptop, which is something previous Yoga 9i models really struggled with. Now, the whole chassis is balanced with flat surfaces and an even thickness throughout, and those surfaces lead into beautifully shiny curved edges all around the laptop. It looks great, and the two color options – Storm Grey and Oatmeal – fit perfectly with this design language.

There’s also the form factor, as we mentioned at the top. The Lenovo Yoga 9i is a convertible, so you can use it as laptop or a tablet whenever you want. It has a degree of versatility you don’t get with the XPS 13.

Ports and connectivity: Being compact requires some sacrifices

Finally, let’s talk ports. Depending on your needs, this might be a loss for the Dell XPS 13. Dell has consistently tried to keep the laptop as compact as possible, and with the latest iteration, there are only two power on the XPS 13. That’s right, you get two Thunderbolt 4 ports, and nothing else – not even a headphone jack. Dell does ship the laptop with a couple of adapters, but you’ll have to remember to take them with you and not lose them, so there’s some hassle there. You can also use a Thunderbolt dock to add more ports.

Left and right side views of the 2022 Dell XPS 13 showing the available ports

The Lenovo Yoga 9i makes use of its larger chassis, so in addition to two Thunderbolt 4 ports, you get a regular USB Type-C port, one USB Type-A port, and a headphone jack. It’s a much more complete setup, and while some might have wanted to see an HDMI port, it’s become very common to omit it in premium laptops of this size. This is still one of the best setups you can get in this segment.

In terms of wireless connectivity, the laptops are pretty much identical. Both support Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, so you shouldn’t expect any huge differences there. Neither one has cellular support, which is pretty typical for mainstream laptops. It’s usually business-oriented devices that support that feature.

Dell XPS 13 vs Lenovo Yoga 9i: Final thoughts

As tends to be the case, which of these laptops is better is heavily dependent on your needs and preferences, but here’s what we can say based on what we looked at above. The Dell XPS 13 is ideal if you want something extremely portable. It’s compact, thin, and light, plus it has significantly more efficient processors, which should mean you can use it away from an outlet for much longer. If you’re someone who spends a lot of time away from an outlet – at school or at work, for example, that’s the laptop you want. Yes, you’re missing out on some ports, but chances are you’re not carrying a ton of accessories with you if you’re traveling that often.

On the other hand, the Lenovo Yoga 9i is a phenomenal laptop for media consumption. It has stunning display options and a great sound system, and on top of that, very fast processors and a great webcam. It’s a much better laptop if you’re a bit more stationary, but it’s still fairly thin and light for when you do need to take it with you. And with more ports, you can connect more peripherals without needing adapters. Plus, while this is subjective, it has an absolutely beautiful design.

Lenovo Yoga 9i in tent mode

There’s also the form factor, which can be the deciding factor if you’re like me. I would always absolutely prefer buying a convertible, so the Lenovo Yoga 9i is my only choice in this comparison. Of course, everyone is different, so you might have different priorities. If you know which of the groups above you fit into, then you already know which laptop to get. And if you want to do it, you can use the links below.

Alternatively, if neither of these has completely sold you, there are alternatives. You can check out the best convertible laptops if that’s the form factor you prefer, or the best lightweight laptops if you’re more interested in portability.

    The Dell XPS 13 is a super-compact laptop with 12th-gen Intel processors and a lightweight design.
    The Lenovo Yoga 9i is a premium convertible with a beautiful design and powerful Intel P-series processors, plus a great sound system for media consumption.

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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