Boost your mobile productivity with a bigger-screen laptop — or one with two screens

The extra computer-screen actual property you’ve gotten, the extra room it’s a must to unfold out, and the extra productive you can be. At least, that has been my expertise.

At my home-office desk, I’ve three screens: that of my employer-supplied Lenovo ThinkPad laptop computer, raised to about eye degree with a stand, and flanked by 27-inch displays. This permits me to have three, 4, even 5 home windows open and unobstructed.

Julio Ojeda-Zapata’s home-office workstation consists of a laptop computer on a stand with an exterior show on both aspect. (Julio Ojeda-Zapata / Pioneer Press)

So I really feel constricted when I’m away from my workstation and making an attempt to get stuff accomplished on a single 14-inch display. It’s good that I can seize my ThinkPad and go, however engaged on it turns into extra of a chore as a result of I’m now not in a position to throw up a number of home windows and look amongst them.

What’s the answer? There are two apparent ones:

  • Use a couple of show whereas on the go.
  • Use one show whereas on the go, however greater.

I’ve currently been experimenting with each situations, which have main implications for the mobile-work crowd.

On the multiple-display entrance, I’ve been making an attempt out Lenovo’s Yoga Book 9i, a Windows laptop computer with a twist. You have two full shows while you open it, high and backside, as an alternative of a standard laptop computer association of a show on the high with a bodily keyboard and trackpad on the backside.

a laptop with two screens
Lenovo’s Yoga Book 9i is uncommon in that it has two screens with no bodily keyboard or trackpad. (Lenovo)

This is type of loopy however, as I’ll clarify, extremely efficient — a minimum of typically.

In the bigger-screen class, I’ve been placing Apple’s not too long ago launched 15-inch MacBook Air by means of its paces. Little about this product is new. Its attract is measurement; Apple took its bestselling mainstream 13-inch MacBook Air, and stretched it out. This had been a significant hole within the Mac line — There’s no scarcity of inexpensive Windows big-screen laptops.

a laptop viewed from the side
Apple’s not too long ago launched 15-inch MacBook Air is a stretched-out model of its 13-inch mannequin with in any other case related specs. (Apple)

The apparent query right here is: Which of those merchandise has area of interest attraction, and which shall be of curiosity to the lots? You can in all probability guess the place I’m going with that.

Yoga Book 9i

Using a number of shows whereas on the transfer will not be a brand new concept.

Apple and Windows customers should purchase any variety of transportable screens to hold round with their laptops to be used on journeys. There are even single-and dual-display contraptions that dangle off a laptop computer’s lid to create a type of Franken-workstation; I attempted one such an equipment in 2020 and I discovered it lower than convincing.

Lenovo is taking a distinct, extra persuasive strategy with the $1,999.99 Yoga Book 9i, which I’ve on mortgage. This laptop computer precipitated a stir when introduced early this yr, and has garnered largely constructive press since then.

When it’s closed, the Yoga Book 9i is all however indistinguishable from different Yoga fashions from Lenovo. Opening it for the primary time generally is a shock. When offered with twin screens and no keyboard and trackpad, you would possibly need to exclaim, “What in heck do I do now?”

The photograph beneath provides you a way for the entire prospects. Note the equipment included with the pocket book, together with an origami-like stand, an excellent add-on bodily keyboard, and a stylus. Lenovo additionally features a mediocre mouse (not proven).

a laptop with two screens shown in a variety of configurations
Lenovo’s two-screen Yoga Book 9i has a wide range of configurations to be used with or with out exterior enter units. (Lenovo)

The person mode garnering probably the most curiosity entails propping up the Yoga Book 9i with the origami stand on a desk or desk to create a compact, ergonomic dual-screen workstation.

This is completed in two methods: with the shows in panorama mode, one above the opposite, or in portrait mode, aspect by aspect. In every case, the screens are divided by a hinge that comes with a decent-sounding speaker. The included mouse and keyboard present enter.

a laptop with two screens shown with a laptop in two different configurations
Lenovo’s two-screen Yoga Book 9i could be configured as a mini-workstation with the shows proven both in panorama or portrait orientation. An exterior keyboard completes the setup. (Lenovo)

I made a decision I hated portrait mode. The side-by-side screens are probably useful for these working with textual content or code, however are too slender to correctly show web sites or image-laden paperwork, and so they simply felt unnatural to me.

Landscape mode, nonetheless, was a revelation. Having two standard-sized laptop computer shows, one atop the opposite, felt immediately proper. In quick order, I used to be powering by means of two-screen productiveness as if I’d used this machine all my life. I wrote a lot of this story in such a fashion, with Google Docs on the higher display and reference PDFs or internet pages on the underside one.

The shows aren’t large at 13.3 inches every with a decision of 2880 by 1800 pixels apiece, however the truth that there’s two of ’em makes all of the distinction.

Lenovo presents an array of software program methods, reminiscent of flicking home windows from one display to the opposite, and enlarging home windows so that they fill each screens (divided, a bit distractingly, by that hinge).

Yoga Book 9i house owners will clearly additionally need to use the machine in common laptop computer mode — and that’s the place issues largely go improper.

One possibility right here is to drag up a digital keyboard and trackpad on the decrease display whereas utilizing the higher one as your work window. This type of works, however makes contact typing nearly not possible with no bodily suggestions.

The different possibility is to position the bodily keyboard onto the decrease display, the place it magnetically adheres and turns into the default typing instrument. It is weirdly elevated, nonetheless, and you continue to have to make use of the digital trackpad.

And, oddly, you by no means know when home windows will pop up on the decrease display, beneath the keyboard and hidden from view. Getting them over to the opposite display is a problem.

The Yoga Book 9i is subsequently a difficult product to suggest.

If you’re the type of one that strikes from workplace to workplace and desk to desk, this product may need attraction as a space-saving but versatile workstation. In a pleasant contact, the origami-style stand turns into a wrap-around protector for the keyboard throughout transport (however it’s a problem to move a number of items of kit).

Yet these wanting conventional notebook-style performance on the go aren’t more likely to be glad — particularly because the Yoga Book 9i prices much more than a standard laptop computer with related tech specs.

15-inch MacBook Air

The MacBook Air, Apple’s best-selling Mac, begins at $999. That will get you a 13.3-inch mannequin with older styling and the practically 3-year-old M1 processor, which is loads good for common customers.


a laptop seen in profile
Apple launched the M1 model of its MacBook Air in 2020. (Apple)

Apple launched a 13.6-inch Air model with radically revised styling and a extra highly effective M2 processor somewhat over a yr in the past. It began at $1,199. In June, Apple added a 15.3-inch Air beginning at $1,299 whereas dropping the M2 13-incher to $1,099.

As famous, there’s little distinction between the 13- and 15-inch fashions aside from measurement, together with 25 % extra display actual property on the bigger mannequin.

a laptop
Apple launched its 15-inch MacBook Air in 2023. (Apple)

Any of those Air fashions will work superb for me as a result of I largely work from home and never on the go, and I subsequently normally use such computer systems hooked up to my trusty 23.7-inch LG UltraFine Display or a loaner show reminiscent of Apple’s 27-inch Studio Display. Sometimes I’ll detach to make use of the pocket book on the sofa or the kitchen desk, or to take it on occasional visits to my employer’s downtown St. Paul places of work, however that’s normally the extent of my cellular computing.

Last month, although, I participated in a four-day Bicycling Around Minnesota tour in southeastern Minnesota — not as a bicyclist however because the occasion’s photographer.

I wanted a laptop computer on the journey as a result of I’d be doing numerous image sorting, modifying and importing, which might have been extra cumbersome to drag off on my iPhone 14 Pro’s comparatively cramped 6.1-inch show.

I thought of the Yoga Book 9i however deemed it unsuitable to make use of at campsites with no desk-like work surfaces out there. The MacBook Air additionally gave me pause at first as a result of it appeared too cumbersome for a tenting journey — however these are simply its X and Y axes. It’s insanely skinny at 0.45 inches, barely thicker than the 13-inch mannequin, and solely a bit heavier at 3.3 kilos.

The Air presents as much as 18 hours of battery life, which was necessary as a result of I’d usually be away from an outlet. (The Yoga Book 9i solely will get about 5 to seven hours on a single cost.) The Air display presents a beneficiant 500 nits of brightness, which is nice since I’d be utilizing it outside nearly completely. (The Lenovo screens every provide about 340 nits.)

The 15-inch Air packs a bit extra on the display with a decision of 2880 by 1864 pixels in comparison with 2560 by 1664 pixels on the 13-incher. More necessary, stuff simply appears greater and simpler on the eyes.

The Mac ended up going all over the place with me on the bicycle journey, tucked right into a backpack, and I barely knew it was there.

My iPhone bought probably the most use in the course of the day as I snapped and uploaded batches of images to BAM’s Facebook web page. But once in a while I’d unfold a tenting chair and plop down by the aspect of the street for a little bit of photograph triaging on the laptop computer. I additionally pulled it out within the night after a meal and a go to to the bathe trailer. Those had been amongst my moments of biggest happiness on the journey, luxuriating within the Air’s generously sized display for powering by means of duties that might have taken two or thrice as lengthy on the telephone.

The 15-inch Air has been a little bit of a revelation at house, as nicely. When working at my home-office desk, I’ve hardly ever put a laptop computer in a stand and positioned it beside my exterior show for a dual-screen setup. Instead, I’ve closed the lid and simply used the standalone monitor. But the brand new Air has made me need to do the two-screen factor as a result of its display is a lot greater and simpler on the eyes.

The Air wins (largely)

I’ve one other journey arising quickly. I’ll be visiting my of us in New Hampshire and rendezvousing with my sister, who lives in France, to do numerous nature climbing because the leaves are turning.

I’ll, once more, be eager to take a pocket book to course of all of the superb iPhone photos I anticipate taking.

I used to be tempted to take the Yoga Book 9i as a result of I’d largely use the pc at my dad and mom’ home with little on-the-go laptop-ing of the kind I engaged in in the course of the BAM journey. The Lenovo would operate properly as a mini-workstation on my of us’ dining-room desk.

But I can’t deliver myself to go away the 15-inch MacBook Air behind. It’s extra elegant, with fewer items to hold round, and easier to deploy and use.

When I get house, although, I’ll be tempted to redeploy the Yoga Book 9i, whereas I nonetheless have it. I found that it may be used with as much as 4 exterior shows, relying on their resolutions and refresh charges. The MacBook Air can solely drive one monitor — that’s, except you put money into a particular dock to allow multiple-display functionality (I’m purchasing for such a dock proper now).

In a wacky experiment, I mixed the Yoga Book 9i with my LG UltraFine Display and Apple’s Studio Display by way of two of the Lenovo’s three Thunderbolt 4/USB 4 ports to create a four-screen workstation.

a laptop with two screens is shown connected to two external displays
Lenovo’s two-screen Yoga Book 9i is proven linked to Apple and LG exterior shows. (Julio Ojeda-Zapata / Pioneer Press)

Now that’s a productiveness booster.