Are OLED Laptops Worth It in 2022? After Testing Them Out, I Can Never Go Back

Lenovo Yoga 9i OLED featured
John Velasco | SPY

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You’re probably staring into one right now as you’re reading this, but don’t realize its importance. Laptop screens don’t receive the attention they deserve. That’s because, oftentimes, they’re piggybacking on the iterative advancements in other product categories — say the best TVs or the best smartphones.

For me, there have been two big milestones around laptop screens: the time they shifted to color screens from monochrome ones in the 90s, and when we finally got proper touchscreens for consumers. Nowadays, it’s a bit tough uncovering new milestones because they’re more evolutionary than revolutionary.

I’ve been using the Lenovo Yoga 9i (14-inch) for the past few weeks and it was my first time using a laptop with an OLED screen. I’ll admit that it’s still an iterative piece of tech, but once you go OLED, you won’t want to go back to anything else. Here’s why.

  

Why OLED Laptops Are So Good: Colors That Pop

Right away, the first thing that commanded my attention about its 14.0-inch UHD (3840 x 2400) OLED display was the colors. Seriously, it’s a sight to behold and truly sets itself apart from any of the best laptops I’ve used in the past few years. OLEDs are known to be vibrant panels, substantially more saturated in tone than LCD or LED-based displays.

Lenovo Yoga 9i (14-inch) John Velasco | SPY

There’s also very little color distortion whenever I crank it up to its maximum brightness level. With other laptop display panels, there’s a tendency for colors to distort when the brightness is increased. There’s very little evidence of that with the Lenovo Yoga 9i’s OLED display since it’s able to maintain the same level of intensity.

When you stare at a screen as long as I do throughout the day, you can spot the tiniest detail about your laptop’s screen. Sometimes with black, it can transform into an off-gray tone whenever the brightness is maxed out. Magically, I don’t see that happening with this OLED screen.

  

Why OLED Laptops Are So Good: Exceptional Viewing Angles

Another point worth mentioning is that this OLED display offers excellent viewing angles. When you’re watching a TV show or movie from one of your favorite streaming services, and sharing the watching experience with someone else, you might notice distortion when looking at the display from all different angles.

Take a look at the photos I captured below of the Lenovo Yoga 9i at different angles. They clearly showcase how this OLED display is able to maintain its visibility at all sorts of angles. In fact, I found very little difference in color degradation or brightness output at each angle.

Lenovo Yoga 9i (14-inch) John Velasco | SPY
Lenovo Yoga 9i (14-inch) John Velasco | SPY
Lenovo Yoga 9i (14-inch) John Velasco | SPY

The same thing can be said about OLED TVs. Try watching from a couch or sofa that’s off to the side of an LED-based TV, the result is very different compared to seeing it straight on. Laptops share the same quality, which is why it still feels a bit alien to experience such crisp viewing angles with the OLED panel in the Lenovo Yoga 9i.

  

Why OLED Laptops Are So Good: Ideal for Editors

Video and photo editors like myself can appreciate the technical advantages of OLED displays. Take for example how this OLED panel can reach 100% DCI-P3 color accuracy because it’s Vesa DisplayHDR 500 True Black certified. Did you understand any of that? Probably not, but you don’t have to because it simply means that it can achieve very accurate colors.

Since I frequently edit videos, I’m often required to do some color grading after everything’s stitched together. Having a color-accurate display combined with a wider color gamut is critical in not only ensuring I’m tuning colors to the correct hue but also in having more colors in the spectrum to work with.

As a video editor, I can’t tell you enough how useful this is because the last thing you want is to render a video — only to realize that colors look a bit different later on when you view it on another screen.

Lenovo Yoga 9i (14-inch) John Velasco | SPY

In any case, these are all reasons why it’s hard to go back to anything else after you’ve experienced an OLED screen. Even though LED displays are the most widely used panels in laptops, we’re seeing more and more companies offering at least one model with an OLED.

Here are just a few to consider if you want to experience the next best thing.

  

Lenovo Yoga 9i

Lenovo Yoga 9i Courtesy of Lenovo

  

Dell XPS 13 OLED

Dell XPS 13 OLED, best tech released in 2021. Courtesy of Dell

  

Asus VivoBook Pro 16X OLED

Asus VivoBook Pro 16X OLED Courtesy of Amazon

  
  

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