Lenovo Legion 5i Pro Gaming Laptop REVIEW
PAT PILCHER reviews a laptop with remarkably subdued design but plenty of punch and power for the serious gamer.
Competition amongst PC vendors is especially fierce for high-end gaming laptops. Unlike their productivity-centric counterparts, gaming rigs are designed with super beefy specs and eye-catching designs. Lenovo’s Legion 5i Pro is, first and foremost, aimed at gamers and regular productivity users, but is it a good laptop?
Design-wise, the Legion 5i Pro sports an eye-catching design. Most other gaming laptops look like a leftover prop from a Mad Max movie. Not Lenovo. They’ve gone for a subdued design that is easy on the eye and above all, is elegant. The review unit was finished in white polycarbonate. Subtle blue backlighting is used. There is no tacky flashing RGB LED nonsense going on. In short, it looks and feels like a premium machine aimed at adult gamers rather than kiddies with wealthy parents experiencing a bad acid trip.
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Weighing in at a shoulder straining 2.3kg, the Legion 5i isn’t light. Its gaming-oriented design isn’t petite either. Being Lenovo hardware, it feels built to withstand thermonuclear war. Despite a solid build and XXL dimensions, its lid opened using just one finger. Better still, it has hardly any flex. Opening the lid is easy peasy thanks to a raised area that houses the Legion’s 720p webcam (which also has its own On/Off switch). Gaming laptops have plenty of high-end silicon, which needs cooling. To this end, Lenovo has four vents on each side of the Legion and a grill on its underside. With basic productivity chores, the Legion ran quietly. It isn’t until you fire up a demanding game that cooling fans kick into gear.
On the connectivity front, the only thing missing is the kitchen sink. Most ports are located around the back. They consist of an Ethernet socket, an HDMI 2.1 port, a USB Type-C port, two USB Type-A ports, plus a power connector. On its left-hand side, there’s a USB C port and audio jack. On its right-hand side, you get a USB Type-A port and webcam switch.
When I say that the Legion isn’t small, I’m not kidding. The key reason for its XXL form factor is its gorgeous 16-inch display. It sports a 2,560×1,600 resolution and can crank out 500 nits, enabling it to do double duty as a tanning accessory. The display also supports a 165Hz refresh rate which keeps everything silky smooth. Scrolling down large documents or rampaging on a frag fest looked great. Media playback also impressed, helped along thanks to Dolby Vision support. On-screen action needs decent audio, and in this regard, the built-in stereo speakers were a pleasant surprise. While they won’t shake ceiling plaster free, they’re plenty beefy for zoom calls and music.
A side benefit of a larger chassis is an almost full-sized keyboard that offers decent key travel. It has a full Number Pad and backlighting, which is great for gaming in the dark. The touchpad is large, but in use, I found it wasn’t as responsive as other trackpads I’ve tested.
Under the hood, the Legion has few compromises. The review unit came with an Intel Core i7, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, an RTX 3060 packing 6GB of GDDR6 VRAM, and a 1TB SSD. The combination of a Core i7, fast RAM and RTX 3060 plus SSD saw me getting impressive frame rates with most game titles I threw at it. For basic productivity tasks, it never broke a sweat. One of the downsides of gaming on the go is its impact on battery life. While I had close to six hours of use with basic chores such as browsing/email and word processing, that dropped to just over four hours when gaming.
The Legion 5i Pro is a tank of a machine aimed at both gamers and power users. There’s plenty to like, ranging from a solid build, decent keyboard, gorgeous 165Hz display, and more grunt than in a piggery. That said, it isn’t perfect. Business users might want a fingerprint reader, and the trackpad may also frustrate some. Gamers may also find battery life less than stellar. Still, the sheer amount of power and performance on offer makes the Legion 5i pro a stunner.