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Lenovo Legion 5 Pro Review: You Can’t Chat With Cheap

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There’s something a little counter-revolutionary about high-end gaming machines made by suit-and-tie PC companies. The idea of ​​Lenovo, creator of the ThinkPad, building a gaming machine worthy of review is a little weird, and yet the Legion 5 Pro is just that. The Walmart-exclusive model I’m testing costs $ 1,530, pairing AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800H with NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3070 graphics. Powerful and affordable? It’s almost revolutionary.

To complete this list of specifications, 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD. Fortunately, both components can be upgraded by the user. This hard drive will barely last more than a few homework calls before you use an external drive. But these are the kind of smart compromises Lenovo made to keep the price low, allowing you to add more RAM and storage as needed.

Benefits

  • Ryzen 7 and RTX 3070 for $ 1,530
  • Fast and great for games
  • I / O buckets

The inconvenients

  • Baaaaaad battery life
  • Gets too hot under heavy load

And then there’s the screen, a 16-inch, 165Hz QHD, X-Rite Pantone-validated IPS display with the new, larger 16:10 aspect ratio. At 500 nits, the panel can withstand bright light compared to many of its rivals, and the matte screen reduces the risk of glare. Watching 4K video on this thing is a very enjoyable experience and I enjoyed working from this device the last week or so as I use it. It certainly makes you want to spend hours looking at gigapixel footage of, say, Paris, which I certainly haven’t spent a lot of time doing this week (coughing).

Review the image of the new Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (2021)

Daniel Cooper

Lenovo wasn’t looking to pull trees with this design, which is little more than a refinement of what went before. It’s not as thin or light as its rivals, and looks best in a dark room lit only by the glow of an RGB keyboard and the odd Nanoleaf panel. But if you buy it as a replacement for a desktop that will spend 90% of its time on the same desktop, that’s fine. Oh, and the aluminum frame is rock solid, giving you confidence when you need to take it somewhere. This matte gray paint job, while very commercial, hides a plethora of palm sweat sins, but will attract every speck of dust within a three mile zone.

The Legion 5 Pro’s bulky chassis also means you’ll find great I / O power around its bridge. You get four USB-A (3.2 Gen 1) jacks, two USB-C (3.2 Gen 2) connections, HDMI, Ethernet, and a 3.5mm headphone / microphone jack, along with the proprietary power port. On the right side, you’ll also find a hardware camera mute button, which replaces the dedicated hardware shutter from previous versions.

Even after several days of use, using the Lenovo TrueStrike keyboard is still a pleasant but strange experience. The keys are 1.5mm deep, but Lenovo uses “soft landing” switches to make each actuation a little deeper than that. Every time you press a key, you expect the shake of a mechanical keyboard, only to find a mellow end and bounce back. It’s like filling your shoes with water on a hot day and then stepping in: it’s very helpful, but your brain is telling you that something is wrong here.

It’s worth noting that Lenovo took advantage of the Legion 5’s larger bridge size to include a numeric keypad. The company says the numeric keypad itself is full-size, but in my eyes and fingers it’s a bit squashed compared to a regular external PC keyboard. The RGB backlight may be disabled appropriately, but can be set to four different lighting zones if required. The trackpad, meanwhile, is perfectly functional, and the larger size is welcome given the narrowness of previous models.

Bad image from a bad webcam.

Daniel Cooper

I have less to say about the machine’s 720p camera, which is the very definition of fixable. The light is blooming, everything is uncomfortably blurry, and the overall effect is that of most 60s TV shows when they got the lens smeared with Vaseline for close-ups. If you’re looking to make a living from streaming or are a Zoom calling pro, buy an external device. Aside from the bad webcam, Lenovo gets accessories to offer a dedicated camera disconnect button because there was no room in the cover lacking space for its usual shutter.

Nothing

PCMark 10

3DMark (TimeSpy Extreme)

Geekbench 5

ATTO (main reads / writes)

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro 16 (AMD Ryzen 7 5800H 3.2 GHz, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8 GB, 140 watts TDP)

6,871

4 899

1,411 / 7,416

3.19 Gb / s // 2.54 Gb / s

ASUS ROG Strix G15 Advantage Edition (AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX, AMD Radeon RX 6800M)

6,992

5 189

1,457 / 7,691

2.8 Gb / s // 1.5 Gb / s

Surface Laptop 4 15 (AMD Ryzen 7 “Surface Edition” 16 GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, Radeon Graphics)

6,620

512

1,048 / 6,551

1.9 Gb / s // 985 Mb / s

MSI GS66 (2021) (Intel Core i7-10870H, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, NVIDIA RTX 3080)

5 639

4,538

1,247 / 6,505

3.1 Gb / s // 2.9 Gb / s

References don’t tell the whole story, but the Legion 5 Pro comes close enough to the machines at a price tag of a few hundred dollars more. When playing demanding AAA games like Cyberpunk and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, I got between 50 and 60 frames per second with the settings adjusted appropriately. Naturally, you’ll lose a bit of it when you turn ray tracing on, but it can handle the tough work relatively well. The Legion 5 Pro has three predefined performance modes which can be set in the Vantage utility or cycled through when you press Fn + Q. A nice addition is that the power button will change color depending on which mode you are in. you find: Auto is a white glow, Muffler is a cool blue, and Performance is an angry red.

Using a machine like this for general productivity work is a bit like taking an F-150 to buy a box of cereal, but it’s more than you can get. After all, if all you’re doing is processing documents, writing essays, digging through spreadsheets, and using Slack, that’s more than enough. When transcoding a 28.2GB UHD H.265 video file to 1080p, Handbrake was able to process it at over 40fps, making it robust enough for even professional video editors halfway through.

The Legion 5 Pro uses a dual fan system that pushes hot air out of its chassis through a quartet of exhausts. Two vents in the back are complemented by one on each side, and if you’re not lucky enough to have a lot of room, beware. Leave your hand, mouse, gamepad, or drink next to one of these vents for too long and they will get uncomfortably hot. Playing Cyberpunk and Shadow of the Tomb Raider gave off enough heat that I wondered if I could make s’mores.

Review the image of the new Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (2021)

Daniel Cooper

This problem is exacerbated by the aluminum underside of the chassis getting too hot to touch. After a few hours of playing, I took the machine to move it somewhere else and crap: I thought I took a baking sheet out of the oven. It’s not hot enough to burn you, but it’s not something you want to touch if you enjoy not being in pain.

It is also impossible to water down the noise this machine makes when the fans are running. This thing is loud – loud enough that you have to dial your speakers to drown it out or grab a pair of headphones to reclaim some of that immersion. This is a professional risk of gaming laptops, but it should be noted that this system is noisy.

Another check mark in the “not ideal” column is battery life, and despite packaging an 80 Wh battery, it won’t last long when pulled out of an outlet. Our standard battery drain test loops a video until the computer dies, with the brightness set to 65% and all battery saving technologies turned off. It managed to last four hours and 43 minutes using the built-in Radeon graphics, which are fine in the narrow sense of the term. Granted, while you can handle a few emails or light browsing while sitting on your couch, it’s not a device you can pull out of an outlet for a full working day without hassle.

One of the reasons the Legion 5 Pro is convincing despite some of its flaws is its price, which is something. Lenovo has managed to outperform many of its competition here, and it’s no wonder it’s only on sale intermittently at the moment. If you want an Alienware machine with similar specs (the romantically named M15 Ryzen Edition R5 gaming laptop), that’ll set you back $ 1,900. For that you will have a Ryzen R7 5800H (the same as here), an RTX 3070 with 8 GB of RAM (the same as here), 16 GB of RAM and a 512 GB SSD (the same as … you see idea).

Review the image of the new Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (2021)

Daniel Cooper

If getting RTX 3070 graphics is a problem, you can go for the base Razer Blade 15 model with a 15.6-inch FHD display, 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD. You will, however, have to pay $ 2,000 for the privilege, which may be a non-starter for some. ASUS also offers the ROG Strix G15 – an all-AMD version we reviewed a few weeks ago – along with an RTX 3070, priced at $ 1,800. If you were looking for a machine in that roughly $ 1,500 range, you could get the $ 1,600 Razer Book, with a Core i7-1165G7 processor and Intel Iris Xe graphics. Alternatively, for $ 1,500, Acer’s Predator Triton 300 SE packs a Core i7-11375H processor and NVIDIA’s RTX 3060 GPU, which seems like a pretty reasonable deal all things considered.

Despite all the chaos that has been the current decade so far, we are witnessing a new dawn of AMD’s top tier.uh end chips are found in gaming laptops. This Ryzen 7 5800H can beat (select) Intel chips in a number of benchmarks, and you can expect it to show up in a number of other machines this year. And while wealthier buyers may be tempted by a much more expensive machine with RTX 3080 graphics, the 3070 here shouldn’t make you feel like a second-class citizen.

There is a lot to love about this machine, although the cuts made to bring the price down will certainly irritate some. Battery life is way below normal, thermals could be refined, and the webcam would look downgraded even on a five-year-old machine. But, if you are going to stick it on a desk, keep it constantly plugged into the mains and never do more than the weird Zoom, does any of that matter?

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