Lenovo Legion 5i assessment: few perks, few compromises


Many corporations use Intel or AMD’s yearly leap in processor generations as a chance to fully reinvent their laptops or desktops. Lenovo hasn’t gone that far with its 15-inch Legion 5i, however I’m not complaining an excessive amount of. It’s nonetheless a pretty, but plainly designed gaming laptop computer that I believe might appeal to a broader viewers than simply players.

To offer you a couple of examples of how low-lift the seen modifications are on this yr’s mannequin, Lenovo simplified the naming conference from the clunkier Legion Y540. The ‘i’ in Legion 5i denotes an Intel-based processor. Lenovo additionally sells the Legion 5 with AMD’s Ryzen 5 and seven 4000-series processors as choices. It additionally improved the trackpad this yr by eliminating the left and proper mouse buttons, giving you extra space to maneuver the pointer round. It moved the webcam to the highest of the show to keep away from the nostril-view perspective that the Y540 offered.

If you happen to’re searching for massive year-over-year enhancements, you’ll solely discover these on the within of the Legion 5i. Lenovo introduced the tenth Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 H-series processors to this machine, and every configuration has a devoted Nvidia graphics chip. The mannequin that Lenovo despatched us is the top-end mannequin that may be purchased for about $1,350 (at time of publish, it’s discounted to $1,289). It contains a 1080p IPS panel with a 144Hz refresh fee, Intel’s hexa-core Core i7-10750H CPU, an Nvidia RTX 2060 graphics card, 16GB of RAM and a 1TB NVMe SSD. If you need a laptop computer that may play most of your video games at 60 frames per second with out docking the visuals a lot, it’s the one configuration supplied that’s value any critical consideration.

I don’t wish to gussy up the Legion 5i an excessive amount of, although. The general package deal is much like Lenovo’s $989 IdeaPad Gaming 3 that I lately reviewed. It is perhaps arduous to inform them aside for those who’re standing a couple of ft away, although the Legion 5i has the distinct benefit with double the RAM and storage, a barely quicker refresh fee within the show (144Hz from 120Hz), and the stronger RTX 2060. These specs make a noticeable enchancment within the efficiency, and having now reviewed each machines, the $350 value hike that these specs incur appears acceptable, as a lot as I want it supplied the RTX 2060 in a less expensive configuration. I additionally want Lenovo had included one thing else as well as right here, like a Thunderbolt 3 port, to make the soar up extra rewarding.

Alas, the RTX 2060 turns it into a superb midrange machine. If you happen to’re confused in regards to the many graphics chip choices in the marketplace, that is the one to purpose for for those who don’t wish to do a lot fidgeting with the graphics settings in video games. In contrast to my expertise with the GTX 1650 within the IdeaPad Gaming 3, or the Radeon RX 5600M within the Dell G5 15 SE, this laptop computer’s graphics card required far fewer compromises to run my favourite video games, like Management, at a clean clip above 60 frames per second. It’s not probably the most highly effective GPU ever in a laptop computer by an extended shot, but it surely’s succesful sufficient to breezily run video games with medium-to-high shadow high quality and anti-aliasing — these are normally the primary settings I instantly flip all the way in which down or off to get a clean body fee.

Grand Theft Auto V’s benchmark is getting outdated, although it’s nonetheless an excellent take a look at for processing and graphical chops in a laptop computer. This machine made quick work of it with all settings (excluding the long-distance textures and shadows) turned as much as their highest, averaging at about 100 frames per second. This and different video games I attempted look nice on the IPS panel, which is surrounded by slim bezels. Colours seem vivid and correct with good viewing angles, and it manages all that with a quick 144Hz refresh fee that doesn’t exhibit any display screen tearing or different artifacts. Additionally, it’s value noting that the Legion 5i is among the few all-plastic laptops that doesn’t creak once I raise up, or modify, the display screen. Lenovo, pioneer of the 2-in-1 laptop computer idea, is nice at making hinges. Who knew?

The trackpad right here has gotten a small improve. As an alternative of getting two mouse buttons close to the underside like earlier Y540 fashions have, it’s all one contiguous sheet of clean plastic now. That’s under no circumstances progressive, but it surely’s good to have extra space. And, with its Precision drivers, gestures and scrolling work as supposed on the trackpad. Much less has modified with the keyboard, although it’s nonetheless a pleasure to sort on. It’s largely an identical to what you’ll discover on Lenovo’s cheaper IdeaPad Gaming 3, however the keyboard right here helps four-zone RGB backlighting versus simply blue backlighting, although you’ll must pay an additional $30 if you configure it. In any other case, you’ll get a white backlit keyboard.

Exterior of gaming, this configuration with 16GB of RAM has no challenge operating a swath of my most-used purposes on the identical time with out slowdown. My traditional workload contains operating over 20 Microsoft Edge tabs, Spotify, Slack, and Affinity Picture, to present you an concept. It’s a disgrace that base fashions of most laptops, together with this one, include 8GB of RAM by default. Not less than this one allows you to improve it (together with the storage) your self by unscrewing the underside.

Lenovo Legion 5i

The keyboard is stuffed to the brim with keys, all of which really feel nice to sort on. It will probably really feel just a little crowded, although.

The elements right here make for respectable export speeds for those who use Adobe Premiere Professional for video manufacturing, and because it did throughout gaming, it retains comparatively quiet and funky when underneath stress. It exported a five-minute, 33-second 4K file quicker than actual time in simply 5 minutes and one second. The app’s {hardware} acceleration takes benefit of Nvidia’s CUDA cores, and these outcomes beat the AMD-powered Dell G5 15 SE by two and a half minutes. For context, it’s a couple of minutes slower than a couple of laptops that function the octa-core Intel Core i7-10875H, extra RAM, and even stronger GPUs. This isn’t a nasty outcome, although I wouldn’t purchase it only for video manufacturing.

Transferring massive recordsdata to and from this machine is a comparatively speedy affair, because it has a USB-C 3.1 port situated on its rear and a PCIe-based SSD with quick learn and write speeds. Talking of ports, this laptop computer has them scattered round its left, proper, and again. There’s one USB Sort-A port and a headphone jack on the left facet, and a single USB Sort-A port on the proper. Every little thing else is on the again, together with Ethernet, the aforementioned USB-C port that, sadly, doesn’t work for charging, two USB Sort-A ports, HDMI, an influence plug for its skinny however nonetheless hefty 230W brick, and a horizontal lock slot.

Lenovo Legion 5i

The Legion 5i is a gaming laptop computer, however its design isn’t a useless giveaway.

To its credit score, the Legion 5i does pack in a bigger battery than the IdeaPad Gaming 3 regardless of being an analogous dimension and weight. It’s a four-cell 60Wh battery that averages round 4 hours of consecutive screentime whereas multitasking throughout work. Contemplating that it’s powering a extra succesful GPU and a quicker refresh fee show, that is respectable efficiency for a gaming laptop computer. However for those who plan to do any gaming throughout that point, you received’t make it lengthy with out the facility brick, so don’t depart that behind.

This package deal is what I wished the IdeaPad Gaming 3 to be: a robust gaming laptop computer that doesn’t make heavy compromises in visible constancy to get a quick body fee. The Legion 5i is way from good, although. Its 720p webcam seems horrendous, and there are too few perks (specs apart) included with shopping for this over Lenovo’s extra reasonably priced gaming machine. A Thunderbolt 3 port and an SD card reader would have been appreciated. Alas, your essential reward for spending extra cash right here merely ends in a quicker laptop, and one which’s nonetheless comparatively reasonably priced in comparison with equally configured 15.6-inch computer systems from opponents like Razer and MSI.

Pictures by Cameron Faulkner / The Verge


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