Sunday, December 5, 2021
LaptopsWindows laptops

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro review (Ryzen 7, RTX 3060 value configuration)


Having finally used it for the last few weeks, I’m more and more convinced the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is the sweet-spot gaming and performance laptop of the 2021 generation.

Derek covered the 5 Pro in a previous detailed article, in the top-tier RTX 3070 configuration, and I wanted to add my own thoughts on the more affordable mid-level AMD Ryzen 7 + Nvidia RTX 3060 variant, which we’ll go over in this post. This goes for around 1400 USD in North America and about 1200 EUR here in Europe right now, but it’s in short supply in most markets.

The main selling points are the sturdy all-metal build, the uncompromised IO and inputs, an excellent QHD+ 16:10 165Hz screen, as well as competent specs, with a full-power RTX 3060 and an 80Wh battery.

What’s not to like, then? Well, the audio and camera quality are still not much here, and this is also a fairly heavy full-size product, so not a prime choice if portability matters to you. These aside, though, the Legion 5 Pro series is a hard match, and something I wish other manufactures will learn from for their future launches.

Let’s get in depth.

Specs as reviewed– 2021 Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro 16ACH6H 2021
Screen 16 inch, 2560×1600 px, IPS, 165 Hz, matte, 3ms
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 5800H, 8C/16T
Video NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 with 6GB GDDR6 VRAM 115-130W,
with MUX and GSync, or Optimus
Memory 16 GB DDR4-3200 (2x 8GB DIMMS) – 2xDIMMs
Storage 1 TB M.2 NVMe – 2x M.2 2280 SSD slots
Connectivity WiFi 6+ (Intel AX200), Bluetooth 5.1, Gigabit LAN (Realtek RTL8168/8111)
Ports 4x USB-A 3.2 gen2, 2x USB-C 3.2 (one with PD 3.0 support), 1x HDMI 2.1, Ethernet, mic/earphone
Battery 80Whr, 300 W charger
Size 356 mm or 14.01” (w) x 264.2 mm or 10.4” (d) x 21.7-26.85 mm or .86-1.1” (h)
Weight 2.57 kg (5.67 lbs),+ 1.15 kg (2.54 lbs) for the charger+cables, EU version
Extras 4-zone RGB backlit keyboard, HD webcam with E-shutter kill switch, stereo bottom speakers

Design and construction

Lenovo offers the Legion 5 series in two variants, dark-gray or white. Derek went over the gray version in his article, which you should go and check out, while my unit is the white model.

And since Derek already covered the design so thoroughly, I’m not going to do it all over again, just point a few things that I think you should be aware of when considering this laptop.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro review - design

So the build quality is beyond reproach here, with metal pieces used for the entire chassis and lid cover. The white finishing hold-off well during my time with this Legion 5 Pro, but it might eventually scratch, so I’d recommend treating this with care and put it inside some sleeve in your backpack.

Compared to the gray version, this won’t show smudges and finger-oil at all, especially since the keyboard is white as well. More on the inputs in a little bit.

However, as I mentioned earlier, this Legion 5 Pro is a big boy full-size computer, so fairly thick and especially heavy, at nearly 2.6 kilos plus 1.2 kilos extra for the 300W charger that comes included with this RTX 3060 configuration. You could rely on a USB charger when traveling, as PD charging is supported via the USB-C port on the back.

Speaking of, the IO is almost flawless here, with most of the required ports available and placed on the back edge, out of the way. There’s still no SD card reader, though, which I would have appreciated on this sort of an all-rounder.

Compared to the Legion 5, the 5Pro is a bit larger and heavier, but feels more premium with the metal construction. The ergonomics are mostly similar between the two, with the exception of the screen part: on the Legion 5, the screen goes back flat to 180-degrees, while on the 5 Pro the angle is limited at about 140 degrees or so.

You do get the taller 16:10 16-inch display on this series, with smaller bezels all around and a nicer quality of plastic used for these bezels. There’s still a camera at the top, and microphones. No IR, though, and no fingerprint reader. The power button is also identical to the one on the standard Legion 5 lineup, with the colored always-on LED in it.

That aside, the Legion 5 Pro benefits from a larger arm-rest compared to the Legion 5, due to how the screen is positioned a bit farther back on the chassis, and that allowed for extra wrist-support and especially for a bigger clickpad. The differences are subtle between the two, though.

Overall, while I do mostly appreciate the design and ergonomics of the series, there is one aspect that I’m not fond of: the lid design with the lit Y logo in the middle. You can stitch it off with Fn+L, but even so, I much prefer the simpler lid designs of both the Legion 5 and the Legion 7 series; this 5 Pro is reminiscent of the older Lenovo Y series of gaming laptops.

Keyboard and trackpad

The keyboards should be identical between the Legion 5 and Legion 5 Pro series, yet somehow I found this one here on the 5 Pro more accurate in my tests.

Lenovo went with white keycaps on this white version of the L5P, while the gray model gets a standard black keyboard.

Normally, I’m not a fan of white keyboards, because the writing is difficult to read when the backlighting system is active. That’s not as problematic here, as the LEDs get very bright at the maximum setting, Plus, there’s 4-zone RGB control that allows you to choose a color that can increase the contrast. I kept my unit on blue, as I feel that goes well with the white design.

I’m still not glad that there’s no setting (that I know off?) to enable automatic idle time for this keyboard; having to kill the light manually seems a bit rudimentary in this day and age.

The layout is among the best you’ll find in a mid-range laptop these days, though. The main set of keys are full-size, the arrows are also all full-size keys and spaced out from everything around, and there’s also a NumPad section, with slightly narrower keys, but still well spaced and perfectly usable.

This is a very good typer as well, even if a tad shallower than what other OEMs put on their gaming laptops, with actuations that require a softer stroke, so closer to what you might be used to from ultraportables. This kind of feedback is right down my alley, though, so no wonder I got along very well with this keyboard. I also appreciate how quiet this types; yet the Space key is more audible than the others.

With the larger arm-rest surface on this Legion 5 Pro design, Lenovo were able to implement a larger clickpad than on the Legion 5 series, which should help with gestures and daily swipes. The surface is plastic, as Lenovo are only offering glass clickpads on the Legion 7 models, but it feels alright to the touch and works well.

Still, the clickpad is centered on the Space key with this design, and thus shifted towards the left side of the chassis. This might take some time to get used to, especially if you’re coming from a centered design.

It might also cause some fake palm swipes for you, with your left palm swiping over the surface. I haven’t really noticed these fake swipes during my time with this unit, but Derek mentioned them during his time with his laptop, and explained here how you can address them if needed.

As for biometrics, there aren’t any on this series.

Screen

The screen is one of the main selling points of the Legion 5 Pro series over the competition in the mid-range segment.

That’s because Lenovo went with a 16:10 WQHD IPS matte panel here, with 500+ nits of brightness, 1200:1 contrast, and ~95% sRGB color coverage, which is perfectly adequate for everyday use, even in brighter offices or outdoors. The taller 16:10 format allows for a larger screen area, but at the same time, the blacks get washed out at maximum brightness and the colors are only standard gamut, which might limit this for specific creators and professionals.

Still, I was actually surprised how punchy the colors are on this screen, especially when you pump up the brightness. I put this screen right next to the 4K 100% AdobeRGB panel of the XPS 15 and only at that point I could tell the differences between the two panels at high brightness, and they appeared much closer than I was expecting. Too bad I didn’t have a Zephyrus M16 to compare with, as that one offers a 450+ nits WQHD+ panel with 100% DCI-P3 color coverage. I’d expect that to be a better option for professionals, but this here should still do for most.

This panel is also very well suited for gaming, with a 165 Hz refresh rate, fast response times (yet not as fast as on the M16’s panel), and with the laptop offering a MUX and ActiveSync/GSync support between the Hybrid/dGPU available modes. We’ll get in-depth on these in the next section of this review.

Here’s what we got in our tests, with an X-Rite i1 Display Pro sensor:

  • Panel HardwareID: CSOT MNG007DA1-1;
  • Coverage: 94.4% sRGB, 68.7% DCI-P3, 71.1% AdobeRGB;
  • Measured gamma: 2.26;
  • Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 491 cd/m2 on power;
  • Min brightness in the middle of the screen: 6.47 cd/m2 on power;
  • Contrast at max brightness: 1244:1;
  • White point: 6100 K;
  • Black on max brightness: 0.41 cd/m2;
  • PWM: No;
  • Response: ~9ms GtG (source).

Our sample came out rather poorly calibrated out of the box, with a skewed Gamma and White point. Once calibrated, everything looks OK, but the max brightness was also greatly diminished as a result. Take my findings with a grain of salt, though, as Derek’s unit came out better-calibrated out-of-the-box and did not reduce the brightness as aggressively when further calibrated, and we’re using the same software and sensor. There might be a degree of variation between these panels.

Hardware and performance

Our test model is a mid-tier configuration of the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro 16ACH6H series, with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor, an Nvidia RTX 3060 graphics chip, 16 GB of DDR4-3200 memory, and a fast Samsung PM981 PCIe x4 gen3 SSD.

This is a retail unit offered for review by the local Lenovo PR reps. We tested it many months after the series was launched, with the mature software available as of mid-November 2021 (BIOS GKCN46WW, Lenovo Vantage 3.9.23.0 app, GeForce Game Ready 496.76 drivers).

As far as the hardware goes, this series is built on a full-power AMD Ryzen Cezanne platform, with either 6Core Ryzen 5 5600H, 8Core Ryzen 7 5800H or 8Core 5900HX processors. This unit is the mid-specced Ryzen 7, which runs at around 76-80W sustained in CPU-heavy workloads on the highest power profile.

For GPUs, the RTX 3060 that we have here is the mid-option for this 16-inch model, as 3050Ti and 3070 configurations are available as well (we’ve already reviewed the 3070 Legion 5P over here) . Both the 3060 and the 3070 are full power dGPUs, with the 3060 able to go up to 130W with Dynamic Boost.

The laptop offers a MUX, but no Advanced Optimus. This means you can opt for a Hybrid mode that enables Optimus (in the Vantage control app or in the BIOS ), which actively switches between the Vega and Nvidia chips, or disable the Hybrid mode and only keep the Nvidia dGPU active, which directly links the dGPU to the internal display and also enables GSync in the settings. Switching between the two modes requires a restart.

This series allows full control over the RAM, storage slots, and WiFi module. There are 2x RAM slots and 2x SSD slots on the Legion 5 Pro. Our review unit comes with 16 GB of RAM in dual-channel; the included memory is SR, but the kind with faster latencies, as shown above.

For storage, our unit came with a fast Samsung PM981 drive and an extra slot ready for upgrades. Both M.2 slots are 2280 PCIe x4 gen3.

Getting to the components requires you to remove a few Philips screws, all visible around the back, and then pull up the D-panel. Use a plastic pin and work your way slowly starting from the front lip and then around the air grills on the sides and then onto the back. Inside, everything is covered by radiator shields, so you’ll have to take those out as well to get to the RAM and M.2 slots.

Lenovo legion 5 Pro - internals and dissasembly

For the software, I put a clean Windows 10 install on my unit and the Lenovo Vantage app, which then took care of all the updates.

The power profiles are Quiet, Balanced, and Performance, and you can select them from Vantage or switch between them with Fn+Q. Performance is only available with the laptop plugged into the wall. These profiles apply different power settings to the CPU/GPU and different fan profiles, as well as switch the color of the LED in the power button. Here’s a table that shows what each mode does:

Quiet
(blue)
Balanced
(white)
Performance
(red)
Battery
TDP PL1/PL2 TGP TDP PL1/PL2 TGP TDP PL1/PL2 TGP TDP PL1/PL2 TGP
25/45W 80W 45W/65W 115+W 80W/90W 115+W 25/40W 30W

There’s an option to overclock the GPU in the BIOS on this model/configuration. By default, it applies a +100 MHz Clock, +200 MHz Memory overclock.

Before we jump to the performance section, here’s how this laptop handles everyday use and multitasking on the Quiet/Balanced profiles, unplugged from the wall. We tested with screen set at either 60Hz or 165 Hz, to document the power draw differences betwene the two modes.

Performance tests and benchmarks

Ok, let’s talk performance. We start by testing the CPU by running the Cinebench R15 test for 15+ times in a loop, with 1-2 seconds delay between each run.

The Ryzen 7 processor stabilizes at ~80W of sustained power on the Performance setting, with full clocks of 4.0 GHz and temperatures in the low 90s, corroborated with the fans spinning at 49-50 dBA at head-level.  This design ensures the maximum performance that the Ryzen 7 5800H processor is capable of in this test.

Based on our previous reviews, the Ryzen 5 6C/12T CPU would score ~25% lower in this benchmark, while the Ryzen 9 could only offer a minimal increase in scores of up to 5%, thanks to its ability to run at higher Turbo clocks. However, the Ryzen 9 is slightly thermally limited in this design, and that’s why the Ryzen 7 is the smarter CPU option for this design.

Switching over to the Balanced profile, the Ryzen 7 stabilizes at 45W of power after a few runs. The fans spin at 43-44 dB in this case, and temperatures stabilize in the low-80s.

On Quiet, the processor runs at ~25W sustained with only slightly audible fans (<32 dB) and temperatures in the 70s. The scores are roughly 70% of what the system delivers on Performance, despite the limited power.

Finally, the CPUs run at ~25 W on battery as well, on the Balanced profile, with the fans still at <32 dB.

You’ll find more details about all these profiles in the logs down below.

Here’s how this Ryzen 7 Legion 5Pro configuration scores in comparison to other Ryzen and Intel platforms available in similar products. It’s competitive against Ryzen 7 and Core i7 models, and only 5-7% slower than Ryzen 9 or Core i9 configurations.

We then ran the 3DMark CPU profile test on this Ryzen 7 5800H configuration.

We then went ahead and further verified our findings with the more taxing Cinebench R23 loop test, Blender – CPU, and the gruesome Prime 95, on the Performance profile.

Finally, we ran our combined CPU+GPU stress tests on this notebook. 3DMark stress runs the same test for 20 times in a loop and looks for performance variation and degradation over time, and this unit passed it fine, which suggests there are no significant performance losses that might be caused by thermal throttling on this laptop.

Next, we ran the entire suite of tests and benchmarks on the stock Performance profile in Vantage, the system set on dGPU mode (with GSync deactivated), and the screen set at FHD resolution, for consistency and potential comparisons with our previous reviews. Here’s what we got:

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 20019 (Graphics – 21940, Physics – 24899, Combined – 10265);
  • 3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 5219;
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 8988 (Graphics – 8972, CPU – 9080);
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 15551;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 5331;
  • Handbrake 1.3.3 (4K to 1080p encode): 39.20 average fps;
  • PassMark10: Rating: 6801 (CPU mark: 22023, 3D Graphics Mark: 14478, Disk Mark: 21275);
  • PCMark 10: 6544 (Essentials – 10232 , Productivity – 7912 , Digital Content Creation – 9397);
  • GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit: Single-Core: 1474, Multi-core: 7485;
  • CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 2181 cb, CPU Single Core 233 cb;
  • CineBench R20 (best run): CPU 5100 cb, CPU Single Core 556 cb;
  • CineBench R23 (best run): CPU 13076 cb, CPU Single Core 1413 cb;
  • x265 HD Benchmark 64-bit: 35.66 s.

We then ran some Workstation related loads on this Ryzen 5 5600H + RTX 3060 configuration, on the stock Performance profile:

  • Blender 2.90 – BMW Car scene- CPU Compute: 3m 15s;
  • Blender 2.90 – BMW Car scene- GPU Compute: 40s (CUDA), 23s (Optix);
  • Blender 2.90 – Classroom scene – CPU Compute: 8m 26s;
  • Blender 2.90 – Classroom scene – GPU Compute: 3m 13s (CUDA), 1m 23s (Optix);
  • Pugetbench – DaVinvi Resolve: 920 points;
  • Pugetbench – Adobe Photoshop: 715 points;
  • Pugetbench – After Effects: 592 points;
  • Pugetbench – Adobe Premiere: 574 points;
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – 3DSMax: 73.89;
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – Catia: 50.28;
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – Creo: 68.5;
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – Energy: 21.2;
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – Maya: 291.29;
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – Medical: 27.08;
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – SNX: 15.83;
  • SPECviewerf 2020 – SW: 183.6.
  • V-Ray Benchmark: CPU – 9226 vsamples, GPU CUDA – 799 vpaths.

These are some solid results across the board.

Once more, it pays to have a full-power and unlimited Ryzen processor and a full-power RTX 3060. In theory, this RTX 3060 should go up to 130W of power, but in our tests, it only averaged up to 125W and rarely surpassed that level. These are similar findings to the RTX 3060 Legion 5 model tested at the same time.

The fans are still fairly noisy on this 5 Pro, as they ramp up to 50 dB on the Performance mode in the combined tests. You can always opt for the Balanced and Quiet modes if you want to, and we’ll get to them in a bit.

First, though, I mentioned you can overclock the GPU in the BIOS. The default setting is +100 MHz Clock +200 MHz Memory, and that leads to an up to 5% increase in GPU scores, without significantly impacting the noise levels or temperatures.

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 21082 (Graphics – 22978, Physics – 24793, Combined – 11437);
  • 3DMark 13 – Port Royal: 5397;
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 9211 (Graphics – 9246, CPU – 9021);
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 5544;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 16093;

The CPU performance is not majorly impacted by the GPU overclock either. The CPU scores tend to drop a little bit in our tests, but the differences are with the 1% margin of tolerance, so I’d opt for the overclock in most cases.

Now, if 50 dB fans are too loud for you, and I can see how that can be the case in many situations, you should consider the Quiet profile. The fans average between sub 30 dBA noise levels with light use and up to 44 dB with combined taxing loads on this Quiet profile, however, even most demanding loads keep the fans at around 36-38 dB, and only rarely push above 40 dB. The performance decreases, though, as shown down below.

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 10967 (Graphics – 18922, Physics – 7100, Combined – 3288);
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 7711 (Graphics – 7576, CPU – 8582);
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 4532;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 13515;
  • GeekBench 5.0.1 64-bit: Single-Core: 369, Multi-core: 3517;
  • CineBench R15 (best run): CPU 1476 cb, CPU Single Core 130 cb.

Unlike on the Legion 5 tested recently, the CPU is aggressively limited in most tests and workloads on this Quiet mode here. It runs at up to 30W in sustained CPU-only loads, but only at around 7-8W of power when the GPU is active as well, which can lead to stuttering and hiccups in some cases. As for the GPU, this mode limits it at around 80W of power, which translates to roughly 80% of its capabilities on the Performance mode.

Up to you if these trade-offs are worth it. To me, they still are, even if this Quiet profile is different than what I tested on the Legion 5. The fans run quieter for most of the time, but the aggressively limited CPU might be an issue for some users. We’ll further look at this Quiet profile down below in the Gaming performance section.

vs the Legion 5

I’ll have a separate article comparing the two series at some point, but as far as the performance goes, the differences are minimal. We tested the Ryzen 5 + RTX 3060 configuration of the Legion 5 and the Ryzen 7 + RTX 3060 version of this 5 Pro, and both performed almost identically in the GPU loads and tests. That shouldn’t be a surprise, since both are the same up to 130W chip.

On the CPU side, sure, the Ryzen 5 scores lower in most of the synthetic tests, but in real use, in mixed-loads, the differences are smaller than expected. In PCMark 10, in Puget or Specviewperf, the Legion 5 Pro configuration is only up to 10% faster than the Legion 5 variant, and that’s only because this 5 Pro test unit is the 8Core Ryzen 7 model. The two would have been neck-in-neck if we would be looking at matching configurations.

There are some small differences in how the Quiet power profiles are set up between the two, with a noisier and more powerful Quiet mode on the Legion 5, and a quieter and somewhat limited Quiet profile on the 5 Pro. Neither is perfect.

Gaming performance

Let’s look at some games.

We tested a couple of different types of games on the Performance + GPU OC mode and on Quiet, in the dGPU mode, with Hybrid disabled. We also tested on the screen’s native QHD+ resolution, but also at FHD for comparison with other laptops.

AMD Rzyen 7 5800H +
RTX 3060 Laptop 125W
Performance + OC,
QHD+ resolution
Performance + OC,
FHD resolution
Quiet,
FHD resolution
Performance + OC,
QHD, external monitor
Battlefield V
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
101 fps (54 fps – 1% low) 122 fps (56 fps – 1% low) 63 fps (29 fps – 1% low) 107 fps (57 fps – 1% low)
Cyberpunk 2077
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
38 fps (31 fps – 1% low) 54 fps (41 fps – 1% low) 42 fps (27 fps – 1% low)
Far Cry 5
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, SMAA)
85 fps (63 fps – 1% low) 102 fps (71 fps – 1% low) 47 fps (28 fps – 1% low) 88 fps (48 fps – 1% low)
Metro Exodus
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX OFF)
46 fps (31 fps – 1% low) 59 fps (33 fps – 1% low) 38 fps (26 fps – 1% low)
Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor
(DX 11, Ultra Preset)
116 fps (87 fps – 1% low) 157 fps (93 fps – 1% low) 75 fps (41 fps – 1% low) 125 fps (92 fps – 1% low)
Red Dead Redemption 2
(DX 12, Ultra Optimized, TAA)
66 fps (45 fps – 1% low) 88 fps (63 fps – 1% low) 45 fps (33 fps – 1% low) 70 fps (47 fps – 1% low)
Shadow of Tomb Raider
(DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA)
66 fps (40 fps – 1% low) 90 fps (51 fps – 1% low) 56 fps (24 fps – 1% low) 74 fps (49 fps – 1% low)
Strange Brigade
(Vulkan, Ultra Preset)
123 fps (101 fps – 1% low) 175 fps (134 fps – 1% low) 101 fps (74 fps – 1% low) 129 fps (104 fps – 1% low)
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On 4)
78 fps (64 fps – 1% low) 106 fps (96 fps – 1% low) 58 fps (32 fps – 1% low) 81 fps (64 fps – 1% low)
  • Battlefield V, The Witcher 3 – recorded with Fraps/in-game FPS counter in campaign mode;
  • Far Cry 5, Middle Earth, Strange Brigade, Red Dead Redemption 2, Tomb Raider games – recorded with the included Benchmark utilities;
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 Optimized profile based on these settings.

Those above are rasterization-only tests, and here are some results for RTX titles.

AMD Rzyen 7 5800H +
RTX 3060 Laptop 125W
Performance + OC,
QHD+ resolution
Performance + OC,
FHD resolution
Performance + OC,
QHD, external monitor
Battlefield V
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, RTX ON, DLSS OFF)
58 fps (36 fps – 1% low) 86 fps (61 fps – 1% low) 63 fps (41 fps – 1% low)
Cyberpunk 2077
(DX 12, Ultra Preset + RTX, DLSS Auto)
39 fps (28 fps – 1% low) 46 fps (29 fps – 1% low)
Shadow of Tomb Raider
(DX 12, Highest Preset, TAA, RTX Ultra)
28 fps (20 fps – 1% low) 59 fps (34 fps – 1% low) 34 fps (22 fps – 1% low)

There are a lot of numbers here, so let’s get into some context.

First off, these are excellent results for a 3060 Laptop configuration on the Performance profile, enabled by the MUX, the high GPU power settings and the slight GPU overclock available on this notebook. We haven’t tested gaming performance on the Hybrid mode, but based on our past reviews, the impact can be significant in some titles, especially at FHD resolution.

This Performance mode ramps up to fans to loud levels of 49-50 dB with the laptop sitting on the desk, but also delivers solid framerates and keeps the CPU/GPU temperatures in check, in the high 70s to mid-80s for the CPU, and high 70s on the GPU in most titles. Some games still don’t scale well with Dynamic Boost 2.0, though, and in those cases, the CPU does run hotter, at 90+ Celsius. Far Cry 5 or Battlefield V are examples of such titles. Furthermore, these results are pretty much identical to what we tested with the Legion 5 series.

Down below you’ll find the HWinfo logs for the stock Performance profile, with the screen set on FHD resolution and the laptop sitting on the desk.

Overclocking the GPU leads to a minimal t increase in GPU sustained speeds and framerates, without a noticeable impact over the GPU temperatures.

And here are the logs for the overclocked GPU, but with the screen set on QHD resolution. The differences in CPU/GPU power and frequencies are little to none between these modes.

However, there’s a trick that significantly impacts the CPU/GPU temperatures: pushing up the back of the laptop to increase the airflow into the fans. Just like the Legion 5, this 5 Pro design gets slim rubber feet around the back, where the thermal module in positioned, and these choke the intakes when the laptop sits on the desk. Pushing the back up leads to a decrease of 3-7 degrees on both CPU and GPU temperatures, with slightly noisier perceived fans on the Performance mode, at 51-52 dB at head-level.

Much like on the Legion 5, the Balanced profile on this 5 Pro doesn’t seem to do much. The laptop performs the same as on Performance, with similar temperatures. The only difference is that the fans tend to fluctuate between a wider rpm range, with noise levels between 47 to 50 dB. Also, lifting up the back of the laptop in Balanced mode allows it to run at around 47-48 dB more constantly, at least in the optimized titles that scale the CPU down with Dynamic Boost.

The performance on Quiet was a bit erratic on our test unit, and that’s because the system limits the CPU at around 7-8W, which causes occasional hiccups and stuttering. The average framerates are still OK in most titles, in line with what an 80W 3060 could deliver, but the 1% lows are abnormally low, as a result of those occasional stutters.

Based on my experience with this laptop, older titles should run well on this Quiet profile, but demanding recent titles will struggle.

As far as the internal temperatures go, we’re looking at sub-60 degrees C for the CPU and mid-60s for the GPU, so no problem there.

On the noise side, the fans tend to keep at around 36-40 dB for the most part, but still, occasionally ramp up to 43-44 dB in titles such as Far Cry 5. However, lifting up the back of the laptop allows for the internal temperatures to drop and stabilizes the fans at 36-40 dB in most games.

Overall, the Quiet profile seems a but OFF on this unit compared to what we tested in the Legion 5. That allowed for constant 25W on the CPU and 80W on the GPU, with noisier fans, but more consistent performance. This here can run quieter, but the potential stuttering is a downside that most won’t find acceptable.

That aside, you can also consider running games on an external monitor with this laptop. Since there’s a MUX, don’t expect improved framerates from what we got in our tests. Also, just as explained in the previous scenarios, the temperatures are lower if you’re using the laptop with the lid closed and propped up in a vertical stand, than when having it standing on the desk.

Finally, I’ll add that gaming on battery mode is somewhat possible here, with the CPU running at 15-25W and the GPU at around 30-35W, so don’t expect much in performance. Also, don’t expect more than an hour and a bit of runtime with gaming on the battery.

Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others

This Legion Slim 5 gets an efficient thermal module, with two fans, four radiators, and three heatsinks that spread over the components. The big thermal plates cover up the CPU, GPU, VRMs, and the Chipset, and Lenovo put thermal radiators over the RAM and SSDs as well. Heck, there’s even a radiator over the WiFi chip.

You’re not getting this sort of attention to detail with most of the other mid-range lineups.

As shown above, this cooling module works well and keeps the hardware at bay.

However, most of the fresh air comes in through the bottom intakes into the fans, and these intakes are chocked by the small-profile rubber feet while the laptop sits on a desk, as shown in the previous section. That’s why lifting up the back of the laptop in order to improve the airflow into the fans leads to a significant decrease in internal temperatures.

The fans run loud on this laptop, though, ramping up to 50 dB at head-level on performance with the laptop sitting on the desk and 52 dB with it pushed up. You’ll need a good pair of headphones to cover that up.

The Balanced profile allows the laptop to run at 47-48 dB when pushed up, while the Quiet mode keeps the fans at sub-40dB for the most part, with only occasional jumps to 43-44 dB in some titles. Lifting up the laptop to allow for the lower internal temperatures also seems to stabilize the fans at sub 40 dB in most titles.

That aside, the fans are very quiet with daily use and even idle most of the time with video streaming and low-intensity tasks, regardless of whether the laptop runs on battery or is plugged in. Somehow, these findings differ from what we experienced on the Legion 5, which kept the fans active all the time.

External temperatures are fine with this laptop, both with daily use and with games. The hottest part on the inside is still around the arrows keys and Enter key, which is rather unusual. It doesn’t go above 50 degrees Celsius on Performance, but it can still get a little uncomfortable in longer gaming sessions. Opting for the Quiet mode or/and pushing up the back of the laptop allows for these hotspots to drop by a few degrees.

*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Quiet profile,  fans idle
*Gaming – Quiet– playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, fans at ~36-44 dB
*Gaming – Performance – playing Far Cry 5 for 30 minutes, fans at ~48-50 dB

For connectivity, there’s Wireless 6 and Bluetooth 5 through an Intel AX200 chip on this laptop, which proved faster and more reliable than the Realtek on the Legion 5. I didn’t have any issues during my time with this laptop, nor did I experience any drop-outs or disconnects. However, given the current chip shortage, there’s no guarantee you’ll end up with this Intel module on your laptop, so make sure to test for any performance or connection issues on your unit.

Audio is handled by two speakers placed on the bottom of this laptop, and firing through the grills on the angled laterals, which prevents them from being easily covered and muffled. Somehow these were a little quieter than the speakers in the Legion 5, at around 75 dB at hed-level, but the audio was perhaps arguably more balanced, with a little better bass. All in all the audio quality is still lacking here, and you’ll want to use headphones with this laptop.

Finally, I’ll mention that camera at the top of the screen. It’s HD-only and washed-out quality even in good light. Lenovo also includes an electronic shutter on the left side of the laptop, which electronically kills both the camera and the microphones.

Battery life

There’s an 80Wh battery inside this Legion 5 Pro configuration, which is fair-sized for a mid-range laptop.

Somehow, this Legion 5 Pro proved far more efficient and consistent than the buggy Legion 5, and that lead to longer and more consistent runtimes, despite the higher resolution screen here. The system still doesn’t automatically switch from 165 Hz to 60 Hz when you unplug the laptop, as other devices do, but you can cycle between 60 and 165 Hz refresh by hitting Fn+R, manually. And it actually works on this unit, and makes a difference with streaming and lightweight chores!

Anyway, here’s what we got on our unit, with the screen’s brightness set at around 120 nits (~60 brightness) and 60/165 Hz refresh.

  • 15 W (~5-6 h of use) – 165Hz, text editing in Google Drive, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 11.5 W (~7-8 h of use) – 165Hz, 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 8 W (~10 h of use) – 60Hz, 1080p fullscreen video on Youtube in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 9 W (~8-9 h of use) – 165Hz, Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 7.5 W (10+ h of use) – 60Hz, Netflix fullscreen in Edge, Quiet Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 16 W (~4-5 h of use) – 165Hz, browsing in Edge, Balanced Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 65 W (~1+ h of use) – 165Hz, gaming – Witcher 3, Balanced Mode, screen at 60%, Wi-Fi ON.

Lenovo pairs this configuration with a bulky and heavy 300W power brick. At 1.15 kilos, this is not something you would like to carry around every day, and it still requires more than 2 hours to fill up the battery. You can charge the laptop via USB-C as well, just be aware that it’s going to run at full capabilities when plugged in this way.

Price and availability- Legion 5 Pro

The Legion 5 Pro is available in most areas of the world at the time of this article.

Over here, this tested Ryzen 7 + RTX 3060 configuration is available in stores for around 1200 EUR, which is competitive for what you’re getting. The same goes for under 1200 GBP in the UK, and around 1400 EUR in Germany.

In North America, this  RTX 3060 model goes for around 1400 USD at the time of this article.

The list of updates includes various RAM and storage options, as well as various Ryzen processors and RTX 3050Ti, 3060, or 3070 dGPUs. I’d stick with the Ryzen 7 + 3060 configuration.

You can configure this up to your own linking on the local Lenovo website if available in your region, or look at one of the preconfigured units, as those are usually cheaper. Third-party stores will also offer aggressively priced pre-configured models, so you should also follow this link for updated configurations and prices in your region at the time you’re reading this article.

That aside, there are also Intel-based versions of Legion 5i, built on Tiger Lake H45 hardware. Over here, those are more expensive than the AMD versions.

Final thoughts- Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

The Legion 5 Pro is the best mid-level lineup of laptops currently available in stores, and that’s no easy feat.

What you’re getting here is a well-built and manufactured chassis, with good inputs and IO, with an excellent 16:10 display, a powerful hardware configuration with a MUX and a solid cooling module, plus a big battery that allows for many hours of use on a charge. All these for the equivalent of 1200 EUR or 1400 USD, or even less with the crazy sales that Lenovo are running on their Legion laptops.

Of course, I can nitpick about quite a couple of aspects, such as the fact that there are no biometrics or card-reader, that the screen is normal and not wide-gamut, the fact that I don’t like the lit Y light on the lid, or because the clickpad is plastic and not glass, or because the shallow rubber feet choke the thermal module and cause the internal to heat-up more than they would if those feet would have been taller. But come on, this is a mid-range laptop, it can check all the right boxes.

What might realistically kill this for you is the size and the weight, though, especially when also considering that charger. If you’re looking for something lightweight and portable that you could easily grab along to work or school, this might not be right for you.

Other than that the lacking audio quality is my single notable issue with this series, as well as the still slightly unpolished power profiles. I wish Lenovo would implement a more usable mid-level Balanced profile and a more stable Quiet mode that doesn’t limit the CPU as aggressively, to prevent the stuttering that we noticed in our tests.

This wraps out my time with this 2021 Lenovo Legion 5 Pro series, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on the series and feedback on my review, so get in touch in the comments section down below.

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Andrei Girbea, Editor-in-Chief of Ultrabookreview.com. I’ve been covering mobile computers since the 2000s and you’ll mostly find reviews and thorough guides written by me here on the site.



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