Sunday, August 1, 2021
LaptopsWindows laptops

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro review (Ryzen 7 + RTX 3070, 16:10 QHD+ screen)


I’m still shopping for a new laptop and next on my list is the Legion 5 Pro.  I’ve been anticipating this one for a while as it has been released for a few months in other parts of the world and just finally came in stock here in the US.

On paper, it’s a lot of what I’ve been looking for.  Good screen, powerful GPU, stylish and yet not gamer-looking design, and some upgrade options.  My main concerns were with the overall size of it and the weight.  I am coming from a Razer Blade 15 after all, so good build quality was definitely on my list of desires.

After a couple weeks of usage, I must admit that I’m very pleased with what Lenovo has to offer here.  It doesn’t have the flashy RGB and compact desgin that my Razer Blade has, but the 16″ screen and powerful GPU more than make up the difference.  Of course, it’s not a unicorn – there’s a couple things I don’t care for, such as the keyboard feedback and a trackpad that’s just slightly too far to the left.  But these are small issues, and I think this laptop will be on the top of a lot of buyers’ lists.

Specs as reviewed – Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro
Screen 16 inch, 2560 x 1600 px, IPS, 165 Hz, matte, 3ms response, Dolby Vision, HDR400, GSYNC
Processor AMD Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, octa-core 3.2 GHz (4.4 GHz boost)
Video NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 with 8GB GDDR6 VRAM up to 140W TGP
Memory 16 GB DDR4 3200Mhz (2×8 GB DIMMs)
Storage 2x 1TB M.2 NVMe (SKHynix)
Connectivity Intel Wifi 6 AX200 with Bluetooth 5.2
Ports 4x USB-A 3.2 gen1(one always on), 2x USB-C 3.2 gen 2(one with PD 3.0 charging support), HDMI 2.1, mic/earphone, ethernet
Battery 80 Wh, 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 2.59 kg (5.7 lbs) as weighed
Extras 4-zone RGB keyboard, HD webcam with E-shutter button, stereo speakers

Design and build

With the exception of the 16″ screen, the overall case design and build quality is probably my favorite part of this laptop.  It’s just plain excellent.  Throughout my use, I didn’t notice any creaks or abnormalities that made it difficult or frustrating to handle.

Opening the lid is a simple one finger effort and the lip sticks out plenty enough to locate with your finger.  But don’t be fooled – this hinge is solid and won’t wobble a bit, even if you try and shake the entire unit.  The lid is rock solid as well, as I detected no flex even from adjusting the lid at the corners.

Under the hood is a full sized keyboard and large trackpad, which will be covered in much more detail in a bit.  Above it is a large 16″ 16:10 screen with very small bezels.  The bottom bezel is a little bit larger, but very appealing to me, as it’s probably half the size of most other gaming laptops available.  Centered above the screen is a small webcam, however there are no biometrics with this one.

The logos on this model are both classy and subtle(well at least the ones under the hood are).  The Legion logo underneath the screen is black embossed lettering on black plastic, which is invisible in most lighting conditions.  And the Lenovo engraved plate on the corner of the palm rest is small and yet very nice looking in my opinion.  Too bad they ruined my first impression with a bunch of ugly stickers, but at least these can easily be peeled off.

 

One thing that really caught me off guard was how far back the screen went, and not in a good way.  Fact is, I fully expected this panel to fold back 180° like in the product pictures on their website.  This is very deceiving if you ask me, so please see below for the maximum angle you can get on this unit.

It’s not that bad of an angle, but I would have preferred that angled plastic piece not be there and they just let it go all the way back.  I have no idea why that plastic piece is there other than to be a backstop – it doesn’t seem to do anything else.

The exterior construction is primarily made of aluminum, but the palm rest area and the vents are made of durable plastic components.  The entire unit feels premium, including the plastic pieces, as they are all overmolded onto the aluminum bottom plate, which is firmly clipped into the chassis and secured by screws.  All this effort leads to a solid design with no creaking or flex, so it was worth the effort.

The metal exterior has a matte finish and is grey in color, which I’ve grown to love for a few reasons.  First of all, it’s unique.  Most gaming laptops are black, and I certainly don’t want to experiment on how well I can dirty up an all white design over time.  Grey is the perfect “in between” color which I liked on both this and the Asus G15.  This one more-so, since it doesn’t have a thousand tiny holes to collect dust.

The grey matte finish is also a good balance where you maintain grip strength but doesn’t show every oil that’s in my fingertips.  Even after a couple weeks, it still looks great and I haven’t had to wipe it down once.  I can’t say this for most black laptops, including my old Razer Blade.

The lid is pretty plain looking, with a couple accent lines on the edges.  There’s a Y logo on the back which is a little flashy but acceptable to me.  I don’t care too much for the backlighting on it, but it can easily be turned off(Fn-L).  Once done, it looks a lot more subtle.  This could  pose as a professional looking laptop, in my opinion, with the light off though.

By the way, if that light doesn’t bother you while the laptop is in use, perhaps it will find other ways to bother you.  If you’re like me and shut your lid to enter sleep mode, prepare to watch hours of pulsating logo while it sits there on your desk.  So dumb – Fn-L

Plenty of IO on this unit.  Starting on the left, there’s a single USB-C port, along with the headphone/microphone combo jack.  On the left is a single USB-A port.  Right next to that is a cool little switch that physically disconnects your webcam when not in use.  What a great idea!

The remainder of the IO is in the back of the laptop.  You get three additional USB-A ports, another USB-C port(this one supporting PD charging), an HDMI 2.1 port and ethernet. Unfortunately there’s no Thunderbolt on this unit.  No card reader either.

There’s also a proprietary power connection on the back.  I have zero complaints about it not being the standard barrel connection – this is way better.  It’s both robust and easy to connect as it’s also reversible.  It takes a reasonable amount of force to pull out, but not too much.

The bottom panel isn’t too fancy, but I actually prefer it this way.  There are some very good footpads on this unit too.  They are very grippy, both by the hand and on the surfaces.  There’s ample ventilation for the intakes too.  The entire cover is held in place by clips and phillips screws.

If you’re choices happen to be narrowed down to this and the Alienware m15 r5, here’s a quick shot of a top view of the two.  Note that these laptops have almost the exact same footprint and very similar specs.  I’ll cover the key differences between these two models in a different article, so stay tuned for that.  Note the size difference in the screen though – night and day difference.

So to summarize, huge thumbs up from me on the design of this laptop.  It feels premium, even though it’s not all metal.  Having no creaks in the casing or hinge really goes a long way for me, plus it just looks very nice overall.  I honestly wouldn’t change a thing, except maybe remove the lid logo and go back to the old one.

Keyboard and trackpad

The keyboard on this model is ok.  I feel like the keys are a little on the mushier side, as it doesn’t take a lot of force to depress the keys.  The key travel is decent enough though, and the longer I sued it, the better I got at typing on it.

What sticks out to me is how quiet it is.  None of the keys make any noise with the exception of the spacebar, but even that is pretty quiet.

The keys are all plastic and have a concave curvature to them, making typing easier in my opinion.  I’ve struggled with soft-touch keyboards in the past where I tend to hit the corner of the keys and get no response.  This curvature seems to help you center your keystrokes.

It’s a full keyboard layout with a Numpad on this model.  It’s interesting, because the Numpad has smaller keys than the rest of the keyboard, but I actually like it.  It’s a better solution than cramping all of the keys together.  The price you pay is the main keyboard is slightly offset to the left.  I barely noticed a problem with it.

The layout is also very normal(well at least to me!).  There really isn’t a single key missing or out of place.  I especially like having normal and offset arrow keys back.  The function keys have a lot of useful tools as well, like the snippet tool, calculator, and a dedicated alt-tab button.  It’s been a while since I opted to have Fn lock on(which this also has a key for).

The only weakness in this keyboard is the flex in the chassis.  I did notice quite a bit of flex, particularly around the D and F keys.  It’s probably because I strike there the hardest.  It doesn’t interrupt how well I type, but it is annoying to see(especially if you’re the type to look at your hands while typing).

For RGB, you get 4 zone illumination on this model.  Don’t expect too much though, as the RGB options are scarce.  To me, the zones are pretty ugly so I just opt for single-zone illumination.  This is an older style of RGB illumination though, so there’s plenty of light bleeding in the keys and the color isn’t consistent on the bottom of the Numpad and the spacebar.

The trackpad is also just ok.  It’s plastic so you won’t get the smooth feeling that you get with glass trackpads.  It tracks well though, and I had no issues with how accurate it was.

Gestures worked very well and the integrated buttons on the corners worked just as I would have expected them too.  I typically use single and double taps for left and right clicks.  Zero issues there either.

Where I struggled most with the trackpad is the size and location.  Since there’s a Numpad, it’s not centered on the laptop.  This means your left hand will be a little cramped than on a laptop without a Numpad.  And in my case, my left palm was constantly hitting the upper left corner of the trackpad for the first few days of use.

It’s not a huge deal-breaker, as it only moves my mouse pointer a little every now and then.  But it is annoying – it’s not like I have this problem on other laptops.  Your mileage may vary depending on the size of your hands though.

After a little investigating, most competitor trackpads are actually aligned or really close to the left edge of the spacebar.  Had Lenovo done this, I think it would have been perfect.

Screen

Arguably, the main draw to this laptop is the unique 16” screen.  It’s an unusual size, and it’s because it comes with an uncommon 16:10 aspect ratio.  The resolution is 2560×1600, offering more than 10% extra vertical space than a traditional 16:9 screen.

At this screen size and resolution, the visuals are fantastic.  The viewing angles are excellent, just like most other modern IPS screens out there.  My panel did have a bit of backlight bleed along the bottom edges.  Really though, it was very minor and hardly worth mentioning.

I took some measurements on my X-rite i1 Display Pro sensor and here’s what I got:

  • Panel HardwareID: CSOT MNG007DA1-1;
  • Coverage: 103% sRGB, 73% DCI-P3, 71% AdobeRGB;
  • Measured gamma: 2.2;
  • Max brightness in the middle of the screen: 491 cd/m2 on power;
  • Contrast at max brightness: 1259:1
  • Native white point: 6375 K;
  • Black on max brightness: 0.39 cd/m2.

What really stood out to me was the peak brightness, being so close to 500 nits.  This made a big difference when using the laptop next to a bright window.  I still don’t think it’s enough to battle glare from direct sunlight, but I don’t use my laptop outside much anyway.

It’s interesting seeing the brightness settings on this model, mainly because of how drastic they fall off between 80-100%.  I found myself using 60% for typical use in low lit rooms, where on most other laptops it would be 30%.  While gaming I almost exclusively kept it at 90%, mainly because 100% was too bright.  But having that extra 150+ nits was prefect for those times I was typing next to my bright dining room window.

The screen refresh rate is 165Hz, which to me is more than enough speed for productivity and most gaming needs.  Especially paired with a 3070, I think this is a good balance of refresh rate.  You can also switch it to 60Hz if you wanted to save on some battery life a little.

One thing I was kind of hoping for was more color space on the panel.  It’s only 100% sRGB, which sounds kind of weird to say, considering this time last year almost every panel was not anything higher.  But after seeing the 100% DCI-P3 panels such as that on the Asus Zephyrus G15 and M16 and on the Alienware m15 r5, I’m a little envious and want it on this machine.

Another added feature to this panel is the fast response time.  You have to turn it on though.  In Lenovo Vantage, there’s a toggle called Overdrive that will lower the response time to 3ms when turned on.  I have no idea what it is with it off, but it is noticeable on fast-paced games for sure.  You’ll probably just want to leave it on if you game a lot.

I honestly have no complaints on this panel.  Sure it could have more colors, but other than that it’s perfect.  The 16:10 aspect ratio is also pretty nice to have.  I didn’t realize just how much I would like it until I saw it in person.  Not only is it good looking for productivity stuff, it also suits well for games.  It just costs a little in performance compared to a standard 16:9 screen, due to the extra pixels.

Hardware and performance

The Legion 5 Pro comes with a Ryzen 7 5800H CPU, which is an octa-core processor that boosts up to 4.4Ghz.  It’s not only fast, but very power efficient at lower power modes, and is pretty much one of the more desirable CPUs out there in the laptop space these days.

Also included in this model is an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 Laptop GPU, with a maximum TGP of 140W.  This card includes 8GB of GDDR6 vRAM, which you’d think would be enough for most games.  But at 2560 x 1600 px, I found that some games used up to 90% of the vRAM.  So we’re cutting it close here.  Not like you have a choice anyway, as Nvidia doesn’t have any more options on RAM for anything aside from some 3080 chips.

Also bundled in this model is 16GB of RAM, which is dual channel and clocked at 3200Mhz. There are two RAM modules and both can be upgraded, if desired.  My opinion is you probably will want to, but I’ll get more into that shortly.

For storage, I got two 1TB SSDs.  Both are PCIe 3.0 x4 and are pretty speedy drives.  It’s kind of weird they included two instead of a single 2TB drive, because I think most enthusiasts are going to want to add their own second drive.  But I’m picking nits here – this is better than what most others offer.

I was able to open up the laptop and peek inside.  The casing uses regular Phillips head screws and there are a couple of different sizes, so be careful with the disassembly.  Also, the backplate is not intuitive to take off.  It’s similar to the 2020 Legion 5 though, so there are how-to videos online that will help.

The inside is actually very tidy looking.  Not that it needs to be, but everything is well organized and compartmentalized.  The RAM has a metal box plate over it, which can be carefully removed to give you access to the RAM slots.  The SSDs also have heat sinks over them, so you’ll need to remove those to get access.

These logs share a look into the performance and thermals with daily use such as streaming, browsing or text processing.

I took some synthetic benchmarks at the three different settings in Lenovo Vantage.  First was in Performance mode, which boosts the GPU up to 140W:

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 23818 (Graphics – 26953, Physics – 24572);
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 10529 (Graphics – 10861, CPU – 8979);
  • 3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics: 6493;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 6724;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 19352;
  • GeekBench 5: Single-Core: 1386, Multi-core: 7360;
  • CineBench R15: OpenGL 150.42 fps, CPU 2140 cb, CPU Single Core 220 cb;
  • CineBench R23: CPU 12890 pts, CPU Single Core 1361 pts;

 

For these tests, I set the Thermal mode to Balanced, which I think just limits the GPU’s TGP to 115W.  Here were my results:

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 22831 (Graphics – 25445, Physics – 24611);
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 10037 (Graphics – 10253, CPU – 8970);
  • 3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics: 6130;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme: 6351;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium: 18364;
  • GeekBench 5: Single-Core: 1418, Multi-core: 7279;
  • CineBench R15: OpenGL 148.14 fps, CPU 2018 cb, CPU Single Core 219 cb;
  • CineBench R23: CPU 11960 pts, CPU Single Core 1390 pts;

For these tests I set the Thermal mode to Quiet which appears to limit the CPU to 10-12W (roughly 1.086 GHz unless demanded):

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike: 13272 (Graphics – 21777, Physics – 9017);
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy: 9148 (Graphics – 9283, CPU – 8457);
  • 3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics: 5975;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme:6213;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium:8450;
  • GeekBench 5: Single-Core: 366, Multi-core: 3540;
  • CineBench R15: OpenGL 46.15 fps, CPU 1484 cb, CPU Single Core 148 cb;
  • CineBench R23: CPU 8725 pts, CPU Single Core 330 pts;

Finally, these are my results in Performance mode only with my 32GB Ram kit installed.  The RAM is 2400Mhz 2RX8 Kingston HyperX :

  • 3DMark 13 – Fire Strike:23942 (Graphics – 27010, Physics – 24992);
  • 3DMark 13 – Time Spy:10735 (Graphics – 10903, CPU – 9875);
  • 3DMark 13 – Port Royal (RTX) Graphics:6469;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Extreme:6751;
  • Uniengine Superposition – 1080p Medium:19044;
  • GeekBench 5:Single-Core: 1426, Multi-core: 8476;
  • CineBench R15:OpenGL 129 fps, CPU 2158 cb, CPU Single Core 221 cb;
  • CineBench R23:CPU 12937 pts, CPU Single Core 1408 pts;

So overall, these are very good results.  I don’t think I’ll ever use Quiet mode for anything that needs performance, but it’s nice to have it as an option on the go.  The hotkey to switch between these modes is literally on a sticker on the palmrest, so it’s easy to remember(Fn-Q).

In general, though, these results are pretty much what I was expecting.  The TGP does hit 140W, but the averages are more in the 125-135W range.  I’ll dig more into that shortly.

You might be wondering what’s with the testing with my old RAM.  As Andrei mentioned in the Strix G15 article and Jarrod’s Tech discovered on his Youtube channel, the default RAM in most of these new machines kinda sucks.

And this one is no exception.  I got a different brand than Jarrod did, but I still have 1Rx16 modules with similar specs.  And when I replaced the modules with my 5 year old RAM with slower speeds(2400Mhz), I was pretty surprised to see that I gor better results.

I also did some testing with a number of games.  All these tests were done in performance mode in QHD and FHD at 16:10:

 

FHD+ QHD+ QHD+ with my RAM
Battlefield V
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing OFF)
119 fps avg, 105 fps low 99 fps avg, 93 fps low 103 fps avg, 97 fps low
Battlefield V
(DX 12, Ultra Preset, Ray-Tracing ON)
75 fps avg, 67 fps low 46 fps avg, 42 fps low 54 fps avg, 46 fps low
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks On)
94 fps avg, 86 fps low 75 fps avg, 70 fps low 78 fps avg, 74 fps low
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt
(DX 11, Ultra Preset, Hairworks Off)
112 fps avg, 100 fps low 88 fps avg, 75 fps low 90 fps avg, 83 fps low
Horizon Zero Dawn
(Ultra)
91 fps avg, 83 fps low 70 fps avg, 63fps low 74 fps avg, 67fps low
Cyberpunk 2077
(Ultra, Ray Tracing On, DLSS Auto)
61 fps avg, 57 fps low 51 fps avg, 49 fps low 52 fps avg, 49 fps low
Cyberpunk 2077
(Ultra, Ray Tracing On, DLSS off)
41 fps avg, 38 fps low 23 fps avg, 21 fps low 26 fps avg, 24 fps low
Cyberpunk 2077
(Ultra, Ray Tracing Off, DLSS off)
76 fps avg, 69 fps low 47 fps avg, 45 fps low 50 fps avg, 47 fps low
Valheim
(High preset)
72 fps avg, 60 fps low 60 fps avg, 50 fps low 72 fps avg, 59 fps low

I was mentally preparing myself for noticeably worse results than the 16:9 laptops I just reviewed, but these are actually pretty decent.  I especially liked the added vertical space, so I think 16:10 gaming could very well be a thing now.

It’s hard not to be satisfied with these numbers too.  With the exception of Cyberpunk (which most laptops struggle with anyway), you’re going to be able to play at 60+fps in ultra settings on the native QHD+ resolution for most games.  And if not, it’s easy to just revert to FHD+ or turn the settings down a little.

And again, if you want a little boost to these stats, I highly recommend swapping out the RAM.  As you can see, I got better results across the board with my old RAM.  If this is something you plan on doing, do some research on what RAM modules will perform better.  There’s quite a community out there noticing this and it’s growing.

I can’t exactly fault Lenovo for this either, as it appears to be an industry standard.  Andrei found the same issue on an Asus unit, and I’m sure it was the same thing for the Alienware m15 I just had, as it shares the exact same RAM as Jarrod had in his video.  So no matter where you look, you’ll probably be facing the same potential upgrade dilemma.

Regardless of whether or not you replace the RAM, this laptop is a solid performer, especially considering the price tag.

Noise, Heat, Connectivity, speakers, and others

The Legion 5 Pro utilizes a unique cooling solution, consisting of a mixture of large heatsinks, some heat pipes and a pair of large fans.   It works well, as it tames the Ryzen 7 5800H better than most of the other Ryzen laptops I’ve been testing.

The thermals are strictly controlled by the Lenovo Vantage software, which you only get three options to choose from.   Balanced mode offers the best balance between quiet fans and decent performance.   TDP will be allowed to hit 46W, while TGP will hover around 115W.  In this mode my fans peaked at 48dB.

Performance mode will increase your TGP up to 140W and will allow the CPU to boost at 60W.  In this mode, your fans will operate the same, but when you game, the fans will get much louder than before.  For example, in performance mode, I reached peak fan noises of 57dB, while in balanced mode I only hit 48dB for the same game.  But I also saw a performance increase to 72fps over 66fps.  Pick your poison.

Quiet mode is noticeably better on the fan noise, however your TDP gets limited to a mere 10-12W.  Your TGP stays at 115W though, so if you’re playing a game that doesn’t require much CPU usage, you might get good results with lass fan noise.  In this mode, the fans peaked at 42dB.  Quieter but not exactly “quiet”.

As you can see from all three performance modes, the CPU stays at some pretty good temperatures.  Having temps average at 84C in performance mode isn’t bad at all.  And it gets even better in balanced or quiet mode.   GPU temps are also well under control.

If you want better, you can’t control the fans manually, which is unfortunate.  But I did have some success using Ryzen Controller, which is a 3rd party software that is used to manually control the TDP or temperature limits of the CPU.  I was able to use the software to throttle under specific temperature limits and TDP limits.

If I were to use this regularly, I would probably choose a TDP of 25C.  This seemed to have minimal impact of most games, and yet limited the fan noise closer to 50dB, while in Performance mode.  It also allowed the TGP to hover close to 140W for longer periods of time, offering better GPU performance.  I didn’t spend a lot of time using this tool, but it’s nice to know it works.

As for external temperatures of the chassis, I took a number of measurements while using the laptop normally, and again while gaming for an extended period.  See below for my results:

*Daily Use – streaming Netflix in EDGE for 30 minutes, Quiet Profile, fans at 32dB
*Gaming  – Performance Profile – playing Cyberpunk 2077 for 30 minutes,  fans peaked at 53dB

The gaming loads were hot, as expected.  Really though, pretty much all gaming laptops 1″ thick and below get hot like this.  A lapdesk is certainly reccommended if you plan on playing with this on the couch.

I was pleased with the temps during normal use though.  It’s a lot cooler than I expected and it’s mainly because the CPU fan stays at a low speed practically all the time.  The constant air circulation does a lot to keep the chassis cool and the CPU at low temps.  Fan noise hovers around 32dB, which is fine by me.

Now for the other stuff.  The Wifi module is the Intel AX200, which has performed well on other laptops I’ve tested.  This is no exception.  My speed test from 30ft away from my router resulted in 440Mbps.  I experienced no drops in connection the entire time I used it either.  The module comes with Bluetooth 5.2.

I haven’t used the Bluetooth connection much.  But I have been reading some reports of inconsistent connections, with both controllers and earphones.  I’ll try to do some more of this in the coming days, but I would recommend looking into this more if you’re a serious buyer and use Bluetooth a lot.

The sound from the speakers is fine.  Cranked all the way up, it can reach amplitudes as high as 80dB, which is good enough for streaming a show or something.

The mids and highs sound just ok, but the bass is limited to as low as 100Hz.  Even so, the sound is decent for movie streaming or watching Youtube.  Just don’t expect your favorite song to sound like it does on some quality headphones or speakers.

There’s an HD webcam above the screen.  It’s not a biometric webcam unfortunately, so that’s a real bummer.  But it’s actually pretty decent as far as gaming webcams go.  The colors certainly could be better.  What really stood out to me was how sharp the image was even in low lighting.

The best part about this webcam is the fact there’s a kill switch to disable it.  Call me crazy, but I always wonder about these webcams pointing at my face all day, so I’m king of digging having a switch to physically disable it, when not needed.

Battery life

The Legion 5 Pro has an 80Whr battery, which is a pretty decent size.  Judging from the inside, it doesn’t look like they had any more room for something bigger either.

In order to get the best out of the battery life, you need to enable Optimus.  By default, the iGPU is disabled and GSYNC is on, so in order to enable Optimus, you need to go into Lenovo Vantage and check “Hybrid mode” which is the MUX switch.  After a reboot, Optimus will be on and the iGPU will be used.

I took a bunch of battery measurements, with Optimus on and with the screen set at 60% brightness, roughly 90 nits.  Here were my results:

  • 9.2 W (~8 h 42 min of use)– idle, Best Battery Mode, screen at 0%, Wi-Fi ON, backlighting off;
  • 14.9 W (~5 h 37 min of use)– text editing in Google Drive, Better Battery Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 13.8 W (~5 h 5 min of use)– 1080p Youtube fullscreen in Chrome, Better Battery Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 11.8 W (~6 h 10 min of use)– 1080p Netflix fullscreen video in Edge, Better Battery Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 19.8 W (~4 h 36 min of use)– browsing in Chrome, Better Performance Mode, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON;
  • 61 W (~53 min of use)– Gaming – Witcher 3, Maximum Performance Mode, 60fps, screen at 30%, Wi-Fi ON.

Pretty impressive battery life, for a gaming laptop.  I was able to type a pretty good amount of this review and do a lot of other stuff on a single charge.  Needless to say, I wasn’t disappointed.

I’ve read other reports of middling battery life.  I’m not sure how to respond to that though, because I think these results are pretty decent considering the hardware involved.  Gaming laptops in general usually have awful battery life, so this is refreshing to see.  Perhaps they also didn’t know you could turn the iGPU on – it makes a huge difference.

The power brick is 300W, which is more than enough to power both the CPU and GPU on this machine.  It’s interesting that it’s the EXACT same size as the one I had for the Alienware m15, only 60W more.  It’s not very compact at all.  It fits in my bag, but it’s too wide to fit in my usual spot that I usually put chargers.

Price and availability

At the time of this review, the Legion 5 Pro is only available on Lenovo.com.  And even there, it’s completely sold out for now.  The model I purchased was priced at $1959, which actually isn’t a bad price at all.

I’ll keep an eye out for any other listings, like on Amazon.

Final thoughts

When you get right down to it, the Legion 5 Pro is an excellent laptop in so many ways.  Of course the main draw is the 16″ 16:10 screen, which is both bright and beautiful, but also unique to just a select few laptops at the time of this review.  I wish it was the high gamut panel like on the Asus Zephyrus M16, but it’s still better than almost everything else out there.

The appeal doesn’t end there either.  The build quality is excellent, the battery life is above average and the performance is about as good as it gets at this weight class.  And the price is right too.  At sub-$2000 pricing, it’s hard to beat, knowing that most of the boxes are pretty much checked off.

My only nits to pick are with my palms accidentally brushing the trackpad and the slightly mushy keyboard.  Seriously though, those are minor and I think I could easily adjust.  My typing has gotten noticeably better while typing this review and I think it’s probably one of the quietest keyboards I’ve ever used.

If you’re wondering if this is the right laptop for you, I think the main thing you need to ask is if it’s the right size and weight.  If your sights are on a 16″ gaming laptop solution, your options are probably narrowed down to this, the HP Omen 16 and even the Asus Zephyrus M16.  But considering those three, this is both the larger and heavier of the bunch.

Now, I haven’t tested the Omen yet, but Andrei recently reviewed the M16.  I think it’s probably safe to say the Legion performs the best of the three though.  So like I said, consider the size and performance you prefer when shopping for your 16″ laptop.

Fact is, even though it’s technically a 15″ chassis, it’s kind of a large 15″ chassis and shouldn’t be confused with your thin and light alternatives.  It’s not the width, but more on the depth, due to the vents in the back.  It’s nearly the exact same size as the Alienware m15 r5 that I just reviewed.  So if you’re looking at that one as one of your options, I think the Legion 5 Pro is a sure thing to consider as well.

Regardless of what screen size you’re looking for, even if you’re just shopping for a new gaming laptop in general, I think the Legion 5 Pro is a good option right now.  I believe the overall value is just spot on.  Can’t really think of a better way to put it really.

Is it for me?  I think so, actually!  My only hangup is actually the size.  Keep in mind, I’m coming from a 2019 Razer Blade 15, so while I really appreciate the portability and build quality of the Razer laptops, I am also a little envious of the better performance of higher TGP cards available in devices such as this Legion 5 Pro.  But this laptop is over a pound heavier than what I’m used to carrying around, so it’s taking me a while to decide if it’s right for me.  I should be getting the new Razer Blade 14 in for review soon, so perhaps I’ll decide then.

So that wraps this review up.  I’ll have this unit for a couple more weeks, so please feel free to ask me anything and I’ll try to help.  I also plan on doing a comparison article with the Alienware m15, since I had both in side by side for a short time – so stay tuned for that.

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In addition to being a tech enthusiast, Derek has a career as a biomedical engineer. He enjoys taking things apart, figuring out how they work and finding ways to make them better. His other hobbies include spending time with his family, “Do it yourself” projects such as home automation and running.



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