Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (2021) Review
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro features an innovative and high-quality display, combining with powerful components to deliver an absorbing and impressive gaming experience. However, be aware of the disappointing battery life, and make sure you have a USB mouse to hand.
- Impressive gaming and processing power
- An innovative and bold 16:10 display
- Plenty of ports and some clever placement
- A comfortable and well-designed keyboard
- Occasionally noisy
- Mediocre battery life
- Irritating trackpad
- UKRRP: £1499
- USARRP: $1725
- EuropeRRP: €2099
- A 16:10 displayThe screen’s 16:10 aspect ratio means you get more vertical space than on most laptops, and the 2560 x 1600 resolution means more pixels too
- A powerful RTX 3070The Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 is fully unleashed in this laptop, and it delivers excellent gaming speed in all situations
- An impressive AMD processorThe AMD Ryzen 7 5800H is super-fast in everyday workloads and it’s good enough for photo and video editing, too
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is a mid-range laptop that delivers some surprising features, including a 16:10 display with a high resolution, and it promises to supply proper gaming power at a decent price.
The model on review comes with a high-end Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 graphics core, but its UK price of £1499 is surprisingly reasonable. Its US and European prices of $1725 and €2099 aren’t awful either, considering the level of hardware inside this laptop.
This rings even more true when you consider the competition. The Asus ROG Strix G15 costs £1699 / $1899 / €1999, if you’d like that machine with an AMD processor and the RTX 3070. Plus, it isn’t even possible to pick up the Dell G15 with the RTX 3070 – you’ll have to either stick with a cheaper RTX 3060 model, or step up to a pricier Alienware m15.
I’ve reviewed the Pro version of Lenovo’s machine here, but this device does a surprisingly decent job of competing with its standard stablemate. Look up the non-Pro laptop with the 5800H and RTX 3070, and you can expect to pay £1399 / $1829 / €1799.
On paper, then, there’s plenty to like, including a beefed-up specification for only a little extra cash – but how does the Lenovo stack up?
Design and Keyboard
- A robust design, although it’s heavy, thick, and requires a large power adapter
- Plenty of connectivity options, including always-on USB ports
- A comfortable keyboard and a trackpad with poor positioning
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro design lives up to the Pro moniker. The Lenovo looks like a serious gaming laptop, with a large, illuminated logo on the lid, RGB LEDs in the keyboard, and dark materials used to build the chassis. It isn’t as outlandish as your average Alienware or Asus machine – some may even call it “drab” – but it’s ideal if you want a subtle laptop.
It’s robust, too: there’s only slight movement in the wrist-rest; the underside feels sturdy; and the screen is strong. This laptop uses a combination of aluminium and plastic, and the device is easily strong enough to slip into a bag without concern.
On the right-hand side is a USB 3.2 Gen 1 port and a slider to conceal the webcam; on the left sits a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port that also handles DisplayPort. Most of the connectivity can be found at the rear of the laptop, which is super-practical. The Legion offers a second USB-C port that adds power delivery alongside three more USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, one of which is always on. There’s HDMI 2.1, too.
More USB 3.2 Gen 2 ports would have been welcome, and the AMD processor means there’s no Thunderbolt. Neither does the Lenovo include a card reader. Still, the port selection remains more practical than the competition – the Asus doesn’t feature always-on charging, and some Dell G15 models use USB 2.0.
On the inside, the Lenovo features the usual dual-band Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1, and there are no surprises with the rest of the machine’s features. The 720p webcam doesn’t have Windows Hello login, and the speakers are fine for media and gaming, although they’re too muddy in the mid-range.
The 16.1-inch form factor means the keyboard includes a numberpad, and the layout is good – you get full-sized cursor keys, a double-height Return button, and the power button is separated from the keyboard.
The concave buttons are comfortable, and they’re quiet and fast in use. They’re easily good enough for mainstream gaming and typing, but aren’t particularly crisp.
Elsewhere, the keyboard doesn’t offer RGB LED backlighting, and the Lenovo’s touchpad disappoints. It’s large enough but it’s positioned too far left, so your hand catches it easily when gaming. The button action feels weak, too. As usual, anyone who wants to enjoy games should switch to a USB mouse.
The Lenovo is robust, with decent connectivity and a pleasant keyboard, but there’s one more issue here: the sheer size of this unit. It weighs 2.54kg, so it’s heavier than any rival, and its 27mm body makes it thicker, too. Add in the 870g power brick and you have a machine that is likely to weigh you down.
- The aspect ratio, resolution and size provide an absorbing experience
- The huge brightness level delivers the punch for any situation
- Accurate colours and a relatively wide gamut make games look great
The screen is the most notable feature of the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro. The 16:10 aspect ratio provides more vertical space than 16:9 laptops, and that means you can fit more of your game onto the panel. It also makes it easier to view documents and browser windows.
The slim screen bezel makes things more absorbing, and this panel’s 2560 x 1600 resolution provides plenty of pixels to play with. Ultimately, this display is more crisp, larger, and therefore more immersive than your average gaming laptop display.
It offers superb quality, too. The Delta E of 1.28 and colour temperature of 6244K are both excellent, ensuring colours are rendered accurately. In addition, this screen displays 95.9% of the sRGB gamut, so it will produce virtually every shade required by games.
The panel’s peak brightness level of 546 nits is vast. That’s too high for indoor use – it hurts your eyes within a few minutes – but it does mean that you can comfortably use the Lenovo outdoors, or under the brightest lights. Happily, the contrast ratio of 1275:1 remains consistent no matter the brightness level, and it means you get impressive depth and vibrancy in all areas.
The superb quality, good resolution, and taller aspect ratio combine with a 165Hz refresh rate and Nvidia G-Sync to deliver butter-smooth, crisp performance in all mainstream games. You’ll only want to look elsewhere if you need a 4K panel or a faster refresh rate for eSports. If that’s the case, the Asus has a 1080p panel that runs at 300Hz.
- The fast RTX 3070 will handle any game at the display’s native resolution
- AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800H is a reliably excellent content-creation choice
- Is sometimes louder than other gaming laptops
Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 3070 is one of the green team’s most powerful cores, thanks to its 5120 stream processors and 8GB of memory – and in this laptop it runs with a peak power level of 140W, which is as high as it can get.
Lenovo pairs the hefty graphics chip with an eight-core AMD Ryzen 7 5800H. It’s a reliably excellent chip, and it peaks here at 45W, which is in the middle of AMD’s designated range.
There are no surprises elsewhere. There’s the usual 16GB of dual-channel memory, and the 1TB Samsung SSD offers plenty of space for games alongside respectable read and write speeds of 3569MB/s and 2802MB/s.
It’s a powerful specification. The Lenovo ran Horizon: Zero Dawn at 2560 x 1600 and Ultimate settings at a butter-smooth 74fps, and it swept Borderlands 3 aside at 55fps. You’ll only need the tiniest of tweaks to get the most demanding games to run at a consistent 60fps; most titles won’t require any changes.
The Lenovo doesn’t balk at eSports, either – its Rainbow Six Siege score of 228fps at 2560 x 1600 means that it will easily handle the 165Hz display.
Lenovo’s machine compares well to Asus’s rival. The Lenovo played Horizon and Borderlands at 88fps and 78fps when run at the lesser 16:10 resolution of 1920 x 1200. At a conventional 1080p resolution, the Asus delivered results of 77fps and 79fps. The Lenovo also had a slight advantage in 3DMark Time Spy – it scored 9984, while the Asus was a couple of hundred points slower.
This is about as quick as the RTX 3070 will get in a laptop, and you can add a few more frames through Performance mode – that option saw the initial Borderlands result leap from 55fps to 61fps. Conversely, the Quiet mode still leaves the laptop with enough power for mainstream gaming, although you’ll have to dial back the graphics in top games.
The AMD processor impressed, too. In Geekbench’s single- and multi-core benchmarks it delivered scores of 1395 and 7114. Both are marginally quicker than the same chip inside the Asus, and the latter result outpaces any Intel Core i7 chip you’ll find in a gaming notebook. It’s a superb choice for content creation, including photo and video editing, and it will scythe through multi-tasking, dozens of browser tabs, and Office apps. You’ll only need more grunt for high-end design and 4K video work.
The Lenovo produces similar noise levels if you play games in its Standard and Performance modes, and the Legion does sometimes create plenty of aural output – it’s slightly louder than many other RTX 3070 systems around. A headset will handle it, but you’ll notice the internals at work if you push the components.
Component speeds are good, at least – no matter what I threw at this laptop, the graphics core hit speeds beyond 1600MHz and 1700MHz in Standard and Performance modes, and the processor attained top single- and multi-core speeds of 4.3GHz and 3.5GHz, which aren’t far behind its theoretical peaks.
Quiet mode is far better for noise, with modest fan output in any task; but performance is restricted – the GPU is a couple of hundred megahertz slower and the processor speed was reduced. And, in all of these performance modes, the exterior remained relatively cool – there was a bit of warmth in the middle of the keyboard, but it was never problematic.
- Underwhelming in games – stayed connected if you want to play
- Not great results in media and work benchmarks, either
The hefty Lenovo Legion 5 Pro doesn’t have much to shout about when it comes to longevity. It lasted for 1hr 20mins during a gaming test, which is a little worse than most gaming laptops. Also bear in mind that the GPU is restricted to 90W if you use the battery. As usual, you’ll have a far better time with this laptop if you stick to the power source.
However, the Legion didn’t impress outside of games, either. It lasted for just over three hours when we played video and ran some moderate work tasks – less than half the lifespan of the Asus.
The machine’s hybrid mode makes more use of its integrated graphics chipset to extend battery life, but even then it only lasted four hours. Ultimately, this 16.1-inch machine is far better when plugged in.
Should you buy it?
You’re hankering after a powerful laptop with a big screen:
The tall, high-resolution screen and RTX 3070 deliver a stonking gaming experience, and the Lenovo has a decent processor and lots of connectivity options too.
You’re an eSports fan or you want a smaller laptop:
The display’s refresh rate isn’t quite high enough for top-end eSports, and other laptops will be slimmer, lighter and more compact.
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is impressive in games: the 16:10 display offers tremendous quality and immersion, the graphics card is faster, and the keyboard is comfortable. This machine features great connectivity too. It’s occasionally loud, though, and you’ll want to look elsewhere if you want a lighter laptop or a machine with better battery life.
How we test
Every gaming laptop we review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to gauge key things including build quality, performance, screen quality and battery life.
These include formal synthetic benchmarks and scripted tests, plus a series of real world checks, such as how well it runs when running a AAA game.
We used as our main laptop for at least a week.
Tested the performance via both benchmark tests and real-world use.
We tested the screen with a colorimeter and real-world use.
We tested the battery with a benchmark test and real-world use.
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The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is covered by a one-year warranty.