There is a race among PC companies to make the latest and greatest gaming laptops with beefy specs and jaw-dropping designs. But there is a space for mid-range gaming laptops in the market that don’t necessarily offer headline-grabbing specs or sci-fi-like designs yet cover all the basics that are necessary for a true gaming experience. Lenovo’s Legion 5i Pro, though not cheap, is impressive for what it offers despite its flaws. I have spent over a week with the Legion 5i Pro and used the notebook for both gaming and regular computing tasks. Here’s what I have found.
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro price in India (as reviewed): Rs 155,300
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro review: Design and aesthetics
Lenovo has used a subdued design approach in creating its Legion laptops, and I respect that. That design language is in contrast to brands like Asus and Alienware where the RGB lighting on and the keys and the accents feel a bit too aggressive. The Legion 5i Pro is less glamorous but the design still conveys that this is a gaming laptop.
The white colourway is what sets the gaming notebook apart from the competition. Aside from these, the only other notable design element is the illuminated Y logo which is centred on the lid — it glows light blue when the laptop is plugged in, but there is no way to change its colour. Although the notebook is made of plastic, I liked the Legion 5i Pro for its excellent build quality. At 2.3 kg, the notebook is heavy and a bit chunky.
The lid is strong, and the hinge opens with one finger, and there isn’t any screen wobble either. The bezels around the display are thin and the HD webcam has a dedicated electronic shutter (an On/Off switch is placed on the right side of the notebook). Since this is a high-performance gaming laptop, Lenovo has added four vents on each side of the notebook and a big ventilation grill on the bottom area that keeps the device cool when running graphics-heavy games. The laptop remains quiet while doing regular computing work, but the fans crank up when you start playing games. But the Legion 5i Pro doesn’t get too hot when you push the notebook to the fullest.
The Legion 5i Pro has plenty of ports and most of them are located on the back of the notebook. It has an ethernet (RJ-45) connector, an HDMI 2.1 connector, a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port, two USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) ports, and a power connector. On the left, you will find a USB Type-C 3.2 (Gen. 2) port, and an audio jack. The right side has a USB Type-A 3.2 (Gen. 1) port, and a dedicated camera shutter switch. The SDXC slot for transferring photos and videos from a camera is missing, however.
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro review: Display and audio
The 16-inch display on the Legion 5i Pro is beautiful. It has a 2,560×1,600-pixel resolution with brightness reaching 500 nits. The 16:10 aspect ratio squeezes more screen, so a bit less scrolling when reading The Indian Express. When I watched season three of The Hookup Plan, Paris looked dead gorgeous on the Legion 5i Pro’s 16-inch screen. Photos and videos popped up with bold colours, while the text looked clear.
If you want to play games at a high refresh rate, the Legion 5i Pro also supports a 165Hz refresh rate. The benefits of a high refresh screen are also visible when scrolling down web pages or flipping through a photo gallery. The model I tested lacked a touchscreen, but it did support Dolby Vision. Interestingly, the small area that houses the webcam is elevated above the display. It appears like a screen notch, the one found on the new MacBook Pro, but seamlessly blends with the display. The 720p webcam is mediocre, but it gets the job done. The Legion 5i Pro also lacks any kind of biometric system for securely logging you in without a password.
The fantastic screen is complemented by excellent stereo speakers. Games, music, movies and podcasts all sounded more realistic. I can confidently say you don’t need to pair Bluetooth speakers with the Legion 5i Pro while attending a long conference call or listening to casual music.
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro review: Keyboard and trackpad
The keyboard is well designed and enjoyable to type on. It offers solid travel and snappy feedback; plus, you also get a full NumberPad and customisable RGB backlighting option. The touchpad is decently sized and is big enough for everyday use, but I found it less accurate in my testing. Tracking is a hit and miss.
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro review: Performance and battery
The Legion 5i Pro is a no-compromise gaming laptop, and its specs promise a lot of power. The model tested for this review had an Intel Core i7-11800H, 16 GB of DDR4 RAM, an RTX 3060 (6GB GDDR6 VRAM), and a 1TB SSD. The performance remains relatively in line with the competition. The RTX 3060 and i7-11800H model will see you achieve just under 50 fps on Rise of the Tomb Raider at 1440p Ultra settings. For those high FPS games, you could obviously achieve more by lowering the screen resolution. But I am one of those people who mostly play games at night, or whenever I want to take a break from intense writing. I am not a professional-level gamer but I like to play the newest AAA games and for that, I need a pretty high-specced PC. At the same time, I wanted a PC that is powerful enough and delivers desktop-grade power in a portable machine. My regular workload mostly consists of writing, editing images, browsing the web, communicating via email and WhatsApp Web. I never experienced a second of lag during my time with the Legion 5i Pro even when running multiple apps at the same time.
One of the constant issues with a gaming laptop is the battery life, and it seems that things aren’t improving with Intel-based PCs, in particular. I was not, anyway, expecting a full day of work on a single charge. In my tests, the 16-inch Legion 5i Pro could get me through around 4 hours of work without having to be plugged in. Sure, battery life will vary based on the programmes you run, but the battery life needs to improve on gaming laptops.
Lenovo Legion 5i Pro review: Performance and battery
The Legion 5i Pro is a mid-range gaming machine, but you won’t be disappointed with this notebook. The device has a solid build quality, reasonable keyboard, nice display with a 165Hz refresh rate, and powerful hardware. But it’s far from perfect. Its not-so-accurate plastic touchpad annoyed me, and the battery life could have been better. You can also check out the Legion 5 Pro, the model with an AMD GPU. It’s a lot cheaper, but the performance isn’t any less compared to that of the Intel variant.