The Lenovo Legion 5 is one of the best Ryzen gaming laptops we’ve tested, and you guys requested it so much that we had to import it from the US with our own money. Lenovo Legion 5 gaming laptop is latest and best performance gaming laptop.
Lenovo Legion 5 Specs:
The Commuter Backpack is a great daily carrier for your tech with a padded shock-resistant laptop holder, power bank pocket, external USB port for charging, RFID blocking bag, and it’s even weatherproof.
Back to the Lenovo Legion 5, it’s got everything you’d want in a mid-range gaming laptop, including an 8-core Ryzen processor, Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti graphics, and a 144Hz screen, all for around $1,228.
It’s got a plastic build with a black finish.
The interior is soft rubberized material, though it seems nicer than the older Y540. In any case, the build quality was decent, with no sharp corners or edges.
Design, Size & Weight:
Lenovo Legion 5 gaming laptop lists the starting weight as 2.5kg, though mine was under 2.3 or about 5lb, then with the 230w power brick and cables, we’re
looking at over 3.1 kilograms or almost 7lb total.
The size is pretty average for a 15″ gaming laptop at this price point, so not thin by any means but not oversized.
It’s got a 15.6″ 1080p 144Hz display with a 60Hz to 144Hz FreeSync range. Lenovo gives us the option of disabling Optimus, aka hybrid mode after a reboot, through the Vantage software, which will provide a performance boost in games at the expense of battery life.
The vantage software also enables overdrive mode, which affects screen response time. With overdrive off, we’re looking at an average grey-to-grey response time of 7.4ms, then with overdrive helped, this lowers to 4.66ms with a bit of overshoot and undershoot.
I’ve got a link in the description if you need an explanation on these numbers. When we look at how it compares against other laptops tested, well, it’s the fastest 144Hz laptop panel that I’ve ever tried, an excellent result.
I’ve tested the screen with the Spyder 5 and got 99% of sRGB, 70% of NTSC, 75% of AdobeRGB, and 75% of DCI-P3, so decent results for a gaming laptop.
My panel was 370 nits at 100% brightness with a 750:1 contrast ratio, so decent brightness but slightly lower on the contrast.
Backlight bleed wasn’t too bad in my unit, I never noticed the slight imperfections when viewing darker content, but this will vary between panels.
Camera / Mics:
There’s a 720p camera above the display in the middle with a physically sliding privacy shutter, no Windows Hello support.
The camera and microphone look and sound like on the Lenovo Legion 5, so the camera is pretty blurry and not great. Here’s what it sounds like to type on the keyboard.
Keyboard & Touchpad:
My keyboard has a single zone of white backlighting, which illuminates all keys and secondary vital functions, but there’s a 4-zone RGB option too. The keys have two brightness levels or can be turned off with the function and space keys.
I thought typing on it was great; it’s got 1.5mm of essential travel, and it just feels nice and clicky. Here’s how it sounds to give you an idea of what to expect. I like that the arrow keys aren’t minor and instead are pushed down a little to make space.
The power button is separate from the keyboard, and it lights up to reflect the performance mode in use, making it easy to see which method you’re in quickly. The precision touchpad is smooth, clicks down anywhere, and works fine.
Fingerprints and dirt show up but aren’t super obvious; it could be a little hard to clean due to the textured finish.
The weight distribution felt good, allowing for one-finger opening, and the screen goes the full 180 degrees back. There’s a little keyboard flex due to the plastic finish, but only when pushing hard; it was pretty sturdy.
You can also read: Razer Blade 15 Advanced Gaming Laptop
Input & Output Ports:
There’s some flex to the lid, but not as much as, say, the Omen 15. On the left, we’ve got an air exhaust vent, USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A port, and 3.5mm audio combo jack. The right has another USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A port, and there’s an air exhaust vent on this side too, the larger 17″ version also has an SD card slot here.
The back has more air exhausts towards the corners; then from left to right, there’s a gigabit ethernet port, USB 3.2 Type-C port with DisplayPort output, no Thunderbolt though, two more USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A ports for 4 in total, HDMI 2.0 output, power input, and Kensington lock.
There are some subtle icons above the rear ports so you can see where to plug in a cable without looking behind the machine. The HDMI and Type-C ports connect directly to the Nvidia graphics rather than the GPU, so VR should be possible.
There’s a dust filter underneath a big air vent towards the back, covering all but the sections directly above the fans, so far better than the TUF A15.
Getting Inside + Internals:
Getting inside involves removing 11 Phillips head screws, and the four down the front are shorter than the rest. Once inside, we’ve got the battery down the front, a 2.5″ drive bay, two memory slots in the middle, and a WiFi 6 card and SSD on the right.
The 2.5″ drive space was quite enjoyable; it comes with a bit of mount with the cable and four screws required for mounting a drive, which is great to see as others from Lenovo in the past, like the L340, need you to buy this separately.
There’s also a second M.2 slot. Suppose you aren’t using a 2.5″ drive and remove this stock mount. The RAM, SSD, and WiFi are all covered by metal heat shields.
Speakers / Latencymon:
The two 2w speakers are on the left and right sides towards the front. They sounded decent, not excellent, but above average with some bass, though they weren’t too loud at max volume, and the latency mon results looked promising.
The Lenovo Legion 5 gaming laptop is powered by a 60Wh battery, but you can also get it with a more effective 80wh option without the 2.5″ drive bay; it’s great to have choices.
I’ve tested it with keyboard lighting off, background apps disabled, and screen at 50% brightness.
The results were decent for a gaming laptop, lasting almost six and a half hours in the YouTube playback test.
With hybrid mode enabled, if we disable it, we’re looking at under 4 hours in the same test as the Nvidia graphics uses more power than the GPU.
Thermals / Clock Speed / TDP:
The Lenovo Vantage software lets you pick between three performance modes, which from lowest to highest are quiet, balanced, and performance, but there are no user fan controls.
The highest performance mode also lets you optionally check to enable GPU overclocking. The UI only allows you to adjust the core clock, but it boosts the memory by the amount noted here. They didn’t use Ryzen controller software as I didn’t find it to make a performance difference.
The idle temperatures were good with a 21 degree Celsius room, stress tests were done with the Aida64 CPU stress test with stress CPU only checked and the Heaven GPU benchmark run at the same time, while gaming was tested playing Watch Dogs 2.
Even in the lowest quiet mode, we still see excellent performance and above 4.1GHz over all 8-cores in these tests as possible. The GPU clock speeds increase in performance mode due to the overclocks applied by the Vantage software.
The GTX 1660 Ti had no problems maintaining its 80-watt power limit. The processor didn’t pass 35 watts long-term, which is fine, as we just saw 4.1GHz over all 8-cores is an excellent result in these tests, especially for the temperatures.
The processor can, of course, burst higher than this in shorter workloads as needed.
CPU Performance – Cinebench:
Here’s how CPU-only performance looks in Cinebench with the GPU now idle, so not a noteworthy difference to single-core performance, but multi-core performance was affected.
Comparing it against other laptops is a three-way tie with the XMG Core 17, Eluktronics RP-17, and 3700X in the Clevo. However, the single-core score was a little behind; either way, it still had excellent results compared to more expensive Intel options.
The keyboard was around the low 30 degrees Celsius point when idling, which is pretty standard.
With the stress tests running in the lowest quiet mode, it’s in the mid-40s in the center.
Balanced and performance were quite similar, warm in the middle, WASD was a bit cooler, and the wrist rest was excellent.
The fans were still audible when idling in the lowest quiet mode. Then with a stress test going, it’s only a little louder, stepping up from soft to the balanced method., then a bit more still and similar to many other gaming laptops in the highest performance mode.
Game Performance Comparison:
Now let’s check out how well the Legion 5 performs in games and compare it with other laptops. In this test, the average frame rate is one of the better results out of all 1660 Ti laptops I’ve tested, basically the same as the vapour 15 aka mag-15 and just 1 FPS behind the Helios 300.
It’s not too far behind the Helios 300, and realistically it’s not going to be a noticeable difference above the other 1660 Ti laptops anyway.
It also tested the shadow of the Tomb Raider with the games benchmark tool with the highest setting preset.
It is an excellent result for a GTX 1660 Ti laptop. It’s at least 3 FPS ahead of the following best 1660 Ti, another result, and interestingly it was scoring the same as the higher wattage RTX 2060 in the Eluktronics RP-15, so the Legion 5 is doing quite well for the hardware it’s got.
I’ve also tested the Legion 5 in 20 games at all setting levels; check the card in the top right or link in the description if you want more benchmarks.
Now for the benchmarking tools, I’ve tested Heaven, Valley, and Superposition from Unigine, as well as Firestrike and Timespy from 3DMark; pause the video if you want a detailed look at these results.
I’ve used Adobe Premiere to export one of my laptop review videos at 4K. It is the fastest export time I’ve ever recorded for a Ryzen based gaming laptop, just a little ahead of the RP-15 with the same CPU but higher tier GPU.
I’ve also tested Premiere but with the Puget systems benchmark, which accounts for the live playback rather than export times. In these tests, a higher score is better. The Legion 5 is still up there though the RP-15 was a little better now.
The results were similar in Adobe Photoshop, this tends to be more of a CPU-focused test, and it’s the second-fastest 4800H result I’ve got, only beaten by the RP-15 with better graphics.
At this time the US it’s available for $1000, and that’s how much I got mine for, and all things considered, I think that’s an excellent price for what’s on offer, but let’s adequately summarise by covering both the good and bad aspects to help you decide if Legion 5 is worth it.
Honestly, we think there’s not too much here to hate.
The camera is crap, but that’s not too surprising; it would have been nice to have some user fan control, and the SSD write speed is lower than some other NVMe options, but otherwise, no other problems come to mind.
The screen has the best response time tested out of all Ryzen gaming laptops I’ve looked at, the brightness is above average, the colour gamut is decent, and it’s got an excellent FreeSync range.
The contrast ratio is a bit low, but I can forgive that as Lenovo Legion 5 gaming laptop gives us the option to disable Optimus and enable overdrive.
As we saw in games, it’s doing very well for a 1660 Ti laptop, and outside of fun, the CPU performance is right up there with some of the best Ryzen results I’ve recorded, and this is all without running hot under heavy long term workloads.
The upgrade options inside are great as you’ve got a fair bit of choice. If you prefer, you can take a more extensive battery instead of a 2.5″ drive and get a 2nd M.2 slot if you don’t need the 2.5″ drive. User choice is always best, another in my opinion, rather than being forced one way or another.
The keyboard was great, and there’s an RGB option for those that want higher FPS.
The touchpad was fine, speakers better than average, build quality was fair for a plastic machine, a good selection of I/O, and battery life was decent for the size, but expect more with the more effective battery option