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Lenovo Legion 5 Pro review: You can’t argue with cheap

There’s some thing a little counter-revolutionary about high-end gaming machines made by means of suit-and-tie PC businesses. The thinking of Lenovo, makers of the ThinkPad, constructing a gaming computer invaluable of remark feels a little weird, and but the Legion 5 Pro is simply that. The Walmart-exclusive mannequin that I’m trying out fees $1,530, pairing AMD’s Ryzen 7 5800H with NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 3070 graphics. Powerful and affordable? That’s nearly revolutionary.

Rounding out that spec listing is 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. Mercifully, each aspects are consumer upgradeable. That piddly pressure will barely preserve greater than a couple Calls really worth of Duty earlier than you’re accomplishing for an exterior drive. But these are the kind of clever compromises that Lenovo opted for to maintain the rate down, letting you add extra RAM and storage as needed.

Gets too warm below heavy load

And then there’s the screen, a 16-inch, 165Hz QHD, X-Rite Pantone-validated IPS show with the new, taller 16:10 factor ratio. At five hundred nits, the panel can maintain its very own in vivid mild in contrast to many of its rivals, and the matte display screen reduces the danger of glare. Watching 4K video on this element is a very first-class trip and I’ve loved working from this system the previous week or so that I’ve been the use of it. It surely makes you favor to spend hours at a time staring at gigapixel pics of, say, Paris, which I truely didn’t spend a lengthy time doing this week (cough).

Review of the new Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (2021)

Lenovo wasn’t searching to pull up any timber with this design, which is little extra than a refinement of what went before. It’s now not as skinny or mild as its rivals, and appears higher in a darkish room lit solely through the glow of an RGB keyboard and the peculiar Nanoleaf panel. But if you’re shopping for it as a computing device alternative that’ll spend ninety percentage of its time plonked on the identical desk, it’s fine. Oh, and the aluminum chassis is rock solid, giving you self belief on these events when you do want to take it somewhere. That matte grey paint job, whilst very enterprise forward, hides a multitude of palm sweat-based sins, however will entice each and every speck of dirt in a three-mile zone.

The Legion 5 Pro’s chunky chassis additionally capability that you’ll discover an remarkable provide of I/O going for walks round its deck. You get 4 USB-A (3.2 Gen 1) sockets, two USB-C (3.2 Gen 2) connections, HDMI, Ethernet and a 3.5mm headphone / microphone jack, as nicely as the proprietary energy port. On the right-hand side, you’ll additionally discover a hardware digicam mute button, which replaces the committed hardware shutter from preceding versions.

Even after numerous days of use, the usage of Lenovo’s TrueStrike keyboard stays a satisfactory however bizarre experience. The keys have a depth of 1.5mm, however Lenovo makes use of “soft landing” switches to make every actuation sense a little deeper than that. Every time you hit a key, you’re awaiting the challenging jerk of a mechanical keyboard, solely to locate a pillowy cease and soar again up. It’s like filling your footwear with water on a warm day and then stepping into them: It’s very useful, however your talent is telling you that something’s amiss here.

It’s well worth noting that Lenovo took benefit of the Legion 5’s better deck measurement to encompass a numerical keypad. The employer says that the numpad itself is full size, however to my eyes and fingers, it feels a little squashed in contrast to a ordinary exterior PC keyboard. The RGB backlighting is possibly correctly muted, however can be set to 4 one-of-a-kind lights zones when required. The trackpad, meanwhile, is flawlessly functional, and the higher measurement is welcome given how tight preceding fashions have been.

I have much less to say about the machine’s 720p camera, which is the very definition of serviceable. Light blooms, everything’s uncomfortably fuzzy and the general impact is that of most ‘60s TV suggests when they’d get the Vaseline-smeared lens for close-ups. If you’re searching to make a dwelling from streaming, or you’re a expert Zoom-call-haver, purchase an exterior device. Poor webcam aside, Lenovo receives props for presenting a devoted digicam disconnect button due to the fact there wasn’t room in the space-starved lid for its general shutter.

Benchmarks don’t inform the total story, but the Legion 5 Pro comes in shut ample to machines priced a couple hundred bucks more. When enjoying stressful AAA video games like Cyberpunk and Shadow of the Tomb Raider, I bought between 50 and 60fps with the settings as it should be tweaked. Naturally, you’ll lose a little bit of that when you allow ray tracing, however it can cope with difficult work especially well. The Legion 5 Pro has three pre-set overall performance modes which can be set inner the Vantage utility, or cycled thru when you hit Fn+Q. One neat addition is that the energy button will trade colour relying on which mode you’re in: Auto gives a white glow, Quiet a cool blue, and Performance an irritated red.

Using a desktop like this for common productiveness work is a bit like taking an F-150 to purchase a container of cereal, however it’s extra than possible. After all, if all you’re doing is crunching documents, writing time period papers, poking at spreadsheets and the use of Slack, this has greater than enough. When transcoding a 28.2GB UHD H.265 video file to 1080p, Handbrake was once in a position to crunch thru it at over forty fps, making it sturdy sufficient for even midway expert video editors.

The Legion 5 Pro makes use of a dual-fan device which pushes warm air out of its chassis via a quartet of exhausts. Two vents at the again are complemented via one on every side, and if you’re now not blessed with massive quantities of room, beware. Leave your hand, mouse, gamepad or drink subsequent to one of these vents for too lengthy and they will emerge as uncomfortably warm. Playing Cyberpunk and Shadow of the Tomb Raider used to be kicking out adequate warmth that I questioned if I may want to make s’mores.

Review of the new Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (2021)

This trouble is exacerbated with the aluminum underside of the chassis which receives too warm to touch. After a couple hours of gaming, I picked up the computer to go it someplace else and damn: I thinking I’d pulled a baking sheet straight out of the oven. It’s no longer warm adequate to burn you, however it’s now not some thing you wanna contact if you price now not being in pain.

It’s additionally not possible to sugarcoat the sheer noise that this laptop makes when the followers spin up. This factor is noisy — noisy adequate that you’ll want to dial your audio system up to drown it out or seize a pair of headphones to claw lower back some of that immersion. This is an occupational hazard of gaming laptops, however it’s well worth noting that this machine is loud.

Another tick in the “not ideal” column is battery life, and no matter packing an 80WHr battery, it will now not remaining lengthy when eliminated from an outlet. Our wellknown battery rundown check loops a video till the laptop dies, with the brightness set to sixty five percentage and all battery-saving tech disabled. It managed to final for 4 hours and forty three minutes whilst the usage of the built-in Radeon graphics, which is first-class in the gritted-teeth experience of the word. Certainly, whilst you can take care of a few emails or some light searching whilst sat on your couch, this is no longer a system you can take away from a socket for a full working day barring fuss.

One of the motives that the Legion 5 Pro is compelling no matter some of its flaws is its price, which is something. Lenovo has managed to undercut various of its rivals here, and there’s no marvel it’s solely intermittently on sale proper now. If you prefer a laptop from Alienware with comparable specs (the romantically-named M15 Ryzen Edition R5 Gaming Laptop) it’ll value you $1,900. For that, you’ll get a Ryzen R7 5800H (same as here), RTX 3070 with 8GB RAM (same as here), 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD (same as… you get the idea).

Review of the new Lenovo Legion 5 Pro (2021)

If getting RTX 3070 images is a dealbreaker, you ought to choose for the Razer Blade 15 Base Model with a 15.6-inch FHD display, 10th-generation Intel Core i7-10750H CPU, 16GB RAM and a 512GB SSD. You will, however, have to pay $2,000 for the privilege, which might also be a non-starter for some. ASUS additionally affords the ROG Strix G15 — an all-AMD model of which we reviewed a few weeks returned — with an RTX 3070, priced at $1,800. If you have been searching for a computer in that $1,500-or-so bracket, you may want to get the $1,600 Razer Book, with a Core i7-1165G7 processor and Intel Iris Xe graphics. Alternatively, for $1,500 Acer’s Predator Triton 300 SE packs a Core i7-11375H CPU and NVIDIA’s RTX 3060 GPU, which looks like a fairly sensible deal all matters considered.

Despite all of the chaos that has so a ways made up the contemporary decade, we’re seeing a new sunrise of AMD’s high-er quit chips winding up in gaming laptops. This Ryzen 7 5800H can beat (select) Intel chips in a quantity of benchmarks, and you can anticipate to see it crop up in a quantity of different machines throughout this year. And whilst wealthier consumers may additionally be tempted with the aid of a a ways pricier computer with RTX 3080 graphics, the 3070 right here shouldn’t make you sense like a second-class citizen.

There is plenty to like about this machine, even though the snips made to push the charge down are positive to rankle some. The battery lifestyles is properly beneath par, the thermals may want to do with refinement, and the webcam would seem retrograde on even a five-year-old machine. But, if you’re going to stick this on a desk, preserve it continuously plugged in to electricity and by no means do greater than the bizarre Zoom, does any of that matter?