Lenovo Legion 5 Pro Review: Ryzen 5000 and RTX 30 performance, and a 16:10 screen
I can tell you that with AMD Ryzen 5000 processors and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 graphics, this thing is powerful. The new graphics card powers the 165Hz screen nicely, and it all makes for an impressive gaming experience.
Lenovo Legion 5 Pro: Specifications
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 7 5800H (3.2GHz), 8 Cores, 16 Threads|
|GPU||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 (8GB GDDR6), 140 Watt TGP|
|Display||16.0″ WQXGA (2560×1600), IPS, 500 nits, Dolby Vision|
|Body||356×264.4×26.85mm (14.02×10.41×1.07in), 2.45kg (5.4lbs)|
|Storage||1TB PCIe NVMe (M.2 2280)|
|Connectivity||Intel Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax 2×2 + Bluetooth 5.1|
|Audio||2x2W, Nahimic 3D Audio for Gamers|
Dual array microphones
|Camera||720p w/ E-Camera Shutter|
|Input||6-row, multimedia Fn keys, numeric keypad, black keycap|
4-Zone RGB LED backlight
|Battery||80Wh, Rapid Charge Pro (50% in 30min)|
|Color||Storm Grey (top), Black (bottom)|
|Material||Aluminum (top), aluminum (bottom)|
|OS||Windows 10 Home|
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is a full redesign from previous generations. Made out of aluminum, it’s more clearly a gaming laptop than its recent predecessors like the Legion Y540 and Legion Y530. With those devices, Lenovo went for a more streamlined look, something that looked cool as a gaming laptop, but also looked professional if you took it into an office.
The lid is no longer flat, and it now has the Legion logo right in the middle. It lights up in white lighting and staying true to the 5-series laptops I’ve reviewed, all of the lighting is white. Lenovo does make Legion 5-series laptops with some RGB lighting, but the 7-series is where you’d go for full RGB lighting, such as per-key control.
The black rear behind the hinge is angled now, and that’s where you’ll find the bulk of the ports. Ports on the rear is something that Lenovo learned with the second generation of Legion laptops a few years back, and it’s much better for cable management. For anything that’s plugged in pretty much permanently, it can go back there.
On the back, there are three USB Type-A ports, all of which are USB 3.2 Gen 1 for 5Gbps data transfer speeds. There’s also a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port for 10Gbps, Power Delivery, and DisplayPort 1.4, so it’s good for pretty much everything. Then you’ll find HDMI 2.1, Ethernet, and the power port. The power supply is 300W, the largest I’ve ever seen on a laptop, so that’s why you need Lenovo’s own charger for it.
The side ports are for peripherals you can plug in and unplug on the fly. On the left side, there’s another USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port, along with a 3.5mm audio jack. On the right side, there’s a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A port and a camera privacy guard switch.
The privacy guard switch is interesting, as it uses a method I’ve only seen from HP, and only for one generation. It disconnects the webcam internally, so there’s no actual physical guard over the camera. You can even check in the Device Manager, and you’ll see there’s no webcam connected to the PC. I would bet that like we saw with HP, Lenovo will add a physical guard to the camera, even if it uses the same internal method. As it turns out, when using a feature based on distrust, people aren’t likely to trust that the switch is actually disconnecting the webcam internally — a simpler cover that people can see working would be better.
In the corners on the sides and rear, there are vents for the two ColdFront 3.0 fans. It’s actually bringing in cooler air through the keyboard and then pushing it out the vents. By putting the fans in the corners and placing vents on both sides, it can expel twice as much heat.
Display and Audio
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro has a 16-inch 16:10 display with 2560×1600 resolution and a 165Hz refresh rate. This is good. 16:10 displays are becoming more common across the PC space, and it’s a trend we’ve been seeing over the last year or so.
With the new aspect ratio, the screen is taller, but since it’s 16 inches instead of 15.6 inches, it’s almost the same width. Being that screens are measured diagonally, you’re getting a lot more surface area out of a 16-inch 16:10 screen than you would out of a 15.6-inch 16:9 display.
The refresh rate is big too. This is something we’re seeing a lot in 2021 gaming laptops, and I’m here for it. Previously, you pretty much had to choose between FHD at a high refresh rate or 4K at 60Hz, and there was no in-between. But for me, FHD is just a low resolution on a 15.6-inch (or higher) screen. QHD feels like the sweet spot for me, so seeing these 165Hz panels is awesome.
The reason you want a higher resolution is for a sharper picture. The refresh rate has to do with motion, so with a higher refresh rate, the motion is smoother. I feel like QHD at 165Hz is a very nice combination of both.
From my testing, the display supports 99% sRGB, 72% NTSC, 77% Adobe RGB, and 77% P3.
It’s not just for gamers. Laptops that have a 45W processor and dedicated graphics like these can also be used for video editing and other kinds of creative work. The bigger screen and higher resolution serve the purposes of both creative work and gaming.
The bezels around the screen are narrow on three sides, and sadly, that leaves us with a 720p webcam. In fact, I mentioned the internal switch to disconnect the webcam earlier. Lenovo actually said that the narrow bezels are the reason there’s no additional hardware there. While I’m completely in favor of narrow bezels, and I’m glad the firm didn’t put the webcam under the display as it’s done before, a 1080p webcam is a must in 2021, whether you’re working from home or you’re streaming games.
The two 2W speakers get loud and they sound good, whether you’re listening to music or playing games. It comes with Nahimic 3D Audio, which improves surround sound immersion. There are also a bunch of customization options in the companion app like we’ve seen from various others that tune speakers.
Keyboard and Touchpad
Next up with the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is the TrueStrike Gaming Keyboard. I’ve always been a fan of Lenovo’s TrueStrike keyboards because I feel like they’re good for gaming, but they’re also comfortable and accurate for typing. I’m a big fan of anything that translates well between work and play. Lenovo laptops also just tend to have good keyboards, at least in the mainstream to premium space.
It has full 1.5mm key travel, and in some models, the Legion 5 Pro is offered with four-zone RGB lighting. It uses a soft-landing switch with a larger aperture in the baseplate, so there’s a greater area of shock absorption. It adds up to something Lenovo says is more comfortable than a regular rubber dome keyboard, and it offers faster input, which is what’s important when gaming.
The touchpad is 23% larger too, which is nice. Any company that has room to make a larger touchpad should absolutely do so. It makes moving the cursor easier and there’s no downside to it. You’re probably not using this touchpad for gaming though, since it’s clickable and you certainly won’t want to accidentally click.
There’s no fingerprint sensor or anything, which is pretty normal for a gaming laptop. I honestly have no idea. Having touchscreens or clickable touchpads make sense to me, but I can’t imagine the gaming downside to having a fingerprint sensor or an IR camera for facial recognition.
Performance, Battery Life, and Gaming
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro that the company sent over includes an AMD Ryzen 7 5800H processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 graphics, along with 16GB DDR43200 memory. If it’s not plainly obvious, it runs like a dream, and why shouldn’t it? It’s got top-end hardware, with the latest 45W octa-core 16-thread processor from AMD, and RTX 30 series graphics. If I told you something wasn’t good, that would be a surprise.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s prove it. Obviously, I played lots of games on this machine like Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Forza Horizon 4, Tetris Effect: Connected, and Gears 5. It’s really nice to just be able to crank up resolution and frame rate settings.
I edited video too. I took a 20-second 4K 60fps video with an iPhone 12 Pro Max, and just imported it into Adobe Premiere Pro and exported it. The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro easily beats out Apple’s new M1-powered 24-inch iMac. Yes, they’re two different machines, but it’s worth noting.
|Model||Specs||Rendering time (seconds)|
|24-inch iMac||Apple M1, 16GB RAM||27.41|
|Lenovo Legion 5 Pro||AMD Ryzen 7 5800H, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB||22.94|
|Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga||Intel Core i7-1185G7||23.66|
If you’re looking for a laptop for video editing, this is a good one as long as you’re planning on gaming too. If you’re exclusively video editing, there are devices more aimed at your use case.
I also ran benchmarks like PCMark 8, PCMark 10, 3DMark, Geekbench, and Cinebench.
|Legion 5 Pro|
Ryzen 7 5800H
|Acer Predator Helios 700|
|HP OMEN 15|
Ryzen 7 4800H
GTX 1660 Ti
|PCMark 8: Home||5,291||5,323||4,756|
|PCMark 8: Creative||6,199||7,017||6,028|
|PCMark 8: Work||4,102||4,314||3,989|
|3DMark: Time Spy||9,963||10,745||6,037|
|Geekbench||1,475 / 7,377||1,188 / 7,946|
|Cinebench||1,423 / 11,729|
This laptop benchmarks really well, and it shows through performance. I also ran the benchmark in Gears 5 and the results are about what you’d expect. You can easily run it on the top settings without breaking a sweat.
Unfortunately, that always means that the fun ends with battery life. Honestly, I think that if you go for a machine like this, you’re going to end up keeping it plugged in as much as possible. No one wants to lose power in the middle of a game. I left it on battery life with the power slider at one notch above battery saver, and I got under three hours of use out of it. That’s not playing games or rendering video either. That was just regular work in the browser.
For a mainstream gaming laptop, I have to say that the Lenovo Legion 5 Pro is pretty awesome. It packs lots of power into a package that weighs in at just over five pounds, and it looks stylish while it does it.
All my complaints are small, but they add up in certain ways. I feel like in 2021, a 720p webcam is unacceptable, especially on a laptop that costs almost two thousand dollars. I’d also like to see a fingerprint sensor here for easy sign-in.
But I really do love the changes that were made here. The larger 16:10 display makes a big difference, and it doesn’t feel like it makes the sacrifices that a smaller, narrower 16:10 display makes because it’s nice and big at 16 inches. The high refresh rate not only gives it a visually appealing look, but it’s also functional, giving you an edge when gaming.
All-in-all, I feel like it checks the right boxes for the mainstream gamer. For the entry-level, you can still look toward Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming, HP Pavilion Gaming, Acer Nitro, or something along those lines. If you’re an enthusiast gamer, then you probably already know this isn’t the machine for you. You’re probably looking at laptops that have all-new ways of innovative cooling, more powerful graphics, RGB lighting, and more.
The Lenovo Legion 5 Pro fits right into that mainstream. This is where you want the performance for a great gaming experience, but you don’t quite want to sacrifice the benefits of a great productivity experience to get there.