Lenovo Legion 7i Review: A hot and mean Gaming Machine
Lenovo’s Legion lineup has matured over the years and this year, we saw the company cranking up a notch with some really interesting products. Apart from the Legion 5i, the company launched the Legion 7i which is the top of the line offering from the company. It borrows the looks and styling from its mid-range counterpart but competes with some of the most powerful notebooks including heavyweights like Alienware and Razer. But is this notebook the right choice for gamers?
Lenovo Legion 7i: Specifications
As I mentioned, the Legion 7i is the most powerful offering from Lenovo and is available with either the 10th-gen Intel Core i5-10300H all the way to a Core i9-10980HK. The unit that I got here includes the Core i7-10875H with the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q. Here are the full specifications:
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About this review: Lenovo India sent us the Legion 7i for review. This review has been written after about 15 days of regular use. Lenovo had no input into the contents of this article.
Lenovo Legion 7i: Design and Build
The design is sort of a mixed bag here. While I appreciate the clean look and aluminum finish of the notebook, the lid tends to wobble, and the dark grey finish does seem quite plain. You do get a lot of RGB lighting though, and that definitely catches your eye. There is an RGB strip around the bottom, an RGB Legion logo on the lid, some RGB lights planted right inside the rear air vents, and of course, under the keyboard. Apart from the light show, Lenovo has all of its branding placed vertically on the keyboard deck and the lid. Very clean.
It is a fairly sleek 15-inch machine weighing 2.25 kilograms with a thickness of about 19mm. That is not bad considering it is roughly the same as the Razer Blade 15. It shouldn’t be very heavy to carry around but considering most of us are now confined to our homes, the notebook should look suave on your desk. Now as I mentioned, the lid isn’t very sturdy, although I can overlook that considering it doesn’t wobble when using it on a firm surface. The lid can open all the way and lay flat, which can be useful if you like to prop your laptop on a cooling stand. Speaking of which, the display gets slim bezels on the sides, while the top bezel houses the 720p webcam. Lenovo offers a nifty slider to shut the camera lens for the ones who fret over security. The bottom bezel is fairly large, but I don’t have any complaints about that.
You also get a total of four air vents- two at the back and one on each side. The bottom has this large perforated area for the fans to pull in cool air. The keyboard deck is nice and spaced out, and the trackpad looks fairly big. Lenovo is offering a good set of ports placed all around the notebook. You get two USB-C 3.1 ports on the left, one of which offers Thunderbolt 3 while the other is limited to DisplayPort 1.4. There is also a headphone combo jack. The right side includes a single USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A port to plug in a mouse or other peripherals. At the back, you get two more USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, an HDMI 2.0, a gigabit ethernet port, a charging port, and a Kensington lock slot. The ports at the back are denoted by subtle white LEDs, which I really liked. These light up when the notebook is turned on or is in standby mode.
I wanted to check out the insides for future upgradability and I got easy access by removing ten screws from the bottom lid. The dual-cooling fans have a large array of fins that are quite slim and in the middle are some heat pipes to dissipate heat. Lenovo does offer a vapor chamber cooling solution on the higher-configured models, including the one I am reviewing here. There are two M.2 slots out of which one is occupied by a 1TB Western Digital NVMe SSD. This means you can add another M.2 SSD to expand your storage. The memory sticks are in the middle but are protected by a plastic shield. You can remove that and get access in case you want to upgrade in the future.
Lenovo is offering the Legion 7i in three display options. While all three offer a 15.6-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS anti-glare panel, there are various configurations. The first one is a 144Hz, < 3ms response time option that comes with 100% sRGB and 300-nits of brightness. The second option (the one that we have received for review) has the same refresh rate but offers 100% Adobe RGB coverage, 500-nits of brightness, VESA DisplayHDR 400-certification, and Dolby Vision. The top of the line option includes 240Hz refresh rate, < 1ms response time, 100% sRGB, 500 nits brightness, VESA DisplayHDR 400-certification as well as Dolby Vision.
Now, I honestly had no complaints about this panel. Colors look punchy and there is an ample amount of brightness as well despite having a matte finish. The unit that we got is also G-Sync compatible. Speaking of which, I had a great time playing games as the panel offered smooth textures and sharp imaging. The display is also a treat if you want to watch movies, especially in HDR format. Additionally, Lenovo packs a software called X-Rite Color Assistant that lets you set various color profiles depending on your usage. You can choose between Adobe RGB, DCI-P3, Rec. 709, and sRGB. Other than that there is a Default setting as well as a Non-calibrated option.
Keyboard and Touchpad
I’ve usually had a good experience with Lenovo’s keyboards and this doesn’t seem any different. It has a sturdy build although there is a bit of a flex on the keyboard deck, but I wouldn’t worry about it too much. Lenovo suggests that its ‘TrueStrike’ keyboard features soft switches with a 1.3mm key travel. It is good to type on with a sort of membrane style feel to it. The keyboard includes a full-sized number pad, along with large arrow keys that take some extra room on the deck. Of course, it comes with RGB lighting offering 16 million different colors via Corsair’s iCUE software. I use iCUE on my personal desktop and I can tell you that it is one of the best RGB software. You get a variety of options including colors and patterns for the keyboard as well as the under-glow and rear lighting. Though, there is one small issue specifically on this laptop. The software doesn’t have any option to switch off the default rainbow effect. Thus every time you turn the laptop on or off, the colors change to a spiral rainbow effect. The only option is to completely shut the lighting on the keys. The keyboard comes with a variety of function button options as well as one where you can switch between the thermal modes on the laptop by pressing the Fn + Q key. This can also be done using the Lenovo Vantage software and is denoted by the color of the power button.
The touchpad is fairly simple to look at, nothing fancy in terms of the finish. It is smooth and responsive and the left and right clicks work as expected. Now I’ve seen some concerns on certain forums suggesting that if you press the top section of the touchpad it depresses making a small gap. While that is true, I believe it isn’t a huge issue unless apart from dust accumulating over time.
Powering the unit I reviewed is an Intel Core i7-10850H which is an octa-core processor offering speeds of 2.30GHz going up to 5.10GHz using Turbo Boost. The Samsung dual-channel 16GB DDR4 memory used on the system is clocked at 3200MHz. For storage, you get a 1TB M.2 NVMe SSD by Western Digital, although certain regions around the world get a Samsung NVMe drive. Last but not the least, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super Max-Q GPU 8GB GDDR6 takes care of the graphics loads. This is a high-end machine and is way more capable than handling 30-40 Chrome tabs and multiple video streams at the same time. I never had a single instance where the laptop would slow down on me.
Gamers can expect excellent performance even in the most resource-intensive games. Titles like Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order at its highest settings ran around 130fps while Rise of the Tomb Raider held up well around 90fps at maximum settings. Multiplayer titles like Apex Legends and PlayerUnknown Battlegrounds (PUBG) consistently ran smoothly at 120fps.
As for synthetic benchmarks, I ran a variety of tests to push the limits of the hardware. The results were as expected delivering scores similar to most gaming laptops in the same range. Some of the benchmarks we tested included 3D Mark, Cinebench R20, and PC Mark 10. You can check out the results below:
The Western Digital SSD felt quite fast and snappy to me. Running CrystalDiskMark reaffirmed my experience as the NVMe SSD managed to score 2,913MBps read speeds and 2,961MBps write speeds. This is not the fastest SSD around when compared to the offerings by Samsung, but it should deliver rock-solid transfer speeds.
Lenovo bundles the laptop with its central-hub software called Lenovo Vantage. It’s a nifty tool that helps you monitor your system as well as enable or disable certain features. As mentioned before, you can use this to choose either of the thermal modes that include performance, balanced, or silent.
As for audio performance, the dual stereo speakers are placed on either side and face downwards. They produce a good amount of volume and even a little bit of thump. The sound quality isn’t going to blow your mind, but it should be good enough for watching movies or casual gaming.
With great power comes great
responsibility heat, but thermals are something that the Legion 7i is not entirely good at. During my testing, I saw peak temperatures of the CPU going as high as 95-degrees which is quite alarming. Due to this, all cores of the CPU did thermal throttle. Just to clear up, I didn’t face any noticeable issues in the performance while gaming, and these peak temperature readings were recorded during benchmark stress tests. The system does limit either the power or the clock speeds of the CPU. This was evident as the CPU was unable to hit the 5GHz clock speeds and only peaked at speeds of 4.7-4.8GHz.
The notebook emits a considerable amount of heat during long gaming sessions especially if you engage the performance mode. The areas around the air vents get really hot and the heat spreads around the top of the keyboard deck. The keyboard itself does not get warm, which was nice to see. You shouldn’t face any heating issues while regular usage, although I wouldn’t advise using this notebook in your lap for longer stretches as the cooling fans need space to pull in air from the bottom.
The notebook features power-hungry hardware and I honestly didn’t have high expectations with the battery life. However, since Lenovo offers three performance modes, I was curious. The 4-Cell 80Wh battery lasted about 4 hours 10 minutes while using the machine at a stretch for web browsing. For a good measure, I had kept the brightness slightly below 50% and set the performance mode to Balanced. This is fairly average for a gaming laptop and you may get varied results depending on your usage. To provide the juice, the notebook comes with a beefy 230W charger. I do have to give it to Lenovo for making an effort to keep the thickness of the charging brick almost similar to the laptop itself.
Lenovo Legion 7i Verdict: Powerful but Toasty
Lenovo is finally working it’s way up the ladder with the Legion 7i and assures that it means business. It’s a really well-made machine and definitely the most powerful gaming laptop offered by the company. Capable of handling all of your high-end AAA titles with ease, it is also a really good machine for content creators. Is it a good desktop replacement? Definitely. Having said that, I really hope Lenovo would look into the issues regarding thermal performance as there are instances of throttling under certain heavy loads. Apart from that, I hardly had any complaints, which is to be expected at these premium price points.
The pricing for the Legion 7i starts at ₹1,94,638 going all the way up to ₹2,77,490 where you get the Core i9-10980HK processor and a 240Hz panel. The notebook is clearly targeted at consumers looking for the top of line performance with no restrictions on their budget. Should you buy one? Well, there are a bunch of options in this price range that you should also explore before choosing the Legion 7i. Do have a look at the Alienware M15 R3, the Razer Blade 15, and even the Acer Predator Triton 500, or some of our other recommendations for those in the USA. If you do end up with the Legion 7i, you will be satisfied with your decision as long as you know what you are getting.